Articles By David Fox

Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-americans-top-freshmen-transfers-and-more-2013-14

Most coaches would envy Rick Pitino. Louisville won the national championship and returns every key player other than Peyton Siva and Gorgui Dieng. Those are major losses, for sure, but the Cardinals may start the season ranked in the top three.

The determining factor in Louisville’s ability to repeat may be a handful of new key players. Junior college transfer Chris Jones takes over Siva’s point guard spot. Freshman Terry Rozier will bolster backcourt depth. Redshirt freshman Mangok Mathiang isn’t the veteran Dieng was, but he could be a solid shotblocker.

The Cardinals will be the overwhelming favorite in the first season of the American, but how newcomers perform elsewhere in the conference may determine how much the other teams in the league challenge Louisville. Memphis, as usual, has highly touted freshmen. So does Connecticut. SMU has a slew of transfers ready to make the Mustangs relevant.

Our series on new faces started earlier this week with the ACC. We continue today with the American.

Chris Jones, Louisville
Junior college transfer
Few newcomers have bigger shoes to fill. Point guard Peyton Siva is one of the few departures from the national title winners, and more than that, he was one of Rick Pitino’s all-time favorite players. Jones was a junior college All-American who committed to Tennessee out of high school but took a detour since then. He’s a relentless defender who will be a good fit in the Cardinals’ press.

Terry Rozier, Louisville
Freshman (Hargrave Military Academy)
Another addition to the Louisville backcourt, Rozier adds a scoring touch with his ability to attack the rim. That was pretty evident in January when Rozier scored a Hargrave-record 68 points in a double-overtime game on 19-of-37 shooting and 22-of-24 free throws.

Jermaine Lawrence, Cincinnati
Cincinnati scored fewer than half its points from 2-point range last season (49.6 percent, ranked 247th nationally). Adding the 6-9 power forward Lawrence, a top-25 recruit, should help the Bearcats in the low post. From Sparta, N.J., Lawrence is another big-time prospect Mick Cronin has pulled from the New York/New Jersey area, joining Lance Stephenson and Sean Kilpatrick.

Austin Nichols, Memphis
With Joe Jackson, Chris Crawford, Geron Johnson and Shaq Goodwin, Memphis has a strong backcourt despite a pair of player transfers and an NBA Draft early entry. Memphis needs Nichols, the Tigers’ top recruit and a local product from Briarcrest Christian, to step into the frontcourt right away.  The Tigers also signed two other 6-9 top-50 forwards Kuran Iverson and Dominic Woodson.

Kentan Facey and Amida Brimah, Connecticut
The Huskies got little production out of their frontcourt last season, so this pair of freshman will have the opportunity to push veterans DeAndre Daniels and Tyler Olander. Facey is a good rebounder while Brimah is a lanky shot-blocker.

Lasan Kromah, Connecticut
George Washington transfer
Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright return to lead the UConn backcourt, but adding Kromah gives the Huskies some nice depth on the perimeter. Kromah averaged 11 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists in three seasons at George Washington.

Keith Frazier, SMU
SMU has decided it’s serious about basketball, hiring Larry Brown, renovating its arena and signing a local McDonald’s All-American in Frazier. On a team that returns all five starters, the 6-5 shooting guard Frazier could end up the top scorer on a team that hopes to make a splash in its first season in the American Athletic Conference.

Nic Moore, SMU
Illinois State transfer
Moore followed his coach at Illinois State, SMU’s head coach-in-waiting Tim Jankovich, to Dallas. The Mustangs didn’t have a true point guard last season — SMU ranked 11th in Conference USA in assist-to-turnover ratio — so Moore will have a chance to take over point guard duties immediately. Moore had a 1.71 assist-to-turnover ratio and 135 assists as a freshman at Illinois State in 2011-12.

Danrad “Chicken” Knowles, Houston
Ineligible last season
Knowles was the rare top-100 recruit to sign at Houston, but the 6-10 power forward was ineligible last season. Houston is also hoping former Baylor guard L.J. Rose will receive a waiver to be eligible immediately. If both are ready to play this season, Houston will be competitive in its new league. Without them, Houston went 7-9 in a bad Conference USA — and that was before leading scorer Joseph Young transferred.

Josh Brown, Temple
Brown, a graduate of the St. Anthony program coached by the legendary Bob Hurley, committed twice to Temple, both before and after his junior season breakout. He could be the Owls' best perimeter scorer only a year after Temple lost the backcourt duo of Khalif Wyatt and T.J. DiLeo.

Greg Lewis, Rutgers
Rutgers has brought in a handful of transfers to help ease the roster turnover from the Mike Rice era, but Kerwin Okoro (Iowa State) and J.J. Moore (Pittsburgh) are still seeking immediate eligibility. Lewis is a big body at 6-9, 240 pounds who missed last season with a knee injury.

Others of Note

John Egbunu, USF
The Bulls signed Egbunu, a top-100 center, but coach Stan Heath may sweat a bit. USF is pushing back his enrollment a semester as an academic precaution.

Yanic Moreira and Markus Kennedy, SMU
Moreira transferred from junior college and Kennedy transferred from Villanova to bolster SMU’s frontcourt.

Troy Caupain, Cincinnati
Cashmere Wright was a fixture at point guard for Cincinnati, and now the Bearcats turn to a freshman to run the position. He’ll have every chance to take over there to set up Sean Kilpatrick.

Mangok Mathiang, Louisville
The 6-10 center still needs to develop offensively, but he’s ready to contribute now as a shotblocker.

Mark Williams, Temple
The Owls are doing some major rebuilding in the frontcourt, so the 6-8, 230-pound Williams will play immediately. He’ll be a big body inside.

We continue our look at the new faces who will shape each conference race
Post date: Thursday, July 25, 2013 - 11:00
Path: /college-football/college-football-close-game-analysis-who-best-worst-clutch

Nothing swings a season in college football like a close game.

Every time a national championship contender wins by a touchdown or a field goal over a lesser opponent, like clockwork the talking heads say every champion has a game like that through the season, mainly because it’s true. Notre Dame had five of them leading into the national championship game. Alabama gutted out wins over LSU and Georgia and lost a close one to Texas A&M.

On the other side, a sure-fire way to lose a job as a head coach is to lose a string of close games. Jeff Tedford’s Cal teams lost five games decided by one score in a row. Arizona State’s Dennis Erickson finished his tenure going 3-13 in one-score games over his final four seasons. Skip Holtz lost eight of his last 10 at USF before being shown the door.

Indeed, the heartbreaking loss or out-of-nowhere upset make up the fabric of college football. They influence athletic directors’ decision-making and fan and perception. Here, though, are the raw numbers. We decided to look at every major conference program, their coaches and how they’ve fared in close games over the last five seasons.

A few things to consider:

1. Close games are considered to be one-score games (i.e. games decided by eight points or fewer).

2. Unless noted, all records are from the last five seasons (since 2008).

3. Our research focused on teams in the six major conferences and active coaches at those programs.

4. We didn’t spend much time considering why the game was close — did a lesser team put a scare in a more highly ranked team? Did an elite team play down to an opponent? Over the span of five seasons, these close games more or less balanced out.

Here’s what we learned:

1. Kansas State19-5.792
2. Utah14-5.737
3. LSU19-9.679
T4. Alabama8-4.667
T4. Oklahoma State10-5.667
T4. Penn State8-4.667
1. Arizona State4-15.211
2. Ole Miss4-13.235
3. Memphis4-10.286
4. Indiana7-16.304
5. Tennessee6-12.333
Oklahoma State128-4
Washington State138-5
Kansas State19 
Notre Dame17 
Wake Forest16 
ACTIVE COACHES (min. 10 games)  
1. Bill Snyder, Kansas State17-4.810
2. Brian Kelly, Cincy/Notre Dame19-5.791
3. David Shaw, Stanford10-3.769
4. Dave Doeren, NIU/NC State9-3.750
5. Kyle Whittingham, Utah14-5.737
6. Urban Meyer, Florida/Ohio State8-3.727
T7. Bronco Mendenhall, BYU14-6.700
T7. Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia7-3.700
9. Les Miles, LSU19-9.679
T10. Steve Sarkisian, Washington12-6.667
T10. Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State10-5.667
T10. Nick Saban, Alabama8-4.667
1. Kevin Wilson, Indiana2-8.200
2. Charlie Weis, Notre Dame/Kansas7-14.333
3. George O'Leary, UCF9-16.360
4. David Cutcliffe, Duke8-14.364
5. Jerry Kill, NIU/Minnesota11-16.407
6. Todd Graham, Tulsa/Pitt/ASU9-13.409
7. Brady Hoke, Ball St/SDSU/Michigan7-10.412
T8. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa12-16.429
T8. Jim Grobe, Wake Forest12-16.429
T8. Paul Pasqualoni, UConn4-8.429

• Brian Kelly’s 4-0 record in one-score games at Notre Dame last season was no fluke. The Notre Dame coach is 19-5 in games decided by eight points or less in the last five seasons, dating to his days at Cincinnati. And once Kelly is entrenched, the better success rate he has. Notre Dame has won eight of its last nine one-score games, and Cincinnati won nine in a row before Kelly left for South Bend.

• At what point should Lucky Les Miles shed the “lucky” tag? There has to be a skill to winning close games, right? LSU is 19-9 in one-score games in the last five seasons. Miles’ 11-4 mark in 2009-10 alone included more close games than Alabama has played in five seasons (8-4). The opponent who has played LSU the closest hasn’t been Alabama or Auburn as one might expect: LSU has split its four one-score games against Arkansas the last five years.

• Kansas State’s record in close games is staggering. The Wildcats are 19-5 in one-score games in the last five seasons for a 79.2 win percentage, by far the best in the major conferences. Kansas State has gone 17-4 in those games under Bill Snyder. But the Collin Klein era was another level: With Klein as the starting quarterback in 2011-12, Kansas State went 10-1 in one-score games.

• Arizona State is the anti-Kansas State. The Sun Devils are 4-15 in one-score games over the last five seasons. Dennis Erickson may have won two national titles at Miami, but he was 3-13 in close games in his final four seasons at Arizona State. That was more than enough to cost Erickson his job. The Sun Devils hired Todd Graham, whose record is a bit better, but not great: 9-13 in the last five seasons at Tulsa, Pittsburgh at ASU.

• The biggest surprise among teams on the right side of the ledger in close games is Utah. Aside from K-State, the Utes are the only other team to win more than 70 percent of their one-score games. Utah is 14-5 in close games the last five seasons, doing most of that damage as a Mountain West member at  10-2.

• Jim Harbaugh built Stanford into a contender, but David Shaw knows how to win the tight games. Shaw is 10-3 in one-score games as the Stanford coach; Harbaugh finished his tenure on a 6-7 note.

• Washington fans may be getting bored with seven win seasons, but Steve Sarkisian is winning when his back is against he wall. The Huskies won 10 one-score games before back-to-back losses to end the 2012 season (31-29 to Washington State, 28-26 to Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl).

• Looking for another Brian Kelly, whose close game turnaround indicates a big season? Try Al Golden and Charlie Strong. In his final three seasons at Temple, Golden in close games went 2-5, 3-1 and 4-1. In that case, the last two seasons should be a bellwether for Golden at Miami. The Hurricanes went 2-6 in close games in 2011 and 3-2 in 2012. Meanwhile, Louisville went 5-11 under Strong in such games early. The Cardinals went 6-1 with their backs against the wall last season.

• If you’re looking for other teams trending in the right direction, Florida has won five of six one-score games dating back to the 2011 Gator Bowl against Ohio State. And further illustrating the point that opponents in close games even themselves out, two of those close games in 2012 were against Texas A&M and LSU; the others were Missouri and Louisiana-Lafayette. Another impressive turnaround has been Nebraska: The Huskers went 5-10 in close games in the first four seasons under Bo Pelini before going 4-1 last year.

• Wisconsin is 14-14 overall in close games in the last five seasons, but the Badgers have lost 10 of 13 dating back to the 2011 Rose Bowl against TCU. Wisconsin, though, hired a coach in Gary Andersen who won eight of his last 10 one-score games at Utah State, one of those loses coming in Camp Randall.

• Michigan State and Iowa get the most attention for playing close games in the Big Ten. But they don’t play the most, and they don’t have the best success rate. That belongs to Northwestern, which is 19-16 in one-score games the last five seasons (albeit 0-3 in bowl games). Michigan State is 16-11, padded by an 8-1 mark in 2011. Iowa is 12-16 with a 6-12 mark the last three seasons.

• Bob Stoops is taking his lumps at Oklahoma, but the Sooners are 11-4 in one-score games since the 2009 Sun Bowl win over Stanford.

• Let’s give credit to Dabo Swinney for being able to avoid the heartbreakers. Tommy Bowden finished on a 1-7 skid in one-score games at Clemson. Swinney has won has last five one-score games.

• TCU is a strange case, aided by the Horned Frogs defensive dominance of the Mountain West. The Frogs have played only 16 one-score games in the last five seasons. Five have come in bowl games (TCU is 3-2), six came in the first year in the Big 12 (3-3).

• BYU is 14-6 in close games, which is mighty impressive. But consider that Bronco Mendenhall and the Cougars won 14 consecutive one score games from 2007-10.

• New Louisiana Tech coach Skip Holtz is a strange case. He went 10-4 in one-score games in his last two seasons at East Carolina in 2008-09. Then, he won six of his first nine close games at USF. But the Bulls squandered second-half lead after second-half lead to lose eight of their last 10 close games in 2011-12. That skid doomed Holtz at USF, but he’s still 18-15 overall in one-score games in the last five seasons.

• With its triple option offense, it’s not shocking Navy has played more close games than most, going 18-12 under Ken Niumatalolo in those games. Niumatololo’s predecessor, Paul Johnson, has gone 15-12 in one-score games at Georgia Tech, also running the option.

Kansas State's Bill Snyder owns staggering record in one-score games
Post date: Thursday, July 25, 2013 - 07:00
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-accs-top-transfers-freshmen-and-more-2013-14

The ACC will be defined by new faces more than most: Primarily the arrival of Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame for 2013-14.

Beyond the arrival of one basketball power and two consistent Big East programs, the ACC will have a handful of key new players who could determine the league race in the upcoming season.

Freshmen, transfers, redshirted players and key guys returning from injury can define a season. Today, we start our series highlighting the impact new faces for each league, starting with the ACC.

Fans didn’t see a much from these players this past season, if they saw anything at all. In 2013-14, they could define a season.

Rodney Hood, Duke
Mississippi State transfer
Hood will be one of two forwards asked to fill a handful of spots on the court. The 6-8 sophomore displayed his versatility as a freshman at Mississippi State, where he averaged 10.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists before the coaching change. Hood suffered an Achilles injury before the World University Games, but he’s expected to be healthy enough to contribute at shooting guard and both forward spots when he’s back.

Jabari Parker and Semi Ojeleye, Duke
Duke signed an outstanding freshman duo that will keep the Blue Devils in national title contention. Parker is a 6-8 forward who will be one of the top freshmen in the ACC. He’s unselfish, versatile and will be a good complement for the lankier Hood in the frontcourt. Ojeleye is a good defender and rebounder.

Tyler Ennis, Syracuse
With Michael Carter-Williams gone, Ennis is one of two point guards on the roster, both freshmen. That’s a tough proposition for a Syracuse team heading into its first season in the ACC, but Ennis was the leading scorer for Canada in the Under-19 World Championships.

Isaiah Hicks and Kennedy Meeks, North Carolina
North Carolina didn’t start to put its season together until the Tar Heels went to a four-guard lineup into ACC play. After the frontcourt struggled last season, North Carolina added the league’s top freshman power forward (Hicks) and center (Meeks). Adding the 6-9 Hicks and 6-10 Meeks could enable James Michael McAdoo to play in a comfort zone on the perimeter. In other words, don’t expect North Carolina to rely on the small lineup anymore: With Reggie Bullock and Dexter Strickland gone and P.J. Hairston’s status uncertain, North Carolina will have six players at 6-8 or taller.

Xavier Rathan-Mayes, Florida State
Rathan-Mayes is a friend of super freshman Andrew Wiggins, but that wasn’t enough to lure Wiggins to Florida State. Still, expect Rathan-Mayes to play a major role as a rookie. Michael Snaer is gone, so Florida State is looking for the scoring lift Rathan-Mayes can provide.

Anthony Gill, Virginia
South Carolina transfer
Gill averaged 7.6 points and 4.7 rebounds as a freshman at South Carolina before leaving when Frank Martin took over. He had his fair share of suitors when he transferred, and the year away from game action has appeared to give Gill a chance to refine his skills. Virginia just missed the NCAA Tournament a year ago, so adding the 6-8, 231-pound forward to the top five returning scorers from this past season should put the Cavs in the top half of the ACC.

Angel Rodriguez, Miami
Kansas State transfer (pending NCAA waiver)
Miami loses nearly every key player from last year’s ACC championship season, not least of which was point guard Shane Larkin. Rodriguez will help to fill the void — if he is granted immediate eligibility —after his transfer from Kansas State. Rodriguez went to high school in Miami and wanted to be closer to ailing family members in Puerto Rico. Rodriguez averaged 11.4 points and 5.2 assists for a Wildcats team that tied for the Big 12 lead this past season.

Michael Gbinije, Syracuse
Duke transfer
Gbinije’s had a little trouble finding a home. He started at Duke, where the Blue Devils experimented with him at small forward. And at Syracuse during his redshirt year, he tinkered with playing point guard. Practicing at those positions has given him versatility, but he’s probably going to find a home at shooting guard in a new starting backcourt for the Orange.

Mike Young and Detrick Mostella, Pittsburgh
Picking even highly rated freshmen to make major impacts as rookies at Pittsburgh is a tricky proposition (see: Adams, Steve). Young, the top signee in the class, will step in for Adams in the interior. Mostella was a late addition to the class who could end up being a big-time outside shooter.

Cat Barber, NC State
Mark Gottfried has signed McDonald’s All-Americans before, but that (along with a Sweet 16 appearance) only raised expectations the Wolfpack failed to meet. Projections for Barber will be more tempered as he tries to take over the point guard spot.

Roddy Peters, Maryland
The Terrapins’ point guard rotation of Seth Allen and Pe’Shon Howard produced meager results last year. Maryland ranked 10th in the ACC for assist-to-turnover ratio in conference games last season. Howard is gone, meaning Allen and Peters will man the point, but the freshman missed the second half of his senior year at District Heights (Md.) Suitland with a shoulder injury.

Jaron Blossomgame, Clemson
Redshirt freshman
Brad Brownell’s top signee last season missed all of his freshman year due to a slow recovery from compound leg fracture in May. The 6-7 forward has had two procedures on his leg, so his progress will be watched closely.

Adam Smith, Virginia Tech
UNC Wilmington transfer
A 6-1 guard, Smith averaged 13.7 points per game at UNC Wilmington in 2011-12. Virginia Tech is counting on him to be one of their top scorers, which is probably an indication of how things are going to go for the Hokies this season.

Andre Dawkins, Duke
Dawkins will give Duke a perimeter presence after averaging 8.2 points per game and shooting 40.8 percent from 3-point range as a sophomore and junior. He also came of the bench for the 2010 title team. Dawkins, whose sister died in a car accident in 2009, announced in April he is ready to rejoin the team.

Ralston Turner, NC State
LSU transfer
Turner averaged 11.2 points per game in two seasons at LSU and will be expected to provide outside shooting on a rebuilding NC State team. Turner, however, shot 36.9 percent from the field and 34.6 percent from 3-point range with the Tigers.

Evan Smotrycz, Maryland
Michigan transfer
As one would expect from a Michigan signee under John Beilein, Smotrycz is a 6-9 forward who can stretch the floor.

Coron Williams, Wake Forest
Robert Morris transfer
Wake Forest did enough with a 6-12 ACC season to show progress under Jeff Bzdelik, but the heat is still on. Williams is a sharp-shooting 3-point specialist who joins a team that returns the bulk of its key players.

Trae Golden, Georgia Tech
Tennessee transfer (pending NCAA waiver)

Golden announced Saturday he’d return home to Atlanta be closer to his ailing father. He’s seeking an NCAA hardship waiver to play immediately, which would be a boon to Georgia Tech’s NCAA Tournament hopes. The Yellow Jackets already return Marcus Georges-Hunt and Robert Carter in the frontcourt. Golden was a streaky player last season, who averaged 12.1 points per game.

We begin our look at the new faces that will define each conference race
Post date: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/weis-recruiting-pitch-have-you-looked-pile-crap-out-there

Senior Day at Kansas must be pretty awkward.

At 1-11 overall in 2012 and riding a 21-game Big 12 losing streak, Kansas isn’t fooling anyone with its place in the college football world.

Coach Charlie Weis isn’t even trying to sugarcoat it on the recruiting trail. Asked for his pitch to high school juniors and seniors, Weis summed it up thusly:

“I said, have you looked at that pile of crap out there?” Weis told reporters. “Have you taken a look at that? So if you don't think you can play here, where do you think you can play? It's a pretty simple approach.”

Before that blunt assessment of his roster, Weis noted the other part of the Kansas pitch — “a great school here, great education, great academic support ... a great strength coach. My trainer is topnotch. All the facilities are on par with everyone else.”

And by Weis’ admission, early playing time is there for the taking.

Naturally, Weis’ candor played well on Twitter. Matt Hinton, a blogger with, poked fun at one of Weis’ predecessors. Kansas coach Mark Mangino was fired in 2009 amid allegations of mistreatment and verbal abuse of players and staff. Mangino is now an assistant at Youngstown State.


