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SEC Headlines – 6/20/11 Part Three

1.  With Rotnei Clarke on the way out — most likely — Arkansas pulled an oh-fer in its 2008 signing class.

2.  Despite a “George Jefferson” gaffe, this writer thinks Jordan Jefferson held his own at ESPN last week.

3.  Former Mississippi State guard Ravern Johnson thinks he might be drafted by an NBA team.

4.  Despite all the complaining in the Magnolia State, Ole Miss has brought in a record level of donations for the second-straight year.

5.  And now… a ranking of the SECs defensive tackles.

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Ex-MSU Guard Johnson Says Suspension Helped Him

Former Mississippi State guard Ravern Johnson says he’s a better player now than he was during his senior season in Starkville.  In fact, he says his turnaround began with an in-season suspension from Rick Stansbury this past year:

“During the suspension, I had time to sit back and think about a lot of things.  I was wrong about the things that I did, and when I got back to the team I was just real happy and wanted to show them that I wanted to win as much as they did, and to try and do everything in my power to let us win.

Most of the (NBA) teams were talking about that, saying they really liked that.”

Johnson was briefly suspended in February after making negative comments about the coaching staff and the MSU program on Twitter following a loss.

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SEC Headlines – 2/14/11

1.  Auburn’s new $16 million indoor practice facility is going up right on schedule.

2.  Cam Newton has reportedly signed a $1 million endorsement deal with Under Armour.  (That puts $180,000 to shame.)

3.  Bobby Petrino is glad his staff stayed together because it “means we get to stay in the same areas (when recruiting).”

4.  In case you missed it, Ole Miss’ Houston Nutt actually had the nerve to deny running players off from his program.

5.  Last Wednesday night, Rick Stansbury said it was “way too soon to re-evaluate” Ravern Johnson’s indefinite suspension.  But Johnson was back on the court Saturday night.

6.  Florida is up to #14 in the latest AP Poll.

7.  Billy Donovan’s teams have hit the 20-win plateau for 13 consecutive seasons.  Well done, Sir.

8.  As up-and-down as Georgia has been, the Bulldogs are still in second place in the SEC East.

9.  John Calipari wants his team to have a sense of urgency coming home to face Mississippi State and South Carolina.

10.  If he gets into school, Jadeveon Clowney could lead South Carolina to another East Division title this fall.

11.  Clowney’s high school coach says Carolina coaches knew they led for the defensive end from early in the process.

12.  Former teammates and friends convinced the nation’s top recruit to ink with the Gamecocks.

13.  After three losses in a row, Bruce Pearl is considering making point guard changes at Tennessee. 

14.  The Vols aren’t driving the lane enough.

15.  Vandy’s John Jenkins is the SEC Player of the Week and Kentucky’s Terrence Jones is the Freshman of the Week.

16.  This writer ranks the SEC’s quarterbacks situations going into 2011.

17.  Could the wishbone offense work in the SEC?

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Pelphrey, Kennedy And Stansbury All Sit On Hot Seats

Each week, we here at do about 20 radio interviews across the Southeastern Conference footprint.  In recent days, we’ve been asked numerous times by talkshow hosts in Arkansas and Mississippi whether or not John Pelphrey, Andy Kennedy and/or Rick Stansbury should be fired.

The fact we’re being asked those questions tells you that those three coaches are feeling some real heat these days.

Pelphrey has lost two home games in a row in an arena that is no longer filled to capacity.  That includes the luxury seats at Bud Walton Arena, a sign that some significant donors are off the Pelphrey bandwagon.

But Arkansas’ coach will likely be back next year — barring a total collapse — because he has one of the nation’s top signing classes coming to Fayetteville.  Some fans and some media members won’t want to wait ’til next year, but it’s likely AD Jeff Long will do just that.  The school is throwing millions at football and its doubtful UA’s administration will want to buy out a basketball coach, too.  Add it up and Pelphrey will likely face a put-up or pack-up year in 2011-12.

Kennedy is on a two-game winning streak with a home victory over Kentucky and a road win at Arkansas in tow.  But his Rebels still sit at just 3-5 in the SEC West (four games behind Alabama) and Kennedy has yet to take Ole Miss to an NCAA Tournament.  In addition, he’s had his struggles against Mississippi State.

Despite the fact that this hasn’t been the breakthrough year most expected, Kennedy will still probably record his fourth 20-win season and secure yet another NIT bid in the process.  Knowing that his program has the worst gym in the SEC, will AD Pete Boone blow up Kennedy and go hunting for another mid-major, up-and-comer who’ll take the job?  Or will he give Kennedy one more year?  Best bet right now: He’ll give him one more year.

The hottest seat in the conference belongs to Stansbury.  The Bulldogs’ coach is in his 13th year at State — and that’s too long for most coaches to stay in one place.  In that time he’s taken the Bulldogs to six NCAA tourneys, but only two in the last six seasons.  And he’s never progressed past the second round.

Stansbury, until now, has been a solid coach.  His teams tend to improve just as February and March roll around and the Bulldogs are usually one of the tougher outs in the SEC Tournament.  The coach will need for that pattern to repeat in 2011.

State was expected to win the SEC West easily.  Instead they sit three games behind Alabama and turmoil has surrounded the program all season.  From NCAA suspensions for Dee Bost and Renardo Sidney to fist fights between players to insubordination via Twitter to in-season transfers to the latest suspension of leading scorer Ravern Johnson… State’s season is imploding.  And while Stansbury made the right move by suspending Johnson and banning his players from Twitter — all coaches should follow suit — he has not spent much time addressing the internal strife that appears to be holding his team back this year.

MSU would likely have a hard time finding a replacement for Stansbury who would match his successes over 13 years.  But the coach used up a lot of goodwill in fighting for Sidney.  To date that fight hasn’t been worth the effort.

