Morning Five: 12.11.13 Edition
Posted by nvr1983 on December 11th, 2013
- We would hesitate to call Oklahoma a surprise in the Big 12 since we thought they were pretty good even before the season started. They may not be in the upper echelon of the conference, but they are a step right below that. Now they will have to do it without sophomore guard Je’lon Hornbeak, who will be out for 4-6 weeks after breaking a bone in his left foot. Hornbeak is certainly not a star, but does a little bit of everything averaging 5.7 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.1 steals per game for the team coming off the bench. Fortunately for the Sooners their schedule the next month should be very manageable even without their full roster.
- There have been plenty of times where we have discussed players being academically ineligible in this space, but we are having a hard time remembering school disregarding the rules regarding eligibility as blatantly as Southeastern Louisiana did when it allowed 137 athletes to compete while academically ineligible over a period of five years. Yesterday, the NCAA handed down its penalties to the school: probation for four years, a $25,000 fine, reduction in scholarships, and vacate victories from 2005 through 2010. According to the AP, the majority of the violations were in football and men’s basketball. Interestingly those programs were not hit that much harder than the other sports. Although the school did not acknowledge intentionally playing ineligible athletes they admitted a lack of institutional control in allowing those individuals to compete.
- Given the way that various governing bodies have handled player eligibility over the years we were surprised to hear that the NAIA agreed to let Cameron Rodriguez, a basketball player at Southwestern College, keep the $20,000 he won hitting a halfcourt shot at an Oklahoma City Thunder game. To his credit, Rodriguez reported the prize to the NAIA as under a strict interpretation of NAIA rules he did technically use his athletic skills to make money. Of course, when we say keep the money we actually mean that the money Rodriguez won will be used for a scholarship. So technically he isn’t really keeping the money although he could get some nice tax benefits out of it. In an odd way, the NAIA won this battle to as it was able to get the headline it wanted, but still keep the money out of a student-athletes hands by giving it to one of its member institutions.
- Some people might think it is too early to consider player of the year candidates, but at the very least it does serve as a good way to analyze who has been performing well this season. So at some level, Kelli Anderson’s Wooden Watch provides some insight into the season thus far. As she points out, Shabazz Napier belongs on the short list of the season’s most significant players based on his contributions to a Connecticut team that has found a way to win several very close games this season. While Napier has played at an extremely high level and has some support around him, he will need his teammates to become more productive if he wants to keep on winning and be a legitimate player of the year candidate at the end of the season.
- Yesterday, we mentioned Gary Parrish’s impassioned defense of Scott Drew on the CBS podcast. He followed that up with a full post in which he expounded on the idea that it has become hip to ridicule Drew even if there is no basis to it. We can appreciate Parrish’s sentiment although we are having trouble reconcile it with some of the in-game strategy and adjustments that we have seen from Drew’s teams. Still, Parrish’s point on Drew is well taken as we (mostly joking of course) and others at times may be unjustly harsh on him as his track record so far has been exceptional.