While Kevin Willard will attempt to finalize his staff in the coming week(s), Jerry Carino sat down with the new Pirates head coach and asked him 10 questions:
Q. How challenging is it for you to go forward when you don't know what your roster is going to look like?
A. It's actually not as difficult as everything thinks. I think I have a pretty good feel for what's going on with the roster. I know there are three guys (who declared for the NBA Draft), but the only guy that's probably up in the air is Herb (Pope). He is projected to maybe be a late second-round choice. The other two guys (Jeremy Hazell and Jeff Robinson) pretty much know they have to come back for one more year and improve their status. We've had good conversations with all the recruits, too, so things are progressing the way we want them to."
Very encouraging. As I've been predicting all offseason, I also see Pope leaving, with JRob and Hazell returning, yet it sounds much better coming from Willard's mouth. Of course it makes sense for Pope to return to school, but it's possible he may be content playing professionally across the pond -- should he slip out of the second round. Check out Jerry's Q&A with Coach Willard, it will definitely get you excited about the season to come.
Bobby Gonzalez's favorite journalist, Kevin Armstrong, recently wrote a piece on job security among the NYC-area coaches:
Since the first week of March, 8 of the area's 13 Division I men's basketball coaching positions have been open at some point. There have been resignations, résumés sent out via e-mail messages and interviews with third-party representatives. As the dominoes have fallen, more shifts have resulted.
"The first thing these coaches need to know is to keep their leases nearby," said the retired St. John's coach Lou Carnesecca, a New York City native who won 526 games in 24 seasons at the university. "It's absolutely crazy."
West Virginia's Kevin Ebanks has declared for the NBA Draft. From the Smoking Musket:
As widely expected, Devin Ebanks has declared himself eligible for the NBA Draft. He has, however, left a glimmer of hope that he will return to Morgantown by not hiring an agent. Unfortunately, that prospect looks unlikely, as Ebanks is still projected to be a first round pick, which is a good chance to take considering the potential NBA labor problems on the horizon.
As expected, Wes Johnson is headed to the NBA Draft. Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician gets emotional, noting Johnson's one season was well worth it:
Wes Johnson's smile will be one of the first things that comes to mind when you think of all those things. And if the price to pay is that we only got one season with him, so be it. That was the most fun Syracuse basketball season since, well, Carmelo led the 2003 team all the way to the title. You can't take those for granted anymore.
Thanks Wes. We appreciated it and we'll keep rooting for you, no matter what color uniform you're wearing next year.
Lastly, two Providence College players, Johnnie Lacy and James Still, allegedly assaulted a fellow student. For no apparent reason:
Police tell The Providence Journal that Yerkin Abdrakhmanov was walking along the campus edge when he was attacked. They tell WPRO-AM he is being treated at a hospital for a broken nose, eye socket and frontal bone.