Morning Five: 10.06.11 EditionPosted by rtmsf on October 6th, 2011
- Is UCLA on the verge of being back? Ben Howland rebuilt the west coast’s premier program in the mid-2000s with strong recruiting in his home state, culminating in three straight Final Four appearances from 2006-08. But in the last few years, the talent pool in the Golden State has dropped a bit and Sean Miller at Arizona has aggressively entered the picture for the best of the rest, leaving Howland to look elsewhere to fill his roster. With Kyle Anderson’s decision to leave New Jersey for the fairer weather of SoCal combined with the distinct possibility that UCLA will also pull #1 prospect Shabazz Muhammad out of Las Vegas, the Bruins program may be on the verge of re-joining the elite and doing it by recruiting as a nationally relevant program should — nationally. Luke Winn examines this recent phenomenon in addition to NC State, Kentucky, Houston, and Providence’s recruiting prowess in a compelling analysis this week.
- Speaking of Anderson, the overall #4 player in the Class of 2012 according to RSCI, his high school coach, Bob Hurley, Sr., told Adam Zagoria recently that the 6’8″ guard might be the best player he’s ever had at powerhouse St. Anthony’s. Hurley’s alumni include a number of high-profile prep players dating back to the 80s, so this is very high praise indeed. He even goes so far to call Anderson a “modern-day Magic Johnson” with his ability to see the floor and direct his team from the perimeter with the size of a big man. These sorts of comparisons almost always seem lacking in some way, but if Anderson can bring even a smidge of Showtime back to LA over at the new and improved Pauley Pavilion next season, Bruins fans will certainly let us know.
- In conference realignment’s worst kept secret, Missouri is prepared to accept an offer from an unstated conference to the south and east of its geographic base that may or may not start with the letter “S” and end with the letter “C.” Like a jilted bridesmaid, Mizzou brass would have much rather received an offer from a certain midwestern conference (last year, this year, or any year), but such an offer does not appear to be forthcoming, so as a Missouri official put it on Wednesday, the S[…]C is “what’s left.” Mike DeCourcy points out that even if Missouri ultimately joins that league, the conference could face a dilemma where its lack of a buyout could end up biting it if that other league comes calling. Quite the chess game that is going on behind the scenes here, we imagine.
- As for the practical effects on Missouri’s presumed move, Kansas head coach Bill Self had quite a bit to say on the matter Wednesday. He told the KC Star that he, and by proxy, Kansas fans, would hate to see the Border War basketball games between Missouri and KU come to an end. “I don’t want them to leave. I think it’s too good. What we have, what we have going is one of the best five basketball rivalries in all of America, and I’d hate to see that go away.” He went on to implicitly suggest that if Mizzou in fact leaves the Big 12, the resulting frayed relationship may in effect make it impossible for the schools to play each other again for a while. It’s a well-taken point, actually, but unfortunately not one that schools seem to be giving much thought to these days. Syracuse-Georgetown, Texas A&M-Texas, Syracuse-Connecticut… all traditional rivalries that arguably are finished for some time unless school administrators are more forgiving than we think they are.
- Hall of Famer Bill Russell filed a lawsuit in Oakland on Wednesday accusing the NCAA and EA of using his likeness without his consent or compensation. Russell’s case joins former NPOY Ed O’Bannon’s in claiming that both parties violate antitrust laws by selling game footage and video games with players’ images as a material component of the content while getting nothing in return. For a greater discussion of the legal doctrines and likely positions from both sides, click here, but numerous legal experts have stated that the NCAA and EA could face a disastrous financial burden here (possibly a ten figure judgment). Russell provides another powerful name to add to this lawsuit as it winds its way through the courts.