Kansas’ Tyshawn Taylor Gets In Fight, Dislocates Thumb, but Keeps His Rep

Posted by jstevrtc on September 23rd, 2009

For your Wednesday afternoon amusement, a tale from Lawrence, Kansas.

Via Ballin’ Is A Habit, news out of Jayhawkland is that the hoops’ team’s Tyshawn Taylor and one of the KU footballers — allegedly WR Dezmon Briscoe, though that is as yet unverified — both decided that it would be the right decision to jeopardize their health, their status on their respective teams, and maybe even their curb appeal in the eyes of the NBA and NFL, and get in a fight about a girl who reportedly chose to change teams — meaning she’s supposedly chosen to date a guy from one, then the other.  Taylor wound up with a dislocated thumb because of this and ended up going to the hospital.  I highly recommend you check out the piece from BIAH (linked above) that lists Taylor’s Twitter and Facebook updates about this whole situation.  My favorite:  “Never get outta character…I’m always a G about it.”  Yeah.  Because that matters.

Dont hurt your fighting thumb!

There are reports that this incident actually involved multiple players from each team, but Taylor was the only one injured.

ESPN is also reporting that Taylor, a vital component for KU’s hoops success this upcoming season and a definite NBA prospect who was the leading scorer on the USA Under-19 team that won the gold medal in New Zealand this summer, could miss around 4 weeks because of this nonsense.  If you behold our beautiful Midnight Madness Countdown Clock up in the top right portion of the RTC front page, you’ll notice that we are (thank God) well under a month until first official practices.  So, this means that because of a girl, and his aforementioned desire to be a G about it, Taylor could miss (or be less than 100% for) the first few official workouts with the rest of his squad, the almost consensus pre-season #1. 

Evidently, animosity between the basketball and football teams has existed for a long time at KU.  This piece by Tom Keegan at KUSports.com gives a few examples of great feuds in his lead sentence.  What would we call this one?  Gridirons vs Hardwoods?  Oblongs vs Roundballs?  Leathers vs Pigskins?  I invite you to leave your own suggestions in the comments section.  More on this as it develops.

 

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RTC Class Schedule 2009-10: North Carolina Tar Heels

Posted by zhayes9 on September 22nd, 2009

seasonpreview 09-10

Ed. Note: for all of the posts in the RTC 09-10 Class Schedule series, click here.

North Carolina head coach Roy Williams has been down this road before.

After hoisting his first national title on that early April night in St. Louis, Williams had to endure an eerily similar task as to what faces him this upcoming season, his seventh in Chapel Hill. The 2004-05 champions lost center Sean May, swingman Marvin Williams, point guard Raymond Felton and shooting guard Rashad McCants to the riches of the NBA, yet Williams managed, in large part to a recruiting class led by Tyler Hansbrough with returnees David Noel and Reyshawn Terry, to finish 21-6 (12-4) and in the top 15 in both polls. The situation this season parallels the tremendous overload facing Williams after his first banner. Losing Hansbrough, ACC POY Ty Lawson and sharpshooters Wayne Ellington and Danny Green, a group that made up the large portion of the Heels scoring rampage a season ago, will be difficult to overcome. Luckily for Williams, he returns some decent pieces to complement a loaded recruiting class. Not to mention he’s the best coach in the nation.

21160330_North_Carolina_v_Miami[1]

North Carolina returns some high upside players that could truly emerge after playing behind the mentioned superstars of the previous few campaigns. There’s senior and experienced leadership still in the fray- notably forward Deon Thompson and defensive stopper Marcus Ginyard- that should help out all of the incoming young talent on the Heels roster. Knowing he’d lose such integral pieces, Williams loaded his 2009 class with top-50 talent such as skilled forward John Henson, guards Dexter Strickland and Leslie McDonald and big men David Wear and Travis Wear. Many believe sophomore Ed Davis is a surefire lottery pick and Tyler Zeller may emerge with a healthy full season. Last year’s backup to Lawson, Larry Drew II, is also back and will be the engine that controls the Heels attack.

