Some season previews are starting to leak out, more former players are signing with professional teams and lots of scouting news in this week's edition of Sunday Links. Also, what to do with Northwestern, Big Ten expansion talk and other notes.
-Former UIC guard Josh Mayo has signed with French Pro-B team Stade Clermontois. His former teammate Jeremy Butell, continuing his internship in the UIC Sports Information Department, got a chance to talk with Mayo. Another former UIC guard, Cedrick Banks, is also going to continue playing in France. Banks signed with Entente Orleanaise Loiret according to Chicago Hoops. -Villanova by the Numbers is another statistically based college basketball blog that mostly covers the Wildcats. There's also some good research done on Big East basketball and DePaul's Will Walker was mentioned in one of the recent articles. He was named as one of nine rising seniors to watch during the 2009-10 season. The biggest key for Walker next season will be trusting his shot and taking good looks. He can't fall into the Dar Tucker trap of shooting every time he gets the ball. From watching and speaking with Walker last season I don't think that will be a problem. Mac Koshwal was also briefly mentioned in VbtN's rising juniors to watch.
-The Big East is talking about, but certainly not acting on, expansion. The 16-team basketball conference is bloated enough. It certainly doesn't need any more action, but like everything in college athletics, it's about the football programs. In a recent mailbag on ESPN.com Big East writer Brian Bennett said, "I think the league did pretty well in adding its football members, who
have all proven worthy. Marquette has also been a nice addition in
basketball. DePaul, though, is clearly a disaster and was a mistake.
It's one that could and should be fixed." In the meantime the Big East will continue to attempt to make the 16-team Big East Tournament work. Kevin McNamara of the Providence Journal said the Big East is considering a new format - again - which would have the top four seeds play the bottom four seeds on day one of the tournament.
-Another conference that keeps talking about expansion and never doing anything about it is the Big Ten - well... 11. The conference needs one more football team to host a conference championship game, but the likelihood of that happening anytime soon is almost nil according to SI reporter, and Northwestern grad, Stewart Mandel. He told the First And Big Ten blog that, "Unless Notre Dame has a change of heart, there will never be a 12-team
Big Ten / championship. They have no need for it. None of the other
potential schools expand their TV reach, which is already the biggest
in the sport."
-The Peoria Journal star had a great article about the flimsy nature of the basketball careers of top prospects. Kirk Wessler took a look at high school rivals Damon Stoudamire and Howard Nathan and how their careers turned out so differently in "Two paths diverged on a yellow wood." Nathan was declared academically ineligible at DePaul after being named Illinois' Mr. Basketball and eventually played at Louisiana-Monroe. Stoudamire of course played at Arizona after being named Oregon's Mr. Basketball and went on to play in the NBA.
-The Bradenton Herald ran a piece about the hiring of Greg Greenwell as DePaul's new Media Relations Director. Greenwell was a Palmetto High School grad, so it's a big deal for the area. Hopefully Greenwell can do two things: 1) Promote the non-revenue sports that DePaul is very successful in - of which there are many - and 2) Find a way to make the basketball team more accessible and bring more fans to Allstate Arena.
-DePaul's summer report on NBE Basketball reads like the final chapter of Jerry Wainwright's career. While a few wins are predicted, there also the prediction of another last-place finish and another long winter in Lincoln Park.
-There's a bunch of good recruiting articles popping up as the summer recruiting season starts to end and the official visits begin to pick up. Griffin McKenzie - a 6'8" forward from Cincinnati who is rated as 3-stars by Scout.com - is coming to visit Northwestern on August 20th. Why is he coming then? Very few students will be on campus yet. Hopefully he'll like Evanston, the facilities and hear the right things from Bill Carmody. The Wildcats could use some front court depth in the 2010 class. Griffin is also considering home town Xavier, Wake Forest, Vanderbilt, Tennessee and Ohio State. Also, Northwestern brought in four players from Georgia's Southern Kings to check things out in Evanston. All four of the players are class of 2011 recruits.
-Finally, Welsh-Ryan Ramblings asks, "What will it take to change the perception of Northwestern basketball?" I think the Wildcats need to make an NCAA Tournament in order to really change their national perception. Sure, star players, promotional appearances and post season invitations are great, but until you're playing in March Madness on CBS you're just another school. Northwestern needs to take that final critical step. Could this year be the one they do it? As an aside, there's a poll running on W-RR that asks for people's feelings about Bill Carmody. The current total of 35 voters seems to be in his camp with 20 votes for "Carmody's a good coach, people should stop complaining." While I do think he's a great X-and-O guy, I'd like to see him do more in recruiting. He's certainly an excellent teacher of the game, I wonder what he'd do with even more talent.