Morning Five: 10.02.12 EditionPosted by rtmsf on October 2nd, 2012
- Monday was Media Day around the NBA, and why would anyone here give a whit about what professional basketball players have to say? One clear reason is that former Duke forward Lance Thomas is a second-year member of the New Orleans Hornets, and his recent agreement with a New York City jeweler involving a $67,800 loan while he was a senior was bound to come up. First, despite a confidentiality agreement in place, Thomas said he didn’t believe he was involved in an NCAA violation regarding the transaction; he then added, “There’s more to it, but I’m not going to comment on it right now. Everything will unfold once everything is taken care of the right way.” He went on to say that he would eventually speak to both Duke and the NCAA about the incident, but kept referring to doing things “the right way.” What is Thomas talking about here? The settlement is already in place, and we’ve been told that it includes a confidentiality agreement. What does he anticipate will change that would allow him to comment on this matter, and why would he expose himself or his beloved alma mater by talking anyway? Thomas’ comments here make very little sense, but then again, very little about this entire incident does.
- DePaul basketball has to go back a long way to find its glory days, as the program in the last two decades has largely been an unmitigated disaster (one NCAA win since 1990). Still, with a deep and rich local prep talent pool and no real collegiate rival within the Chicago metropolitan area (Northwestern, of course, has zero NCAA wins to match its number of historical appearances), the school continues to believe that better days are ahead. Mayor Rahm Emanuel said on Monday what many supporters of the program have been thinking for years — one of the school’s biggest negatives is that its home court is located in suburban Rosemont, some 15 traffic-clogged miles from DePaul’s Lincoln Park campus on the north side. A new arena near campus or even regular games at the United Center near downtown might help Chicagoans start to feel like DePaul is their college basketball team. With this idea, we’re totally in favor — to really develop great fan and student support, most campus gyms should be right on campus or as near to it as possible.
- It appears that either dad or kids have won out in the continuing saga over the biggest package deal in college basketball since the goofy Lopez twins showed up at Stanford in the fall of 2006. After months of hemming and hawing about their announcement date (most recently: late October) and various reports suggesting that the players and father were at odds of their preference of school, it appears that someone in the (Andrew and Aaron) Harrison family has made a final decision. The top-rated point guard and shooting guard will without question infuse a backcourt with talent in much the same way that UCLA’s Shabazz Muhammad and Kyle Anderson are expected to do this year. Whether their choice will be Kentucky or Maryland is still anybody’s guess, but ESPNU will televise their decision on Thursday afternoon at 5 PM on its “Recruiting Nation” show.
- Just yesterday we mentioned that Louisville’s Mike Marra had torn his ACL for the second time in under a year, ending his senior season before it got started, and effectively, his college basketball career. That disappointing news was followed up by the report that Utah center David Foster had broken his right foot, also for the second time in under a year, ending his season before it got started, and effectively, his college basketball career. Ugh. Like Marra, Foster was of limited usefulness offensively, but the 7’3″ big man averaged 3.5 blocks per game in his three-year career, ultimately rejecting 219 total shots and leaving the program as its all-time blocked shots leader. His return from injury for Larry Krystkowiak’s 2012-13 squad was anticipated to provide some defensive help for a team that gave up a putrid 51.3% on shots within the arc last season; Foster’s loss now leaves that up to the more offensively-oriented Jason Washburn (11/6/1.4 BPG).
- The more we read about Kevin Ollie‘s tryout season as the head coach of Connecticut with his former coach, mentor and legend Jim Calhoun poking around the program he built, the more we believe that the interim coach may not get a fair shot there. According to this AP report about Ollie and Calhoun’s adjustment period, Calhoun seems to be having a little too much fun staying involved. What happens when the inevitable losing streak happens and reporters start asking for the venerable ex-coach’s opinions? At what point do the envelopes full of sand turn into stocking full of coal? It’s just a weird position for Ollie to suffer, and this is especially true because Calhoun knows he will need considerable help.