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The Hoop Doctors

Exclusive Interview With Seth Davis of SI and CBS Sports

February 12, 2010 – Allen Moll

The Hoop Doctors very own scribe Allen Moll was fortunate to be able to have an in-depth phone interview with Sports Illustrated and CBS Sports resident college basketball expert, Seth Davis.

Davis is also the spokesman for Coke Zero’s Department of Fannovation, which is a promotion they are running where fans get to submit their ideas on how to improve college basketball from the fan’s perspective.  All college basketball fans are encouraged to check out the site and submit their ideas. The folks at Coke Zero will select the Top 64 submissions based on their creativity and formulate an NCAA Tournament styled bracket. Fans online will get to vote on which ideas are the best to determine an eventual winner. If your idea makes it to the round of 16, you could win $1,000, with the overall winner receiving $10,000, plus a trip to the Final Four in Indianapolis. The best thing about the promotion is that it’s free. So, log onto the Fannovation site and submit your idea today. The entries so far are pretty creative with some notables being a mascot cam, crowd noise meter, and a vertical meter to indicate how high a player leaps on a dunk.

We were granted a Q&A session with Seth Davis, who was on campus at Chapel Hill to cover the Duke/UNC rivalry game. Seth has been an accomplished writer for Sports Illustrated since 1995, authored two books, and currently has a new show called “Courtside with Seth Davis” which airs Mondays at 9 PM on the CBS College Sports Network.

We thank Seth for the opportunity for the interview and gather some of his thoughts and insights on such topics like his choice for Player of the Year, college recruiting, his favorite college venues, and the possible expansion of the NCAA Tournament field.

Q. The best player in college basketball over the past month has arguably been Kentucky’s DeMarcus Cousins. How good do you think he could eventually be, at 6-10 and 280lbs, is he NBA ready, and is he the Wildcats’ most important player?

SD. Cousins is the most NBA ready physical specimen. It appears that he has taken to Calipari’s coaching but the key to his success is how quickly he matures and keeps his emotions in order. A lot of opposing coaches and players have taken note of Cousin’s emotional nature by almost baiting him in games. To his credit, Cousins hasn’t taken the bait, especially during a game versus Ole Miss recently.

Cousins probably is the most crucial player to Kentucky’s success. Although John Wall is a tremendously talented point guard, their are many other good point guards around the NCAA. Cousins is a special player, and will be in the NBA next season.

Q. Speaking of John Wall, he was everyone’s POY choice for the first half of the season. Do you think a few other players like Ohio State’s Evan Turner or Villanova’s Scottie Reynolds have caught up to him?

SD. Right now, I think Evan Turner is the guy. What other player can miss 5 weeks with an injury and still be a Wooden Award candidate? He’s been phenomenal. As far as Wall’s perceived struggles, many opposing teams are keying in on him and taking away his scoring. And with his recent comments of frustration towards Calipari, he is just trying to live up to the immense hype that surrounds him.

Q. On the recruiting front, Renardo Sydney still isn’t eligible for Mississippi State. Will we ever see him play in the SEC, college basketball period, or will he vault straight to the NBA?

SD. We have definitely seen the last of Sydney in the NCAA. It’s wrong on both sides. The family refused to turn over documents and the NCAA kept Sydney strung along. It’s a shame since he very well could have been a factor in the SEC.

Q. Do you think recruiters should be able to scout and elicit commitments from younger players in middle school? Reportedly Vilanova’s Taylor King committed to UCLA as early as 6th grade.

SD. I think it was possibly 8th or 9th grade when he committed. It doesn’t really matter if they commit in 9th or 10th grade since other schools will still try and recruit a star player regardless if they have given a verbal. I heard that the NABC recently tried to pass an amendment concerning no verbal commitments for younger players. My question is, what’s wrong with the parents who allow their son or daughter to be put in that position?

Q. A big rumor recently is that the NCAA is considering increasing the field in the NCAA Tournament up to 96 teams. Are you in favor of the expansion and do you think it will eventually happen?

SD. I’m not a fan of the proposed expansion. From what I hear it is not a done deal. It basically rewards mediocrity and lessens the regular season.

Q. With so much parity in the NCAA this year, do you think that a good mid-major team could make a deep tourney run like George Mason of ’06?

SD. I see no correlation between the two. But I will concede that there are a number of very good mid-majors out there like Cornell. I think they could be a team to reckon with along with Northern Iowa, BYU, and Old Dominion since their conference has blown up.

Q. In what I like to call “How the Mighty Have Fallen”, what has happened to some of the legendary NCAA programs like UNC, UCLA, and UConn? Can they be fixed?

SD. I’m actually in Raleigh, NC right now to cover the Duke/UNC game. The fact is that because of these program’s success seemingly every year, people have come to just expect it. It isn’t normal to win 2 National Championships in 5 years. Everyone just expects them to not be like other teams.

Q. What are some of your favorite college towns and arenas that you have had the pleasure to work or be at?

SD. Even though I’m partial to my alma matter Duke, Cameron Indoor is the best venue whether as an announcer or a fan. It’s just a great place to watch a game. Other favorite arenas would have to be Allen Fieldhouse at Kansas, with all of the history. As far as favorite college town, Id have to say Madison Wisconsin. I just dig the vibe and the team spirit as long as the weather is good. It seemingly is always cold outside.

Allen Moll is an avid NBA and College Basketball fan who watches and studies games religiously and coaches youth basketball in his native Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania.  Allen is a regular columnist for thehoopdoctors.com, Bleacherreport.com, UpperDeckblog.com, and his own site, Hoops Haven.

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