NBA Draft Preview Version 1.0

Posted by nvr1983 on May 19th, 2008

Lost in the huge O.J. Mayo scandal and the smaller Darrell Arthur scandal is the upcoming NBA Draft, which is a little over 1 month away. Unlike last year, where there was a ton of hype regarding the Draft Lottery (Note: This may have just been because I live in Boston), the day has snuck up on us. I just noticed that it would be happening on May 20th in contrast to last year where I had the time of the lottery programmed into my Treo by mid-March (thanks to an 18-game losing streak). Teams that failed to make the playoffs have the following odds of winning the #1 pick:

2008 Lottery Odds

Basically the lottery breaks down into a couple key segments:

(1) The top 2 picks: Whoever ends up with the #1 pick will have to decide between Derrick Rose and Michael Beasley. Up until the Sweet 16, it seemed like Beasley was the unanimous choice to be the #1 overall pick regardless of who was drafting at that spot. However, after being the best player on the court the last 4 games of the NCAA tournament including lighting up lottery-type talents like D.J. Augustin and Darren Collison/Russell Westbrook, Rose vaulted himself into contention. Unlike last year when there were only minor rumblings of debate over the #1 pick coming from people like Bill Simmons, I believe there is a legitimate debate over who should go #1 that will only be decided when the NBA announces who has the #1 overall pick. Do you think David Stern has noticed that Derrick Rose would be an excellent PG for Mike D’Antoni’s New York Knicks?

(2) Picks #3-6: The guys in this category are Brook Lopez, Mayo, Eric Gordon, and Jerryd Bayless. The key in this group is Lopez. He will go to whatever team needs an inside presence. I’m not completely sold on his game translating to the NBA (covered in upcoming posts), but Lopez is the only legitimate top 5 inside presence in the draft (Beasley is a combo guy). After that it seems like Mayo is the consensus top combo guard in the group although I suspect that with some good workouts Gordon and Bayless might be able to jump him. Gordon is likely being hurt a little by his precipitous drop-off in production at the end of the year while Bayless is hurt by the fact that he didn’t play in a system that fully utilized his skills in the open-court.

(3) The rest: Honestly, I have no idea on picks 7-14 and it seems like that draft experts don’t either as each one has a completely different order. The key players here are Kevin Love, D.J. Augustin, DeAndre Jordan, Darrell Arthur, Chase Buddinger, Joe Alexander, Anthony Randolph, Russell Westbrook, Kosta Koufos, and JaVale McGee along with all the internationals (Danillo Gallinari and Nicolas Batum). We aren’t even going to touch this group until the order is set because so much of it will depend on team need. The one guy that we think could jump significantly is Buddinger based on his workouts. 

The fate of franchises will be decided

We’ll have more coverage/analysis following the Lottery on Tuesday as we start to break down the players and team needs.

If you’re a fan of one of these unfortunate teams, you may find some solace in ESPN.com’s Lottery Mock Draft Generator. I know I used it quite a bit last year (getting angry every time the Celtics fell out of the top 2). This year, you guys will be playing with it while I wonder why the f- Rajon Rondo disappears on the road (rtmsf wishes Rondo showed up at all in college).

Photo Credit: http://theoldlogo.blogspot.com 

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05.16.08 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on May 16th, 2008

Finishing out your week with a bunch of meaningless links – enjoy!

  • OJ Mayo claims he never took nothing from nobody!  Apparently Mayo’s HS in Ohio (North College Hill) will keep its two titles from 2005 and 2006 – the OHSAA only gives you six weeks to contest a violation of any kind! 
    nvr1983 update: I prefer the actual LA Times article/interview. Even though I know it is normal for athletes to get rather large gifts from agents before the draft (rtmsf and I witnessed it in 1998 with Vince Carter and Antawn Jamison and a tricked out Navigator), the last sentence is a classic.
  • UNC’s Alex Stepheson announced that he is transferring closer to home for family reasons (SoCal). 
  • USC may lose a major recruit for 09 in the fallout of the Mayo scandal.
  • UConn guard Doug Wiggins is transferring to UMass – oh, to reminisce on what an uproar this would have caused ca. 1994. 
  • Indiana’s former assistant coach Dan Dakich got bought out for $185k. 
  • BYU’s Trent Plaisted signed with an agent and will stay in the NBA Draft.
  • Here’s Shawn Siegel’s most excellent ratings of the top ten players at each position in this year’s draft class (PGs, SGs, and more to come…)
  • Yes, kids, testing the waters can end up pigeonholing you and hurting your future draft position.
  • Jay Bilas indicts everyone and anyone related to the stink emanating from the business of basketball (and we largely agree with him).  (insider only)
  • Gary Parrish talks about how teams are stealing players from programs going through coaching changes (Duke and UCLA are the latest beneficiaries). 
  • If this isn’t IRONIC in the wake of Huggins’ stint at Kansas State (one-and-done), we don’t know what is…
  • Andy Glockner reports that the mid-majors are getting hit hard by the glut of early entries these days too.
  • Is college basketball being unfairly singled out for additional enforcement (vis-a-vis football) by Myles Brand?
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Well, That Didn’t Take Long…

