"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Monday, April 30, 2007

Wiki: Adopt a player!

A couple weeks ago, I launched a Wiki contest to improve the Marquette Wiki. It's been very successful, and we've added 113 new pages of content as well as added content to over 130 other pages.

The winner? spartan3186! Thanks for all your hard work!

  • You want to know something about Brandon Bell?
  • Brian Barone?
  • John Polonowski?
  • Jimmy Mac?

    But you might notice there's something missing from those pages. Well, feel free to click "edit" and add your information! You are the instant editor and writer of anything you know about.

    The end of the contest does not mean the work on the Wiki is finished. We're trying to make the MU Wiki a vast encyclopedia of searchable Marquette Athletics information.

    Many players need YOUR help.

  • Wasn't Damon Key your favorite player? He needs your help.
  • Didn't you used to play with Terry Rand? Edit his page.
  • Coach Rabadeaux needs your help. -- (Maybe you ARE Coach Rabadeaux. Edit your page!)
  • Robb Logterman needs your help.
  • How does George Thompson not have the best wiki page out there? Help him out!
  • And Hank Raymonds? Someone adopt Hank Raymonds!

  • I realize there's a vast knowledge base out there. If you don't have time to figure out how to edit the Wiki (it's pretty easy though!) I will help. Write up something on someone, any topic, and email it to me (Hilltopper@inbox.com) .. I will take your information and plop it where it belongs in the wiki.

    Maybe you have a great story about Mike Deane or Bob Dukiet.

    Maybe you worked in the office in 1984, and want to help share what you know.

    Contribute to this database for the ages.

    Pick a player or a season and adopt them; share your knowledge!

    Recruiting update: plenty of new names

    According to Illinois Prep Bulls-eye, rising junior combo guard Iman Shumpert has emerged as MU's #1 backcourt target for the class of 2008.

    Absolutely nobody turned more heads with his outstanding play in Akron than 6'3 combo guard Iman Shumpert from Oak Park High School in Oak Park, IL. With that being said, Illinois Prep Bulls-eye has learned from very good authorities that Shumpert will visit both Marquette University and the University of Illinois in the upcoming future, possibly before the start of the summer. Shumpert is the #1 recruiting priority among guards in the 2008 class for both of these schools.
    Chicago Hoops reports that TC was all over Shumpert this past weekend at the King James Classic this past week.
    Class of 2008 Oak Park-River Forest star Iman Shumpert, who was amazing all weekend long for Full Package at King James had an impressive list of schools and coaches tracking his every move. Marquette, and head coach Tom Crean were front and center all weekend.............Don't be at all surprised to see Shumpert start to pop up as a Top 50 prospect nationally.
    It appears as though Shumpert has some sort of blog -- and he indicates that Clemson is his dream destination. Still, he lists MU as one of many programs to have offered a scholarship.

    In addition, per the Bulls-eye guys it looks like MU is ratcheting up interest in 6-9 forward Stan Simpson of Chicago Leo:
    Stan Simpson, the 6'9 center from Leo High School in Chicago, proved that he can get it done against top-level competition in Akron and as a result is now claiming offers from both Indiana and Virginia. In addition, Illinois and Marquette are two schools that are really picking up their level of interest.

    Class of 2009 Update

    Looking ahead to the class of 2009, we know that Tom Crean is all over Jamil Wilson of Racine-Horlick. Wilson, the 6-6 wunderkind, figures to be Crean's top priority for the 2009 freshman class. Chicago Hoops is also reporting that Marquette has offered 6-6 sophomore Michael Haynes of Chicago Corliss.

    Class of 2010 Update
    Mark Miller, who covers Wisconsin high school hoops like nobody else, broke the news today that Marquette has offered a scholarship 6-11 high school freshman Evan Anderson. Anderson will play his sophomore season at Eau Claire North high school.

    Chicago Hoops sums it up:
    Marquette, and head coach Tom Crean have a great track record of success with Chicago players, and have been pretty much in every gym where Chicago prospects are playing. Iman Shumpert and 6-8 MeanStreets post Josh Crittle of Chicago Hales Franciscan are among the 2008 prospects on the Marquette radar screen.

    Friday, April 27, 2007

    Patrick Hazel's hard work pays off

    While you lament the 10-year deathiversary of the Avalanche Super Bar this weekend (I am still bummed about that, btw) here's an article to cheer you up - - a profile of incoming freshman Patrick Hazel.

    If there's one thing to take away from this article, its that this kid is an exceptionally hard worker. Sure seems like he busted his tail to improve his game past few years at Blair Academy:

    After struggling to get minutes early on, Hazel’s relentless work ethic earned him significant playing time, a reason he averaged eight points and eight rebounds as a junior and 11 points and eight rebounds this past season, helping Blair Academy to a 19-8 record and a spot in the New Jersey State prep finals.

    “He’s made unbelievable strides,” Mantegna said. “He was basically a Division II player when he came out here. It is a real testament to how dedicated he has been. Pat put in all the work. There are a lot of kids who talk about what they want to do, and have big goals, but don’t know about accomplishing them.”

