Thursday, November 22, 2007

The bayou blues will be coming to an end

It's a curious but farsighted and solid move taking place down in Ruston by Kerry Rupp.

He's hasn't come out and said so but the handwriting on the wall reads that this current Louisiana Tech men's basketball season will be a washout, a prep period for 2008-2009. Rupp is currently fielding 10 players at most, including at least one walk-on. He has no real size upfront and lacks scoring firepower.

But here's why he isn't concerned.

With LSU transfer Magnum Rolle and Oklahoma State transfer Ken Cooper, plus Jamel White coming down from Nebraska, next season was already considered to be the one where the Bulldogs finally make some noise in the WAC.

But now, D.J. Wright and Olu Ashaolu, the two top prep recruits from this past recruitng season, are also going to be redshirted. Both are from Canada and, while one report had Wright still not having passed his SAT, Ashalou is eligible but Rupp and Company have decided to use this season as one for him to work on developing his game and skills set -- for next year.

It's actually a bold move on Rupp's part seeing as how he just began at Louisiana Tech and expectations are that new coaches will put an upgraded team on the floor and compile a better won-loss record. But in Rupp's favor is the undeniable fact that he can simply point to the kids dressed in streetclothes on the bench and not even have to say 'wait 'til next year.'

We may be in the minority here but our opinion is that the Bulldogs could even finish behind Idaho in the 2007-2008 cpnference race and that would be something.

But reinforcements have already arrived. The future can be seen, not dreamed. Rupp isn't in the position of pleading 'believe in me and my way.' In his favor, he can actually point to the tangible reasons for Tech fans to hang in there and be patient. Those being, to repeat ourselves:

Magnum Rolle junior 6-10 220
Kenneth Cooper junior 6-10 250
Jamel White* 6-3 190
D.J. Wright 6-7 200
Olu Ashaolu 6-8 220

*White did have academic and other issues while at Nebraska, earning at least one suspension.

We do need to note that this isn't a Fab Five super group of talent. Both Rolle and Cooper are in need of developing their game and honing skills, especially offensively. White is already a talent and should be the starting point next season if he can maintain the straight and narrow. Both Wright and Ashaolu have the best promise but it needs to be fulfilled.

That said, the potential level at LA TECH hasn never been this high, something the coaching change has already brought to Ruston.

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