We are concentrating mostly on 2013 prospects. With only one to two maximum available for 2012, we will look for the best players available for this year’s class -- not looking necessarily for a position, but someone who fits into our “Louisville First” attitude. We have a number of prospects who fit that theme, players who have great passion for the game and will pay the price to reach their potential. We are down to eight players.
The 2013 class is loaded with potential. This class has size and outstanding point guards. We are recruiting the West Coast much harder than in the past.
I have really enjoyed the competition early on with the AAU tournaments. Peach Jam is coming up and that has always been my favorite event of the summer.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly:
That is the title of the famous Clint Eastwood movie. Is it also what we name the edited film session after a game. The teaching points are the good and bad segments. The ugly is for laughs, like a cheerleader getting us a technical that could have lost us an important game. If any of you are interested, he lives right down the street from Sarah Palin.
Let’s get started!
Gorgui Dieng: Up from 217 pounds to 233. Our goal by October 15th is 245.
Kyle Kuric: Having a work filled summer. King Kyle has been concentrating on driving left and getting to the foul line. He is leaving “Kyle’s Corner” on a regular basis.
Chris Smith: Coming off a surprise junior season. Basketball junkie. Can’t get enough of working out. He lives in the gym.
Jared Swopshire: According to Fred Hina, America’s Best Trainer, his improvement is slow and gradual. He is working out but the pain after surgery is still present. We hope to have him ready by October 1st.
Rakeem Buckles: His rehabilitation is going along as planned. May be ahead of schedule. If he is not 100% by October 15th, red shirting will be an option. This will also depend on the improvements of Chane.
Chane Behanan: Speaking of him, he has lowered his body fat to 10.2%. Everyone must be under 10 by September 4th, except Coach Kevin Keatts and Vinny Tatum. Coach Keatts will need till October 15th and Vinny the Vest will need till 2022. Chane has to make some major adjustments for the college game, but his potential is off the charts. The Bahamas and practice will be great for him.
Zach Price: Conditioning, conditioning and conditioning are his major weakness. Strength training, quickness drills and stamina have been summer goals of this outstanding young man. Practice for the Bahamas will also be extremely helpful.
Russ Smith: I have been told by Peyton and Chris that Russ is improving. We are looking for him to dribble less and make the passes to open people. The back-up point guard sport is a crucial one for us.
Elisha Justice (AKA The Bullet): Haven’t heard too much about the Pride of the Mountains, which means he is doing what he always does: work hard with great humility. Played more last year than I expected and that will give him a leg up entering his sophomore season.
Mike Marra: Having a more productive summer. Competition at his position will be heavy, which should bring out the best in Mike.
Stephan Van Treese: Working hard on his outside shot and free throws. This is a must if he has a shot of getting minutes this season.
Wayne Blackshear & Kevin Ware: They are not on campus. They are finishing up their classes at home. We expect big things from both young men. Wayne hasn’t played basketball in months due to shoulder surgery. Hoping to have him ready by September. Kevin is an explosive athlete that I’m extremely excited to have on our roster. He can play multiple positions.
Peyton Siva: Developing a consistent jumper is the key to his future. Made the jump from a combo guard to a true point. Great quickness and speed. Improved his passing immensely. Like Chris Smith, a gym rat with an incredible attitude. He is my top five of all-time as a person. Super young man.
Angel Nunez: Just arrived for summer school. Chris, Peyton and Kyle have not given me any feedback yet.
Tim Henderson: Needs a consistent jump shot, has everything else. Strength training and stamina building will be a big help.
Mark Jackson: Has a long way to go before he steps onto the court. He will get it done.
Luke Hancock: I’ve had many transfers and they all have had outstanding success -- Mark Pope, Travis Ford, Derek Anderson, Chris Smith, David Padgett and now Luke Hancock from George Mason.
I’m really excited to have this young man in our program. Shoots, passes, rebounds and has an 81% free throw percentage. He will be real helpful in practice this season.
That’s the Good and now the “BAD”
It comes from Providence where the BIG EAST office is located. Except the conference schedule was mapped out in Players Corner Pub in downtown Providence.
We play three teams twice. You are supposed to play one team in the top tier twice, another in the second tier twice and a team in the third tier twice. The coaches vote on rankings.
The top five teams look like this according to the coaches
That could be the top tier. Well, we should play one, correct? No, we are playing Syracuse and Pitt twice. Here’s the big kicker: we play Cincinnati, our chief rival, for the second straight year on the road. This will also be the third time in three years we have had to travel to West Virginia. I love seeing Hugs, but could we get to do it in Louisville? We all understand television plays a role in scheduling, but playing the top three out of five on the road is a little ridiculous.
So here are a couple suggestions for the guys hanging out at the Pub. No repeat games on the road unless coming off a double game.
And now for something radical. In my opinion, 17 teams is too big. Have two divisions in our conference. Call it whatever the boys come up with from the Pub. For now, we will call it the East and West.
1. Villanova 1. Syracuse
2. Georgetown 2. Pitt
3. St. John’s 3. Louisville
4. DePaul 4. West Virginia
5. Marquette 5. Cincinnati
6. Seton Hall 6. TCU
7. Providence 7. Rutgers
8. Notre Dame 8. UConn
You could possibly add a ninth team to the East. One major conference with two divisions who don’t play each other except at Madison Square Garden.
You build rivalries within your division. Each team would play 16 league games. Everything would be fair and level for everyone. The tournament at MSG is where we will have cross competition. After the byes, East 1 will play West bottom and vice versa. We would all play each other twice in our division. Rivalries will be created. And the schedule will be fair for everyone. It’s food for thought. The special logistics will be worked out by the boys at the Pub.
We need something bold for the best basketball conference in America.
The NBA lockout. It could be a longer one than the 1998-99 lockout.
Unlike football, where they are trying to split the 9 billion dollars of wealth, the NBA is becoming a Caste System. The wealthy -- Lakers, Dallas, New York, Miami, etc. The poor – Minnesota, Indiana, New Jersey, Sacramento, etc.
With a soft cap, you will never get what makes pro football great. That is a level playing field for all teams. In football, the most money doesn’t win like the NBA, whose teams will just go over the cap and pay a luxury tax.
I’m hoping a hard cap comes into play. High school kids can go pro if they make a list put out by the NBA. If you go to college, you must stay a minimum of two years. This would put a stop to the six month education.
I will get back to you soon with next week’s blog on our first three days of practice as we start to work out in advance of our foreign trip.
I hope we all understand the gentlemen from the BIG EAST office did not make the schedule from the Players Corner Pub. They are bright, hard working people. It was at one of the taverns on Federal Hill. LOL