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SEC Headlines – 5/25/2011 Afternoon Edition

1. Is Auburn a possibility for Tate Forcier?

2. Running back Mike Blakely signed with Florida – he’s transferring to Auburn.

3. Earnest Ross and Ty Armstrong are leaving the Auburn basketball program.

4. If you want to end up in the BCS title game, don’t start the year as the preseason #1.

5. Tim Tebow talks about his new book.

6. Will Muschamp is pleased with Florida’s academic progress and thinks the media misinterpreted his decision to boot Janoris Jenkins from the team.

7. Mark Bradley: Georgia “is clearly doing something right.”

8. Trey Thompkins body fat may hurt his draft stock.

9. A $100,000 tornado relief donation from Florida Citrus Sports.

10. Jon Soloman on the specifics of the oversigning proposal.

Extra

11. CNBC anchor Mark Haines – R.I.P.

12.  Former Kansas City Royals great Paul Splittorff - R.I.P.

13. Guess which team the gamblers love for the Super Bowl?

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SEC Winners And Losers In Hoops

Jeff Goodman of FoxSports.com is weighing in on the NBA draft decisions of a number of players across the country… and he sees a couple of SEC stars as winners, one as a loser.

Among his winners are Kentucky’s Terrence Jones who elected to stay in school — “He’ll probably move up slightly next year, but he can help win a national title and be better prepared for the next level” — UK’s DeAndre Liggins who chose to stay in the draft — “And with this draft being so weak, this was his best chance to earn guaranteed money.”

But not all is peachy.  Georgia’s Travis Leslie is classified as a “what were they thinking” guy after deciding to leave school early.  “With the departure of teammate Trey Thompkins, the athletic Leslie would have received a chance to be a focal point of Mark Fox’s offense.  His skill set needs to improve significantly,” writes Goodman.

Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings draws a mention as one of the biggest winners in this year’s coming-going NBA draft shuffle.  “Vanderbilt’s coach had three guys that may have been drafted somewhere and none of them — Jeff Taylor, Festus Ezeli and John Jenkins — even tested the waters.  The Commodores are a legit top 10 preseason team.”

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What’s The Future Hold For Ole Miss And Kennedy?

Parrish Alford of The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal believes Ole Miss is at a crossroads of sorts.  Andy Kennedy has won games — four times in five years he’s won 20 — but he hasn’t reached an NCAA Tournament.  At many schools that’s a good way to earn a pink slip.  But that might not be the case in Oxford.

According to Alford:


You should never change head coaches without a plan to make the program better.  Given the state of facilities and the money currently invested in salaries, Ole Miss would not lure an immediate impact coach.

So, what then?  Do you get in the game, announce a bold plan for a new building and pump cash into a big name?

If not, your choices are to get behind Kennedy, increase his resources, or simply plan to turn the position over every five years.  You look for the “hot” mid-major name going at the time and hope at some point you land a Mark Fox.


Good points.  But let’s take things a step further.  Fox inherited future NBA’ers Travis Leslie and Trey Thompkins.  So at this early stage of his Georgia rebuild, it’s still too early to mark him down in the “great hire” column.  Ditto Anthony Grant.  Both have recorded one winning season in two years at their schools.

That’s not a knock on Fox or Grant.  We just think it’s important to remember that most schools do fall into the hot name/five years/hot name/five years routine… and most of the time it doesn’t pay dividends.  Even now, no one can definitively say that Fox and Grant are guaranteed winners.

In other words, UM would be better off keeping Kennedy and trying to find the money to upgrade Tad Smith Coliseum.

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SEC Headlines – 3/18/11 Part Two

1.  Florida “came out with a tough mindset” and blew out UCSB 79-51 yesterday.

2.  The Gators’ defense made the difference yesterday.

3.  Quarterback John Brantley says of Charlie Weis’ new offense: “This is more my style.”

4.  Georgia has been soaking up the NCAA Tournament atmosphere.

5.  Washington’s coach is worried about trying guard Trey Thompkins.

6.  The Dawgs have added South Alabama to their 2014 football schedule.

7.  Kentucky’s veterans stepped up yesterday as its freshmen faltered.

8.  Here’s more love for UK’s upperclassmen following Thursday’s 59-57 squeaker.

9.  If Princeton was able take UK to the wire, what should Cat fans expect tomorrow against West Virginia?

10.  This writer believes Bruce Pearl’s next loss will be his last as Tennessee’s coach.

11.  Michigan — today’s opponent for UT — has been as unpredictable as the Vols this season.

12.  Athletic director Mike Hamilton continues to take a beating over his ill-timed statements regarding Pearl.

13.  So much for March Madness… it was another March Meltdown for Vanderbilt.

14.  Jeffery Taylor shot just 1-for-10 in the Commodores’ 69-66 loss to Richmond.

15.  Spring practice provides a truly fresh start for Vandy.

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SEC Headlines – 3/16/11 Part Two