Mangino later Tweeted he understood the joke, "Ok then I accept the tweet as sarcasm! Lol!"


Other gems from the most entertaining media day session with Weis:

Q. Did you take anything positive out of the near-upset of Texas last year?
A. Here’s the thing I took: I was happy for Mack. I was miserable for me. So, no, I took nothing positive for it.

Q. What did you do to shore up the kicking game?
A. Change the kicker. That was a pretty easy one. Thank you.

Early playing time not an issue at Kansas. Clearly.
Post date: Monday, July 22, 2013 - 14:59
Path: /college-football/steve-spurrier-stops-arbys-arbys-fan

From the Fun ‘n’ Gun to the Beef ‘n Cheddar, it seems.

Steve Spurrier and the South Carolina contingent stopped at a fast food restaurant on the way back from SEC Media Days in Hoover, Ala. Thanks to Jadeveon Clowney, we know it happened.


Thanks to Arby’s Twitter account, we know it was an Arby’s.



Steve Spurrier stops at Arby's; Arby's is a fan
Post date: Friday, July 19, 2013 - 10:27
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/ncaa-ends-contract-ea-sports-college-football-video-game

The EA Sports NCAA Football franchise will end with this season’s edition.

Facing ongoing litigation as a result of the Ed O’Bannon class action lawsuit, the NCAA announced Wednesday it would not renew its contract with EA Sports. The contract expires in June 2014.
NCAA Football 2014 will be the last to include the NCAA’s name and logo, the press release indicates. The end of the contract does not necessarily mean the end a college football video game utilizing school names and mascots, however.

“Member colleges and universities license their own trademarks and other intellectual property for the video game,” the NCAA says. “They will have to independently decide whether to continue those business arrangements in the future.”

The NCAA, EA Sports and the Collegiate Licensing Committee are co-defendants in a class action lawsuit stating the NCAA Football video games violate antitrust laws by essentially requiring athletes to release their likeness rights for perpetuity.


The end of the contract means, in theory, the CLC, which represents nearly 200 universities, or schools/conferences individually could sign a new contract for a college football video game with EA Sports that does not include the NCAA name or logo.

NCAA Football 2014 will be final game under the contract
Post date: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 - 14:55
Path: /college-basketball/12-college-basketball-sophomores-spot

In mid-March, Mitch McGary and Montrezl Harrell were a pair of freshmen still working through their rookie seasons.

By April 8, they were key big men in the national championship game.

The fortunes for McGary and Harrell took abrupt turns once tournament season began, raising the bar for their sophomore years. In 2013-14, Michigan and Louisville will expect more of what McGary and Harrell delivered during the postseason. The breakout last year will need to become the norm starting in November.

Beyond McGary and Harrell, we’ve pinpointed 10 other highly regarded sophomores who need to break out in 2013-14.

Some, like Kansas’ Perry Ellis, showed flashes of potential a year ago. Others like Indiana’s Jeremy Hollowell and Syracuse’s Jerami Grant played on loaded teams that could afford to allow their star recruits to gain some seasoning on the bench.

In general, we’ve picked 12 sophomores who were not full-time players a year ago as freshmen who will need to become impact, all-conference players as sophomores.


Mitch McGary, Michigan
As a freshman:
39 games, eight starts, 19.7 minutes per game, 7.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg
Outlook: How is McGary going to top his production during the NCAA Tournament, when he became the MVP of a team that included the national player of the year? After a pedestrian freshman regular season, McGary averaged 14.3 points and 10.7 rebounds as the Wolverines reached the national title game. With Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway gone, he may be expected to average close to that as a sophomore.

Montrezl Harrell, Louisville
As a freshman: 40 games, three starts, 16.2 minutes per game, 5.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg
Outlook: Harrell had the “where did that come from” moment of the Big East Tournament when he had 20 points and seven rebounds in the championship game against Syracuse. In the three games leading up to the game against Syracuse in Madison Square Garden, he was a combined 5 of 12 from the field. He went 7 of 13 against the Orange alone. With all of the returning pieces back from the national champions, Louisville doesn’t need that kind of production from Harrell, but he is moving to center to replace first-round NBA Draft pick Gorgui Dieng. At 6-8 and 235 pounds, though, Harrell may be undersized for the move.

Perry Ellis, Kansas
As a freshman:
37 games, three starts, 13.6 minutes per game, 5.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg
Outlook: With the entire starting five gone, Ellis suddenly is a grizzled veteran. Freshman Andrew Wiggins will be the focal point and could have a Kevin Durant-like impact, but Ellis is a key cog. Ellis was a decorated local player at Wichita (Kan.) Heights expecting to make an impact on a senior-laden team, but he struggled on both sides of the court through most of his freshman season. He was a non-factor for stretches during Big 12 season before busting out for 23 points against Iowa State in the Big 12 Tournament semifinals. If Wiggins is a superstar from Day One as predicted, the Jayhawks still need the athletic 6-8 forward to give more than 5.8 points per game against Big 12 competition.

Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky
As a freshman:
29 games, 14 starts, 23.6 minutes per game, 8.3 ppg, 6.2 rpg
Outlook: Cauley-Stein has more experience than most of the names on this list, primarily because he took a larger role when Nerlens Noel was lost for the season. Cauley-Stein, who averaged 10.2 points and 8.4 rebounds over the final eight games with Noel out, will be one of the few veterans on a team that lacked them last season.

Jeremy Hollowell, Indiana
As a freshman:
33 games, 0 starts, 9.7 minutes per game, 2.8 ppg, 2.1 rpg
Outlook: All eyes will be on the point guard Yogi Ferrell — the only returning starter — and the incoming freshman Noah Vonleh. But Hollowell has a chance to lead the Hoosiers in scoring. The 6-foot-8 forward can shoot the 3 and drive to the basket. He’ll also take a bit of pressure off Ferrell with his passing ability.

Jerami Grant, Syracuse
As a freshman:
40 games, nine starts, 14.3 minutes per game, 3.9 ppg, 3.0 rpg
Outlook: Syracuse has a proven track record of letting long and athletic frontcourt players take a year or two to develop before breaking out as sophomores and juniors — think of C.J. Fair and James Southerland. Grant flourished (8.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg) when Southerland was suspended midseason, but Syracuse will expect that and more from Grant this year. Also fitting into the sophomore on-the-spot category for Syracuse is center Dajuan Coleman, whose playing time diminished after a midseason knee injury.

Winston Shepard, San Diego State
As a freshman:
31 games, two starts, 20.3 mpg, 5.7 ppg, 3.5 rpg
Outlook: The top recruit in school history looked more like a long-term project last season than the last big-time recruit San Diego State signed, Kawhi Leonard. The Aztecs add a double-double threat in Josh Davis, a transfer from Tulane. But they also need someone to replace the stat-sheet-stuffing versatility of Jamaal Franklin, who led the team in scoring, rebounds, assists and steals. As a recruit, Shepard looked like the kind of player who could offer that skill set. As a freshman, Shepard shot only 42.7 percent from inside the arc.

Shaquille Cleare, Maryland
As a freshman: 37 games, eight starts, 12 minutes per game, 3.7 ppg, 2.7 rpg
Outlook: The presence of Alex Len meant Cleare was expendable as a freshman. That won’t be the case with Cleare a sophomore and Len off to the NBA Draft as the No. 5 overall pick. The 6-9 Cleare won’t match Len’s height, but Mark Turgeon has been impressed with Cleare’s ability to shed 15-20 pounds during the offseason.

Kris Dunn, Providence
As a freshman:
25 games, 18 starts, 27.2 minutes per game, 5.7 ppg, 3.1 apg
Outlook: Dunn was part of a one-two punch Providence coach Ed Cooley signed out of the class of 2012. Ricky Ledo never played for the Friars, sitting out as a partial qualifier before going to the the NBA Draft. Dunn played a limited role behind Vincent Council last season, but he’ll run the point for a team hoping to reach its first NCAA Tournament since 2004.

Kellen Dunham, Butler
As a freshman:
35 games, 13 starts, 26.1 minutes per game, 9.5 ppg, 2.8 rpg
Outlook: Rotnei Clarke helped return Butler to the NCAA Tournament after his transfer from Arkansas. Dunham, a major recruit for the Bulldogs, was Butler’s second-best shooter from long range last season by a wide margin behind Clarke. If he’s going to shoot at a high volume, he’ll have to do better than 34.5 percent from 3-point range and 37.5 overall from the field.

Ron Baker, Wichita State
As a freshman:
18 games, 15 starts, 26.1 minutes per game, 8.7 ppg, 3.2 rpg
Outlook: For all intents and purposes, Baker was a full-time starter for Wichita State, but the guard missed 21 games of his redshirt freshman season with a stress fracture in his right foot. He gave Wichita State the 3-point threat it needed during the Shockers’ Final Four run, shooting 4 of 6 from long range in the upset of No. 1 seed Gonzaga. If Baker can stay healthy, he’ll be part of a new-look sophomore backcourt with Fred VanVleet (4.3 ppg last season) running the point.

Przemek Karnowski, Gonzaga
As a freshman:
34 games, one start, 10.7 minutes per game, 5.4 ppg, 2.5 rpg
Outlook: It’s probably a little much to expect Karnowski to take a jump like Kelly Olynyk did last season. Olynyk went from 5.8 points and 13.5 minutes in 2010-11 to 17.8 points and 26.4 minutes after a redshirt season. Still, Gonzaga likes the development of its 7-foot-1 Polish center.

Michigan, Louisville and others need these role players to take the next step
Post date: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 - 12:02
Path: /college-football/what-college-football-program-closest-it-first-title

Alabama’s trophy case is getting full. Come to think of it, most of the teams that have won national championships in recent years are doubling and tripling up on title trophies and then some.

The last time a team won a national championship for the first time in program history was 1996 when Florida defeated Florida State in the Sugar Bowl.

Oregon came close to its first national championship in 2010. Stanford is right there, too. Boise State has gone undefeated. And that Ol’ Ball Coach from Florida has good reason to think national title again, this time at South Carolina.

Alabama is a unanimous preseason pick to win the national championship, its third in four seasons. But what if a new face usurps the Crimson Tide? Which program could it be?

We’ve ranked 10 schools in the likelihood of the program’s ability to win a national title in the next five to 10 seasons, based on recruiting, coaching, resources and program trajectory.

For sake of consistency, we looked only at programs that have not won an Associated Press, coaches’ poll or BCS title since the AP poll began in 1936.


1. Oregon
Record since 1936: 425-278-18 (.529)
Closest call: Lost to Auburn in the 2010 BCS Championship Game
A dormant program before Rich Brooks took Oregon to the Rose Bowl in 1994, Oregon has been knocking on the door for its first national title, losing 22-19 to Auburn in the BCS Championship Game in 2010. Auburn’s fortunate call on a run by Michael Dyer in the fourth quarter wasn’t the only time luck went against the Ducks. Oregon was ranked second in the AP and coaches’ polls after the 2001 regular season, but the BCS' computer average and strength of schedule components put No. 2 Nebraska into the Rose Bowl for the title against Miami. The 2007 team was ranked as high No. 2 in the BCS standings until quarterback Dennis Dixon suffered a torn ACL. Each coach since Brooks has kept Oregon in the national title conversation. That bodes well first year-coach Mark Helfrich, who has a title contender in 2013. Especially with minimal sanctions from the NCAA in the Willie Lyles case, the infrastructure is strong for Oregon to win its first title.

2. Stanford
Record since 1936:
401-380-22 (.513)
Closest call: No. 4 in the final BCS standings in 2010 and 2011
The thought of Stanford competing for a national championship would have been far-fetched before 2010. Even Ty Willingham’s Rose Bowl team in 1999 finished the regular season 8-3. Few programs have changed their spot in the college football world as dramatically as Stanford in the last five years. David Shaw signed a top-10 recruiting class in 2012 and followed that with a quality-not-quantity 12-man class in 2013. Jim Harbaugh and Shaw proved Stanford can compete for titles despite stringent academic standards.

3. South Carolina
Record since 1936:
406-399-26 (.504)
Closest call: Started 9-0 and ranked as high as No. 2 in 1984, finished 10-2
Under Steve Spurrier, South Carolina has shaken itself out of mediocrity to become a power in the SEC East. The fan support and commitment has been there, but not the football results. Now that both are lockstep, South Carolina can enter the national picture. On top of keeping prospects like Jadeveon Clowney and Marcus Lattimore in state, South Carolina has been able to recruit into Georgia (to the detriment of Tennessee). Now, all South Carolina needs to do is defeat Alabama, LSU or Texas A&M in the SEC Championship Game.

4. Oklahoma State
Record since 1936:
412-404-22 (.505)
Closest call: Reached No. 2 in the BCS standings in 2011 before a mid-November lost to Iowa State
Before 2011, Oklahoma State hadn’t even won an outright conference title since 1926, so a national conference championship has been out of the question for decades. Thanks to an influx of money from T. Boone Pickens plus stadium and facility upgrades, Oklahoma State looks like a power program. Thanks to recruiting inroads in Texas, Oklahoma State has the talent of a Big 12 power. And thanks to Mike Gundy’s magic touch with hiring offensive coordinators, Oklahoma State has a clear identity. Gundy’s flirtations with Tennessee this offseason, plus any signs of Texas reasserting itself, have to make Oklahoma State fans nervous, however.

5. Louisville
Record since 1936:
411-353-12 (.537)
Closest call: A 12-1 season in 2006, the only loss by a field goal to Rutgers
With a men’s basketball team winning the national title, the women’s basketball team playing in the championship game and the baseball team reaching the College World Series, Louisville is having the multi-sport success programs like Ohio State, Florida and Texas usually have. The football program is no exception, entering the 2013 season in the top 10 following a Sugar Bowl rout of Florida. A stadium expansion and robust infrastructure built by athletic director Tom Jurich will keep Louisville an attractive destination for coaches and recruits. And if Charlie Strong stays through his contract extension into 2020, the Cardinals will have one of the nation’s top coaches for years to come. Thanks to a move to the ACC next season, conference alignment shouldn’t be as significant a barrier.

6. Wisconsin
Record since 1936:
419-375-27 (.527)
Closest call: Finished the 1962 season ranked No. 2 before a Rose Bowl loss
Under normal circumstances, we might be tempted to say Wisconsin’s national title window has closed. Bret Bielema, the coach who led the Badgers to three consecutive Rose Bowls, left for a middle-tier SEC job at Arkansas. Meanwhile, Michigan and Ohio State are poised to be the Big Ten’s one-two punch once again. Gary Andersen, though, could be a slam-dunk hire after he turned Utah State into a back-to-back bowl team and conference champion. Regardless of what’s going on in Columbus or Ann Arbor, Wisconsin should be able to corner the market on offensive line talent, which is always a good championship foundation.

7. Boise State
Record since 1936:
254-72-2 (.777)
Closest call: Started 10-0 in 2010 before losing 34-31 in overtime to Nevada, finished 11-1
Boise State has finished undefeated twice since 2006 but has never finished a season ranked higher than fourth in the AP poll. In 2013, the Broncos are gearing up for potentially a third BCS appearance. Still, perhaps no program will be more happy to see the College Football Playoff arrive than Boise State, assuming the four playoff spots don’t exclusively go to major-conference programs. Regardless, Boise State will need to continue to unearth prospects and focus on superior player development in recruiting to be able to compete with other national powers. The biggest detriment to Boise State’s title hopes may not be the BCS or the Playoff, but the potential departure of Chris Petersen.

8. Virginia Tech
Record since 1936:
Closest call: Lost to Florida State in the national title game following the 1999 season
Virginia Tech won at least 10 games each season from 2004-11, but the Hokies never got closer than when Michael Vick was on campus in 1999 and 2000. Now, there are questions about Virginia Tech's momentum. This will be a telling season for Virginia Tech’s hopes in the next few years as the Hokies recover from a 7-6 season. The next big test will be the retirement of Frank Beamer, the only coach who has won consistently in Blacksburg.

9. Ole Miss
Record since 1936:
Closest call: Ranked No. 2 in the AP poll and finished 10-0-1 in 1960
Ole Miss finished in the top three of the AP poll three times from 1959-62 and was picked No. 1 by the Football Writers Association of America in 1960. The departure of John Vaught brought mediocrity. The Rebels have ample in-state talent to lay the foundation of a title-winning team, but they need to recruit on par with teams like Alabama and LSU just to get out of the SEC West. That’s starting to happen under Hugh Freeze, but consistency has not been Ole Miss’ strong suit.

10. North Carolina
Record since 1936:
Closest call: Ranked as high as No. 4 in 1997, finished 10-1 with 20-3 loss to Florida State
North Carolina deserves sleeping giant mention, especially if the ongoing academic scandal doesn’t cut too deep into the football program. Larry Fedora appears to be the answer after three counterproductive coaching hires following the Mack Brown era. If North Carolina (or NC State, for that matter) can corral in-state recruiting, the Tar Heels could build a good foundation to become a national player.

Others of note:
Arkansas: The Razorbacks have the most wins of any team since 1936 without winning an AP or coaches’ poll title (509). Bobby Petrino left the Razorbacks little to work with, though.

Baylor: Art Briles is one of the nation’s best coaches, and the new stadium will be a palace. But still a big step from nine wins with Robert Griffin III to title contender.

Cal: If Stanford can become a national power, there’s little reason Cal can’t follow. The Bears need to find their footing post-Jeff Tedford first.

Kansas State: The Wildcats were in contention last season, plus other seasons in the late 90s, but we wonder what happens when Bill Snyder retires a second time.

West Virginia: Missed a window with the shocking loss to Pittsburgh in 2007. Now in the Big 12, the Mountaineers need time to consistently challenge programs like Oklahoma and Texas.

The last first-time national champion came in 1996. Is that about to change?
Post date: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 - 06:32
Path: /college-basketball/reviewing-athlons-top-25-college-basketball-freshmen-2012

Even by recruiting class standards, the top prospects of 2012 ran the gamut.

On one hand, the class produced the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft in UNLV’s Anthony Bennett (though fellow freshman Nerlens Noel of Kentucky seemed the more likely pick until draft day). On the other, it produced one bona fide bust in Alabama’s Devonta Pollard, who has already withdrawn from school amid legal issues.

The 2012 class gave us everything in between, including eight early entries to the NBA Draft. All eight early entries were drafted, though two will not receive guaranteed contracts after going in the second round.

For the 2013-14 season, the 2012 recruiting class will have its share of stars like Marcus Smart, a high-profile transfer in Rodney Purvis and a handful of wait-and-see projects.

Now that the draft is complete and teams are starting to look ahead to 2013-14, this is a good time to look back at how Athlon Sports’ top 25 recruits for the class of 2012 fared in the last year.


1. Nerlens Noel, Kentucky
Freshman recap: Noel was a top candidate to be the national defensive player of the year, averaging 4.4 blocks and 2.1 steals. He also crept close to averaging a double double at 10.5 points and 9.5 rebounds before a season-ending torn ACL against Florida on Feb. 12. His presence kept Kentucky in NCAA Tournament contention, but the Wildcats lost four of their last five without Noel, including a loss to Robert Morris in the NIT. Despite his injury, Noel was the SEC’s freshman of the year and defensive player of the year.
For 2013-14: Considered a potential No. 1 overall pick, Noel slipped to sixth in the NBA Draft, selected by the New Orleans Pelicans before being traded to Philadelphia.

2. Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA
Freshman recap: Muhammad began his season ineligible as the NCAA investigated impermissible benefits. He finished the season as it was revealed he was a year older than his father had been claiming. In between, Muhammad was named the Pac-12’s co-freshman of the year while averaging 17.9 points per game.
For 2013-14: Muhammad was the final pick in the lottery, drafted 14th overall by Utah before being traded to Minnesota. That’s probably a lower spot than was envisioned for Muhammad out of high school, but he became UCLA’s highest draft pick since Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love went fourth and fifth in 2008.

3. Isaiah Austin, Baylor
Freshman recap:
Austin averaged 13 points and 8.3 rebounds for a disappointing Baylor team. The Bears won the NIT, but Baylor was expected to contend for a Big 12 title (Athlon ranked Baylor second in the Big 12 and 17th nationally). Austin, a 7-1 center, was expected to declare for the NBA Draft before surgery to repair a torn labrum meant he would not be able to participate in workouts. Austin instead elected to return to school.
For 2013-14: Hopes will be high again for a talented Baylor team. Austin will team with Cory Jefferson and Ricardo Gathers for one of the nation’s top frontcourts.

4. Kyle Anderson, UCLA
Freshman recap:
Anderson wasn’t UCLA’s top-scoring freshman (that was Muhammad) or most important freshman (Jordan Adams), but he was the most well-rounded. Anderson averaged 9.7 points, 8.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists as a rookie, earning a spot on the All-Pac-12 second team.
For 2013-14: Muhammad is gone, as is point guard Larry Drew II. New coach Steve Alford will look to Anderson to take the next step from one of the Pac-12’s most versatile players to simply one of the league’s best. The 6-foot-9 Anderson could take over point guard duties with Drew gone. Muhammad and Drew enabled UCLA to run a faster offense, but Alford likely will run things at a slower tempo.

5. Steven Adams, Pittsburgh
Freshman recap:
Pitt coach Jamie Dixon historically hasn’t relied much on freshmen. That was the case even with Adams, one of the most high profile recruits to sign with the Panthers. Adams averaged 7.2 points and a team-leading 6.3 rebounds per game.
For 2013-14: The seven-foot New Zealander shot up draft boards before being selected 12th overall by the Oklahoma City Thunder.