    MU gains verbal commit for 2008 class

    Tony Walls, welcome to the Marquette community. Walls is a stud soccer player who will apparently become a 'preferred walk-on' for the MU basketball program when he gets to campus in 2008.

    Does anybody know much about Tony Walls' basketball skills?

    Shades of Marcus West, I guess. West was an all-state basketball and soccer player at Racine St. Catherine's before playing college basketball at Northeastern Illinois. West transferred to Marquette as a preferred basketball walk-on.

    Thursday, April 26, 2007

    Dominic James declares for NBA draft

    .......and he will not hire an agent. No surprise. As we reported on April 7th, this was the rumor all along.

    The university put out an official press release this afternoon.

    You can listen to the Press Conference from the Journal Sentinel site here.

    NCAA to texting: RIP

    Perspectives on the looming ban are outlined here -- including a passionate Tom Crean.

    "It's just another agenda-driven proposition that doesn't make any sense," Marquette coach Tom Crean said. "It's really an insult, I think, to everybody involved - coaches, families and recruits. If you choose not to answer your text, don't answer it."
    Tell that to the mother of unsigned prep star Patrick Patterson -- who received "7,000 text messages, 4,000 over the (plan) max" in March!

    That'll be $500, please.

    Wednesday, April 25, 2007

    Crean discusses James

    Courtesy of Gary Parrish of CBS Sportsline Tom Crean discusses his point of view on Dominic James' pursuit of his NBA dream:

    "But you have to let people chase their dreams," Crean said. "I know a guy at a program that we compete against who worked so diligently to hold one of his players back that -- and this player ended up being a lottery pick -- he didn't even meet the player's agent until the night of the draft. I don't think that's right, and I don't ever want that to be me. You have to give your players a chance to chase their dreams. If not, you're not building your program the right way or doing the right thing.

    I wonder who Coach Crean is talking about? Hmmm....

    Monday, April 23, 2007

    Rosiak: DJ, Staff Changes, Scheduling


    In the Tuesday editions of the MJS, Todd Rosiak filed this article about Dominic James' likely decision to test the NBA waters sans an agent.

    But wait, there's more......Todd Rosiak also had another great blog entry on Monday night.

    • As has been reported, Dominic James is still floating his name for the NBA draft, but not hire an agent. This would mean he has until 10 days before the June 28th draft to withdraw his name and stay a Warrior. (From Homer's show .. DJ will be back next year; DJ knows he's not a 1st rounder, and wants to go to Orlando to learn what scouts say he needs to work on.)
    • Todd Townsend has taken a job at Northeastern. Video guy Derek Deprey has accepted a position as director of player development at Utah.
    • Rosiak has some chatter from Crean on scheduling. Here's something to make you dream sugarplumbs tonight:
    Crean said there's a chance MU would try to schedule a home-and-home with a team from a major conference such as the Pac-10.
    Read the entire blog here.

    Pat Hazel assessment from Jordan Classic

    One of our most faithful readers (and a certified basketball junkie who can't get enough prep and college hoops) attended the Jordan Classic this past weekend at MSG.

    Thankfully he was kind enough to share his thoughts on incoming PF Patrick Hazel......many thanks!:

    (Patrick Hazel) Sets picks, scores off low post feeds, totally an under the basket offense with good hands. Decent FT form, good on the ball defender.

    He had 8 points, on 3 for 5 shooting and 2 of 3 FTs, 3 fouls in under 20 minutes. He was the backup center.

    Good athlete, at 6'7, 220 lbs can bang inside and defend. Enthusiastic and good teammate as he passes to the open man. Weight-wise, Hazel is slightly smaller than Dwight Burke, but is quicker/more athletic.

    Past MU players he most reminds me of : Jon Harris or Terry Sanders"
    Here's a nice blurb from the Sunday New York Post about Hazel.
    Tom Konchalski (said) .... "He has a great work ethic and desire," the longtime recruiting expert said. "That's why he's going to the Big East."

    Sunday, April 22, 2007

    From the "Did You Know" department: 93 early entrants in 2006 NBA draft

    While controversy swirls around a Yahoo report that Dominic James will apply for the 2007 NBA draft, there are some interesting observations from looking at the 2006 early-entry draft list.

    The folks over at Draft Express compiled a comprehensive list of every NBA early entry candidate, complete with commentary. 61 of them from the college ranks, 30 International players, and Clarence Holloway--the lone HS player old enough for the new NBA rules.

    By comparison, in 2005 there were 108 early entrants, although 12 of them were HS players.

    You can break the college players down into four categories:

    1. Sure things: Guys like LaMarcus Aldredge or Rudy Gay who are jumping for the early NBA paycheck.

    2. Big time players testing the waters: One can debate whether guys like Nick Fazekas, Aaron Afflalo and Aaron Gray were initially realistic about their NBA chances, the bottom line is that they had no realistic chance of being a first round pick and went through the process to get a better idea on what the NBA scouts and talent guys wanted to see.

