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Archive for the ‘basketball recruiting’ Category

MSU Bulldog Basketball Recruiting Good News: A Shot of Shaunessy

Posted by Kyle Weidie on November 20, 2008

Following the bad recruiting news…..

In state product, Shaunessy Smith, has made good on his verbal commitment to Mississippi State and signed binding scholarship papers to play for the Bulldogs on Wednesday. Rick Stansbury’s recruiting prowess beat out the likes of Clemson, Baylor, and Southern Cal for the services of Smith.

Well….not so fast my friend. Former Bulldog basketballer, T.J. “Brown” Billups, is Shaunessy’s coach at Noxubee County. Former Bulldog great (coach and player), Greg Carter, already let Travis Outlaw get away to the NBA (Carter coached Outlaw at Starkville High). I would have had to let T.J. know if he let Shaunessy get away from playing at The Hump. Just kidding, T.J. and I go back from our college days. He was one of the nicest guys to ever pick up a basketball for the Bulldogs.

You can read more on Shaunessy in a previous Bulldog Maroon & White post, MSU Bulldog Basketball Gets A Commit From Shaunessy Smith.

Other Suggested Reading:

Posted in basketball recruiting, Bulldog Basketball, mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa basketball, sec basketball, shaunessy smith, starkville | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

MSU Bulldog Basketball Recruiting Bad News: Tiny Gallon Boomer Sooner

Posted by Kyle Weidie on November 20, 2008

About three weeks ago, I wondered if Mississippi State basketball coach Rick Stansbury had a chance at the 21st rated prospect in the nation (3rd among centers), Keith “Tiny” Gallon. For a while, the Bulldogs seemed to be high on Gallon’s final list of schools with Stansbury supposedly having the inside track on signing the kid to suit up in Maroon & White. However, rumors circulating within the past couple of months indicated that Coach Stans was losing out on a prized recruit. Today, those rumors were confirmed.

The Oklahoman reported that yesterday, Gallon officially became an Oklahoma Sooner. There are a variety of reasons as to why the Bulldogs lost out: Gallon’s high school teammate has already signed with the Sooners, current sooner big man, Blake Griffin, will probably be departing for the NBA after this season, and the Bulldogs, aside from Brian Johnson, should have three big men returning next season with significant roles, Jarvis Varnado, Elgin Bailey and Romero Osby. But none of that matters now. Mississippi State has lost out on recruits before, and the Bulldogs have caused other schools to lose out on recruits in turn. All the program can do is move on.

But there is good news……

Posted in basketball recruiting, Bulldog Basketball, keith gallon, mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa basketball, sec basketball | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Does Rick Stansbury have a shot at Keith “Tiny” Gallon?

Posted by Kyle Weidie on October 31, 2008

It’s well known that the Mississippi State Bulldogs are on the radar of Keith “Tiny” Gallon. It should be made clear that the “Tiny” part is ironic, but not the “Gallon,” as this 6’9″ center prospect, ranked 21st overall (3rd among centers) by ESPN.com/Scouts Inc., weighs in at around 300 pounds.

In his assessment of superlatives among high school big men, Scout Inc.’s Bob Gibbons admits that Gallon is one of only three centers ranking in the overall top 25, but does not rank Gallon within the top three in areas such as rebounding, shot blocking, low-post scoring, and high-post scoring.

More recently, Gibbons had this to say about Gallon after observing a mid-October scrimmage of his high school team, Oak Hill Academy: “Gallon powered for 10 points and 9 rebounds in the first period of Tuesday’s scrimmage. However, he did not score in the second period. He is still overweight and not in good playing condition. He wore down during the night and when fatigued he has a tendency to bring the ball down in the post and lose it or get tied up.”

Other profiles on Gallon, such as the one on Draft Express, continue to relay the message that the kid is out of shape. But go check some YouTube videos of Gallon, and he is clearly abnormally agile for a guy his size. What the big man can do with a ball is almost unprecedented…..even for his common comparison, Robert “Tractor” Traylor.

So what gives? Well, obviously the AAU/High School system is less about developing and teaching players and more about ‘what can I do for myself lately?’ on all levels.

