Morning Five: 06.01.11 EditionPosted by rtmsf on June 1st, 2011
- Some of you younger folks may not know this, but in the first several years of its existence, ESPN actually was an acronym that stood for Entertainment and Sports Programming Network. The guys in Bristol ultimately decided that the four letter “word” was such a strong brand in and of itself that they dumped the rest of it, and it appears that the Big Ten Network is thinking along the same lines two decades later. Beginning this week, the network will go by BTN in an effort to re-brand their products, which includes associated logos for each Big Ten school (Michigan pictured here) and allows the company to expand into new ventures and opportunities that may not be television-related.
- It’s not every day that a Mighty Mouse joins a coaching staff, but former Arizona all-america point guard Damon Stoudamire has signed on to become an assistant on Josh Pastner’s staff at Memphis. Stoudamire enjoyed a thirteen-year NBA career that included the 1995 Rookie of the Year award, but has spent the last three years in low-level positions at Rice University and the Memphis Grizzlies. His hiring at Memphis is interesting from a player development perspective, as Stoudamire brings a wealth of experience as a 5’10 guard who had an uncanny ability to get shots off in a number of settings. For a guy like Tiger sophomore point guard Joe Jackson, who committed a total of six more turnovers than assists last season, Stoudamire could be a tremendous positive influence.
- Can we send our correspondent to the pickup sessions at Memorial Coliseum this summer in Lexington? We already knew that John Calipari was going to have a boatload of talent on his roster in the fall, but it now appears that most of his key players will be on campus over the summer too given the news that forward Terrence Jones will not try out for the Under-19 Team USA later this month. The three big-time recruits that Calipari has coming in — Anthony Davis, Marquis Teague, and Michael Gilchrist — have also made similar decisions to stick around campus this summer. Assuming that several of Cal’s former Cats such as John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Brandon Knight, Enes Kanter and Eric Bledsoe pass through Lexington for even a brief interlude to hoop, there might be more young talent during the hot months playing basketball in Lexington than anywhere else in America.
- Somehow we missed this over the long weekend, but Pat Forde late last week published a piece that takes a look at the top ten overachieving and underachieving programs in college basketball since 1985. This is a great article, in theory, and one that we here at RTC talk about doing in depth frequently; but, even though Forde justifies his selections with a paragraph explaining each, something seems a little off when Duke is listed as the second-biggest overachiever (does a top six program truly overachieve?) and Northwestern as the top underachiever (with no expectations, how can it underachieve?). It’s admittedly a strange list — maybe we would have preferred it if the title had been outstanding vs. disappointing programs?
- What’s this, a serious piece of opinion and commentary from Deadspin? The venerable old blog’s Tommy Craggs uses the prism of the Jim Tressel scandal to nail the media to the wall for falling victim to the same dog-and-pony circus act of faux-outrage we see every time that something like this is unveiled. His key statement: “What I can’t tolerate is the passel of excellent journalists who understand all the cockeyed incentives of big-time college sports, who know precisely where the big con lies, and who nonetheless write story after story after story after story in which they mistake the symptoms for the contagion.” It’s an interesting point, but one with which we’re not sure we ultimately agree. Depending on your perspective, either these investigations and subsequent stories are part of a long-term process to expose the hypocrisy he refers to layer by layer; or, they’re simply isolated instances that don’t amount to anything in the aggregate. We tend toward the former, and until the NCAA recognizes and solves its own internal battle of enforcement versus self-interest, we’ll have to settle for the good, if piecemeal, work that these journos are doing to expose the seedy side.