Morning Five: 07.26.11 EditionPosted by rtmsf on July 26th, 2011
- Amidst reports that the University of Connecticut was working on a buyout of embattled athletic director Jeff Hathaway, the school’s new president, Susan Herbst, confirmed that she has initiated a comprehensive evaluation of the school’s athletic department. The evaluation, performed by an outside consulting firm, is clearly meant to provide cover for the ouster of Hathaway, or even better, just cause for an outright firing. But as Hartford Courant columnist Jeff Jacobs writes in a scathing piece about the politics behind this situation, Hathaway never had a chance to survive at UConn with Jim Calhoun remaining “bitter Hathaway didn’t defend him vigorously enough in the Nate Miles case” with the NCAA. According to Jacobs, the three-time national championship coach felt he did nothing wrong (even though the NCAA found him guilty of failure to monitor his program). Interesting stuff, but assuming Hathaway is done at UConn, what is the back-up plan for the 2012 NCAA Selection Committee chair?
- We did this in yesterday’s M5, right? From Connecticut to Tennessee again with the release Monday of UT’s 190-page response to the NCAA’s notice of allegations on various violations including the infamous cookout photograph of Bruce Pearl at his home with Aaron Craft. If you’re a fan of legalese and you have a couple hours to kill, feel free to read the entire thing, but if not, the key takeaway from our view of the world is that the Vol program is kidding itself if it believes that its remedial measures of firing the coaching staff responsible will somehow insulate the program from future restrictions. There’s simply too much to account for here.
- Summer is high time for prep basketball camps around the country, with events like the adidas Super 64 in Las Vegas this week becoming the epicenter of elite high school talent for college coaches to do their one-stop shopping for the stars of tomorrow. But today’s desert hoops, or the LeBron James Skills Academy, or the Peach Jam, weren’t always the shining stars of the summer circuit. For much of the 1990s and 2000s, it was instead a tiny gymnasium on the campus of Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, New Jersey, and the Newark Star-Ledger over the weekend took a look back at those halcyon days. The ABCD Camp, founded and run by the inimitable Sonny Vaccaro, had a certain panache that the others to this date still haven’t been able to live up to. It was a place where the top stars from all around the country played against each other, and where reputations were made. From Tracy McGrady exploding onto the scene in 1996 to LeBron James’ destruction of Lenny Cooke’s psyche in 2001, it all happened there. Great stroll down memory lane.
- Regardless of where the elite players play during the summer, people will watch and report on it. Mike DeCourcy checked in with an interesting story about one of the most intriguing players in Las Vegas this week. Andre Drummond might be listed as a member of the Class of 2012, but the 6’11” center in the mold of Dwight Howard, has several options after the summer circuit ends which makes his situation particularly compelling. Since his high school class graduated this year, he could potentially spend next season at prep school for a year, head off to college at the last minute, or even consider offers to play in Europe as he awaits the NBA’s lockout decision over the winter (to determine if he’ll be eligible to decleare in the summer of 2012 or 2013). Personally, we’re rooting for him to just show up on a random campus on the first day of classes and walk into the head coach’s office with a declaration, “I’m ready to play.”
- We’ve been waiting to link this, but now that Basketball Prospectus‘ Drew Cannon has finished his list of the Top 100 returning players in college basketball, it’s ready for prime time. Believe it or not, the SEC ended up with four players in the top nine of the list, and the only team with two guys in the top ten was none other than Vanderbilt. And we’re betting dollars to doughnuts that you’ll be surprised at the Commodores player chosen who is not named John Jenkins. An added bonus to this list: all-conference teams for each of the six major leagues and a preseason POY the top mid-major conferences. Great stuff.