The question is, if Rick Stansbury gets Gallon to Starkville, can he prod the big man into living up to his potential? Stansbury isn’t exactly known for being able to motivate those who lack the full desire to be motivated…..just ask Robert Jackson and Marcus Campbell. Stansbury expects his players to be self-motivated. Not all coaches do it the same way, that’s just Stansbury’s style. Now, it might behoove him to be more like, say, Roy Williams, but with the difficult work it takes to produce a winner at Mississippi State, I can’t exactly blame Stansbury for not taking the time to be a hand-holding nurturer.

Right now, the latest reports indicate that the Bulldogs, California, and Oklahoma are at the top of Gallon’s list, with Arizona, Arkansas, Texas A&M, Tennessee, and Georgetown being somewhat in the picture. I’ve heard rumors that Stansbury is losing out on Gallon, but I wouldn’t count Slick Rick out of a recruiting battle, ever. At this point, even Gallon’s coach is unsure about his decision.

Will “Tiny” one day squeeze into maroon & white? Stay tuned…..

Posted in basketball recruiting, Bulldog Basketball, keith gallon, mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa basketball, rick stansbury, sec basketball | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

MSU Bulldog Basketball Gets A Commit From Shaunessy Smith

Posted by Kyle Weidie on September 24, 2008

With news from the Clarion-Ledger Mississippi State Sports Blog, Noxubee County’s Shaunessy Smith has made a non-binding, oral commitment to play basketball for Mississippi State University.

This is great news for Rick Stansbury’s program. For one, he’s getting a player to stay in-state. At times, it’s gone unnoticed that while at MSU, Stansbury has done an excellent job at keeping Mississippi talent from going across state lines.

The 6’6″ Smith is ranked as a 4-star recruit, and the 23rd best shooting guard prospect in the nation by Scout.com. He received interest from the likes of Ole Miss, Baylor, Kentucky, Cincinnati, UAB, Iowa, Oklahoma, Clemson, and USC, which recently raised some concern from Bulldog fans when they hosted Smith on a visit to their Southern California campus, during the USC-Ohio State football game no less.

ESPN U’s Basketball Recruiting (provided by Scouts Inc.) has this to say about Shaunessy Smith:

Shaunessy Smith is perhaps the most under-the-radar, high talent player in the Class of 2009. He has incredible athletic abilities and very advanced guard skills. He actually can play both guard positions but will predominantly be at the second or off-guard position because of his excellent shooting and high scoring ability. As a junior, Smith was an All-State performer and averaged nearly 30 ppg., despite playing all season with a torn ligament in his right hip. In early May he had surgery to repair his hip and missed all of the summer basketball events. As a result very few have seen him play.

‘Under the radar’ sound familiar? Yes, Scotty Hopson was under-the-radar when he made his non-binding, oral commitment to Mississippi State, before opting for Bruce Pearl and the University of Tennessee instead.

Could Smith garner national recognition and spurn the Bulldogs just as Hopson did? Not so fast. Smith plays ball in Macon, Mississippi, a hop, skip, and a jump (less than an hour drive) from Mississippi State’s campus in Starkville. So Smith has undoubtedly taken many ‘unofficial’ trips to Starkville on his own accord to get familiar with his possible future teammates.

T.J. “Brown” Billups is Smith’s Coach at Noxubee County. Billups, if you remember, played basketball for five years at Mississippi State (1996-2001, red-shirted his second year), his last three years under Head Coach Rick Stansbury.

Rest assured Bulldog fans as the chances of seeing Shaunessy in maroon & white are pretty good. Good luck to Smith in his senior year, we’ll be keeping an eye on his development.

Posted in basketball recruiting, Bulldog Basketball, mississippi state bulldogs, shaunessy smith | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

O Brother Ben Hansbrough, Where Art Thou?

Posted by Kyle Weidie on April 16, 2008

So you’re is going to transfer from Mississippi State, huh kid? As a avid Bulldog fan, I want to disapprove of such a maneuver. Is this really what it comes down to? One of the winningest programs in recent SEC history and you just wants to jet? Why not stick with something? Sorry if I’m asking a lot of questions, but a transfer like this deserves an answer.