    3. Small program players needing all the exposure they can get. Mostly juniors, these are players who fly under the radar and are trying to grab some attention--Morris Almond from Rice or Akbar Abdul-Ahad from Idaho State. Sure, they hope lightning strikes and they prove themselves against some brand name players in the camps. More likely, they hope to grab some scouts attention so that he'll travel to see the player the following season.

    4. Dropouts: Tedric Hill from Gulf Coast Community College or the aforementioned Clarence Holloway. Lets face it--the NBA draft is the last hope for guys like this. Why not take the chance--there's no downside, and they might get signed for a D-league team.

    The interesting trend is the large number of early entrants have no intention of being drafted--they simply want to know what the process is like.

    With this trend, let me be the first to predict that both Jerel McNeal and Wesley Matthews, Jr. will opt to submit their names in for the 2008 NBA draft. Not because they're "ready" in the traditional sense, but because a visit to the pre-draft camps seems to be trend among quality juniors and will prepare them for their senior year and 2009 draft.

    As for James, I wish him well in the process. I don't know if he'll be able to prove that he belongs in the 2007 draft--but if his intent is to better prepare for 2008, he'll certainly be in good company.

    Friday, April 20, 2007

    Marquette's Niche in the NBA Playoffs

    Assuming you will all be tired after a hard day of volunteer work for National Marquette Service Day, (you all signed up, right...right?) it will be nice to come home and relax with former Marquette stars in the NBA.

    All three of our fellas play tomorrow, here's a quick look:

    3 PM (EST) Miami Heat at the Chicago Bulls: This is a quandary for all the Windy City grads, or is it? Wade hasn't looked too healthy since returning and the Heat have lost to the dregs of the NBA lately, including Charlotte, twice. Shaq and Wade are still potentially the best tandem and theoretically unstoppable, but that's too many adverbs to say the Heat are conclusively going to take this series. The Bulls have a lot of young legs and both Luol Deng and Tyrus Thomas are coming into their own. I think the Heat will put it together, but not for long. Heat in 7.

    7 PM (EST) Orlando Magic at the Detroit Pistons: For all the hoopla surrounding Dwight Howard, he still has more of a transition, dunk, put-back, ferocious-rebounder type of game. Solid for sure, but few inside moves and nothing to get Rasheed Wallace in a tizzy...well, almost. Our man Travis only played in 26 games and even then only averaged 11 minutes. Apparently, Diener is ready to flee the Magic Kingdom anyway, but at least Deeee-troit basketball should lead to a couple of blowouts and get him some well-deserved playing time as he finishes up his Orlando career. Pistons in 4.

    9:30 PM (EST) Utah Jazz at Houston Rockets: This is an intriguing series with two rock solid coaches, Jerry Sloan and Jeff Van Gundy, matching wits. Tracy McGrady quietly carried the Rockets and put together an MVP-caliber season and Yao has become Ming the Merciless with his drop-step hooks and money jumper. Still, the Jazz are not to be taken lightly with the non-spotlight worthy triumvirate of Carlos Boozer, Mehmet Okur and Deron Williams. As for the MU alum...Van Gundy rarely plays rookies, especially those with defensive liabilities, so sweet-shooting Steve Novak averaged a mere 1.5 points a game. Yet if it all comes down to a 3-pointer to win a Game Seven, who would the Rockets call upon? McGrady, of course. Rockets in 7.

    As for the rest of the NBA playoffs: the Spurs-Nuggets should be a whale of a series and Kobe vs. the Suns will see a lot of balls going through the net.

    I like the Suns to win it all, but what I like and what will happen rarely coincide (e.g. Marquette v. Michigan State, 4/15/07.) Watching Mark Cuban make love to the Larry O'Brien trophy would be unsightly.

    That's why I say, Suns over Pistons in 7.

    And Jesuit-educated Canadians around the world rejoice. If you can't trust Charles Barkley, then the terrorists truly have won.

    Enjoy the playoffs.

    Wiki Contest continues.........

    Don't forget to Wiki!


    We've had a great start, with some nice new pages:

    And many more MU Schedules. More to come.

    Please, join in: Even if you're not gunning for a prize, just donate a few minutes of your time to help the project and fill out a section or two!

    Thursday, April 19, 2007

    Jordan Theodore update

    Adam Zagoria's blog is loaded with great content this week leading into the Jordan games at MSG. Earlier in the week he updated folks Jordan Theodore, one of Tom Crean's top target recruits for the 2008 freshman class.

    Theodore, a point guard from Paterson Catholic, previously listed MU, Memphis and Gonzaga as his early leaders -- but it sounds like the field is expanding. Regardless, the Zags expect to get a visit from the 6-0 floor general in the fall. No word on an MU visit just yet.

    Here's the update from Zagoria.

    Also, here's the free MUScoop wiki page on 2008 recruits, including Jordan Theodore.

    Tuesday, April 17, 2007

    Marquette Wiki Contest


    As you may know, MUScoop.com hosts a Marquette Wiki that focuses on all things Marquette Athletics.   
    I have been amazed at the growth of the wiki, as it opened 8 short months ago, and already contains several hundred pages, mostly centered around MU basketball.