Just because Williams has a predominantly young squad, he didn’t shy away from challenging his team early and often on this year’s schedule to go along with the rigors of the ACC. Let’s examine:

Non-Conference Schedule Rank: 10. One way to sum up the Heels schedule this season: I’ll be stunned if North Carolina isn’t at the top of the strength of schedule list when we’re starting to look at those types of numbers in February and March. Forget playing NCAA tournament teams Duke and Georgia Tech twice in conference play (along with contenders Wake Forest, Boston College, Clemson and Wake Forest on the road), the Heels scheduled three preseason top-ten teams on the slate for this non-conference season. It wasn’t exactly planned like this; who could have planned Damion James would stick around for another year or John Calipari would completely overhaul Kentucky in such a short period of time? Still, give Williams credit for setting up these huge games against prestigious programs. North Carolina will take on possible Big Ten contender Ohio State in the semifinal of the 2K Sports Classic and likely top-15 California should they emerge victorious. Also planned is a visit to Rupp Arena to battle Kentucky in one of the top non-conference games on the season and a trip to Arlington to face Texas in Jerry Jones’ new monstrosity. Both Kentucky and Texas are projected top ten teams. Not enough for you, Roy? Michigan State will visit Chapel Hill in a national title game rematch as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, another squad that could finish their season in Indianapolis.

Cupcake City: The Heels do receive a few easy warm-ups before traveling to New York in Florida International (Isiah Thomas’ college coaching debut, marred by minor controversy) and North Carolina Central. Carolina also faces Gardner-Webb, Presbyterian, Marshall, Valparaiso and Albany at home while taking a trip to Charleston to face Bobby Cremins’ Cougars in a rare instance of a ACC school visiting a SoCon opponent. Not exactly cupcakes, but Nevada and Rutgers also make appearances at the Dean Dome this season.

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Who Says the South Only Cares About Football?

Posted by rtmsf on September 21st, 2009

The NCAA is starting to scare us a little bit with the news today that the Final Four will be held in warm-weather venues from 2011-13.  Surely they don’t expect us to stay in our rooms during the interminable wait from F4 Saturday night to Monday night’s championship.  Don’t they know that basketball is a cold-weather sport?  That you should see your breath as you huddle outside the arena waiting to get inside, where the scents of metallic air ducts mix with wet clothing and hot dogs in an olfactory orgy of late winter sensations?    Where’s my Minneapolis, my Detroit, my St. Louis?  No, now we’ll actually be forced to enjoy some early April outdoor air in three fun cities where 70s and 80s (before the oppresssive summer humidity hits) are common that time of year.  This means that you, the readers of this site, will pay for our folly.  We’re not happy with you, NCAA. 

The 2010 Final Four is in Indianapolis, IN.  Here’s the list for the next four years…  make your travel plans now.

Which Venue Will You Attend?  (photo credit: NCAA.org)
Which Venue Will You Attend? (photo credit: NCAA.org)

2010 NCAA Tournament

  • F4 – Indianapolis, IN
  • Regionals - Syracuse, NY (East); Houston, TX (South); St. Louis, MO (Midwest); Salt Lake City, UT (West).
  • Sub-Regionals – Providence, RI; Buffalo, NY; Jacksonville, FL; New Orleans, LA; Oklahoma City, OK; Milwaukee, WI; San Jose, CA; Spokane, WA.

2011 NCAA Tournament

  • F4 – Houston, TX
  • Regionals - Newark, NJ (East); New Orleans, LA (South); San Antonio, TX (Southwest); Anaheim, CA (West).
  • Sub-Regionals – Tulsa, OK; Charlotte, NC; Chicago, IL; Cleveland, OH; Denver, CO; Tampa, FL; Tucson, AZ; Washington, DC.

2012 NCAA Tournament

  • F4 – New Orleans, LA
  • Regionals - Boston, MA (East); Atlanta, GA (South); St. Louis, MO (Midwest); Phoenix, AZ (West).
  • Sub-Regionals – Albuquerque, NM; Columbus, OH; Greensboro, NC; Louisville, KY; Nashville, TN; Omaha, NE; Pittsburgh, PA; Portland, OR.

2013 NCAA Tournament

  • F4 – Atlanta, GA
  • Regionals - TBD (East); Arlington, TX (South); Indianapolis, IN (Midwest); Los Angeles, CA (West).
  • Sub-Regionals – Dayton, OH; Auburn Hills, MI; Lexington, KY; Salt Lake City, UT; San Jose, CA; Austin, TX; Kansas City, MO; Philadelphia, PA.

