What’s Good for the Game isn’t Good for the Gander

Posted by nvr1983 on April 22nd, 2009

Andy Katz wrote in his blog today that the NCAA Legislative Committee voted on Monday to make a rule change effective in 2010 that would shorten the amount of time that an early entry would have to ‘test the waters’ with NBA teams before making a final decision to enter the draft.

If the NCAA board of directors endorses the legislative panel’s decision to reduce the early entry decision window from six weeks to approximately one week, there won’t be any reasonable way for underclassmen to test the draft process. USA Today first reported the panel’s decision, which would make underclassmen decide by May 8 whether they were staying in the draft. The current deadline is 10 days before the draft in mid-June. (The rule would go into effect for next year’s draft class.)

This legislation was the compromise position after the ACC came to the table asking for a ten-day window following the conclusion of the national championship game.  We’ve written about this before, but let us reiterate for those of you who missed our first tirade: this is a TERRIBLE decision.


As Katz points out very clearly in his post, the withdrawal deadline would then become somewhere around the end of the first week of May each year, which would allow players a window of a mere 7-10 days in which to make themselves available for private workouts with NBA teams.  And if you’re like us and your collegiate days are well into the rear-view mirror, you may have forgotten that the end of April/beginning of May also usually coincides with exams for most college students around the country, even those who play basketball on the side.  In other words, the NCAA is making it that much harder for a prospective early entry to get good feedback on his status.

Let’s take a quick look at a system that generally works – the current one.  Last year, there were 69 American players who originally decided to test the waters.  Thirty-five of those players felt confident enough in their standing to stay in the draft, and 28 of those (80%) were actually selected on draft night in MSG (21 with guaranteed money in the first round).   Now we aren’t going to say what was going through the heads of every one of those 34 players who returned to school (guys like Josh Akognon, Chase Budinger, Jerel McNeal and of course the Carolina trio), but we’d absolutely wager that many of them iniitally thought they were ready for the NBA.  It was only after they were able to get objective feedback from NBA scouts and teams as to their projected draft status that they were able to make an informed decision to not cede their remaining eligibility on a gut feeling.

How quick we are to forget our history.  The reason the early entry withdrawal  rule was initially instituted was to allow players like Scotty Thurman and Thomas Hamilton to get good, objective feedback on their draft status prior to making a final decision.  It’s very easy to think you’re a lottery pick when you’re the best player on a successful college team and everyone around you is telling you that you’re a superstar.  It’s less easy to think that when scouts tell you that you’re undersized, need to work on your shooting or you’re slow for your position at the next level (i.e., the truth).   What the NCAA is endorsing here is the opportunity for more of the former and less of the latter, which will ultimately mean that more players are going to make an ill-informed gut-based decision to stay in the draft, only to be surprised when they’re not chosen six weeks later.  It’s bad for the players’ futures, who throw away an opportunity at a degree and further training in basketball; it’s bad for the schools who could benefit in many ways by getting key non-NBA-ready players to return (cough, cough, UNC), and it’s bad for the game itself, which is always enriched when the players who should still be playing at that level are actually doing so.


Now, we know who is driving this – the coaches (how dare some of these guys complain!).  Despite all the hollow and vacuous lip service they give to being there for their kids and wanting only what’s best for their players, what they’re really doing is making life easier on themselves.  By shaving five weeks from the early entry withdrawal deadline, it will now give Coach Blowhard another month to finish recruiting, shore up his roster and adequately plan for the next season.  There is some merit to this position – some – but by making it eminently more difficult for his players to learn their individual strengths and weaknesses from an objective source prior to the withdrawal deadline (e.g., the NBA Combine, scheduled to start in late May of this year),  they’re much more likely to fall back on gut instincts which will almost always favor the dream of the NBA over taking more exams.  Any benefit to the coach and program by this initiative is more than lost by enabling poor decisionmaking from the players.

From our stance, this is an unconscionable position for the coaches to take, especially given how much they talk about helping their players get to the next level, and we’re extremely disappointed in this decision.  Let’s hope the NCAA Board of Directors shoots it down next week.

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Coach K Trying to Raise His Appeal to The 13-25 Year-Old Demographic

Posted by nvr1983 on April 22nd, 2009

I’m guessing that Coach K‘s publicist scheduled this one thinking that he might be able to pull in a few book sales from The Colbert Report’s viewers, but I have my reservations about that demographic buying much or reading anything. Regardless what ensued was an interview that was at times awkward, but mildly interesting. Personally I think Coach K is more in line with Oprah than Stephen Colbert  (plus an “Oprah’s Book Club” sticker would be worth at least a million copies sold to middle-aged women).