1.  Here are five questions facing Florida in spring practice.

2.  Enough questions, here are five goals for the Gators this spring.

3.  Quite a few players will miss or see limited action during Will Muschamp’s first practices.

4.  Florida’s got a pretty easy tourney path.

5.  Georgia’s Mark Fox has fond memories and strong ties to first-round opponent Washington.

6.  Trey Thompkins finally gets his shot at “one shining moment.”

7.  UGA tailback Caleb King is ready to mentor Isaiah Crowell.  (Wonder if Dawg fans like the sound of that?)

8.  Darius Miller has become a scoring threat for Kentucky at just the right time.

9.  This writer provides a list of 20 things Cat fans should know about Princeton.

10.  Stephen Garcia can’t seem to keep his nose clean.  (Or other parts of his body, for that matter.)

11.  If Carolina wants to reach a BCS bowl in 2011, this writer says it will need Garcia to be on his best behavior.

12.  Marijuana possession charges against incoming Tennessee freshman running back Marlin Lane have been dropped in Volusia County, Florida.

13.  Bruce Pearl is putting Cameron Tatum back in the Vols’ starting lineup after bringing him off the bench in an SEC tourney loss to Florida.

14.  If Pearl returns next year — and that’s a big, big if — he might go back to the pressing style that brought him such early success at UT.

15.  Vanderbilt will probably show Richmond and their three-point gunners more man defense than zone.

16.  Kevin Stallings says teams don’t defend the basket the way they used to… instead they defend the three-point line.

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SEC Headlines – 3/9/11 Part One

1.  Brad Nessler becomes Mr. SEC Tournament this week.  (And that’s a good thing… Nessler’s as solid as they come.)

2.  Billy Donovan and Candler Parsons are honored and humbled to take home trophies for their work this season.

3.  Rick Pitino believes Florida could be “a potential national champion.”  (Think Donovan will thank his old boss for that bit of added pressure?)

4.  Trey Thompkins — the SEC’s preseason Player of the Year — made the first-team All-SEC squad despite a series of injuries.

5.  Spring practice brings new hope… and more questions in Athens.

6.  Here are 10 Dawgs to watch this spring.

7.  What if Kentucky and Louisville met again in the NCAA Tournament?

8.  SI.com has a new, lengthy profile of John Calipari up and it’s a MUST READ piece.

9.  Sounds like this Lexington writer doesn’t want ex-UK coach Billy Gillispie to land the Texas Tech job.

10.  South Carolina’s Sam Muldrow got some love from the league’s coaches yesterday.

11.  The Gamecocks have released their pre-spring depth chart.

12.  Tennessee will get a do-over — just like Phil in “City Slickers” — when they face Arkansas tomorrow.

13.  But if the game is decided by three-point marksmanship, the Vols could be in trouble. 

14.  It’s been 60 years — yep, 60 — since Vanderbilt won the SEC Tournament.  (Save the emails, we know, there was no tourney between 1952 and 1979.)

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SEC Headlines – 3/3/11 Part Two

1.  John Pelphrey isn’t the only coach in the SEC feeling heat.  Ole Miss’ come-from-ahead loss to woeful Auburn last night can’t be good for Andy Kennedy’s job security.

2.  The Rebels shot 56% in the first half… but just 26% in the second.

3.  Mississippi State wrapped up a first-round bye in the SEC Tournament with its big road win at Arkansas last night.

4.  As usual, Rick Stansbury’s team seems to be peaking right at SEC tourney time.

5.  Winner of two national championships, Billy Donovan has never won SEC Coach of the Year honors (and he’ll likely finish behind Anthony Grant this year).

6.  Florida shot 69% in the second half against Alabama on Tuesday.  The Tide allow their opponents to shoot just 39% on the year.

7.  Georgia’s now got 20 wins in its pocket and took another step toward an NCAA bid with a blowout win over LSU last night.

8.  Senior Jeremy Price dropped to his knees and kissed the big G logo at center court as he left last night’s game.

9.  In a bit of bad news, Trey Thompkins may miss UGA’s big game at Alabama on Saturday with an injured toe.

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SEC Headlines 2/19/2011

SEC Basketball

1. Georgia at Tennessee.  Get on the couch and tell me about your mother.  Vols employ psychology against the Bulldogs.

2. Travis Leslie is quite the dunker while Trey Thompkins is struggling.

3. Ole Miss at Mississippi State.  Relax and don’t foam at the mouth, Kennedy tells his Rebels.

4. Renardy Sidney is under the microsope.

5. South Carolina at Kentucky. It’s not how you start the game – it’s how you end it, Calipari tells his Cats.

6. Kentucky expects South Carolina to fire up the three-point shots today.

7. Vanderbilt at Auburn. Tigers try to bounce back from worst defeat since 2005.  Vandy looks for fifth win a row and 20th of the season.

8. Arkansas at Alabama.  Tide seeks revenge and looks to clinch a piece of the SEC West title. Alabama knows it needs to stop Rotnie Clarke.

9. Florida at LSU (Sunday).  Chandler Parsons unlikely to start.

Toomer’s Corner Oaks

10. Harvey Updyke posts bail.

11. Jon Solomon on Auburn vs. Alabama.  ”Words matter. And the words spoken in this state over the past couple years have been ugly.”

