Vol. 45, No. 1 • November 2007 • .pdf version
• Andy Katz: There's help out there
• Joe Mitch: Send us your nominations
• Dick Jerardi: Nothing else like it
• Steve Carp: No let-up between tip, buzzer
• Ted Gangi: On the cutting edge
• Working media members code of ethics

Andy Katz

President's Column:
There's help out there if you need it this season


Midnight Madness is over, practices are beginning and games are coming within weeks and yet there are still some decisions to be made within the organization.

We are still awaiting word to see how the national player of the year award will be presented at the Final Four in San Antonio.

Through my tenure so far, I have found out how difficult it is to have a permanent presence with this award. I tried with ESPN, my employer, but there wasn't enough interest. So, there are ongoing discussions with the NCAA to help streamline the award with the NABC's player of the year award so that it has a special presence at the Final Four.

Memphis is USBWA's No. 1

Memphis returns all five starters and adds freshman point guard Derrick Rose to a team that has gone 33-4 and reached the Elite Eight in each of the past two seasons.

That's why the Tigers are the U.S. Basketball Writer's Association's choice as the nation's No. 1 team going into the 2007-08 season.

North Carolina, Kansas and UCLA were the next three top vote-getters. The deep Tar Heels return consensus All- American Tyler Hansbrough from an Elite Eight team, the Jayhawks lose just one starter from yet another Elite Eight group and the Bruins add freshman big man Kevin Love to the core group that has been to back-to-back Final Fours.

Rounding out the Top 10: Louisville, Georgetown, Tennessee, Washington State, Indiana and Michigan State.

The Big East's Cardinals and Hoyas both return four starters, though Georgetown loses All-American Jeff Green from its Final Four team. The Vols bring back nearly everyone, including All-America guard Chris Lofton, and add Iowa transfer Tyler Smith. The Cougars also return four starters, including standout guards Derrick Low and Kyle Weaver. In the Big Ten, the Hoosiers add freshman Eric Gordon to a lineup that already includes D.J. White, and Drew Neitzel returns for the Spartans.

USBWA's Top 25
1. Memphis (33-4)
2. North Carolina (31-7)
3. Kansas (33-5)
4. UCLA (30-6)
5. Louisville (24-10)
6. Georgetown (30-7)
7. Tennessee (24-11)
8. Washington State (26-8)
9. Indiana (21-11)
10. Michigan State (23-12)
11. Texas A&M (27-7)
12. Duke (22-11)
13. Marquette (24-10)
14. Ohio State (35-4)
15. Texas (25-10)
16. Stanford (18-13)
17. Gonzaga (23-11)
18. Kansas State (23-13)
19. N.C. State (20-16)
20. USC (25-12)
21. Pittsburgh (29-8)
22. Missouri (18-12)
23. Oregon (29-8)
24. Clemson (25-11)
25. Arizona (20-11)

Joe Mitch, the USBWA's executive director, works tirelessly for this award and many others, but he has a day job as the assistant commissioner at the Missouri Valley Conference.

The Final Four breakfasts are still evolving, and as we gather more information, we will forward it to you.

But as the season approaches, there are a few names I want to ensure that you become familiar with that should be used as tremendous resources.

Greg Shaheen, VP NCAA Vice President: Shaheen is all-knowing on the NCAA Tournament and should be used as a resource for any pertinent questions concerning the NCAA Tournament or NIT. Shaheen has proven to be extremely helpful to this organization. He's about as busy a person as there is in the sport but is well worth pursuing with questions.

David Worlock, NCAA, in charge of media relations for the NCAA Tournament: There is a new reality in the NCAA and it is one of being helpful and engaging with the media. Worlock has been a huge success in taking over his role and wanting to reach out to the media with questions and answers. He is open to reviewing seating policies and assignments, and he is there for ongoing conversations on the subject. I would also like to see conference sports information directors and school media relations directors use him to help coordinate their day-to-day operations. Schools should adhere to similar policies as the NCAA Tournament as it relates to pool reporters, post-game, sight-line and post-game access that occurs during the NCAA Tournament.

Tom O'Connor, athletic director at George Mason, chair of the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee: O'Connor should be a valuable source throughout the season. He is well-schooled on the subject and should help lead to some transparency on the tournament-selection process as it evolves throughout the season. O'Connor has an engaging personality and hardly comes across as patronizing.

Reggie Minton, associate director of the NABC: If there is better gentleman in the game, then I'm still waiting to meet him. Minton is all class. He has given more credibility to the NABC in his brief tenure than anyone prior to his arrival. Minton should be even more of a fixture for media members when they have questions regarding general coaching issues or NCAA issues that relate to coaches.

The February mock bracket session is going to be for two days this season Feb. 6-7 in Indianapolis. Worlock will be sending out invitations to print and broadcast members sometime this fall. There are a number of new names on the list, and the goal is for this session to continue in the future with as many people as possible getting a crack at seeing the process.

Finally, if there are concerns from respective schools about how you're treated at a game or practice or about your overall access, please don't hesitate to call or email us at the USBWA.

We are your advocate.


Meet your president: Andy Katz

Andy Katz, a senior college basketball writer for ESPN.com, is this year's President of the United States Basketball Writers Association.

In addition to covering college basketball on a daily basis and breaking news for the site, Katz pens the “Daily Word” and “Weekly Word,” popular columns covering a variety topics and issues from around the sport.

A regular analyst on ESPN's College Hoops Tonight and ESPN2's College Hoops 2Night, Katz also serves as a reporter for ESPN at the Final Four and other major tournaments. He also contributes to ESPN The Magazine and ESPN Radio and provides in-studio college basketball analysis for ESPN and ESPNEWS Network, ESPN's 24-hour sports news cable network.

Prior to joining ESPN. com in January 2000, Katz served as the national basketball writer for the Fresno Bee from 1995-99. He also has had stints at the Albuquerque Journal (1990-95) and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (1989-90).

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