March, 2013


NBA scouts know all about South Dakota State guard Nate Wolters


Because he plays at one of college basketball’s more remote outposts, South Dakota State guard Nate Wolters occasionally gets lost amid a barrage of televised games, forgotten in conversations about the game’s best point guards and pushed to the background by higher-profile players with seemingly better NBA Draft resumes. Every now and again, he reminds people he’s still out there.  One of those reminders came last week. After Wolters scored 53 points in a game at Fort Wayne, the Twitterverse immediately lit up with praise from the college hoops media.Read More

Jumpin’ D.J. Stephens a raw but intriguing NBA prospect

D.J. Stephens

In a late February game between Conference USA opponents, Southern Miss forward Dwayne Davis is faced with a decision. Davis is a couple of steps beyond the 3-point line and, for a second at least, is wide open. But there’s a problem barreling his way. That would be Memphis forward D.J. Stephens, who closes out in the blink of an eye and leaves Davis, already into his shooting motion, just one option. Davis half pump fakes and half travels as Stephens, who can’t stop his forward momentum, leaves his feetRead More

The film that reinvented the soundtrack


Rare is the film that sparks a cultural reawakening. I won’t name names, but a certain national magazine gave the Coen Brothers’ excellent O Brother Where Art Thou? an F review when it was released in 2000. Not sure what movie the magazine’s reviewer was watching, but the film went on to box office success — a gross of more than $71 million against a budget of $26 million — was generally enjoyed by critics — 77 percent on Rotten Tomatoes — snared a couple of Oscar noms, and oh, byRead More

One on One With Chris Dortch: Tennessee’s Jordan McRae

McRae Photo

If Tennessee ends up earning a bid to the NCAA Tournament, Vol fans have Jessie Fleming to thank. Were it not for the urging of Fleming, an AAU basketball coach in Hinesville, Ga., Tennessee junior guard Jordan McRae might be playing center field in the minor leagues, not shooting guard for a power conference team that, some experts believe, is a win over Missouri on Saturday away from claiming a spot in the Big Dance. In his last six games, McRae has been arguably the hottest offensive player in theRead More

One on One with Chris Dortch: Tennessee’s Jarnell Stokes

Jarnell Stokes

The photo, posted by Tennessee forward Jarnell Stokes earlier this week on his Instagram feed, speaks volumes. It’s a shot, from the Vols’ game at South Carolina on Sunday, of Stokes and Gamecock freshman Michael Carrera battling for a loose ball. Or rather, Carrera is holding on for dear life, because in the process of trying to wrest the ball away from his opponent, Stokes has lifted the 6-foot-5, 215-pound Carrera nearly two feet off the ground. “I guess he really wanted the ball,” Stokes said, laughing. “He wouldn’t letRead More

One on One with Chris Dortch: Vanderbilt’s John Jenkins

John Jenkins

It’s finals week at Vanderbilt, but sophomore guard John Jenkins, just minutes away from taking an oceanography exam, is putting on a little demonstration. A visitor to the Commodores’ practice gym wanted to hear Jenkins’ jump shot—that’s right, hear it—and Jenkins is happy to oblige. After a couple of shots that nick the back of the rim but still go in—poor efforts in Jenkins’ mind—he gets into a groove. As his guest rebounds, the 6-foot-4 Jenkins rises off the floor, his body as straight as a No. 2 pencil andRead More

One on One with Chris Dortch: Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel

Nerlens Noel

Nerlens Noel was doomed the second he signed with Kentucky last spring, doomed to inevitable comparisons to Anthony Davis, who put together one of the greatest seasons in NCAA history in leading the Wildcats to the 2012 national championship. But those comparisons are neither fair nor justified. Nerlens Noel is no Anthony Davis, and chances are he never will be. Recall the unique circumstances under which Davis acquired his remarkable skill set. A 6-foot-2 shooting guard as a sophomore in high school, good enough to perhaps earn a mid-major levelRead More

One on One With Chris Dortch: Ole Miss’ Marshall Henderson

Marshall Henderson

There’s not an ounce of truth to the malicious rumor that Ole Miss guard Marshall Henderson never met a shot he didn’t like. “I don’t like layups,” Henderson said. “In fact, I hate two pointers.” Follow along with Henderson here. There are two good reasons he’s the fastest gun in the South, sound logic behind the fact that, so far this season he’s launched 179 3-pointers, by far the most in the Southeastern Conference and fourth among all Division I players. The first one is easy. Uh, they give youRead More

One on One with Chris Dortch: Texas A&M’s Elston Turner

Elston Turner

Texas A&M guard Elston Turner swept national and Southeastern Conference player-of-the-week awards this week after his stunning 40-point performance in an upset at Kentucky last Saturday, but a better example of his ability as a scorer—and his confidence in that ability—came nearly two months earlier. It was a game in which, with 17.5 seconds to play, Turner had made one basket. Washington State led 54-52 in the third-place game of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic. With those scant seconds left, the Cougars’ D.J. Shelton was at the free-throw lineRead More

One on One with Chris Dortch: Missouri’s Phil Pressey

Phil Pressey

The most imaginative passer in college basketball used to be a ball hog. That revelation comes from Missouri point guard Phil Pressey himself, who laughs at the recollection of some of his earliest experiences in organized basketball, when he was in sixth grade. “I would never pass the ball,” Pressey said. “I would shoot all the time. I guess I was kind of a ball hog.” Fortunately for Pressey, and, ultimately, coach Frank Haith’s 10th-ranked Tigers, the young man had professional skills evaluation and consultation available to him at theRead More