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Friday News and Notes: R. J. Slawson SC Player of the Year; Bryce Brown Leaves UT; Tubby Smith to Auburn?

The Real Prize Recruit?

A lot of Gamecocks fans have fixated on Bruce Ellington and Demontre Harris. Maybe we should all take a closer look at another incoming recruit, big man R. J. Slawson. Slawson had a phenomenal senior season, culminating in netting the SC Gatorade Player of the Year Award. He beat out Ellington for the honor.

What I'm really liking about Slawson is that he has a fairly developed offensive game. We need another scorer on the block in the worst way. Word is that Harris's offensive game will need a bit of work when he gets here.

Another thing to like about Slawson, especially after what we've experienced with some other prize recruits over the past few years, is this:

Slawson has maintained a 3.42 GPA in the classroom. He has volunteered locally as a summer basketball camp counselor, a youth mentor for elementary school students and as a caretaker for the elderly.

While Derek Dooley claimed to be surprised about this, rumors have been swirling for some time now and this really shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. Brown's departure is another indication that UT may be in for (another) down year in 2010. Brown is one of the best backs in the nation, the kind of player no one wants to lose. He was to UT what we hope Marcus Lattimore will be to us.

I wouldn't, however, clap your hands and jump for joy just yet. The Vols have another good young back, David Oku, in the wings. Moreover, in the long term, this probably isn't a big deal for the Vols, or at least it won't make or break them. Dooley will make this team in his image over the next couple of seasons, and that's what's going to tell the story of whether UT can rise as a national power again. It would have been nice for them to have Brown around, but there will be others if Dooley does his job.

I sure didn't see this one coming. Whatever you may believe about the job Smith did at Kentucky, you have to admit that he would be an unequivocal home run for the Tigers. And don't think he can't win at Auburn, despite the fact that Auburn is a notoriously tough place to coach at. He has quickly resurrected Minnesota's program and had great success at Georgia and Tulsa early in career, proving that he can take average-draw programs to the mountaintops.

And you just know he's itching for a shot at Calipari and the 'Cats. Who wouldn't pay to see that one?