Happy 4th of July, everyone! The Dig Returns with tons of basketball updates and some news from around the league. In The Dig.
The UTEP Miners
Nice Report: KTSM had nice feature up on UTEP's basketball team and how Miner players are attempting to form a relationship with new coach Tim Floyd.
Reigning Conference USA Player of the Year Randy Culpepper added, "It's a good thing to make that bond with the coach, whether it's on the court or off the court, but this is Floyd's first camp, and he asked us to come out here and work the camp, cause he knows the kids look up to us."
Me Too, Kid: UTEP's Tim Floyd hosted his first camp in El Paso a week ago.
"The camp is fun," said 13-year-old Daniel Garcia, who will be an eighth grader at MacArthur Middle School this fall. "They are teaching us a lot of the fundamentals. The best thing is that we get to meet all the (UTEP) players. I like all of them but when I like to see dunking, I like to see Randy Culpepper."
Second Thoughts: ESPN's Andy Katz has made a list of the early NBA draft entrants who are probably regretting their decision. He thinks that Derrick Caracter could have been at least a first rounder had he stayed another year in El Paso. I agree, but I think he might have lucked out by going to the Lakers too. They have enough depth to allow him to develop for a few years. If he makes the roster this season, he could have a long career in the league.
Had he stayed to play for new coach Tim Floyd next season, I'd be stunned if he didn't improve his overall game and become at least a first-round pick. Instead, he chose to bolt and now he'll have a difficult time making a squad and may be forced to go overseas.
Good Quote: Derrrick Caracter is looking to learn from the best.
And Caracter plans to immediately consult the Lakers' deep frontline of Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Odom. "People who don't listen to guys like that," Caracter said, "there's something wrong with them."
Texas Style: Bob Stull thinks that in the future, when realignment becomes an issue again, UTEP will keep with the Texas schools that the Miners have spent the last decade with.
"We feel very comfortable, a pretty good relationship with SMU, Houston and Rice because they are all Texas schools," Stull said. "In the '80s, everyone wanted to be in the Southwest Conference. Who was in the Southwest Conference? Houston, Rice, SMU. "We have so many alumni in the Houston, Dallas and San Antonio areas; we have as many fans or more every time we play them, especially in basketball. Right now, our future is sticking with the Texas schools."
More Hoops: Everyone's favorite Memphis writer, Dan Wolken, has a nice article up ranking the C-USA basketball squads. He thinks UTEP will take a step back in 2011.
Tim Floyd has already been bestowed rock-star status in El Paso, but the reality will hit soon -- no coach can make up for the loss of two NBA-type frontcourt talents in Derrick Caracter and Arnett Moultrie.
The UAB Blazers
Bad Decision: UAB's Elijah Millsap declared for the NBA Draft after his junior season. He wasn't drafted. And nobody has picked him up for a summer camp either.
"The realization is you wake up the next morning and you're not on a team. Now I get to listen to teams and choose a team that is truly interested in bringing me in."
The Houston Cougars
Dustin's Back: Remember Dustin from Scott & Holman? He's writing for SBNation Houston now and he has a nice article up on former UTEP Assistant AD Mack Rhoades.
Rhoades does not tolerate mediocrity. That much is certain. Can Rhoades cash all of these checks he is writing? That is the question. Don't worry. Just trust the man.
The Memphis Tigers
Not Quite Big East Material: Memphis fans are finally realizing what we all knew about conference realignment weeks ago. It's about football.
But if there was any news to come out of Johnson's "State of the Athletic Department" luncheon Monday, it may have been the acknowledgement by Memphis officials and supporters that the school isn't going to get into a BCS conference unless the football program becomes something other than an embarrassment.
The SMU Mustangs
The Sporting News ranks SMU No. 67 in the country.
Considering how far down SMU's program had been, the Mustangs should be thrilled with No. 67. Momentum created by coach June Jones' arrival seems set to carry into 2010, especially on offense. Sophomore QB Kyle Padron looks like Jones' next great passer, and three receivers with 40-plus catches in 2009 return in 2010. An all-junior offensive line should improve under OL coach and former New England Patriot Adrian Klemm.
And the Pony's are raking up recruits.... they just signed their 12th.
Happy 4th Everybody!