Morning Five: 08.07.13 EditionPosted by rtmsf on August 7th, 2013
- Now that we’re heading over the next few weeks into the start of fall semesters at our nation’s colleges, the intensity of recruiting pitches for the top uncommitted prospects in the Class of 2014 will begin to reach a fever pitch. Prospects coming out of the summer camps have been evaluated and ranked, scholarship offers have been approved and delivered, and on-campus visits are being scheduled and discussed. A little later today we’ll be publishing a fantastic interview with ESPN‘s Dave Telep and CBSSports.com‘s Jeff Borzello breaking down their keen observations of the rising stars in prep basketball, but that won’t stop the wheels from turning on their own. The Sporting News took time Tuesday to list the top 10 consensus uncommitted prospects in the senior class, with each player’s current list of schools and corresponding official visits noted alongside. The top prospect on that list, Jahlil Okafor, announced yesterday that he will visit Kentucky for its September 9 Alumni Game, while the third prospect, Emmanuel Mudiay, narrowed his list down to five schools (including those same Wildcats). John Calipari’s squad, along with Duke, Louisville and Kansas — three of the last four national finalists, as it turns out — appear to be in outstanding position for big-time hauls at this point. The more things change…
- The more the NCAA looks like a clown car fire drill. Sometimes an organization simply can’t win for losing, and although nobody would agree that they’re losing in a financial sense, we’ve noted extensively in this space that the stoic institution appears to be reaching a tipping point over amateurism in the court of public opinion from which it simply cannot recover. The latest ignominy comes courtesy of ESPN‘s Jay Bilas, who tweeted that by typing player names into the NCAA’s shop search box (he started with “Nerlens Noel”), the results would show up as that player’s unnamed jersey, such as in Noel’s case, his #3 Wildcats uniform. Bilas then tried a number of other player names, both football and basketball, with similar corresponding results. As later described by Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger, the NCAA caught wind of it and immediately shut down the search functionality, but the damage was already done. Once again the NCAA has managed to find the sweet spot of hypocrite as well as laughingstock, made especially so by virtue of the fact that they’re embroiled in a high profile case with former and current athletes over the use of their likeness. Unbelievable.
- CBSSports.com made some waves earlier this week with its release of the results of an unscientific poll showing that Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg was the top choice among coaches in the business in terms of likelihood to jump to the NBA. Coach K, given his ties to all the stars on the US Olympic team, was unsurprisingly second. At third was Billy Donovan — who nearly went League once already — and Kansas’ Bill Self. Self — really? On Monday night at his induction to the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame, where he starred in the prep ranks before playing at Oklahoma State, Self at least entertained the notion. Predictably, a firestorm ensued on Tuesday, with everyone from KC to Liberal wondering why the nine-time defending Big 12 champion would ever consider a move to the professional ranks. Self took time to couch those comments on Tuesday, but he made sure to leave the window slightly ajar, stating that he’d made a prior mistake in telling Illinois fans that he was there “for the long haul” before staying in Champaign for a flingish three years.
- How about some comings and goings for a hot August hump day? First, Colorado State head coach Larry Eustachy parlayed his excellent NCAA Round of 32 season into a raise and extension to his contract. His new deal now lasts through the 2017-18 season (with options through 2021) and will pay him an average base salary of nearly $1 million per year. Perhaps the most surprising thing in a world where DePaul’s Oliver Purnell clears nearly twice that for doing very little is that Eustachy’s new deal actually puts him at the very top of the heap in the hyper-competitive Mountain West Conference. The Mountain’s powerhouse programs — San Diego State, New Mexico and UNLV — all pay their top guys a salary considerably lower than Eustachy’s contract. Steve Fisher, for example, the national championship coach with a number of Sweet Sixteen runs in San Diego to his name, currently makes $800,000 per year. Maybe he should put in a call to his AD.
- Down in the desert, much of the offseason chatter has surrounded the haul of talent that Arizona head coach Sean Miller has in Tucson. But the best player in the state might actually be playing in Tempe for Herb Sendek; at least for one more year, that is. Coming off a very strong freshman campaign in 2012-13, Sun Devils point guard Jahii Carson turned some heads this summer with his play at the Adidas Nations Camp and is poised to become an All-American in his sophomore year. He tweeted on Tuesday that he’s looking forward to that run, but it appears that his next 10 months in the desert will be, as he called it, his last “go round.” The team is about to head to China in a couple of days — it’ll certainly be interesting to track Carson’s progress next season, regardless of how well his team does supporting him.