Pac-12 M5: 11.12.12 Edition
Posted by KDanna on November 12th, 2012
- The Pac-12 men’s basketball season got off to an inauspicious start before the first night of games even finished. It wasn’t because of a loss to a low-major school, though; rather, UCLA freshman sensation Shabazz Muhammad was ruled ineligible before the Bruins took the court for their Pauley Pavilion opener against Indiana State (an eventual blowout victory). The relationship between financial advisor Benjamin Lincoln and the Muhammad family was not deemed to be close enough to warrant Lincoln paying for Muhammad’s visits to Duke and North Carolina. Baxter Holmes of the L.A. Times further reported that Muhammad could miss the first 10 games of the season before he is cleared to compete, according to NCAA reinstatement guidelines. While it certainly isn’t great news, there is perhaps at least a little more clarity on when Muhammad can play and, more importantly, that eventually he can play. If the L.A. Times article is correct, then Muhammad will at least be able to suit up for a couple of non-conference tilts before the Pac-12 slate gets underway in January. However, this means that he won’t be available for arguably the Bruins’ most important non-conference stretch in the Legends Classic against Georgetown and potentially Indiana.
- While Arizona State got off on the right foot with a 15-point victory over Central Arkansas on Saturday, the Sun Devils received some not-so-nice news when it was officially declared that freshman guard Calaen Robinson would not play this year. While the three-star recruit wasn’t nearly as highly touted as Jahii Carson, this is now two years in a row that an Arizona State freshman has had to sit out his first year in Tempe. No official reason was given for the decision, but Doug Haller of AZ Central reports that school police had confirmed they were investigating a matter that involved the freshman Robinson (no charges had been filed). He wouldn’t have started, but he could have added some depth in the backcourt with his reported quickness, good defense and nice shooting touch.
- On the bright side of things, the Pac-12 survived the first weekend of competition without suffering a bad loss. There were a couple of hairy moments (namely, Arizona sweating one out against Big South favorite Charleston Southern and the end of the Oregon State-New Mexico State game), but with it all said and done for the weekend, the Pac-12 is one of just two conferences in all of Division I (the Big 12 being the other) that can claim to be perfect through three days. And sure, the conference probably only beat three teams that have a chance of sniffing the RPI Top 100 (Stanford over USF, UCLA over Indiana State and Oregon State over New Mexico State), but it’s the first step in the right direction for a conference that has had such a bad competitive reputation around the country over the last three seasons.
- The best thing about the 2012-13 season is that you will have plenty of opportunities to watch Pac-12 basketball thanks to the advent of the Pac-12 Networks, which is set to broadcast 150 games, including eight Pac-12 Tournament contests. Bill Walton writes as much in his season primer for the Pac-12 website, sounding exuberant and hyperbolic as always. Out of all the talent hires the Pac-12 Networks made, signing up Walton was probably their best decision. Hearing the former UCLA great call somebody the best inbounds passer or best player at boxing out others in the conference will bring a smile to many a face all over the country. The dividends have already paid off, as we have seen all but UCLA on the Networks and all 12 teams have made a television appearance in the first weekend of play.
- A little bit of recruiting news came out late last week when Schuyler Rimmer announced that he was committing to Stanford. A 6’10’’, 255-pound center (according to his Scout profile), Rimmer will give the Cardinal another big body down low, something that looks like a necessity after watching Stanford give up 13 offensive rebounds to USF on Friday night. Originally a Florida commitment, the Orlando prospect becomes the third Stanford recruit in the Class of 2013, following in the footsteps of twin guards Marcus (a top-100 recruit) and Malcolm Allen out of Las Vegas. Of course, the Cardinal aren’t done on the recruiting trail as they hope to land the second-biggest fish in the pond in Jabari Parker, who at last word was likely to make a decision in December.
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