Breaking Down the 2009 Preseason Mags… Athlon Sports.

Posted by nvr1983 on September 30th, 2009

The preseason magazines hit bookshelves across the country a few weeks ago. Each year some get progressively better, others get progressively worse and some continue to be excellent (I’m talking to you Blue Ribbon). First up is Athlon Sports, which didn’t score all that well two years ago, but I promise the magazine has taken a few strides forward.

Canadian Cover

I. Covers (5 pts) - are they cool? inclusive?

The 32 covers this year are down from 34 last year, but they include a cover for Canada (as seen above) so at least they are thinking of the Canucks up north.

Coolest Cover: Duke/North Carolina. Yes, this rivalry gets enough attention as is, but it is one of few covers that is posed. Ed Davis and Kyle Singler look like they are about to kill each plus Singler looks like he is using the men’s room.

Say what? The Memphis/Arkansas cover doesn’t feature the FedEx Forum imploding. I guess without the recruits coming in next year, the Tigers aren’t that bad off.

Total points = 4

II. Ease of Use (5 pts) – how hard is it to find confs/teams?

Table of contents in the beginning is very easy to use. Plus, you can pretty much just open up the magazine and figure out where you need to go quickly as the magazine is done alphabetically first by conference then by team.

Total points = 4.5

III. Roundup (10 pts) – every mag has one – tell us something new!

10 Things to Watch is a little better than last year’s version. This one is a little more original and contained a few nuggets that surprised me: #8 about LaceDarius Dunn and his incredible lack of assists stands out.

Hoops Madness is the same old. Nothing really jumps out at me this year. The Hoops Superlatives  is full of debate — Scottie Reynolds is listed as the top scorer!?!

Total points = 4.5

IV. Features (15 pts) – give us some insightful and unique storylines.

There are three main features this year–one is above-average, the next is average, and the final one is a little below average. There’s an outstanding feature on whether mid-major coaches should make the jump to a larger conference. There’s also the standard “look at what John Calipari is doing” feature and finally one that seems like it is a year late. Athlon takes a look at the trend of players going overseas.

Athlon also has The Scoop which is a collection of interviews with some of the game’s top players. Nothing too noteworthy except Washington‘s Isaiah Thomas plans to stick around Seattle for awhile.

Overall, the section is better than last year, but there is still lots of room for improvement.

Total points = 8

V. Predictions (20 pts) – how safe are their picks? do they take any chances? are they biased toward the big boys?

Athlon projects the full field of 65 as well as a preseason top 25. A rematch of one of last year’s Elite Eight games is their projected national title game (doesn’t take long to figure out which two teams they are picking in the finals).

Big Conference Bias: Only one mid-major makes their Sweet 16, but then again, they make their bracket based on their rankings with the higher seed always advancing. Butler is the only mid-major Athlon has in its top 16.

Mid-Major Watch: Athlon seems pretty high on the three teams they’ve got in the top 25: BYU, Butler, and Dayton. Major diss on Siena though. The Saints are projected as a seven seed, but get barely a blurb in the magazine. That’s a big-time negative.

All-Americans: Putting Devan Downey, Patrick Patterson, and Kyle Singler on the first team is debatable. Downey is great, but first team? Patterson may not put the numbers up needed to be a first-teamer and Kyle Singler should have an outstanding year, but put him ahead of Sherron Collins, Evan Turner, or Willie Warren? Athlon also doesn’t include any freshmen on its top three teams which is unrealistic.

Boldest Prediction: The Pac-10 receiving only three bids to the dance. Athlon has California, Washington, and UCLA going dancing. It’s going to be a really down year for Pac-10 ball, but it’s tough fathom only three teams getting in. Someone else (Arizona? Oregon State?) has to step up.

What they got right: It’s hard to argue with most of Athlon’s conference standings predictions. The SEC, Big East, and ACC stand out the most as being the most realistic.

Total points = 14

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09.30.09 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on September 30th, 2009

You know what tomorrow is, right?  Yeah, October.  Us too. 