6. Kaleb Tarczewski, Arizona
Freshman recap:
Tarczewski started all season, averaging 6.9 points and 6.1 rebounds as a back-to-the-basket center.
For 2013-14: Tarczewski will be a part of a stellar frontcourt on a potential top-five team with the 6-8 star freshman Aaron Gordon and 6-8 sophomore Brandon Ashley. A major progression for the seven-footer could make him an NBA Draft candidate.

7. Alex Poythress, Kentucky
Freshman recap:
Like the rest of Kentucky, Poythress endured a disappointing season. His minutes dipped through SEC play, when he averaged 9.8 points per game and 6.2 rebounds.
For 2013-14: Kentucky coach John Calipari would like to see Poythress improve his consistency and maturity as a sophomore. Poythress shot 58.1 percent from the field, but he had his slumps (1 of 9 against Florida, 0 of 3 against Texas A&M, 3 of 9 against Vanderbilt). With a freshman cast capable of contending for a title, Kentucky will need Poythress to be one of the few veteran influences.

8. Anthony Bennett, UNLV
Freshman recap:
Bennett was in contention for national freshman of the year before inconsistent results in Mountain West play. Bennett averaged 12.1 points in conference games, but failed to score in double figures seven times against MWC competition.
For 2013-14: The Cleveland Cavaliers pulled off the first shock of the draft when they picked Bennett No. 1 rather than Nerlens Noel or Maryland’s Alex Len.

9. Grant Jerrett, Arizona
Freshman recap:
Jerrett turned in a lackluster debut season with 5.2 points and 3.6 rebounds per game.
For 2013-14: His decision to leave for the NBA Draft was a surprising one, but Jerrett’s gamble resulted in being a second-round pick. Jerrett saw limited playing time as freshman, a trend that may have continued as a sophomore.

10. Brandon Ashley, Arizona
Freshman recap:
Like Tarczewski and Jerrett, Ashley’s contributions were limited on a veteran team with Mark Lyons, Solomon Hill, Kevin Parrom and Nick Johnson. Ashley averaged 6.6 points and 4.6 rebounds in conference play.
For 2013-14: Part of the reason the Wildcats will be a preseason favorite in the Pac-12 is the predicted improvement in the frontcourt with he and Tarczewski expected to take a major step as sophomores. He struggled in USA Basketball’s Under-19 tryouts, which could either be a motivator for offseason improvements or a troubling sign for his second season.

11. Cameron Ridley, Texas
Freshman recap:
Ridley had 14 points and 10 rebounds in a loss to UCLA on Dec. 8 but was rarely a factor for the remainder of the season despite shedding weight when he arrived on campus. That was the last time all season he scored in double figures.
For 2013-14: Texas is in trouble with Myck Kabongo leaving for the Draft and a pair of transfers (Sheldon McClellan and Jaylen Bond) heading out of Austin. The Longhorns can ill-afford a top recruit on the roster who’s struggling to provide 10 minutes per game.

12. Rasheed Sulaimon, Duke
Freshman recap:
Duke didn’t need Sulaimon to carry the Blue Devils, but he proved to be capable enough at times. He scored 21 against Creighton in the NCAA Tournament, 27 against Boston College and 25 against Maryland. He also had his freshman moments, going 0-for-10 in the first game without teammate Ryan Kelly against NC State and 1 of 10 in the Elite Eight against Louisville.
For 2013-14: Sulaimon will continue to be a standout perimeter defender, but Duke will look for him to improve from long distance (37.1 percent from 3-point range).

13. Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State
Freshman recap:
Smart was everything Oklahoma State expected him to be, taking a leadership role from Day One and manning the point guard spot. he finished with 15.4 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game as Oklahoma State returned to the NCAA Tournament before running into a hot Oregon team in the round of 64.
For 2013-14: Smart surprisingly returned for his sophomore season when he could have been the first point guard taken in the NBA Draft. The Cowboys will challenge for a Big 12 title and more with Smart leading a nucleus of Le’Bryan Nash, Markel Brown and Phil Forte. He’ll be on the short list for National Player of the Year honors when the season begins.

14. Archie Goodwin, Kentucky
Freshman recap:
Before the season started, there was talk Goodwin could be Kentucky’s best freshman. That never materialized, but Goodwin still averaged 14.1 points per game. He manned the point guard spot at times but finished with a negative assist-to-turnover ratio while shooting 26.6 percent on 64 3-point attempts for the season.
For 2013-14: Goodwin left school after one season to become the No. 29 pick in the NBA draft, selected by the Thunder and eventually landing with the Suns. He’s already been tapped as possible steal in the draft.

15. Sam Dekker, Wisconsin
Freshman recap:
A rare big-time recruit for Wisconsin, Dekker was in contention for Big Ten freshman of the year for most of the season. He finished with 9.6 points and 3.4 rebounds per game while rankings seventh in the Big Ten in effective field goal percentage.
For 2013-14: Wisconsin is looking to Dekker to become the Badgers’ next great big man. Jared Berggren, Mike Bruesewitz and Ryan Evans are all gone, so the spotlight will be on Dekker.

16. Gary Harris, Michigan State
Freshman recap:
Like teammate Adreian Payne, Harris dabbled with going to the NBA Draft but elected to return to school to compete for a national title. Harris was one of the best 3-point shooters in the league, making 65-of-158 shots (41.1 percent) from long range.
For 2013-14: Harris played all of last season with a shoulder injury, and Michigan State still went 13-5 in the Big Ten. What can Michigan State do if he’s healthy?

17. Ricky Ledo, Providence
Freshman recap:
Ledo sat out his entire freshman season as a partial qualifier.
For 2013-14: Hopes were high Ledo would help lead Providence back to relevance even as he was not eligible to play, but he left for the NBA Draft despite not playing a game. He was a second-round pick.

18. Rodney Purvis, NC State
Freshman recap:
A disappointing season for NC State extended to Purvis, who was part of the inconsistency for the Wolfpack last season. Purvis was NC State’s sixth-leading scorer at 8.3 points per game.
For 2013-14: Purvis will sit out the season following his transfer to Connecticut.

19. DaJuan Coleman, Syracuse
Freshman recap:
Coleman started the first 20 games of the season but eventually watched his role diminish. He missed eight games following knee surgery in January and played a grand total of 26 minutes after his return.
For 2013-14: Like many rookie big men, Coleman is struggling to find his role, but the Orange have had success in developing centers in their latter years, most recently Fab Melo.

20. Tony Parker, UCLA
Freshman recap:
Parker struggled in his season under Ben Howland. A transfer wasn’t out of the question after Parker averaged 2.4 rebounds and 1.2 points.
For 2013-14: Parker elected to stay at UCLA to play for new coach Steve Alford, who will hope the leadership change will help Parker contribute more than 6.3 minutes per game.

21. Amile Jefferson, Duke
Freshman recap:
Jefferson watched his role increase dramatically when Ryan Kelly was injured in January. The forward scored in double figures in five of 11 games when he played regular minutes with Kelly out of the lineup.
For 2013-14: Kelly is gone for good, and so is Mason Plumlee. Jefferson has added weight since he arrived on campus with the goal of stabilizing Duke’s post presence.

22. Robert Carter, Georgia Tech
Freshman recap:
The hometown prospect helped Georgia Tech’s modest improvement in 2012-13. Carter was second on the Yellow Jackets at 9.9 points per game and 6.7 rebounds.
For 2013-14: With Carter plus Marcus Georges-Hunt, Georgia Tech should start to contend for a postseason tournament in Brian Gregory’s third season.

23. Kris Dunn, Providence
Freshman recap:
A shoulder injury limited Dunn early in the season, and he never quite broke out. The guard finished with 5.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists.
For 2013-14: Vincent Council is gone, so coach Ed Cooley needs Dunn to assume point guard duties. Providence may be a postseason contender in 2013-14, but the Friars may wonder what could have happened if Ledo remained on the roster.

24. Semaj Christon, Xavier
Freshman recap:
Christon wasn’t fully healthy last season and still led Xavier wtih 15.2 points per game and 4.6 assists.
For 2013-14: The Atlantic 10 rookie of the year should keep Xavier in Big East contention even though the Musketeers missed the postseason a year ago. Christon is looking to become a more complete guard, both as a floor general and outside shooter.

25. Devonta Pollard, Alabama
Freshman recap:
Pollard averaged 3.9 points and didn’t score in double figures in SEC play or the NIT.
For 2013-14: Pollard withdrew from Alabama after being arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping. Pollard is accused of serving as the driver and an organizer to aid his mother in the kidnapping of a 6-year-old girl.

The Class of 2012 offered top draft picks, wait-and-see prospects and busts
Post date: Wednesday, July 10, 2013 - 11:45
Path: /college-football/brad-stevens-celtics-questions-and-potential-candidates

Butler’s Brad Stevens pulled off the shocker of shockers when the two time national-runner up coach landed with the Boston Celtics on Wednesday afternoon.

Stevens, who turned Butler from overachieving mid-major to national brand, had been a candidate for some of college basketball’s most high-profile jobs, including UCLA following the 2012-13. The Bulldogs coach has been one of college basketball's most respected coaches after becoming the youngest coach to reach the Final Four since Bob Knight in 1973 and winning more games (166) than any coach in the first six years of his career. Now, the basketball world knows what kind of job it would take to pry the 36-year-old from Butler.

The job won't be easy, though. Stevens takes over for Doc Rivers, who left for the Los Angeles Clippers on June 24. The Celtics are also rebuilding after trading stars Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to the Brooklyn Nets. Stevens is the another high-profile hire from the college ranks, joining Rick Pitino. After leaving Kentucky in 1997, Pitino endured four losing seasons with the Celtics before returning to the college game.

Here are three key questions we have following Wednesday's move:

Can Stevens turn the trend of college coaches in the NBA?
College coaches have a checkered history in the recent NBA ranks, most of them ending badly: Pitino already failed in Boston. John Calipari, Mike Montgomery, P.J. Carlesimo, Tim Floyd and Jerry Tarkanian all had failed tenures in the pro ranks after leaving college. Stevens is considered one of the brightest minds in the college game, and his cool demeanor may prove an asset. Still, he’s 36 and his recruiting approach and situation in the Horizon League and Atlantic 10 rarely brought in pro-sized egos.

What’s the future for Butler?
Butler has been one of the most successful programs in a mid-major conference thanks to a steady stream of good hires for the last 20 years. Barry Collier, now the athletic director, made Butler a winning program as Thad Matta (24-8 in one season) and Todd Lickliter (two Sweet 16 appearances) continued to build. Butler reached unprecedented heights under Stevens with back-to-back appearances in the national title game. Butler won’t have margin for error as the Bulldogs have moved from the Horizon to A-10 to the restructured Big East. Facing Marquette, Georgetown, Villanova and Xavier on a regular basis will be a new challenge.

Who is Butler’s next coach?
Stevens gave no public signs he intended to leave Butler, so we’ll find out how prepared Collier is to hire a new coach, especially after every vacant college job has been filled for months. Here are some guesses of where he make look:

Matthew Graves, South Alabama. This would be the logical move and the one with the greatest track record — had Stevens left in March. Graves, a former Butler player who had been on the staff since 2001, was hired this offseason as the head coach at South Alabama. The last three Butler coaches — Thad Matta, Todd Lickliter and Stevens — were all promoted from within. Graves played at Butler and has been on the staff since 2001.

Terry Johnson, Butler assistant. The longest tenured remaining assistant at Butler has been on the staff since 2007 and previously served in an administrative post. He played high school basketball in Indiana and coached and played at IPFW.


Brandon Miller, Butler assistant. The Butler alum has served two terms as an assistant at his alma mater, replacing Graves this offseason. Before that, he spent three seasons under Matta at Ohio State.

Jeff Boals, Ohio State assistant. An assistant for Matta at Ohio State, Boals has spent most of his career in the midwest at Robert Morris and Akron before Columbus. He’s ready for his first top job.


LaVall Jordan, Michigan assistant. Another assistant with Butler connections. Jordan started at Butler from 1998-2001 before serving as an assistant and coordinator of operations under Lickliter. He's spent the last four seasons at Michigan working with guards Trey Burke and Darius Morris.

Bryce Drew, Valparaiso. Knows the territory of Indiana basketball and has won two Horizon League regular season titles at his alma mater. Seeing him anywhere other than Valpo would be a strange sight, though.

Todd Lickliter, Marian (NAIA). He led Butler two the Sweet 16 twice in six seasons before a 38-57 tenure at Iowa. If Butler wants to go back to the well, he’s down the street in Indianapolis at Marian of the NAIA after spending last year as an assistant at Miami (Ohio).

Stevens shocks basketball world with move, leaves questions in wake
Post date: Wednesday, July 3, 2013 - 18:53
All taxonomy terms: College Basketball, News
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketballs-best-coaches-under-40-0

College basketball had two coaches who were considered two of the brightest young minds in the minds in the game, a pair atop any list of coaches under 40.

One, though, is now one of the top pro coaches under 40. Butler's Brad Stevens and VCU's Shaka Smart topped the first edition of our list of college basketball coaches under the age of 40, but Stevens' shocking move to the Boston Celtics demanded a revision.

Smart moves up to the top spot, which isn't a surprise as Smart has broken a handful of Stevens' coaching milestones in the early seasons of his career.

Smart was a no-brainer for our list of best college basketball coaches under 40, but the rest of the list may contain surprises. With Iowa State’s Fred Hoiberg and Connecticut’s Kevin Ollie departing the under-40 club for the 2013-14 season, we dipped into the mid-major ranks to find our young coaches on the rise.

*All ages as of Nov. 1, 2013


1. Shaka Smart, VCU
Record: 111-37, 7-3 NCAA Tournament
Age: 36
VCU was up to the challenge by moving up from the Colonial to the Atlantic 10. The Rams have not won fewer than 27 games in four years under Smart and have proven to be a superb postseason team (one Final Four, two rounds of 32 and a CBI championship). Smart’s program has become synonymous with the havoc defense that forces turnovers better than just about any team in the country. With Butler, Xavier and Temple leaving the Atlantic 10, VCU is poised to become the top program in the A-10 as long as Smart is in Richmond.

2. Josh Pastner, Memphis
Record: 106-34
Age: 36
The energetic Pastner achieved an important milestone in 2013 with Memphis’ first NCAA Tournament win of his tenure thanks to a narrow win over 11th-seeded Saint Mary’s. Signature wins have been lacking under Pastner, but that’s about to change. Memphis trades lackluster Conference USA for Louisville (at least for a year), Connecticut, Cincinnati and Temple in 2013-14. Pastner has kept a string of McDonald’s All-Americans coming to Memphis, so there won't be a talent deficit in the new league. He’ll soon find out if they can keep up with better competition on a more consistent basis after breezing through C-USA last season.

3. Steve Prohm, Murray State
Record: 52-12, 1-1 NCAA Tournament
Age: 39
The Racers’ second season under Prohm wasn’t quite as magical as the first when Isaiah Canaan led Murray to a 31-2 season. Murray State still won 21 games and the West Division of the expanded Ohio Valley. Now it’s time to see what Prohm can do without Canaan.

4. Bryce Drew, Valparaiso
Record: 48-20, 0-1 NCAA Tournament
Age: 39
The most famous basketball player in Valpo history has turned out to be a pretty good coach. The son of longtime Crusaders coach Homer Drew took over his father’s program two seasons ago and brought Valpo back to the postseason contention with back-to-back Horizon League regular-season titles. The NCAA bid in 2013 was Valpo’s first since 2004, and the 26 wins were a school record.

5. Richard Pitino, Minnesota
Record: 18-14
Age: 31
FIU’s second attempt to hire a coach with name recognition fared much better than the first. Isiah Thomas won 14 Sun Belt games in three season at FIU. Pitino went 11-9 in the league in his lone season in Miami. FIU was on the brink of its first NCAA Tournament bid since 1995 before losing 65-63 to Western Kentucky in the Sun Belt title game. Minnesota took note and made him the youngest coach in the Big Ten. He has the family name, but his old bosses — Rick Pitino and Billy Donovan — have a good success rate with assistants-turned-head coaches.

6. Mitch Henderson, Princeton
Record: 37-23
Age: 38
Harvard has won the Ivy League the last two seasons, but Princeton has been right on the Crimson’s heels. The Tigers have finished one game back of Harvard in the Ivy the last two seasons. Like Bryce Drew at Valpo, Henderson is a hometown hero at Princeton who played on the 1996 Tigers team that upset UCLA in the NCAA Tournament. Henderson spent more than a decade on Northwestern’s coaching staff, Big Ten experience that could become relevant.

7. Kevin Willard, Seton Hall
Record: 94-98
Age: 38
Though Seton Hall took a major step back last season — from 21 wins and an NIT appearance to 3-15 in the Big East — Willard has a good overall resume. Willard took over an Iona team that went 2-28 the year before he arrived. By the time Willard left, Iona won 21 games in 2010. A Rick Pitino assistant with Celtics and at Louisville, Willard will look to rebound in the new Big East.

8. Andy Toole, Robert Morris
Record: 68-36
Age: 31
Promoted to head coach before his 30th birthday, Toole delivered the biggest win in Robert Morris history when the Colonials defeated Kentucky in the NIT on their home court in March. That shouldn’t obscure what else he’s accomplished in Moon Township: 50 wins in the last two seasons, an NEC regular season title in 2013 and a 39-15 overall record in the league. A former Mike Rice assistant at Robert Morris before his promotion, Toole might be under the microscope as he’s a candidate for another job.

9. Michael White, Louisiana Tech
Record: 45-23
Age: 36
The WAC was watered down last season and the schedule was paper thin, but it’s tough to ignore Louisiana Tech’s progress in White’s second season. The Bulldogs improved from 6-8 in conference in his first season to 16-2 in the second. The former Ole Miss assistant led Louisiana Tech to its second-highest win total of 27 victories, second only to Karl Malone’s 29-win team in 1984-85. White is poised to build on last season in Conference USA in 2013-14.


10. Archie Miller, Dayton
Record: 37-27
Age: 35
Miller has the experience and bloodlines to become a successful Division I coach. He’s the brother of Arizona’s Sean Miller and the son of John Miller, a legendary high school coach in Pennsylvania. He’s already served on staffs at NC State and Arizona State (under his college coach Herb Sendek) plus Ohio State and Arizona. Dayton has yet to break out under Miller, but hopes are high he’ll put his stamp on the program.

Shaka Smart is the best, but he's not alone.
Post date: Tuesday, July 2, 2013 - 10:00
Path: /social-media-changes-face-college-football-recruiting

Jalen Ramsey is off the grid. Or at least as much as an incoming college freshman can be in 2013.

Nearly seven months before the Brentwood (Tenn.) Academy cornerback signed with Florida State, Ramsey decided he had had enough input on the recruiting process from the outside world, including the faceless and anonymous masses.


“I am Jalen Lattrell Ramsey and college is MY choice! MY choice only! No one elses!” Ramsey tweeted on June 28, 2012. “It’s ALL on me! Y’all will hear from ME...”


That was less than a month before Ramsey announced a commitment to USC. And by the time he changed his mind to sign with Florida State, the coveted prospect had retired his @jr7_eagles Twitter handle.


For Ramsey, that may have been for the best as he navigated the final months of the recruiting process. Before he shut down, his mentions column was filled with encouragement, pleas to attend certain schools, but also posts knocking some of the schools he considered.


“Some things were said that were just out of line,” Ramsey says. “Rumors started. Grown men talking about 17- and 18-year-old kids, it’s unneeded. It was just, ‘I’m done with that.’”


That’s one extreme of the way social media has changed recruiting in college sports. Ramsey’s teammate, quarterback Max Staver, had a different experience.


Granted, Staver was not as high-profile a recruit. And he picked Florida in June before his senior year and never wavered. After he committed to the Gators, dozens of fans welcomed him to the roster. As he exchanged tweets and direct messages with other Gator commitments, Florida coaches asked him to be an ambassador for the program, talking to recruits in ways they couldn’t.


“After I committed I was talking to a bunch of guys, I was probably texting guys 10 times a day and telling them to check out Florida,” Staver says. “I wasn’t trying to get in their face or be rude about it. But there were a lot of questions. Being a quarterback in the recruiting class, they want me to reach out.”


Few facets of the recruiting process have remained untouched by social media in the last four years. Coaches use Twitter and Facebook to communicate with recruits and evaluate prospects both on and off the field. Recruits use social media to get to know their future coaches and teammates and, at times, bask in the adoration of fans. Fans use it to follow the process while explaining all the reasons their school would be the right choice (and, sometimes, why other schools would be the wrong choice).


Bottom line: It’s inescapable.


“It’s an unstoppable force in recruiting,” Miami recruiting coordinator Brennan Carroll says. “You don’t really have a choice. If you’re not doing it, you’re probably wrong. That’s the way we look at it here.”


The initial catalyst for the social media revolution in recruiting wasn’t Twitter or Facebook or even social media relic MySpace. It started with texting.


When Carroll coached at USC with his father Pete Carroll, Trojans coaches visited high schools to meet with recruits only to find that their targets already had relationships established with other programs. The reason was text messaging. Prospects had been texting with USC’s recruiting rivals months before the Trojans could catch up.


USC was behind on that trend, but by 2008 that wouldn’t matter anyway when the NCAA banned text messaging with recruits. The lesson, though, was that the recruiting through email, phone calls, official visits and coach in-home visits weren’t enough anymore.


