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Jonathanís Journal
April 24, 2002


WRAPPING UP THE HOOPS SEASON

This is probably the last item youíll read about college hoops for a while since the rest of the spring and summer will likely be devoted to college baseball and then football. But as the baseball season enters the stretch run, the college basketball stars are deciding to go or not to go. Pro, that is. And while there are some obvious choices for this yearís NBA Draft, some of the guys saying theyíre going pro make me wonder if theyíre mentally stable. Just out of curiosity, I wonder if the NBA Draftees take the Wonderlic test..... Anyway, hereís a list as of today of which college players are going pro.

PLAYERCOLLEGECLASSPOSITION
Carlos Boozer
Duke
JR
C
Curtis Borchardt
Stanford
JR
C
Caron Butler
Connecticut
SO
F
Drew Gooden
Kansas
JR
F
Marcus Haislip
Tennessee
JR
F
Casey Jacobson
Stanford
JR
G
Jared Jeffries
Indiana
SO
F
Roger Mason, Jr.
Virginia
JR
G
Chris Massie
Memphis
JR
F
Smush Parker
Fordham
SO
G
Travis Robinson
Jacksonville
JR
G
Kareem Rush
Missouri
JR
F
Jamal Sampson
California
FR
F
Theron Smith
Ball State
JR
F
Marcus Taylor
Michigan State
SO
G
Dajuan Wagner
Memphis
FR
G
Adrian Walton
Fordham
FR
G
Chris Wilcox
Maryland
JR
F
Frank Williams
Illinois
JR
G
George Williams
Houston
JR
F
Jason Williams
Duke
JR
G

A lot of these guys will go on to the NBA and make plenty of money, setting themselves up for a nice life. Some will even become superstars. As always, though, there will be those who are so-called ďbustsĒ and never go on to produce as well as expected. I donít like the idea of players leaving early for the NBA. I believe that when the college signs them to a scholarship and guarantees them money for a free ride in school, then that player should in turn guarantee that school four years (four years of playing or one redshirt and then three playing years) of basketball. Losing the great players of college hoops lowers the quality of the college game, though there will always be guys who step in and take their place.


AROUND THE DIAMOND

College baseball has heated up for sure now, with most teams more than halfway through the conference schedule. The highly ranked teams are battling for home regional sites while others are using this last month of baseball to make sure they get in the NCAA Tournament. Since most of the readers of this site are from the South and the SEC is almost always the nationís premiere baseball conference, Iím going to focus on that conference today. Hereís a look at the SEC:
WESTERN DIVISION: The West is led by Alabama and Mississippi. After taking two of three from the Tide this past weekend, UM (12-6) moved to within one game of Alabama (13-5). Mississippi State and LSU (both 9-8) lost two of three, to Auburn and South Carolina, respectively, this weekend. Auburn (9-9) and Arkansas (7-8), both quality baseball teams, make up the five and six spots in the West. The Tide and Rebels should battle it out to the very end. The Rebels definitely have the easier road ahead with fairly easy home series with Tennessee and Arkansas, with tough road series at South Carolina and Mississippi State. Alabama doesnít have an ďeasyĒ week left (although theyíre truly arenít any in the SEC). Their remaining schedule: Auburn, at Georgia, Mississippi State, and at LSU. Mississippi State and LSU both have one ďeasyĒ series left (MSU-at Vandy; LSU-Arkansas), which are both this weekend. Both teams have chances for a sweep. Auburn has a schedule that favors a late run, taking on Alabama and Arkansas on the road, with consecutive home series with Vandy and Georgia in between. Arkansas is likely the odd man out in the West, though they have a chance to make up ground quickly since they still have West rivals LSU, Mississippi, and Auburn on the schedule.
EASTERN DIVISION: South Carolina (11-6), Florida, and Georgia (both 11-7) are in firm control of the SEC East. Tennesse (6-12), Vanderbilt (3-13), and Kentucky (3-15) are bringing up the rear and can forget any shot at the East title. South Carolina definitely has the easiest schedule remaining of the three contenders (at Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, at Georgia), followed by Florida (Georgia, at Miss. State, LSU, at Kentucky). Georgia has no time to slack off, with series at Florida, vs Alabama, at Auburn, and vs South Carolina remaining.
SEC TOURNAMENT: The top two teams from each division followed by the next best four teams overall make the 8-team field in the SEC Tourney in Hoover. It appears Alabama and Mississippi will represent the Westís top two positions. The Eastís top three (Georgia, Florida, South Carolina) all seem assured a spot in the field. That leaves three spots available to the next best three teams. It appears those three spots could go to three of the following four teams: LSU, Mississippi State, Auburn, and Arkansas. The bottom three of the East, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and Kentucky, have nearly played themselves out of a spot in this seasonís conference tournament. All eight teams that make the conference tournament should have no problem gaining an NCAA Tournament berth.
THIS WEEKEND: Hereís a look at the six SEC series for this weekend, from best to worst:
      Auburn at Alabama: This matchup is intriguing beccause it is an in-state battle, but also because Alabama needs to recover from a disappointing weekend vs Mississippi and Auburn can gain some big ground in the West this week. The Tide are the better team while Auburn badly needs to win an SEC series. My pick: Alabama 2-1.
      Georgia at Florida: The Gators and Dawgs will battle for what could be the top spot in the East at the end of the weekend. A sweep for either team would be huge. Florida has won three of their last four series, and the home field should be an advantage in Gator-land. My pick: Florida 2-1.
      Arkansas at LSU: If Arkansas is going to work its way into the SEC Tournament, theyíre going to have to start now. The Tigers will need a good weekend to keep pace in the West and leave themselves in contention for the West title. Once again, the home field looks good. My pick: LSU 2-1.
      Tennessee at Mississippi: The Rebels are as hot as any team in the country and look to continue that streak against the Vols. The Vols desperately need to win a series to make a run at the conference tournament. My pick: Mississippi 3-0.
      South Carolina at Kentucky: The Gamecocks can gain some ground this weekend since Georgia and Florida will be beating each other up. Meanwhile, the Wildcats are just playing for pride now in their new stadium. Most teams donít take pride in a sweep. My pick: South Carolina 3-0.
      Mississippi State at Vanderbilt: The ĎDores started the season hot but have cooled off since conference play began. Meanwhile, MSU is riding an up-and-down roller coaster that they canít climb out of. The Dawgs should sweep this one, but they always slip up somewhere. My pick: Mississippi State 2-1.

CHANGES, CHANGES, CHANGES:

As you probably noticed, Iíve changed the name of the site to Southern College Sports. This means that Iíll focus more on southern sports in things like issues of Jonathanís Journal and in-depth things. Many other items, however, will still remain on a national scale. This includes polls, predictions, All-America teams, projections, bowl info, NCAA Tournament info, football preseason info, etc. Iíll just discuss southern sports (especially the SEC) more in-depth from now on since thatís what I know the most about and am the most familiar with anyway. I hope youíll drop me an email and let me know what you think of the changes. Thanks!



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