A few quick reflections on the next four years of March Madness venues:

  • ACC fans who bellow from the mountaintops that Duke and UNC always “get to play at home” in the first two rounds (we’re also guilty of this) and/or the regionals won’t have much to complain about the next four Tourneys.  There are two subregional sites (Charlotte in 2011; Greensboro in 2012) within the friendly confines of North Carolina, but a grand total of zero regionals and certainly not a F4. 
  • On the flip side, the West Regional looks EXTREMELY friendly to a certain blue/gold team from SoCal, with locations in Anaheim in 2011 (34 miles), Phoenix in 2012 (368 miles) and downtown LA in 2013 (11 miles).  Egads. 
  • We can’t recall the last time an NCAA Tournament game was in Louisville, and we always wondered why Freedom Hall stopped doing it.  Good to see the River City back on the list with its planned new 22k-seat arena. 
  • What’s with the NCAA renaming a region the “Southwest” Regional for one year only (San Antonio: 2011)?  Regardless of that, you can’t tell us that Rick Barnes hasn’t already circled the Tulsa/San Antonio/Houston pathway in his Iphone calendar as something to shoot for. 
  • Newark (2011 East Regional), really?  Looks like Cory Booker’s doing better than we thought there. 
  • Other than that, mostly the usual suspects.  We all know that it doesn’t really matter where the games are played – they’ll be exciting regardless.
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RTC 2009-10 Impact Players – South Atlantic Region

Posted by rtmsf on September 21st, 2009

impactplayers

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

Here we are with the third installment of our RTC 2009-10 Impact Players series, the ridiculously loaded South Atlantic 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?

impact_map

South Atlantic Region  (DC, VA, NC, SC, GA)

  • Al-Farouq Aminu, Soph, F – Wake Forest.  After a recruiting class compiled by the late Skip Prosser that included first-round selections Jeff Teague and James Johnson, third year coach Dino Gaudio managed to lure five-star talent Al-Farouq Aminu to campus the next season. By all accounts, Aminu had a tremendous freshman season when looking at the big picture. He averaged nearly 13 points per contest, grabbed over eight rebounds a game and shot over 50% from the floor. He starred in Wake wins against BC (26/7), Clemson (21/10) and Duke (15/10). Aminu led all ACC rookies in rebounding, including 11 games as the Deacons team leader while scoring in double-figures 22 times. Due to his superior talent, Wake fans will still maintain they expect Aminu to take it to another level in 2009-10. Too often the 6’9 forward disappeared, though, scoring four points in 28 minutes in a 27-point loss to Miami or nine points in a close loss to bottom-feeder NC State or an 8 point, 2/12 FG performance in the ACC Tournament defeat at the hands of rival Maryland. These peaks and valleys are typical of even the most talented freshmen (besides maybe Kevin Durant), so Aminu shouldn’t be held accountable for Wake’s slide from the #1 team in the land to March goat. But with Teague and Johnson departed, it’s now Aminu’s team in Winston-Salem. With first-round talent and ability, the sky’s the limit for AFA in his second season leading a young Wake Forest squad back to the Dance to avenge last season.
  • Trevor Booker – Sr, F – Clemson. Trevor Booker is the best player that most people still have never heard of.  Consider this: there are three returning players in America who were more efficient than Booker last season and you would have no problem picking all three out of a photographic lineup: Luke Harangody, Patrick Patterson and Cole Aldrich.  But do you even know what Booker looks like?  You will this year, as the beefy, athletic 6’7 forward can do it all and should vault into ACC POY territory with another year under his belt.  Let’s take a closer look.  As a second-team all-ACC selection and the top vote-getter on the all-defensive team last season, he trailed only Ty Lawson among high-usage (>20mpg) league players in eFG% (58%), led the conference in FG% and rebounding (first ACC player to do so since Tim Duncan) and averaged a double-double (15/10) in last year’s tough ACC.  But most importantly to Clemson fans, Booker is only 20 wins away from becoming the winningest player in the history of the Tiger program.  In his three seasons at Clemson, his teams have averaged 24  wins against 10 losses, and the 26 ACC Ws and two NCAA Tournament appearances the Tigers have achieved in large part through his ferocious dunks and tenacious defense represent the best three-year period in the program’s history.  Booker had a slight scare last month with a low-grade stress fracture in his foot, but he’s expected to be completely healthy for the beginning of practice in October.  It’s a good thing, because when Booker hangs up his kicks for the last time as a Clemson Tiger next March, he may very well be in the argument as the most accomplished player in the history of Clemson basketball.

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09.21.09 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on September 21st, 2009

It was a very quiet weekend in college hoopsland, which is a good thing, because the RTC staff is working madly behind the scenes to get things together for the upcoming season.  You guys realize that we’re seven weeks to the day away from the first game, right (Nov. 9FIU @ UNC in the CvC)?