According to NCAA interpretations, Twitter direct messages and Facebook private messages are legislated the same way as emails, which is to say they are an unlimited form of communication. In practice, a Twitter or Facebook private message may as well be a text.


And from the coaches’ perspective, this is how recruits communicate with their friends anyway.


“You want to meet the prospects where they’re at,” says Vanderbilt offensive line coach Herb Hand, one of the most enthusiastic coaching voices on Twitter. “You can sit here and say, ‘I’m going to communicate with this guy in my way,’ and not get anywhere. You have to meet them where they are. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram are how kids communicate. That’s the world we live in now.”


That new world is a fish bowl.


James Coley was one of the first college coaches to embrace Twitter and one of the first to turn it into a recruiting tool.


While the tight ends coach at Florida State, Coley started a Twitter account to break the stereotype that the Seminoles’ coaching staff under Bobby Bowden was old-school and stuffy.


Welcome to the U!!!!


A few years later, and it’s almost a given that recruits will be visible on Twitter. Reporters often mention recruits’ Twitter handles in updates. Prospects tweet about the process. One network of team recruiting sites lists the Twitter handles of prospects making official visits in its weekend recruiting previews.


Coley’s energetic bursts, frequently in all caps with plenty of exclamation points, trended throughout the Seminoles’ fan base on Twitter. When Coley started hearing one of his top phrases — “FEAR THE SPEAR” — from high school prospects, a light bulb went off.


Recruits followed him, and then fans on Twitter used Coley’s list of followers to find recruits.


“I’d tell kids to follow me on Twitter and pretty soon you’re going to have a thousand followers,” says Coley, now the offensive coordinator at Miami.

As a result, fans are more clued into the recruiting process than ever before.

Shane Morris, a quarterback from Warren (Mich.) De La Salle, committed to Michigan in May 2011. One of the top quarterback recruits in the country, Morris also tweets like one of the biggest Michigan fans in the country. Most of his nearly 25,000 followers responded to the positivity in kind.


“When you have fans like Michigan, a fan base that shows them love, kids like that,” Morris says.


That’s the experience of a top recruit who spent his entire senior season committed to the same school.

Fans of schools who watch recruits change their minds through the process vent their frustrations on Twitter, often directly to the recruit.


Auburn (Ala.) linebacker Reuben Foster, a top-10 player nationally, first committed to Alabama, but changed his mind the summer before his senior season. He switched to hometown Auburn in a move that he made more official by getting a tattoo of the Tigers’ logo inside his right forearm.


There was no need to imagine the reaction when Foster switched back to Alabama shortly before Signing Day.


It was laid bare on Twitter.


Alabama fans welcomed him with open arms. Some Auburn fans wished him well at his new school. Others weren’t quite so charitable. Among the reactions mentioning Foster that day that we can mention: (right)

As much as navigating social media is an issue for recruits and coaches, the revelations can be a headache for administrators.


In a trend that’s become all too common, Laquon Treadwell, one of the nation’s top wide receiver prospects, posted a picture to Instagram of him holding $100 bills days before signing day. The Ole Miss commitment out of Crete (Ill.) Crete-Monee also posted a picture to Twitter of two women kissing him on the cheek with the caption “Oxford is the best place I’ve ever been.” Treadwell deleted the photo of cash, but not before it made the rounds through fans and media. He later told The Chicago Tribune he was goofing around and he received no money from Ole Miss to sign with the Rebels.


And it’s not just the recruits who lack a filter on social media. Two Florida International players tweeted in January about taking a recruit to a strip club. If any of FIU’s recruiting budget was used to take a recruit to a strip club, then it’s an NCAA violation. Even if that was not the case, the episode isn’t great publicity.


NCAA bylaws also prohibit representatives of the program’s athletic interests from contacting recruits. This primarily means boosters, but more broadly the definition could include many fans.


Anonymity and the sheer volume of social media messages directed to recruits make any sort of action on offenders near impossible. Instead, many athletic departments actively try to discourage such contact.


Notre Dame put out a YouTube video (below) with athletic personnel saying, “Leave the Recruiting to Us.” Texas A&M’s Brad Barnes is one of many compliance directors active and available on Twitter to clear up compliance issues for fans. Some fans respond when he asks them to steer clear of the process on social media. For those who don’t heed Barnes’ advice, there’s not much Texas A&M — or any school — can do to stop it.


“From a practical standpoint, you don’t see a great deal of reporting on that unless it’s a situation where they say, ‘We know who this individual is, this was brought to our attention, they are who they say they are, or we found out who they are and we know who they are,’” Barnes says. “I don’t know of a lot of institutions that go out actively looking for it.”


Of course, no one tells recruits they have to be on Twitter or Facebook, sharing details of their recruitment. Just don’t expect that level of openness to change.

“It’s changed the mindset of a lot of kids compared to the old days, because if a kid got offers, he’d keep it to himself,” Vanderbilt wide receivers coach and offensive recruiting coordinator Josh Gattis says. “Now kids get offers and tweet about it. They’re trying to get attention to themselves.”


Vanderbilt under James Franklin has been among the top staffs in the country in using social media to interact with fans, players and recruits.


Gattis and his receivers use the hashtag #FlyBoyz to keep up with each other. Hand, on Twitter since he was at Tulsa in 2009, is a favorite follow for media members with his sense of humor. As for recruits, Hand says he’ll send 10-15 messages to recruits each day with photos from practice or the athletic facility. Franklin tweets about building the Commodores program with his hashtag #VanderBUILD.


But for all its efforts, Vanderbilt isn’t Alabama, LSU, Florida or Georgia.


The Commodores still need to unearth prospects other teams miss to stay competitive in the SEC. Social media makes that much more difficult. Recruits tweet about the recruiting process, who’s calling, who’s been by to see them.


Besides highlight videos being readily available on sites that cover recruiting, prospects can upload highlight videos to YouTube and Hudl, a video service tailored exclusively to coaches.


“It’s very hard to keep a gem a gem,” Gattis says. “These days finding a diamond in the rough is really tough because sooner or later someone is going to be exposed to that player.”


Coaches also have a way to find out which recruits might not be worth the risk.


Many coaches admit they’ve stopped recruiting a prospect because of concerns raised by their social media accounts, whether it’s language, compromising photos, comments demeaning to women or simply tweeting at late hours on weeknights.


Hand says he’s talked to some recruits about changing their tones on Twitter. If they don’t, that’s another strike — they’re uncoachable.

Vanderbilt isn’t alone. After Signing Day, Tennessee coach Butch Jones remarked that the Vols had withheld scholarships because of concerns raised by Twitter and Facebook.


But at the same time, social media enabled the first-year coach in Knoxville to build momentum in his first recruiting cycle. When he was hired at Tennessee, Jones’ Twitter account was briefly suspended after a deluge of Volunteers fan followed the former Cincinnati coach.


“When we were coming in here, in a short period of time we had to develop those relationships,” Jones says. “At the end of the day, recruiting is all about relationships. That was a way to expedite getting to know these players.”


For example, Jones, who requires all his assistants to be on Twitter, used social media to endear himself to fans, but also to become quickly acclimated with recruits.


Late in the process, the Volunteers badly wanted to sign Joshua Dobbs, a quarterback out of Alpharetta, Ga. Through Twitter and Facebook, Jones and his staff learned of his favorite foods, the importance of playing baseball, his favorite classes and his focus on engineering programs. Guess what became the focus of his ultimately successful recruitment to Tennessee?


“You’re always looking for that information, what people are important to him, what are his hot buttons,” Jones says.


Whether it’s a red flag that tells coaches to stay away or a nugget that shows that a prospect will be a good student and teammate, recruiters will find it if it’s on their Twitter or Facebook accounts.


“It’s information they’re giving us whether they know it or not,” Brennan Carroll says. “We won’t miss a thing. … These kids are just flat-out telling you.”


As much as social media has sped up the recruiting process, it’s also sped up the bonding process.


Meeting a college roommate on the first day of class is long gone. So is exchanging emails or cell phone calls. Chemistry can be built before a freshman class steps on campus. Prospects meet at camps, all-star games or visits, and from there they exchange phone numbers and find each other on Twitter and Facebook.


Before he takes a snap at Michigan, Morris is already showing the characteristics of leading the Wolverines in the huddle. He’s organized unofficial visits to Michigan and kept in touch with his future teammates long before practice starts.


“Our recruiting class is probably the closest class in the nation,” Morris says. “Most of us have iPhones and we’re in group chats and keep up with each other. When we take visits we make sure everyone’s taking them together.”


But not every prospect is spending his days on Twitter talking to coaches and teammates, even though signing day has come and gone.


Ramsey, the Florida State-bound cornerback, stuck by his self-imposed Twitter exile.


“I just have Instagram. I put up pictures of my nephews and nieces and pictures of my family,” Ramsey says. “I thought about bringing (Twitter) back, but I haven’t missed it one bit. I might make a Facebook page with coaches and friends, but I’m not worrying about it, to be honest.”


This article appeared in Athlon Sports' 2013 Regional Preview Editions. Visit our online store to order your copy to get more in-depth analysis on the 2013 college football season.

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Coaches turn to social media to recruit, evaluate future players
Post date: Monday, July 1, 2013 - 14:30
All taxonomy terms: College Basketball, News
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketballs-winners-and-losers-conference-realignment

ACC member Syracuse. Sound strange, doesn’t it? About as strange as a Big East with Creighton among its members.
Try to fight it, both are true.

This is a time for college basketball fans to either celebrate or hang their heads. Most of the conference realignment moves for the upcoming season have taken effect this month.

It’s no secret football is driving all these moves, so there are a fair amount of losers on the basketball side. But a few basketball programs and leagues will be big winners.

Related: College football's Top 15 winners in realignment


Adds: Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Louisville (2014-15)
Loses: Maryland (2014-15)
The ACC loses a charter member in Maryland in 2014-15, but the league should retake the mantle of the nation’s top basketball conference by the time Louisville joins the league in 2014-15. Jim Boeheim and Rick Pitino groused about the demise of the Big East, but Mike Krzyzewski said the new-look league could be the best conference in history. There’s little reason to disagree with Coach K. With Louisville and Syracuse facing Duke and North Carolina on a regular basis, the league should liven up the regular season. And those are just the powerhouse programs: Notre Dame and Pittsburgh are NCAA Tournament regulars, Florida State and Miami are new players on the scene, and NC State has expectations to be in that first tier.

Related: Tracking every change in basketball realignment

The Catholic 7
Adds: Basketball-only clout, Butler, Creighton and Xavier
Loses: Traditional rivalries with Syracuse, Connecticut; the tradtional Big East Tournament
No one wanted to see the old Big East call it a day, but the league sprouting up in its place could be one of the more top-to-bottom competitive leagues in the country. For the seven Catholic schools, they emerge out of the shadow of the FBS football schools. The assumption is that Marquette, Georgetown and Villanova will be able to maintain their current level of success, but this is also good news for Providence, Seton Hall and DePaul, who won’t be buried in a 16-team behemoth of a conference. The old Big East was built by television partnerships, and perhaps the new one will as well. The new Big East could get first-class broadcast treatment on Fox Sports 1 with Gus Johnson and Bill Raftery calling games.

Adds: Membership in the Big East
Loses: Easy path to NCAA Tournament
Just two years ago, Butler was in the Horizon League. The Bulldogs have traded Valparaiso, Cleveland State, Milwaukee and Detroit for Georgetown, Marquette, Villanova, St. John’s and Xavier. The Butler of the last seven seasons should have no trouble competing on that level, but the question is if the Bulldogs will continue to commit the resources to compete long term.

Mountain West
Adds: Nevada and Fresno State (2012-13), Utah State and San Jose State (2013-14)
Loses: TCU (2012-13)
The Mountain West has been steadily rising for years now. It has arguably been the best conference out West for the last few seasons. New Mexico and UNLV continue to be the flagship programs of the league while Colorado State, San Diego State and Boise State have become factors over recent years. The depth of the league will be improved if Nevada (2012-13) and Utah State (2013-14) return to form.

West Coast
Adds: BYU (2011-12), Pacific (2013-14)
Loses: None
Saint Mary’s has been a challenger for Gonzaga for the last six years, and BYU has been in the league for two seasons. The WCC boosted its depth by adding Pacific from the Big West. Pacific won last year’s Big West Tournament and made three consecutive NCAA bids from 2004-06.


Big Ten
Adds: Maryland, Rutgers (2014-15)
Loses: None
The Big Ten was a top league and remains so. But the Big Ten could be a big winner if Maryland returns to national power status and if Rutgers finally figures out this basketball thing. The other 12 Big Ten teams could win big if expansion opens them to recruit New York and Maryland/D.C. with more regularity.

Adds: Missouri, Texas A&M (2013-14)
Loses: None
What the SEC needs more than anything is more programs to regularly challenge Kentucky and Florida. Missouri likes to think of itself that way, but the Tigers went 11-7 in their first season in the league.


Atlantic 10
Adds: VCU (2012-13), George Mason (2013-14), Davidson (2014-15)
Loses: Butler, Charlotte, Temple, Xavier
The idea of George Mason and Davidson in the Atlantic 10 may bring good memories to basketball fans, but these aren't the same programs with Jim Larranaga and Stephen Curry. The A-10 loses its two flagship programs in Temple and Xavier. It needs VCU and another team — UMass? Saint Louis? La Salle? Dayton? Richmond? — to maintain more consistency.

Missouri Valley
Adds: Loyola Chicago
Loses: Creighton
The Missouri Valley will miss Creighton, a consistent program that packed its arena on a nightly basis. But let’s not go overboard with the Bluejays. Before Doug McDermott arrived, Creighton had played in the NCAA Tournament just twice in six seasons. The MVC adds Loyola just as the coach who made the program viable took the Siena job.

Adds: Charleston (2013-14), Elon (2014-15)
Loses: VCU (2012-13), George Mason, Georgia State and Old Dominion (2013-14)
The little mid-major that could is no more. Realignment decimated the league like few others. Programs that have won six of the last seven CAA Tournaments are now gone, including two programs (VCU and George Mason) that reached the Final Four in that span. In their place are two programs that haven’t reached the NCAA Tournament this century.

Conference USA
Adds: Charlotte, FAU, FIU, Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee, Old Dominion, UTSA (2013-14), Western Kentucky (2014-15)
Loses: Houston, Memphis, SMU, UCF (2013-14), East Carolina and Tulane (2014-15)
The latest round of realignment doesn’t hurt as much as the last one. The league once boasted Marquette, Louisville, Cincinnati and Memphis, but C-USA will be without a clear bell cow by 2014-15.

West Virginia
Adds: Membership in the Big 12. Trips West of the Mississippi
Loses: The Big East, short road trips
Making road trips into Texas and Oklahoma from Morgantown is a little more excusable when they’re four or five Saturdays in fall. Nine times during basketball season is a different story. Moreover, West Virginia is cut off from East Coast recruiting, important to consider when the foundation of its Final Four team in 2010 was from New York.

Connecticut, Memphis and Cincinnati
Adds: Membership in the American Athletic Conference. Road trips to SMU, Tulane, East Carolina
Loses: Top conference status
Limitations in their football programs mean these basketball powers were left behind during realignment. UConn hoped for an ACC invitation that never came, and now the Huskies are cut off from traditional rivals Syracuse and Georgetown. Memphis waited and waited to get Big East membership and when it came, the league changed its name and many of the Tigers’ old neighbors came along for the ride. At least Memphis fans get to see UConn come to town instead of Tulane. On the court, UConn’s and Memphis’ ability to maintain their recruiting might will be tested.

Atlantic Sun
Adds: Northern Kentucky (2012-13)
Loses: Belmont (2012-13), East Tennessee and Mercer (probably)
Florida Gulf Coast was the story of the 2013 NCAA Tournament, but in the long term the Atlantic Sun will miss Belmont (who left for the Ohio Valley last season) and East Tennessee (who likely leaves for the Southern) more. Either Belmont or ETSU represented the A-Sun in the NCAA Tournament every year from 2006-12.

Adds: A slew of Division I independents
Loses: Everyone
Nevada, Utah State and New Mexico State aren’t powerhouses, but they kept the WAC full of consistent mid-major programs. The 2013-14 lineup includes: Cal State Bakersfield, Chicago State, Grand Canyon, Seattle, UMKC, UT Pan American, Utah Valley.

Post date: Monday, July 1, 2013 - 12:00
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-nba-draft-numbers

Thursday’s NBA Draft was full of surprises from the start. The Cavaliers shocked everyone by taking UNLV’s Anthony Bennett with the first pick. The Bobcats followed by taking Cody Zeller fourth.

From the college perspective, the draft was no surprise: The bluebloods still rule the day.

Selected seventh overall, Ben McLemore gave Kansas a NBA draft lottery pick in the fourth consecutive draft. His selection means the Jayhawks have the most lottery picks since 2000 with 11.

Selected 25th, Reggie Bullock was the only North Carolina player taken, enough to keep the Tar Heels the leader in first-round picks since 2000 with 16. Kentucky, with 11 first-round picks in the last four drafts, is right behind the Tar Heels at 14.

At least on sheer numbers, the ACC may have been the biggest winner: Six players from the ACC’s 2013-14 lineup were selected in the first round Thursday, most of any conference.

We’ve crunched the numbers from the college basketball perspective and here are a few interesting nuggets we found.


16 North Carolina
14 Kansas, Kentucky
13 Duke
12 Connecticut
10 Texas
9 Syracuse
8 Florida, UCLA
7 Arizona, Georgia Tech, Ohio State, Stanford
6 Indiana, Michigan State, Washington
5 Georgetown, Illinois, Louisville, Memphis, USC, Wake Forest
70 ACC
46 Pac-12
40 SEC
36 Big 12
32 Big Ten
30 American
22 Big East
14 Mountain West
7 West Coast
6 Atlantic 10
*by 2013-14 alignment
68 International
22 High School
2 Junior College

• The Cavaliers had one of the shocks of the draft by picking UNLV’s Anthony Bennett first overall when Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel was the more popular projection. Bennett was UNLV’s first first-round pick in a decade.

• With Noel slipping to the sixth pick, coach John Calipari failed to produce a top-five pick for the first time since 2006 if you include Enes Kanter, who signed with Kentucky but was ruled ineligible. Noel and Archie Goodwin (selected 29th) gave the Wildcats 11 first-round picks since 2010. Kentucky’s total isn’t just the most since 2010, it’s the most of any school during the one-and-done era since 2007.

• Ben McLemore was Kansas’ only first-round pick — and the only one for the Big 12 as a whole — giving the Jayhawks the most lottery picks (11) since 2000.

• No. 12 overall pick Steven Adams became the first first-round pick for Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon, who is responsible for three second-round picks.

• Conference realignment has helped the ACC consolidate basketball talent, at least as far as the NBA Draft is concerned. The 2013-14 basketball lineup for the ACC has produced 70 first-round picks, not including five from Louisville, which will join in 2014-15. Conference expansion added 23 to the ACC’s haul since 2000: Nine have come from Syracuse, five from Louisville, four from Boston College, two each from Notre Dame and Miami and one from Pitt. Four of the ACC’s 70 first-round picks since 2000 were from outgoing member Maryland, including No. 5 pick Alex Len in 2013.

• From 2000-12, Indiana produced only two lottery picks (Jared Jeffries in 2002 and Eric Gordon in 2008). The Hoosiers doubled that total in the first four picks Thursday with Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller. The Hoosiers duo also gave the Big Ten two picks in the first five for the first time since Ohio State in 2007 (Greg Oden and Mike Conley Jr.).

• Deshaun Thomas had to wait until the second round to be selected, but he extended a streak of Ohio State players going in the NBA Draft. A Buckeye has been selected for seven seasons in a row, the longest active streak in the nation.

• Thomas, a junior, waited to hear his name called and ended up with the San Antonio Spurs. Other early entries weren’t so lucky. Among the top underclassmen who didn’t get drafted were: Marquette’s Vander Blue, Memphis’ Adonis Thomas, Texas’ Myck Kabongo, NC State’s C.J. Leslie, Oklahoma’s Amath M’Baye and Missouri’s Phil Pressey.

Related: Crunching numbers from the early entry era

• Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. became Michigan’s first first-round picks since 2000. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was Georgia’s first first-round pick since 2003.

• The Patriot League had produced one NBA Draft pick in its history before Thursday: Colgate’s Adonal Foyle, who was the No. 8 pick in 1997. Lehigh’s C.J. McCollum was selected 10th, and Bucknell’s Mike Muscala went in the second round.

2013-14 Early Rankings:
Big 12
Big East
Big Ten

Post date: Friday, June 28, 2013 - 12:25
Path: /college-footballs-best-coaching-trees

Hayden begat Bill who begat Bob who begat Mike, Kevin, Kevin, Mark and Mike.

Or something like that.

College football is full of borrowed ideas and philosophies, and nowhere is that more clear than looking at coaching trees. One head coaching with a staff of assistants has success and a handful of other programs are looking to get a piece of the magic.

In any other field of business, we’d just call this networking. One hiring manager (the athletic director) sees another spot having success, so he or she rings for a recommendation (the coach), and on and on we go.

In sports, we call them coaching trees. A fun exercise to see which head coaches are doing bang-up work in job placement.

Bill Snyder, a Hayden Fry disciple at Iowa, leads our list for producing Bob Stoops and others. Stoops, who played for Fry at Iowa, branched out on his own.

