SDS Mailbag: Most exciting SEC transfer, college basketball All-Name Team and Scotty Pippen Jr.’s NBA potential
March Madness is well underway, as the conference tournament action is heating up over the weekend. Friday will see plenty of games across the major conferences, as many of those leagues are in their quarterfinal rounds.
Meanwhile, spring football is also in full swing at a number of FBS schools. It’s a great time to be a college sports fan!
The SEC men’s basketball tournament will crown a champion on Sunday and, shortly thereafter, we’ll have a bracket to fill out for the NCAA Tournament. After the NCAA Tournament was canceled last year, I’m just thankful to have so much basketball on TV over the next month!
Now, let’s get to your questions for this week’s SDS Mailbag:
Which incoming SEC transfer are you most excited to see in 2021?
I’m going to be a bit of a Mizzou homer here and say Mookie Cooper. The Ohio State transfer is already turning heads this spring and should be able to compete for a starting job this fall.
The Tigers have QB Connor Bazelak coming back this year, along with RB Tyler Badie, WRs Jalen Knox, Tauskie Dove, Keke Chism and others. The offense will miss RB Larry Rountree III, for sure, but the Tigers should have plenty of continuity on that side of the ball.
Then, you add Cooper into the mix. He figures to be a speedy slot receiver. Coach Eli Drinkwitz has been singing his praises:
Drinkwitz on Mookie Cooper: “If we were playing live, I’m not sure they’d be able to tackle him.” #Mizzou
— Jack Soble (@jacksoble56) March 6, 2021
Fr. Mookie Cooper, who recently earned his number, called Eli Drinkwitz after Thursday’s practice to ask about what the next installs will be. “He’s on a mission right now, and I appreciate that,” Drinkwitz said. “I’m on a mission with him.”
— Bennett Durando (@BennettDurando) March 6, 2021
Coach Drinkwitz on transfer wide out Mookie Cooper
"Mookie is fast."
— Andrew Kauffman (@AndrewABC17) February 26, 2021
If Drinkwitz is that excited, I’m excited, too. I can’t wait to see what Cooper brings to this Mizzou offense this fall.
Who would be on your “All-Name Team” for college basketball this year?
There are some great names in the world of college basketball this year, that’s for sure. But, we can only have 5 guys on the men’s basketball “All-Name Team,” so here are the guys I’m going with:
- Boo Buie, Northwestern
- Supreme Cook, Fairfield
- Both Gach, Minnesota
- Churchill Bounds, Central Arkansas
- Akok Akok, UConn
And, for good measure, here are 3 honorable mentions:
- Fatts Russell, Rhode Island
- Kobe Elvis, DePaul
- Goodnews Kpegeol, Valparaiso
Those are some great names. Hopefully, the incoming freshman class has some unique and fun names, too. After all, Fatts Russell is a senior!
Watching Scotty Pippen Jr. dominate Texas A&M on Wednesday night, what sort of future do you think he has in the NBA?
Well, during the broadcast of the game, I believe it was SEC Network analyst Jimmy Dykes who said he thinks Pippen has a long pro career ahead of him. I’m going to agree with him.
Pippen is calm, cool and collected with the ball in his hands. Even when he’s not shooting well (he was only 3-for-17 on Wednesday night), he still impacts the game. He went 15-for-15 from the free-throw line against A&M and also had 6 assists.
He has a natural shooting stroke and sees the court well. I think he can step in and be a backup point guard at the NBA level next season, eventually working his way into a bigger role. Guys who can create their own shots and make their teammates better will always find space on an NBA roster.
Plus, Pippen has a great mentor in his dad, who knows what it takes to be an NBA star. We’ll see if he turns pro this offseason or comes back to Vanderbilt for another year at the college level. Either way, he’ll eventually be making money in the NBA.
Do you think all 4 No. 1 seeds (assume they’re Gonzaga, Baylor, Illinois and Michigan) make the Final Four this year?
I do think those are the best 4 teams in the country, and I think Baylor and Gonzaga will roll to the Final Four, but it is so hard for all 4 No. 1 seeds to make it that far.
It has only happened once in the history of the tournament, back in 2008. That year, Kansas, Memphis, North Carolina and UCLA all made it to the Final Four. Even getting 3 No. 1 seeds to the Final Four doesn’t happen too often. It has only happened 5 times ever.
So, I wouldn’t bet on all 4 No. 1 seeds making it to the Final Four this year. I think at least 1 of them will slip up. I could be talked into betting on 3 No. 1 seeds making their way to the Final Four, though. That’s certainly within the realm of possibility!
Have a question for next week’s Mailbag? Tweet at us using #SDSMailbag or email me at ASpencer@SaturdayDownSouth.com.