Let’s just put this “Big Brother Tyler” thing behind us right now and concentrate on Ben. Because it would be completely unfair for anyone to compare the both; same heart, but two separate players with obvious physical differences. Getting to the point, did the younger Hansbrough brother simply feel inefficient at Mississippi State? Or perhaps this situation actually resonates with Ben’s father. After all, Gene Hansbrough’s comments to the St. Louis Dispatch have turned this whole ordeal into a “he said, she said” battle royale. Let’s take a look at those comments from Gene:

“Ben loves Missouri, I think he wants to play in a competitive program and be able to excel as a team. It depends on what opportunities present itself in Missouri and even outside of Missouri. He doesn’t have his mind made up about anything except that he doesn’t want to play at Mississippi State next year.”

Wow, if that’s not a gauntlet thrown down, then I don’t know what is. Overtly, those are harsh words towards Rick Stansbury and his basketball program. What does that say about Mississippi State?

Well, what say you Ben? Here’s the exact words that young Hansbrough told Gregg Ellis of the NE Mississippi Daily Journal:

“I’m not going to beat anyone on talent alone,” he said. “I have to outwork people. And to do that, I need to be in the gym. Right now, I can’t get into the Hump, and I won’t be able to for another couple of months. I know it sounds petty, but without a practice facility, I can’t get better as a player.”

Oh wait, there’s no practice facility? Shame on Mississippi State. Because in the time that pre-dates the short history of exclusive college basketball practice facilities, no self-proclaimed “gym rat” has ever made them self a better player, right? Especially none of those hard workers such as Timmy Bowers and Derrick Zimmerman who led the Bulldogs to SEC titles and post-season play, huh?

I agree, to keep up with top programs, Mississippi State could use a practice facility to be shared by both the men and women’s programs. But to say that you can’t be a better player without one would be the definition of a cop-out. In fact, such a facility is actually in the works (of course, the MSU athletic department is in the “quiet” phase of raising funds for a basketball practice facility). Regardless, Ben Hansbrough and his father knew of the situation coming in.

Aside from issues with a place to improve skills, or perceived lack thereof, the honesty is refreshing, but the absence of confidence is concerning. In the game of basketball I know, you’re not going to get far without a minimal chip on your shoulder. Oh, by the way, Ben’s comments (which occurred about a day before his father’s) are a far cry from what Gene Hansbrough said. I suppose Ben can play the diplomat and Gene can take the bullet.

Ben Hansbrough to the Clarion-Ledger on if his decision had anything to do with the coaching staff or teammates: “It had nothing to do with that,” he said. “Had nothing to do with playing time. I was playing a lot.”

Coach Rick Stansbury’s comments were predictably stoic: “Ben is a good kid and we wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.” — kinda reminds me of that time when, Rasheed Wallace said “both teams played hard, it was a good game,” over and over again after a loss.

Many people are starting to worry about the recent trend of transfers from the Mississippi State basketball program. As his quote from a Clarion-Ledger blog entry conveys, Coach Rick Stansbury is not worried, and you should not be either. (A reflection of Mississippi State transfers will be covered in a future entry here at Bulldog Maroon & White.)

“Some of them, No. 1, want to play bigger roles than are available on the team,” he said. “No. 2, some of them don’t have a choice, they’re just not good enough and don’t have a choice for other reasons. And No. 3, I’ve always got to make decisions that are best for the team.”

Look, part of this blog is speculation, part of it is getting something off my chest. I don’t claim to know Ben Hansbrough, or his family. I would like to wish him the best of luck on his future basketball path. I will certainly follow his career and hope that he succeeds to the best of his potential. What’s done is done and the Mississippi State basketball program will move on. Although I can be critical at times, (it’s in my nature), Rick Stansbury has my full support because I don’t think anyone can do a better job at Mississippi State University.

Do you read message boards, or comments on blogs? Well, good for you. I really don’t care for reading them, but they do provide for interesting fodder. Here are some of the more interesting quotes in regard to the Ben Hansbrough transfer:

From the Reflector Online – John posted 4/08/08 @ 1:25 AM CST
It is because he [Rick Stansbury] pays great players to come here and then does not punish them and let’s them do whatever they please, and the average players (Ben) he has to discipline. Stans has NO control over our program.