    *You want to know who MU is recruiting for 2007-08?  Boom.  Here it is. 
    *How about the known information for next year's schedule? 
    *The all-time assist leaders?
    *How about Doc Rivers' biography?
    *You want to know the Cross Country team roster from 2006?
    *How about the soccer team?
    *The Women's Basketball team?
    *Or maybe you just need the recipe to make your own batch of Real Chili. 

    Ok, ok, there's a lot of great information there.  While 2006-07's information is thoroughly entered, we need your help.  The ultimate vision is that this Wiki is the best source for MU reference for all years and all sports.
    Don't know what a wiki is?  Basically, it starts as a blank slate and volunteers like you write and edit information into the wiki.  Much of this is through cutting and pasting things that are already on the web.  For example, all the box-scores for 2006 were graciously entered in their proper places by a dedicated volunteer, cutting and pasting the data into the proper place.
    But a wiki is only as good as its volunteers!
    So, I'm running a contest to pique your interest.  Hopefully, a series of contests.
    1. Whoever adds the most content, wins. 
    2. Minimum to win a grand prize:  20 chunks or pages.  (These are good prizes.)  To count, a "chunk" has got to be 3-4 sizable paragraphs or one multi-row table.
    3. Any tie will be broken by my judgment of Wiki entry quality. 
    4. The contest ends around May 1st.  There may or may not be more contests, until the prizes are given out.
    5. I'm making this up as I go.  I reserve the right to dink around with these rules!
    The winner will CHOOSE ONE of these FABULOUS prizes from the GRAND PRIZE LIST:

    1. Dwyane Wade Figurine.  Yup.  I'm donating one for the cause.
    2. 30th Anniversary T-Shirt (M)
    3. Tom Crean Coaching Book - Autographed
    4. MUScoop.com Shirt (Limited Edition)
    5. Heartfelt atta-boy (with optional pat on back)
    Want to write Rick Majerus' bio?  Help us out.

    Know something about the soccer team?  Help us out. 

    Maybe you could help us with box scores from 2005? 
    Basketball season is over!

    TV shows are going into re-runs.  You have nothing to do.   Help us with the wiki!

    Link to MUScoop.com thread, contest rules, and running wiki entries.

    Patrick Hazel in the Jordan Classic

    MU commit Patrick Hazel, the 6'7" power forward from Blair Academy via Queens, will suit up in the Jordan Classic this Saturday in New York City. The Jordan Classic features two games at Madison Square Garden - - the regional game followed by the higher-profile Jordan Brand All-American Classic.

    The regional showcase tips off at 5:30pm CDT on Saturday. The game will be webcast exclusively at the High School Basketball Network.

    Hazel will suit up for the Suburban Team where he'll be joined by fellow Big East signees Mike Coburn (Rutgers), Rashad Bishop (Cincy), and Corey Chandler (Rutgers). Adam Zagoria has details on the games here.

    For a complete look at the rosters for the Regional Team tilt, click here.

    BTW, here's a highlight video of Hazel from his days at Bayside High School in Queens -- looks like this is a couple of years old (Hazel played for two seasons at Blair Academy).

    Monday, April 16, 2007

    NCAA to Address Impact of Technology on Recruiting

    And you run and you run to catch up with the sun, but its sinking
    And racing around to come up behind you again
    The helplessness captured in these classic Roger Waters lyrics must reflect the frustration of the folks at the NCAA these days as they grapple with the impact of rapid technology adoption on recruiting. Today and tomorrow the NCAA is meeting to consider a proposal from Ivy League institutions that would ban the use of text messages by recruiters (read coaches).

    The outcome of this week's debate is uncertain, but the NCAA recognizes that the recruiting game has changed due to the ever-accelerating pace of technology adoption. Over time the NCAA has gradually shortened recruiting windows, minimizing the amount of time coaches can watch prospects play or meet with them in person, largely to protect the interests of the student-athletes.

    Technology provided a dandy way around this trend, primarily through text messaging.

    Today coaches can text message recruits as much as they want - - there is no limit to this method of contact under current NCAA guidelines. And don't forget about blogs, social networking sites, stand-alone Web pages, and other electronic means of marketing a program to prospective recruits - - - most (all?) of which fall outside of the guidelines currently addressed in the 460-page NCAA rulebook.

    With young people so eager to adopt new forms of technology, coaches that evolve quickly could have an advantage. Or not. Consider that the receiver pays for incoming text messages -- could this be considered an invasion of privacy, or at the very least inconsiderate if the recruiting target has limited financial means?

    The 'simple' issue of using technology to recruit quickly becomes complicated when the discussion gets down to the brass tacks.

    According to Cellular News, "more than 158 billion text messages were sent in 2006, representing a 95% increase over 2005 and more than 2.7 billion MMS messages sent in 2006, up from 1.1 billion in 2005."

    Remarkable. And that's just text messages and MMS (multimedia messages). There are 55 million blogs out there too. And while MicroPersuasion reports that new bloggers 'flatlined' recently, the readership of those blogs continued to increase.

