Point guard Doneal Mack originally signed with Florida, but was not admitted to the school for academic reasons. Coach John Calipari had no problem getting Mack to come to Memphis, and Memphis had no problem admitting the 6-foot-5 guard, which makes sense when you check out the Memphis basketball website and notice every player on the team who's old enough to have a major is concentrating in either interdisciplinary studies or sport and leisure management.
12. Michigan State
How's this for testing your team early? To start off the the season, the Spartans play in the Old Spice Classic, where they'll face off against Maryland in the first round. If Izzo's boys beat the Terrapins, they'll play Gonzaga or Oklahoma State, and if they win that game they'll most likely play Tennessee or Georgetown. Then MSU heads to Detroit to take on North Carolina and, later in the season, the team will play both Texas and Kansas. Needless to say, strength of schedule will not be an issue for the Spartans.
Part of the reason Gonzaga's ranked so highly has to do with reigning West Coast conference player of the year Jeremy Pargo's return. After last season, the 6-foot-2 guard entered his name in the NBA Draft, but after consulting with older brother and former NBA guard Jannero Pargo (who went undrafted in the 2002 NBA Draft), he returned to Spokane.
Mark my words -- Austin Freeman is going to blow up this year. The 6-foot-4 guard is ridiculously talented. He is also the first DeMatha Catholic high school grad (alumni include Adrian Dantley and Danny Ferry) to attend Georgetown in two decades and to Washingtonians, that's important.
Guard Dominic James has a tattoo of himself under the words "God-Given Talent," which sounds conceited until you see him jump. The 5-foot-11 guard has a forty-inch vertical.
16. Arizona State
Center Eric Boateng, a 6-foot-10 Duke transfer and McDonald's All-American selection, is the only person at ASU who is fluent in Twi, a language spoken in Ghana. When he wanted to fulfill his language requirement, he had to find a professor at Indiana to administer his exam, which he passed.
When Oklahoma's star forward Blake Griffin decided to forgo the NBA Draft and return for his sophomore season, highly-regarded recruit Willie Wilson committed to Oklahoma, guaranteeing that, for the first time in program history, two alumni of the high-school All-Star game would be playing on the same Sooner basketball team.
Stephen Curry really wanted to follow in his father's footsteps and play basketball at Virginia Tech, but Hokies coach Seth Greenberg only offered him a spot as a walk-on. In fact, the only schools to recruit this All-America player were Winthrop, VCU and Davidson. Out of those schools, Davidson is the only one that has a mandatory, college-run laundry program for all its students, so that made Curry's choice pretty easy.
The Hurricanes were so bad at basketball back in the early '70's, the university actually dropped the hoops program after the '72 season. Miami brought the program back 12 years later. Good thing, too. Last season, Sienna transfer Jack McClinton became the first men's basketball player in school history to earn All-ACC first team honors. That's got to make Rick Barry proud.
Scottie Reynolds, Nova's leading scorer last season, originally signed a letter of intent to play at Oklahoma, but was released from his obligation when coach Kelvin Sampson left for Indiana. Reynolds decided to play for Jay Wright at Villanova partly because the coach looks so good on the bench. Wright is easily the best dressed coach in college basketball.
Got more college basketball conversation starters? Send them to Jacob.Osterhout@gmail.com.