While relevant college basketball games don't tip off for another month, the sport will open for business this Friday! To celebrate, err... observe this exciting day, we thought it would be shrewd of us to bring in some real college basketball writers on here to shower us with words that carry much more weight than a couple of twentysomething bloggers.
Today, FoxSports.com's senior college basketball writer Jeff Goodman was kind enough to answer some of our questions on what went down this summer, what he expects this upcoming season and a frank explanation on twitter.
1. Where could we find you this summer? On the beach, Fenway Park (he's a Boston guy), or in a gym filled with DI prospects? Usually, I get to Fenway a few times - but didn't make it there once this summer. I was in gyms virtually all of July and spent much of August with my wife and 6-year-old daughter. We also rescued a lab mix puppy in April, so there were plenty of trips to the park to get some of that energy out. The offseason is nice - but this offseason seemed to be fairly hectic with all of the happenings with Tim Floyd, Rick Pitino and Memphis.
2. If you could have a hand in reforming basketball at the prep level, where would you start and what would you look to do? I would have the NCAA run the entire summer basketball scene, hire coaches with former NBA or college coaching experience and make certain that agents and runners don't have the access to kids that they have nowadays. This way kids would receive better coaching - and also wouldn't have to deal with people trying to get "in" with them for the wrong reasons.
3. Does the NCAA recognize that Europe could become more and more of a viable option instead of heading to college? Do they have any sort of plan to counter? I don't think the NCAA is all that concerned that Europe will be a legitimate destination for too many kids. Remember, Brandon Jennings hadn't been cleared by the NCAA and that was the only reason he went to Italy. No one is going to miss Jeremy Tyler or Latavious Williams. Trust me.
4. OK focusing on 2009-2010, what is the best conference in the land? It looks like the Big East will be down this season. That's tough because while the Big 12 has two of the top three or four teams in the country in Kansas and Texas, I'm not sure that the Big Ten isn't superior from a depth standpoint. You've got six teams all worthy of Top 25 consideration in Michigan State, Purdue, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio State and Minnesota. The SEC will be much better than last year.
5. Early talk is that Texas is a legitimate Final Four contender. Am I underestimating them or will the incoming trio of Avery Bradley, Jordan Hamilton and Jai Lucas make that much of an impact for Rick Barnes? I made a case that Texas is as deep as any team in the nation. They have all the pieces - size, experience and talent. Dexter Pittman is a man down low, Damion James is a terrific college player and I think the addition of guards Avery Bradley and J'Covan Brown will make the difference. Bradley can do it all - including defend - while Brown is the guy who can make the ultimate difference because he can run the team and that's what the Longhorns needed last season.
6. Will this be the first season since 2005 that Memphis does not win the Conference USA regular season title? Yes. I'm not sure if it'll be Tulsa - who everyone is picking to win the league - but I don't think first-year coach Josh Pastner has enough in the stable. John Calipari didn't leave him with much - and there's basically no depth at all. I think it'll be Tulsa or maybe UTEP.
7. Biggest impact freshman this season, and where does Kansas' Xavier Henry fit into their rotation? I don't think Xavier Henry will have a huge impact and that's not because he's overrated. I just feel Kansas has so many weapons and Henry will take somewhat of a back seat to Cole Aldrich, Sherron Collins and Tyshawn Taylor. I think John Wall is the No. 1 overall pick and the most talented player in the country, but I think Florida freshman Kenny Boynton could have as much of an impact for the Gators.
8. Your premature surprise team of the season... Vanderbilt. The Commodores have one of the most underrated coaches in the nation in Kevin Stallings. A.J. Ogilvy gives Vandy a low-post scoring option and now Stallings added a big-time freshman shooter in John Jenkins. Throw in solid senior point guard Jermaine Beal and athletic wing Jeffery Taylor and I think this team can surprise some people in the loaded SEC East.
9. Your premature Final Four picks... Kansas, Texas, Kentucky, Ohio State
10. Because of the name of our blog, we ask all journalists on here to name their favorite forgotten college basketball player. What college players were you a fan of while they were in college, and then were never really heard from again? Gene Edgerson. He was the guy with the Afro on Arizona's national title team in 1997 - and he was the type of guy who just sacrificed his body every chance he got. I respect guys who get the most out of their ability.
11. Finish this sentence: I like using twitter because... It's easy.