    The challenge before the NCAA is great. Young people today are the primary drivers of end-user oriented technology like text messaging. For example, the University of Florida reported that 75% of their freshman class signed up for its 'Mobile Campus' offering, a cell phone messaging service the university offers to students, faculty, and staff.

    Reigning-in technology is impossible, so the pressure is on the NCAA to adopt an enlightened policy that protects the interests of its prospective student-athletes while serving the needs of the institutions it represents. This will be an interesting space to watch.

    Friday, April 13, 2007

    Spread The Word On Organ Donation

    PSA time here at Cracked Sidewalks.

    April is National Donate Life Month and the Milwaukee Bucks are teaming up with Trey Schwab to raise awareness in donor programs and Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, the disease that nearly took the former MU assistant's life just a few years ago.

    On Monday night at the Bucks home finale against the Hawks volunteers with information on organ donation and pulmonary fibrosis will be at the Bradley Center.

    Talk with your family about organ donation. The need is great -- check out these facts from OrganDonor.gov:

    • More than 95,000 people are in need of an organ for transplant.
    • Each day, about 77 people get the organ transplant that gives them a second chance, but 17 to 19 others die because they did not receive an organ transplant.
    • More than half the people on the waiting list for a donated organ are racial or ethnic minorities. Chances of getting a transplant increase if donor and recipient share the same racial/ethnic background.

    Townsend to Northeastern

    Looks like Director of Basketball Operations and former Marquette player, Todd Townsend has taken a new job at Northeastern University in Boston.

    Good luck in Boston, Todd!

    (Looks like my #16 is at least partially correct.)

    The last two guys to hold that post, Brian Wardle and TT were both former players, one would figure it's Mike Kinsella's turn, right?

    Dominic James: no NBA decision yet

    "The people that are close to me know I'm still weighing all my options," he said. "I'm just getting everybody's analysis of my game, what they think my draft status is and things like that. But as far as making a decision, I haven't gotten there yet."
    So says Dominic James in an article today by Todd Rosiak. The article -- and accompanying Q/A with DJ on Rosiak's blog (btw, love the line about being 'hood rich')- appears to be based solely on an interview with James, so in that regard we know exactly where DJ personally stands with the process.

    These reports prove that James is a smart, heady kid who will make a good decision. If nothing else, he's pushing his coach to help with research, and calmly reviewing the incoming feedback. Good for him. DJ is waiting to hear those magic words, first. round. pick.
    If I hear, ‘OK, Dominic, you’re a first-round pick. We feel like either way it goes, you’re going to be selected in the first round.’ Then I’d probably think about that very hard because if they tell you you’re a first-round pick and your stock is high, then you’ve almost got to go.
    Good luck with that -- but don't forget what happened to a guy like Maurice Evans who was promised that he'd be a first-round pick, only to find out that not all promises are kept. Still, it is encouraging to know that James is taking his time to make a smart, informed decision (unlike other over-anxious players in the Big East) .

    Editor's mea culpa: NBA personnel are not allowed to comment on draft ineligible players (read: underclassman) until after the April 29 declaration deadline. My earlier post wrongly assumed that Rosiak could have obtained on-the-record comments at this time.

    Thanks to a faithful reader for pointing this out!

    Wednesday, April 11, 2007

    MU news and notes

    Let's start with Dominic James. The always insightful Mike DeCourcy offers fresh perspective on James' draft status in his latest blog -- and makes a strong case for DJ to stick around for at least another year:

    Worrying about draft position -- and relying on draft websites to dictate what that position might be -- is a huge mistake for a young prospect. It's the same silliness being pitched at Marquette's Dominic James now, that if he doesn't enter the draft this year there'll be lots of talented point guards in the next draft to make him less coveted. It's ridiculous.

    James' sophomore season was below what he's capable of producing. Given his extraordinary athleticism and skills, there is no reason to believe he would not be a more valuable prospect if he were to return and perform to his standards. Being the first point guard last year did not get Rajon Rondo off the board until the 21st pick. A dearth of point guard talent is not going to make James desirable; improved performance is.

    I somewhat get DeCourcy's point on Rondo - - but if the goal was to be a first round pick and secure that guaranteed contract, its hard to argue with Rondo's decision. And for what its worth, at UK Rondo struggled to shoot the ball far more than James ever has, though the Celtics rookie had other advantages to his game (ie: he's 6'1 and was a near-lockdown defender collegiately).

    In other news, Todd Rosiak wraps up his updates on the incoming 2007 freshman class with a look at Trevor Mbakwe. I can't wait to see what this kid can do on the floor this fall.

    CollegeHoops.net takes a very early look at best teams for 2008, and slots MU in at #12.

    Tuesday, April 10, 2007

    James' Quandary

    Here we are in April of 2007, Spring is hitting everywhere but Cleveland....the Masters has come and gone...the NFL draft is 3 weeks away...Peter Cottontail has dispersed his candy and eggs...and on a near daily basis a premier college basketball player either throws his name into the NBA draft ring or tells his coach he'll give it another college try at good old State U.