So why does Snyder get the credit and not Fry? Our list of the best college football coaching trees includes only head coaches who were active within the last 10 years. Otherwise, we’d spend our days tracking every coach back to Pop Warner, Walter Camp and Amos Alonzo Stagg.


1. Bill Snyder
Kansas State (1989-2005, 2009-present)
Bob Stoops (Oklahoma), Bret Bielema (Arkansas), Jim Leavitt (formerly USF), Mark Mangino (formerly Kansas)
Snyder oversaw one of sports’ greatest reclamation projects when he took Kansas State from also-ran to a factor on the national scene — twice over. His list of coaches used to be more substantial but still remains impressive. Mark Mangino and Jim Leavitt had successful runs at Kansas and USF, respectively, before player mistreatment issues sunk their tenures. Stoops, though, is the crown jewel, making Snyder a godfather of sorts in coaching trees.
Snyder’s roots: Hayden Fry, Iowa

1a. Bob Stoops
Oklahoma (1999-present)
Mike Leach (Washington State), Kevin Sumlin (Texas A&M), Kevin Wilson (Indiana), Mark Mangino (formerly Kansas), Mike Stoops (formerly Arizona)
Stoops played for Fry at Iowa before eventually becoming Snyder’s co-defensive coordinator at Kansas State. At Oklahoma, his offensive coordinator position became a stepping stone to a head coaching job from Leach to Mangino to Sumlin to Wilson.

1b. Bret Bielema
Wisconsin (2006-12), Arkansas (present)
Dave Doeren (NC State), Paul Chryst (Pittsburgh)
Bielema perhaps belongs in the coaching tree for Fry at Iowa, where Bielema played and spent his early years as a coach. But Bielema spent two seasons as co-defensive coordinator at K-State for Snyder before becoming coach-in-waiting at Wisconsin under Barry Alvarez.

Related: Tracking the route for schools to win their first Heisman

2. Mike Leach
Texas Tech (2000-09), Washington State (2012-present)
Dana Holgorsen (West Virginia), Sonny Dykes (Cal), Kliff Kingsbury (Texas Tech), Ruffin McNeill (East Carolina), Art Briles (Baylor)
Why is Leach his own tree rather than a branch off Bob Stoops? Leach was an established Air Raid commodity while offensive coordinator for Hal Mumme at Kentucky before Stoops hired him at OU. And Leach has established a clear tree of offensive masterminds from his time at Texas Tech. Leach gave Briles his first college job after the now-Baylor coach was a legend in high school. Leach also gave Holgorsen his first Division I job and made Kingsbury his first quarterback in Lubbock. It’s almost tempting to put Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin on this list as Sumlin and Leach share similar offensive philosophies and assistants, but Sumlin never coached with Leach at Texas Tech.
Leach’s roots: Hal Mumme

3. Nick Saban
Toledo (1990), Michigan State (1995-99), LSU (2000-04), Miami Dolphins (2005-06), Alabama (2007-present)
Jimbo Fisher (Florida State), Will Muschamp (Florida), Jim McElwain (Colorado State), Mark Dantonio (Michigan State), Tom Amtsutz (formerly Toledo), Pat Shurmur (formerly Cleveland Browns), Derek Dooley (formerly Tennessee), Kirby Smart (Alabama defensive coordinator), Todd Grantham (Georgia defensive coordinator)
Saban is part of the expansive Bill Belichick/Bill Parcells coaching tree that touches all levels of college and professional football. Saban’s biggest successes are now rivals in Florida with Jimbo Fisher at Florida State and Will Muschamp at Florida. Both programs have Saban-like qualities in terms of organization and administration. Mark Dantonio became a head coach after his stint under Jim Tressel at Ohio State, but he spent five seasons early in his career under Saban at Michigan State. Derek Dooley flamed out at Tennessee, but Kirby Smart has a head coaching job awaiting him when he wants it.
Saban’s roots: Bill Belichcik, Bill Parcells

4. Urban Meyer
Bowling Green (2001-02), Utah (2003-04), Florida (2005-10), Ohio State (2012-present)
Dan Mullen (Mississippi State), Charlie Strong (Louisville), Steve Addazio (Boston College), Kyle Whittingham (Utah), Doc Holliday (Marshall), Dan McCarney (North Texas), Tim Beckman (Illinois), Gregg Brandon (formerly Bowling Green), Mike Sanford (formerly UNLV)
Meyer is a relatively new one on the scene, but an undefeated season at Utah and two titles at Florida rose quite a few assistants to prominence. Dan Mullen and Kyle Whittigham were with Meyer from early days, but Meyer did a good job in hiring guys like Holliday (a longtime Don Nehlen assistant at West Virginia), Dan McCarney (a former Iowa State coach) and Steve Addazio (who traces his roots to Syracuse). Charlie Strong was a holdover from the Ron Zook staff (as was now-North Carolina coach Larry Fedora), but both Meyer and Strong trace their roots to Lou Holtz’s and Bob Davie’s staffs at Notre Dame.
Meyer’s roots: Earle Bruce, Lou Holtz

Related: College Football's best coaches under 40

5. Mike Bellotti
Oregon (1995-2008)
Chris Petersen (Boise State), Chip Kelly (Philadelphia Eagles), Jeff Tedford (formerly Cal), Dirk Koetter (formerly Arizona State), Nick Aliotti (Oregon defensive coordinator)
Bellotti had a way of putting together offensive coaching staff. Jeff Tedford built his reputation as a quarterback guru in Eugene after taking over the offensive coordinator role from Dirk Koetter. For both, Chris Petersen was the wide receivers coach. Bellotti’s greatest stroke of genius, though, may have been plucking Chip Kelly off the staff at New Hampshire. One question: How deep would this coaching tree be if Bellotti didn’t have Aliotti as an defensive coordinator for all but three seasons of his tenure.
Bellotti’s roots: Rich Brooks

6. Butch Davis
Miami (1995-2000), Cleveland Browns (2001-05), North Carolina (2007-10)
Greg Schiano (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Chuck Pagano (Indianapolis Colts), Rob Chudzinski (Cleveland Browns), Larry Coker (UTSA), Curtis Johnson (Tulane), Randy Shannon (formerly Miami), Mario Cristobal (formerly FIU)
Odd that a failed NFL coach has produced so many current NFL coaches. At the college level, Davis is just as known for overseeing an NCAA mess at North Carolina and rescuing Miami from one. Schiano and Coker were both coordinators for Davis with the Hurricanes before Schiano rebuilt Rutgers and Coker won a national title in Coral Gables.
Davis’ roots: Jimmy Johnson

7. Randy Walker
Miami (Ohio) (1990-98), Northwestern (1999-2005)
Pat Fitgzerald (Northwestern), Terry Hoeppner (formerly Indiana), Kevin Wilson (Indiana), Sean Payton (New Orleans Saints), Jeff Genyk (formerly Eastern Michigan)
The late Randy Walker produced two coaches who brought energy to programs that needed to win with guile rather than talent in Pat Fitzgerald and the late Terry Hoeppner. Kevin Wilson is trying to do the same now that he’s with the Hoosiers. Sean Payton is often recognized as a Parcells disciple, but Walker gave the Saints coach his first coordinator gig.
Walker’s roots: Dick Crum

8. Fisher DeBerry
Air Force (1984-2006)
Jim Grobe (Wake Forest), Troy Calhoun (Air Force), Tim DeRuyter (Fresno State)
Not a lot of flash in this group, but Grobe and Calhoun built successful programs and elected to stay for the long haul (a DeBerry trait). Like DeBerry, Grobe and DeRuyter win misdirection and the option while DeRuyter is set for a big season at Fresno State with a big-time quarterback in Derek Carr.
DeBerry’s roots: Ken Hatfield

9. Les Miles
Oklahoma State (2001-04), LSU (2005-present)
Mike Gundy (Oklahoma State), Bo Pelini (Nebraska), Jimbo Fisher (Florida State), Larry Porter (formerly Memphis)
Bo Pelini and Jimbo Fisher were already established assistants when they were on Miles’ staff at LSU, but their time with Miles was their last stop before head coaching jobs. Miles’ most important staff decision, at least as far as folks in Stillwater are concerned, was hiring Mike Gundy as his offensive coordinator.
Miles’ roots: Bo Schembechler

9a. Mike Gundy
Oklahoma State (2005-present)
Larry Fedora (North Carolina), Dana Holgorsen (West Virginia), Todd Monken (Southern Miss), Tim Beckman (Illinois)
Like his counterpart at Oklahoma, the Oklahoma State offensive coordinator these days is one step away from a head coaching job with Larry Fedora, Dana Holgorsen and Todd Monken all leaving the Cowboys to run their own programs.

10. George O’Leary
Georgia Tech (1994-2001), UCF (2004-present)
Branches: Ralph Friedgen (formerly Maryland), Bill O’Brien (Penn State), Doug Marrone (Buffalo Bills), Ted Roof (formerly Duke)
O’Leary’s career won’t be remembered for reasons the coach would prefer, but he has a decent track record of hiring assistants who become head coaches. Ralph Friedgen is Maryland’s all-time wins leader. Bill O’Brien worked for both O’Leary and Friedgen before landing on Belichick’s staff in New England. And Marrone earned his first FBS job under O’Leary at Georgia Tech.
O’Leary’s roots: Bobby Ross

Honorable mention: Jim Harbaugh
Stanford (2007-10)
Branches: David Shaw (Stanford), Willie Taggart (USF)
Shaw carried the legacy at Stanford while Taggart brought Western Kentucky into the FBS era. With Harbaugh’s success with the 49ers, this could be the Belichick coaching tree for the next decade.
Harbaugh's roots: Jack Harbaugh, Bo Schembechler

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Working with Bill Snyder, Mike Leach and Urban Meyer is a fast track to a big job
Post date: Friday, June 28, 2013 - 09:40
Path: /college-basketball/kentuckys-calipari-rules-college-basketballs-one-and-done-era

One-and-done isn’t a one size fits all.

Colleges and coaches have had seven draft cycles to navigate the NBA’s rule that a player must be one year removed from high school to be eligible for the NBA Draft.

As the NBA sifts through the latest batch of college prospects, young and old (relatively speaking), we decided to look through how the college game has handled the so-called one-and-done phenomenon.

Roughly 40 to 50 underclassmen have declared for the draft (and kept their names available to be called) each season since the rule was put in place in 2007, the season Ohio State’s Greg Oden and Texas’ Kevin Durant starred for a year in college before becoming the Nos. 1 and 2 picks in the draft.

Of the 473 Division I players to make themselves available for the NBA Draft, only 37 percent are true one-and-dones, followed by 33 percent sophomores and 29.6 percent juniors.

That breakdown may surprise casual observers who think of this period of college basketball as a glorified weigh station for freshmen before the Draft. Part of the credit (or blame) goes to John Calipari, who has operated within the new landscape like none other.

Of the 177 players to go one-and-done since 2007, a dozen played for Calipari at Memphis or Kentucky. No other coach had more than five players stay for a year and bolt for the draft.

Here are a few other things we learned in our look at the NBA Draft early entry numbers since 2007.

A few notes on how we compiled the numbers:

• For the sake of consistency, the players we counted were those who were on the NBA’s underclassman list. That includes some players who declared for the draft before electing to play overseas.

• In the conference tally, programs were counted for the conference in which they will play in 2013-14, so Syracuse and Pittsburgh count for the ACC, Memphis and Louisville count for the American and so on.

• In the coaches’ tally, the coach listed is the one who had the job full-time in the player’s final season. For example, Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie played their first season at Georgia under Dennis Felton but declared for the draft under Mark Fox. Both count toward Fox’s total.

• The “years lost” column refers to the seasons of eligibility a school, conference or coach lost when a player declared early for the draft. A freshman counts as three years lost, a sophomore two and a junior three.


 UnderclassmenYears Lost UnderclassmenYears Lost
John Calipari1844Paul Hewitt511
Bill Self1017Mark Fox57
Ben Howland917John Thompson III57
Rick Barnes819Jeff Capel49
Thad Matta819Mike Krzyzewski49
Jim Boeheim814Lorenzo Romar49
Roy Williams812Jim Calhoun47
Tim Floyd713Mark Turgeon48
Billy Donovan610John Beilein46

• Calipari has owned this era, as expected. It's not even close. The 18 early entires doesn’t stand out quite so much as the 44 years of eligibility lost. Calipari’s 18 draft-bound underclassmen at Memphis and Kentucky left after playing an average of 1.5 seasons. Texas’ Rick Barnes and Ohio State’s Thad Matta were in a similar spot with 1.6 seasons on average out of their early entry candidates.

• Kansas’ Bill Self, the only coach besides Calipari with double-digit early entires, got an average of 2.3 seasons out of his underclassmen. Kansas sent only three freshmen to the draft, Darrell Arthur, Josh Selby and Ben McLemore, and McLemore was a redshirt freshman. Six of Kansas’ 10 early entries left school as juniors.

• Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski has an identical early entry profile (four players gone, nine years of eligibility lost) as former Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel and Washington coach Lorenzo Romar. Fired with the Sooners, the former Blue Devil Capel is now an assistant on Krzyzewski’s staff.

• One surprising name among the "leaders" is Georgia coach Mark Fox, who had three underclassmen declare with the Bulldogs (Travis Leslie, Trey Thompkins, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope) and two at Nevada (Ramon Sessions, JaVale McGee).


 UnderclassmenYears Lost UnderclassmenYears Lost UnderclassmenYears Lost
Kentucky1537N. Carolina812Duke49
Ohio St.819Ga. Tech511Nevada46

• Duke's 2010 national championship team was the only title winner without an underclassman who left for the following NBA Draft. Michigan State's 2009 national runner-up was the only other team to play in a title game duirng the one-and-done era without an underclassman who immediately went to the draft.

• Something interesting is going on in Los Angeles. UCLA and USC each had nine players leave early for the NBA Draft, more than any school besides Kansas and Kentucky. The Bruins aren’t a surprise, but the Trojans are, even considering USC landed on probation for NCAA violations. UCLA lost four underclassmen to the draft off two Final Four teams compared to five on the since 2009. At UCLA, Howland’s replacement Steve Alford lost only two underclassmen to the draft, both juniors.

• Who is getting the least out of underclassmen going to the draft? Of the eight teams that have sent eight or more underclassmen to the NBA Draft, only USC and Texas failed to reach a Final Four since 2007. One of the Trojans' early entries was counterproductive with freshman O.J. Mayo at the center of the NCAA investigation that landed the Trojans on probation and ended up with coach Tim Floyd fired.

• Connecticut also had a surprisingly low amount of players who declared early for the draft. The Huskies lost only four early entries and one freshman (Andre Drummond). During the same amount of time, DePaul lost three early entries. Granted, in the 2006 NBA Draft, Connecticut had three underclassmen selected in the first round, plus one more senior.

• Among notable programs with just one underclassmen leaving early: UNLV (Anthony Bennett) and Marquette (Vander Blue) lost their early entry candidate after the 2012-13 season.

• Florida State and Gonzaga lost as many players and seasons of eligibility to the draft since 2007 as Florida International did in three years under Isiah Thomas.


 UnderclassmenYears Lost UnderclassmenYears Lost
SEC4583Big East1727
ACC4478Mountain West1421
Pac-124172Conference USA1217
Big 123466Atlantic 1056
Big Ten1837West Coast46

*Tallied by schools in the 2013-14 conference alignment

• Take Kentucky out of the SEC tally, and the league slips behind the ACC and Pac-12 in terms of early entries. Removing Calipari’s tenure at Kentucky, the SEC accounts for 31 early entries, staying for an average of 2.5 seasons.

• The Big Ten is a veteran league for a major conference. The 18 early entries are as many as the upcoming lineup in the American Athletic Conference and one more than the new Big East, alarmlingly low totals for a major conference.

• One reason the Big Ten's numbers are much lower: Three Big Ten powers were among those who haven’t produced an early entry candidate during the one-and-done period, much less a freshman: Michigan State, Wisconsin and Purdue. Other notable programs that haven’t produced an early entry candidate since at least 2007 include Oregon, Temple, Creighton and the entire Missouri Valley Conference.

• Should this be a sign the reformed Big East will have trouble attracting NBA Draft talent? Georgetown (five) is the only program in the league that has produced more than four early entries to the NBA Draft. The American Athletic Conference includes Memphis, which produced three early entries (all sophomores) under Josh Pastner plus four more from UConn. Remove ACC-bound Louisville from the American and the remaining lineup has produced 14 underclassmen heading to the draft, as many as the Mountain West.

A look inside the numbers of underclassmen heading to the NBA Draft
Post date: Thursday, June 27, 2013 - 12:35
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketballs-best-coaches-under-40

The top two coaches from last year’s list of college coaches under 40 remain our top two here.

That’s fitting because Brad Stevens and Shaka Smart show no signs of going anywhere.

The two 30-something coaches have stuck with Butler and VCU, respectively, despite overtures from programs like UCLA and Illinois. True, those programs bring more notoriety and resources, but Stevens and Smart have proven they can win just as much where they are right now. And with both coaches easily crossing the $1 million mark, they don’t need to jump jobs for salary.

Stevens and Smart are no-brainers for our list of best college basketball coaches under 40, but the rest of the list may contain surprises. With Iowa State’s Fred Hoiberg and Connecticut’s Kevin Ollie departing the under-40 club for the 2013-14 season, we dipped into the mid-major ranks to find our young coaches on the rise.

*All ages as of Nov. 1, 2013


1. Brad Stevens, Butler
Record: 166-49, 12-5 NCAA Tournament
Age: 37
No coach has won more games in his first six seasons as a head coach than Stevens. That almost seems like a footnote in the Butler coach’s career. He took over successful mid-major and by staying in Indianapolis turned Butler into a national brand. The Bulldogs have twice reached the national championship game under Stevens, reached the NCAA Tournament in five of six years and moved up from the Horizon League to the Atlantic 10 to the reformed Big East. With few exceptions, the calm and collected Stevens seems to have done this without raising his heart rate.

2. Shaka Smart, VCU
Record: 111-37, 7-3 NCAA Tournament
Age: 36
Like Butler, VCU was up to the challenge by moving up from the Colonial to the Atlantic 10. The Rams have not won fewer than 27 games in four years under Smart and have proven to be a superb postseason team (one Final Four, two rounds of 32 and a CBI championship). Smart’s program has become synonymous with the havoc defense that forces turnovers better than just about any team in the country. With Butler, Xavier and Temple leaving the Atlantic 10, VCU is poised to become the top program in the A-10 as long as Smart is in Richmond.

3. Josh Pastner, Memphis
Record: 106-34
Age: 36
The energetic Pastner achieved an important milestone in 2013 with Memphis’ first NCAA Tournament win of his tenure thanks to a narrow win over 11th-seeded Saint Mary’s. Signature wins have been lacking under Pastner, but that’s about to change. Memphis trades lackluster Conference USA for Louisville (at least for a year), Connecticut, Cincinnati and Temple in 2013-14. Pastner has kept a string of McDonald’s All-Americans coming to Memphis, so there won't be a talent deficit in the new league. He’ll soon find out if they can keep up with better competition on a more consistent basis after breezing through C-USA last season.

4. Steve Prohm, Murray State
Record: 52-12, 1-1 NCAA Tournament
Age: 39
The Racers’ second season under Prohm wasn’t quite as magical as the first when Isaiah Canaan led Murray to a 31-2 season. Murray State still won 21 games and the West Division of the expanded Ohio Valley. Now it’s time to see what Prohm can do without Canaan.

5. Bryce Drew, Valparaiso
Record: 48-20, 0-1 NCAA Tournament
Age: 39
The most famous basketball player in Valpo history has turned out to be a pretty good coach. The son of longtime Crusaders coach Homer Drew took over his father’s program two seasons ago and brought Valpo back to the postseason contention with back-to-back Horizon League regular-season titles. The NCAA bid in 2013 was Valpo’s first since 2004, and the 26 wins were a school record.

6. Richard Pitino, Minnesota
Record: 18-14
Age: 31
FIU’s second attempt to hire a coach with name recognition fared much better than the first. Isiah Thomas won 14 Sun Belt games in three season at FIU. Pitino went 11-9 in the league in his lone season in Miami. FIU was on the brink of its first NCAA Tournament bid since 1995 before losing 65-63 to Western Kentucky in the Sun Belt title game. Minnesota took note and made him the youngest coach in the Big Ten. He has the family name, but his old bosses — Rick Pitino and Billy Donovan — have a good success rate with assistants-turned-head coaches.

7. Mitch Henderson, Princeton
Record: 37-23
Age: 38
Harvard has won the Ivy League the last two seasons, but Princeton has been right on the Crimson’s heels. The Tigers have finished one game back of Harvard in the Ivy the last two seasons. Like Bryce Drew at Valpo, Henderson is a hometown hero at Princeton who played on the 1996 Tigers team that upset UCLA in the NCAA Tournament. Henderson spent more than a decade on Northwetsern’s coaching staff, Big Ten experience that could become relevant.

8. Kevin Willard, Seton Hall
Record: 94-98
Age: 38
Though Seton Hall took a major step back last season — from 21 wins and an NIT appearance to 3-15 in the Big East — Willard has a good overall resume. Willard took over an Iona team that went 2-28 the year before he arrived. By the time Willard left, Iona won 21 games in 2010. A Rick Pitino assistant with Celtics and at Louisville, Willard will look to rebound in the new Big East.

