Here is a handy litmus test for the legitimacy of any of the preseason college basketball magazines that will be hitting the news stands over the next couple of months:
The Duke and
Williams has averaged 14.9 points
(shooting .683 from the field), 8.6 rebounds and 2.0 blocked shots during the
first seven games for the
Smith – who missed one game
They, along with Williams' teammate at Duke, J.J. Redick, will also be frontrunners for Atlantic Coast Player of the Year honors in March.
The trek to Turkey has also done wonders to enhance the national perception – at least among those who read the wire service or USA Basketball website reports – of a couple of players on the team, Vincent Grier of Minnesota and Randy Foye of Villanova.
The 6-foot-5 Grier, one of the reasons the Gophers should return to the NCAA tournament next March, is scoring 11.3 points per game (with a .580 shooting percentage), grabbing 4.3 rebounds per game and leads the team with 26 steals. He's also gotten to the free-throw line (where he is 21 of 31) than anyone on the team.
"He is quietly our MVP," Team
Foye has been the team's most consistently sparkling backcourt player. He's averaging 13.7 points (second to Williams) and 4.0 rebounds per game.
What's mildly surprising about the
way the team is crunching its opposition (only two of the victories have come by
margins of fewer than 20 points; 15 against
BOUNCING AROUND THE COUNTRY:
*OK, let me see if I've got this straight: Those who run the NIT sued the NCAA and, during court proceedings, tried to paint the NCAA as a monopolistic organization bent on driving the NIT out of business.
Then, before allowing the case to proceed to its fruition and letting a jury decide if those allegations were based in fact, officials from the five metropolitan New York colleges (NYU, Manhattan, St. John's, Fordham and Wagner) reach a settlement in which they sell, for $56 million, both the preseason and post-season versions of the NIT to . . . the NCAA?
I guess there were some real principles at stake in that lawsuit, eh?
*Hall of Fame coach Pete Newell, who underwent surgery that
removed most of his cancerous right lung in March, held his 28th Big
Man Camp at Cox Pavilion in
The camp, which drills players on low-post play and all facets of footwork, had more than 60 players. Most of those are currently in college. But a handful of them are earning NBA paychecks, including 17-year-old L.A. Lakers' rookie Andrew Bynum.
Among the college players drawing the most interest from some of the NBA talent evaluators on hand were: Patrick O'Bryant (sophomore center, Bradley), Rick Cornett (senior forward, Notre Dame), Louis Amundson (senior forward, UNLV), Marcus Arnold (junior swingman, Illinois; a transfer from Illinois State who will be eligible to play for the Illini this season) and Caleb Green (junior forward, Oral Roberts).
Jamie Dixon's Panthers lost a lot – most notably, starting post players Chevon Troutman and Chris Taft – but return, and add, enough to make a strong push for a fifth consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament.
A 24-year-old point guard (Carl Krauser) is back after averaging 16.0 points, 4.8 rebounds and 5.9 assists as a junior and then finding out that he wasn't exactly a hot commodity in the eyes of those who make draft-night decisions for NBA teams.
Six-nine junior forward Levon Kendall, who averaged about 14
minutes of playing time in 22 games as a sophomore, dropped 40 points on the
But here's the Panther who will be
a real load for defenders to cope with: forward Sam Young
Force me to project a Big East Freshman of the Year and I'll opt for that guy.
An April inductee into the USBWA
Hall of Fame, Frank Burlison is Scout.com's National Basketball Expert
and is also a columnist for the