Posted on: September 20, 2011 6:21 am
Edited on: September 20, 2011 10:48 am
By Gary Parrish
You can blame it on underclassmen leaving early or on a recruiting lull.
Or on a combination of the two.
Either way, Ben Howland hasn't tasted a Sweet 16 since he made three consecutive Final Fours from 2006 to 2008, and many had started to wonder about his long-term viability at UCLA. Had his style of play run its course in Los Angeles? Could he still consistently recruit elite-level prospects? Was his hiring of a summer coach from the Atlanta Celtics program a sign that Howland was getting desperate?
Those are the questions basketball people spent July asking each other.
Now a new question must be asked: Is Howland suddenly in position to make a fourth Final Four?
That's how significant Kyle Anderson's commitment to the Bruins was late Monday. Not only did it give Howland a consensus top-five prospect from the Class of 2012, it also quieted critics and suggested UCLA's first season in what will be a renovated Pauley Pavilion could lead to Atlanta's Georgia Dome.
That's the site of the 2013 Final Four.
Pencil UCLA in for it if Howland next lures a commitment from Shabazz Muhammad -- a Las Vegas native and the top prospect in the Class of 2012 who, according to sources, is likely to choose the Bruins over Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and UNLV. It should also be noted that Howland's assistant from the Atlanta Celtics (Korey McCray) has UCLA seriously involved with a pair of elite bigs from Georgia, specifically Tony Parker and Shaq Goodwin. Assuming the Bruins get just one of them, Howland could have a 2012-13 roster that looks like this:
G: Larry Drew
G: Shabazz Muhammad
F: Kyle Anderson (as primary ball-handler)
F: Reeves Nelson
C: Josh Smith
Key Reserves: David Wear, Travis Wear, Dominic Artis, Jordan Adams and Tony Parker/Shaq Goodwin.
That would be quite a collection of talent in Westwood.
Perhaps good enough to bring a 12th national championship to the school.
Posted on: July 20, 2011 5:20 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 5:33 pm
Shaq Goodwin makes no secret of his desire to play both football and basketball at the next level.
“I want to play both sports,” Goodwin said. “Football then basketball. I want to play both of them.”
There are obvious concerns to playing both sports at such a high level in college, but the 6-foot-8, 230-lb. forward/tight end isn’t worried. The major one, aside from simply being overworked and tired, is the amount of time he will miss should his football team make a prominent bowl game.
For example, the national championship game in football next season is on January 9, meaning there is a chance Goodwin might not be able to join his teammates on the hardwood until conference play is already underway.
His response? “Then I’ll be a national champion,” Goodwin said.
Goodwin is ranked higher in basketball – No. 13 in CBSSports.com’s Top 100 – than football, but he is set on being a dual-sport athlete. On the basketball court, Goodwin’s athleticism and toughness are noticeable immediately. He is not averse to drawing contact in the paint, and gets to the free-throw line as well as anyone in the country. Goodwin runs the floor well and has great vision and hands.
He usually plays with the Atlanta Celtics, but he ran with YOMCA Memphis on the EYBL circuit. Being a figurative outsider forced Goodwin to adjust his game slightly.
“I played good defense, not really looking to score,” he said. “Jarnell [Stokes] is the man on this team. I have no problem; I didn’t come to this team to be the man. It’s different.”
Based on his natural abilities, it’s no surprise that he is also a coveted recruit on the gridiron. If a school doesn’t offer him in both sports, he said, there is little chance they would land a commitment from him.
“I would look at them, but they wouldn’t be in my top five,” Goodwin said.
That vaunted quintet currently includes Memphis, Georgia, Alabama, Florida and UCLA.
The Bruins are the most interesting team on that list, given that Korey McCray, Goodwin’s former AAU coach, recently became an assistant coach in Westwood. Jordan Adams, Goodwin’s Atlanta Celtics teammate, also committed there in late June. He was supposed to visit UCLA in late June, but it never happened.
