Big East Morning Five: 01.20.12 EditionPosted by Patrick Prendergast on January 20th, 2012
- Oftentimes as fans of college basketball, because we only see our teams while they are in uniform on the court, we tend to forget that they are kids with lives and hardships. Yes, there are well chronicled ‘coming from the streets’ accounts, but even so in some way players still are dehumanized. We focus more on how a kid is doing at the free throw line than we do on his background. Then stories like the one that CBSSports.com conveyed about Louisville’s Peyton Siva and his father come along and put it all back in perspective.
- In another example of life superseding basketball DePaul released a statement that junior Tony Freeland will transfer to be closer to his ailing grandmother. Freeland, who is from Los Angeles, is out for this season following shoulder surgery. The 6’7″ forward started eight games last year for the Blue Demons as a sophomore, scoring more than 20 points four times and averaging 9.6 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. In his career, Freeland started 15 games while scoring 6.8 points and grabbing 3.8 rebounds per game. “We support his decision to be closer to home and near his family,” said head coach Oliver Purnell.
- Well it looks like my colleague, Mike, who reported on Providence here yesterday, will have to go back and re-handicap Saturday’s game against #21 Marquette. Providence head coach Ed Cooley confirmed yesterday that Vincent Council, who was suspended for the Friars’ last game at #1 Syracuse, will be back on the floor Saturday in their home contest with the Golden Eagles. “I definitely will play Vince this Saturday. We are looking forward to him back in the lineup,” Cooley said on Thursday’s weekly Big East conference call. After the Syracuse game Cooley termed Council’s suspension an “accountability issue.” Big East victories have been hard to come by for the Friars (1-5). As has been written here before, wins are always important, but Ed Cooley suspending his best player for a road game against the number one team in the country only drives home the point that he intends to build a program that rests its laurels on more than what any record may suggest.
- It is no secret that Pittsburgh (11-8, 0-6) is struggling. However, it looks like the Panthers are close to getting a lift as junior point guard Travon Woodall he is back practicing, and could return on Saturday night when the Panthers host #23 Louisville. Woodall, who suffered a torn abdominal muscle and strained groin, has played in just one game since December 1. The one game he played in was December 27, a loss at Notre Dame where he did not score in 18 minutes. “I came back way to fast. I wasn’t ready,” Woodall told reporters. Woodall also addressed reports indicating that head coach Jamie Dixon and the Pittsburgh medial staff cleared Woodall to play two weeks ago, leaving his return in his hands, “That’s the thing. Everyone has been saying I’ve been cleared to play. I heard it on an ESPN game when I watched it again. I never had the word that I was cleared to play. If I had the word I probably would have tried to play.” Woodall has averaged 12.4 points and 7.5 assists in eight games played this season.
- Yeahhh… that’s the ticket. Holes continue to be punched in the sexual abuse accusations against former Syracuse assistant coach Bernie Fine as the accusers’ credibility is diminishing by the day. First we had prison inmate Floyd VanHooser admit he lied about his claim. He said he made the accusations as in a revenge “plot” against Fine, who has supported VanHooser since he was a teenager, because he did not pony up for a lawyer when VanHooser was arrested for repeat burglary offenses. Now we have another accuser changing his story. It appears that accuser Zachary Tomaselli needs to visit RTC Big East more often so he can brush up on the conference and its teams. According to Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick, Tomaselli originally claimed Fine molested him in early 2002 when Syracuse played at Connecticut. The thing about that is, Syracuse did not play Connecticut that season. Fitzpatrick said that once Tomaselli was informed of this he changed is story and said the molestation occurred when Syracuse played at Pittsburgh in January, 2002. Tomaselli refuted Fitzpatrick’s rendering saying, ““I was 13 at the time. I had been in the northeast less than three or four months. That was not something I remembered, the specific city. I did once I thought about it. The minute I actually thought about it I knew it was Pittsburgh. One hundred percent.” Shortly thereafter Tomaselli said, “I don’t think I ever told the police it was in Connecticut. I’m 90 percent sure I did not even tell Connecticut to a police dispatcher. That 10 percent, I might have said it was a rivalry game, possibly Connecticut.”