Posted by rtmsf on May 16th, 2008

So it’s been 39 days since Kansas’ Mario Chalmers thrilled us all with his clutch three-pointer that sent the national title game into OT and crushed the foul-shooting-challenged Memphins Memphians Memphisers what the hell is it Memphis Tigers in the process.  That’s just about enough time for our first scandal to arise!

Say It Isn’t So, Darrell!

WFAA.com in Dallas broke the story last night that Kansas forward Darrell Arthur may have been the recipient of a favorable grade change in his high school math class (Dallas South Oak Cliffs HS) that would otherwise have jeopardized his eligiblity (both at the prep and collegiate levels).  The tale of the transcripts:   

[T]ranscripts obtained by News 8 raise questions about whether he was actually making the grade in the classroom during his junior season, specifically in math. Transcripts show Arthur received no grades at all during his fall semester. His final grade was changed to a 70 in September 2005 without an explanation. If, in fact, Arthur had failed math that fall, he would not have been eligible to play basketball, and many of his team’s victories in that championship season might have to be forfeited, according to University Interscholastic League standards.

It gets worse, Jayhawk fans.

Former South Oak Cliff math teacher Winford Ashmore said Arthur had a history of trouble in math. He showed us his 2002 grade book for freshman math in which Arthur was making weekly failing grades: 45, 25 and 24.  Ashmore said then-principal Donald Moten, and current head basketball coach James Mays Jr., both asked him to bypass the rules and award Arthur a passing grade.  “Darrell was still failing, and was not making much of an effort in class, and was not coming to tutoring,” Ashmore said. “So at that point I ensured Moten — as well as James Mays Jr. — that Darrell Arthur was going to get an F for the six weeks.”  Days later, without teacher approval, Arthur was dropped from Ashmore’s class. And despite those low grades, transcripts reflect Arthur received a passing grade of 70.

KU better start hoping that Ashmore (wasn’t he on Fresh Prince of Bel Air?) is a Texas fan with an active imagination.  But credibility seems to lie on Ashmore’s side.  Principal Moten recently resigned from his post at the high school in light of another grade-changing scandal involving a class subsequent to Arthur’s. 

The Kansas blogs are strangely quiet on this so far this morning, but maybe they’re still in shock.  We know we would be too.  After all, if Arthur is retroactively found ineligible, their season could be officially relegated to the trashbin that 1993 Michigan and 1996 UMass find themselves.  Except that it’s worse.  2008 Kansas was the national champion, in case you’d forgotten. 

Photo Credit:  Mike Stone/Dallas News

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More Mayo 1-and-Done Nonsense…

Posted by rtmsf on May 14th, 2008

We keep reading all of these arguments in light of the OJ Mayo controversy about how the 1-and-done rule is a joke, about how it punishes the athletes, about how it makes unwitting (or is it witting?) accomplices of the schools in the whole charade, about how peace and prosperity and all things good and holy are tied into the elimination of this silly rule… and we stop and wonder.  Why the uproar?  Actually, what we meant to say is, why the uproar now?

If all of these pundits maligning the 1-and-done rule haven’t noticed, OJ Mayo isn’t the first kid who was being handled by an agent throughout his college career, and guess what, he won’t be the last.  We already know that Rodney Guillory was handling Jeff Trepagnier and Tito Maddox in the early 2000s, well before the 1-and-done rule was implemented.  We know that Reggie Bush played at USC for three collegiate years and the agents still got their hooks into him.  If writers such as this guy, or this guy, or this guy, really believe that by letting the Lebrons and KGs and Odens go pro straight out of HS eliminates the problem with agents and runners contacting and influencing college players, then LOLOLOLOL on them. 