  • Jeff Goodman wrote a post on his blog last week that asked the question of which teams in 09-10 could be categorized as the deepest in college basketball.  He concluded that Big 12 stalwarts Kansas and Texas along with Kentucky are all bursting at the seams with nasty talent.  We have no dispute with him there – you’d have to be blind to state otherwise.  But after thinking about it a bit, we were left with the so-what question.  Having 10-12 players at your disposal doesn’t mean a whole lot unless you’re willing to use them, and we wondered what Self, Barnes and Calipari’s coaching history could tell us about just how important that depth will be for them this season.  Thanks to KenPom’s site, we did a quick analysis of how these coaches used their benches over the last three years (data was only available from 2007-09).  As you can see in the table below, the two Big 12 coaches are much more likely to ride their starters over the course of a season than Calipari will.  But none of them will often be accused of leading the way in bench usage.  Of course, if we had players like Kevin Durant, Brandon Rush, Derrick Rose and so forth at our disposal, we’d probably be hesitant to bring in their backup also.
  • reserve minutes 07-09
  • Luke Winn broke down his top ten nonconference schedules last week (among the good teams), and we really don’t have much else to say about his analysis, which is spot-on as usual.  Calling out Big East teams Pitt and Syracuse was great, especially since we all know that they’ll use the excuse of being young this year (true), even though they always pull this never-leave-home stuff in the preconference slate (also true).  We also noticed another oddity in Winn’s “Major Generosity” section, where he points out that UNC, Georgetown and Michigan St. will visit such titans as Charleston, Savannah St. and The Citadel, respectively, this season.  Strangely enough, these three homestanding schools are within about a two-hour drive of each other.  A weird confluence of luck , friendships and payback games means that the Low Country will be privileged to host three of the best teams in the nation on their turf within a six-week period starting November 21.  If you live around there, get your tickets now – this will probably never happen again!  Oh, and back at ya, Luke.
  • Quick HitsBilal Batley: yeah, this was itThe Jewish Jordan: retires at 27Greg Monroe: ready to forget about last seasonGene Iba: one more season for Hank’s nephew.  Freshmen in 09-10: seems eminently reasonableArkansas Gangbang: someone will be punished for somethingThe New Myles BrandMichael AdamsJunior Cadougan:  Marquette’s presumed starting PG out for the seasonTruck Bryant: was there ever a questionJosh Tabb:  Tennessee guard suspended indefinitely.
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Buzz: Howland Hospitalized For Appendectomy

Posted by rtmsf on September 17th, 2009

UCLA head coach underwent an appendectomy procedure yesterday, and it was announced today that the coach was resting comfortably at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Westwood.   The tireless recruiter wasted no time letting Bruin fans that he won’t be out of action very long, as he tweeted his weekend plans (back on the road) this afternoon.  (h/t Bruins Nation).  It’s a relatively common procedure, but surgery is still surgery, so we’re glad to hear that Howland is recovering nicely and will be back in action very soon.

howland tweet

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What Psycho-T’s Doing These Days…

Posted by rtmsf on September 17th, 2009

We got a tip about this ad today and almost didn’t believe that it was true.  Could the four-time all-american known as Psycho-T for his warriorlike demeanor on the court really be doing a lovable, snugglerific, nice-guy lost puppy ad?  What are the odds that this is brought up oh about a million times during his training camp with the Pacers?  Really, all that’s missing from this clip is Tebow.  Then we’d have enough aw-shucks likeableness for everyone.   

(ed. note: is that Andy Katz at the 0:11 mark???  or his son?)

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Tough Day in College Hoopdom…

Posted by rtmsf on September 16th, 2009

A series of unfortunate events came down the pike to ruin what had previously been an exciting day when ESPN released it’s 24 Hours of Hoops schedule for November 17.  Let’s briefly cover each so that we can move on to more pleasant things (hopefully tomorrow).

