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July 17, 2008

Kennedy has idea for new 3-point line

This season, some basketball arenas may look like they have rainbows on their courts.

The men's college basketball line is moving from 19 feet 9 inches to 20 feet 9 inches. Women's basketball is keeping the line at 19-9, which means some courts could have as many as four 3-point lines on the floor college women's, college men's, international and NBA.

All those lines clearly could lead to some confusion for players and officials, but Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy recently offered a solution to handle the discrepancies between the college lines.

He said that instead of one 3-point line at 19 feet 9, where it will remain for the women's game, and one at the new 20-9 line for the men, he wants to see one 3-point line that's a foot thick.

"I'm not in favor of keeping two lines on the floor," Kennedy said. "I think it will really create confusion with the women's line not moving and now moving the men's line back another foot. I know they're going to be contrasting colors, but you're asking for problems as it relates to which line was it behind: 'We've got to check the monitor.'

"There's going to be stoppages in play. Coaches are pretty crafty, and they're going to be questioning calls to maybe get a stoppage to help stop a run. I'm not sure it will be good for the flow of the game."

His solution? A 1-foot thick line covering the distance between the women's line and the new men's line.

"If you are behind it, it's good for men, and if you're touching it, it's good for women," Kennedy said. "I've been told that wasn't feasible, but I think two lines will cause confusion. I'm talking about a line that's a foot thick. It would look odd, but we'd get used to it in a year."

Kennedy said he's looking out for officials.

"I don't think the players will be as confused," he said. "You'll get used to it in time, get a feel for where you are on the floor. You certainly don't want your guys looking down at the ground while they're trying to play. But I do think it will cause confusion for officials.

"It's hard enough for officials with the speed and size of guys playing today, and now we're just asking them to be able to monitor one other area, which honestly doesn't have to be such a big issue if it had been handled differently."


Who is Ole Miss' career leader in 3-pointers made? (Answer at the end of the column.)


Other news and notes from Wednesday's SEC coaches' teleconference:

Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie said guard Jodie Meeks and forward Patrick Patterson are progressing well from offseason surgeries. Meeks had surgery to repair a bilateral sports hernia April 11, and Patterson, the SEC's Co-Freshman of the Year, went under the knife March 28 to repair a stress fracture in his left ankle. "For the first time in a while, Jodie is probably getting close to having no soreness," Gillispie said. Meeks was limited to eight games last season, averaging 8.8 points in 23.2 minutes. Gillispie said Patterson is "way ahead of where anyone would have expected him to be." Patterson averaged 16.4 points and led the Wildcats in rebounding (7.7).

Florida coach Billy Donovan's biggest concerns are in the frontcourt, where NBA early departure Marreese Speights has left a major hole (14.5 ppg, 8.1 rpg). "We have three freshmen coming in who are young, and I don't know how much you can rely on them or what they'll play like," Donovan said. "The biggest question mark with the departure of Marreese is do we have enough up front to continue to grow?" The freshmen to whom Donovan referred are four-star prospects Eloy Vargas, Kenny Kadji and Allan Chaney. Vargas (No. 26 overall ) and Kadji (No. 27) just missed five-star status and will have every opportunity to play significant minutes.

Alabama coach Mark Gottfried can't wait for the arrival of JaMychal Green, a five-star power forward from Montgomery, Ala. "He's a high-energy guy, plays very hard, active, quick feet," Gottfried said. "He's one of those guys when the ball is on the backboard, he's going after it every time. He's like most freshmen in that he has to learn to score, develop post moves. But he brings a lot of energy. He wants to win. He's always been part of winning, so he brings a lot to the table from the start." Green also is getting a head-start on what college practices will be like. He's a member of the U.S. 18-Under Team that currently is competing at the FIBA Americas Championship in Argentina. The team is coached by Davidson's Bob McKillop, with assistants John Thompson III of Georgetown and Anthony Grant of Virginia Commonwealth.

Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury said rising junior guard Barry Stewart (11.5 ppg) will be out 6-8 weeks after surgery to repair a stress fracture in his ankle. Stewart was injured in a pickup game a couple of weeks ago, Stansbury said.

Arkansas coach John Pelphrey said he has had some discussions with athletic director Jeff Long about a practice facility. "We're blessed here to have great facilities, but I think a practice facility would add a lot," Pelphrey said. "When that will become a reality, I'm not sure."

Georgia coach Dennis Felton said the surprise SEC Tournament championship was a terrific springboard for the Bulldogs. "We had a good, productive spring and have done well in the summer," Felton said. "Our mind-set is in a good place getting ready to compete in the SEC. Our guys have, in terms of their approach, been getting better and working hard. We're in the best place we've ever been, and no doubt winning a championship had a lot to do with it."

Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl said the unquestioned leader of the Vols this season will be junior forward Tyler Smith. "He made the very difficult decision to come back to Tennessee," Pearl said. "It seemed the fashionable thing to do was to throw your name in the NBA Draft. He did the unfashionable thing. He decided to throw himself into the weight room and the gym and work on his game."

Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said center A.J. Ogilvy, a second-team all-conference pick as a freshman this past season, spent the majority of his summer in Australia trying to make his native country's Olympic team. He was one of the final cuts. "We expect him to come back in great shape and be ready for a big year," Stallings said.


A few high-profile transfers made the decision to drop down and be eligible to play immediately, a move not practiced as much among big names in basketball circles as it is in football. Former Tennessee player Duke Crews will play at Division II Bowie (Md.) State. Crews averaged 5.4 points and 4.0 rebounds for the Vols last season. Former Vols teammate Ramar Smith chose Oklahoma City College, the reigning NAIA national champ. Smith averaged 7.4 points and 3.2 assists for UT. And former Indiana forward DeAndre Thomas, who averaged 3.6 points and 1.8 rebounds in his only season in Bloomington, will play at NAIA quarterfinalist Robert Morris College in his native Chicago.

The news does not appear to be good for Gonzaga forward Austin Daye, a former Rivals.com five-star prospect. Daye, who averaged 10.5 points and 4.7 rebounds as a freshman this past season, suffered a partially torn ACL in his right knee at the Nike LeBron James Skills Academy in Akron, Ohio, last week and will have surgery. Kansas forward Brandon Rush had ACL surgery June 1, 2007, and missed the Jayhawks' first two games last season before making his debut Nov. 15. His was a remarkable recovery, and even then it took 5 months for him to be game-ready. That would seem to indicate the best-case scenario for Daye would be a return around Jan. 1.


Aaron Harper sank 278 3-pointers during his Rebels career from 2001-04. Rising sophomore Chris Warren is in hot pursuit after knocking down a school-record 103 3-pointers last season.

Bob McClellan is the college basketball editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at bmcclellan@rivals.com.

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