Their complaints aren’t flat wrong, but they’re misattributed.  Why?  Because there are players right now on nearly every major D1 school across the country who have been contacted by and have talked to agents.  Guaranteed.  Some of them have probably taken a few gifts here and there.  Does eliminating the handful of 1-and-dones from college campuses each year solve that problem?  Not at all.  The agents will then just focus on the next tier of college players – the Chris Douglas-Robertses, the Deron Wiliamses, the Jordan Farmars.  The problem isn’t solved, it’s merely shifted.   

 

The Commish Loves the Free Marketing the NCAA Provides

Look, here’s our point.  The 1-and-done rule is stupid for certain, but it’s not stupid because of the OJ Mayo problem.  It’s stupid because it places all of the risk on the players and colleges for the benefit of the NBA evaluation process.  Nevertheless, it’s not going anywhere until 2011, and early indications are that Comandante Stern wants to tack another year onto the age minimum and the NBAPA is unlikely to battle that point.  So then we’ll have 2-and-dones, which isn’t all that dissimilar from the NFL rule currently in existence (3 yrs).  But whether there’s a 1-year rule, 2-year rule, 3-year rule or 4-year rule, the problem begins with the corrupt and criminal AAU basketball system in this country and the agents that feed off of it.  These folks will not remove their grimy hands from the pockets of college basketball until there are no longer players on which they think they can ride to fortune.  In other words, never.  While there have been dozens of players drafted in the first round in the preps-to-pros era (the current 1-and-dones), there were far more early-entry sophomores and juniors over that same period.  It won’t go away, no matter what these people are saying (well, at least one commentator gets it). 

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05.13.08 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on May 13th, 2008

More blah on a blah day around the net…

  • Doc Rivers’ kid is transferring to Indiana – too bad he can’t suit up next year. 
  • Orange & Blue Hue did a nice analysis on why Jai Lucas cost the Gators an NCAA bid this season.
  • Duquesne’s Kojo Mensah is staying in the NBA Draft.  Yeah, the L really values 6’1 guys from small colleges who averaged 12ppg last season.  Wait, Duquesne?
  • 11 months later, Billy D. still hasn’t signed his contract extension from Florida (to be fair, neither has Billy G. at UK or Bob Huggins at WVU). 
  • Too little, too late, Myles Brand.  Is this “new info” the old info that we all already know about?
  • All the summer recruiting links you could ever want.  You too can find an eighth grader of your own!
  • …and the obligatory Erin Andews video link.
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Another Culprit in the Mayo Mess

Posted by rtmsf on May 13th, 2008

In the effluvia of the OJ Mayo report from Outside the Lines (you remember, he took money and gifts from street runner Rodney Guillory, acting as a proxy for the Bill Duffy Agency) the other night, there has been a cacophany of predictable kneejerk reactions from every corner of the media universe. 

Tim Floyd and USC are to blame!

The NBA’s 1-and-done rule is to blame!

The NCAA’s lax enforcement is to blame!

AAU basketball, or even worse – the system – is to blame!

There’s a lot of culpability being thrown around by the various pundits, and with good reason on many counts, but we’d like to proffer another culprit that few in the MSM have been willing to indict – their own 4th Estate, the so-called watchdogs of the community.  We in the blogosphere have been told repeatedly by those in pedigreed positions of media power that what separates us from them is the simple concept of access.  While we can riff on the same televised game that a USC beat writer for the LA Times can, he has a level of access to players, coaches and administrators that we do not (from our parents’ basement), thereby rendering his reporting more valuable than ours.  Or so the story goes.

 

While we completely agree that level of access of which the MSM has to sports figures makes our job different than theirs, there also must exist a certain amount of responsibility for said journalists to follow up on rumors, whispers and innuendo that such access enables.  Because of the difficulty for a blogger to gain entree into a circle of coaches willing to speak off the record to a trusted journalist, we expect that the writer will not simply wink and nod with the rest and ultimately let it slide into oblivion.  After all, isn’t the journalist’s role to not only report the news, but investigate it? 

Gregg Doyel wrote nineteen months ago that USC should be wary of Mayo due to his relationship with Rodney Guillory – that’s a great start.  Did anyone else follow up on this accusation of impropriety?  Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times recounts a conversation with two prominent coaches he had about recruiting Mayo during his prep days:

“It’s not even a consideration,” one coach said.  “You don’t even understand how many problems that could cause,” the other said.  Back then, there was much fear about Mayo’s large circle of friends. There were whispers that he had already been bought, a common rumor about prep basketball stars.

