A roundup from Alex Len's presser and Lefty Driesell's ceremony, plus wondering about Antonio Barton and Scott Spinelli's futures.
Len's next giant leap leads to the NBA - CSN Washington
The official presser came yesterday, and the quotes are worth a read. Turgeon really talks him up - not that that's a surprise, given that his presence as a lotto pick is something he'll mine on the recruiting trail for the next three years. Still, it's nice to read a few glowing quotes - although I think Turge is overselling it a bit much when he says Len's a potential #1 pick.
Mike Wise on Alex Len's decision
Hey, who'd have thought Wise of all people would have a balanced, nuanced, informed take on this? This pretty much sums it up:
All the hand-wringing, all the moral certitude, about how another year of college can benefit those two kids goes out the window with one unalterable fact: Through no fault of their own, their stock may never be higher in the league’s severely flawed system, an apprenticeship program that actually penalizes players such as Roy Hibbert and Jared Sullinger for having the wisdom to stay for another year of college.
The entire thing is worth a read, and even though I think he's being unusually harsh on the NBA - there are smart people in the NBA who make smart decisions in the draft, and dumb people in the NBA who make dumb decisions; it's more about competency than "the system - it revs up that ol' "switch to the baseball system" debate.
Maryland honors Lefty Driesell with bas-relief
This has been overshadowed by the Len stuff, which is a shame because it's a really entertaining story. Yes, it's overdue, and yes, Lefty is, as ever, awesome. But the money quote comes at the end:
"It's gonna be a big part of what we do in recruiting. This night is so long overdue and I'm so glad it's happening," Turgeon said. "I didn't play for you. I never coached with you. But Lefty, I love you. Because of what you did, I wake up happy and hungry to come to work every day. I just want to follow your footsteps. I hope someday I'm lucky enough to have a night like this, recruit great players who become great men."
I wonder if Turgeon sees himself as the spiritual heir to Lefty, not Gary. Even if not, it's been clear that he's tried to do something Gary never was able to: rebuild the family. There's always been a disconnect between the Lefty and Gary years, and Turgeon is patching that up now - Lefty's in and around the program, Juan's in and around the program, Greivis I'm sure will be whenever he can be - and that'll be a boon in a variety of ways, including in recruiting.
Antonio Barton transferring from Memphis, will be eligible immediately
That'd be Will's younger brother, a Baltimore native with a daughter in Charm City. He's not exactly a point - more of a lead guard, a scoring point - and his numbers have fallen off each year - though, in his defense, he was injured for the back half of last year - but he's a ballhandler who would give Maryland another option in the backcourt, where they certainly need numbers. And he'd be eligible immediately (it sounds like). Expect a push?
For a tease, the Memphis Rivals site says he may "end up in the ACC", which is vague but which you'd have to consider means Maryland.
Spinelli a candidate at American
Said it once, said it a hundred times: there are just too many opportunities for Spin this year. He just makes too much sense, especially at somewhere like American: he's forged local connects of late (especially out on the Shore, which is an underrated and overlooked source of talent), and can always go back up to the Northeast where guys will likely be receptive to playing in a D.C. private school.
If Spin ends up at AU, I'd imagine they'd be on the schedule as soon as possible, ala Cal helping out Turge. To be frank, it's the type of game Maryland should be scheduling anyway.
Tianna Hawkins selected 6th in WNBA draft
To the Seattle Storm. Was hoping she'd end up with Washington at #4, but going that high is still impressive.
Reggie Bullock declares for draft, but James Michael McAdoo returns
Bullock was a terror every time he played Maryland while McAdoo was always relatively easily-contained, but with P.J. Hairston still around and Marcus Paige returning, that's some serious talent. Carolina has to be the runaway conference favorites for next year.