9. Andy Toole, Robert Morris
Record: 68-36
Age: 31
Promoted to head coach before his 30th birthday, Toole delivered the biggest win in Robert Morris history when the Colonials defeated Kentucky in the NIT on their home court in March. That shouldn’t obscure what else he’s accomplished in Moon Township: 50 wins in the last two seasons, an NEC regular season title in 2013 and a 39-15 overall record in the league. A former Mike Rice assistant at Robert Morris before his promotion, Toole might be under the microscope as he’s a candidate for another job.

10. Michael White, Louisiana Tech
Record: 45-23
Age: 36
The WAC was watered down last season and the schedule was paper thin, but it’s tough to ignore Louisiana Tech’s progress in White’s second season. The Bulldogs improved from 6-8 in conference in his first season to 16-2 in the second. The former Ole Miss assistant led Louisiana Tech to its second-highest win total of 27 victories, second only to Karl Malone’s 29-win team in 1984-85. White is poised to build on last season in Conference USA in 2013-14.

<p> Brad Stevens and Shaka Smart are the best, but they're not alone.</p>
Post date: Thursday, June 27, 2013 - 10:00
Path: /which-schools-are-most-likely-win-their-first-heisman

Before 2009, Alabama and Baylor were in the same boat.

It's tough to imagine ways in which the Crimson Tide and the Bears of Waco stood on the same ground in college football history. But four years ago, Alabama and Baylor both lacked Heisman winners until Mark Ingram took the trophy for Alabama. Two seasons later, Robert Griffin III won a Heisman for Baylor.

This season, Johnny Manziel is one of the favorites to win the Heisman Trophy, and even if a repeat winner would be historically significant on its own, a handful of schools are looking to fill a void in their trophy cases.

When oddsmaker Danny Sheridan released his Heisman Trophy odds, three of the top 10 favorites could represent the first winners for their schools: Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater and Oregon’s De’Anthony Thomas both at 10-to-1 and Clemson’s Tajh Boyd at 15-to-1.

Louisville, Oregon and Clemson all have notable accomplishments in the 78 years since Heisman started being awarded, but they don’t have the most wins without a trophy.

Here’s a look at the schools with the most wins since 1935 and our assessments for each to pick up their first Heisman.

Related: Manziel, Clowney lead Heisman revolution


*List presented in order of wins since the first Heisman Trophy was awarded in 1935.

1. Tennessee (593 wins since 1935)
Notable-near misses: Four runners-up (Peyton Manning in 1997, Heath Shuler in 1993, Johnny Majors in 1956, Hank Lauricella in 1951)
Contender for 2013: None
ETA for first Heisman: Not anytime soon.
With Mark Ingram winning Alabama’s first Heisman in 2009, Tennessee is the most storied SEC program without a winner. The Volunteers have the sixth-most wins since 1935 and no Heisman to show for it. The Volunteers’ best hope for a Heisman contender in the next few years may be 2014 running back Jalen Hurd. That said, bowl games and beating Vanderbilt are more pressing goals in Knoxville now.

T-2. Arkansas (514)
Notable-near misses: Darren McFadden (runner-up in 2006 and 2007)
Contender for 2013: None
ETA for first Heisman: Not anytime soon.
McFadden first ran into Troy Smith in 2006 in a lopsided Heisman race before falling only 254 points behind Tim Tebow in 2007. Arkansas never had a 3,000-yard passer until Ryan Mallett in 2009, but neither he nor Tyler Wilson finished higher than seventh in the voting. The Bobby Petrino mess, however, set Arkansas back a few years, and the same goes for the Razorbacks’ Heisman prospects for the time being. New coach Bret Bielema brings hope, though. Just two seasons ago, Bielema coached two players who finished in the top 10 of the voting: Montee Ball (fourth) and Russell Wilson (ninth).

T-2. Clemson (514)
Notable near-miss: C.J. Spiller (sixth in 2009)
Contenders for 2013: Tajh Boyd, Sammy Watkins
ETA for first Heisman: Getting closer.
Tajh Boyd has 15-to-1 odds on the Heisman this year. The quarterback is our leader among Heisman contenders out of the ACC this season. But don’t forget about Sammy Watkins. His ability as a receiver and returnman placed him as a Heisman frontrunner for the first few months of his freshman season in 2011. As long as Clemson has ample skill players running the no-huddle spread, the Tigers will have Heisman contenders.

4. Georgia Tech (507)
Notable near-miss: Joe Hamilton (runner-up in 1999)
Contender for 2013: Vad Lee
ETA for first Heisman: A long way off.
A college football irony, Georgia Tech (like Clemson) employed John Heisman as head coach but hasn’t fielded a Heisman winner. As long as the Yellow Jackets spread the carries in the option, Georgia Tech may have trouble producing a candidate to compete with quarterbacks accounting for 5,000-plus total yards.

5. Arizona State (506)
Notable near-miss: Jake Plummer (third in 1996)
Contender for 2013: Taylor Kelly
ETA for first Heisman: Eventually.
Neither of the last two Heisman winners played in BCS games, so the idea that Heisman winners must play for title contenders is starting to fade. That's good for programs that have struggled to reach major bowl games, yet remained competitive. Still, Arizona State hasn’t finished in the top 10 since ’96. The program has had isolated pockets of success since Frank Kush left, so it’s conceivable Arizona State could stumble its way into a Heisman race at some point.

6. Fresno State (504)
Notable near-miss: David Carr (sixth in 2001)
Contender for 2013: Derek Carr
ETA for first Heisman: Needs more time.
David’s brother Derek Carr is one of the nation’s top pro-style quarterbacks — his 63 career TD passes is third among active quarterbacks. He’ll be the beneficiary of name recognition and a Friday matchup with Boise State. Landing in the top-10 of the Heisman voting isn’t far-fetched for Carr during his senior season, but anything more may be a fantasy. Sophomore Davante Adams may be a Biletnikoff candidate someday, but Mountain West receivers generally don’t lend themselves to Heisman consideration.

7. West Virginia (496)
Notable near-misses: Major Harris (third in 1989, fifth in 1988), Pat White (sixth in 2007, seventh in 2008), Steve Slaton (fourth in 2006)
Contender for 2013: Charlie Sims
ETA for first Heisman: Missed the exit.
If only they gave out the Heisman in September, Geno Smith would have been in luck. The Mountaineers are rebuilding on offense with Smith and his receivers gone, but the arrival of running back Charles Sims, who averaged at least 100 all-purpose yards per game the last two years at Houston, gives West Virginia a legitimate postseason awards candidate.

8. Ole Miss (488)
Notable near-misses: Eli Manning (third in 2003), Archie Manning (third in 1970, fourth in 1969), Jake Gibbs (third in 1960)
Contenders for 2013: Bo Wallace, Donte Moncrief, Jeff Scott
ETA for first Heisman: Eventually.
A miracle season for Ole Miss against a brutal schedule would put one of the Rebels into the Heisman race, but this seems to be a long-term project, especially if Hugh Freeze keeps up this recruiting clip.

9. Virginia Tech (477)
Notable near-misses: Mike Vick (third in 1999)
Contender for 2013: Logan Thomas
ETA for first Heisman: Missed the exit.
All eyes were on Logan Thomas last season, and now he’s trying to rebound from a subpar season. Meanwhile, the Hokies’ normally reliable string of running backs has hit a hiccup.

10. Texas Tech (476)
Notable near-misses: Graham Harrell (fourth in 2008), Michael Crabtree (fifth in 2008)
Contender for 2013: Michael Brewer
ETA for first Heisman: Not anytime soon.
The stigma against so-called system quarterbacks playing in the spread offense lifted just as Texas Tech stopped churning out 5,000-yard passers. Kliff Kingsbury will help Tech return to offensive glory, but for better or worse the Air Raid has become mainstream. That may just mean more Sam Bradfords winning the Heisman rather than Graham Harrells.

11. Washington (476)
Notable near-miss: Steve Emtman (fourth in 1991)
Contenders for 2013: Keith Price, Bishop Sankey
ETA for first Heisman: Eventually.
Hard to believe the Huskies, even during the Don James heyday, only produced one player who finished in the top six, and that player was a defensive lineman. Washington's drought has to change eventually, right?

12. Utah (467)
Notable near-miss: Alex Smith (fourth in 2005)
Contender for 2013: None
ETA for first Heisman:  Not anytime soon.
Utah has yet to prove it can win on a regular basis in the Pac-12. Until that happens, the Utes will have trouble in the Heisman race.

13. Michigan State (466)
Notable near-misses: Lorenzo White (fourth in 1985 and 1987), Sherman Lewis (third in 1963)
Contender for 2013: None
ETA for first Heisman: Stuck in traffic.
Michigan State is too big a program not to find its way to a Heisman, but Michigan State’s program under Mark Dantonio isn’t built to produce Heisman contenders as dynamic as Johnny Manziel, Robert Griffin III and Cam Newton. Michigan State's best bet may be an every down back such as Javon Ringer or Le'Veon Bell, but Ingram is the only running back to win the Heisman since 2005. With Michigan and Ohio State back on top in the Big Ten, Michigan State could slip to middle of the pack.

14. Missouri (446)
Notable near-misses: Chase Daniel (fourth in 2007), Paul Christman (third in 1939)
Contender for 2013: Dorial Green-Beckham
ETA for first Heisman:  Missed the exit.
Chase Daniel may end up being Missouri’s best hope at a Heisman in a while unless 2012 No. 1 recruit Dorial Green-Beckham puts up a campaign similar to Larry Fitzgerald or Calvin Johnson. Missouri’s ability to adapt to the SEC wasn’t nearly as seamless as Texas A&M’s, so catching up to Georgia, South Carolina and Florida may take some time.

15. North Carolina (444)
Notable near-misses: Charles Justice (runner-up in 1948 and 1949)
Contender for 2013: Bryn Renner
ETA for first Heisman:  Eventually.
North Carolina has been one of college football’s underachievers over the years. That’s mirrored in the Heisman no-show for several decades. The Tar Heels are in a talent-rich state and have the right coach for eye-popping numbers in Larry Fedora.


Oregon (431)
Contenders for 2013: Marcus Mariota, De'Anthony Thomas
ETA for first Heisman: Imminent.
Joey Harrington and LaMichael James were Heisman finalists, but the biggest near-miss may have been Dennis Dixon. The senior quarterback still finished fifth in the voting despite a season-ending ACL tear in November 2007. As a consistent Rose Bowl contender with elite offensive playmakers, Oregon will have its chances in the coming years to break its Heisman drought. Marcus Mariota and DeAnthony Thomas are contenders now, but freshman running back Thomas Tyner is the contender for the future.

Louisville (412)
Contender for 2013: Teddy Bridgewater
ETA for first Heisman: Getting closer.
Bridgewater shrugged off a Heisman campaign this offseason, but that won’t slow his candidacy. A bigger barrier will be Louisville’s lackluster schedule, especially if Bridgewater slips up in a game or two. His better bet — if he stays — may be in 2014 against an ACC schedule.

Mississippi State (380)
Contender for 2013: Tyler Russell
ETA for first Heisman: Not anytime soon
Like Ole Miss, Mississippi State’s Heisman contenders must go up against Alabama and LSU on a yearly basis. Which Egg Bowl rival gets there first?

Kansas State (324)
Contender for 2013: John Hubert
ETA for first Heisman: Missed the exit
Collin Klein and Michael Bishop were Heisman finalists from Manhattan. The window appears to have closed, but Bill Snyder continues to surprise us.

Boise State (254)
Contender for 2013: Joe Southwick
ETA for first Heisman: Eventually.
Boise State has gradually built Heisman credibility with Ian Johnson finishing eighth in 2005 then Kellen Moore finishing in the top 10 for three consecutive seasons, including fourth in 2010. Like BYU in the 1980s, Boise State has shed the “mid-major” label to reach national power status. The next step is to grab a Heisman. One guess: The next time a Kellen Moore or Ian Johnson comes around, he’ll fare better in the Heisman race.

Contenders for 2013: Jordan Lynch (Northern Illinois), Tyler Tettleton (Ohio), Dri Archer (Kent State)
ETA for first Heisman:  Eventually.
With the Mountain West, Conference USA and Sun Belt getting picked over in conference realignment, the MAC may be the non-AQ league best-suited to produced a Heisman winner if only for consistency. MAC players will get their time on TV thanks to the league’s aggressive midweek schedule, and #MACtion will have a contingency of the populist vote. That said, players from non-traditional conferences have not broken through. Hawaii’s Colt Brennan from the Mountain West finished no better than third despite shattering passing records for an undefeated team in the regular season.

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Which Schools are Most Likely to Win their First Heisman?
Post date: Wednesday, June 26, 2013 - 06:00
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-best-coaches-under-40

Thirty is the new 40. At least in coaching.

During the last run through the coaching carousel, five schools hired coaches who had yet to reach their 40th birthday. That included the nation’s youngest coach, P.J. Fleck, who took the Western Michigan job at age 32 with neither head coaching nor coordinator experience.

Meanwhile, one 30-something coach, Willie Taggart, took his second head coaching job when he left Western Kentucky for USF.

At some schools, it’s tough to argue against the youth movement. Stanford’s David Shaw, who turned 40 last summer, has led Stanford to two BCS bowls and a Pac-12 title. Steve Sarkisian has revived the Washington program. And that’s just on the West Coast. Pat Fitzgerald, once the youngest coach in the country himself, has led Northwestern to unprecedented heights.

The under-40 coaching crowd is an interesting fraternity in college football, especially now that nearly half of it is made up of first-time head coaches in 2013. Programs hiring coaches are often looking for an influx of youthful energy, especially if the coach has local or school ties.

Whether any of these coaches will be in the game long enough to challenge records is unknown, but many of them have built enviable careers before their 40th birthdays.

*All ages as of Sept. 1, 2013.


1. Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern (team preview)
Record: 50-39
Age: 38
Fitzgerald was tabbed as a potential head coach at Northwestern years before the sudden passing of Randy Walker put him in the position at 31. Now, he’s the second-longest tenured coach in the Big Ten. In 2012, Fitzgerald led Northwestern to its first 10-win season since 1995 and first ranked finish since 1996 (Fitzgerald, of course, played linebacker for both of those teams in the 90s). He’s already Northwestern’s all-time wins leader at 50, passing Pappy Waldorf with the Gator Bowl victory over Mississippi State. As usual, Northwestern is rarely the most talented team on the field, but the Wildcats find a way to be competitive. The only question is if any job, college or otherwise, could pry him from Evanston.

2. Steve Sarkisian, Washington (team preview)
Record: 26-25
Age: 39
The former BYU quarterback and USC assistant Sarkisian brought Washington back to relevance within the Pac-12 after taking over an 0-12 team in 2009. The Huskies have gone 7-6 in each of the last three seasons, but Washington fans would like to see the program take the next step. After rebuilding the defensive coaching staff after 2011 and dealing with the injury bug in 2012, Sarkisian’s team is ready.

3. Willie Taggart, USF (team preview)
Record: 16-20
Age: 37
In his first head coaching job, Taggart led his alma mater Western Kentucky into the FBS. The Hilltoppers went 7-5 in each of the last two seasons, including 7-1 in the Sun Belt in 2011 and the program’s first bowl game in 2012. Now, he’ll try to revive the program in his old backyard. Taggart graduated from Manatee High in Bradenton, Fla., and now his job is to lead a stagnant USF program over the hump. A Jim Harbaugh disciple, Taggart knows how to build a program built on toughness and resilience, something the Bulls have lacked in recent years.

4. Lane Kiffin, USC (team preview)
Record: 32-19
Age: 37
Where to start with Kiffin? It’s tough to find a more interesting — putting it gently — six years for a head coach in college and the NFL. He was hired and fired by Al Davis, hailed as a hero and scorned at Tennessee, and then had mixed results at USC. Despite NCAA sanctions, the Trojans went 10-2 including a win over Oregon on the road in 2011. That high mark as a coach only set Kiffin up for a dramatic fall from No. 1 in the preseason to 7-6 last season. For 2013, Kiffin parted ways with his father as defensive coordinator and Matt Barkley as quarterback. He could surprise again or he could land himself on the hot seat before his 40th birthday.

5. Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech (team preview)
Record: 0-0
Age: 34
Even the risk averse might be OK with Texas Tech hiring a 33-year-old with only four years of full-time coaching experience. The former Red Raiders quarterback Kingsbury worked with NCAA career leading passer Case Keenum and Heisman winner Johnny Manziel in his brief career. Moreover, Kingsbury is intimately familiar with what worked not so long ago in Lubbock. Kingsbury was Mike Leach’s first quarterback at Tech and an assistant under Kevin Sumlin and Dana Holgorsen at Houston. After the uncomfortable fit Tommy Tuberville was in Lubbock, Kingsbury will be a return to familiarity.

6. Justin Fuente, Memphis (team preview)
Record: 4-8
Age: 37
The 4-8 record isn’t impressive and three-game winning streak to end the 2012 season were over patsies like Tulane, UAB and Southern Miss. Still, it’s not like Memphis had three-game win streaks of any kind under Larry Porter or in the final years of Tommy West’s tenure. Porter’s 3-21 stint was a disaster, but Fuente, the former TCU offensive coordinator, turned the culture around by November. Will it be enough for Memphis to compete in the American Athletic Conference?

7. Matt Campbell, Toledo (team preview)
Record: 10-4
Age: 33
Campbell was the youngest coach in the country when Toledo promoted him for the Military Bowl against Air Force after the 2011 season. As former Rockets coach Tim Beckman limped to a 2-10 season at Illinois, Campbell went 9-4 in his first full season at Toledo, displaying the same explosive offense that’s become a trademark at the Glass Bowl. This season, the Rockets should be in the mix for their first MAC title since 2004.

8. Bryan Harsin, Arkansas State (team preview)
Record: 0-0
Age: 36
Harsin hopes to become the next former offensive coordinator to win big at Arkansas State, and the Red Wolves wouldn’t mind if he sticks around a little longer than Hugh Freeze and Gus Malzahn. Harsin’s best days as an offensive coordinator came at Boise State where he coached Jared Zabransky, Ian Johnson and Kellen Moore during undefeated seasons in 2006 and 2009. While Texas never finished higher than 40th nationally in total offense under Harsin, the Longhorns’ output increased both years.

9. Brian Polian, Nevada (team preview)
Record: 0-0
Age: 38
Let’s say this: Nevada had better field good special teams. Polian, the son of NFL executive Bill Polian, has been special teams coach for Notre Dame, Stanford and Texas A&M. Those aren’t bad places to be an assistant, particularly under Kevin Sumlin, David Shaw and Jim Harbaugh. He’ll keep the Pistol offense installed at Nevada, which is good news for a program that hasn’t won under anyone other than former coach Chris Ault.

10. Matt Rhule, Temple (team preview)
Record: 0-0
Age: 38
Rhule was integral in the rebuilding job at Temple in recent years, helping to transform the Owls from a doormat to MAC contender. In between then and taking over for Steve Addazio, Rhule spent a season as offensive line coach with the New York Giants.

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<p> Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald leads the list</p>
Post date: Monday, June 24, 2013 - 07:55
Path: /college-football/heisman-revolution

If Heisman voters were as open minded as Hugh Green’s peers in 1980, the fraternity of the award for the most outstanding college football player would be much different.

During a tour organized to promote the 1980 football season, the Pittsburgh defensive end, along with five other top players that year, made a handful of stops across the country to meet with reporters.

The tour led to plenty of down time for Green, Cal quarterback Rich Campbell, Purdue quarterback Mark Herrmann, Alabama running back Major Ogilvie, South Carolina running back George Rogers and Baylor linebacker Mike Singletary. During a stop somewhere in Indiana, Green recalls, the six conducted their own vote for who would win the Heisman in 1980.

Whether through humility or foresight, Green was the only one who ended up making the correct pick. He chose Rogers.

The other five picked Green.

Green had a fine season in 1980, wrapping up one of history’s best careers by a defensive player. He won the Maxwell Award for Player of the Year on a team that finished 11–1 and No. 2 in the country. He was a consensus All-American and the Lombardi Award winner. He stood out on a team that included quarterback Dan Marino and Outland Trophy-winning offensive tackle Mark May.

The Heisman, though, was out of reach for Green.

South Carolina’s Rogers beat Green by 267 points in the voting that year. Still, it was a victory for defensive players. In the two-platoon era, Green’s 861 points were the most for a defender until Michigan’s Charles Woodson won the Heisman in 1997. Woodson, though, returned kicks and played receiver, putting him over the top in the Heisman race.

“That’s the perspective of the best player — he has to have possession of the ball,” Green says. 

Beyond Green, the 1980 Heisman vote was also notable for the third-place finisher, Herschel Walker. The Georgia running back earned the most first-place votes (107) and total points (683) for a freshman up to that point.

So here’s the question: Had the 1980 Heisman vote been taken in 2012, would the result have been different? Would Green have won? What about Walker?

Since 2007, the Heisman has undergone a major shift.

That season brought the award’s first sophomore winner (Florida’s Tim Tebow), followed by the second in 2008 (Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford) and the third in 2009 (Alabama’s Mark Ingram). In 2012, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel became the first freshman to win the award — albeit a redshirt freshman and not the youngest player to win the Heisman. That’s still Ingram, who won at age 19.

And those are just the winners who have bucked Heisman tradition. Three defensive players have been Heisman finalists since 2009, and two of those — Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o and Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh — were purely defensive players.

Related: Texas A&M team preview

“Most of the barriers have been broken down,” Manziel says. “The way the award is set up, it’s more the most outstanding player in all of college football, whatever the situation. If people think you’re the best college football player that year, you deserve to win it, whether you play defense or whatever.”