Kosciusko Star-Herald (actually a column by Austin Bishop)
There had been some talk that Hansbrough’s father had some dissatisfaction with MSU coach Rick Stansbury for one reason or the other, but that is unsubstantiated at this point.

2thdoc on Inside Mississippi State Sports with Gregg Ellis
I am positive that Psycho Dad helped come up with that excuse [of a practice facility]…priceless. We also don’t have another basketball goal in the city of Starkville. Everyone knows we need a practice facility but I did not know the time table evolved around Little Ben. Gregg [Ellis], I’m sure you can’t practice your typing speed on your laptop either unless you are in the first class seat of an airplane.

roastbeef1 on Inside Mississippi State Sports with Gregg Ellis
Does Ben Hansbrough think he is some stud or something? Look at his old profiles. Who were his final four on his list? State, Southern Illinois, Dayton, and Florida State. Sure, Dayton was solid this year and SIU is usually solid, but Mississippi State is the only legit BCS school to offer him.

TTDAWG on Kyle Veazey’s Clarion-Ledger MSU Blog
Ben will be missed. I think there is much more to the story. Could it me any truth to the rumors that Ben’s mom has been caught with ex-teamate Dietric Slater? and Dietric recently got caught with prescription medication belonging to his mom. Hope this is all untrue but would be enough to make him want to get far away from Starkville.

GoState04 on Kyle Veazey’s Clarion-Ledger MSU Blog
The practice facility is a lame excuse. If I were Ben, I’d be embarrassed to even say it was. There is something else going on. Remember this time last year there were rumors floating that Ben was going to leave then–rumor it had to do with parents divorce– he stayed. Now, a year later, rumors floated again, and now they are true. I believe Stans needs to make a statement to the fan base regarding the defections made during the last few years. I believe Ben leaving could have to do with personal issues and not with coaches/program.

Posted in basketball recruiting, ben hansbrough, mississippi state bulldogs, rick stansbury, sec basketball | Leave a Comment »

Get Your Tape Recorders: Scotty Hopson Jumps Into Bruce Pearl’s Pocket

Posted by Kyle Weidie on April 7, 2008

You’re probably wondering what the hell that headline means. Let me explain.

Scotty Hopson, a top-10 ranked high school basketball player by Rivals.com (#1 SF overall) from the University Heights Academy in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, made a non-binding oral commitment to the Mississippi State Bulldogs on October 23, 2006 before the onset of his junior year. Seemingly great news for Rick Stansbury and the Mississippi State men’s basketball program. Along with Romero Osby and Dee Bost (who both subsequently signed with Mississippi State during the early signing period on November 16, 2007), Scotty Hopson would give the Bulldogs a potential top-10 recruiting class for 2008.

But then it gets typical…..of the recruitment of a high school basketball superstar.

Flashback to the late 80s: Iowa and Illinois were engaged in a heated battle for Deon Thomas, a hardwood blue-chipper from the City of Wind, Chicago my friend. Thomas ultimately chose to play for the Illini and would go on to become the school’s all-time leading scorer. However, Bruce Pearl, then an assistant in charge of recruiting at Iowa, wasn’t “down” with Thomas’ decision.

Pearl, who had already cultivated a recruiter-recruitee relationship with Deon Thomas, began contacting the high school kid in an attempt to extort information, and possibly change his mind. Suspicious of Illinois and intent on retribution, Pearl recorded subsequent conversations with Thomas. And in a moment where there would be a court room objection for leading the witness, Bruce Pearl essentially got Deon Thomas to admit to being offered cash and a whip (whip=vehicle=Chevy Blazer) by Jimmy Collins, an assistant with Illinois at the time. After multiple conversations, Pearl penned his TPS Report, threw it in an envelope along with the tapes, and shipped them off to the NCAA.

The NCAA investigated and found no wrong-doing when it came to Illinois and Deon Thomas. Pearl’s taped conversations with Thomas were questionable at best, omitting the scent of being edited to the detriment of Illinois. Deon Thomas even took, and passed a lie detector test.

