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Basketball Star Goodwin Chooses Memphis

Basketball forward prospect Shaq Goodwin from Southwest Dekalb High School in Decatur, Ga., has committed to Memphis.

Goodwin chose Memphis over offers from Florida, Georgia, UCLA and Arizona.

Memphis is also recruiting forward Alex Poythress, who will announce his choice on Thursday. Florida, Kentucky and Vanderbilt are also in the running for Poythress.

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Ole Miss Picks Up Indiana Linebacker

Ole Miss has received a commitment from linebacker Ike Spearman from Lake Central High School in St. John, Ind.

Spearman chose Ole Miss over offers from Cincinnati, Louisville, Minnesota and UCLA. The SEC attraction gave the Rebels the advantage.

I had a feeling about that place as a whole,” Spearman told The Times of Northwest Indiana. “Of all the schools I looked at, Ole Miss was at the top of my list.”

Spearman is the 12th prospect to commit to Ole Miss for 2012.

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Sidney Says He’ll Be Back, But…

When news emerged last week that Renardo Sidney would bypass Mississippi State’s August basketball tour of Europe, the syllables “uh” and “oh” probably popped into most Bulldog fans’ minds.

Sidney has been nothing but trouble since his arrival in Starkville.  He sat for more than a year due to NCAA issues.  He got into a fight with teammate.  The teammate left, Sidney stayed.  He tweeted his support for a teammate’s tweet which was critical of the MSU coaching staff.  The teammate was suspended, Sidney was not.  And now he’s backing out of a European trip to — according to him — try to lose more weight via workouts with ex-NBA player John Lucas in Houston.

So is it true that this just about weight loss?  Would it not be better for team chemistry if Sidney were — you know — an actual part of the team?  Is Rick Stansbury once again allowing Sidney to live by his own set of rules?

When it comes to questions about the talented big man, Brandon Marcello of The Jackson Clarion-Ledger says, “We never know what to believe.”

The coach still says Sidney will be back and will be a member of his team this season.  But Gary Parrish of warned of trouble on the horizon in a weekend blog:

“The whole Sidney-to-Mississippi State story has been a circus from the start and there’s no reason to think it won’t end that way, too.  Put another way, it won’t end well.  That’s my prediction.  It just won’t end well and Stansbury will end up ever enrolling the troubled prospect — that is if he doesn’t regret it already.”

If he regrets it already, Stansbury should stop allowing Sidney to act as though he’s the captain of his own ship.  MSU’s coach has burned up a lot of goodwill over the past couple of seasons and Sidney has been at the center of much of that. 

How ironic that Stansbury might have gone overboard to land someone other schools were running away from — Southern Cal and UCLA were both moonwalking away from Sidney — and in return it could — if all goes wrong — cost him his job.

If Sidney is more trouble than he’s worth again this season and Stansbury’s “special” treatment of him creates a rift on the team, a squad with great potential could go south.  If that happens, Stansbury could find himself in serious trouble at season’s end.

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Kentucky #4 On List Of Best Hoops Jobs

Last week, Andy Staples of ranked the 20 best college football jobs in the country.  Not to be outdone Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News has posted his list of the 10 best college basketball jobs in the US of A.

Want a shock?  John Calipari’s gig at Kentucky doesn’t rank #1.  So it must be behind the North Carolina job at #2, right?  Uh, no.  That would be UCLA. 

So UK ranks third?  Uh-uh.  That’s Texas.  “There’s so much talent and money — and minimal pressure to win it all,” DeCourcy writes of the Longhorns.

And at that point — at #4 on the list — you’ll find Kentucky’s head coaching position.  “Perhaps more than any other program, Kentucky makes certain there is life beyond basketball for those who prove themselves to be committed Wildcats.”

Depending on your point of view, that line could be seen as a positive… or as a possible veiled shot at UK’s history of rules violations.

Reading the comments beneath DeCourcy’s post, it’s clear that most UK fans see their school’s gig as the top job in the country.  And that’s not a shock.

No other SEC jobs make the pundit’s list.

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Michael Flint No Longer Committed To Auburn

Offensive lineman Michael Flint from Oxford (Ala.) High School is no longer committed to Auburn.

Flint was the first prospect to commit to the Tigers for the 2012 class. He has decided he wants to seek other options.

“I had made an early decision, and I just want to take my other vsits and visit other schools,” Flint told “I just started to realize I should take my chances and see what else is out there.”