If there were whispers among prominent coaches about Mayo, and the writers knew about it, why didn’t anyone investigate it?  Where was the local watchdog, the award-winning LA Times investigative staff on this story?  It’s not like outing Mayo, the “next Lebron” at one time during his HS career, wouldn’t have been a prime catch.  How hard could it have been? – the Big Lead even gave the MSM a roadmap in March 2007 – you have Mayo associated with Guillory; you know that Guillory is a runner for an agent who already got USC player Jeff Trepagnier and Fresno St. player Tito Maddox in hot water several years ago; and you know the weird circumstances of Mayo’s “recruitment” to USC.  What more do you need to look deeper into this steaming hunk of  brown mess??

And yet, to our knowledge, until the OTL piece on Sunday by ESPN’s Kelly Naqi after Mayo’s college career was all-but-finished, the MSM’s inertia effectively made certain that Mayo will never face any sanctions over this scandal.  As for USC… well, we’re still waiting to hear their penalties from the Reggie Bush situation a few years back.  Just keep in mind among all the yelling about blame this week that if someone, anyone, in the MSM had been doing their job a year ago, Mayo would have never suited up for USC in the first place.  The NCAA plans on watching college basketball recruiting a little more closely, but given its limited enforcement resources, perhaps all the doomsday rhetoric being thrown around as a result of this fiasco will inspire our MSM friends to include a little more self-awareness of their watchdog role next time. 

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No more OJs at USC?

Posted by nvr1983 on May 12th, 2008

I’m not even sure where to begin with this post. Here at RTC, we have discussed OJ Mayo several times most recently in what rtmsf myopically thought would be a final retrospective on the latest OJ to grace the USC campus. As pretty much everyone knows by now Mayo has been implicated in a rather large scandal involving Bill Duffy Agency (BDA) and Rodney Guillory, who appears to have been essentially hired by BDA to bring Mayo to them.

Most of my knowledge on the topic comes from Kelly Naqi’s Outside the Lines report I saw on Sunday morning while I was staying at a beach resort so this isn’t going to be some deep NY Times investigative piece that some of you may be expecting from RTC–we’ll work on that over the summer. Instead, I think it’s more interesting to consider the impact this will have on USC and recruiting/college basketball in general given the hype that Mayo brought with him to USC and the manner in which he handled his recruitment of USC–yes, the way he recruited USC.

Will OJ still be welcome at the USC campus?

According to the OTL report, Guillory gave Mayo cash,  a flat-screen television, cell phones, hotel rooms, clothes, meals, and airline tickets. Given Mayo’s celebrity status, it’s pretty hard to believe that Tim Floyd and others at USC didn’t notice this was going on. Some prescient writers like Gregg Doyel even warned USC about the specific threat as early as 2006, but USC never did anything about it. Floyd and USC just looked the other way and hoped nobody else would notice or at least that nobody would give them up while they raked in the money from the increased attendance and sales of Mayo’s jerseys. The transgressions are not at the same level as those involving Reggie Bush’s family at USC, but these directly involved a player (Mayo) while the majority of the financial benefit in the Bush situation appears to have been reaped by Bush’s parents who stayed at a million dollar house essentially for free.

The big question now is what the NCAA will do about it. There have been several reports over the past year that the NCAA has investigated Mayo thoroughly, but did not find anything. Given the amount of evidence presented in the OTL piece, it’s hard to imagine that the NCAA spent much time digging into Mayo if they never came across any of this stuff. Ever since Yahoo! Sports broke the Reggie Bush allegations, Internet message boards have been abuzz first with what sanctions would be levied against the Trojans and when none came with conspiracy theories about how the NCAA was protecting the Trojans while being much more harsh on other teams such as a dominant football power on the East Coast (Miami). Compounding the fans fury was the seeming indifference of the sports media outside of Yahoo! Sports (read: ESPN) to really go after USC. Fans claimed that ESPN was trying to protect its sacred cow as ESPN had hyped up the Trojans to the point where they ran a week-long segment on where the Trojans ranked historically even before their Rose Bowl game against Texas, which they lost thanks to a super-human performance by Vince Young (I Heart VY). Now that ESPN has decided to join the attack against USC, it will be interesting to see if the mainstream sports media will turn up the heat on the NCAA (still waiting for the SI cover asking USC to cancel its athletic program). For those of you who think I may be going too far, the list of transgressions by USC athletes goes far beyond Bush and Mayo and includes recent charges against athletes ranging from dealing drugs to weapons possession to sexual assault.