  • Scare at Tennessee.   A very frightening story out of Knoxville earlier this week was that Vol sophomore forward Emmanuel Negedu collapsed while lifting weights on Monday and reportedly had to be revived by UT medical staff prior to his transport to the hospital.  He’s spent the last two nights there under watch, and doctors continue to perform tests on him to make sure that he’s not suffering from something deadly.  We all know the stories over the years, from Len Bias to Hank Gathers to Reggie Lewis, and these are always scary incidents.  RTC wishes Negedu the best of luck and wishes for a full recovery. 
  • Cleaning up at Binghamton...  Two ugly incidents put an early stain on the 2009-10 season, as we discussed in separate posts when they happened last week.  Both were stories capable of sending shock waves through college basketball this week, though, as Binghamton yesterday fired an adjunct lecturer who claimed in a NYT article last February that basketball players were receiving preferential treatment in the classroom (grade changing, independent study, and the like).  The Binghamton program is now in shambles on the court, but we continue to be shocked and amazed that Kevin Broadus, the recruiter of all the problem children who ended up dismissed (and arrested), is skating on this one.  Seriously, think about this – Binghamton cans the whistleblowing prof but not the coach who orchestrated the entire mess?  How is this possible?  Isn’t the SUNY chancellor now the same woman who stood on the library steps and shouted “no more” to the Cincinnati faithful when she 86ed Bob Huggins four years ago?  And yet she’s curiously silent (along with BU’s president, Lois B. DeFleur, for the most part).  Something’s not right here, and we figure there’s more to come.  If there is, we can rest assured the NYT’s Pete Thamel will figure it out.     EDITED TO ADD: Yep, the AD is gone, can Broadus be far behind?
  • …and Kansas.   Perhaps the uglier incident last week was the three fights between members of the KU basketball and football teams.  Much was written about how embarrassing this was to the university, the athletic department, the coaches and players involved, and Thursday’s public, formal apologies did little to defuse the PR hit that Bill Self’s program took last week.  The word is that players were fighting over (what else?) girls and rep, but KU football players shouldn’t be fooled into thinking that just because they’ve had a nice run in that program the last few years that Kansas will ever be anything but a basketball school.  The question now is what will Bill Self do to punish the guilty parties?  We already know that Tyshawn Taylor was involved due to his dislocated finger that’ll hold him out of workouts for around a month.  We also know that one of the Morris twins pushed a football player down the stairs, a very dangerous act of battery (this would be Markieff’s second, btw) that was mitigated by another player catching the falling player as he made his way downward.   News outlets all report that there were some other hoops players involved as well.  We think that, for the sake of his program, Bill Self has to take a very serious stand on this one.  You simply cannot have the players on a preseason #1 team running around campus fighting indiscriminately with players from the football team.  Not only can your own players get hurt, but with so many big bodies involved, run-of-the-mill students can also get hurt.  Luckily, that didn’t happen here, but Self needs to show that he’s totally in charge of his program.  Anything less than a several-game suspension for all of the players involved would reveal that early-season Ws are more important to him than discipline.  If it were us, we’d sit the Morris who threw the player down the stairs for ten games and the others for five each.  No questions asked.  If Kansas loses an early game or two versus Memphis and/or UCLA because of it, well, too bad.  The good will that Self engenders as a no-nonsense coach will provide far greater benefits over time in terms of recruiting and public reputation than it will by letting these players off easy.    
  • Non-BCS Schools Receive Harsher Penalties Than BCS Schools – No Way!!  This jewel made it into our inbox last week from the Orlando Sentinel.  The Michael Buckner Law Firm performed an analysis that showed that the average years of probation meted out to non-BCS programs was longer than those handed out to BCS programs over a 4+ year period in the late 2000s.  The average amount of probation time for a non-BCS program was 2.74 years versus 2.58 years for BCS programs.  There’s no accounting for whether the difference is simple error or actual bias, but what is more damning from this study is the finding that the HBCU schools (historically black colleges and universities) were given 3.83 years of probation versus the aforementioned 2.58 for BCS schools.  That seems a little ridiculous to us.  Of course, the NCAA predictably dismissed the study on statistical grounds, and we understand their complaint.  So here’s our suggestion to the NCAA: hire an independent researcher to examine your enforcement policies and practices for consistency and bias, and get back to us.  Something tells us we’ll be waiting on that for quite some time.
  • Quick HitsBlue Ribbontop 25 and all-americansJames Ischgood luck, sir.   Billy Clyde: offered a plea bargain in Ky.  Gary Williams: one-year extensionNolan Richardson: the descent continuesMVC Nonconf Schedulestremendous analysis.   Gonzaga:  are they reloading or rebuilding in Spokane?  Luke Winn: charting peaks and valleys of the offseason.  Avery Bradley and Jared Sullinger: get to know themCvC: pushing for healthcare reform on Capitol Hill.  Goodman: top 20 backcourts and top 20 frontcourts AND his Big 12 previewTyler Smith: who will be the first person he follows on TwitterJim Crews: fired at Army after 7 years.  Herb Sendek: busily not gloating in TempeDemetrius Jemison: Bama forward out for the season with a ruptured Achilles.   Shocker: Derrick Rose says he took his own SATA Decade Ago: Harold “The Show” ArceneauxRay McCallum, Sr.: walking the fine line between parent and recruiter