  • We woke up to the news that Pitt’s best returning player, Jermaine Dixon, broke his right foot for the second time this summer while playing in a pickup game.  Given that it’s already mid-September and the doctors are telling him that it’ll take at least eight weeks to heal, this news clearly puts Jamie Dixon’s squad behind the 8-ball going into October practice and the first few games of the season.  We would be completely shocked if Pitt fell off the map this year because Dixon is such an excellent coach, but on paper the 09-10 team already appears to be the weakest of his seven-year tenure.  Losing their only returning starter for a while near the start of the season cannot help.  And what’s up with that right foot – is this mere coincidence or does he have a problem there?
  • From the crime blotter, Wisconsin freshman guards Jeremy Glover and Diamond Taylor are now off the team (Glover was dismissed; Taylor withdrew) after their arrest for allegedly stealing ipods, a cell phone and $400 in cash last week from a UW dorm.  The two players were expected to provide backcourt depth this season for Bo Ryan’s team, but he’ll need to lean more heavily on returnees Trevon Hughes and Jason Bohannon than anticipated.
  • Finally, as you’ve probably heard by now, NCAA President-cum-Reformer Myles Brand died today from pancreatic cancer.  As the head honcho of the NCAA over the last six years, we’ve certainly had our fair share of criticism directed at his leadership, mostly with respect to investigations of alleged violations and selective enforcement of the rules.  But there can be no question that we completely respect and admire the work that Brand did in terms tying academic performance of athletes at the sport-level (and soon, coach-level) to key athletic assets such as scholarships and postseason appearances.  The Academic Progress Report (APR) that Brand initiated to achieve this end definitely contains some loopholes, but at the very least, he has schools, ADs and coaches thinking about performance of their players in the classroom, which is a far, far cry from where it was ten years ago.  RTC lauds Myles Brand for this impressive and hopefully lasting achievement, and we hope that to honor his legacy, his replacement will continue to tweak the APR, giving it teeth, so that schools will take it seriously.  RIP, Mr. Brand.
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ESPN’s 24-Hour Hoops Marathon Schedule Announced

Posted by zhayes9 on September 16th, 2009

Once again, ESPN is kicking off its college basketball coverage with a 24-hour hoops marathon on the various networks. For a sport that has long lacked a definitive opening day/night, ESPN deserves of a ton of credit (that was painful to say) for getting creative and implementing this marathon for us hoops nerds. Our own John Stevens is expected to be back for another coma-inducing live blog for the event (last year’s transcript), and in today’s daily Katz blog entry, the schedule was officially announced. Here are the games (all times EST on November 17):

Midnight- Cal State Fullerton @ UCLA (ESPN)- First chance to see if Malcolm Lee seems ready to take over the point guard role for the unproven Bruins.

2 AM- San Diego State @ Saint Mary’s (ESPN)- A possible MWC title contender heading to a raucous environment. Look out for the Aztecs star freshman Kawhi Leonard.

4 AM- Northern Colorado @ Hawaii (ESPN)- A reasonable 10 PM start for the Fightin’ Rainbows.

6 AM- Monmouth @ Saint Peter’s (ESPN)- Think the first half might be a little sluggish?

8 AM- Drexel @ Niagara (ESPN)- Don’t sleep on the Purple Eagles. This team has the talent to challenge Siena this season in the MAAC.

10 AM- Clemson @ Liberty (ESPN)- In exchange for filling a spot on their schedule last season, Clemson must travel to Lynchburg to take on the Curry-less Flames. This is our first look at the inside-outside combo of Trevor Booker and Noel Johnson for Clemson, whose fans should begin to worry if they get off to a good start.

12 PM- Northeastern @ Siena (ESPN)- Two teams that could be dancing this season. The Huskies spent much of last year near the top in the Colonial and returns four starters. We’re all very familiar with Siena at this point and coach Fran McCaffery has plenty of talent back in the fold.

2 PM- Arkansas-Little Rock @ Tulsa (ESPN)- This could be the year Memphis is dethroned from the top of Conference USA. The team most likely to do the unseating is the Golden Hurricane, led by seven footer Jerome Jordan.

4 PM- Temple @ Georgetown (ESPN)- This will be our first opportunity to see if the Hoyas can turn their negative campaign a season ago into a positive motivator in 2009-10.

5:30 PM- Binghamton @ Pittsburgh (ESPN2)- The Panthers lost DeJuan Blair, Levance Fields, Sam Young and Tyrell Biggs. Jermaine Dixon is unlikely to play due to a broken foot. This should be Jamie Dixon’s toughest coaching job yet. Ashton Gibbs is a player to watch this season.

6 PM- Charlotte/Elon @ Duke (ESPN)- Our first look at a Duke team that is much bigger than in previous seasons with the additions of Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly. Kyle Singler takes his first step towards a possible All-America honor in this Preseason NIT contest.