12. Mike Bianchi: “The University of Alabama fan who allegedly murdered those trees at Toomer’s Corner in Auburn is just as disgusting, if not more so, than renowned dog killer Michael Vick.”

13.  Retired AD David Housel: “Auburn is much more than an oak tree.”

14. A big rally today. The Governor of Alabama weighs in as do the head coaches.

Extra

15. Why 2012 could be a huge year for recruiting in the state of Alabama.

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UGA’s Fox Thinks His Team Should Be Better

This week, Georgia basketball coach Mark Fox stated what many Bulldog fans have been thinking for the past month:  “I think our team should be better.”

Stegeman Coliseum was upgraded last offseason.  Georgia fans were salivating for this season like, well, like Bulldogs.  Two future NBA stars were returning to Athens to “do something special.”  2010-11 was going to be a blast.

Only it hasn’t been.  “There’s no question we’ve let a win or two get away,” Fox said.  “I’m probably my biggest critic.  I think our team should be better.  And that’s my responsibility.”

Hey, it’s not easy to build a basketball program.  Especially in the tougher half of the SEC.  (Would Alabama be 9-2 if they had to play the East’s teams twice each and the West’s teams just once each?)

Georgia still controls its own destiny in terms of the NCAA Tournament.  If the tourney started today, UGA would likely be in it.  Barely.  But win two of the following remaining games — at Tennessee, at Florida, at Alabama — and Fox’s team would probably assure itself of an at-large bid.

So why is a 17-8 season so disappointing at a school that hasn’t seen 19 wins in a season (postseason included) since 2002-03?  Two reasons:

1.  The return of Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie raised expectations.

2.  The Dawgs have lost four games to good teams at home.  Tennessee, Florida, Xavier and Vanderbilt have all escaped Athens with victories.  If those losses had come outside of Athens, UGA fans could have chalked them up to the road.  But by dropping games against good foes at home, Fox’s team has sent its fans a message that they’re just not quite ready for primetime.

Fox needs a strong finish.  As we wrote recently, now is the time for him to build up equity that he can fall back on while his program goes through growing pains.  He needs to take advantage of Thompkins and Leslie while they’re still around.

So far, that hasn’t happened enough in 2010-11.  The Dawgs should be better.

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NBA Scout Analyzes SEC Prospects

Seth Davis of SI.com teamed up with an unnamed NBA scout this week to breakdown 56 of the nation’s best players.  Of the 56, eight are current SEC stars.

Below are the anonymous scout’s take on each:


Scotty Hopson, Tennessee — “He’s all over the place.  He’s talented, but he worries me.  Which Scotty are you going to get?  He looks like an NBA wing, but too often his body language is poor and he just disappears.”

Terrence Jones, Kentucky — “He’s a lottery pick.  He scores inside and in transition.  His shot is low, but if he takes his time he can make shots.  Hee needs to be a little less selfish with the basketball, but he’s a talented kid.  He’s a poor man’s Michael Beasley.  I’m not sure I trust his shot yet, but man, he competes.  People ask, ‘What position is he?’  I say he’s a basketball player.”

Brandon Knight, Kentucky — “Mature personality, fantastic worker, can really shoot the basketball.  Winning matters to him.  He’s in the first round if he comes out, for sure.  People try to compare him to Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans, but he’s not at their level.  The one thing I will say about him is he’s an absolute gym rat.  He loves being in the gym and working on his game.  He may not be a prototypical point guard, but with his work ethic, size, speed and ability to shoot, you have to take a chance on him.”

Travis Leslie, Georgia — “Man oh man, what an athlete.  He plays hard and he’s getting better.  Shooting is not his thing, but he’s a great slasher.  I’ve talked to some scouts who are crazy about him because the game is so wide open in the league.  Let him run the lane, throw it up and he’ll go get it.”

Chandler Parsons, Florida — “He’s good.  He’s big, he shoots it some, he has just never been really consistent.  He gets 18 points one game and the next he’s 2-for-7.  But we’re a league that wants to like him because of his size, and he’s a pretty good athlete, better than a lot of people think.  I feel like he’s starting to get it.  I think he can get drafted.”

Renardo Sidney, Mississippi State – “I have no interest in him.  He’s a fat kid.  The history on him is just not good.  If he had no baggage and it was just a weight issue, then he’d probably get more attention.  If you’re going to have a weight issue plus baggage, you better be Shaquille O’Neal off the charts.  Now some other tam might say he’s talented, we can deal with all this stuff, let’s take him.  But he’s not for me.”

Jeffery Taylor, Vanderbilt — “He could sneak his way into the middle of the first round.  He’s got a nice package.  He’s quiet, doesn’t cause a ruckus, but I don’t mind that.  Some people say they want more emotion, but I don’t think a kid has to be a thug to not be soft.”

Trey Thompkins, Georgia — “A little soft, but very skilled for his size.  He’s an NBA player for sure.  He’ll be a good pick-and-pop player.  You might even be able to drag him to the three-point line one day because his stroke is pretty good.  I think he’ll struggle defensively against the better athletes, but somebody will take him in the first round.  He can get you 10 or 12 points off the bench, and there’s a lot of value in that.”

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