However, upon combing through records, NCAA investigators found a rack of other illegal transgressions by the Illinois. “Lack of institutional control,” as they call it, led to a 1-year post-season ban among other penalties. If you have time, go ahead a give yourself a full dose of the Bruce Pearl/Deon Thomas incident run-down.

As a result, Bruce Pearl would go on to serve several years in college basketball coaching purgatory.

ruce’s TPS Report (okay, really his memo to the NCAA) is definitely an interesting read if you have the chance to skim it. It’s a cross between Blue Chips and He Got Game. Funny thing is, I believe Pearl’s memo….but that doesn’t make him any less of a rat. Whistle-blowers walk a fine line, don’t they?

Deon Thomas went so far as to call Pearl a “snake” in Chicago papers — if you’re going with the greater of two evils, it’s recording someone when they are unaware. Let’s be honest: big time college D1 athletic programs at times do things to “get by” — We live in a capitalistic society where it’s only natural for someone to get compensated for an added value, whatever value that may be. The value some college athletes bring to the table, in most cases, exceeds the value of a free education. [Wow? Did I just type that?….sad state of affairs. For the record: I’m for increasing academic oversight of college athletic academics and I’m in favor of increasing the NBA age limit by one year] Essentially, it’s no secret that the NCAA and it’s member programs make a lot of money from athletics and the players are left with little.

In my opinion, there might be two major college basketball programs in the whole country which can get by without succumbing to “money ball”: North Carolina and Duke – my apologies to Kentucky, Kansas and UCLA. I believe I’m digressing….another greater of two evils: hypocrisy. Watch out Bruce Pearl, the account of Scotty Hopson’s recruitment reads eerily similar to your late-80s memo….if only we were privy to the words exchanged between college coaches and player entourages (including the player himself, friends, family, shady uncles, AAU coaches, high school coaches, and any other hanger-ons, etc.). Look, I know this is a borderline accusatory blog entry of Bruce Pearl — that isn’t my intention. Being self-aware of his own past, I’m sure Bruce is playing by the book, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t selling something to Hopson. You don’t always have to break the rules to be a shyster, you just have to bend them.

Flash forward to today where Mississippi State’s loss of Scotty Hopson is Tennessee’s gain. Am I bitter that Hopson recently chose to commit to Tennessee instead of honoring his original commitment to the Bulldogs? Perhaps….especially since Rick Stansbury has lost McDonald’s All-American commits such as Jonathan Bender, Travis Outlaw, and Monta Ellis to the NBA.  But what goes around, comes around….and in a world where Alabama faithful feel that Rick Stansbury “stole” Mario Austin (the only McDonald’s All-American who has played for Stansbury during his head coaching tenure at MSU), Timmy Bowers and Derrick Zimmerman from them, I suppose something like this was coming.

On a positive note, no one can question the exuberance and energy conveyed by Bruce Pearl. His passion has a direct influence on making his kids better players, and men. And that type of attitude is more than welcome in the SEC, much less the entire college basketball landscape.

But just in case, does anyone have Scotty Hopson’s phone number and a tape recorder?

The Recruitment of Scotty Hopson: A Timeline

Link Info:

BTW…if you’re a Bulldog fan and want the lack of Scotty to really hurt, then watch this YouTube of his highlights.

Are you interested in high school photos of Bruce Pearl? What about seeing Bruce in a dress? I didn’t think so….but just in case, you can go to TheDirty.com.

In his initial season in Knoxville, only two players on the Tennessee men’s basketball team could out-lift Bruce Pearl in the weight room. Perhaps Adam Sandler will give Pearl a shot-out in his next Hanukkah Song. [Pearl Has Converted The Faithful in Tennessee – Sally Jenkins, Washington Post]

Posted in basketball recruiting, bruce pearl, mississippi state bulldogs, rick stansbury, scotty hopson, sec basketball, tennessee volunteers | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Recruitment of Scotty Hopson: A Timeline

Posted by Kyle Weidie on April 4, 2008

On October 23, 2006, Scotty Hopson, a 6’5″, 185 pound SG/SF from the University Heights Academy in Hopkinsville, Kentucky committed to play basketball for the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Of course, the commitment was “oral” and “non-binding” but great news nonetheless! Scotty would join 4-star PF Romero Osby and 3-star PG Dee Bost to form a great 2008 MSU Bulldog basketball recruiting class. However, earlier this week, on April Fools Day, Scotty Hopson opted to commit to Bruce Pearl and the University of Tennessee Volunteers instead. Bruce Pearl makes it his job to dole out hi-fives.

