Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Perry Jones To Return, Mike Anderson Retains Class, Derrick Williams To NBA

The blog now transitions into offseason mode. I will be posting about transfers, suspensions, draft decisions, coaching changes, et cetera. So be sure to come back all summer for important stories, and my take on how those stories affect the BP68. Let's get these started:

Perry Jones to return for sophomore season: The word "shocking" is used far too often in sports reporting, but I'm shocked by this. Perry Jones was one of the best players in the nation last season, and he's got the perfect NBA skill set. His stats as a true freshmen were underwhelming because he was stuck with LaceDarius Dunn hogging the ball, but NBA scouts could see past that, and he was nearly a lock to be a Top-5 pick in the NBA Draft. But whatever the reason, it's a great turn of events for Baylor. In my 2011-12 Big 12 preview, I put Baylor fourth with the assumption that Perry Jones will go pro. But I also pointed out that there is uncertainty with this program because of off-the-court issues (including the fact that Jones himself will have to sit out the first five games of next season). The NCAA is still investigating Baylor for a variety of issues, and if they bring the hammer down then all bets are off. But if all stays the same and Jones truly does come back, then I will move Baylor up from a 7 seed to something around a 4 seed (depending on what happens with other schools).

Mike Anderson retains the entire Arkansas recruiting class: I talked about this issue in my 2011-12 SEC preview. John Pelphrey, before he was fired, put together a really, really good 2011 recruiting class. Arkansas is bereft of talent, and any transfers that Mike Anderson brings in will have to sit out the 2011-12 season, so the only chance he had of putting a decent team on the court was going to be if he could retain that recruiting class. And reports are that he already has locked them all up. That's great news for Arkansas, and so I will keep them as my pick to finish in second place in the SEC West. That said, that still leaves them on the wrong side of the bubble, in my opinion. But it's a good start to the Mike Anderson tenure. His next task will presumably be to try to add some transfers, possibly from his old Missouri players. As good as the 2011 Arkansas recruiting class is, they were not recruited to fit Mike Anderson's system. It took him a few years at Missouri to get the right players on the floor to get Missouri deep into the NCAA Tournament, and I expect that the same will be true at Arkansas, a school with even less of a fan and financial backing than Missouri has.

Derrick Williams Going Pro: This story just broke. Derrick Williams will be going pro. Everybody assumed he would be going pro, as I did in my 2011-12 Pac-12 preview. But then again, everybody assumed Perry Jones was gone, too... so the official word still does mean something. I still think Arizona is the favorite to win the Pac-12 in 2011-12, and I still have them pegged as a 2 seed right now.

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