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Westsider Rider

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Great news to start the day

Woke up to a text message this morning that just made my day. My boy from New York sent me a simple two words that immediately woke me up: "Manny Staying!" That's all I needed to jump start my day and then I got to work to read "Harris says he will attend Michigan after all" There was a great deal of trepidation on my part as I wrote on Monday:

Onto Coach Beilein's attempt to keep together this 07 class, it doesn't look good. Both Alex Legion and Manny Harris met with Beilein this past week and I believe it would be miraculous if he was able to keep both players.

Thankfully, it looks like I may be wrong on this one. Also, the article on Manny staying also has a quote from Alex Legion stating "I'm starting to like Michigan more and more," and Coach Beilein is expected to go see Legion in Virginia this weekend. Props go out to Coach Beilein, and also to Coach Jackson for re-securing Manny's commitment, let's finish it out and lock up Legion again. There are also rumors that the schedule will be upgraded next season which would include a renewal of the Duke series, which I would be glad to see cause I can't stand them and I would love to beat them after all the blowouts they had against us when I was in school.

Onto other College Basketball news now is the time that many players declare their intentions to stay in school or declare for the NBA Draft. Starting with the players that are leaving: Kevin Durant of Texas, Arron Afflalo of UCLA and Julian Wright of Kansas. Durant's announcement was expected considering he took the College Basketball world by storm, sweeping every major award out there and being the first freshman to win a number of them. It was reported he really wanted to stay but was scared off by the Shaun Livingston injury as they are of similar build and did not want to risk something like that. It would have been great to see Durant in college for another season but there's no way you can fault him considering he will be at worst the 2nd player picked in the draft.

Then there's Arron Afflalo, who I believe could use another year at UCLA and win a national championship in the process. He is a borderline first round pick and unless he wows the scouts he could very easily fall into the second round. UCLA must also wait for Darren Collison's decision as well. Considering the weak PG class he could decide to make the jump, and if he does it would be a huge blow to the Bruins. Hopefully he will decide to stay and play with Kevin Love and lead UCLA to a 3rd consecutive Final Four.

Julian Wright declared but has not signed with an agent, leaving the potential for him to return to Kansas. But as he is projected a top 15 pick I doubt that happens. Brandon Rush is also expected to declare, which would be devastating to Kansas.

With these defections the big winner in all this is North Carolina where Tyler Hansborough, Tywon Lawson and Wayne Ellington have all announced they will return next season. UNC is now my odds on favorite to win the title next year, with or without Brandan Wright who has yet to announce. The deadline is April 29th to declare and I'm sure there will be many more announcements that will have impact on the upcoming college basketball season.

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