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The Implosion Continues: Binghamton AD to Resign

Posted by nvr1983 on September 30th, 2009

When we brought you the news that Binghamton was releasing 5 more players last Friday we speculated about how high up the administration would go to clean house. We felt that the administration was punishing the players rather than coach Kevin Broadus because of a buy-out that likely would have approached $500,000, but we knew  that there would be others who would be affected by the fallout of the scandal. The first to feel the effects of the scandal was the Binghamton Zoo, who responded angrily when journalists and school officials compared the basketball program to a zoo. The next in line was Sally Dear, a lecturer in human development at Binghamton who was critical of the program and the pressure she felt to change grades for players. Dear was fired yesterday under the pretenses of an “uncertain fiscal environment” and “strategic reprioritization of resources across the university”. However, Dear noted that the chairman of the department, Leo Wilton, is a big supporter of the basketball program and that their relationship changed significantly after the Dear spoke out about the program.

(photo credit: bubearcats.com)

(photo credit: bubearcats.com)

While those are certainly significant events (ok, the Zoo thing is more humorous than anything else), we had been waiting for the other shoe to drop. And today that shoe has certainly dropped very hard as Joel Thirer, the athletic director at Binghamton, has announce that he will resign today. Thirer (LinkedIn resume here for programs that are looking for a new AD) has served as an athletic director at Binghamton since 1989  helping them transition from a Division III program to a Division I program. While we usually would suspect that this would be a move forced by the university president, it appears this move may have been of Thirer’s own volition as he was surprisingly candid about his responsibility in the situation. With all this fallout we may end up getting more information on what actually happened than we originally anticipated (assuming Binghamton’s lawyers haven’t already drafted a strict nondisclosure agreement). Given Thirer’s candidness about the situation he may well be the one to eventually give us the details about what actually went on behind closed doors (if the lawyers don’t get in the way first). The question now is how much longer does Kevin Broadus have before he will need to have a similar press conference.

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Calhoun To Sign Long-Term Extension?

Posted by zhayes9 on September 30th, 2009

News broke yesterday that longtime Connecticut men’s basketball coach Jim Calhoun and athletic director Jeff Hathaway are working on securing a long-term contract extension for the highly successful and equally embattled face of the program that could reach a maximum of six more years roaming the UConn bench.

The last 14 months have certainly been a roller-coaster ride for Calhoun, leading many to believe the 805-game winner may step down after 2008-09 to deal with his health problems and spend more time with his six grandchildren. Calhoun is a two-time cancer survivor, including dealing with extensive chemotherapy prior to last season, and recently suffered eight broken ribs in a bike accident in June. Calhoun also dealt with the Ken Krayeske “not a dime” press conference controversy, the Nate Miles restraining order and subsequent NCAA investigation, missing the first round game of the NCAA Tournament due to acute stress and, on the flip-side, a highly successful 31-5 (15-3) campaign that ended with a trip to the Final Four.