A couple interesting points from the interview:

  • He calls Michael Jordan the best player he ever coached (as an assistant on the Dream Team–if you need a clarification on which Olympic team that is you can leave the site) even though he played at UNC (blasphemy–expect a bunch of strongly worded letters to the editor of The Chronicle).
  • He thinks players should be allowed to go directly from high school to the NBA. Any guesses how long David Stern waits after finding out about this interview before he puts a price on Coach K’s head.
The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Mike Krzyzewski

(h/t to Chris Littmann of SportingNews.com)

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Hansbrough Whistled for First-Ever Travel Sets Him Off in Exhibition Game

Posted by nvr1983 on April 22nd, 2009

From the he-better-get-used-to-this department, we came across this story of Tyler Hansbrough making an arse of himself at a recent barnstorming exhibition game against something called the Crossfire Ministries in Asheville, NC, Sunday night.  From the Asheville Citizen-Times:


Fans who attended Sunday’s exhibition game at the Asheville Civic Center between the ACC All-Stars and Crossfire Ministries noticed that North Carolina All-American Tyler Hansbrough made a hasty exit.  Crossfire’s Richie Stevens was fouled on an impressive move toward the basket and made two free throws for a 101-100 lead late in the game.  With the All-Stars trying to maneuver for a potential game-winning shot, Hansbrough was whistled for traveling in the final seconds. Apparently annoyed — and you know poor Tyler never gets a call from the refs — Hansbrough left the court, followed by some other members of the team, before the final horn sounded.  To be fair, an announcement had been made that there would be no postgame autograph session like the one that was held after Saturday night’s game because the players had a commitment and had to get on the road.  More than one fan has mentioned that they were a bit surprised by Hansbrough’s reaction.

This comes on the heels of a story last week of Psycho-T acting the spoiled jerk in a previous exhibition game against a bunch of high schoolers from Hickory, NC, by woofing at the players on the court and clamming up in the autograph session afterwards.

The good news is that Hansbrough already appears to have this NBA prima donna thing down.

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C.J. and Xavier Henry to Kansas

Posted by nvr1983 on April 22nd, 2009

It looks like the rich are just getting richer. Just a little over a week after Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich announced that they were returning to Kansas next year, Xavier and C.J. Henry have announced that they will be joining a loaded Jayhawk team next season. After initially committing to Memphis before the whole Billy Gillispie/John Calipari circus, several media members (including yours truly) speculated that Kentucky might end up picking up an all-time great recruiting class if they added Calipari’s original commits from Memphis (the Henrys, DeMarcus Cousins, and potentially John Wall) to a class that already included Daniel Orton and Jon Hood.

While Cousins has signed with Kentucky, the loss of the Henrys and the rumors that Wall is looking elsewhere means that the Kentucky class might end up just being very, very good instead of being an all-time great class. Meanwhile Bill Self just earned himself the #1 spot in all the preseason polls. So the pressure is on now Jayhawk fans. It’s national title or bust for this Jayhawk squad.

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Norman, Oklahoma… Where Getting Wasted Is Not a Hobby nor Interest

Posted by nvr1983 on April 21st, 2009

Methinks someone is getting a liiiiiittle too specific with their social networking policy (such a thing exists?).


Indeed.  The University of Oklahoma, still smarting from probation based on impermissible phone calls by Kelvin Sampson and a pay-for-play scandal involving bogus jobs (not to mention former Sooner Josh Jarboe’s profane riffs on existentialism), has released records of its new social networking policy, which endeavors to outline exactly the kinds of news feed updates, photo montages and tweets that, as student-athletes, are not in the best interests of the Sooner Nation.  Specifically, from the AP:

[A]thletes are warned that their postings must comply with a code of conduct and can be punishable with education, counseling, suspension or expulsion and with the reduction or cancellation of financial aid. It warns athletes not to post pictures that would portray them negatively nor post contact information that agents or their runners could use to put the athletes’ eligibility in jeopardy.  “‘Partying,’ ‘drinking,’ and ‘getting wasted’ do not qualify as real hobbies or interests,” the policy warns.

We’ve yet to see the entire document of prohibitions, but hopefully the OU compliance folks managed to capture some of the other necessary guidelines to avoid the ignominy of NCAA gumshoes once again sniffing around Norman:

  • do not wear a dress ten sizes too small (Blake Griffin)
  • do not publicly refer to the NCAA as the National Communists Against Athletes (Brian Bosworth)
  • do not shoot teammates, rob the coach’s house, distribute controlled substances to the FBI or gang-rape coeds (Switzer’s crew)
  • do not pick up the phone if a coach is indiscriminately calling you whenever he damn well pleases (Kelvin Sampson)

That should do it.  There are undoubtedly more, but these will get the Sooner Nation started.

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04.21.09 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on April 21st, 2009

There are only FIVE DAYS left to declare, kiddies!  Get your early entry paperwork in NOW!!!

