Consider this a cautionary tale in terms of trusting online entities claiming to have primary source information, especially when it comes to recruiting. Meet Jonathan Paige, the recruiting guru who wasn’t. In just two short months, Paige, a pseudonym for someone claiming to follow “AAU basketball all summer every summer,” gathered over 500 Twitter followers, was cited on numerous reputable blogs and team message boards, and generally became an up-and-coming “name” within the sometimes-shady scouting and recruiting information industry. In his words, all he did to develop his growing profile was to tweet and re-tweet confirmed information from other sources, mine the major message boards for rumors, tailor his posts to specific fanbases, and make up the rest. There’s no telling how much further he could have taken this should he have chosen to do so, but we should all learn from “Troll’s” deception — not in the sense of thumbing our nose at the guy, but rather to remind ourselves that anything read or viewed online needs to served correspondingly with a healthy dose of skepticism.
It’s been a tough several days for San Diego State head coach Steve Fisher. Last week, several establishments including RTC noted that Fisher’s 400th career victory, achieved on January 12 against UNLV last season, was not in fact a milestone win given the NCAA’s new “Calipari Doctrine.” Over the weekend, former SDSU transfer commitment Kevin Young announced that he would instead attend Kansas for his final two seasons of eligibility. As a result, Fisher vented to the San Diego Union-Tribune that he was angered that Kansas (and by proxy, Bill Self) had recruited someone he says had “made an eight-month commitment” to the Aztec program but had been swayed in recent months to view Kansas as an alternative. Self, to his credit, claims that Young had already “de-committed” from SDSU before KU got involved, but the fact remains that Fisher will enter 2011-12 not only a few years away from that elusive NCAA-verified 400th win, but also without a roster (including Young) prepared to re-build from the loss of his top four players.
When we read something like this article outlining the mammoth salaries that the six BCS conference commissioners make as CEOs of their leagues, we really start wondering just how much longer the NCAA as we know it will continue to exist. From Jim Delany’s $1.6M Big Ten salary (2009) to John Marinotti’s $366K prorated pay (half of 2009), it’s easy to forget that these organizations supposedly looking out for the best interests of their student-athletes are 501(c) non-profits. As anyone who knows anything about the world of non-profits, when they are run like profit-making entities, the clients that they purport to serve are usually the first ones left by the wayside.
The long Fayetteville nightmare is over, as Arkansas guard Rotnei Clarkewas finally given his release by the school to transfer wherever he likes. As reported by several outlets over the weekend, Clarke had asked for his release several times but new head coach Mike Anderson appeared to be stonewalling his best returning player in an attempt to keep him around for his senior year. The 6’0 all-SEC second team guard is originally from Verdigris, Oklahoma, a town just outside of Tulsa, which makes us wonder if Travis Ford, Lon Kruger and Doug Wojcik already have the prolific scorer on their speed dials.
We missed this over the weekend, but June 19 wasn’t just Father’s Day it was also the 25th anniversary of former Maryland forward Len Bias‘ tragic death in 1986. Bias is on a short list of players whose mythology over the intervening years has probably outgrown his proven abilities, but make no mistake, the guy was a stud in college and could have become an NBA superstar in the right situation. His shocking death, a mere two days after he had been drafted by the then-NBA Champion Boston Celtics, carried repercussions beyond sports that are still felt to this very day in America’s criminal justice system. As Salon’s Jonathan Easley outlines in an interview with the House counsel that helped write the shameful 1986 Anti-Drug Abuse Act, a law that Congress passed that summer that would ultimately result in an explosion of America’s prison population for drug-related crimes and utilizing an arbitrary and racially-tinged “logic” behind making the distribution of crack cocaine more “criminal” than that of powder cocaine. The death of Len Bias, a seemingly innocent and well-spoken young man by all accounts, helped to drive this legislation in the Nancy Reagan-led Just Say No era. It’s a very interesting read, and one you probably won’t hear when watching sentimental testimonials to Bias such as this one from ESPN’s John Saunders last week.