The mainstreaming of sophomores, freshmen and defensive players in the Heisman voting may have been tough to envision a decade ago.

Just 10 years before Manziel (right) won the Heisman, the balloting was typical for the award most years. USC senior quarterback Carson Palmer won in 2002, a year when all of the top 10 vote-getters were either quarterbacks or running backs, seniors or juniors, with nine of them from power conferences. The only true outlier that season was Marshall quarterback Byron Leftwich, who finished sixth.

Since Palmer, only one senior — Ohio State’s Troy Smith in 2006 — has won the award. And now, the 2013 Heisman race opens with a handful of possibilities for rare and first-time achievements.

Manziel has a chance to join Ohio State’s Archie Griffin (1974-75) as the only repeat winner in history. In theory, he’ll have three chances to join Griffin in elite company. However, after this season, Manziel will be eligible to leave school early for the NFL Draft.

Manziel will be a contender in 2013, but to become a two-time winner he may have to beat out a defensive end. South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney is unquestionably the nation’s top defensive player and already appears to be the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Related: South Carolina team preview

In short, this isn’t your father’s Heisman.

“There’s a clear demarcation from the Tebow point onward,” says Chris Huston, founder of “It doesn’t really matter if they are seniors or juniors or sophomores or freshmen. What wins out are these tremendous numbers.”

If a defensive player is going to win the Heisman, though, the overwhelming numbers may be tough to acquire.

Green has been beating the drum for a defensive player to win the award for several years. He begrudgingly latched onto Michigan’s Woodson, who played offense (17 total touches for 259 yards from scrimmage and three TDs) and returned punts (78-yard TD vs. Ohio State) in addition to excelling at cornerback (eight INTs).


The former Pittsburgh lineman is convinced it will take a gargantuan statistical effort to overcome an offensive skill player.

“This guy, to catch the eye of America, would have to have at least 17 or 18 sacks, five or six interceptions returned for touchdowns — something totally incredible. He’d have to totally dominate anything and everything he plays. …

“He’d have to sack the quarterback and intercept him at the same time.”

Clowney (right) would tend to agree. He was been touted as one of the best players in college football even before he landed at South Carolina. He was the consensus No. 1 recruit in the class of 2011 and earned SEC Freshman of the Year honors. As a sophomore, he was a first-team All-American and finished sixth in the Heisman voting.

But even he concedes that the quarterbacks he’s bringing down have a better chance at the most coveted award in college sports.

“That’s what the people like — touchdowns and more touchdowns,” Clowney says. “They don’t worry about the sacks and stuff. I guess they feel like offense is more of an individual side.”

Ironically, the recent batch of defensive players to become Heisman finalists were contenders in the more traditional sense.

Among Huston’s “10 Heismandments” are stipulations that an aspiring winner must put up good numbers in big games on TV, must have prior name recognition and must play for a title contender or a traditional power.

None of those stipulations require a Heisman hopeful to be the best at his position or even the best player in his locker room.

One could argue that neither Te’o nor LSU defensive back Tyrann Mathieu was the best defensive player on his own team the seasons they went to the Heisman ceremony. And does anyone remember that Suh was fourth in the Big 12 in sacks the year he was a finalist?

Instead, voters gravitated to Te’o’s two interceptions in the Michigan game, Mathieu’s four defensive and special teams touchdowns, and Suh’s 4.5 sacks of Texas’ Colt McCoy in a Big 12 Championship Game loss.

That’s why Clowney is the best defensive candidate for the award since Woodson.

Related: Heisman contenders, challengers and longshots for 2013

Anyone looking for a Heisman-type moment from Clowney just needs to do a quick YouTube or GIF search. Clowney’s finest play — his game-changing tackle and forced fumble of Michigan’s Vincent Smith in the Outback Bowl — has been on a highlight reel since January.

Name recognition? Check. Stats? Check. Game-turning plays in big games? Check.

“He has as good as a setup for a defensive player as we’ve seen,” Huston says.

But Clowney isn’t up against the Heisman field of a decade or so ago. He’s up against some of the most prolific quarterbacks in the history of the game.

Huston, who has been studying Heisman trends since he worked in the USC athletic department when Palmer won the award, doesn’t attribute the change in voting trends to any new open-mindedness by voters. Instead, the numbers are impossible to ignore, he says. Huston describes the last six years as the rise of the Super Quarterback. The wide-spread use of spread offenses, the dual-threat quarterbacks excelling in these systems and the proof they can win at a championship level have changed voters’ ideas of the typical Heisman candidate.

In a former era, Tebow’s bruising option attack, Bradford’s Air Raid approach, the track star ability of Baylor’s Robert Griffin III or Auburn’s Cam Newton, or Manziel’s improvisation would have been derided as a “system,” unworthy of the Heisman.

But no matter the style, these offenses are run by great athletes who happen to play quarterback, and they’re the centerpieces of their offenses like never before.

Each of the last five quarterbacks to win the Heisman since and including Tebow has topped at least 500 plays of total offense (carries plus pass attempts) in the years they won the Heisman. Manziel had 635 last season.

Of the six quarterbacks to win the Heisman before 2007, only one topped 500 plays during his award-winning season.

In addition, when spread quarterbacks compete for national championships or win in major conferences — rather than putting up numbers in Conference USA or the MAC — it’s that much tougher for a voter to write off a sophomore or a freshman who happens to be a so-called “system” quarterback.

“It’s kind of overcome the usual biases that used to exist against freshmen or sophomores,” Huston says. “It was not an intentional change. It was structural. By the nature of college football, players need more time building name recognition. Now you have guys who are freshmen and sophomores doing all the things Manziel did. It’s easy to quickly gain notoriety.”

Notoriety seems to be the key to a non-traditional candidate overcoming quarterbacks or running backs.

Clowney has it. Te’o, Mathieu and Suh earned it.

But what about offensive linemen? Have Heisman voters evolved to a point where linemen could become serious candidates?

Prior to the season, a handful of columnists posed that question about Alabama’s Barrett Jones, who at the time was the most decorated offensive player for the Crimson Tide. During his career, he started at guard, tackle and center. He also followed one of Huston’s other Heismandments: He’s likable.

If there were a perfect candidate to represent the offensive line in New York, it seemed to be Jones.

Yet Jones was not one of the top 10 vote-getters in 2012.

The last offensive lineman to make a serious push for the Heisman was Ohio State’s Orlando Pace, who finished fourth in 1996. It was the best finish for an offensive lineman since Buckeyes tackle John Hicks was the runner-up to Penn State’s John Cappelletti in 1973.

Hicks, who blocked for Heisman winner Archie Griffin, says publicity will be the key for a lineman to win the award.

“With the Ohio State publicity machine, if you have a great season here, you can win the Heisman here,” Hicks says. “Can a lineman win it? Sure. But he’s going to have be in the national conscience.”

That’s a double-edged sword. Even if a lineman or a defensive player garners enough name recognition to get to New York through being on television and his highlights showing up on YouTube and social media, quarterbacks and running backs still have all those advantages, too.

Plus every play of theirs is in the camera’s eye, and every stat readily accessible in a box score.

“The problem with defensive players and linemen is the metrics,” Huston says. “The camera follows the ball. The people who argue on behalf (of linemen) tend to argue very nebulous things — they were triple-teamed half the season and things like that. If you look at a box score you don’t get tackle numbers, you don’t get pancakes.”

But that’s the conventional wisdom. And if the last six seasons have proven anything, it’s that the conventional wisdom about the Heisman does not apply.

In 2013, college football may be ready for another two-time Heisman winner. Or a full-time defensive player.

“We’ll see,” Clowney says.

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<p> College football's most prestigious award is going through a revolution.</p>
Post date: Friday, June 21, 2013 - 08:00
Path: /college-football/acts-college-football-pranks-vandalism-and-kidnapping

Clemson officials acknowledged this week that Howard’s Rock, the iconic touchstone Clemson players rub before running onto the field at home games, was damaged by vandals around June 2 or 3.

The perpetrators allegedly broke into the stadium, removed the glass casing and broke a piece of the rock, which has been a staple of Clemson games since 1966.

This is not the first time one of college football’s venerated traditions has been the victim of violence. When it comes to rivalries, fan mischief ranges from amusing — kidnapping mascots or easily repaired vandalism, for example — to disturbing and potentially damaging to cherished traditions for generations to come.


Toomer’s Oaks Poisoned (2010)
In a saga that played out over the Paul Finebaum radio show in Birmingham, Ala., Crimson Tide fan Harvey Updyke called in under the pseudonym “Al from Dadeville” to reveal he had poisoned Auburn’s 130-year-old oak trees at Toomer’s Corner. For generations, fans rolled Toomer’s Corner after Auburn wins. The trees were removed in April, and Updyke was released from a six-month jail sentence earlier this month.

Kidnapping of Reveille VI (1993)
Reveille VI, then a 4-month-old puppy who had yet to serve her term as A&M’s mascot, was kidnapped before the Aggies’ Cotton Bowl appearance. A Texas student claimed responsibility for dognapping Reveille, the highest-ranking member of the Corps of Cadets. Shortly after, Reveille was safely recovered.

The Origin of the Victory Bell (1941)
When the UCLA-USC series resumed in 1941 after a hiatus, USC students masquerading as UCLA fans stole the Bruins’ Victory Bell, which rings after every UCLA point. UCLA students responded by by defacing USC’s Tommy Trojan statue. USC then vandalized UCLA’s field. By the time the Bruins hatched a plan to kidnap USC’s student body president, both parties agreed things had gone too far. USC eventually agreed to return the Victory Bell if it became the game trophy.

Birth of Bevo (1917)
Texas A&M and Texas resumed their series in 1915 after a brief hiatus with the Aggies winning 13-0. Texas came back to win 21-7 the following season and planned to parade its Longhorn steer through College Station before the 1917 game. The Aggies responded by sneaking into the steer’s pen and branding him with “13-0.” Drawing inspiration from a billboard for Bevo Beer, Texas students altered the 13-0 to read BEVO.

Theft of Testudo (1948)
At one point the Maryland-George Washington series was heated enough that GW fraternity members stole Maryland’s 400-pound bronze statute of Testudo the turtle. In the 1949 yearbook, George Washington published a poem “Travels of Testudo” about the statue’s gambling trip to Reno. A year earlier, before the national championship lacrosse match, Johns Hopkins students stole Testudo and buried him.

Arizona Politics Spill onto the Field (1958)
Before 1958, Arizona was the only university in the state -- at least until Proposition 200 would change Arizona State College to Arizona State University. Angry and prideful Arizona fans burned “No 200” into the field at Sun Devil Stadium weeks before the two teams faced each other at Arizona. Arizona State got the last laugh as Prop 200 passed and the Sun Devils defeated the Wildcats 47-0. (tip of the hat to Shane Dale)

Bill the Goat Stolen (2012)
How many college football pranks end at the Pentagon? Before last season’s Army-Navy game, Navy’s mascot Bill the Goat was stolen and left in front of the Pentagon. Army said it had no knowledge of the theft. Bill was returned safely.

SMU’s Long Game (1999)
Going beyond simple vandalism or kidnapping, the SMU band gets high marks for thinking outside the box. The band left rye grass seeds in the turf at Amon Carter Stadium, in its trademark "M" formation, to leave its mark. In 2007, SMU used weed killer to spell PONY on TCU’s field.

Green Raiders (2006)
Further proof that bitter rivalries span all levels: Middle Tennessee fans arrived at Floyd Stadium before a game against Tennessee Tech to find that their Blue Horseshoe statue had been painted green, only it hadn’t. Tennessee Tech fans snuck in during the night to paint it gold. Middle Tennessee hoped to change it back to blue, but the gold paint hadn’t dried, giving the statue its temporary green hue. (tip of the hat to J.R. Lind)

Are there any we forgot? Let us know on Twitter and Facebook, and we'll add them to the list.

<p> The damage to Howard's Rock at Clemson was only the latest tarnishing of tradition</p>
Post date: Friday, June 14, 2013 - 14:50
Path: /college-basketball/2013-14-college-basketball-mid-major-rankings-mwc-mvc

After Florida Gulf Coast reached the Sweet 16 and Wichita State reached the Final Four, teams outside of the college basketball power structure are starting to reach even footing. At least on the court.

Beyond the major surprises in the NCAA Tournament, this is an interesting time for mid-major programs. The Mountain West showed surprising depth last season, a trend that should continue as the league expands. Even though Creighton left the Missouri Valley and Temple, Xavier and Butler left the Atlantic 10, there’s plenty to watch in both leagues.

Wichita State already has the look of the MVC’s flagship program. The same could be said of VCU and Saint Louis in the A-10, provided they can hold off upstart UMass.

We took a quick look of seven conferences already this offseason. Here’s a snapshot of 11 key teams in the the Mountain West, Atlantic 10, Missouri Valley, West Coast and more.

Other conference snapshots:
Big 12

Big East

Big Ten

1. WICHITA STATE (30-9, 12-6 Missouri Valley, NCAA Final Four)
Key players gone: Malcolm Armstead, Carl Hall, Demetric Williams
Top returners: Ron Baker, Tekele Cotton, Cleanthony Early, Fred Van Vleet, Jake White
New faces: D.J. Bowles (freshman), Kadeem Coleby (Louisiana-Lafayette transfer), Earl Watson (junior college), Evan Wessel (redshirt)
The point guard Armstead and leading rebounder Hall are gone from the Final Four run, but the rising sophomore Baker played only 18 games last season. With Early, Baker and Cotton, there’s enough returning to win the Missouri Valley this season, especially if Van Vleet flourishes as a full-time point guard. The 6-foot-9 Louisiana-Lafayette transfer Coleby and local 6-5 guard Wessel will fill some gaps.

2. VCU (27-9, 12-4 Atlantic 10, NCAA round of 32)
Key players gone: Troy Daniels, Darius Theus
Top returners: Rob Brandenburg, Treveon Graham, Juvonte Reddic, Melvin Thomas, Briante Weber
New faces: Jordan Burgess (redshirt), Terrance Shannon (Florida State transfer)
Five of the top seven players return to VCU, including three who averaged double-figure scoring. Theus’ 2.4 steals per game will be missed on the defensive end, but there’s a lot to like about a VCU team that went 12-4 in its first season in the Atlantic 10. Shannon was an injury-riddled player at Florida State, but he’s a 6-8 senior who will be a key piece for the Rams if he can stay healthy.

3. GONZAGA (32-3, 16-0 West Coast, NCAA round of 32)
Key players gone: Elias Harris, Guy Landry Edi, Kelly Olynyk
Top returning players: Gary Bell Jr, Sam Dower, Przemek Karnowski, Kevin Pangos, David Stockton
New faces: Gerald Coleman (Providence transfer), Angel Nunez (Louisville transfer)
The front line takes a hit without Olynyk and Harris, but Mark Few’s backcourt should be solid with Pangos (41.7 percent on three pointers) and Bell. Two centers who were part-time players last season in Karnowski (7-1) and Dower (6-9) will look to take a step forward in replacing the Olynyk. Gonzaga’s season was marred by losing to Wichita State in the round of 32, but the Bulldogs should remain a top-25 contender in 2013-14.

4. NEW MEXICO (29-6, 13-3 Mountain West, NCAA round of 64)
Key players gone: Tony Snell, Demetrius Walker
Top returning players: Cameron Bairstow, Alex Kirk, Hugh Greenwood, Kendall Williams
New faces: Merv Lindsey (transfer from Kansas), Cullen Neal (freshman)
Longtime Steve Alford assistant Craig Neal was promoted to coach a team that returns four players who started at least 30 games. The Lobos may be the preseason pick to win the Mountain West, but that NCAA Tournament loss to Harvard will be tough to forget. Snell (12.5 ppg) is a notable departure, but the Lobos were a balanced team for most of the season.

5. SAINT LOUIS (28-7, 13-3 Atlantic 10, NCAA round of 32)
Key players gone: Kwamain Mitchell, Cody Ellis
Top returners: Dwayne Evans, Grandy Glaze, Jordair Jett, Rob Loe, Mike McCall
Jim Crews has the job full-time and a chance to repeat in the Atlantic 10. Replacing Kwamain Mitchell’s 30 minutes per game will be tough. Four starters are back, not including the assist leader Jett.

6. UMASS (21-12, 9-7 Atlantic 10, NIT first round)
Key players gone: Freddie Riley, Terrell Vinson
Top returning players: Cady Lalanne, Raphiael Putney, Chaz Williams
New faces: Derrick Gordon (transfer from Western Kentucky)
Derek Kellogg’s program has steadily improved in five seasons. Now, the Minutemen have a chance to be the top team in the Atlantic 10, which will see Butler, Temple and Xavier depart. The 5-9 point guard Chaz Williams will be one of the top players in the league, and the 6-3 Gordon was a major pickup from Western Kentucky, where he averaged 11.8 ppg, 6.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists.

7. HARVARD (20-10, 11-3 Ivy, NCAA round of 32)
Key players gone: Christian Webster
Top returning players: Siyani Chambers, Steve Moundou-Missi, Laurent Rivard, Wesley Saunders
New faces: Zena Edosomwan (freshman)
Harvard’s upset of New Mexico signaled the young Crimson would be ready to take the next step in 2013-14. Last year’s team had only one senior (Webster), and one junior seeing significant minutes (Rivard). Led by Saunders and Chambers, Harvard will have a leg up on the the rest of the Ivy League the next two seasons.

8. BOISE STATE (21-11, 9-7 Mountain West, NCAA First Four)
Key players gone: Kenny Buckner
Top returning players: Anthony Drmic, Jeff Elorriaga, Igor Hadziomerovic, Derrick Marks, Mikey Thompson, Ryan Watkins
The Mountain West is expanding, but teams like Colorado State, UNLV and San Diego State are in transition. With two of the league’s top returning scorers, Boise State is geared up for another run to the NCAA Tournament. Leading the four-guard lineup, Drmic averaged 17.7 points, and Marks averaged 16.3.

9. SAN DIEGO STATE (23-11, 9-7 Mountain West, NCAA round of 32)
Key players gone: Jamaal Franklin, James Rahon, Chase Tapley
Top returning players: J.J. O’Brien, Xavier Thames, Winston Shepard)
New faces: Josh Davis (transfer from Tulane)
The Aztecs have absorbed the loss of Kawhi Leonard and other key pieces in recent years. The next step is to replace Franklin, their top player the last two years, and the clutch Tapley. The key is the sophomore Shepard, a five-star recruit who averaged 5.7 points last season. Davis is a major pickup after averaging 17.6 points and 10.7 rebounds for Tulane in 2012-13.

10. UNLV (25-10, 10-6 Mountain West, NCAA round of 64)
Key players gone: Anthony Bennett, Anthony Marshall, Mike Moser, Katin Reinhardt
Top returning players: Khem Birch, Bryce Dejean-Jones
New faces: Jelan Kendrick (junior college), Christian Wood (freshman)
UNLV was the most talented team in a deep Mountain West, but the Runnin’ Rebels finished third in the league before losing to Cal in the NCAA Tournament. The Rebels will have eight players who were top-100 recruits at some point, and that’s taking into account the departures of Reinhardt and Moser via transfer. With something of a revolving door on the roster, the results have been mixed under Dave Rice.

And 1: BYU (24-12, 10-6 West Coast, NIT semifinal)
Key players gone: Brandon Davies, Brock Zylstra
Top returning players: Tyler Haws, Matt Carlino, Josh Sharp
New faces: Kyle Collinsworth (returning from mission) Eric Mika (freshman)
BYU missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time in seven seasons in 2013, but the Cougars could return in 2014. The backcourt will lead the way with Haws and his 21.7 points per game leading the way. With Davies gone, BYU will need the power forward Mika to make an instant impact.

<p> The key mid-majors to watch for 2013-14.</p>
Post date: Thursday, June 13, 2013 - 10:30
All taxonomy terms: New England Patriots, Tim Tebow, NFL
Path: /nfl/tebow-patriots-why-it-will-work-why-it-wont

Tim Tebow’s first minicamp workout as a Patriot is finished (he went 4 for 7). His jersey is on sale (he’ll wear No. 5). And New England coach Bill Belichick has thrown his first wet blanket on Tebowmania (“We’ll see how it goes”).

Just as Tebow’s NFL career hung by a thread, the Patriots swooped in and gave him a shot of reclaiming his pro career. Whether he’s a quarterback or a multi-faceted offensive weapon (or linebacker, for that matter) is up in the air.

Here are a few reasons Tebow and Pats are a good match, a few reasons it might fail and insight from the experts.

Why it might work

He won’t sniff the starting quarterback job.
The backup quarterback for Tom Brady is a little less popular than the one for Mark Sanchez, to say nothing of the third-stringer. Tebow starts behind Brady and Ryan Mallett, signaling Tebow’s status as an experiment. An injury to Brady is the only thing separating the Patriots from the “Tebow should start” firestorm, but Brady has made 71 consecutive starts.

He can flourish as a specialist.
The theory is that Belichick will find a way to capitalize on Tebow’s size, toughness and athleticism. New England is where a linebacker became a red zone receiving threat, where a Jets castoff from Chadron State amassed more than 2,100 yards from scrimmage in three seasons, where a converted MAC quarterback has been a key contributor on special teams and as receiver, and where a veteran receiver played cornerback during a Super Bowl run.

Even if Tebow is not a Mike Vrabel, Danny Woodhead, Julian Edelman or Troy Brown, he’s still the only read option quarterback on the Patriots’ roster. And with the two-year-old rule allowing emergency quarterbacks to be active for the entire game, Belichick has extra flexibility.

