"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

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Post-March Blahs

William Faulkner once said, "Clocks slay time... time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; only when the clock stops does time come to life."

So I guess that means the clock stops in 167 days when Midnight Madness ushers in the next vintage of the Marquette Warriors. 167 days is a long time.

In the meantime there have been a series of developments worth noting:

First, congratulations to Jerel McNeal who just wrapped up a fine professional season. An NBA D-League All-Star this season, McNeal led the Rio Grande Valley Vipers to the league's championship series against the Iowa Energy. After forcing a decisive third game on the strength of 37 from McNeal earlier this week, last night RGV fell in the decisive third game, 119-111.

McNeal was outstanding in what amounted to the league title game, finishing with 29 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists. John Pudner posted a must-read, in-depth review of Jerel's performance overnight.

In the playoffs McNeal averaged 27 points, 6 boards and 6 assists in seven games. After getting a cup of coffee in the NBA this year with the Hornets, expect McNeal to make an opening day roster in the fall.

In not so good news for another of the Three Amigos, Marquette graduate Dominic James saw his season come to an end for Lukoil Academic due to a foot injury according to this report. If the report is to be believed, James returned to the States to have surgery on the foot earlier this month. What a shame. James was having a solid season for 27-0 Lukoil where he was the team's second-leading scorer at 13.9 points per game to go with 2.7 rebounds and 4 assists per game.

Meanwhile Jimmy F. Butler is making a name for himself with NBA scouts. Earlier this month Butler shocked many when he was named the MVP of the Portsmouth Invitational after leading his team to the title in that showcase event. At Portsmouth, Butler did what he did for three seasons as a Warrior, that is, everything. After the event, Butler raced up (and onto) draft boards and is now a consensus second round pick. The 2011 NBA Draft is scheduled for June 23 at the Prudential Center in Newark. Here's hoping Jimmy's exit from the building that night erases the pain from his last visit.

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