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I present the most comprehensive time-line of the Scotty Hopson recruitment process:

August 2006 – Before beginning his junior season, Scotty Hopson has offers from Ole Miss, Clemson and Mississippi State on the table. Several other schools have shown interest including: Arkansas, Memphis, Ohio State, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia Tech, Xavier, Michigan State, Indiana, Minnesota, and Cincinnati.

9.9.06 – After a visit to UT, Scotty says the Volunteers are recruiting him pretty hard, rounding out the top 5 (in no order) is Ohio State, Memphis, Louisville and Mississippi State.

10.13.06 – Scotty Hopson visits Kentucky for Midnight Madness, UK makes an offer.

10.23.06 – Scotty Hopson commits to the Mississippi State. The Bulldogs have been with him the longest, and that evidently means something.

Months pass……

7.5.07 – Sports Illustrated’s Seth Davis lists Hopson as “One to Know” saying that he really improved his status at the USA Basketball Festival.

7.6.07 – Mississippi State Basketball bloggers start coming up with nicknames for Hopson.

7.9.07 – Scotty refers to his commitment to Mississippi State as “pretty solid” according to the Lexington Herald-Leader. Kentucky has been calling.

7.10.07 – Scotty Hop gets some props in Slam Magazine for impressive play at the LeBron James Skills Academy. Hopson also comes in at #19 on the Slam Fresh 50 – listing the top H.S. players from the class of ’08.

7.14.07 – Hopson tells Dawgbites.com: “Nothing has changed. I am looking forward to playing for Mississippi State.”

7.17.07 – When asked if Hopson would back out of his commitment to Miss. State, Jody Demling of the Louisville Courier Journal said this: “I honestly don’t believe he will. I think Scotty will sign in the fall with Mississippi State. I know several of his quotes have sounded iffy but after spending some time with him last week, I fully expect him to be playing in Starkville.”

7.24.07 – Quote collected by Arliss from UK message board: “He was booed at his own school, his mother has been approached about his poor decision making, and generally he has had to explain himself to everyone.”

8.2.07 – Rob Harrington of USA Today Ranks Hopson #18 in the country.

8.7.07 – Scotty Hopson is bumped up to the #9 H.S. prospect in the country by Rivals.com.

8.12.07 Hopson to Kentucky rumors increase….prep school at Oak Hill Academy is also a possibility.

8.14.07 – Hopson tells the Lexington Herald-Leader that he’s down with Mississippi State because, as he puts it, “I want to make it all the way to the pros. Mississippi State tells me they’re going to prepare me for that.”

8.15.07 – Van Coleman’s of CSTV ranks Hopson #13.

8.31.07Hopson remains #19 on Slam Fresh 50.

9.15.07 – Scotty Hopson wins the “most explosive leaper” contest on Rivals.com.

10.6.07 – Scotty Hopson visits Mississippi State.

10.27.07 – Scotty still intends on going to Mississippi State, but Kentucky is evidently making a strong push.

11.13.07 (early) – Hopson confirms with two different reporters that he will sign with the Bulldogs on the early period signing day, Friday November 16th.

11.13.07 (late) – Scotty changes his mind like a pregnant woman and tells two sources that he won’t sign early with anyone.

11.14.07 – Scotty is bumped up to #17 in the Slam rankings.

11.14.07 – Hopson blames family issues for being wishy-washy on the subject, but doesn’t rule out signing early.

11.15.07 – Louisville’s Rick Pitino says this: “There’s a young man that alledgedly decommited to a school yesterday and until I hear it from his mouth I won’t do anything. But when someone decommits and they are open for recruiting and he makes it public, then he is like any other recruit. But if someone is committed, we stay away from them.”