    Then there are the players that are somewhere between "premier" and very good, but not quite sure fire locks to be drafted. Enter Dominic James of Marquette, the Sophomore point guard from Richmond, Indiana that has helped lead Tom Crean's club to back-to-back NCAA tournament berths.

    James is a talent, no question. He is a wonderful athlete that can glide through the air like few others, has an extra gear to get to the hoop, has that ability to find his open teammates and has those special qualities great players need...most notably the desire to win and the desire to get better. He is determined. In fact it is his determination that has propelled him to the player he is today because he doesn't have the NBA body, not even close. He's about 5'10"...not exactly the mold of a NBA PG these days. He is not a great shooter but he is a solid scorer, a difference with distinction.

    So here we have this bright young 20 year old with two years of eligibility caught in somewhat of a quandary as it relates to the 2007 basketballsphere. Should I stay or should I go? The Clash never seemed to answer the question in the song, but now DJ has his own opportunity to do so. Some reports on CBS Sportline as well as DraftExpress are claiming that James will test the NBA Draft waters without hiring an agent. Not a big surprise, really. By not signing with an agent, James can bail out and return to Marquette for another season...or two. If he were to sign with an agent, then it's adios time as the eligibility is essentially consumed once that relationship is established.

    Where this becomes a bit different than the Greg Oden's, Kevin Durrant's and other players in 2007 is predictability. Oden is a top 2 pick. Durrant is a top 2 pick. James....well...maybe top 30...maybe top 45....maybe not at all. But here's the rub, next year could even be a more difficult spot for him because of the quality of the 2008 draft. It is widely believed by the pundits that the 2007 draft will be remarkably thin at point guard, thus providing a window of opportunity for someone like James to be selected even if he probably isn't NBA ready until 2008 or even 2009. Timing is everything.

    This ultimately may come down to James leaving in 2007 or actually waiting two years until he is a senior to leave in 2009. Not the worst choice, after all student athletes did this for years until the "leave early" generation started. I know 99.99% of MU fans would be thrilled by that situation.

    James has until the latter part of April to decide what he will do with his NBA aspirations. In all likelihood it appears he will dip his toes in the draft waters, attend the camps at his own expense and see how things shake out. If he blows up and has a terrific showing, he might play himself into the 3rd or even 2nd point guard drafted....somewhere in the late first round. If he plays inconsistently as was his sophomore season of ups and downs, he is probably a mid 2nd round pick to potentially slipping all the way out. The difference between 1st round and 2nd round picks is significant. First round picks are guaranteed while second round picks are not, meaning you have to make the team to get that check.

    In the next few weeks Crean and DJ will continue to talk and the various phone calls will be made to persons of NBA scouting pedigree to gather the best information possible for DJ to make a decision. Whatever he decides, we wish him well. He's had a very nice first two years and had to shoulder a lot for a young man his age...a team essentially devoid of senior leadership. It would be great to see him flying high for MU again next season for a team that would return 99% of their scoring and 97% of their rebounding.

    For now, we wait.....

    Reseating 2007

    For you season ticket holders out there .. you should have received a letter describing the new process for re-seating. This year, while an open house will be held at the Bradley Center, actual seat selection will occur at the Al McGuire Center, from June 18th-July 1st.

    All sorts of information can be found here.

    This year, MU has released a nice document detailing the number of "points" you need for the lower, middle, and upper rows of each section. Read the chart at your own peril. For anyone who isn't a multi-decade season ticket holder, it's pretty depressing how many more points you need to improve your view!

    It's amazing to think how hard it is to move into any of the 10 center sections. Say an MU couple (20 points) have had tickets for 10 years, (20 points) and donates $250/year (10 points + 10 conseq. points). Those 60 points will get you a corner, which is probably where you've been for the past decade anyhow. After 20 years, you'll sneak into the prime sections, in row W-Z. -- Just goes to show how enduring and charitable the center seat people are.

    Note to MU: Forget cheerleaders throwing t-shirts, fleeces, mini-balls into the crowd. Throw "point" certificates! And .. everyone who goes to the Morgan State type game gets one bonus point (if they are wearing gold).

    And how about some bonus points for working at Cracked Sidewalks!

    MU earns a #3 seed in the 2008 NCAA tourney

    Hey, its never too early to get wrapped up in bracketology

    Check it out here.

    Monday, April 09, 2007

    Catching up with Scott Christopherson

    Scott Christopherson, Wisconsin's reigning Mr. Basketball, was named the LaCrosse Tribune's player of the year over the weekend. The talented combo guard figures to give MU something it lacked this past season - - another dead-eye shooter.

    This article is uniformly positive, and its good to see that Scott is dedicated to 'martian arts' to help increase his strength, flexibility, athleticism and his expertise with the Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator.

    Hehe. I'm guessing that reporter Todd Summerfeldt meant martial arts :-)

    Saturday, April 07, 2007

    Sources: Dominic James to put name in NBA Draft

    According to Draft Express, sources have told them that Dominic James will put his name into this year's NBA draft.

