Big East Morning Five: 01.16.12 Edition
Posted by Patrick Prendergast on January 16th, 2012
- It is hard to fathom what the world would be like today had Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. not blessed us with his existence. The expression “courage of one’s convictions” contains the word courage for a reason. Forgive the informality here but as the esteemed Bill Raftery would say, King had onions. The word adversity may be one of the most overused, especially in sports. However, to say Dr. King stood up in the face of adversity could be the biggest understatement ever. One cannot begin to imagine how strong someone must be to do what Martin Luther King, Jr. did. But it probably boiled down to this for him, and perhaps made it easier. He knew he was right.
- Floyd VanHooser was full of van hooey. VanHooser, who is currently in prison serving a term of 16 years to life as a repeat burglary offender, was one of four people to accuse former Syracuse assistant coach Bernie Fine of abusing them sexually as children. He went to Syracuse police with the allegations in late November 2011. VanHooser now admits he lied; saying while he and Fine had a consensual sexual relationship as adults, Fine never molested him. VanHooser lost both of his parents by the age of 13 and moved into Fine’s house thereafter. Fine, who was a teacher at VanHooser’s school at the time, took him in and provided for him for a number of years. In two letters written by VanHooser to Fine, he expressed remorse for fabricating the allegations. He said he lied because he wanted revenge against Fine for not paying for an attorney when VanHooser was arrested on the burglary charges. Fine has denied all allegations from the start and there was no comment from him or his attorney on the VanHooser matter.
- Allen Iverson would not be happy right now because we are going to talk about practice…man. In this case, Louisville’s practices. With Cardinal faithful seeking answers as to why Louisville has lost four of its last six, the question brought up by The Louisville Courier-Journal is how tough is too tough? Rick Pitino reacted to a story, which appears only to have run in the hard copy version of the paper, that attributed some of Louisville’s issues to practice intensity and volume wearing down the team. The piece cited a television interview quote from another legendary Louisville coach Denny Crum, who said, “Whether it’s right or wrong, Rick’s got the reputation of overworking his kids.” Pitino refuted the theory, basically saying that everyone in the Big East practices hard. He did, however, also lament the day the NCAA limited practice time to 20 hours per week. But hey, he’s a coach. A coach whose teams are well known for their frenetic, pressing style. A style designed to create a war of attrition and wear down opponents. In order to play such a style Louisville has to be fit enough to execute, so it stands to reason practices would be designed accordingly.
- Connecticut’s Ryan Boatright had to sit out Saturday’s win at Notre Dame as there continue to be questions about his eligibility. Boatright, a freshman guard, was suspended for the Huskies’ first six games this year due to the receipt of improper benefits involving an airplane ticket purchased for him while he was playing AAU ball in Chicago. Following the suspension, Boatright has been an impactful contributor for the Huskies, averaging 10.2 points and 3.5 assists in 26.4 minutes per contest. The Notre Dame game likely was anticipated as a highlight for Boatright, who grew up in Aurora, Illinois, which is just a few hours away by car from South Bend. It is not yet known when Boatright will be able to get back on the court in game action, but he is allowed to practice and travel with the team. Connecticut next faces a test against Cincinnati at home on Wednesday.
- Another Big East guard was held out of a game over the weekend as Providence’s Vincent Council did not play at #1 Syracuse for what head coach Ed Cooley called an “accountability issue”. After the game Cooley and Providence’s Sports Information Director Arthur Parks, specifically stated there were no academic legal reasons for Council’s suspension. Council (16.4 PPG, 7.1 APG) is the Friars’ leader and only legitimate point guard on a team that lacks overall depth. His projected backup coming into the year, freshman Kiwi Gardner, was ruled academically ineligible for the season due to a high school transcript problem. Syracuse took advantage of Council’s absence and cruised to a 78-55 win. The suspension remains indefinite as Cooley left open the possibility that it could extend beyond one game. Providence does not play again until Saturday, January 21 when they host Marquette.