Morning Five: Veterans Day (Observed) Edition
Posted by nvr1983 on November 12th, 2012
- Friday was supposed to be about the games, but perhaps the biggest news all last week came out of NCAA headquarters where it declared UCLA freshman Shabazz Muhammad ineligible to play “due to violations of NCAA amateurism rules,” citing his travel and lodging on unofficial visits to two schools — reportedly Duke and UNC — in addition to the already discussed relationship between his family and financial advisors. Perhaps given the timing of the announcement, for which the NCAA probably figured it would receive criticism, they also mentioned how long it took the Muhammad family to produce the necessary documents (a full three months) meaning that the NCAA took a little over one week to come to a decision and within a few hours of completing the necessary interviews. It should be pointed out that this ruling does not mean that Muhammad is done for the season, as the NCAA did not specify the duration of his ineligibility and UCLA plans to appeal the ruling. As we said before we are not that surprised by this decision, but expect this to play out over the next few weeks. Hopefully Muhammad stays at UCLA long enough for a final decision to be made.
- As for the actual games, there were quite a few interesting storylines over the weekend, but the one that stood out was the cancellation of the two naval ship games on Friday night due to issues with condensation. The only outdoor game that was actually completed was the Sunday afternoon match-up between Syracuse and San Diego State and even that one had to be moved from Friday due to inclement weather. As we have said on this site before, the naval ship idea is nice as a morale boost for the troops and brings some good publicity to the sport when it is pulled off correctly, but as this weekend demonstrated there are too many confounding variables to make it a viable repeatable event. As much as we hate to say it just one year after the Carrier Classic was one of the highlights of last season, but the outdoor ship games need to go. If you want to do something to honor the troops on Veterans Day weekend, do something like what Michigan State and Connecticut did in Germany and play in front of them indoors — an airplane hangar works out just fine.
- On Friday we ran a column featuring the winners and losers of the week. If we were doing another one today, Tom Crean would have to be at the top of the winners list as he not only added Noah Vonleh, the #8 recruit in the class of 2013, but he also signed a contract extension that runs through 2020 and pays him $3.16 million per year in base salary. As big as the Vonleh signing is (he might end up being Cody Zeller’s replacement if Zeller opts to enter the NBA Draft after this season), the contract extension should be a huge recruiting tool for Crean particularly as he recruits against more established coaches at the other top schools around the country. Kentucky fans might still mock the Hoosiers and their Sweet Sixteen rings, but the way things are looking we could have a very competitive interstate rivalry over the next decade even if the schools can’t come to an agreement to play each other.
- Butler announced that it was starting a public fundraising campaign to get to the $16 million it needs to renovate Hinkle Fieldhouse. The school has already raised $11 million on its own, but needs to raise an additional $5 million to meet its goal. As much as we love Hinkle we understand the need to raise money to renovate it and help Butler stay competitive with the other high-level programs it competes against, but we are having a hard time with the naming opportunity section. For a place that seems essentially a temple/church of basketball, naming every nut and bolt in the place seems a little strange. Having said that if one of our generous benefactors wants to name something after us we would be willing to lend our name so long as it isn’t something particularly offensive, like a urinal.
- Over the years we have commented on more than one occasion about the Taylor King saga as the former McDonald’s All-American bounced around from school to school, but we never knew much about his background. Jeff Goodman was able to get access to Taylor and his family to produce an excellent piece about the issues that King was dealing with including an overbearing father and a marijuana problem. King is currently in Taiwan trying to make a comeback while getting his his life together. It seems like we often hear about players failing to live up to their potential and writers and fans inevitably make fun of them (hello, Reeves Nelson), but as this case illustrates there is usually a lot more going on in the background that we never know about at the time.