Morning Five: 07.13.11 EditionPosted by rtmsf on July 13th, 2011
- It’s one thing to win a national player of the year award, but it’s quite another to parlay (trifecta?) your fame into having a race horse named after you. JimmerMania has now officially jumped the shark with the news out of Saratoga (NY) that a two-year old colt owned by Elliott Walden and WinStar Farms was named “Jimmer.” What… no The? The connection is that the wife of Glens Falls (NY) HS head coach, Tony Hammel, works on the barn staff at WinStar and suggested the name to the owners. We may have to wait a while to see The Jimmer on the game’s greatest stage, but if you have some free time this summer, you can always take the New York State Thruway up a bit past Albany to see his equine namesake eating some oats, trotting around a track, and whatever else it is that these elegant animals do. (h/t Larry Brown Sports)
- An otherwise mundane story by Gary Parrish about Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis‘ presence in Lexington and the allegations surrounding his recruitment last summer that suggested the player’s family took $200,000 caused a bit of a firestorm Tuesday night on Twitter. The article rehashed last August’s report from Chicago Sun-Times writer Michael O’Brien that Davis’ father negotiated a deal to send his son to UK, but Parrish was careful to articulate that there have been no further allegations to that effect and that the support for it was “thin.” UK’s sports information director DeWayne Peevy later tweeted out about “one media seat that will be available at Rupp this year,” a clear shot across the bow of Parrish for daring to write about the Davis situation. Quite a few in the twitterati (including ourselves, a group who have collectively had nothing but good experiences with the Kentucky administrator) were surprised about the reaction, and an hour later Peevy tweeted that he may feel differently tomorrow, but he is always going to “protect [his] kids.” Protect them from what, exactly, we’re not certain. Having now carefully read Parrish’s article several times, we fail to see much to get excited about, but we’ll presume that everyone will come to their clearer senses today and this thing will be soon forgotten.
- Speaking of UK, A Sea of Blue did an interesting recent analysis of the value per win among the ten highest-paid coaches in college basketball over the last two seasons. Forgiving the standard disclaimers that the sample size is very small and ASoB’s assumptions of valuation are mere estimates, the data shows that from 2009-11, at least, Connecticut’s Jim Calhoun and Ohio State’s Thad Matta provide the most bang for the buck. Add Calhoun’s 2011 national title to the mix, and it’s quite clear that the irascible New Englander has been well worth the money, despite what Ken Krayeske has to say about it these days. Interestingly, Louisville’s Rick Pitino finishes tenth on this list, making the second-most money (tied with John Calipari, but behind Mike Krzyzewski) but earning the fewest overall wins and zero NCAA wins in this two-year period.
- The most hated man in basketball apparently has trouble even impressing collegiate stars these days. Marquette’s rising senior guard Darius Johnson-Odom is coming off some time spent at the LeBron James’ Skills Academy this summer, and to hear him tell it, his team defeated the world’s greatest runner-up twice while he was there. When queried as to playing with James, DJO said, “he’s a solid player” with a straight face before elaborating about the “King’s” passing skills. Realizing that the game has changed an awful lot in the intervening years, we still have to wonder what might have happened if some young guy circa 1989 had beaten Michael Jordan’s team in pick-up ball. And then said in an interview that he was “solid.” Is there any question, really?
- Ken Pomeroy is nothing if not creative. In a blog post yesterday, he brought to light what he calls ScheduleMatic, a new algorithm that attempts to solve the problem of worthless early season mismatches by pitting two similarly-talented local teams in competitive games. Call it KenPom Fantasy Camp, if you like, but what he suggests makes sense. One of the particularly annoying problems we’ve derided for long on this site is that the college basketball season begins with a whimper. For the past couple of years, a random early November Monday has served as “Opening Night,” and nobody outside of our insular community much cared. As Pomeroy puts it, “with ScheduleMatic, 344 compelling games [each team plays a home and road game] are added to the first week of play, each with some doubt surrounding the outcome. Exciting finishes would be frequent and every team would have a significant test or two on which to be judged early.” Even he recognizes that the NCAA and its participating schools would never go for something like this, but perhaps his creative thinking on the topic will help the suits in Indianapolis and Bristol continue to think through more interesting ways to start the regular season. [note: both the Veterans Day aircraft carrier game and the 24 Hours of Hoops are examples of this kind of thinking; we just need more if it.]