781090214071_UConn_v_Seton_Hall[1]

Instead of quitting amidst the gunfire, Calhoun will chug on. And in the end, this is the best possible scenario for Connecticut fans. Even at the ripe age of 67, Calhoun has the fire to recruit with the best young coaches in the business, spending seven of the first ten summer recruiting days traveling around the country pursuing the cream of the crop, just weeks after the bike crash. After losing an abundance of talent from last year’s squad, Calhoun has reloaded with five-star impact center Alex Oriakhi and his boarding school teammate Jamal Coombs-McDaniel along with four-star point guard Darius Smith. Connecticut remains in the hunt for superstar 2010 recruits Brandon Knight, Cory Joseph, Doron Lamb and Roscoe Smith. The fact that these recruits will know that Calhoun will be in Storrs for the long haul can only help in their recruitment.

One thing you know about Jim Calhoun: He’s a fighter. He won’t quit. Love him or hate him, few college coaches have the fire of the 67-year old Calhoun. With two national titles, three Final Fours, a Hall-of-Fame plaque to his resume and 557 career wins at Connecticut (including the love of almost every former player), an extension seems inevitable, even if it should extend into his mid-70s. While his doctor may not advise it, Calhoun’s never-wavering passion for coaching young men should trump all.

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RTC 2009-10 Impact Players: Deep South

Posted by zhayes9 on September 29th, 2009

impactplayers

Ed. Note: the previous posts in this series (Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Atlantic South) are located here.

It’s time for the fourth installment of our RTC 2009-10 Impact Players series, the group of states bordering the Gulf of Mexico known as the Deep South region.   Each week we’ll pick a geographic area of the country and break down the five players who we feel will have the most impact on their teams (and by the transitive property, college basketball) this season.  Our criteria is once again subjective – there are so many good players in every region of the country that it’s difficult to narrow them down to only five  in each – but we feel at the end of this exercise that we’ll have discussed nearly every player of major impact in the nation.  Just to be fair and to make this not too high-major-centric, we’re also going to pick a mid-major impact player in each region as our sixth man.  We welcome you guys, our faithful and very knowledgeable readers, to critique us in the comments where we left players off.  The only request is that you provide an argument – why will your choice be more influential this season than those we chose?

Deep South Region (FL, AL, MS, LA, TX)

south_impact

Ed. Note: our assumption is that Mississippi State’s Renardo Sidney will not be eligible to play this season.