7:30 PM- Arkansas vs. Louisville in St. Louis (ESPN2)- Two teams that could go either direction this season. Louisville needs Samardo Samuels to make the leap and freshman Peyton Siva to contribute immediately. Arkansas fell apart a season ago and their last ten months have certainly been tumultous, but still boast talent in guard Courtney Fortson (so long as he’s not tweeting) and rookie forward Marshawn Powell.

8 PM- Gonzaga at Michigan State (ESPN)- The Zags will be a guard-oriented squad this year with Matt Bouldin, Demetri Goodson and Steven Gray. Michigan State has balance with Kalin Lucas and Durrell Summers outside and Delvon Roe and Raymar Morgan inside. The Spartans could make another Final Four run.

9 PM- Duquesne at Iowa (ESPNU)- The Hawkeyes should be bottom-feeder in the Big Ten yet again, meaning Damian Saunders and the Dukes could keep this competitive.

10 PM- Memphis vs. Kansas in St. Louis (ESPN)- Our first look at the best team in the nation- Kansas. We know they’ll be great. The team to watch here is Memphis. Kansas poses an incredible test in November for a team dealing with a horde of losses from a season ago. Roburt Sallie, Willie Kemp and Elliot Williams must lead the way if the Tigers wish to win another conference title.

11:30 PM- TBA at Arizona State (ESPN2)- Could be a rebuilding year in Tempe with James Harden and Jeff Pendergraph no longer involved.

Gonzaga-Michigan State is the highlight of the slate, but there’s plenty of other reasons to tune in. I’m curious to see who will emerge for UCLA, if Memphis can hang with Kansas for even a half, if Arkansas can play more like their non-conference season a year ago than their SEC record, if Ashton Gibbs can be a star for Pitt and whether a Monmouth or St. Peter’s player falls asleep on the court. Should be another 24 hours of fun, and RTC will be back with John Stevens the whole way again.

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09.14.09 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on September 14th, 2009

In the last week or so, we’ve noticed that the days are distinctly shorter than they were, which means only one thing…  darkness.