Flint said he hopes to visit Oregon and UCLA. He also had received offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, LSU, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida State and Notre Dame.

Auburn still has seven commitments for the class of 2012.

Justin Hokanson of said Flint and Auburn “mutually agreed to part ways.”

“Auburn’s class in 2012 will be just fine despite the Flint decommitment,” Hokanson tweeted.

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Preview: Georgia’s “Best of the Best” Basketball Camp

The Under Armour “Best of the Best” basketball tournament will take place this weekend at Atlanta Marist High School.

Michael Carvell of the Atlanta Journal Constitution has a list of the top five Georgia prospects taking part in the camp.

The top player: forward William “Shaq” Goodwin from Southwest DeKalb High School. Carvell spoke with analyst Kerry Willis of about Goodwin:

“Goodwin is the highest-rated player in Georgia (No. 12 by ESPNU) and he has continued to impress scouts with his relentless effort on the boards, his athleticism, and the added ability to be very consistent shooting the ball out to the 3-point line. Plays the game with energy and an infectious smile that crowds love.”

Goodwin is considering Georgia, Florida, Memphis and UCLA, according to the AJC.

For the rest of Carvell’s top prospects playing in this weekend’s tournament, hit the link above.

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UT’s Martin To Face Brutal First-Year Schedule

Best wishes to new Tennessee basketball coach Cuonzo Martin.  This summer he’ll learn what sanctions his program will face due to the actions of his predecessor’s staff.  Then this fall he’ll take a rebuilt roster that lost its two top players from a year ago up against a schedule that includes some of the nation’s most dangerous programs.

“I think our guys will be ready for the challenges physically; it’s a matter of how quickly they pick up the things we want to do on the floor,” Martin told The Knoxville News Sentinel.  “Our returning guys want to prove some people wrong who think we won’t be competitive.  We lost some great players, but our guys continue to work to be champions.”

Championships might be out of reach in the short run.  UT learned yesterday that it will host Pittsburgh in the Big East/SEC Challenge, a year after upsetting the Panthers in their own home city.

That game is added to a nonconference slate that already features road trips to Memphis and Summit League champion Oakland.  The Vols will also play in the Maui Invitational against the likes of Duke, Kansas, UCLA, Michigan and Georgetown.  And, oh yeah, defending national champ UConn will visit Knoxville next season, too.

Tennessee fans will get their wish in seeing the Vols face a top quality schedule.  Whether or not their patient as Martin has to rebuild against said schedule remains to be seen.

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Florida Looking For A Win Tonight, Not Revenge

When Florida’s season ended in the NCAA Tournament last year, its demise came at the hands of Brigham Young.  So facing the Cougars tonight in the Sweet Sixteen in New Orleans, is revenge on the Gators’ minds?

“No, there’s no revenge,” said Vernon Macklin.  “It’s just a regular game for us.  And for them, also.”

Chandler Parsons agrees.  “I think us going into the game, we’re just worried about their team this year.  We can’t be worried about what we did good last year, what we did bad last year.  We have a new team; they have  a new team, new personnel.  So it’s just going to be us against them.”

Billy Donovan must love having a veteran, savvy team for a change.  Indeed, this Florida bunch is an easy team to pull for.  Too bad tonight they’re facing one of the country’s top college heroes in Jimmer Fredette.  The BYU gunner averaged 28.8 points per game this year tallying 1,002 points… on the season.

“In every game that he’s played, everybody’s trying to stop him, everybody’s trying to slow him down, and he still gets 33 a game,” Billy Donovan said yesterday.  “He still averages 28 a game, he still does it regardless.  I’m not comparing him to Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant, but I did make the comment a year ago that I thought Fredette had more of an impact in a college game than John Wall did. … When you’re dealing with a guy like that, there’s a lot of times that you are at his mercy because he’s got the ball in his hands.”

The Gators’ Kenny Boynton is expected to play following a sprained ankle in his last game against UCLA.  “We just practiced (he said yesterday), and I did everything fully.  I had no problems.  I can cut, I did everything good.”

Sidenote — ESPN’s Jay Bilas says Florida is “good enough to play in the Final Four.”  He also thinks “that Florida is the best team remaining (in its bracket), but it’s not by much.”

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Anderson Staying Or Going? Flip A Coin

Mike Anderson is a good basketball coach.  But is a guy who’s reached two Sweet Sixteens in nine seasons really worth this much trouble?

