- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
For Pittsburgh it's back to the future; the same five starters are reunited from a team that two years ago went 17-13. Of the three new frontcourt players on the roster, two are back from academic purgatory, the other arrives from a juco. Assistant coach John Sarandrea recruited freshmen Omo Moses, Gandhi Jordan and Ahmad Shareef, and now he says: "If guys named Gandhi, Ahmad and Moses can't take you to the promised land, nobody can."
It's a fact: Guards Sean Miller and Darelle Porter co-coached a local 15-and-under AAU team for the third straight summer.
So's this: At 12, Miller gave a dribbling exhibition on The Tonight Show.
Over the summer, Mike Krzyzewski passed up a five-year, $2.5 million offer to coach the Celtics to remain at Duke. Credit that decision to the Blue Devils' penchant for postseason success, as reflected in four Final Four appearances in the past five seasons. To replace the speed and aerial skill lost with the departure of Robert Brickey, Coach K brought in a couple of freshman wingmen, 6'7" Grant Hill, son of former NFL standout Calvin, and 6'8" Antonio Lang. Then there is Duke's experience at the point, in Bobby Hurley (bruised by a rocky freshman year, but wiser because of it), and up front, in Christian Laettner (stronger after a summer of weight work and toughening on Coach K's U.S. national team).
It's a fact: None of last season's seniors—Brickey, Alaa Abdelnaby or Phil Henderson—graduated on time; Krzyzewski says he won't raise the Blue Devils' NCAA banner in Cameron Indoor Stadium until they all get their degrees.
So's this: Although he turned the Celtics down, Krzyzewski did have a parquet floor installed in an addition on his Durham home.
Cynics have learned to expect little from Ohio State when the Buckeyes are highly touted. Hopes have rarely been this high in Columbus, where three terrific recruiting classes are maturing. If 7-foot, 240-pound junior Bill Robinson proves to be a big league center, the rest of the lineup will fall into place, led by 6'6" Jimmy Jackson, a sensational sophomore forward.
It's a fact: Coach Randy Ayers has all 12 players back from a team that beat six highly ranked teams last season.
So's this: The Buckeyes may not be champs yet, but they attract them: Ex-heavyweight champion James (Buster) Douglas and Reds outfielder Paul O'Neill are regulars in St. John Arena.
Much like Alabama, Georgia has ascended without fanfare, rising from ninth in the SEC only two years ago to first place last season. Coach Hugh Durham has five players 6'10" or taller, including 6'11" Antonio Harvey, the Missouri Valley's freshman of the year at Southern Illinois two seasons ago. The Bulldogs also have a deep backcourt anchored by the reliable Rod Cole and Litterial Green, a corsair of a scoring guard who will no longer be overshadowed in the SEC by Chris Jackson.