  • Aubrey Coleman – Sr, G – Houston. Young Mr. Coleman was a controversial pick for our panel, to say the least.  There’s no denying his talent, but the 6’4 rock of a player went national (and viral) last season for his footplant on Chase Budinger’s face during a game at Arizona.  Seriously, that thing made what Christian Laettner did to Aminu Timberlake in 1992 look like playtime in the sandbox.  Coleman served his one-game suspension for the ugly incident, and proceeded to take out any residual anger he might have on the rest of Conference USA to the tune of twelve double-doubles and becoming the only player to finish in the top five in both CUSA scoring and rebounding.  Yeah, rebounding.  At 6’4.  Playing guard.  If that doesn’t give you a clue as to Coleman’s toughness (despite his cowardly act against Budinger), we don’t know what will.  Despite his position, Coleman makes it a common practice to regularly venture into the lane for frequent trips to the foul line on offense and for rebounds on defense (ranks #294 in def reb%).  He also ranked in the top 25 nationally in steals, and we should point out that only three guards in the entire country pulled down more boards per game than Coleman.  About the only part of Coleman’s game that isn’t quite honed is his outside shot (21% on threes), but he doesn’t take many, which shows recognition of his strengths and weaknesses.  With two star players (including Kelvin Lewis) returning for their senior seasons in Houston, it’s safe to say that Tom Penders is sitting on an explosive duo who could lead UH to a successful slate in a wide-open CUSA and its first NCAA Tournament appearance in nearly twenty years.
  • Damion James – Sr, F – Texas. Just three days prior to the declaration deadline for the 2009 NBA Draft, Damion James told Texas head coach Rick Barnes that he’d be returning for a final season in Austin, a decision that drastically alters the expectations of a Longhorns team that underachieved a campaign ago. Texas should be a top-five team in 2009-10 due to an influx of talent from all angles: from returnees like Dexter Pittman, to transfers like Jai Lucas, stud freshmen like Avery Bradley and, most importantly, a senior season from Damion James. James has just about as much pure athletic talent as any forward in the nation featuring an NBA-ready body, constant activity on the glass and an ability to run the floor like few other 6’7 forwards. The issue with James has always been complacency and wavering effort. Often James will hang around the perimeter, settle for outside shots, disappear when his team needs him the most or settle for being a secondary figure when a player with the ability of James should always be The Man. When James is motivated, you’d be hard-pressed to find a player in the Big 12 that can contain him. James finished on the All-Big 12 Second Team his junior season after finishing with 15.4 ppg and 9.2 rpg a year following a sophomore campaign in which James averaged a double-double. James ranked fourth in the Big 12 in rebounding, tenth in the conference in scoring and totaled double-figures on 31 occasions in 2008-09. A player the caliber of James should be right there with Cole Aldrich and Craig Brackins at the top of potential Big 12 POY candidates for the upcoming season. He should be a first round pick and he should average another double-double. One of the reasons I have Texas pegged #2 in the nation preseason is because I trust James to provide that consistent effort for Rick Barnes in search of a very realistic Final Four.
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Mike Bellman: Mizzou’s Bartman?

Posted by rtmsf on September 29th, 2009

It’s a good thing for the University of Missouri that Kelvin Sampson and Rob Senderoff haven’t been in their employ in recent years.  Otherwise, the Big 12 school would undoubtedly be facing the death penalty with the goldmine of information about coach’s calls, text messages and general cell phone usage that Mizzou is practically giving away to people off the street (actual price: $7.60 per phone).  Mike Bellman, a Columbia-area information specialist for the public school system, bought twenty-five of the old phones from the UM athletic department, and was surprised to find that the private information stored on them hadn’t been erased.  From the Columbia (MO) Daily Tribune:

text msg

Mike Bellman thought he was buying a box of old cellular phones he planned to resell as parts. Instead, he wound up with a collection of electronic information from the University of Missouri’s Athletics Department.  Now, Bellman is auctioning former Athletics Department staff phones as collector’s items. He’s asking $3,000 for all 25 phones.  One cell phone, a Sprint Treo, belonged to MU basketball Coach Mike Anderson, according to Bellman’s online inventory. Photos of the phone’s screen show text messages between Anderson and MU football Coach Gary Pinkel and Athletics Director Mike Alden. The messages appear to be well wishes for upcoming games and congratulations after victories.  Other phones from assistant coaches and Athletics Department staff have hundreds of contact phone numbers, e-mail messages and text messages.

Somewhere in a dungeon on that campus, the intern responsible for this is getting flogged by the Ghost of Norm Stewart. 

Bellman is insane if he thinks these phones will nab three-large, but he’s definitely onto something with respect to marketing the information to rival schools (especially those Jayhawks down the road a piece).  All we know is that Missouri AD Mike Alden better be having a candid conversation with head coaches Mike Anderson and Gary Pinkel before they allow these phones into the wrong hands.  “Hypothetically speaking, Coach, is there anything you’d not want people to know about what’s on those phones?  Just in case, you know?”  Of course, if there is some kind of illegal text messaging or evidence of foul play on those phones (and for the record, we have NO reason to believe that there is), would Bellman become the Steve Bartman of Missouri?  That’s an interesting question.  Let’s wait until tomorrow (the deadline Bellman has imposed for sale at $3000) to see what happens here. 