He’s in the right organization.
Tebow’s hometown organization of Jacksonville wanted nothing to do with him, so this is as close as a homecoming as the lefty could have. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels drafted him in Denver, Belichick and former Florida coach Urban Meyer are close colleagues (and Vrabel is now Meyer’s linebackers coach at Ohio State). Three other members of Florida’s 2008 title team are on the Pats’ roster -- tight end Aaron Hernandez, linebacker Brandon Spikes and defensive end Jermaine Cunningham.

Why it might not work

He’s not suited to any position, provided he’s willing to move
Here’s what we know: Tebow is a liability as a passer. He’s a physical runner taking direct snaps or scrambling. There’s little evidence other than his build that suggests Tebow can play tight end, fullback or H-back in the NFL. Tebow has never caught a pass at the collegiate or pro level. He may not be the next Brad Smith or Kordell Stewart. That, of course, assumes Tebow is willing to be Belichick’s and McRoberts’ wild card in the offense in the first place.

Brady gets hurt
Even the most ardent (and sane) Tebow fan can live with the lefty backing up Brady, but what if Brady’s out of the picture? He’ll be 36 years old and already missed a season to a torn ACL. If Tebow is in a realistic position to start for New England, expect the Tebow brigade to speak up.

Reaction from the experts:

• USA Today’s Dan Shanoff, who established the TimTeblog, wrote in April he thought the Patriots were always the most logical landing spot. “Watch Belichich get Tebow 10 TDs, just to show he can.” Shanoff lists some of the same reasons Athlon did as to why it may work in New England, but notes some of the intangibles and the possibilities of it works out:

Just when you think things can’t get any more crazy, they do. Forget how last season played out and consider the long game: Given the widespread animus for both Tim Tebow and Boston sports teams/fans, it would take the Tebow insanity to new levels.

• Chris Brown at Smart Football notes Tebow has improved little as passer, especially since regressing at Florida in 2009, but he’s modestly hopeful he can clean up his deficiencies now that he’s in the right spot.

I still would: his flaws then are still his flaws now, but the talent is still there too, though somewhat obscured. The question is whether, in 2013, it’s too late for Tebow to learn any better. - See more at:
I still would: his flaws then are still his flaws now, but the talent is still there too, though somewhat obscured. The question is whether, in 2013, it’s too late for Tebow to learn any better. - See more at:
his flaws then are still his flaws now, but the talent is still there too, though somewhat obscured. The question is whether, in 2013, it’s too late for Tebow to learn any better. - See more at:

His flaws (in 2005) are still his flaws now, but the talent is still there too, though somewhat obscured. The question is whether, in 2013, it’s too late for Tebow to learn any better.

• Bruce Allen at Boston Sports Media looks at the media circus angle for the Patriots. Yes, it’s going to be crazy at first. It’s red meat for the talking heads, but the media throng will shrink eventually. Timothy Burke at Deadspin notes ESPN mentioned Tebow 137 times in 120 minutes Tuesday.

• Ben Volin, who covered Florida during the 2008 national championship run, is back on the Tebow beat now that he covers the Pats for the Boston Globe. He’s one of the myriad reporters and columnists saying Tebow has landed in the perfect spot.

In theory, Tebow is athletic enough to be a “slash” type of player like Kordell Stewart or Jim “Crash” Jensen. He’s big enough to play tight end (6 feet 3 inches, 236 pounds), smashes into defenders hard enough to play fullback, and throws well enough to be a trick-play asset on special teams.

• And on to the only place where Tebow is a sure thing: The Patriots opened the online store for Tebow jerseys, as noted by Sports Grid. The Pats’ email was sent before Tebow had a jersey number (Mallett wears No. 15, Tebow will wear No. 5).

• Odds are you’ll read some unintentionally bad columns about the Tebow signing. Might as well read one that’s trying to be awful from Grantland’s Andrew Sharp.  The tally: 36 paragraphs, 19 of them are a sentence or less.

<p> Are Belichick and Tebow a perfect match?</p>
Post date: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 - 14:35
Path: /college-basketball/2013-14-college-basketball-early-rankings-pac-12

After several seasons in the wilderness, the Pac-12 finally started to regain some respect last season.

Five league teams reached the NCAA Tournament, the most since 2009. Three teams were ranked in the final Associated Press top 25 before the Tournament. And two teams reached the Sweet 16 with Arizona losing to Ohio State and Oregon losing to eventual national champion Louisville.

Now, it’s time to see if the Pac-12 can avoid slipping back to where it was two seasons ago.

Only three of 10 members of the Pac-12’s official first-team all-conference squad return, and none plays for traditional powers (Arizona State’s Jahii Carson, Colorado’s Spencer Dinwiddie and Stanford’s Dwight Powell). Meanwhile, one of those traditional powers is starting over, at least on the bench. Steve Alford takes over at UCLA where he inherits a talented roster, but these are the same players who couldn’t save Ben Howland.

Led by Nick Johnson, Arizona may be the most equipped to make a run in the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats have coaching stability, returning veterans and an influx of talented newcomers.

Beyond UCLA and Arizona, here is who is back, who is gone and who is on the way in the Pac-12 for 2013-14.

Other conference snapshots:
Big East
Big Ten
Big 12
Mountain West, A-10, MVC and others (June 13)

1. ARIZONA (27-6, 12-6, NCAA Sweet 16)
Key players gone: Angelo Chol, Solomon Hill, Grant Jerrett, Mark Lyons, Keith Parrom
Top returners: Brandon Ashley, Nick Johnson, Kaleb Tarczewski
New faces: Aaron Gordon (freshman), Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (freshman), T.J. McConnell (transfer from Duquesne), Elliott Pitts (freshman)
The top two scorers, Lyons and Hill, exhausted their eligibility, and Jerrett made a surprising call to enter the NBA Draft. Still, the Wildcats expect to be the Pac-12 favorites and a top-10 team. T.J. McConnell will take over at point guard after averaging 11.1 points, 4.9 assists and 4.1 rebounds in two seasons at Duquesne. He and Johnson (11.5 ppg) should make a solid backcourt pairing. Arizona also adds two freshman wings in Hollis-Jefferson and Gordon, a 6-8 forward who was the fourth-ranked recruit in the 2013 class. The key to the season may be getting Gordon to play the four.

Related: UCLA among top recruiting classes since 2000

2. UCLA (25-10, 13-5, NCAA round of 64)
Key players gone: Shabazz Muhammad, Larry Drew II
Top returners: Jordan Adams, Kyle Anderson, Tony Parker, Norman Powell, David Wear, Travis Wear
New faces: Wannah Bail (former Texas Tech signee), Zach LaVine (freshman)
After several seasons of underachieving, player departures and off-court distractions, UCLA hopes to move on under Steve Alford (with mixed results so far). Alford starts his tenure in Westwood with a good sophomore nucleus in Adams and Anderson. Other freshmen received more fanfare last season, but Adams was arguably UCLA’s most important player -- the Bruins lost to Oregon and Minnesota in the last two games without him. Beyond the sophomores, the Bruins need someone to take over the point guard spot vacated by Drew, who was fourth in the nation in assists. This team has the talent for another Pac-12 title, but UCLA has not been able to capitalize in recent years.

Related: Conference snapshot: Big 12

3. COLORADO (21-12, 10-8, NCAA round of 64)
Key players gone: Jeremy Adams, Sabatino Chen, Andre Roberson
Top returners: Askia Booker, Spencer Dinwiddie, Xavier Johnson, Josh Scott
New faces: Tre’Shaun Fletcher (freshman)
Even without Roberson, Colorado returns four of its top five scorers. Dinwiddie (15.3 ppg) and Booker (12.4 ppg) give the Buffaloes one of the league’s best backcourts. The biggest void will be on the glass, where Roberson accounted for more than a quarter of Colorado’s rebounds. The Buffaloes’ two top freshmen from last season, Scott and Johnson, will need to fill the void. Colorado should be able to reach the NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive year.

Related: 2013-14 Conference Snapshot: ACC

4. OREGON (28-9, 12-6, NCAA Sweet 16)
Key players gone: Carlos Emory, Arsalan Kazemi, Willie Moore, E.J. Singler, Tony Woods
Top returners: Dominic Artis, Ben Carter, Damyean Dotson, Johnathan Loyd
New faces: Jordan Bell (freshman), Elgin Cook (junior college transfer), Mike Moser (transfer from UNLV)
The sophomore Dotson is the only one of Oregon’s top five scorers returning. Perhaps more than that, Oregon will miss Kazemi’s defensive prowess. Still, coach Dana Altman has enough at his disposal for another NCAA berth. Moser struggled in his last season at UNLV when Anthony Bennett and Khem Birch squeezed him from his natural role closer to the basket, but Moser was an All-America candidate before the season. As a freshman, Artis shot only 37.2 percent from the field, but Oregon was at its best with him running the point.

Related: Conference Snapshot: Big Ten

5. STANFORD (19-15, 9-9, NIT second round)
Key players gone: Andy Brown, Gabriel Harris
Top returners: Roscoe Allen, Aaron Bright, John Gage, Josh Huestis, Robbie Lemons, Stefan Nastic, Dwight Powell, Chasson Randle, Christian Sanders
New faces: Marcus Allen (freshman)
Stanford returns nearly every notable player from last season, including the top four scorers. Powell and Huestis were double-double threats on a nightly basis, but that hasn’t translated to a breakout season for the Cardinal under Johnny Dawkins. In his sixth season at Stanford, Dawkins is under pressure to produce an NCAA Tournament team.

Related: Realignment tracker for all college basketball moves

6. CAL (21-12, 12-6, NCAA round of 32)
Key players gone: Bak Bak, Allen Crabbe, Brandon Smith, Robert Thurman
Top returners: Justin Cobbs, David Kravish, Ricky Kreklow, Richard Solomon, Tyrone Wallace
New faces: Jabari Bird (freshman)
Crabbe (18.4 ppg) is a major departure for a team that struggled at times offensively. Bird, a 6-6 guard, could step into Crabbe’s spot and make a quick impact as a freshman alongside the veteran Cobbs (15.1 ppg). Solomon and Kravish form a solid, veteran frontcourt duo. There’s not a lot that jumps off the page for Cal, but the Bears should remain a postseason contender.

Related: 2013-14 Conference Snapshot: American

7. ARIZONA STATE (22-13, 9-9, NIT second round)
Key players gone: Chris Colvin, Carrick Felix, Evan Gordon
Top returners: Jordan Bachynski, Jahii Carson, Jonathan Gilling
New faces: Richie Edwards (transfer from Valparaiso), Sai Tummala (junior college transfer)
The point guard Carson elected to return to school, and he’ll be one of the top players in the league. The sophomore will need some help around him, though, as Felix (14.6 ppg, 8.1 rpg) graduated and Gordon (10.1 ppg) transferred to Indiana. Bachynski, a 7-2 senior, will anchor the frontcourt while 6-7 forward Gilling will provide perimeter shooting after leading the Pac-12 in 3-point attempts and baskets last season.

Related: 2013-14 Conference Snapshot: Big East

8. WASHINGTON (18-16, 9-9, NIT first round)
Key players gone: Abdul Gaddy, Aziz N’Diaye, Scott Suggs
Top returners: Andrew Andrews, Jernard Jarreau, Shawn Kemp Jr., Desmond Simmons, C.J. Wilcox
New faces: Perris Blackwell (transfer from San Francisco), Darin Johnson (freshman), Nigel Williams-Goss (freshman)
Washington is looking to rebound from back-to-back NIT appearances, though the Huskies did win the 2012 Pac-12 regular season title. Wilcox will hope to be healthy for a full season after averaging 16.8 points per game last year despite playing on a bad foot late last season. The sophomore Andrews and freshman Williams-Goss will look to lock down the point guard spot with Gaddy gone, and the 6-9 Blackwell should be an impact transfer after averaging 12.7 points and 6.1 rebounds at San Francisco two seasons ago.

9. OREGON STATE (14-18, 4-14)
Key players gone: Joe Burton, Ahmad Starks
Top returners: Charlie Barton, Devon Collier, Eric Moreland, Roberto Nelson, Jarmal Reid, Olaf Schaftenaar
New faces: Angus Brandt (returning from ACL injury)
Oregon State will look for a rebound season in 2013-14 with the top two leading scorers returning in Nelson (17.8 ppg) and Collier (12.6). Moreland, who nearly averaged a double-double at 9.4 points and 10.6 rebounds, is also back. Perhaps the most important improvement in personnel is the return of Brandt, who started as a sophomore and junior before missing all but four games last season with a torn ACL.

10. USC (14-18, 9-9)
Key players gone: Dewayne Dedmon, Jio Fontan, Eric Wise, Renardo Woolridge
Top returners: Chass Bryan, Omar Oraby, Ari Stewart, J.T. Terrell, Byron Wesley
After Dedmon’s surprising leap to the NBA Draft, USC returns only two players who averaged more than 15 minutes per game. Point guard also may be a troublesome issue as Andy Enfield begins his rebuilding job with the Trojans.

11. UTAH (15-18, 5-13)
Key players gone: Glen Dean, Jarred DuBois, Cedric Martin, Justin Seymour, Jason Washburn
Top returners: Dallin Bachynski, Jordan Loveridge, Brandon Taylor
Utah showed signs of progress at the end of last season, earning nearly as many Pac-12 wins (five) as overall wins from the previous season (six). Utah will build around Loveridge, who averaged 12.1 points and seven rounds as a freshman. The Utes still have a long way to go after loading up on junior college players to fill out the roster.

12. WASHINGTON STATE (13-19, 4-14)
Key players gone: Mike Ladd, Brock Motum
Top returners: Will DiIorio, Dexter Kernich-Drew, Devonte Lacy, D.J. Shelton, Royce Woolridge
New faces: Que Johnson (partial qualifier), Brett Kingma (Oregon transfer), Jordan Railey (transfer from Washington State)
The Cougars’ top player, Motum, is gone, and they have few options to replace him. Que Johnson was Washington State’s top recruit last season, but he did not play as a partial qualifier. Coach Ken Bone will be looking for answers if Washington State is gong to be competitive.

<p> Who's gone and who's back in the Pac-12 for 2013-14</p>
Post date: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 - 11:45
Path: /college-football/most-shameful-college-football-games-2013

Everyone likes to win on Homecoming. A quick warm-up game to start the season isn’t bad, either.

The problem is, every program has to pay the bills, too. Guarantee games, in which major programs shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars for games against overmatched opponents from the lower levels, are one of the downsides of college football.

Not all of these games are awful. Every year a few FCS teams, despite fewer scholarships and resources, step up to beat a major program (right, Michigan?).

But most don’t have a chance. These are the games both sides should be embarrassed to play.

This season, Miami and Al Golden receive top honors in this category, though it was a tough call. Oregon will fly a Louisiana team all the way up to Eugene just for a warm-up for two non-conference games against AQ opponents. But Miami gets the nod after we saw last season what happens when Savannah State faces a major conference team (or two).

A few things to establish:

• A shameful game is a proven, major conference program hosting a bad FCS team. And a bad FCS team isn’t just a team with a poor record last year. These are teams that have been the worst of the worst in lower Division I for a few seasons.

• Extra shame points go to teams bringing a bad FCS team across state lines and time zones. If a big-time FBS team is going to crush an overmatched opponent, giving an in-state or regional team a brief taste of major college football is the least the big brother can do.

• Lastly — and this is very important — we do not care why this game was scheduled, and we do not care what other games are on the schedule this season. Last year, Florida State picked up Savannah State because West Virginia backed out of a non-conference game last year. Seminoles fans still wasted time and money to watch a 55-0 beatdown.

So take our advice, skip these games. Don’t buy a ticket. Don’t watch on TV. And athletic directors on both sides, have a little dignity and stop scheduling these opponents.


1. Sept. 21: Savannah State (1-10, 0-8 MEAC) at Miami (team preview)
Welcome back, Savannah State. A year ago, Savannah State earned $860,000 just for losing by a combined 139-0 to Oklahoma State and Florida State to start the season. Mike Gundy practically apologized for not being able to stop his team from running up the score, but at least Florida State failed to cover the 69.5-point spread by winning 55-0. Last year, Savannah State was ranked 243rd among 247 Division I teams in the Sagarin ratings, earning its only win over Edward Waters of the NAIA. Miami coaching legend Howard Schnellenberger once said he’d play anyone, anywhere. This was not what he had in mind.

2. Aug. 31: Nicholls State (1-10, 0-8 Southland) at Oregon (team preview)
Generally, Oregon does a good job with its non-conference schedule. In recent years, the Ducks have faced LSU, Michigan, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Boise State and Fresno State with a handful of those games coming away from Eugene. Offsetting those games have been FCS guarantee games: Tennessee Tech, Missouri State and Portland State in the past three seasons. This year, the Ducks open with Nicholls State before facing Tennessee and Virginia. Oregon will bring the Colonels all the way from Thibodaux, La., to Eugene; a team that has gone 2-20 the past two seasons. And it doesn't look to get much better. After losing to Oregon State 77-3 in the final game of 2012, Nicholls State will face four consecutive FBS teams by visiting Western Michigan and Louisiana-Lafayette after Oregon.

3. Sept. 21: Idaho State (1-10, 0-8 Big Sky) at Washington (team preview)
Like Oregon, Washington isn’t afraid of stepping out of the Pac-12 for a big matchup. The Huskies have faced LSU, Nebraska, BYU, Boise State, Oklahoma and Syracuse in recent seasons. Washington opens with Boise State and Illinois before facing Idaho State, but as we said, that’s no excuse. Idaho State has gone 6-50 in the last five seasons and hasn’t won more than two games in a year since 2007.

4. Nov. 16: Idaho State at BYU (team preview)
Even if finding games is tough for an independent, BYU doesn’t get a free pass for scheduling the Bengals, either.

5. Sept. 14: Lamar (4-8, 1-6 Southland) at Oklahoma State (team preview)
Lamar didn’t play football from 1990-2009, but now the Cardinals find themselves playing in Stillwater four years after resuming the program. A signal of perhaps how this game could go: Lamar lost 54-2 for Hawaii’s only win before Thanksgiving last season.

6. Aug. 31: Austin Peay (2-9, 1-7 OVC) at Tennessee (team preview)
Butch Jones was the coach at Cincinnati in 2011 when the Bearcats defeated Austin Peay 72-10. Now, he gets to do the same as Tennessee’s coach. Austin Peay has had one winning season since 1984 and didn’t return to scholarship football until 2006.

7. Oct. 12: Western Carolina (1-10, 0-8 Southern) at Auburn (team preview)
As bad as Auburn was last season, the Tigers could handle the FCS and the lower levels of FBS. In 2012, Auburn defeated New Mexico State and Alabama A&M by a combined score of 93-14. Meanwhile, Western Carolina has gone 12-66 the last seven seasons which includes shutout losses to Florida, Florida State and Vanderbilt.

8. Aug. 29: Presbyterian (2-9, 0-6 Big South) at Wake Forest (team preview)
What should make this game more shameful for Wake Forest? That Presbyterian won two games last season with one over a Division II team that went 2-9? Or that the Blue Hose lost to Georgia Tech and Vanderbilt by a combined score of 117-3? Presbyterian is 12-44 in the last five seasons and ranked 240th in Sagarin last year.

9. Sept. 7: Tennessee Tech (3-8, 1-7 OVC) at Wisconsin (team preview)
Even with former Tennessee wide receiver Da’Rick Rogers, Tennessee Tech went 3-8 last season, including a 63-14 loss to Oregon. Interesting factoid: Provided Tennessee Tech defeats NAIA Cumberland University in the opener, coach Watson Brown against Wisconsin will “earn” his 191st career loss, passing Amos Alonzo Stagg for the all-time record (tip of the hat to Athlon’s Rob Doster).

10. Sept. 7: South Dakota (1-10, 0-10 MVC) at Kansas (team preview)
Kansas had better win this one, that’s for sure. South Dakota went 1-10 last season in the first season under Joe Glenn, who was fired at Wyoming in 2008 but was successful in the lower divisions at Northern Colorado and Montana.

11. Sept. 21: VMI (2-9, 1-5 Big South) at Virginia (team preview)
Keeping the guarantee money in state is one thing, but this game is egregiously bad. Better to treat this game as a financial transaction than a source of entertainment. VMI is 19-80 since 2004 and was ranked 238th in Sagarin last season.

12. Sept. 7: Southeast Missouri State (3-8, 2-6 OVC) at Ole Miss (team preview)
Ole Miss just signed the nation’s No. 1 recruit, while SEMO is 6-16 the last two seasons with one winning season in the last decade.

13. Nov. 16: Chattanooga (6-5, 5-3 Southern) at Alabama (team preview)
Chattanooga is a mediocre FCS team, but Alabama has been proto-NFL for the last five seasons.

14. Sept. 14: Western Illinois (3-8, 1-7 MVC) at Minnesota (team preview)
Minnesota coach Jerry Kill has made the rounds at Southern Illinois and Northern Illinois. Maybe he’ll show a little compassion for a Western Illinois team that scored 17 points in its final five games last season.

15. Sept. 7: Missouri State (3-8, 3-5 MVC) at Iowa (team preview)
There’s no shame in losing big to Kansas State and Louisville as Missouri State did last season, but the Bears have not won more than six games since 1996.

<p> Which major powers should be embarrassed for these guarantee games?</p>
Post date: Friday, June 7, 2013 - 11:00