From a quick check of some Missouri blogs, it looks like a few Tiger fans are starting to ask that very question about their current — for right this second — coach.

Various reports since last night have claimed:

1.  Anderson has a two-year extension and a $500,000 raise on the table in Columbia.

2.  Arkansas is ready to give Anderson an offer but it “first must get permission” from Missouri AD Mike Alden to speak with him.  (In other words, UA has been dealing with Jimmy Sexton, has the deal in place, and now just needs to officially shake hands with Anderson.)

3.  Anderson is “extremely close” to accepting the UA job.

4.  Also, The Baxter Bulletin is running with a story that states: “Sources close to college basketball, and sources close to Arkansas said Tuesday night they anticipate Missouri coach Mike Anderson becoming the Arkansas Razorbacks’ next head coach.”

5.  Rivals site is pointing out this morning that reports from Missouri and across the nation have Anderson sticking with the Tigers.  The reports of him landing at Arkansas all seem to come from people in Arkansas.  They also report that AD Jeff Long might turn to UCLA head coach Ben Howland if Anderson decides to stay put.

This much is clear:

1.  Anderson’s agent, Jimmy Sexton, has been negotiating an extension and raise with Missouri since before the Tigers’ tourney run ended.  Some MU boosters say a deal has been in the works for months.

2.  Sexton also appears to have been dealing with Arkansas officials.

3.  Anderson has stated his desire to “retire” in Columbia.  He has turned down more lucrative offers from Georgia and Oregon the past two years.  So it’s possible that Sexton is simply using Arkansas as leverage in his dealings with Mizzou.

4.  But Missouri officials have let it be known that they will only go so far to retain their coach and that appears to be as far as a two-year extension and a bump to $2 million per season. 

5.  Just our take: It’s possible Missouri is trying to call Anderson and Sexton’s bluff and that’s leading to delays… because Anderson truly wants to stay at Mizzou as he’s said.  That’s just a theory, but it’s a theory that wasn’t shot down when I spoke to a source in the Natural State yesterday.

If Anderson does stay at Missouri, he’d better do some serious winning.  You can’t toy with the affection of the hometown fans year after year after year and expect them to like it when you lose to Kansas, finish fifth in your conference and fail to win your first NCAA Tournament game. 

Heck, at this point, Anderson might be better off heading to Fayetteville where Hog fans will rejoice in his arrival.  It sounds like his latest money-grab is rubbing a few Tiger fans the wrong way in Missouri.

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SEC Headlines 3/20/2011

1. Is Arkansas close with Mike Anderson? The coach was in Columbia, Missouri and Hutchinson, Kansas on Saturday.

2. Bruce Pearl awaits his review.

3. David Climer:  ”Those close to Pearl say he is expecting the worst.”

4. If Pearl goes, expect Tobias Harris to leave as well.

5. Mike Strange:  ”When I got back to my desk Saturday from the debacle in Charlotte, I had eight voice messages waiting. All eight were the same: Keep Bruce Pearl. Fire Mike Hamilton.”

6. Florida 73 – UCLA 65.  Erving Walker scores 10 of his 21 points in the last four minutes.

7. Mike Bianchi: “The Florida Gators own the most storied program in all of college basketball.”

8. Kenny Boynton not expected to miss time with his ankle injury which is a good thing because he faces off against Jimmer Fredette and BYU Thursday in New Orleans.

9. Kentucky 71 – West Virginia 63.  Career-high thirty points for Brandon Knight.

10. Yet UK’s MVP may have been DeAndre Liggins.

11. Josh Harrellson - Kentucky’s steadiest player.

12. John Clay: The pressure’s off.

13. Expect a new-look Georgia Bulldogs team in 2012.

14. And a post-mortem on the 2011 edition.

15. Auburn coach Tony Barbee to his team - improve or else.

16. Kevin Scarbinsky: “Abolish the divisions. Make SEC basketball one big, unruly family again.”

17. Today’s tournament schedule.

SEC Football

18. Spencer Ware is a two-sport athlete and a potential star running back for LSU.

19. A “partial scrimmage” for the Tigers on Saturday.

20. Several early commitments for Alabama.

21. The five questions facing the Tide as spring practice begins.

22. Questions about some pictures of Auburn players.

23. Couple of Ole Miss players will miss spring practice.

24.  Stephen Garcia rejoins the Gamecocks after a three practice suspension.


25. One-legged wrestler wins NCAA championship.

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