While I’m not on board with Pat Forde’s reactionary death penalty column, I think the NCAA should come down pretty hard on USC. I am not sure what the precedent is for multi-sport probation, but given the multiple transgressions by the USC football team and the Mayo fiasco that anybody could have seen coming, its pretty clear that the Athletic Director Mike Garrett has no control over his programs or doesn’t care as long as they win. I would think that a 1- or 2-year probation with a ban on postseason play would send a pretty clear message that the NCAA won’t tolerate this kind of behavior. However, I doubt the powers that be will punish USC that severely, but USC should at least have some scholarships taken away from them in addition to the ones they lost with their poor APR performance. If the NCAA fails to do that, the Internet and the parents’ basements that bloggers inhabit will be all over them and this time the mainstream sports media with ESPN’s support will be behind them.

The story about Mayo’s recruitment is well-known as an associate of his (Guillory) entered Tim Floyd’s office and offered Mayo and his “services” to USC. When Floyd asked for Mayo’s number to speak with him, he was told that Mayo would call him. Perhaps Guillory wanted to make sure Mayo stayed within the minute limits on the plans that Guillory was paying for. Hopefully, this fiasco will convince more coaches not to get involved in these situations as it was obvious from the beginning of this relationship who was in control. At least Floyd seemed in control over the team, but it won’t be too long before some 5-star comes in with his personal coach and pushes for certain personnel moves and demands that the offense runs through him so he can get his numbers to boost his draft status.

The final issue, and potentially the most important in terms of its overall effect on college basketball, is how this will affect the NCAA’s decision on the 1-and-done rule. It’s pretty obvious that Mayo and several other stars like Michael Beasley were never going to spend a minute more than required in college before jumping to the NBA. If it’s going to be like that for the next generation of college stars, I wonder if the trade-off is worth it. As much as opposing fans like to knock Tyler Hansbrough and J.J. Redick, they embody what we used to love about the college game with guys staying 4 years and developing their games and fans identifying teams with players and not just the coaches manning the sidelines. Unfortunately, Tyler and J.J. are not the caliber of player that we saw do that in the 1980s. College hoops fans need to face the reality that we will never see a Lebron James (would have finished his senior year last year) or Dwight Howard (would have finished his senior year this year) having those kind of historic college careers. The question is how much is it worth to bring in guys of that caliber (or Mayo who is clearly several steps below James or Howard) in for 1 year with the risk of it blowing up an athletic program like it threatens to do at USC now. Mayo’s career and eventual legacy at USC may go a long way in determining the future of this rule.

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05.12.08 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on May 12th, 2008

Your weekend news and notes…

  • OJ, OJ, OJ, OJ, OJ
  • In the wake of the Kelvin Sanctions fiasco, Indiana has responded to the five major NCAA allegations and believes that it has already punished flagellated itself enough.  Since IU is painting Sampson as the fall guy, he felt the need to defend himself in a separate letter to the NCAA.  
  • The NCAA is proposing a change to the college goaltending rule to make it mesh with the NBA version – a ball that hits the backboard may no longer be blocked whether it is moving in an upward or downward motion.  Our biggest pet peeve, the lack of a collegiate block/charge restricted area under the basket, was merely “discussed.”  Wonderful. 
  • Orchestration, or tampering, Coach Crean?  Say what you really mean.
  • Kentucky’s Derrick Jasper has decided to transfer closer to home. 
  • Andy Glockner writes that Davidson as the “new Gonzaga” is fraught with challenges.
  • Vegas Watch breaks down odds on who will be #1 in the draft.
  • Speaking of which, one Who? (Missouri’s Leo Lyons) decided to return to school, while another Who? (Duquesne’s Shawn James) decided to stay in the NBA Draft. 
  • STF took a look at the 69 early entries (now 68!) and breaks each player down into a probable spot. 
  • The Anxious Tar Heel has a solid breakdown of the percentages of an early entry a) getting invited to the Orlando Predraft Camp, and b) getting drafted from there. 