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The Great West Conference Finds a Home For Its Champion

Posted by nvr1983 on September 29th, 2009

Last year we brought you news about the creation of the newest Division I basketball conference, the Great West Conference, which will start organized operations this season. As we noted at the time, the league wasn’t exactly a “Who’s Who” of basketball powerhouses. In fact, the most notable program in the league was the New Jersey Institute of Technology, which went 0-29 in the 2007-2008 season before finally winning a game last season.

The full list of GWC members:

  • Chicago State University
  • Houston Baptist University
  • New Jersey Institute of Technology
  • University of North Dakota
  • University of South Dakota
  • University of Texas-Pan American
  • Utah Valley University

Not exactly a murder’s row of programs that will challenge the ACC in the conference power rankings any time soon.  However, most people expect that under current NCAA guidelines the GWC could have an play-in automatic bid to the NCAA tournament by 2020. This would obviously impact the NCAA tournament by either removing one at-large team (unlikely) or expanding the NCAA tournament (more games = more money = very likely). The question for the GWC and its teams is what they are supposed to strive for until 2020. Theoretically they could qualify for an NCAA at-large bid (or maybe more realistically an NIT bid) if they hired some renegade coach who loaded them up with players who needed a little “SAT help.”  However, barring that not altogether improbable scenario (seriously, have you seen the headlines out of college basketball this week?) the champions would be relegated to watch the 2nd half of March from their couches like the rest of us.

CIT logo

Fortunately for the GWC and its members, the people at the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT) have stepped into that void by offering the conference’s tournament champion an automatic bid in the CIT’s 16-team field. For those of you who missed the CIT last year, here is a rundown of the teams that participated, which was won by Old Dominion. While you shouldn’t expect to see ESPN and CBS keeping cameras in the offices of the James Madison Dukes this March to see if they are crushed when they don’t make the CIT, it does mark the first time that a D1 conference has had an agreement to get one of its teams an automatic bid into a tournament other than the NCAA Tournament and it also offers the new league something (albeit something very small) to entice recruits to join it in its formative years.

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Grumbling at Grambling

Posted by rtmsf on September 28th, 2009

This story got lost in the Friday afternoon rush of people heading to happy hour, but Grambling St. University basketball made national news for the third time in a year that day, and unfortunately, not for anything good.  Rick Duckett, the head coach who (likely) orchestrated this particular crime against hoop-anity back in January, reportedly resigned after one of his transfer players, Henry White, fell ill during workouts and later died.   

rick duckett

Connecting the dots, it might make sense to presume that Duckett somehow felt responsible for White’s death, as the White family attorney asserts that it was common practice for Grambling coaches to run their players outside during intense summer heat and humidity, and had in fact done so that day (where two other players also fell ill).  The problem with that theory is twofold: first, Andy Katz reported on Saturday that Duckett claims he didn’t resign at all; rather, he was fired (technically he’s on leave until Oct. 31, then he’ll be released).  And not just him, but his entire staff of assistants save one (new interim coach Robert Washington, Jr.).  Second, on the day that White collapsed during workouts, Duckett wasn’t even at practice.  In fact, he wasn’t even on campus.  Instead, he was instead having an undisclosed medical procedure of his own at the time. 

So what in the name of Eddie Robinson is going on here? 

We understand the legal concept of vicarious liability, and if Duckett directed his assistants to run players through the sweatbox known as Louisiana humidity against all better judgment, we could believe that university officials are looking to CYA here.  But one question.  Don’t Grambling football players also run drills in the sweatbox throughout August?  In pads?  If true, it would appear difficult for us to believe an argument that it’s ok for the football team to run outdoors, but not the basketball team.   

It’s also clearly not performance-related.  Grambling takes its football team very seriously; basketball is pretty much an afterthought.  Duckett’s 6-23 record in his first and only year didn’t turn any heads, but the school’s had only two .500+ seasons since 1994, so there’s really nothing unusual about that.  The last head coach, Larry Wright, wasn’t much better: over nine seasons, he turned in a record of 88-160 (.355).  Furthermore, Duckett was successful at the D2 level, so there was reason to believe he could turn around the Grambling program. 

The bottom line about this is that something is missing from the story – Grambling officials are leaving something out.  Considering their recent history of making up stories about SWAC refs when it suits them, we’re not exactly surprised. 

