No. 1 Pittsburgh's perfect run is over. The Panthers of former TCU player Jamie Dixon lost for the first time in 17 games this season as Louisville scored a 69-63 victory in a Big East Conference battle.
Myck Kabongo, one of the top-rated point guards in the class of 2011, made it official Monday morning when he announced his intention to play basketball for the Longhorns.
The 6-foot-2, 160-pound native of Ontario attends St. Benedicts Prep in Newark, N.J. Kabongo is regarded as a pure point guard with speed and quickness who likes to push the ball in transition and a penetrator who can finish. He reportedly also considered Kansas, Florida, Wake Forest and Villanova.
Kabongo said he liked both Texas' style of play and the way coach Rick Barnes' program has developed future NBA players.
Another key factor likely was the fact that teammate and close friend Tristan Thompson (class of 2010) committed to Texas last year.
At 6-8, Thompson is ranked the No.2 power forward in the country and fifth in the class of 2010 by Rivals.com. Texas also has a commitment for 2010 from 6-5 shooting guard Daniel Bejarano of Phoenix, Ariz. Bejarano is ranked as high as No.2 in his class at that position and 16th nationally by Rivals.
Texas has signed a 3-player class for 2009 ranked as high as No.2 nationally, recently made stronger by the transfer from Florida of former All-SEC freshman team point guard Jai Lucas, originally of Houston Belaire. Lucas will likely be eligible at mid-term next season.
Jai Lucas, an all-SEC freshman point guard at Florida last season, announced Sunday that he will transfer to Texas.
Lucas, who left the team before the season, said he was homesick and that he would have initially chosen to play for the Longhorns if not for the presence of since-departed All-American point guard D.J. Augustin.
Lucas, who is 5-foot-10, averaged 8.5 points and 2.3 assists in an average of 30 minutes last season. He made 43.5 percent of his 3-point shots.
He must sit out a year and may not be eligible until the second semester next season. He will join one of Texas' most-anticipated recruiting classes of the Rick Barnes era.
His older brother played at Oklahoma State and his father is a former NBA player and coach. He was originally a consensus Top 50 recruit out of Houston Bellaire.--Mike Jones.
Never too early to enjoy some hoops. Here's a quick clip from Duke's 80-49 season opening win over Presbyterian. Nice dunk by Duke forward Elliot Williams, one of the freshmen to watch this year. -Trae
Sports Illustrated has released its top 20 preseason rankings for men's and women's basketball. North Carolina leads the men's poll, followed by UConn, UCLA, Louisville and Purdue. Texas is ninth. The top five in the women's poll: UConn, Stanford, Oklahoma, North Carolina and Rutgers.
One of the dot.com sites recently named the Texas men's basketball program as one of the ten best nationally, and the kind of scheduling Rick Barnes embraces is one of the factors that goes into that kind of prestige. It's also proven a strong factor in an ever-expanding national recruiting strategy.
The Longhorns, who are working on details of a series with North Carolina beginning next season with the tipoff in the Dallas Cowboys' new stadium, have now set a 4-game deal with Connecticut. The series begins at UConn (either on campus or in Hartford) in 2009-10 and the Huskies will return the game the next season. The series will then renew after two years.--Mike Jones.
The Tennessee Volunteers were picked as the preseason favorites to defend their 2008 Southeastern Conference men's basketball title. The Volunteers, which won 31 games last year and reached the Sweet 16, return two starters in Tyler Smith and Wayne Chism. Six letterwinners also return. Tennessee was picked ahead of Florida, Kentucky and Vanderbilt in the SEC East, while Alabama was predicted to win the SEC West. Here's the preseason all-conference teams:
FIRST TEAM ALL-SEC: Patrick Patterson (6-9, 235), Soph., Kentucky; F Tyler Smith (6-7, 215), Jr., Tennessee; G/F Nick Calathes (6-6, 194), Soph., Florida; G Devan Downey (5-9, 175), Jr., South Carolina; C A.J. Ogilvy (6-11, 250), Soph., Vanderbilt.
SECOND TEAM ALL-SEC: G Marcus Thornton (6-4, 205), Sr., LSU; F/C Jarvis Varnado (6-9, 210), Jr., Miss. State; G Ronald Steele (6-1, 191), Sr., Alabama; F Tasmin Mitchell (6-7, 240), Jr., LSU; G Alonzo Gee (6-6, 219), Sr., Alabama.
DALLAS — University of Texas senior guard A.J. Abrams and junior swingman Damion James have been named to the five-person Preseason All-Big 12 basketballteam, the conference office announced Tuesday. UT was the only school to have a pair of selections on the preseason team. In addition, senior forward/center Connor Atchley was one of seven players to receive preseason honorable mention accolades.
Oklahoma sophomore Blake Griffin was tabbed the Preseason Player of the Year. Kansas junior guard was chosen Newcomer of the Year, while Oklahoma guard Willie Warren, a former North Crowley star, garnered Preseason Freshman of the Year accolades. Players honored in preseason voting were selected by the league’s head coaches. The coaches were not permitted to vote for their own student-athletes.
Joining Abrams and James on the Preseason All-Big 12 team were Griffin, Curtis Jerrells (Baylor) and Sherron Collins (Kansas).
The all-time career leader at Texas in three-point field goals made (284), Abrams enters his senior year ranked 15th on the school’s career scoring list (1,389 points), second in free throw percentage (.872) and sixth in three-point field goal percentage (.399). He is the top returning scorer in the Big 12 Conference (16.5 ppg). Abrams earned a spot on the USBWA All-District VII Team and was named to the All-Big 12 Second Team (coaches) and NABC All-District 9 second team in his junior season. In four NCAA Tournament contests, he averaged a team-best 20.3 points per game while converting 19-of-38 (.500) three-pointers.
James is one of just six returning Division I players to average a double-double (13.2 points, 10.3 rebounds per game as a sophomore). He earned a spot on the USBWA All-District VII Team and was named to the All-Big 12 Second Team (coaches) and the NABC All-District 9 second team last year. He set a school single-season record with 393 rebounds, led the team in double-doubles (17) and ranked second on the squad in blocks (51), third in scoring and fourth in assists (51).
Atchley earned his bachelor’s degree in corporate communications in May and is currently enrolled in classes in the Graduate School of Advertising. He was named to the five-person Big 12 All-Improved team and the five-person Big 12 All-Defensive team last year. Atchley led the Big 12 in blocked shots (80, fifth on the UT single-season chart) and ranked second on the team in rebounding (5.3 rpg) and fourth in scoring (9.5 ppg).
The Mean Green men's basketball team opens the 2008-09 season at home against Division II Cameron in its former venue, the Snake Pit, on Nov. 14. UNT’s regular arena, the Super Pit, is booked that day for another event. UNT played at the Snake Pit from 1950-73.
UNT will use the Super Pit the rest of the season, including Dec. 6 against New Mexico State. UNT has road games at Oklahoma State (Nov. 17), Indiana State (Nov. 23) and Houston (Nov. 29). Sun Belt Conference play starts Dec. 18 at Louisiana-Lafayette.