Saturday, July 12, 2008

Playing Catch Up.... Again

OK, everyone needs to scold me. Each week I intend to get back into the swing of things here and then either life or the day job keeps me away. I will admit some summertime (read: off season) boredom.

Nonetheless, I'm still here. And a new site is still in the works as I promised months ago. For today, let's catch up again on what has been going on in Gopher Nation.

*** Larry Vought of Kentucky's Scout site sat down with Tubby Smith for a five part interview that is available at the following links and does NOT require subscription.

Part 1: Tubby talks about leaving UK, the reception he received in Minnesota, and Tubby was asked the tired question of the Minnesota weather.

Part 2: Tubby discusses Rajon Rando and the post UK successes of his former players.

Part 3: Tubby discusses his son Saul's progress as a coach.

Part 4: Tubby talks about the differences, or lack thereof, in recruiting in Minny as opposed to UK. He also weighs in on camps recruiting young kids.

Part 5: Tubby tells Vought he "never thinks about retiring." Good to hear!

(HT-A Sea of Blue)

*** Interesting that this week Lute Olson of Arizona comes out and says he will no longer recruit one-and-done players. I'd agree with that perspective if all coaches were on board. As it is, they aren't. In this ESPN piece, Jim Boeheim said "Are you crazy?" when asked if he would follow suit. Our Orlando Tubby Smith? He says "Even it is for one year, they can do a lot for you." I understand Lute here, but see no reason why Tubby should put unnecessary restrictions on the Gophers until the entire college basketball community puts a stop to this practice. How about doing what college baseball does? If you don't go directly from high school to minor league baseball, you have to play at least three seasons of collegiate ball?

*** Chris Diggs' UK blog at the Louisville Courier-Journal asks why Billy Gillispie was savaged for "cradle robbing" when he received a verbal commitment from 8th grade 15-year-old Michael Avery, while Billy Donovan was praised for his recruitment of 9th grade 15-year-old Austin Rivers (son of Doc).

Like the Avery recruitment, I tend to think the Rivers recruitment is a bit of a stretch. But there is one obvious difference. Rivers is in his freshman year of high school. Avery wasn't.

But perhaps one other reason the reaction to the Avery commitment was much more harsh, is the different perceptions of Gillispie and Donovan. Like it or not, Donovan exudes class. Gillispie, in my opinion, comes off as crass. It might not be accurate or fair, but it doesn't mean that personal reputations of coaches doesn't play into the reactions of the punditry in cases like this.

Ken Howlett at A Sea of Blue is also up in arms over the differing takes on recruitment.

*** Excited about Tubby Smith's sophomore season? I am. Incoming JUCO swingman Devron Bostick continues to rack up the accolades. Already the recipient of the National Junior College Athletic Association Player of the Year award, this week Bostick was named the David Rowlands Male Student Athlete of the Year. For Southwestern Illinois College, Bostick put up 18.2 points and five rebounds per game.

And he's made quite the splash in the Howard Pulley summer league, teaming up with my favorite Gopher Damian Johnson. Per Rivals (subscription), Bostick is sticking it from beyond the arc, against competition like Troy Bell and Kammron Taylor. Against those foes, Bostick scored a dominant 38 points. Rivals suggests he is explosive enough to help the Gophers from day one. Good news!

*** One area where the commenters on the forums are worried concerns Devoe Joseph. The last we reported here, Devoe was going to be on campus this summer, skip the Canadian Nationals and get to school and start working out at the U. Devoe won't be here until the fall now, according to Sid Hartman, who called the development a "blow" to Tubby Smith. It's not ideal. It'd be great of Devoe was playing ball alongside Johnson and Bostick or Sampson and Iverson.

*** KSTP TV has a nice update on Sam Maresh, where the Champlain Park linebacker, talks about dealing with having heart surgery. He wants to come back and play. And also a great move by Tim Brewster here. At the end of the story it is noted that Brewster "has promised Maresh that he will be the one to carry the school's flag as the team runs out of the tunnel in their new stadium in 2009, whether he's wearing street clothes or football pads."

That's all for today. Have a good weekend everyone!


Friend Of Tubby said...

I helped arrange the Vaught interviews with OTS. Many thanks to Caitlin Mahoney for her help!

Truzenzuzex said...

Keep in mind, both Avery and Rivers were the same age -- 15 years old.

The fact that Avery was in the 8th grade and Rivers in the 9th is a distinction without a difference. You can read my comments about that if you are interested.

Thanks for the link.

PJS said...

Hey Tru,

For the most part I agree with the UK faithful on this, and don't like the recruitment of 15 year olds at all. That said, I do think there is likely a maturity difference between 8th grade and 9th for most kids. Each kid is different obviously, but in the majority of cases I would believe that the more challenging grade level (if we can call our public school system challenging!!) would create more mature students.

FOT, when you are going to set up a chance for PJS to interview OTS? Perhaps when we launch Gopher Gazette???????

Friend Of Tubby said...

Let me know if U R serious. I'm sure Caitlin would help U out.

Tubby knew Larry Vaught so that was easy.

Friend Of Tubby said...

Vitale Replies (Lex H-L Tiption column, clipped below)

Vitale's views

Some UK fans saw an inconsistency, at best, and, at worse, bald-faced bias.

Commentator Dick Vitale decried eighth-grader Michael Avery's commitment to Kentucky. In a blog posted on May 7, Vitale wrote, ”You have to wonder to what length people will go to recruit! ... Kentucky got a lot of headlines out of the Avery story. The bottom line is that this is not good for the game.“

Yet when Florida got a commitment from Austin Rivers, who just completed the ninth grade, Vitale cheered. In a blog dated July 10, he wrote, ”It's a win-win situation for the Gators, the Rivers family and the young man who gets to play for a coach that relates well to the modern-day athlete.“

Several UK fans wrote e-mail messages challenging the newspaper to ask Vitale about his bad-for-the-goose, good-for-the-gander view.

In a telephone call on Friday, Vitale said he opposed the recruitment of players prior to their high school junior seasons.

”I don't think it's healthy for anybody involved, whether it be Florida or Kentucky or anyone,“ he said.

Vitale questioned the impact a commitment can make on a young prospect. ”You wonder about the desire, the hunger, how much they're going to give their best knowing they have (a commitment) in the bank,“ he said.

As for calling Rivers' commitment a ”win-win,“ Vitale said he meant that any commitment, including Avery's, could potentially be a winning proposition for all involved.

But, Vitale added, ”I don't think it's good for college basketball when kids (so young) commit. Any of them. I don't care who it is.“

Vitale dismissed fan complaints as ”one or two people.“

”You can't please everybody,“ he said. ”I'm going to try to please my wife, and that's tough.“

PJS said...

LOL. Thanks for the clip, FOT. Vitale shooting down the masses at UK. Too funny.

As for whether or not I'm serious, of course I am. As I assume you have been able to tell, I gush over most things Tubby (with occasional complatins about in-bound plays). But maybe I'll ask you for help whenever I'm able to get the new site launched.

Truzenzuzex said...


Tell you what -- shoot me an email and I will try to put you in touch with a guy on our blog who knows Smith personally, and meets with him on a fairly frequent basis.

Perhaps he will be willing to act as an intermediary to get you an interview.

Friend Of Tubby said...

PJS, either way, let me know.

I've only spoken to Tubby 2 or 3 times in the past year. I have more frequent contact with AD.

Tubby's administrative assistant (Caitlin Mahoney) is very helpful. I'm sure she'll be helpful 2 U.


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