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Binghamton Basketball Program Imploding

Posted by nvr1983 on September 25th, 2009

After the news broke about the arrest of Binghamton guard Emanuel Mayben, we assumed that the program might make a few changes in its recruiting. We had no idea that they would decide to blow up the entire program by releasing 5 more players from the team today including the “should have been” conference POY D.J. Rivera. The university has not released information on why these players (Rivera, Malik Alvin, Corey Chandler, Paul Crosby, and David Fine) were released and we probably won’t be getting an answer in the near future at least from those remaining at Binghamton as Associate Director of Athletics for Communications John Hartrick stated that coach Kevin Broadus, other members of the staff, and players would not be available for further comment on the situation.

In a statement to the Binghamton’s Press & Sun-Bulletin, Hartrick stated that the 5 players were released because “they are not toeing the line. Their attitude and behavior … is not what we expect from our student-athletes.” I’m not exactly sure what that means, but it sure seems like a program run amok and Hartrick had 2 choices: fire the players or fire the coach. And unlike professional sports where it is much more expensive (and hence unfeasible) to get rid of the players, in college it is more difficult to get rid of the coach. I’m not saying that these 7 players (the 5 today, Mayben, and Miladin Kovacevic) are completely blame-free (particularly Mayben, Kovacevic, and Alvin who all have charges against them), but when half of your players get thrown off the team it usually isn’t a problem just with those players. Instead, it speaks to a larger issue with the program. However, Binghamton just inked a Broadus to a contract extension through the 2013-14 season, which likely would have cost at least $500,000 to buy out given the fact that Broadus was making $205,000 annually on his previous contract as a brand-new head coach. Because of what likely would have been a large buyout, it was easier just to get rid of the “bad apples”.

The question now is two-fold:

  1. What’s next for the Binghamton basketball program? Hint: It’s not a return trip to the NCAA tournament. More likely with just 10 scholarship players (only 1 guard, no point guards, and nobody under 6’5″ according to Pete Thamel–and they don’t have a Magic Johnson-style PG at Binghamton) this team will struggle to stay above .500 even in the very mediocre America East. However, for those of you who think this may be a death knell for the Bearcat basketball program, remember how quickly Baylor recovered from a much worse situation in a much more competitive league.
  2. What happens to the 5 players who were released today? I’m not sure about how the NCAA will handle a situation like this, but all of the players should have some eligibility left so let’s handle each player going in descending order of ability:
  • D.J. Rivera: The man who should have been the America East POY last year if the league’s coaches hadn’t decided to make a statement against how Broadus was running the program, which looks quite prescient now even if it was an idiotic way to make that statement. Rivera, who was our Mid-Major Impact Player for the Northeast, averaged 20 PPG and 6.5 RPG last year as junior making him one of the top mid-major players in the country. As much as programs would normally try to avoid players from situation like this, programs are probably already trying to contact Rivera for his services. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him end up at a BCS conference school.
  • Malik Alvin: 11.5 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 3.7 APG, and an attempt to practice safe sex that will be attached to his name forever. While Alvin won’t draw the BCS schools like Rivera will, some mid-major will snatch him up quickly and direct him to the nearest student health service center to help him stock up as soon as he arrives on campus.
  • Corey Chandler: A transfer from Rutgers, Chandler was an all-state player in New Jersey and put up decent numbers at Rutgers, but never really developed into the star that Rutgers fans expected before he was dismissed from the team in August (notice a pattern here). The guess here is that with those kind of numbers in the Big East and two more years of eligibility left someone will take him. Does anybody know who Binghamton West is?
  • Paul Crosby: A former all-state player in Michigan, Crosby was academically ineligible at Toledo, but was expected to contribute this year for the Bearcats. Honestly, I’m not sure what his next move is as programs will be intrigued by his size (6’8″, 235 lbs), but character issues (first grades and now behavior) and his mediocre overall rating will limit his options.
  • David Fine: Averaging 0.9 PPG as a junior in limited time will likely mean that Fine will have to try to walk-on somewhere or call it a career because I can’t see a program offering him a scholarship for 1 year with his/Binghamton’s baggage.