  • What, no Matt Doherty?  Carolina celebrated its 100 years of basketball with a blowout extravaganza two Fridays ago featuring such UNC luminaries as Dean Smith, Michael Jordan, Vince Carter, Phil Ford, Larry Brown, Antawn Jamison, George Karl, Julius Peppers and a bunch of other dignitaries, both past and present.  The tribute video they presented at the beginning of the evening should be mandatory viewing for every recruit that steps into Chapel Hill (sidenote: 2010 #1 Harrison Barnes and several others were there), but the featured event was the scrimmage, nicknamed the “Professional Alumni Game,” where the White team (starters: Raymond Felton, Brendan Haywood, Marvin Williams, Antawn Jamison and Jerry Stackhouse) defeated the Blue team (Vince Carter, Jawad Williams, Dante Calabria, Sean May and Ed Cota) 113-92.  It sounds great and all, but it was the trotting out of that old Carolina/Dean Smith warhorse, the Four Corners offense, that just about made this writer puke.  Let’s sully one of the greatest collections of collegiate talent ever put together in a single place at a single time by reminiscing and celebrating one of the biggest abominations the game has ever witnessed.  For you youngsters, the 4C was largely responsible for the implementation of the 45-second shot clock in the mid-80s, and is widely ridiculed as one of the worst inventions of the modern game.  Bad, bad idea, Heels.  As another sidenote to this Carolina joyfest, did anyone else feel that MJ’s acceptance speech at the HOF induction last weekend was completely petty and mean-spirited?  From our cheap seats, it appears that more than one Jordan Myth was defused this weekend (h/t TBL).
  • Memphis Appeals.  Last week Memphis sent its timely notice of appeal to the NCAA based on the Derrick Rose Scandal, arguing that the Tigers’ 38 wins and NCAA Tournament runner-up appearance from 2007-08 should not be removed from the history books.  Among the findings that led to the penalties, the only one that Memphis is appealing is the violation involving Derrick Rose’s SAT score.  This is presumably because it is also the most difficult one to prove (cf. with Memphis getting cold-busted for providing illicit airfare and hotels to Reggie Rose).  The school, now represented by “NCAA defender to the stars” Mike Glazier, has thirty days to present its arguments to the NCAA Infractions Committee, and their argument is going to undoubtedly hinge on the seeming inconsistency of Derrick Rose being cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse prior to his freshman season only to be later deemed ineligible after the fact.  Sadly for Memphis, in this case and in the real world, what is an apparent inconsistency is incongruent with the fact that the justice system (and the NCAA) doesn’t work like that.  The bottom line is this: so long as the Clearinghouse made a good faith effort to determine the basis for Rose’s initial eligibility (and we presume it did), the revelation of later evidence indicting Rose’s SAT provenance has no bearing on the initial assessment.  The NCAA had no basis to believe that Rose had cheated on his SATs until the allegations surfaced after his freshman year.  The real-world analogy would be if the police did a cursory investigation of someone related to a crime and found no evidence to initially support their involvement, only to receive credible information a year later that the person investigated might have indeed committed the crime.  Rose was no more “cleared” than any of us are – there is no “get-out-of-jail-free” card that we can present in perpetuity; if additional information comes to light, it is entirely reasonable for conditions to change in response.  Furthermore, the fact that Rose then ignored three letters from ETS (who administers the SAT) questioning his score, and two other letters from the NCAA requesting an interview, does not help his case.  Unless he plans on showing up to the NCAA hearing on Memphis’ behalf with evidence to the contrary (LOLable), we’re afraid that Memphis is going to be forced to eat those 38 wins and the $600K they stand to lose here.  Maybe Josh Pastner could simply request that Rose write him a check?
  • Back To Renardo Sidney.  The NCAA stated last Friday that Mississippi St.’s Renardo Sidney is not certified to play this season because his family did not turn over the financial documentation that they requested as part of the investigation into how the Sidneys afforded to live in high-end homes in the LA area.  Or as they put it, Sidney is “not certified due to non response.”  The NCAA went on to say that if or when the Sidneys send the information requested (and not a stack of random papers they found in someone’s locker), then his certification will be re-evaluated.  What does all this mean?  Basically, the NCAA doesn’t want to get caught with its pants down again, as in the cases of OJ Mayo and Derrick Rose where they certified players as initially eligible only to watch as those same players danced on the NCAA Clearinghouse’s grave en route to the NBA.  Sidney’s attorney is threatening lawsuit, and we suspect that his argument “that the Sidney family has to establish the existence of non-violations” probably has some merit, but none of this may matter given we’re only two months from the first games and the justice system moves slower than molasses.  It’s unlikely that MSU will risk playing Sidney while the wheels of justice are turning simply because they don’t want a Rose giveback of all the Ws they’re anticipating this season.
  • Vegas Watch: Big Ten.  VW got his third installment of the major conference previews up today, and once again we were invited along for the peep show.  What’s interesting about the Big Ten ratings is that we all pretty much agreed that Purdue is the best team in the conference in 09-10, but (at least for our money) Michigan St. is the team more likely to do damage in the NCAA Tournament.  Another good exercise, and the league is looking at being way up – up to seven solid NCAA bids this season.  For the ACC and Big 12 ratings and discussion, see these posts.
  • Quick HitsSlam Magazine: finished its Top 25.  Arizona St.: more than just Harden and PendergraphParrish: why Butler is no Boise.   Goodman: 25 players you should know for 09-10, and his all-americans (John Wall for POY = bold).  Incredible Shrinking Center: Memphis’ Pierre Henderson-NilesJim Griffin: RIPJohn Pelphrey at Arkansas: agreedSeton Hall: extends Bobby Gonzalez to 2015Florida St.: haven’t we heard this song before?  Travis Ford: wow, how do you get a 10-year extension after one year on the job?  Larry Eustachy: Gillispie has a diseaseFreshmen: here’s the top 20 for 09-10Memphis: down to 8 scholarship playersBlue Ribbon: go ahead and order it.
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Kentucky Admits Minor Violation to NCAA; Batley Out

Posted by jstevrtc on September 11th, 2009

Readers of this site will probably assume that we’ve turned to coverage exclusively about the University of Kentucky basketball program, what with all the news that’s come out of the Bluegrass State this summer/off-season — the firing of Billy Gillispie, the hiring of John Calipari, the recruitment and signing of John Wall and the accumulation of other big-time prepsters, the Rick Pitino/Karen Sypher fiasco, the eventual further misadventures of Gillispie, and so on.  And now, there’s this:

From the Sporting News

In early July, [Assistant Director of Basketball Operations/Manager] Bilal Batley visited the UK practice gym to speak with a player regarding an academic matter…While there, [Batley] was seen gathering rebounds for one of the players.  The university determined it should be turned into the NCAA as a secondary violation.