    Dominic James will be announcingthat he’s putting his name in the draft, according to a source close to the situation. For now he will be just testing the waters and not hiring an agent, but it appears likely that he is in the draft for good. Where he lands will depend heavily on who amongst Mike Conley Jr, Darren Collison, Javaris Crittenton and Gabe Pruitt ends up declaring for the draft, as this draft could quickly return to being a very weak one for point guards if all those decide to return to school. James finished off the season in a horrible slump that extended for almost two months, and right now is by no means guaranteed to be a first round pick. If he can have a good showing in the pre-draft camp and then show NBA executives in workouts just how explosive a player he is, he has a chance to regain the ground he lost in his stock.

    The article can be found here

    MU News and Notes

    off-season update from Todd Rosiak.

    Also, one former MU recruit is off the board. Mike Rosario to Rutgers.

    Thursday, April 05, 2007

    Rosiak: Crean offered, turns down, $2.5 Mil from Arkansas

    According to Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal's Todd Rosiak, Tom Crean turned down more than $2. 5 million per year from Arkansas. Arkansas has been without a coach since they fired Stan Heath, and their top six choices have all turned them down.

    The deal would have made Crean the highest paid coach in college basketball.

    That likely means one of two things is true:

    1. Crean thinks he can get more elsewhere (i.e. Kentucky, MSU)--a gutsy move since he didn't know that Billy Donovan and Rick Barnes would turn down Kentucky until after Crean took a pass on the Arkansas job
    2. Crean really does believe that the MU job and Milwaukee area are special to he and his family, and he simply isn't interested in leaving.
    The message boards are buzzing with a WTMJ-4 television report that suggests Crean is not going to go after the Kentucky job (or vice versa, if you believe the Illinois Kentucky fans).

    And the whole issue may be moot if reports that Texas A&M's Billy Gillespie will take the UK job turn out to be true.

    At least until Andy Katz reports that Tom Crean is a leading candidate for that job.

    Meanwhile, the hardest working recruiter in the Big East was checking out Jamil Wilson of Racine Horlick on Thursday, travelling to see future warrior Damian Saunders on Friday, and then out to Las Vegas to watch an AAU tournament.

    Donovan spurns UK -- do they turn to Tom Crean?

    I am going to steal a bit of thunder here from one of my co-bloggers, muwarrior92. With Donovan staying put in Gainesville, how about this scenario:

    Izzo to UK

    Crean to MSU

    This would make sense for Kentucky. Izzo is the only coach in the country that they can get with a better track record than Tubby's. Izzo has led MSU to 10 straight NCAA bids, the second-longest streak in Big Ten history, been to multiple Final Fours and won a national title. Along the way, he's create an absolute monster called "Unreasonable Expectations", something he's lamented in the past. MSU has been spoiled by success during his tenure -- maybe he'll look to move on despite the heaps of praise he earned for the job he did last season.

    The second longest streak of NCAA tourney appearances in Big Ten history. And some fans are not happy. Shock.

    In some ways, MU is MSU-lite. With Crean, MU has made the tourney in four of the last six seasons, reached the Final Four and put three players in the NBA. But we know that. Here are a few other facts about TC's tenure that are worth noting:

    • MU has made over 80 appearances on television since 2001;
    • MU spent 64 weeks ranked nationally since 2001 (in the 15 years prior to TC, MU was ranked for a total of 24 weeks);
    • Pitt, G’Town and Marquette are the only teams to post double-digit conference victories first two years of expanded Big East play;
    • 20 Big East wins are the most of the C-USA orphans;
    • MU has enjoyed a 54% increase in attendance.
    These are great times for Marquette basketball, and some vocal folks on the fringe are not happy. Shock.

    Rick Bozich of the Louisville Courier-Journal thinks the job will come down to Izzo and TC.

    This could become very interesting. I hope they don't become too interseting.

    Tom Crean and the coaching carousel

    Let's just say that the nutty coaching carousel pulls Tom Crean along for the ride this off-season and he leaves MU. How big a loss would Crean's departure be for MU?

    Click here to vote and discuss at MUScoop.

    For those of you think the grass is greener on the other side. Consider the following under Tom Crean:

    • With Crean, MU has made over 80 appearances on television since 2001
    • Spent 64 weeks ranked nationally since 2001 (the 15 years prior to TC we were ranked for a total of 24 weeks)
    • Pitt, G’Town and Marquette are the only teams to post double-digit conference victories first two years of BE play
    • 20 BE wins are the most of the C-USA schools, Final Four, Three NBA players
    • 54% increase in attendance.

