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The last we heard from Aliquippa's Herb Pope, he was delivering groin shots as a Seton Hall Pirate to Texas Tech's Darko Cohadarevic in the NIT, becoming a YouTube legend in the process. SHU coach Bobby Gonzalez, facing a program littered with criticism, was fired a short time later, and the next thing you know, Pope was facing the prospect of the fourth head coach in his college career.

Pope was originally signed by Reggie Theus at New Mexico State, but Theus bolted for the Sacramento Kings and never coached his signee. Pope spent 2007-08 with the Aggies and new coach Marvin Menzies, averaging 11.1 points and 6.8 rebounds per game; but that would be the only season Pope spent at NMSU, transferring to Seton Hall in 2008-09.

After sitting out the 2008-09 season because of transfer rules, Pope averaged 11.5 PPG and 10.7 RPG for the Pirates in 2009-10. Rather than go through another coaching change, the 6'8", 236-pounder decided to go pro today in an email sent to family advisor Tony Pullen:

"After careful consideration of my options, and considering the needs of my family in Pittsburgh and a desire to compete at the next level, I have decided to enter the 2010 NBA draft," Pope wrote in a statement attached to the e-mail. "While I will continue to attend class at Seton Hall, allowing me the option of 'testing the waters,' I am 110 percent committed at this time to staying in this draft.

"I have room to improve, but I am confident that I will perform well in on-site workouts."

Pope was the 2006 Tribune-Review Boys Basketball Player of the Year, averaging 18.3 points and 15 rebounds for Aliquippa HS, which he led to the Class AA PIAA State Championship game. He was a highly sought-after recruit, getting serious interest from Pitt, Texas, Louisville, and countless others before choosing Theus and NMSU.

Pope was shot four times in Aliquippa shortly after signing his New Mexico State letter of intent in 2007. At the time of the incident, his AAU coach J.O. Stright put it bluntly: "It's time for Herb to get out of town," Stright said.

Regarding Pope's draft prospects, one NBA general manager GM told earlier in the year, "He's the best rebounder in the country. He's the DeJuan Blair of this year's draft." Which means he'll be a second-round draft pick that should've gone much higher.

Pope says he's departing Seton Hall [ESPN]

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HomeRunFromBehindTheMeatballs said...

ahhh, aliquippa pride! Maybe the steelers are looking to draft a new tight end?

I don't watch the NBA at all because, as i say, the NBA is where defense goes to die. So i'm not sure if this kind of crap is tolerated in the league or not. Pope might end his NBA career looking like a hockey player.

Someone Somewhere said...

After living in an NBA town for the past 4 years and watching games regularly, it's pretty obvious that every other level of basketball is pretty much a joke. The best college players -might- be marginal role players upon entering the league...the level of competition is just not even close. The argument is that "the NBA never calls traveling"...well, they do call's actually the NCAA who doesn't call traveling. On nearly every single perimeter ball fake in the NCAA tournament the past two weeks the ball-handler shuffles his feet, and I NEVER see it called. This gets called regularly in the NBA. If you are a basketball fan (I realize it's hard to get into the NBA without a team to root for), I just can't see how someone would refuse to watch a far superior product.

Anyway, if there is one skill that readily translates from college to the NBA, it's rebounding ability. From Paul Millsap to DeJuan Blair...if someone was able to be a dominant rebounder in college, they are probably going to have a decent pro career, provided they can keep their head on straight (I'm looking in your direction Herb Pope).