11.15.07 – Momma Hopson informs the media that Scotty will indeed sign on Friday despite what her son says. Evidently, the family decision was made unbeknownst to Lil’ Scotty.

11.16.07 – Momma Hopson turns a 180 and decides herself that her son will not sign early. Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia Tech and Louisville start licking their chops.

11.17.07 – Bewildered Mississippi State fans keep hope alive for the spring signing period.

11.18.07 – Hopson plays a “passive” game at the Fast Lane Tip-Off Classic (17 points, seven rebounds, 4 blocks, an assist and 5 turnovers) and refuses to talk about college afterwards.

11.19.07 – Scotty Hopson is still “focused” on Mississippi State despite ever increasing pushing from Kentucky.

11.27.07 – Hopson drops 33 points, 10 boards, and 5 blocks in his regular season opener. Bruce Pearl was supposed to be at the game, but had to cancel because of the weather. Hopson had this to say about his recruitment: “I let my mom take care a lot of it because it does take a toll on me. I am just going to lay back and focus on basketball.” Uh.Oh.

11.30.07 – After dropping 32 points in a win, the Lexington Herald-Ledger reports from Hopson: “I’m still committed to Mississippi State,” Hopson said. “It’s firm. It’s firm enough.” Hopson’s Coach, Randy McCoy: “I still think there’s a chance he’ll go to Mississippi State, I think there’s a big chance he’ll go to Mississippi State.” Hopson’s mother, Jeannette Hopson: “We like Mississippi State. There’s nothing wrong with Mississippi State. We just want to make sure.” Billy Gillispie and assistants from Cincinnati and Louisville were in attendance.

12.26.07 – “After the game, Hopson tried to sneak away from a horde of media in the smaller gymnasium at Fairdale but was questioned by about 10 members of the media.”

1.11.08 – A video of Scotty Hopson’s skills – Louisville Courier-Journal. Kansas has also evidently entered into the Scotty Hopson sweepstakes, slightly.

1.16.08 – Scotty Hopson is bumped to #11 in the Slam Fresh 50.

1.18.08 – “Tennessee, Louisville and Cincinnati are still actively recruiting Hopson and Texas has also gotten involved. Rick Barnes coached former University Heights star Greg Buckner and is trying to use that connection to get into the Hopson sweepstakes. Mississippi State still can’t be totally discounted, but it’s unlikely he’ll end up in Starkville.” [Jody Demling]

1.31.08 – Jody Demling, Louisville Courier-Journal: “As best as I can tell, Tennessee, Louisville and Cincinnati are three schools that appear to be near the front of the pack. According to multiple sources around the situation, Hopson still hasn’t heard from the University of Kentucky in a while.”

2.1.08 – Mississippi State, Tennessee, Louisville and Cincinnati are at the top of Scotty’s list. Kentucky is suspiciously absent. Cincinnati Inquirer.

2.1.08 – “Scotty Hop” as he has dubbed himself tells the Clarion-Ledger’s Kyle Veazey that Mississippi State is #1 while getting down to some music on the way to a game. Later that night, Scotty Hop scores 28 points and snags 8 rebounds in another win. After the game, he informs the world that he’s on the “market.”

2.2.08 – Mississippi State plays Tennessee in Starkville. UT led by 17 with just under 8 minutes left in the game. The Bulldogs made a furious comeback, but fell short in the end 76-71. Dig yourself a hole, and……

2.4.08 – Billy Gillispie, the head coach of Kentucky, watches Scotty Hop score 20.

2.11.08 – Jody Demling of the Louisville Courier-Journal: “All I’m saying is that Scotty Hopson has been open for some time. In fact, I haven’t heard a beep about or even heard about any Mississippi State sightings at any of his games.”

2.14.08 – Rumors are flying — Hopson’s mother denies that Billy Gillispie has come calling, but she has spoken with a UK assistant. From her comments to the Louisville Courier-Journal, it doesn’t seem like Gillispie is too interested in Hopson: “The bottom line is on Monday night an assistant called me and said Gillispie was going to call me on Tuesday, but there was no call,” the mother said. “Another coach called (Tuesday) afternoon and said he would call before the game and there was no call. Then they called and said he was going to show up at school on Wednesday on way back from the game. But I guess after they got beat so bad, (by Vanderbilt) he wanted to get back home. I have seen him three times (this season) and not one time has he come up and said anything. We haven’t had any contact with him.”