    Wednesday, April 04, 2007

    Big East is the biggest NCAA winner

    Today's Sports Business Daily has this little snippet

    Big East Leads In Money Gained From NCAA For Men’s Hoops

    The Big East is projected to receive $14.9M from the NCAA this year under the men’s basketball revenue distribution plan, according to Jon Solomon of the BIRMINGHAM NEWS. The Big 12 will receive $14.3M, the ACC $14.1M, and the SEC and Pac-10 $13.1M each. A conference’s annual share is based on the number of teams in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament and how they fare over a six-year period. One unit is awarded for each tournament game in which a team participates, except for the championship game, and is worth $176,864 for this year’s distribution, which covers the tournament from ’01-06. It appears, “based on the NCAA saying revenue distribution increases 8[%] each year from its contract with CBS,” that next year’s units will be “worth about $191,000 each.” The SEC received five tournament bids this year, but “turned them into 14 units –-the same number as the ACC produced with seven bids.” The SEC next year “jumps to 77 units by replacing 11 units from 2001 with 14 from 2007.” It will be the “biggest jump in units next year among major conferences” and should “reward the SEC with approximately $14.7[M] in ’08, an increase of $1.6[M] from this year”.

    Also from the Birmingham News there is this article

    When will Dominic James declare for the NBA draft?

    Tick tock, tick tock. Will Dominic James test the NBA waters this month?

    Marquette's point guard has until April 29 to declare for the NBA draft and can withdraw his name from the pool as late as June 21. In a draft nearly devoid of senior point guards pegged as possible first round prospects (Acie Law IV, Sean Singletary, Aaron Brooks are the exceptions), exploring NBA options seems like a smart decision for James. It would also make sense for fellow non-senior PGs to do the same -- players like Mike Conley, Ty Lawson, Mario Chalmers, Darren Collison, Taurean Green and Javaris Crittenden. They'd be silly not to, and if they do that's good news for MU fans. And why wait around for the pleasure of being slotted after O.J. Mayo, Derrick Rose, and Eric Gordon in 2008?

    James has been picked apart by skeptics and critics these last few months following an underwhelming sophomore season. Still, despite his depressed shooting percentages last year, James has things that you simply can't coach: sick hops, strength, remarkable speed and athleticism. And remember, the NBA drafts based on potential rather than production. If theres' a little mystery to a player's game, an inkling that a prospect can improve in one or two areas to become a very good NBA player -- well, the first round of every draft is full of players like that. Add in the potentially thin point guard class and the more wide open style of play in the NBA -- hey, who knows what can happen.

    And let's face it, there's something to be said for declaring and going to the draft before your game is picked apart further and your skills are devalued. Or before injury sets in. Look at Chris Thomas, Chris Marcus, Randy Livingston, Ricky Paulding, Chris Porter, Terrence Morris and a host of players who failed to strike while the iron was hot. Individually, waiting to go to the NBA cost them millions.

    Regardless, it says here that Dominic James will declare for the NBA draft soon, but will not hire an agent in order to protect his collegiate eligbility. I'd fully expect several other point guards to declare early --- so unless DJ blows up in individual workouts/the pre-draft camp expect him back at MU next season.

    Tuesday, April 03, 2007

    Tom Crean spurns another suitor

    Per this report on ESPN, Tom Crean turned down the Arkansas job.

    We see this every off-season, Crean's name is mentioned but quietly he either declines to pursue opportunities or turns them down flat.

    The track record speaks volumes.

    Andy Katz reports that Crean is on Kentucky's list

    A few minutes ago on ESPN Radio's Mike & Mike in the Morning, Andy Katz reported that Tom Crean is third in line for the Kentucky head coaching job.

    Katz expects UK to explore options with Billy Donovan quickly, and if he declines the offer the Wildcats will move on to Rick Barnes. Katz was unsure if Barnes would do anything more than listen to an offer. After that, Katz figures the offer comes to Crean. Katz further indicated that of these three candidates, Crean is the only one who would not turn down an offer.

    We'll see. The 5,600 UK fans online in one of their Rivals forums are not paying much attention to Crean at this point. 5,600 fans on during the off-season -- examining every aspect of the program.

    See what MU fans are saying about this.

    The folks at Lexington Herald-Leader see things differently than Andy,

    "The longer the process takes, the more Crean seems to slip. Final Four scuttlebutt had Crean seeking more control of the program than UK Director of Athletics Mitch Barnhart would feel comfortable granting."
    Who knows, but given the complete control Crean enjoys at MU this would not be surprising.

    Monday, April 02, 2007

    Al McGuire is everywhere

    Al McGuire's legacy has been recounted in dozens of news reports over the last few days.

    As the Detroit Free Press said this weekend, "But here's the good March Madness news: When you eventually get to heaven, the late, great Al McGuire will cheerfully be doing all the Final Four games all the time. Sweet."

    Check out the links below:

    Sunday, April 01, 2007

    Marquette Owes Al McGuire Money

    MU may not be in the Final Four, but they are still the focal point of the paper of record. Today's New York Times has a nice feature on why Al McGuire walked away after 1977.

    Amazingly, one of the reasons was because he could make more money at a Wisconsin sporting goods company. And Butch Lee makes the timely comparison of Al McGuire to Lt. Columbo.

    The Times also has a good little piece on the composer of the legendary One Shining Moment, and wouldn't you know, it's about a girl.

    In other Marquette/NBA news, ABC reported this morning that Mr. Wade's rehabbing is going well and he plans on joining the Heat this week, maybe as early as tomorrow. See, MU is still alive.

    I say Florida wins it down the stretch, but I also say it's hard for me to care.