Sunday, July 27, 2003

College basketball insider

Dayton looking ahead to 2004 with local star

New Dayton coach Brian Gregory has wasted no time getting involved with the local recruits.

Gregory plucked Fairfield's Norm Plummer, who played last season at Brewster (N.H.) Academy, for the 2004 class ahead of such schools as Iowa State and Wright State, both of which also have first-year coaches.

Securing Plummer wasn't exactly a recruiting coup, considering Dayton's previous staff, headed by Oliver Purnell, had sought Plummer. But Gregory, who was considered one of the top recruiters in the nation as an assistant at Michigan State, recognized the need to scoop up Plummer, a talented forward who will replace some of the frontline power Dayton loses after this season.

Plummer reportedly was deciding between Dayton and Iowa State, and chose Dayton, among other things, because of its proximity to his home.

LIKE RETURNS TO XU: Xavier women's coach Kevin McGuff hired former XU player Nicole Like as the director of women's basketball operations. Like, who played at Xavier from 1992-95, replaces Christi Hester, who is getting married to Chris Mack, a former Xavier player and current Wake Forest assistant coach, in August.

Like averaged 5.5 points and 3.2 assists at XU. She comes from Miami University, where she was an assistant coach last year.

MARTIN MATURING: The latest issue of Slam magazine includes a feature on former University of Cincinnati All-American Kenyon Martin, who says he has become one of the NBA's best young talents because he has matured quickly.

"Some people get it, and some people don't," Martin says in the article. "I think I got it."

RECRUITING TRAIL: Moeller senior Josh Duncan knows which schools he likes and which schools like him, and that is part of the reason Duncan is staying away from the summer basketball camp/recruiting circuit.

Xavier, Kentucky, Wake Forest and Indiana all are still involved with Duncan, but he and his family feel there is no need to travel all over the country to play a few more tournaments to get more exposure. The word is already out and has been out for some time.

Andrew Brackman, Duncan's teammate at Moeller, is a different story. Brackman was not listed as a top recruit this past season, but he has used the recruiting period to shoot to the top of schools' recruiting charts.

Brackman, a pitching prospect as well, turned in one of the best performances at the Peach Jam in North Augusta, S.C., which could expand his collegiate options beyond the region.

STARTING LINEUPS: It may be the middle of July, but several e-mails have inquired about the starting lineups for UC and Xavier this season. Although coaches generally say that there are no guaranteed spots, it is obvious that certain players are more likely to start than others.

With Cincinnati, expect to see Robert Whaley starting at center, Jason Maxiell at power forward and James White at small forward. The other two guard spots are up for grabs. Chadd Moore, Nick Williams, Field Williams, Armein Kirkland and Tony Bobbitt can all make cases, and those positions likely will be won in practice.

Xavier's lineup is a little easier to forecast. The Musketeers have four returning starters, so Anthony Myles is a likely choice at center, Romain Sato at small forward, Lionel Chalmers at shooting guard and Dedrick Finn at point guard.

The fifth spot is wide open, and Xavier coaches will have to decide if they want to go big or small. If they go big, sophomore Will Caudle is certainly a candidate, as is redshirt freshman Brandon Cole and incoming freshman Boubacar Coly.

If Xavier plays with a smaller lineup, Keith Jackson or incoming freshmen Justin Cage or Justin Doellman could fill that slot.

REBUILDING PERIOD: St. Bonaventure will begin its search for a new athletic director when interim AD Paul Grys finishes his five-month stay Aug. 1. Grys replaced ousted AD Gothard Lane, who, along with school president Robert Wickenheiser and basketball coach Jan van Breda Kolff, left after the Jamil Terrell academic scandal and subsequent forfeiture of two games.



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