Goodwin said UCLA doesn’t stand out any more than the rest of the schools do, though.
“It’s good that I know two people going there, but that’s it,” he said.
Goodwin’s recruitment will be interesting to follow. There is not only a tug of war between different schools – different sports will be pulling him in opposite directions, too.
Photo: Five-Star Basketball
Posted on: July 15, 2011 1:17 pm
Edited on: July 15, 2011 1:37 pm
By Gary Parrish
I've always insisted -- at least since Louisville, Cincinnati and Marquette left Conference USA -- that though Memphis probably isn't one of the nation's top 10 programs, it's almost certainly one of the top 10 jobs in its current setup. You coach in a soldout and first-class arena for a school that's a national brand, charters every road trip, has access to private planes for recruiting, out-spends all other C-USA members and generally finds yourself in a position to overwhelm most of the league just as Gonzaga overwhelms the WCC.
You can make millions for as long as you want, because it's really hard to lose.
Further proof of that is what's happening down at the Nike Peach Jam.
The Memphis 16-and-under team and the Memphis 17-and-under team have each made the championship games of what is widely viewed as the premier event of the summer circuit. Both teams are loaded with high-major prospects, and most of those high-major prospects grow up wanting to play for the Tigers.
Third-year coach Josh Pastner has already offered scholarships to 17-and-under team members Jarnell Stokes, Shaq Goodwin (who, it should be noted, is not from Memphis but is playing for Memphis and is considering the Tigers) and Austin Nichols, and 16-and-under team members Nick King and Jonathan Williams III. History suggests Pastner will get at least three of those prospects, maybe all five, and one of the stars of the 17-and-under team, Martavious Newby, is practically begging Memphis to recruit him.
So to recap: The Memphis coach has a massive budget, a top-notch arena, a devoted fan base, a loaded natural recruiting base and a league filled with mostly inferior programs that should allow him to cruise through January and February more years than not. Beyond that, the C-USA tournament is played on his homecourt more years than not, meaning he's almost always the favorite to earn the league's automatic bid.
It's a nice setup. If you're wondering why John Calipari stayed nine years and left only for Kentucky, there's your answer.
Posted on: July 12, 2011 1:54 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2011 2:04 pm
By Gary Parrish
NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. -- Summer basketball gets a bad reputation because the play is often reckless and undisciplined. Sometimes the coaches are to blame for that, no question. But other times the players are responsible for the crazy stuff you see on the court, which brings me to a game here at the Peach Jam Tuesday morning between the Memphis YOMCA and the California Supreme.
Memphis led 73-71 with 11 seconds left.
California had the ball.
A timeout was called.
So the Memphis coaches -- Jevonte Holmes and John Wilfong -- used that opportunity to tell their players to do anything but give up an open 3-pointer. If California got a bucket inside the arc to force overtime, Holmes and Wilfong could live with that. But what they wouldn't be OK with is an open 3-pointer at the buzzer that cost them a win.
So guess what happened after the timeout?
"We give up an open 3-pointer in the corner," Wilfong said. "Wide-open 3-pointer."
The jumper bounced off the rim, the buzzer sounded, and so Memphis escaped with the victory anyway. But the fact that Memphis nearly lost at the buzzer -- despite 21 points from Martavious Newby and 14 each from Jarnell Stokes and Shaq Goodwin -- wasn't a coaching problem as much as a lack of focus by the players in the final seconds.
"We told them over and over again -- no open 3-pointers," Wilfong said with a smile, at which point Herb Wright came over and joined the conversation. Wright coaches the Memphis YOMCA 16-and-under team. He had not heard a single word of our conversation, which made his opening question to Wilfong hilarious.
"Why," Wright asked, "did that kid get that open 3 in the corner?"
Posted on: May 11, 2011 1:24 pm
Edited on: May 12, 2011 4:11 pm
Shaq Goodwin was always highly-regarded in the class of 2012. He was a top-50 recruit that took a backseat to many of his teammates on the Atlanta Celtics and Memphis YOMCA.
