Morning Five: 09.11.12 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on September 11th, 2012

  1. In the span of four days, Lance Thomas has become a much bigger name some two years after his graduation from Duke than the role player ever was during his time attending Duke. Everyone who follows college basketball in any capacity whatsoever has an opinion on how and why Thomas got himself embroiled in a jewelry purchase and loan during December 2009 that could ultimately cause the Blue Devils’ 2010 national championship to come under duress if he was in fact ineligible at the time. Here’s a smattering of written opinion on the matter from Monday: ESPN.com‘s Dana O’Neil does a good job framing the debate, but the jewel (ahem) in her piece openly refers to the dilemma that the NCAA faces in pursuing information and potential sanctions against one of its sacred cows. Bylaw Blog‘s John Infante describes the leverage that the NCAA could have over Thomas in order to force him to talk to them (namely, that the jeweler is likely to give his side of the story, forcing Thomas to respond). Over at CBSSports.com, Matt Norlander examines the Thomas case through the prism of troubles surrounding each of the four major programs on Tobacco Road, but the most compelling point in his story is that Thomas at Duke was apparently known as someone not at all prone to flash. Yet… we know that he purchased nearly $100,000 worth of jewelry. So many questions…
  2. Meanwhile, the hits keep coming at UNC. A report from the Raleigh News & Observer on Monday evening disclosed that former Tar Heel quarterback Matt Kupec, who had returned to the school to become its chief fundraiser, tendered his resignation when presented with evidence that he and Tami Hansbrough (the 2008 NPOY Tyler’s divorced mother, also a UNC fundraiser) took personal trips together on the university’s dime. Hansbrough was placed on administrative leave from her job at the school, but given her already tenuous job history at the school and allegations from school chancellor Holden Thorp that some of these trips were to watch her other son, Ben Hansbrough, play at Notre Dame, we’re wondering just how many other surprises there are hiding out on the various servers and job descriptions tangentially related to football and basketball at this university? More to come, we’re sure — welcome to 2012, the year that integrity in college athletics came home to roost.
  3. The Billy Gillispie saga continues to churn along, with additional news on Monday reported by ESPN.com that the Red Raiders’ leading returning scorer, Jordan Tolbert, hasn’t heard from the head coach in two or three weeks and doesn’t want to play for him again. In addition to that, CBSSports.com reported on Monday that Gillispie was not actually on sick leave as many outlets had reported; he is instead using accrued sick time to recuperate and has allegedly told athletic director Kirby Holcutt that he is not well enough to meet. While this very space has all but declared Gillispie’s head coaching career in Lubbock to be over, our Big 12 microsite’s Danny Spewak makes a compelling argument that the media’s general rush to judgment without hearing his side of the story is journalism at its worst – and you know what, he’s right.
  4. Connecticut may not have a lot to play for next season, and depending on the mood of its head coach, they may be looking at a complete programmatic overhaul, but the returning backcourt of Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright will ultimately determine the Huskies’ ceiling. The Napier half of that equation underwent surgery late last week to repair a nagging stress fracture on his right foot that doctors felt was not healing quickly enough for the point guard to be ready for the season. The rising junior is UConn’s most talented returning player and a legitimate candidate for Big East postseason individual honors, so they absolutely will need his production next winter to avert a massive cliff dive in both record and status.
  5. Larry Brown is well into his first year as the head coach of the SMU Mustangs, but the sad truth is that the rebuilding process will take some time in light of the paucity of talent left at the Dallas school. With that in mind, perhaps Brown’s open tryout scheduled for September 18 at the Crum Basketball Center will yield a diamond or two in the rough. You never know when a future Hall of Famer like Chicago Bulls great (and Central Arkansas walk-on) might literally stroll through your door. For those of you looking to get some instruction by the only dual NBA/NCAA coaching champion, the deadline to enroll in classes at SMU has unfortunately already passed. Maybe next year.
rtmsf (3726 Posts)


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