 

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Huggins Takes the Fall

Posted by rtmsf on May 8th, 2008

If you haven’t heard yet, West Virginia coach and new twenty-millionaire Bob Huggins tripped over a cone (ice cream?  bustier?  oh, traffic, right) at the Charlotte airport today, banging his head against the pavement.  He was taken to a local Charlotte hospital for observation, but he apparently will be fine. 

Must.  Resist.  Urge.  To.  Make.  Tasteless.  Alcohol.  Joke.   

So instead

 

There must be a video of this incident somewhere – let us know if you can find it. 

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05.07.08 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on May 7th, 2008

Today’s rantings of a wild man…

  • Duke promoted former Devil (96-01) Nate James to assistant coach in Johnny Dawkins’ old spot, ensuring that K’s bench is now filled with former underachievers feisty players.
  • Lots of bad things happening at Arizona these days.
  • South Carolina’s Devan Downey apparently decked someone on campus last week (he has been suspended). 
  • Transfers – Jeremiah Rivers (Doc’s son) is leaving Georgetown, and Indiana’s Eli Holman (of potted plant fame) is following an assistant coach (Ray McCallum) to Detroit Mercy. 
  • Bob Huggins’ new contract with WVU stipulates he can be fired for habitual intoxication.  Habitual intoxication…  is that three or four times a week?
  • Billy Gillispie has his eye on a few more middle schoolers besides Michael Avery for the class of 2012.
  • There were 69 early entries this year, many of whom are only “testing the waters.”  Goodman says this puts coaches in a bind. 
  • The Jewish Jordan (Zach Feinstein) seeks to top the NBA Draft this year…
  • Alabama St. (mostly football) and Florida International show that not only the big boys are cheating these days. 
  • We missed this a week or so ago, but Dan Hanner at YABB has some great data (regressions are fun, kids!) on coaches and how well they recruit and perform in the regular season and NCAA Tournament. 
  • M2M is counting down the top 10 most embarrassing moments in college basketball history.  Some good stuff on there. 
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What’s Your APR?

Posted by rtmsf on May 6th, 2008

No, not Annual Percentage Rate for all you creditworthy folks.  We’re talking about the Academic Progress Report (APR) for men’s basketball (who is regularly the lowest rated sport in D1).  Today the NCAA released the numbers that track athletes’ success (2003-07) in the classroom through retention, eligibility and graduation, and it appears that things are going to get a little dicey for some name-brand programs over the next twelve months. 

The APR has two classes of penalty – immediate and historic.  Immediate penalties are levied when a program is below the cutoff score of 925 (approximating a 60% graduation rate), and one of their players withdraws from the institution, does not return the following fall term and would not have otherwise been eligible to compete during the regular academic term following his departure.   This year, Kansas St., Purdue, Seton Hall, South Carolina, Tennessee and USC were the BCS programs subject to a one-scholarship loss due to this penalty (see Table A below).  K-State, Purdue, UT and USC are particularly on notice, as each of these programs could lose as many as two scholarships next year should their APRs not improve. 

Historic penalties are levied upon programs that have trouble consistently reaching a threshold of 900 on the APR metric.  The sanctions associated with these penalties are far more severe, and can ultimately result in reduced practice time, banishment from postseason play and restricted membership in Division 1 athletics.  This year among the BCS programs, only Colorado and USC were placed on public notice that their historical profile is lagging.  Should their poor APR scores (<900) continue another year, then the Buffs and Trojans could face a scholarship and/or practice time reduction in the 2009-10 season.  As an example of what not to do, the basketball programs at New Mexico St., Centenary and East Carolina are already one year away from facing a postseason ban based on three consecutive years of failing scores on the APR.  While Colorado doesn’t seem to care much about hoops, USC, with its high-profile coach and the sparking new Galen Center, certainly wants to avoid this fate if it can (note: OJ Mayo and Davon Jefferson’s early exits will not help the Trojans’ APR in 2008-09). 

Table B below shows some of the other notable non-BCS basketball programs and how they fared on this year’s APR.  Memphis, who is already on the cusp of the threshold, could end up getting slammed by this season’s exodus.

We also thought it might be somewhat informative to see how the BCS conferences do individually.  See Table C below.  The ACC is clearly doing the best of the big six conferences, with only Clemson and Maryland under the 925 cutoff (neither are below the 900 threshold).  The SEC, while managing to avoid last place, has seven teams under the 925 mark this year (58.3% of its teams).  The Big East has five, but that only represents 31.3% of its members.  As far as we can tell, there isn’t much of  a correlation with our 2007 Athlademic Ratings from last summer.   

