Morning Five: 12.19.11 EditionPosted by nvr1983 on December 19th, 2011
- It was a scary Saturday for two of the nation’s top players as both Jared Sullinger and Perry Jones appeared to suffer significant injury. Fortunately, both appear to be ok. Sullinger, who had been dealing with back spasms, injured his left foot during the game at South Carolina. Initially there was some concern that it was a fracture, but the x-rays came back negative and he was diagnosed with a bone bruise. Ohio State hung on to win the game 74-66, but Sullinger’s return remains up in the air. If we were the Buckeye coaching staff, we would probably hold Sullinger out for at least the next two games because of their relatively weak upcoming opposition. The Jones injury, while not as big of a national story, was just as scary at the time as he was writhing on the floor late in the game after a knee-on-knee collision. After shaking it off, Jones returned and added a put back to give him a game-high 28 points and give Baylor a hard-fought three-point victory at BYU. We haven’t heard an official report on whatever temporary injury Jones sustained, but given his sudden return we doubt it was substantial and we do not expect him to miss any playing time.
- The most highly touted recruit of the Jamie Dixon era is on his way out after one semester at Pittsburgh. Khem Birch arrived on campus as a McDonald’s All-American, but he left on Friday after averaging just 4.4 points and 5 rebounds per game in 10 games this season. We have not heard any solid reports about where Birch may be headed, but we do not doubt that there will be no shortage of Division I teams looking for 6’9″ McDonald’s All-American with three more years of eligibility left. We also are unaware of what kind of “personal reasons” Birch had for leaving the program, but based on the quotes from his high school coach it seems like Birch had some people in his ear telling him that there were better situations for him to be in than Pittsburgh.
- Don’t expect to see a job opening in Gainesville any time soon as Florida signed Billy Donovan to an extension that runs through the 2015-16 season. We didn’t expect to see Donovan going anywhere anytime soon, but this deal, which will pay him $3.5 million annually (or enough to pay for a $2,000 stipend for 1,750 student-athletes) should be enough to keep him in Gainesville. The contract is essentially the same as what he signed in 2007 after winning back-to-back championships and briefly leaving to take over as coach of the Orlando Magic (read: the absolute maximum value that Donovan will ever have). We don’t doubt that there will be some big-name program (like UCLA?) that might come calling in the near-future, but we cannot imagine that there will be many that offer significantly more than what Donovan is getting at Florida ($220,000 in base salary, approximately $2.7 million for media and basketball camp appearances, and the rest coming from bonuses). So if your team is in the market for a new head coach you might want to look elsewhere for your next coach.
- DeQuan Jones, who was suspended at the start of the season while Miami investigates a report that Nevin Shapiro paid Jones $10,000 to play there, has hired an attorney and is asking the school to reinstate him. Jones, who had a disappointing first three years at Miami, has continued to deny Shapiro’s claims. While we cannot comment on the case of Jones individually since we do not have the necessary information, it is amusing that the only one who has been punished so far is a student-athlete while none of the administrators or coaches have been punished including Jake Morton, the assistant coach (now at Western Kentucky) who allegedly asked Shapiro to pay Jones.
- The damage from the David Salinas Ponzi scheme continues to grow as a booster group affiliated with Houston that helps fund athletic scholarships reportedly lost more than 40% (approximately $2.2 million) of their assets to the Ponzi scheme. The group appears to among the hardest hit in the $39 million fraud that affected more than 100 investors. The group says it will be able to survive the blow and has asked its board members to help contribute so it could continue to give the $250,000 it provides to the school annually. The university says that it will not have a “huge impact” on the school, but for a school that reportedly has struggled financially it could sting a little bit.