May, 2015


Is Cameron Payne this year’s Elfrid Payton?

Cameron Payne

Murray State assistant basketball coach William Small was in his office in the fall of 2012 when his phone rang. The caller was Damon Stoudamire, then a Memphis assistant, who had just come from a high school game in the city, where he watched Skal Labissiere, a future five-star recruit and Kentucky signee who was then playing for Evangelical Christian School. But a player on the other team caught Stoudamire’s eye, thus his call to Small. “He said, ‘man, I made a bad mistake,’ ” Small said. “I said, ‘whatRead More

Hunter’s decision to declare for NBA Draft a family affair

R.J. Hunter

If Georgia State guard R.J. Hunter decides to bypass his senior season and declare for the NBA Draft, his sister will have played a part in the decision. That’s right, his sister. That shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s followed Hunter’s three-year career playing for his father Ron at Georgia State. The Hunters are a close-knit family—otherwise Hunter would be playing at Iowa right now—potentially life-altering decisions aren’t taken lightly, and often, majority rules. Thus Jasmine Hunter’s role in the most important decision her brother will have madeRead More

Turner seems to possess what Vols’ Barnes wants in a point guard

Lamonte Turner must be a tough hombre. The well-traveled Turner, whose career has taken him from high schools in Alabama to Florida and finally the IMG Academy, is the third player (so far) in Rick Barnes’ first recruiting class at Tennessee. Unlike Canadian big men Ray Kasongo and Kyle Alexander, Turner, a 6-1, 175-pound point guard, hasn’t signed scholarship papers. He’ll do so when he returns home to Alabama once his curriculum is complete at IMG. Thus, neither Barnes nor his assistants can speak publicly about Turner’s skills. But weRead More

Boyhood friends trying to help make Tennessee basketball relevant again

Before Rob Lanier knew he would rejoin his former boss at Texas, Rick Barnes, to help stabilize the reeling basketball program Tennessee, he had a suggestion: Hire Desmond Oliver. There are casual friends, good friends, close friends and best friends. And then there’s the relationship Lanier and Oliver have maintained for 34 years, all the way back to the days the two grew up a couple of doors apart on Donovan Street in the rugged Buffalo, N.Y. housing project, Ferry Grider Homes. Perhaps that street name was a harbinger ofRead More

Vols tap Canadian connection for second time in as many weeks

That stamp new Tennessee basketball coach Rick Barnes and his assistants are putting on their program is going to have a maple leaf displayed prominently in one corner of it. For the second time in as many weeks, the Vol staff has landed a talented big man from Canada. This week, it’s Kyle Alexander, who comes from Orangeville Prep in Ontario. Alexander is 6-10, and in basketball parlance is a plus six, which means his wingspan of 7-4 is six inches longer than his frame. Alexander joins 6-10, 235-pound RayRead More