Thursday, May 20, 2010

Departures -- Louisville Thru Pittsburgh

The Clearing Fog...Part 2 of 4
Before attempting to predict the shape of teams (and the conference) going into next season, I want to catalog the departures (graduating seniors, transfers and NBA draft hopefuls) and then consider the impact the departing players (and coaches) will have on the offense and defense of each program. If I have overlooked or misclassified anyone, please let me know. Identifying academic casualties will have to come later; schools are reluctant to make official announcements about grades (privacy issues), and summer school has yet to run it's course.


Reginald DelkSRGGrad
Edgar SosaSRPGGrad
Jerry SmithSRGGrad
Samardo SamuelsSOFNBA-In

In addition to solid rotation player Reginald Delk, the Cardinals lose three starters from the squad that finished 20-13 (11-7) and went to the NCAAs (eliminated in the first round, 77-62, by California). Were Edgar Sosa and Coach Pitino ever on the same page? Fans may debate whether Sosa is addition by subtraction, but there is near unanimous opinion that Samuels to the draft will hurt the front court. Jerry Smith never seemed to get on track in 2010. I will leave to Louisville fans to speculate whether his and Terrence Jennings' arrest in Jeffersonville, IN proved to be the "one too many distraction" for the team. Terrence Jennings will have the best opportunity to show what he can do in the low post next season, as will rising sophomore Payton Silva at the point. To this point the veterans have been complement players to two very talented classes (2009 and 2010); the staff will no doubt look for leaders from among those who will return next season. Coach Pitino brought in long-time friend and one-time assistant Ralph Willard to reshape the Cardinals' defense. Next season may be the best opportunity to see if the veteran pair still have their touch.


Maurice AckerSRGGrad
David CubillanSRGGrad
Lazar HaywardSRFGrad
Yousoupha MbaoFRCTrans

Acker and Cubillan have been servicable rotation players, each of whom has had a good game or two to remember in years to come. But Lazar Hayward is a huge loss for the Golden Eagles, as virtually every game last season was a big game for him. Marquette may well continue to be plagued by the absence of a Big East-level low post player, but they will be well stocked with back court players and wings. Coach Buzz Williams has had two very (and, I have to confess, for me very unexpectedly) good seasons. He is a favorite, to fans of Marquette, the administration, and to fans of Big East basketball. The style is constant motion and energetic; Williams has players who will play that style again next season.

Notre Dame

Tim AndreeSRFGrad
Ben HansbroughSRGGrad
Luke HarangodySRFGrad
Tory JacksonSRGGrad
Jonathan PeoplesSRGGrad

Tim Andree emerged to have a solid senior season, while Hanbrough and Peoples were both solid rotation contributors. Tory Jackson and Luke Harangody, four year starters will be hard to replace. Harangody was the Big East POY in 2009, but returned to lead the Irish (with teammate Jackson at the point) back to the NCAAs after a year in the NIT. Coach Mike Brey listened to offers from Oregon in April, but will return to South Bend to retool the team for next season. During his tenure at Notre Dame, Coach Brey has fashioned Notre Dame into one of the most consistently efficient offenses, and toughest home court opponents in the Big East. Expect it again next season.


Chase AdamsSRGGrad
Jermaine DixonSRGGrad

Adams transferred in from Centenary late in August. While Coach Dixon worked him into the rotation, he was, as was understood at the time of his transfer, more an insurance policy than an impact player. Jermaine Dixon was a well regarded contributor, mostly on the wing. Gilbert Brown and others will be available next season. Coach Dixon continues to be one of the "most dropped" names whenever a BCS coaching position opens, and this off season was no different, as ADs from DePaul to Oregon "checked" with him before moving on to their eventual choices. Coach Dixon has a lot returning next season.

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