The NCAA appears to be holding fast on its promise to hold schools accountable for keeping its athletes eligible.  AAZone’s Josh Centor, for one, thinks that the APR is working.

For the skeptics who believe the penalties are soft, look at the 26 teams that have entered the historical phase of the structure this year. Those programs have failed to change their behavior and will face restricted scholarships, recruiting and practice time. If the academic performance of those teams doesn’t get better, the penalties will become more severe. Next year, postseason bans will be in the mix and along with the scholarship reductions, those penalties are as strong as the ones doled out for major infractions cases.

It’s going to be interesting to see how these programs that are already on the cusp of sanctions respond to these challenges.   

Update:  Seth Emerson reports that critics of the APR system are wondering if there’s any teeth to it at all, citing the fact that 69.3% of institutions that were eligible to be penalized were given waivers this year.  Our favorite exception – let’s call it the South Carolina St. Rule – allows a waiver if a team’s APR is above that of the general student body.  Yeah, we’d agree that if a team is outperforming the rest of the students, then either the whole school needs to be shuttered; or, the APR is rendered rather meaningless. 

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Eli Holman Channels Bob Knight

Posted by rtmsf on May 5th, 2008

We’re late on this story from Bloomington last week, but it’s so darned amusing that we decided that it needs its own post.  As you’re well aware, last Thursday was May Day, celebrated in the United States for the triumph of the labor class over management in the Haymarket Riots of 1886, but one of Tom Crean’s new charges might have taken the doctrinal calling of the working class a tad too seriously when he met with his coach that day. 

Happy May Day, Coach Crean!  (photo credit:  Harpers Weekly)

Eli Holman, a 6’9, 210-lb freshman center who hardly played at all under Kelvin Sampson (6 games), called a meeting with Crean to discuss his future and ostensibly inform the coach of his intentions to transfer out of the program.  From Tom Crean’s statement to the media (h/t Inside the Hall):

We met with Eli Holman this afternoon. He had a good meeting with our assistant coaches earlier in the day. I felt like he still was not sure whether or not he wanted to be here which surprised me because everything we have seen from him had been very positive in terms of staying at Indiana and moving forward. I have no idea what made him change his mind and arrive at this point. He indicated that he would like to leave Indiana, although I was hopeful that we could work through this situation to come to an arrangement we both were comfortable with and to take some time to make a decision.

And then things got weird.  Apparently Crean must have said something to inspire a Knight-like response from Holman, because this is what happened next:

IU Police Department officers were dispatched to Assembly Hall on Thursday afternoon after freshman basketball player Eli Holman threw a potted plant and created a disturbance in the men’s basketball office, IUPD Capt. Jerry Minger said, reading from a police report. At 3:40 p.m. Thursday, police were dispatched to Assembly Hall “as a precaution,” Crean said.  “We saw him as a danger to himself,” he said.  IU Director of Athletics Rick Greenspan arrived and helped calm Holman down, Minger said.  Holman was still agitated when police arrived, Minger said, adding no one told police they believed they were threatened by Holman. He was just “loud and angry,” Minger said.  Holman was not arrested, and no charges were filed.

Hmmm…  So if we take Crean at his word that things were cordial at the beginning of the conversation, what could cause such an explosive reaction in Holman?  Guys don’t just go around throwing potted plants unless they’re genuinely pissed, right?

 

Crean’s Brand of Ethnic Cleansing

Our best guess – Crean, facing a potential further loss of scholarships through the APR, tried to play games with Holman by suggesting that IU wouldn’t release him from his scholarship if he tried to transfer.  Holman, a man who has been grazed by a bullet growing up on the rough-and-tumble streets of Richmond, CA, and who was permanently suspended in high school for shoving an official during a game, responded in the only way he knew how – by throwing things. 

While Crean loses another body and possibly faces further scholarship restrictions thanks to the expected APR hit, many IU fans see this as a necessary cleansing of the program and therefore don’t seem to be holding it against him.  One thing is certain – with three scholarship returners and four incoming freshmen remaining for 08-09, this rebuilding process will supplant any challenge Crean has had to encounter before.  Where’s that next Dwyane Wade, anyway? 

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