2.19.08 – Hopson is named to the McDonald’s All-American team.

2.21.08 – Scotty Hopson is named to the Jordan Brand Classic All-Star game, to be played at Madison Square Garden in NYC on April 19th.

2.22.08 – Hopson tears up the court in his final home game, scoring 37 points in front of the entire Mississippi State coaching staff, UK’s Billy Gillispie and assistants from Tennessee and Cincinnati.

2.26.08 – Scotty Hopson opens post-season play with 35 points in a win, 31 coming in the 2nd half.

3.4.08 – Hopson is one of 10 players named to the USA Basketball Junior National team.

3.6.08 – Scotty Hop sinks 22 points, 8 boards and 5 blocks in front of a Billy Gillispie and Bruce Pearl, an assistant from Texas is also in attendance.

3.11.08 – Rick Stansbury and Bruce Pearl watch Hopson score 31 points and nab 10 rebounds in a University Heights win over Henderson County. Hopson’s team, University Heights, moves into the Kentucky Second Region final.

3.12.08 – Mississippi State coaches travel to Madisonville, Kentucky to watch Scotty play live.

3.14.08 – Rumors say that Kentucky and Cincinnati are not in Scotty Hopson’s picture. [Courier-Journal]

3.17.08 – “The Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches released the Player of the Year winners for the 16 regions across the state on Monday. The state’s first McDonald’s All-American to finish his career in Kentucky since 1993 (when Male’s Jason Osborne won) is not on the list. Yes, University Heights All-American Scotty Hopson wasn’t picked as the Second Region’s top senior.” [Jody Demling – Louisville Courier-Journal]

3.19.08 – Scotty Hopson’s team loses in the Sweet 16 at Rupp Arena in Lexington, the last high school game of his career.

3.24.08 – Scotty Hop finishes 3rd in the Powerade JamFest Slam Dunk contest at the McDonald’s All-American Game in Milwaukee.

3.26.08 – Scotty Hopson tells Kyle Veazey that he will take more visits, but is still high on Mississippi State.

3.26.08 – Hopson scores 10 points in the McDonald’s All-American game, impressing with 8 in the first half. The leaders for Hopson seem to be Miss. State and Tennessee with Kentucky and Texas trailing closely and Louisville, possibly Georgia in the mix. (Courier-Journal)

3.28.08 – Slam’s Report on Hopson in the McDonald’s Game: “Another monster athlete, who happens to be the best player in the nation who hasn’t chosen what school he’ll attend next year, Hopson excels in these types of environments. He didn’t disappoint Wednesday, using his smooth moves to get to the rack with ease.”

4.1.08 – April Fools? Shortly after a visit to Knoxville, Scotty makes that “non-binding oral” commitment to the University of Tennessee before UK’s Billy Gillispie can visit him. “My momma gave me her consent (to commit),” said Hopson. “I really wasn’t sure before I went on the visit,” Hopson said. “But I had always had a good feeling about Tennessee.”

“I felt there were two (frontrunners) in Mississippi State and Tennessee,” said Hopson’s high school coach, Randy McCoy. “But it came down to distance and it came down to him wanting to play right now.” [Louisville Courier Journal]

4.1.08 – Kyle Veazey speaks with Scotty Hop: “Why not Tennessee? There’s a big tradition here, plus I know coming in here at the program I’ve got a good chance of coming in at the starting two-guard because Chris Lofton’s leaving.”“It just seemed like I could have more success here,” said Hopson, who wants to be a one-and-done. “We’re going to have the top RPI next year in schedule play so I know we’re going to have a lot of ESPN games, CBS games, things like that.”“I don’t just commit to a school without signing,” he said. “I’m going to sign.”

4.2.08 – Scotty Hopson was named to the Parade All-American 2nd team.

4.4.08 – To be continued…..


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