Office Hours: Back To The Bell Curve

By David Scott - November 18, 2007

The Professor is back with Week 2 of our report card feature and we must say, we're getting pretty good at this Bell Curve stuff.

Without further ado, our grade book is once again open:

A+: Chris Douglas-Roberts, Memphis
The MVP of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, CDR put the nation on alert that the Rose Kid is nice and all, but he's still just a Kid. CDR is a Man and the success of the Tigers will be predicated as much on the resourceful CDR as it will on the precocious Derrick Rose.

Inc.: UConn
The Huskies are either a LOT better than last year or just better enough. The jury is still out. In four games, UConn has been alternating between depressive (a mighty struggle in the opener at home against Morgan State) and impressive (the first half comeback against Memphis on Friday). If this is the Amityville AJ Price - as Calhoun suggests it is - then the Huskies will be fine. "You can't win without a point guard," Calhoun said in New York. With Price at his current performance level, Calhoun has BOTH a point guard and a shooting guard in one body. Hasheem Thabeet still scares us and strikes us as one step above "raw," and Jeff Adrien withered under the spotlight against the Tigers.

A: State of Rhode Island Basketball
Both Rhody and Providence are off to impressive starts with the Rams at 5-0 and the Friars at 2-1. Rhody's Will Daniels was the A-10's co-player of the week after averaging 20 points and eight rebounds in three Ws for Rhody. He had 26 points at Brown and then recorded his first double-double of the season with 17 points and 13 rebounds against Stetson on Saturday. The Friars went to Puerto Rico for the way under-attended O'Reilly PR Tip-off and despite falling to Miami in the title tile, did manage to take out No. 18 Arkansas.

F: The Gazelle Group
In addition to a very Mickey Mouse operation at Madison Square Garden (the first night's stats fiasco was inexcusable), these are the same people who are now bringing us the wholly unnecessary College Basketball Invitational post-season tournament. An official from Gazelle told on Thursday night that the CBI will be extending invites to schools at the same time the NIT does on Selection Sunday. The only reason any school will choose the doomed-to-fail CBI over the newly-rebuilt NIT is if Gazelle comes up with a significantly better package - and exposure opportunities - than that of the NIT. That is highly unlikely as the official also gave indications that under-publicized Versus will be the network gaining rights to the so-called tournament. Versus, for those of you who are new to the broadcasting game, is the same network where the NHL has gone to die.

One last thing on Gazelle: The press release they distributed on the CBI event is a complete joke. Woven into the release are recycled quotes from the "NCAA selection committee chair" and the "executive director of the NABC" where neither man is named and neither quote is given in actual response to the CBI's potential impact.

If either gentleman had actually given live quotes, both would have very likely said something to the effect of "Have you all lost your damn money-grubbing minds?"

The best thing that could happen is if the CBI doesn't get enough "Yes" replies to field a full 16-team field. And hopefully they get an odd number to boot.

(Boy, The Professor sure can be a tough grader and can you imagine seeing those comments in RED INK?)

F: Madison Square Garden
While we're bashing the organizers, we might as well pile on the building the Coaches vs. Cancer event was held in. If you weren't born in or around the greater-Manhattan area, it's hard to see the appeal of MSG. More often than not, it smells like a dive bar at closing, with spilled beer, stale popcorn and bad body odor. The press room (not that you care) was built to fit about 20 people and for eight bucks on Thursday night, the media meal consisted of cold pasta, browning salad and rice (the dessert cookies, which were gratis, were, however, tasty).

Scoreboard malfunctions were the norm during both nights, back-of-the-house ushers are New York City-rude and a vast majority of the seating ushers have been around since the original Garden at Madison and 26th was built in the late 1800s.

Yeah, it's the World's Most Famous Arena, we guess, but it's also the World's Most Overrated one.

B: Manhattan College
To prove we don't hate everything about NYC (and to satisfy the request of Radio Ronnie the Ranter) we need to point out the early work of the Jaspers under second-year head man, Barry "Slice" Rohrssen. The Jaspers fell in OT to Hofstra on Saturday, but NYC-native Rohrssen is getting things rolling and his defense-first style is going to translate into a lot of Ws for Ronnie Weintraub''s main rooting interest.

A+: Tyreke Evans, Guard, American Christian Academy
The Professor visited the campus of UMass-Lowell on Saturday and we were treated to the laet afternoon contest between ACA and Winchendon as part of the outstanding National Prep Showcase. Evans line for his team's 89-85 win: 32 points (12 of 22, 3 of 7 from 3-point land), four rebounds, five assists, three turns and six steals in 37 (of 40) minutes. He banged into the mammoth 7-foot, 350 pound John Hegarty late in the game, writhed in pain for a bit, then returned to help finish off Winchendon.

Evans is a Top 5 recruit who appears to be narrowing his choices to elite teams like Louisville, Memphis and Texas (with Villanova, UConn and Seton Hall also in pursuit). For what it's worth, John Calipari was the only head coach from those schools in attendance for Evans' game, accompanied by top assistant Derek Kellogg. (Granted, scheduling conflicts probably prohibited other head men from being in Lowell, but the speculation around the gym was that Evans would be a great fit for the Tigers.)

One more thing about the ACA team, DePaul could be in for a real treat with Chicago native and 6-1, 165 point guard Jeremiah Kelly,, who has committed to the Blue Demons.

F: Chris Lofton, Tennessee
A pre-season All-America candidate, Lofton has been an in-season disappointment to this point for the 3-0 Vols. He's 6 of 28 from the field and the career 17 point per game scorer is averaging just 9.7 ppg, fifth among the Vols' starters. Lofton needs to shake out of his slump soon - the Vols face West Virginia and probably Texas at next weekend's Legends Classic.

. . . The Professor takes a weekly glance at an NBA player who, last year at this time, was on-campus with:

Rook Look: Sean Williams, New Jersey Nets
Williams was kicked off the Boston College team last season after a number of incidents during his career and the character questions dropped his draft stock. But the Nets picked him up at No. 17 and Saturday night he got his first career start for New Jersey and responded with 22 points, eight rebounds, two blocks and two steals.

. . . One last thing from The Professor: Required Reading
This Steve Serby Sunday Q&A in the New York Post has some revealing tidbits from Billy Donovan.

. . . Enjoy the Thanksgiving break, students of The Game and we'll see you again next week. Don't be late.

Posted by David Scott at 10:30 PM on November 18, 2007

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