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by Chris O’Meara – AP
2 months ago:
FILE – In this March 13, 2009, file photo, South Carolina guard Devan Downey (2) shoots around Mississippi State forward Jarvis Vernado during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Southeastern Conference men’s tournament in Tampa, Fla. Downey is making himself eligible for the NBA draft without hiring an agent, meaning he can withdraw his name by June 15 and still return to school. The 5-foot-9 guard announced his decision Tuesday, April 7. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara, File)
I’m back in business after spending some time over the weekend with my girlfriend’s friends and family in Columbia and Spartanburg. There’s not a whole lot of news today, but there should be soon, as the June 15th deadline for college basketball players that have declared for the draft without hiring an agent to decide whether or not they want to stay in the draft is fast approaching. LSU’s Tasmin Mitchell has recently backed out, but our own Devan Downey and Dominique Archie have yet to make up their minds. Considering that he said he plans to when he declared, I still expect Archie to come back and assume that he’s just trying to get as much as he can out of the workout process. I could be wrong, but I have no problem with taking Arhchie at his word at this point. Downey, though, is tougher to figure out, and every day without hearing that he’s coming back makes me worry more that he plans to do something other than play in Columbia in 2009-2010. That probably won’t be playing in the NBA, but the guy does have other options, and as a fifth-year senior who is supposedly close enough that he could graduate in the fall, he may feel it’s time to move on.
In more basketball news, ESPN’s Michael LaPlante has an informative column up that ranks the SEC recruiting classes. He gives us a C+. That’s not as bad as it sounds; only one team (Kentucky) got an A-range grade, and our C+ puts us around the middle of the pack. That’s not too bad for Darrin Horn’s first real class. Horn signed a potential star in Lakeem Jackson. Jackson has been looking more and more like a real gem for Horn as his stock has risen considerably over the last few months. Horn also signed some potential role players that could be good for us if they pan out. Still, Horn will need to pull more talent in future classes if he truly hopes to challenge John Calipari, Billy Donovan, and Bruce Pearl in the SEC. Horn is a career overachiever and his coaching smarts will keep USC in games, but to truly compete for SEC titles consistently he’ll have to get the kind of talent the league’s other coaching stars get.
A few other items of interest:
- They don’t consider us a rival. Rrright. (H / T to cocknfire on this one.)
- This story got a lot of play over the weekend in my absence, and since everyone who reads this site should already know what I think of Kiffin, I’m not going to weigh in. If you haven’t already seen it, though, UT has self-reported yet another recruiting violation.
- We could get hit hard by the MLB draft. Underclassman Sam Dyson is projected as a first-round pick, and star commitment Chris Owings may also have to decide between big money and playing for Ray Tanner.