It all comes down to new AD Scott Stricklin.  New bosses like to put their own people in place.  But is the first-year athletic director ready to put a long-standing coach on ice so early in his tenure?  The guess here is no.

That said, Stansbury had better start winning some games.  And he’d better hope there are no other embarrassing episodes that land him and his team on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” for the wrong reasons.

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Stansbury Bans Twitter For Team

Who didn’t see this one coming?

One day after Ravern Johnson ripped him on Twitter — with a post that was re-tweeted by Renardo Sidney — Rick Stansbury has banned MSU’s players from using the social networking site.

“It’s a new world we live in with Twitter and all the things you can do on the internet,” Stansbury said in a statement.  “After the game last night, we had a frustrated player that gets on Twitter and says things that aren’t appropriate.  In the heat of the moment, some young men just don’t understand once they put something out there for everyone to see, there is no taking it back.  That’s why I’m banning the use of Twitter at this point.”

Every coach in America should follow suit.  Twitter and Facebook can only hurt a program.

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MSU’s Johnson Rips Coaching On Twitter

Maybe it’s something in the Oktibbeha County water supply.  For some reason a lot of folks in Starkville have been acting ornery the past few hours.

Following last night’s 75-61 loss to Alabama, Mississippi State senior guard Ravern Johnson took to Twitter to make his thoughts about the loss known:

“Starting to see why people Transfer you can play the minutes but not getting your talents shown because u watching someone else wit the ball the whole game shooters need to move not watch why other coaches get that do not makes sense to me.”

The lack of punctuation was all Johnson’s.  So was the caveman-like speech pattern.  Lord, Twitter sucks.  (So be sure to follow us at  As we’ve stated before dozens of times — all coaches should ban their players from social networking of any kind.  Period.

But the bottom line is this: MSU’s season is teetering on the brink of disaster.  The team’s NCAA hopes are likely gone.  Being favored to win the West has meant nothing.  The squad has faced suspensions (handed down by the NCAA and the head coach), player-on-player fist fights, bad press over that incident, two in-season player transfers, and — according to Dee Bost — an overall lack of heart. 

Now a senior has called out Rick Stansbury on the internet.  Not good.  Not good at all.

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SEC Headlines – 12/15/10 Part One

1. There’s new new word on the Kirby Smart to Florida front.  (LINK FIXED)

2.  Alabama’s basketball team is 4-0 at home and 0-5 on the road.  Good thing they play Southeast Louisiana at home tonight.

3.  Here’s hoping you put money on Auburn to win the national title before the season started… ’cause you could really cash in.

4.  Auburn travels to South Florida tonight. Tony Barbee was encouraged by the Tigers’ play in their first game away from home (a 63-54 loss to Rutgers on Saturday).

5.  Arkansas hosts Mississippi Valley State in Fayetteville tonight.

6.  Ole Miss’ frontcourt continues to evolve.

7.  Sounds like his MSU teammates would like to get some licks in on mouthy freshman quarterback Dylan Favre.

8.  Mississippi State knocked off Alabama State 67-46 in front of just 2,776 fans last night.  (Ravern Johnson was held out for missing too many classes.)

9.  Renardo Sidney will finally make his Bulldogs debut tonight…

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SEC Basketball Headlines 11/13/2010

1. Alabama defeats Florida A&M 76-37.

2. Auburn opens new arena with an overtime loss to UNC-Asheville 70-69.

3. Florida opens its season with a 77-60 victory over UNC Wilmington.

4. Georgia Bulldogs survive scare - beat Mississippi Valley State 72-70.

5. With no Enes Kanter, Kentucky beats East Tennessee State 88-65.

6. LSU opens with an 87-78 victory over Northwestern State.

7. Ravern Johnson’s career-high 32 points led Mississippi State to a 75-65 victory over Tennessee State.

8. Ole Miss rallies to beat Arkansas State 68-60.

9. Six players in double figures for South Carolina – Gamecocks beat Elon 94-79.

10. Tennessee beats Chattanooga 82-62.

11. A triple-double for Brad Tinsley as Vandy blows out Presbyterian 88-47.

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Bulldog Hoops Notches Victory In Season Opener, 75-65

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Mississippi State's Ravern Johnson poured in a career high 32 points as the Bulldogs defeated Tennessee State 75-65 in the season-opening men's college basketball game of the 2010-11 season played Friday night in Humphrey Coliseum.

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SEC Headlines – 11/11/10 Part One

1.  Marcus Lattimore says Arkansas’ linebackers always seemed to be in the right place against South Carolina.

2.  Bobby Petrino will be going against Mike Price – one of his mentors — when the Hogs face UTEP on Saturday.

3.  Freshman kicker Ryan Hocker is impressing folks with his range and consistency.

4.  LSU has received a mixed bag of news on the injury front.

5.  Tiger backups have been picking up the slack from their fallen comrades.

6.  Trent Johnson’s basketball team will play in the Charleston Classic tournament in November of 2011.  (If they’re smart they’ll grab a bite at Fleet Landing and kick back at The Rooftop Bar while they’re in town.)

7.  Yes, Mississippi State did blow the whistle on Cam Newton’s recruitment.

8.  It turns out that losing out on Newton might not have been such a bad thing for the Bulldogs after all.

9.  Linebacker KJ Wright has been making noise alongside Chris White.

10.  MSU’s leading returning scorer, Ravern Johnson, has been out of practice with a knee injury and could miss Friday’s opener.

11.  Jeremiah Masoli still hasn’t been cleared to play Saturday against Tennessee.  (Gamesmanship?  Most likely.)

12.  Ole Miss coaches want their running backs to stay between the tackles.

13.  Kicker Bryson Rose has become a dependable weapon for the Rebels.

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