News and notes from around the country

May, 4, 2011
Some quick hitters from Wednesday afternoon:

• Kentucky coach John Calipari said his UK pro combine on Monday and Tuesday was a huge success. NBA personnel that attended had mixed reviews, with the main complaint being that they wanted more competition. It's a refrain you hear quite often this time of year, including at the draft combine in Chicago, which takes place later this month and will not include five-on-five situations.

Calipari said he thinks all four players -- freshmen Brandon Knight and Terrence Jones, junior DeAndre Liggins and senior Josh Harrellson -- helped themselves.

"I'm glad we did this," Calipari said, adding that he hopes to host similar events in future years.

The shooting and agility drills may not have changed anyone's mind, but the interviews could have an impact -- especially with Jones.

"You had some guys tell him he's a 1-2-3-4 pick in the draft next year and there were some telling him you should go back and there were others saying he should stay in the draft,'' Calipari said of Jones. "Brandon got the confirmation that he wanted [that he should stay in the draft] and DeAndre met with five or six teams. Josh met with four teams.''

Liggins is hoping to go to a workout sponsored by the New Jersey Nets over the weekend before making a decision before the Sunday night deadline. A player in his position next year will not be able to do so. The NCAA has adopted legislation to move up the decision to withdraw and that deadline will be April 10 next year.

"So this will never be done again unless we can stop that train moving toward that April date,'' Calipari said.

"It's the worst thing for these players,'' Calipari said. "They need more time to make a decision.''

Calipari said he endorses one date to make a decision so that "if you put your name in the draft, then you're in. But you must have time to make that decision.''

"If you have a top 50 or 100 player then who's going to be in his ear during the season? The agent," Calipari said. "The NBA personnel can't talk to the players, so who will?"

• Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said he can't remember how the vote went down when the ACC coaches initiated the call to change the draft date to May 8 three years ago. He said he would be in favor of allowing high school seniors to declare out of high school -- the way it used to be -- but adopting more of the baseball rule that once they're in school they have to stay for three years. Ultimately, Hamilton said he's not in favor of underclassmen having to try out for NBA teams when NBA scouts are at a multitude of games throughout the season. "Why does a player have to try out?'' Hamilton said. Hamilton also said that there needs to be more people involved in the decision to move up the draft date.

• Maryland coach Gary Williams hadn't been told that Jordan Williams was officially in the NBA draft before the Washington Post published its story that Williams had signed with agent Andy Miller. But Williams had been preparing for a week now in what he figured was inevitable. As for a player signing with an agent and not telling his coach first, it's really no shock. That's the new world most of the players live in now with the attitude of ensuring the deal first and then telling their coach.

This is difficult news for Maryland. The Terrapins didn't make the NCAA tournament last season even with Williams as the anchor, and not having the double-double machine around will make it even more difficult. The Terps are still recruiting a post player for the class of 2011, but more than likely they'll rely on a group effort that will include some players who didn't see a ton of action last season (Berend Weijs, Hawk Palsson, James Padgett and Mychal Parker), along with German Martin Breunig, who is expected to come in and compete for major minutes. So what goes from a strength of the Terps drops down to a major question mark at a time when the ACC is in a state of flux below North Carolina, Duke and Florida State. Virginia and Miami should be the next two best teams next season, which speaks volumes about the wide-open state of the league below the top.

"We've got bodies for next season," Williams said. "We'll see if we're good enough."

• Michigan will still be good, but won't be the pick to finish second in the Big Ten behind Ohio State now that Darius Morris has decided to stay in the NBA draft. Expect Wisconsin to be the choice with the return of likely preseason All-American Jordan Taylor leading the way.

• Great move by new UNLV coach Dave Rice to tab Stacey Augmon as an assistant coach. Rice played with Augmon on the 1990 national title team. Augmon has been in the NBA as a player and as a coach and will bring oodles of experience to the job. Rice is blending the staff with the right mix of old and new and is a strong link to UNLV's most storied past on the court.

• Let's not get too worked up about the departure of Demetri Goodson from Gonzaga to Texas A&M, where he will attempt to play football. Goodson's minutes were erratic down the stretch, playing 13 minutes against Saint Mary's in the WCC title game and then 33 in the NCAA tournament win against St. John's. Goodson had become more of a defensive stopper and would have been used in that role next season with the increased time devoted to David Stockton at the point and the expected impact that newcomers Gary Bell Jr. and Kevin Pangos are expected to have on the perimeter. The Zags expect Bell and Pangos to be a big-time backcourt and that would have squeezed out Goodson a bit.

• A number of sources close to George Washington, both inside and out of the A-10, expect the choice to replace Karl Hobbs to come down to Vermont head coach Mike Lonergan, who is in good with new AD Patrick Nero (the former America East commissioner), and Kansas assistant Joe Dooley, who played at GW and has plenty of booster support.

Andy Katz | email

ESPN Senior Writer




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