Morning Five: 12.27.12 EditionPosted by nvr1983 on December 27th, 2012
- Unfortunately, the big news of the night is somewhat depressing (at least from a college basketball standpoint) as Creighton guard Josh Jones will no longer play for the team as doctors continue to work on his ongoing medical problems. We won’t get into the details of what has been released publicly about Jones’ medical condition although we easily could other than to summarize it as saying he had an infection of one of the valves of his heart while he was in high school that required open heart surgery (trust us when we say that this is rare even for something that seems as serious as an infection of the heart). After that surgery Jones apparently did relatively well until he lost consciousness before a game on December 6th. During the work-up, Jones was noted to have an abnormal heart rhythm (“an atrial flutter” as many news outlets have butchered the terminology). We are not privy to the details of what is planned next for Jones by his medical doctors other than their initial attempt at correcting the abnormal rhythm appears to have been unsuccessful and that reports say that “additional procedures will be necessary”. As we noted last night on Twitter, while we will miss seeing Jones on the court his health is much more important and we wish him the best of luck with whatever treatment he needs and hope he has a healthy productive life even if it doesn’t involve basketball. [Ed. Note: White & Blue Review has an excellent retrospective on Jones' career.]
- It looks like we may see the return of Louisville center Gorgui Dieng sooner than many expected as Rick Pitino told Jeff Goodman that Dieng will play against Kentucky on December 29. This does not come as much of a surprise to us as we noted this as the target date for his return all the way back when his injury was initially reported and the expected recovery time was announced. Dieng’s return will certainly add to the atmosphere of a game that was expected by many to be the biggest game of the regular season before the season started, but has lost much of its luster due to the struggles of a young Wildcat team. Louisville would have been the clear favorite whether or not Dieng played, but his return gives us a match-up of two of the top centers in the country even if Dieng is not at 100%.
- While several prominent programs have struggled early this season, Michigan State might be the most intriguing partly because it seems like they always do this–start out slow and then surprise everybody in March. As Brian Hamilton notes the key to any late-season success that they may be the play of Branden Dawson, who is returning from an ACL tear in March. While we still contend that Gary Harris will need to be the star if the Spartans are going to be a threat in March, Dawson’s improvement may represent the biggest impact for the Spartans. In the past we would have said a year was too short a period to see a player come all the way back from an ACL tear, but then we saw Adrian Peterson.
It seems like we read columns all the time that criticize the NCAA for its handling of student-athlete cases and its mishandling of what people assume its priorities should be. The latest case comes from The Los Angeles Times in a piece that analyzes the NCAA’s handling of cases in southern California.While we can agree with many of the basic tenets of the article we have to point out that these issues are hardly unique to the schools in that area as fans at Miami and Texas most recently can attest to based on their experiences. Still the point stands and even if the NCAA is not in fact a bully at some point perception becomes reality and that is something that the NCAA needs to fight if it is ever to win the PR battle.
- After never featuring a college football article in the Morning Five until yesterday we are coming back for a second helping as it relates to the challenges a recruit faces when he is being courted by various college. In this case, a three-star football recruit who had originally committed to Ole Miss before switching over to Alabama on Christmas. While this might be the end of the story in most cases normally a school would try to win back its lost recruit, but Ole Miss is forbidden from doing so because the recruit, who was doing a postgraduate year after failing to qualify academically, had signed an SEC financial aid agreement that prohibits other schools in the conference from trying to recruit that player afterwards. While this does make sense to some degree as the article states it is something that is only offered to postgraduate students (and not because they are theoretically more well-educated at the recruiting game) and is something that we had never heard of despite covering college sports (basketball) for over five and a half years so you can imagine what it is like for a teenager.