Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Jackets' Morrow primed for big year

Charlotte Latin graduate Anthony Morrow averaged 9.9 points and shot 41.8 percent from 3-point range last season for Georgia Tech.

Imagine what he’ll do now that he’s healthy.

“I’m in the best shape of my life,” said, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard. “I feel a lot quicker laterally and as far as getting off the floor.”

In 2006, Morrow missed individual instruction and conditioning in the fall as well as the first three weeks of practice because of a stress fracture in his back.

There was a period when doctors discouraged him from even walking much because they didn’t want him to put pressure on his back. When he returned to the court, his skills were rusty and his conditioning was weak.

Morrow had been the ACC leader in 3-point percentage in 2005-06, besting even J.J. Redick, the previous season. Morrow had averaged 16.0 points per game and started every regular season game as a sophomore.

After the injury, he started just 10 games as a junior.

“That’s why this past summer I worked so hard,” he said.

Because of his struggles last season, Morrow has been overlooked by many analysts in their preseason All-ACC selections. But his improved athletic ability should make him a better defender, and he still possesses that sweet shooting stroke.

At a time when there aren’t many outstanding seniors playing college basketball, Morrow could be one of the best in the ACC.

“He’s primed to have a huge year,” said Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt.

– Ken Tysiac

Monday, October 15, 2007

Monroe to Hoyas stings Duke

The news that Greg Monroe committed to Georgetown over the weekend will sting a bit at Duke.

Scout.com ranks Monroe as the No. 1 player in the current high school senior class. A 6-foot-10 forward with good ball-handling and passing skills, he could have provided the strong post presence Duke appears to be lacking.

The Blue Devils also recently missed on 6-8 McDonald’s All-American Patrick Patterson, who’s now a freshman at Kentucky. They have a commitment from 6-7 banger Olek Czyz of Reno, Nev., but he’s far from a polished scorer.

If there are other quality, uncommitted post players in the current senior class, they’re not immediately obvious. That leaves sophomore Brian Zoubek, a 7-foot-1 project coming off surgery for a broken foot, as the team’s top scoring threat at center for the foreseeable future.
It makes the decision of 6-4 guard Elliot Williams of Collierville, Tenn., even more critical for Duke to avoid having this recruiting class become a bust.

The current strong freshman class consisting of McDonald’s All-Americans Kyle Singler, Nolan Smith and Taylor King means it’s hardly time for Duke to panic. The fact that North Carolina signed nobody in the Class of 2007 and still might be No. 1 in the preseason also provides perspective.

But losing out on two highly coveted big guys in a row – Patterson and now Monroe – won’t be easy for a Duke program that isn’t used to losing in recruiting.

– Ken Tysiac

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Roy trying to shake vertigo

UNC coach Roy Williams has tried hanging upside down.

He’s tried ginger roots. He’s tried drinking diet Mello Yello.
Nothing has completely rid him of the vertigo that has annoyed him during the offseason.

"Everybody’s got Grandma’s cure," Williams said. "So they send it to me. I’ve done everything you can possibly do."

An attack of vertigo kept Williams nauseated and in bed one day during mid-July. According to the Mayo Clinic web site, vertigo condition is a problem with the nerves and balance mechanism of the inner ear that can cause intense dizzy spells.

Though Williams is under the care of doctors, he said he still isn’t 100 percent recovered.

"Early in the mornings I’m still a little light headed. I can’t shake it completely," Williams said. "It’s hard. Doctors can’t give me their exact remedy for it."

The condition won’t keep him away from his team. Practice for his 20th season begins at 7 p.m. Friday with "Late Night" festivities at the Smith Center. – Ken Tysiac

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

TV picks up 2 more Davidson games

Two more Davidson games have been picked up by television networks, including one that broadcasts nationally.

WGN in Chicago - available on cable and satellite throughout the nation - will broadcast the Wildcats' Dec. 8 game against UCLA in Anaheim, Calif. at 5:30 p.m.. Mid-Altlantic Sports Network (MASN) will show the Wildcats' home game against Appalachian State Feb. 27. MASN is not yet available on Time Warner cable, but is on DirecTV and Dish network.

The additions give Davidson nine televised regular season games, four on national networks and five on regional networks. More could still come: Davidson's BracketBuster game Feb. 23 could be picked up by an ESPN network, and a Davidson official said two other games could be added by a regional sports network.

-- Kevin Cary

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Clemson's grad rates will improve

Clemson’s graduation numbers for men’s basketball are downright ugly, but sports information director Tim Bourret said they will improve under fifth-year coach Oliver Purnell.

On Wednesday, the NCAA released its six-year graduation rate figures for freshmen who entered school from 1997 to 2000. Clemson’s 31 percent Graduation Success Rate and 19 percent federal graduation rate for men’s basketball were the lowest marks for men’s basketball and football teams in the Carolinas.

Bourret said those numbers are disappointing, but added that none of the athletes examined in that study were recruited by Purnell. He expects future graduation rates to be higher because:

- All three scholarship seniors on the 2005-06 team (Akin Akingbala, Steve Allen and Shawan Robinson) received their degrees.

- All three 2007-08 scholarship seniors (Cliff Hammonds, James Mays and Sam Perry) are on track to graduate.

- The team grade-point average of 2.66 last spring was one of the top five marks for a semester in the last 10 years.

- Clemson had three members of the ACC All-Academic team last year, more than any other men’s basketball team.

The low graduation rates of players who entered school before Purnell arrived still are troubling. With scholarship penalties soon coming into effect for programs that don’t perform in the classroom, it’s more imperative than ever for teams that have struggled with academics in the past to turn things around. – Ken Tysiac