Some spring cleaning from around the Southeastern Conference:
As we reported in The City Paper several weeks ago, former University of Connecticut wide receiver Terence Jeffers is still interested in transferring to Vanderbilt.
Whether it happens or not hasn’t been determined. Transferring to Vanderbilt, as we have seen in the past, is not always the easiest task – for numerous reasons.
Jeffers, a native of Lawrenceville, Ga., left the UConn squad after the 2007 season, during which he led the team in receptions and receiving yardage. He will have two seasons of eligibility remaining after sitting out one NCAA-mandated transfer year.
Sources tell us Jeffers is still finalizing his transfer plans and that he hopes to land at his next school this summer. He considered Vanderbilt out of high school before signing with UConn.
CHOICE WORDS: Give new South Carolina basketball coach Darrin Horn credit for saying all the right things at his recent introductory news conference.
Horn, a native of Lexington, Ky., grew up in the shadows of the University of Kentucky and later played and coached at Western Kentucky, which has a vast but underappreciated basketball tradition.
“I know basketball tradition when I see it, and we have basketball tradition here,” Horn said of South Carolina.
Nice try, but let’s keep this in perspective. The Gamecocks have had five losing decades out of the past 10. They’ve made one NCAA Tournament appearance in the past 10 years.
TAKE YOUR PICK: Which school has the most passionate [or crazy?] fan base: Alabama football or Kentucky basketball? Tough call.
Two events this spring again demonstrated the almost unfathomable scope of both programs.
More than 78,000 showed up for Alabama’s spring football game. More than 90,000 were on hand a year ago for the debut of coach Nick Saban, but having 78,000 one year after the honeymoon is still noteworthy.
At Kentucky, meanwhile, 81-year-old basketball equipment manager Bill Keightley passed away after having been on the job since 1962 and earning the nickname “Mr. Wildcat.” The Lexington Herald-Leader devoted four pages to Keightley’s passing, and his memorial service was held at Rupp Arena and was televised live statewide.
GOOD MOVE: From all accounts, the hiring of basketball coach Trent Johnson appears to be a slam dunk for LSU.
Johnson took Nevada to the NCAA Sweet 16, then did the same thing at Stanford. He’s also the first African-American coach in a men’s sport at LSU, so this is even a step in the right direction in that regard.
BIG APPLE BALLERS: Vanderbilt basketball recruit Lance Goulbourne will play Saturday in the annual Jordan Brand Classic regional all-star game, which features top players from the New York City area. The game will be played at Madison Square Garden.
Goulbourne, a 6-foot-7 forward who spent this past season at The Hun School in Princeton, N.J., will play on the same team Saturday with future Florida point guard Erving Walker.
Goulbourne will enroll at Vanderbilt this fall.
MORE FUTURE ‘DORES?: Speaking of Vanderbilt basketball recruiting, coveted forward Jeff Taylor of Hobbs, N.M., has chopped Gonzaga from his list and will decide between VU and Texas, perhaps as soon as this weekend.
Guard Brad Tinsley of Oregon City, Ore., the other top target on Vanderbilt’s list, by all accounts had a good visit to Nashville last weekend, toured the campus and played some pickup basketball with Commodore players. His decision should be coming soon, too. Vanderbilt and Oregon are still believed to be the front-runners.
UPPER HAND: SEC Eastern Division teams seem to be dominating their Western Division counterparts in almost every sport these days.
It’s certainly true in basketball. Even in football, despite LSU’s two national championships since 2003, the East has generally been regarded as the stronger division.
The gap is particularly wide in baseball this year with the conference race at its halfway point. Five East teams have winning records in league play compared to only one in the West.
If the season ended today, all six East teams would advance to the eight-team SEC Tournament field.
Brett Hait covers Vanderbilt athletics and the Southeastern Conference for The City Paper. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.