Big East M5: 10.19.12 EditionPosted by Will Tucker on October 19th, 2012
- Marquette blog Cracked Sidewalks cites a new article by Dan McGrath as symptomatic of the growing cognitive dissonance suffered by MU fans, boosters and administrators, as they try to reconcile integrity with the realities of building an elite basketball program. The sex scandal involving basketball players that rocked Marquette last summer is the kind of sensational event that forces introspection and re-evaluation. The schism between fans who strictly prioritize success and those who stress doing things “the right way” is a theme that resonates throughout college basketball, but is an acutely sensitive topic at the Catholic Big East schools. CBS’ Jeff Goodman had recently raised doubts that the ambitious Buzz Williams and hyper-vigilant athletic director Larry Williams could coexist without stepping on each other’s toes. It remains to be seen if their priorities are entirely compatible.
- According to Jeff Borzello at CBS, Providence coach Ed Cooley floated the idea of redshirting Kris Dunn during Big East Media Day. “It’s a possibility. But I’m trying to get him for every Big East game. I need him,” Cooley admitted, before qualifying, “but I’m in it for the long haul.” Should Dunn return, the Friars’ coach plans to use him and fellow point guard Vincent Council simultaneously, leaning on a talented starting lineup to carry a pretty shallow depth chart. Cooley did suggest that Providence could have “the best backcourt in the country” next year, though it’s hard to imagine Ledo sticking around for a second year unless his draft stock arbitrarily plummets. (h/t Friar Blog)
- John Thompson III ended the week empty handed on the recruiting trail. Roddy Peters committed to Maryland earlier in the week, and on Thursday Memphis forward Johnathan Williams III picked Missouri over the Hoyas, Michigan State and Tennessee. The Casual Hoya depicted the scene as a bizarre caricature of a commitment ceremony: “After an endless slideshow to the tune of R. Kelly’s “World’s Greatest,” a moving speech by his Aunt Lynn and a sermon by some guy in a blue shirt, ‘JW3’…put on a Missouri hat while leavings hats for Georgetown, Michigan State, Tennessee and George Mason on the table to high five themselves for dodging a bullet.” Ostentatious announcement notwithstanding, it’s hard to characterize missing out on a top-50 recruit with Williams’ length and skill as “dodging a bullet.”
- Rick Pitino –– a constant fixture in this week’s M5 –– made some interesting comments to St. John’s blog Rumble in the Garden on Wednesday about a flawed recruiting philosophy in the post-Carnesecca era, which he believes had stunted the program for years. Pitino explained, “The mistake that St. John’s made after Louie was that they didn’t recruit outside the city… In Louie’s time, he could do that, when it wasn’t the world of AAU basketball.” New York City basketball has developed a kind of diaspora in the last couple decades, concentrated in prep schools across New England whose blue chip recruits seldom return home. Pitino points out that St. John’s is taking the correct recruiting approach under these circumstances: “Lavin can go to Chicago and to Indiana (to recruit), because now the kids from all over the nation want to come here.” Quinn Rochford astutely points out how unthinkable it would have been 20 years ago to envision a St. John’s team whose best players are from Houston, Los Angeles, Ohio, Nigeria, and the Dominican Republic.
- On Wednesday, USA Today published a comprehensive look at the basketball-crazed triumvirate of Indiana, Kentucky and Louisville, and the intense rivalries that develop at the geographical nexus of this year’s top title contenders. One Pitino quote in particular insinuated that having three basketball-centric schools dominate the national consciousness headed into the season is good for college basketball in general. Perhaps having fervent fan bases in such frenzy will counteract the recent common tendency to subordinate basketball to football, and view college sports through the lens of football-driven realignment.