Morning Five: 05.09.12 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on May 9th, 2012

  1. Most national college basketball writers are aware of the sensitivity of Kentucky fans so you would think that a local newspaper would be cognizant of the sensibilities of their readers. Apparently The Lexington Herald-Ledger was not aware of that (or didn’t care) as it published an editorial cartoon making fun of John Calipari and some of the accusation that follow him. Outside of being unoriginal it seems like a rather idiotic decision to alienate your subscriber base (if the paper has a substantial one even before this). We would have expected something like this out of The Indianapolis Star, but for the local newspaper to do it to poke at their always irritable fan base seems to be a poor move all around.
  2. With the NBA Draft a little over seven weeks away, fans of both NBA and college basketball are beginning to focus in one how their favorite teams and players will get paired. By now we know who the top picks will be regardless of what order teams select them in, but the real intrigue is who the “value picks” will be. For that, takes a look at this year’s NBA Draft and some recent NBA Drafts to find a poor man’s version of more highly rated players. Of course, as the NBA Draft approaches every year you can count on at least one column bemoaning the current age limit. The latest version of this article comes from Steve Kerr and speaks in favor of a 20-year-old age limit. We agree with Kerr on some of the points he makes, but picking 20, which is an arbitrary number seems a little capricious. Personally we would prefer an age limit of 22 years-old out of personal greed (3 more years of Anthony Davis? Sign us up!), but it will be hard to make the case as long as NBA owners and GMs continue to draft talented freshmen. Even if you disagree with Kerr’s premise it is a worthwhile and relatively short read.
  3. As we have seen several times in the barely one month old offseason, coaching changes very often lead to player transfers. The latest such case is Dorian Finney-Smith, who is transferring from Virginia Tech. Finney-Smith did not provide new coach James Johnson with a reason for his decision except to say that it was not due to the firing of Seth Greenberg, which may or may not be the case. Finney-Smith, one of the most highly sought-after recruits that the Hokies ever brought to campus, had a decent if not great freshman year averaging 6.3 points and 7 rebounds per game. The move, which was a shock to Johnson and the Hokie program, is a pretty big blow as they try to regroup under new leadership. Finney-Smith has not announced what schools he is looking at, but there should be no shortage of schools chasing after him.
  4. The North Carolina athletic department has no shortage of scandals recently and now it appears that there is a brewing academic scandal involving classes that are made up of largely basketball and football players. The classes being investigated are in African and Afro-American Studies and are said to involve unauthorized grade changes in classes without the instruction of professors. To be fair to the athletes the investigation has not shown that the players were shown any favoritism in the grade changes although the high percentage of athletes from the two sports in the classes (39%) will lead many to infer that they were put there to maintain their eligibility. Obviously, there are quite a few other potential explanation for the high prevalence of these athletes in these classes like the race of the athletes or that they were often held in summer sessions when athletes are a relatively larger percentage of the student body. While some may think this matter needs further investigation the school does not appear to think so as UNC System President Tom Ross stated that he felt it was “an isolated situation” (the famous words of many administrators before the walls came crumbling down).
  5. We know what you were probably expecting us to lead with the Nerlens Noel piece in The New York Times, but honestly it isn’t even worth mentioning at this point except to say that it is not a story. The NCAA tends to investigate a lot of situations like this and invariably nothing ever comes of it. This only becomes a story now because it is Kentucky and it is Pete Thamel, which will inevitably spiral into another ridiculous Internet feud given the history between the two with Thamel’s penchant for hunting down stories regarding Kentucky. If something is found, then it would be a big story, but for right now our response is “meh”.
nvr1983 (1397 Posts)

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