We doubt that we will hear anything from Binghamton’s athletic department any time soon, but it will be interesting to hear what these 5 released players will say about the situation so keep your eyes open for crazy Twitter feeds or Facebook status updates from these 5 players.

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Another Tennessee Coach Doesn’t Know When To Stop Talking

Posted by nvr1983 on September 25th, 2009

In just a few months we have all become familiar with Tennessee football coach Lane Kiffin and his tendency to talk way too much especially when attacking their main rival Florida (I doubt the Gators feel the same way about the “rivalry”). Well it turns out that Lane isn’t the only Tennessee coach who doesn’t know when to keep his mouth shut. Witness Bruce Pearl at a local charity fundraiser:

“I’ve got a tough job. I’ve got to put these guys from different worlds together, right? I’ve got guys from Chicago, Detroit. I’m talking about the hood! And I’ve got guys from Grainger County, where they wear the hood!”

(link to a news report with video of Pearl’s speech)

For those of you scoring at home Pearl just made fun of the living conditions of African-Americans and other groups that live in the inner city then implied that there is a strong KKK presence in rural Tennessee. So he’s being critical of African-Americans from the inner city and people from his own state. I’m not a recruiting expert, but that doesn’t seem like the best way to recruit especially when you are losing prized recruits while coaching overseas.

Pearl has since issued an apology for the statement:

This morning while speaking at a private kick-off event for a great organization that benefits many local charities, I made a statement in jest to describe the diverse group our staff recruits year-in and year-out. Unfortunately while I was trying to excite the crowd and encourage employees to give, I made an inappropriate joke. I certainly did not intend to offend anyone and I apologize to everyone, especially the people of Grainger County.

In no way am I trying to justify what I said, but I’m disappointed that the focus has been placed on me rather than the charities I was there to help. My only hope is that the visibility of this mistake will encourage those who can to give to those in need during these difficult times.

Judging by the reaction of Tennessee fans on the the local news site they don’t seem to think it is a big deal, but we’ll have to wait and see how opposing coaches try to use this against Pearl on the recruiting trail.

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More Bad Behavior: Binghamton Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on September 24th, 2009

Maybe I should have waited a few more hours before I put up my “Bad Behavior” post because it looks like we have a new leader in the clubhouse: Binghamton point guard Emanuel Mayben, who was arrested yesterday night with possession and the intent to sell cocaine. Mayben, who was according to some news sources was once the #1 recruit in his age group (I could only find a 4-star rating for him) and orally committed to play at Syracuse before changing his mind (looks like Jim Boeheim dodged one there), had spent time at 2 other colleges (UMass and Hudson Valley Community College) before winding up at Binghamton. Last season, he put up solid numbers (11.5 PPG, 4.1 RPG, and a school-record 4.6 APG) helping lead the school to its first NCAA tournament appearance last year.

Credit: Troy Record (Photo: Jonathan Cohen)
Credit: Troy Record (Photo: Jonathan Cohen)

Recently the Binghamton basketball program has come under fire with The New York Post referring to it as “UNLV East” with the most famous examples being Miladin Kovacevic, a Serbian recruit who allegedly beat another student into a coma and fled the country after posting bail, and Malik Alvin, who was arrested trying to steal condoms from a Wal-Mart. Although we’re not sure how much lower you can go than having a player flee the country after posting bail, Mayben’s arrest is yet another black eye for a Binghamton program that had just started to make people like Tony Kornheiser proud for their play on the court.

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Buzz: Bad Behavior

Posted by nvr1983 on September 23rd, 2009

I’m not sure if it is just because it is the preseason and there is nothing else for the media to focus in on, but it seems like a lot of people are getting in trouble lately. Outside of the ongoing Rick Pitino circus, which everyone is familiar with, and the Tyshawn Taylor incident (with reportedly multiple other Jayhawk basketball players involved) that exploded across the web today, there were 3 other recent stories that caught our eye:

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