  • At least one report states that Duke’s Gerald Henderson will enter the draft.  And we thought we already knew this (about Tyreke Evans).
  • Xavier’s Derrick Brown, Georgia Tech’s Gani Lawal and Mr. Game Winner, Scottie Reynolds, will all test the waters.   All three should be back in college next season. 
  • Steph Currystill thinking
  • One dude who will not go pro this year is John Wall.  Luke Winn dissects his recruitment, while Gary Parrish all but pushes him down the aisle to explore the opportunity for him to go pro.  In a separate article, Winn discusses how John Calipari’s move to Kentucky impacted numerous top players in this year’s top 50.  Speaking of which, the final Scout top 100 list is out.
  • Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of disorderly conduct for his now-admitted verbal and physical abuse against a Cincinnati cabbie in late December.   What did it cost him?  40 hours of community service and no further “enrichment” of his current contract with Ole Miss.  Interesting.  The civil cases should be phenomenal theater. 
  • What’s going on in Gator-Land?  Alex Tyus‘ departure (transfer, not NBA) is the seventh player Billy D. has lost in the past calendar year.   
  • Purdue’s starting PG Lewis Jackson got community service and will await his punishment from Matt Painter for his recent DWI arrest on April 12. 
  • Jason Whitlock nails at least one part of this Isiah to FIU piece – the part about the strip clubs
  • Andy Staples takes a look at the boxed-in problem that side deals to the NCAA’s National Letter of Intent are causing.  Paging DeMarcus Cousins…
  • Gary Parrish believes that the 09-10 season will be much stronger across the board thanks to the return of numerous lottery picks as well as an influx of prep talent who will have instant impacts (unlike this year, for the most part).
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Pitino: Target of Extortion Attempt

Posted by nvr1983 on April 18th, 2009

It looks like we might have an interesting situation developing in Louisville where head coach Rick Pitino announced earlier this evening that he was the target of an extortion attempt. Some message board pundits believe this might be related to someone trying to sell a story about an affair or something along those lines  and we would have to agree since Pitino’s statement doesn’t make it seem like there was some kind of organized crime syndicate involved (too many Law & Order re-runs at the RTC East HQ). [Ed. Note: We would have went with someone threatening to remind the media about Pitino’s time in Boston, but that would be blackmail since there would be “substantial truth” to that.]

Credit: Deadspin

Credit: Deadspin

We’ll be following the story as it unfolds since it is just about the only thing going on in college basketball that doesn’t involve coaching changes, recruiting, or the NBA Draft.

UPDATE: It looks like the message board pundits were right and the lucky lady appears to be Karen Sypher, the wife of Louisville equipment manager Tim Sypher, according to reports out of Lexington. We don’t know much about her except for what we believe is a picture of her (below).

Umm. Nice hat. . . (Credit: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News)

Umm. Nice hat. . . (Credit: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News)

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04.16.09 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on April 16th, 2009

We’re trying to sort through some laptop issues as well as a long-term strategic analysis of the site, so bear with us as we’re only doing semi-regular updates this week…

  • Georgetown should be in much better position to make a nice run in the Big East next season as BE FrOY Greg Monroe has decided to return for his sophomore season.
  • Oklahoma’s Willie Warren will also return for his encore year.  It’s getting easier to fill out potential 2009-10 all-america lists now. 
  • Notre Dame’s 09-10 success might hinge on the shoulders of Luke Harangody’s decision, of which he is currently waffling about.  He is expected to test the waters, but he’s uncertain about what his threshold will be to return.
  • Staying in the Big East, Syracuse’s Jonny Flynn removed all doubt by signing with an agent.  We’ll never understand why marginal prospects with the option of returning to school make such a poor decision by closing off that option so early.
  • Greg Paulus has received a scholarship offer to play at Michigan next year in football.  Others are probably coming.  Who would have guessed this kind of post-graduate recruiting war in a different sport would start over a Duke PG?
  • Former national champion UCLA PG Cameron Dollar will leave Lorenzo Romar’s UW staff to take the head job at Seattle University, as it continues its transition into D1 basketball. 
  • John Calipari’s Kentucky gig is off to a quick start as he evaluates returning talent and continues recruiting (even if he doesn’t have office keys yet). 
  • Gary Parrish writes an interesting article about the coaching carousel, and how schools like Arizona, Georgia and Memphis got a little burned by overplaying their hand(s) and ill preparation.  Interesting piece.
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Buzz: Patterson, James & Day Going…

Posted by rtmsf on April 15th, 2009


Buzz:  Three More Significant Early Entries.

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04.15.09 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on April 15th, 2009

Happy Income Redistribution Day, everyone!

  • Who?  Depaul’s Dar Tucker (Mr. 0-18, with an agent) and Southern Miss’ Jeremy Wise (no agent) have decided to throw their hats in the early entry ring as well. 
  • More Greg Paulus.  Thought we were rid of this guy.  So…  he’s not good enough to play for Duke at QB, but he might be at Michigan?  Wow, Rich Rodriguez has a lot further to go than we thought. 
  • The Man Who Replaced Wooden.  Former UCLA and UAB coach Gene Bartow was recently diagnosed with stomach cancer, and will begin treatment immediately. 
  • Dolla Dolla Bills.  Mizzou’s Mike Anderson parlayed 31 wins and an Elite 8 appearance into seven more years on his contract at a minimum of $1.35M per. 
  • Isiah Will Work for Free (sorta).  FIU introduced Isiah Thomas as their new head coach today, and he will not take a salary of $200-300K this season (the Knicks are still paying him $12M for his final two years on his contract).  Jeff Goodman thinks there’s a reasonable chance it might work out for Isiah there, maybe he took some of those sleeping pills as well?  Mike Freeman has a slightly different take.
  • Let’s Get Wattaded.  Georgetown guard Omar Wattad will transfer out of the program, destination unknown. 
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