This spring, though, Goodwin has taken off. He is now ranked in the top-15 by most scouts, and as high as No. 10 by one service.
“It’s really a privilege,” Goodwin said. “I would have never thought.”
The 6-foot-8 forward from Southwest Dekalb (Ga.) is a long and athletic combo forward that runs the floor and finishes in transition. Goodwin is one of the best passers in the country for his position, and he is a match-up nightmare due to his ability to make shots and post up players around the rim.
He said his rise in the rankings is due to more publicity and a chance in focus.
“People just noticing me,” Goodwin said. “And really taking the game serious. I was [before], but I was having too much fun.”
In terms of recruiting, he now has a top five of UCLA, Memphis, Georgia, Florida and Alabama. In April, Miami (Fl.) was in the top four but the recent coaching change has dropped them back in the pack.
“I don’t know,” Goodwin said. “I just don’t know them.”
While he said he has no favorites, he did say Alabama and Florida are coming after him the hardest. Both teams picked up their interest after Goodwin’s performance during the spring.
He also wants to take an unofficial visit to UCLA in June.
“Somewhere where I can play and won’t get in trouble,” Goodwin said when asked what he was looking for in a school. “Certain cities where they let me do what I want there. Maybe I’ll get in trouble there.”
For now, opponents are the only ones in trouble.
Posted on: April 12, 2011 11:34 am
Edited on: April 24, 2011 2:38 pm
Posted by Jeff Borzello
HAMPTON, Va. – Shaq Goodwin was as surprised as anyone at his meteoric rise in the class of 2012 rankings.
“I really don’t know what happened,” Goodwin said over the weekend at Nike EYBL Hampton. “I was ranked 40, and then all of sudden I’m No. 13. I was like, wow.”
Goodwin, a 6-foot-8 forward from Southwest Dekalb (Ga.) who ran with Memphis YOMCA this weekend, has made himself a clear candidate for a top-10 spot. He is a long and athletic combo forward that runs the floor and finishes in transition. Goodwin is an unbelievable passer for someone his size, and he can also post up players around the rim.
He said the talent has always been there – the publicity hasn’t.
“I started playing with good players,” Goodwin said. “And I think people started noticing me.”
As far as recruiting, Goodwin has a clear top four: UCLA, Memphis, Miami (Fl.) and Georgia.
Despite the fact Miami doesn’t have a head coach, he said the Hurricanes would be among the finalists regardless of who they hire.
“It doesn’t matter,” Goodwin said.
He also plans on taking an unofficial visit to UCLA in June.
Based on his recent play, there is little doubt Goodwin will be ranked among the elite players in the class by the time he makes a college commitment.
Posted on: April 11, 2011 10:39 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2011 2:40 pm
Posted by Jeff Borzello
HAMPTON, Va. – Although the AAU circuit started three weeks ago, the NIKE Elite Youth Basketball League event in Hampton this past weekend is recognized as the official start to the travel team season. With 40 of the best 17s teams gathered in one place, as well as top teams on the 16s and 15s levels, there were hundreds of future Division I players in attendance at Boo Williams. From Friday to Sunday, though, several players consistently stood out from the rest of the pack.
Kyle Anderson, 2012, Playaz: Despite his supposed weaknesses, Anderson continues to separate himself as one of the top players in the class. He simply has unbelievable feel for the game, using a variety of crafty floaters and finishes in the lane to score. Anderson doesn’t rely on explosiveness or quickness to get baskets, but the point-forward from St. Anthony (N.J.) knows how to make plays. He is a very good rebounder and showed some athleticism on a couple of impressive blocks.
Anthony Bennett, 2012, CIA Bounce: Bennett impresses nearly every time out, but the problem has been his ability to stay healthy. He is seemingly injured for every big event. Bennett was certainly not injured for Boo Williams this weekend. He took his game to a new level this weekend, scoring in a variety of ways and demonstrating his ability to be a match-up problem for most opponents. Bennett hustles defensively and loves to run the floor.
