A vote against ranked either Kentucky or Louisville Number One next season leads the weekly edition of the WDRB College Hoops Notebook.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – A debate has roared locally since April about which team will be ranked Number One to start the 2013-14 college basketball season.
Kentucky or Louisville?
It turns out that at least one Division I coach believes we have it all wrong.
That makes it a good time for the weekly WDRB College Basketball Notebook.
WHO'S NUMBER ONE? NO WAY – The 'Book thought this was strictly a two-way race for Number One in college basketball next season.
Kentucky with its mega-talented recruiting class and likely five or six first-round NBA Draft picks vs. Louisville with Russ Smith, Luke Hancock, Chane Behanan, Montrezl Harrell and a splendid recruiting haul by Rick Pitino.
If another school was going to stick a nose in the discussion it had to be Michigan State, right? Gary Harris. Adreian Payne. Branden Dawson. Keith Appling. Tom Izzo.
North Carolina State coach Mark Gottfried says we're forgetting somebody – a program that will make UK and U of L fans unite in a prolonged groan.
It's Duke – with Mike Krzyzewski in all-out pursuit of a fifth NCAA championship ring for his thumb.
"I can't imagine anybody else being picked No. 1 in the country than Duke," Gottfried said. "There's a lot of attention around (freshman) Jabari Parker, but wait until you see (Mississippi State transfer) Rodney Hood. He's that good. They're loaded."
The ‘Book has seen Hood. He is that good. He is also currently sitting out with a tender Achilles' tendon. Hood is talented. So is Parker, who has already appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated in a comparison to LeBron James. And The ‘Book has not forgotten about Quinn Cook, Rasheed Suliamon and the others.
But The ‘Book thinks that Gottfried has forgotten that Duke has lost its three top scorers – Seth Curry, Ryan Kelly and Mason Plumlee.
Or he's forgotten about John Calipari and Rick Pitino.
Or he's just playing silly mind games with Coach K.
IS THE PRICE RIGHT AT MISSOURI? After two seasons of mostly sitting on the University of Louisville bench, reserve center Zach Price announced last week that he was leaving U of L for Missouri.
He's looking for a chance to play – and a chance to be reunited with Tim Fuller, the former U of L assistant who is a member of Frank Haith's staff at Missouri.
It seems that Price is the seventh transfer Missouri has added in less than three full seasons. When you study the Tigers' roster for 2014-15, the first season Price will be eligible, you can find five other frontcourt players.
Unless somebody transfers.
KENTUCKY 5, LOUISVILLE 1 – It's not difficult to find 2014 editions of projected NBA Drafts. They've everywhere.
The ‘Book uncovered this one at LostLetterman. Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins holds firm as the projected top pick, but there's no reason for John Calipari to fret.
Five Wildcats – (in this order) Julius Randle, Dakari Johnson, Andrew Harrison, Willie Cauley-Stein and Aaron Harrison – are ranked as first-round selections.
Like the 2012-13 season, Rick Pitino will only employ one first-round guy – Montrezl Harrell.
How does that projection compare to others? DraftExpress also has five Wildcats in the first round, but it subs sophomore Alex Poythress for Johnson.
Harrell also shows up in the first round for Draft Express – as the 10th pick, ahead of Mitch McGary of Michigan.
Sorry, Mark Gottfried. The ‘Book only found one consensus first-rounder from Duke – Parker.
DIGGER PHELPS 1, CANCER 0 – The ‘Book is taking out a king-sized marker of the most outrageous shade and writing this down:
Former Notre Dame coach Digger Phelps has won his opening battle with bladder cancer. About two months after the diagnosis, Phelps told the South Bend Tribune this week that six weeks of treatment helped him register as cancer-free during his latest examination, a day before Phelps turned 72.
"It's amazing once this thing went national, the response, and prayers have been answered," Phelps told the South Bend Tribune. "To the people in this community and the people around the country, and especially Linda and my family, for what they did the last three months. We got it done again with cancer.
"I always say that the power of prayer is the will to win. Little did I know, practice what you preach."
Phelps expects to remain part of ESPN's college basketball coverage next season.
CAROLINA BLUES – It's usually not a good thing when your basketball players are hanging out with a guy nicknamed "Fats," especially when Fats has a fairly fat file with the local police department.
But that appears to be the situation at North Carolina. The Tar Heels cannot shake the churn of negativity around the program inside and outside the classroom.
Fats is actually Haydn Thomas. According to this story by Laura Keeley in the Raleigh News & Observer, Thomas is a convicted felon who rented the SUV that North Carolina basketball player P. J. Hairston was driving when he was arrested in early June at a license checkpoint in Durham.
Police allegedly found more than 43 grams of marijuana, a 9mm handgun and ammunition in the car. Roy Williams found a headache he didn't need.
And Fats? He found out he'll likely need another alias. According to the story, he only has four.
SIGNING CEREMONY FOLLIES – The ‘Book is not advocating a return to the old days, when players simply mailed in their signed letters of intent and an entire recruiting class was announced as a group. Even though that worked fine for John Wooden.
Not going to happen.
Today, everybody demands his press conference – and YouTube moment. A live stream or a spot on ESPNU would be even better. A spot in the WDRB College Basketball Notebook makes it as good as it gets.
But some of these guys are getting a little silly. The ‘Book is talking about you, L. J. Peak.
Peak is a top 100 prospect from Gafney, S. C. Frank Martin is starting his second season of trying to build a winning program for the Gamecocks. Martin made certain South Carolina was in Peak's final three choices – with Florida State and Georgetown.
Hearts soared when Peak put on a South Carolina cap at his announcement press conference in the high school gym.
The ‘Book has watched John Thompson operate the Hoyas' program. Thompson's guys don't denigrate their opponents, especially when it is the home state school. Good luck with your senior season, young man. The ‘Book wouldn't be surprised if JTIII made you apologize.
RECRUITING REWIND – Raphielle Johnson of CollegeBasketballTalk is having fun with a topic that The ‘Book studies on a regular basis: Recruiting rankings and how they look after players have finished their college careers.
He's looked at several classes. But let's focus on the Class of 2008, the one that included Samardo Samuels of Louisville and Kemba Walker of Connecticut.