Batley held the same post at Calipari’s Memphis program last year before accompanying him to Kentucky.  Before that he was a graduate manager at Indiana for a season.  The Kentucky job didn’t last long, though.  A few days ago, it was announced that Batley was no longer on the UK staff, evidently choosing to leave to go back to Houston because of an illness in his family.

credit: bhamsrecruitingblog.blogspot.com

Though no connection has so far been discovered or reported, a person cannot be faulted for asking the question regarding the possibility of a connection between Batley’s departure and what really does look like a minor violation.  It would be normal to ask that question if such an occurrence happened at ANY program.  When John Calipari is your head coach, though, it’s going to draw even more of a critical eye.  We know, nothing’s ever been actually pinned on him, but when you’re the only coach ever to have Final Fours vacated at the two schools you coached and when you associate with people named World Wide Wes, you can’t be surprised when you’re looked at a tad more closely. 

Did Calipari hear about the possibility of some kind of (even miniscule) violation perpetrated by this man, and order him out in the spirit of running a totally clean and pristine program at UK?  Or, if a bigger investigation is forthcoming, did the coaches convene and decide to oust Batley preemptively because some other things might be discovered?  Is there more news to follow from Lexington?  Nobody can say right now, and the possibilities mentioned above are total speculation and conjecture on the part of this blogger, as of right now.  There’s always the chance that — and you might want to hold onto something, here — the violation really is just a tiny thing that UK is playing it very safe (and understandably so) by reporting, and Batley really is going back to Houston for the aforementioned family illness.  If that is indeed the case, of course we hope everything turns out well for the Batley family.

I have one question, though.  Given what’s happened, the “minor-ness” of the violation becomes more compelling.  I mean, the guy grabbed a few rebounds for somebody while on his way to take care of something else; the NCAA is one bizarre organization when it comes to evaluating crimes and doling out punishment, but it would have to be utterly insane to attach any penalty to that.  People take leaves-of-absence from jobs all the time when family members get sick, and they’re often allowed to come back.  In fact, as most of you know, depending on who the family member is, your job is protected by law if you choose to take leave.  Jobs at programs like Kentucky don’t just grow on trees.  Maybe I’m misinformed on the whole thing, but a job like “Assistant Director of Basketball Operations/Manager” sounds like one that another person in the department could handle for a short time while Batley tends to the family issues, so that he could return when those matters are resolved (happily, we hope).  No matter whose decision it was, why is Batley now totally unassociated with the program?  Why would he seemingly remove himself or let himself be removed from such a plum position at a Leviathan program like Kentucky so quickly and so soon after taking the job in the first place, and over so minor an incident?

Who knows — right now, it looks like there’s no fire associated with this smoke.  But we’re going to stay tuned.

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Memphis Set To Add Another Elite Recruit

Posted by zhayes9 on September 11th, 2009

At least as far as recruiting prowess is concerned, new Memphis coach Josh Pastner is following in the footsteps of his predecessor.

A program that may have been temporarily crippled by John Calipari’s departure, Latavious Williams bolting for Europe, the Derrick Rose/ACT scandal and the loss of prized recruit Xavier Henry is quickly turning around. Jeff Goodman first reported today that Joe Jackson, the fourth ranked point guard in the nation according to Scout.com, will commit to his hometown Tigers in a press conference later tonight. Tennessee and Kansas were also involved, but most inside recruiting circles felt Jackson vowing to stay home was inevitable.

Joe Jackson/Memphis Commercial-Appeal

Joe Jackson/Memphis Commercial-Appeal

Pastner has been able to quickly rejuvinate a Memphis program suffering from major personnel losses- namely Tyreke Evans, Antonio Anderson, Robert Dozier and Shawn Taggart- by having Duke point guard Elliot Williams fall into his lap this summer and also securing the commitment of Will Barton, a 6’6 shooting guard ranked by Scout.com as the #1 overall player at his position. Williams, Barton and Jackson in the fray means three McDonalds All-American guards in the backcourt for Pastner in 2010-11.

As a college basketball fan, color me pleased that Memphis seems to be on the upswing yet again. Rather than be left in the dust by Calipari, a young, vibrant coach like Pastner should be able to re-invent the image of a scarred program. While his coaching skills have yet to be evaluated, Pastner appears to be heading on the right track towards another dominant decade-long run in Conference USA by landing such elite recruits against more established coaching mainstays. Their loyal and passionate fan base deserves it.

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