Rodney Purvis, 2012, CP3 All-Stars: Purvis opened the EYBL with a big-time performance against Team Takeover, and never looked back from there. He was consistently impressive offensively, dominating whichever opponent attempted to defend him. Purvis is explosive at that end of the floor, with the ability to blow by defenders and finish at the rim, or knock down perimeter shots. He is fantastic in transition and can also find teammates for open shots.
Shaq Goodwin, 2012, Memphis YOMCA: When the 2012 rankings are updated, Goodwin is a lock to be in the top 20, if not higher. His ceiling is as high as anyone in the class, due to his 6-foot-8 size and versatile skill set. Goodwin is a tremendous passer for someone his height, and his length makes him very difficult to defend around the basket. He runs the floor with the best of them and crashes the offensive boards. Defensively, he can block shots and control the glass.
Omar Calhoun, 2012, NY Gauchos: He’s not as athletically impressive as some of the other top players in the class, but Calhoun can score with anyone in the country. His mid-range jump shot is deadly and he has the ability to create his shot off the dribble. Calhoun has a solid build for a 6-foot-5 wing, and he uses his strength to score at the rim. He has very deep range from behind the arc and is nearly impossible to contain when he gets hot from three.
Ricardo Ledo, 2012, Albany City Rocks: Not playing with his usual Expressions AAU team, Ledo still managed to showcase his all-around offensive game and demonstrate why he is one of the top-three perimeter players in the class. He was knocking down perimeter shots over defenders; getting to the rim at will and finishing with both hands; and hitting difficult step-back jumpers and other mid-range shots. Ledo changes directions quickly, and is effective with ball fakes.
Alex Poythress, 2012, Georgia Stars: Poythress continues to rise up the charts. He is long and athletic, and can score in a variety of ways. In the half-court, he can post up defenders and score around the basket. Poythress improved his face-up game and his ability off the dribble, driving to the rim and finishing in traffic. He also added an outside jumper to his repertoire. Going into the weekend, Poythress had a reputation as a very good rebounder; that didn’t change one bit.
Nerlens Noel, 2013, BABC: Noel staked his claim to the No. 1 spot in the class of 2013 this past weekend. Offensively, he is still raw and has plenty of room to develop. However, he had a nice jump hook that was effective and he ran the floor well, finishing in transition. What separates Noel from most players is his defense. His length, timing and athleticism make him the best shot-blocker in the class. Noel isn’t muscular or physically imposing, but his ability to block or deter shots makes him intimidating.
D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, 2012, Spiece Indy Heat: Smith-Rivera isn’t a pure point guard, but his scoring ability ranks among the best backcourt players in the country. When he gets it going, Smith-Rivera is difficult to stop. He has deep range on his jump shot, knocking down 3-pointers with consistency. He is quicker than one might think, while his strength and build enable him to finish over bigger players in the paint. Smith-Rivera works off screens effectively and is smart with the ball.
Arnaud Adala-Moto, 2012, Team Takeover: Adala-Moto has been impressive in the past, but this weekend was different. He showed that he is a clear-cut high-major recruit, showing abilities at both ends of the floor that will make him attractive to college coaches. Adala-Moto has lost weight in the past year, looking quicker and more athletic. He is no longer an undersized forward; he can knock down perimeter shots and is a legitimate wing. Adala-Moto runs the floor extremely well and finishes in transition.
Andrew Wiggins, 2014, CIA Bounce: Separated himself as the top prospect in the class of 2014. Wiggins has a versatile skill set and is still developing.
Wayne Selden, 2014, BABC: Physically dominant, Selden simply owned the 15s division. He is extremely strong and is impossible to stop when driving to the rim.
Matthew Jones, 2013, Texas Titans: Overshadowed by Julius Randle, Jones knocked down perimeter jumpers with consistency and can also get to the basket.
Aaron Gordon, 2013, Oakland Soldiers: Gordon is simply too active and aggressive offensively for most opponents. He runs the floor and can also post up.