AAC M5: 10.14.13 Edition

Posted by Will Tucker on October 14th, 2013

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  1. One year after a postseason ban prevented his team from participating in the Big East and NCAA Tournaments, Kevin Ollie reports that his UConn team scored a perfect Academic Progress Score (APR) in the 2012-13 season. “We learned from our mistakes and we are going forward,” Ollie stressed, adding, “you want to create an environment that’s conducive for these kids to learn.” Junior Ryan Boatright and senior Shabazz Napier seem to have assumed primary leadership roles on a team that is expected to compete for an NCAA Tournament berth this season, after accumulating APR scores of 978 and 947 in the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons, respectively. “Nobody wants to run for somebody else not going to class,” said Boatright, “so we definitely make sure everybody goes to class and does their work.”
  2. While the American Athletic Conference lacks several high-profile vestiges of the Big East (RIP), Cincinnati Coach Mick Cronin believes the sea change will serve the Bearcats as well as similar changes have in the past. Cronin pointed out that the 14 regular-season UC games scheduled to appear on the ESPN family of networks this season is the most of his tenure, and noted, “Coach Huggins built this program with a bigger fish in a smaller pond mentality.” In light of the forthcoming loss of rival Louisville from the conference schedule, Cronin said he was already working to “get some bigger name non-league games at home” in 2014-15. The eighth-year head coach said he was trying to keep the Cardinals on the schedule as a non-conference opponent, which would obviously be a treat for fans of either long-time nemesis.
  3. Addressing summer rumors at Louisville media day, Cardinals guard Kevin Ware said that he first heard a report that he’d been kicked off of the team from his sister. “She was like, ‘You got kicked off the team?’ I woke up — first thing in the morning — and had to ask, what are you talking about? All those rumors and things like that are false. I’m still here.” The junior guard and his teammates reiterated that he had remained a member of the team throughout the offseason, and Ware attributed the rumor to a Kentucky blog, noting, “I wouldn’t say they started it for sure, but that’s the only thing I can think of. Just the whole U of L-UK thing.”
  4. Newly-hired Memphis assistant coach Robert Kirby gave all of us a major dose of perspective last week when he donated a kidney to his 57-year-old sister, who was suffering from renal failure and in danger of losing her life. Kirby was the only one of 12 siblings determined to be an eligible match for the operation, and they had lost their mother to a similar condition in 1996 after she refused to explore the possibility of a kidney donation from any of her children. His sister, Virginia Kirk, reportedly showed signs of improvement almost immediately, and the first-year Tigers assistant hopes to return to practice in the coming weeks.
  5. After a difficult year that saw the firing of basketball coach Mike Rice and the resignation of athletic director Tim Pernetti, Rutgers President Robert Barchi made a laudable gesture when he announced last week that he would donate his $90,000 bonus toward his school’s scholarship fund. Citing “a year of fiscal restraint” in which Rutgers is “asking our faculty, students and staff to do more with less,” Barchi wrote to the Board of Governors that he and his wife intended to donate the performance-based reward toward student aid. In addition to multiple recent controversies within the athletic department, The (Newark) Star-Ledger reports that Barchi was encouraged over the summer by several state lawmakers to step down from the boards of two private companies that engage in business with the university.
Will Tucker (116 Posts)

Kentucky native living and working in Washington, D.C. I write for RTC’s American Athletic Conference microsite in my spare time. Aside from college hoops, other sources of spiritual fulfillment include road trips, tacos, and bourbon. I try to incorporate all of them into my writing.


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