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Five SEC Players Selected In The NBA Draft With Nerlens Noel’s Drop Costing Him Millions

NBA DraftKentucky, Florida, Georgia and Missouri were all represented in Thursday’s night draft with Kentucky the only SEC team with two players selected.

Former UK players Nerlens Noel and Archie Goodwin were both taken in the first round and both were promptly traded.. Noel, projected by many as the first overall pick, was selected sixth overall by New Orleans.  But he won’t be playing for the Pelicans with former Kentucky player Anthony Davis,  Minutes later, he was reportedly traded to the Philadelphia 76ers. Goodwin was taken by Oklahoma City with the next-to-last pick of the first round and then he was traded to Phoenix.

As the sixth overall pick, Noel is guaranteed just over $5.4 million his first two years in the league.   UNLV forward Anthony Bennett, selected first overall, is guaranteed almost $9.1 million over the same time period. John Calipari has now had 11 one-and-done players at Kentucky.  All have been drafted in the first round.

Former Georgia Bulldog Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was the other SEC player selected in the first round.  The Detroit Pistons took Caldwell-Pope with the eighth overall pick.  He becomes the highest Bulldog selection since Dominique Wilkins went third overall back in 1982.

Two SEC players were taken in the second round.  Florida’s Erik Murphy went to the Chicago Bulls with the 49th overall pick.  He will join former Gator Joakim Noah in Chicago.  Murphy becomes the 17th player drafted under Florida coach Billy Donovan. Alex Oriakhi, who spent one year at Missouri after starting his career at Connecticut, was taken by the Phoenix Suns with the 57th overall selection. His former teammate, guard Phil Pressey who left school early to enter the draft, was not taken.  He is reportedly signing a free-agent contract with the Boston Celtics. Pressey was one of several undrafted early entries. B.J. Young and Marshawn Powell of Arkansas were among those not selected.

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“Out Of Jail” And “Off Twitter”: OU DC Mike Stoops Offers Advice To Johnny Manziel, Then Apologizes

gfx - they said itFrom gratuitous insult to late-night apology, the age of instant media was on full display Friday.

It started on an Oklahoma City sports talk show where Sooners defensive coordinator Mike Stoops was the guest.  Stoops had some glowing comments for Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel and his performance in the Aggies 41-13 Cotton Bowl victory. “I’ve seen a lot of football players play a lot of different styles with guys, but never seen anything like that in my whole life.”

But Stoops decided to ratchet things up  a notch and that’s where it got interesting.


“They’re gonna be tough to deal with. If they can keep him out of jail or keep him eligible, he’s gonna be pretty good.

“If they can keep him off the Twitter, he might win three or four Heismans. He’ll have that type of ability.”


As expected, the twittersphere/blogosphere exploded and the comments went viral. Stoops comments alluded to  an incident over the summer where Manziel was charged with disorderly conduct and having a fake drivers license and some photos on his Twitter account where Manziel hasn’t been shy about celebrating the good life in the wake of his Heisman Trophy win.

News of Stoops’ comments apparently made its way to Manziel who posted a picture and a note on Twitter:


“Great visit to the hospital today in Connecticut made a ton of new friends. Hopefully this picture passes compliance..”


By late night Friday night, Stoops was backtracking. Through an OU spokesman, Stoops wanted everyone to know he had the “utmost respect for Texas A&M and Johnny Manziel.”

Manziel, it should be noted, had 516 total yards against Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl, including an FBS bowl record 229 rushing yards.

You can listen to a podcast of the interview here.  The part about Manziel is at the end.


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Alabama Lands Commitment No. 9 For 2012

Alabama has received a commitment from running back Justin Taylor from Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta.

Taylor committed to the Crimson Tide immediately after receiving a scholarship offer from Alabama coach Nick Saban on Monday morning.

“At the beginning of my ninth-grade season I would always watch Alabama,” Taylor said, according to “I used to think that could be my No. 1 school, and it’s been my No. 1 school. When I heard they were interested in me that was an advantage for them. When I got the offer I committed.”

Taylor is Alabama’s ninth commitment for the class of 2012. He’s the first running back to commit to the Crimson Tide.

Alabama is also hoping to land highly-touted tailback Barry Sanders Jr. from Oklahoma City. The recruitment of Sanders has been scrutinized recently, although that shouldn’t be an obstacle in the Crimson Tide’s recruitment of Sanders.

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Did Saban Break Rules By Visiting Recruit?

Yesterday we told you that Oklahoma City recruit Barry Sanders Jr. had told the press that Alabama’s Nick Saban had told him that Mark Ingram was turning pro early.

Sanders is a junior in high school.  Saban met with him on Wednesday at his high school.

Whoops.  Now folks from Oklahoma to Auburn — especially Auburn — are asking questions.  Here’s why…

An extended conversation between Saban and Sanders is a potential violation of NCAA Bylaw which states: “Off-campus recruiting contacts shall not be made with an individual (or his or her relatives or legal guardians) before July 1 following the completion of his or her junior year in high school.”

Further, NCAA Bylaw defines contact as “any face-to-face encounter between a prospective student-athlete… during which any dialogue occurs in excess of an exchange of a greeting.  Any such face-to-face encounter that is prearranged or that takes place on the ground of the prospective student-athlete’s institution… shall be considered a contact.”

That photo at left seems to show a pretty clear face-to-face encounter between Saban and Sanders.  (Sidenote — It’s reported that that is Barry Sanders Jr. in the photo, but we at MrSEC have no idea if that’s him or not. believes it’s him.)

According to — the Rivals site covering Alabama — Sanders said, “Coach Saban came to my school this week to talk to some of my coaches and I saw him for a quick moment passing by in the halls.”

Saban is well known for the accidental bump-into.  In fact, he’s had so many “bump-intos” with recruits that the NCAA chose to implement what’s been called “The Saban Rule,” banning such “accidental” run-ins and keeping head coaches from making recruiting visits during the spring evaluation period.

In case you’re wondering, a violation of would be secondary in nature. 

However, Alabama is currently serving an NCAA probation.  Also, the NCAA has begun suspending coaches — like Saban pal Tom Izzo of Michigan State — for violating certain secondary rules.

In other words, if the NCAA takes note of this one and determines that a rule was violated — given Saban’s history with this type of violation — the spanking could be a bit more severe than it might have been just a year or two ago.

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