Message Not Received: Sidney To Stay, Bailey To Leave

Posted by jstevrtc on January 3rd, 2011

Earlier today we saw the fallout from the Renardo Sidney vs Elgin Bailey fracas from December 24th. The indefinite suspensions on both players have been lifted; Sidney is reinstated with no further penalty. Bailey has asked for and been granted a release from Mississippi State and plans to transfer.

The linked AP report from ESPN.com offers a preliminary account of the events that led up to the brawl in the stands. Evidently Sidney was trying to walk down the aisle past Bailey, who refused to move his feet to let Sidney by. This is what caused the madness seen on television and by the fans in attendance at the game. The report also mentions that head coach Rick Stansbury confirmed that Sidney would have been dismissed from the team if it had been found that Sidney had started the fight. He notes that the sending home of Sidney and Bailey after the scrap, “sent a strong message…that this type of behavior is unacceptable.”

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Renardo Sidney Suspended Indefinitely

Posted by nvr1983 on December 24th, 2010

Late yesterday, news broke that Renardo Sidney, the troubled Mississippi State forward, was involved in a fight in the stands with a teammate at the Diamond Head Classic. Coming soon after he had served a one-game suspension for an outburst during practice, we wondered how Rick Stansbury and the Mississippi State administration would respond. We may have our first indication as Mississippi State announced just a few hours ago that it had suspended Sidney and Elgin Bailey indefinitely. In a little over a year in Starkville, Sidney has only played in two official games due to suspensions — first by the NCAA for one year and nine games and then by the school for the aforementioned “conduct detrimental to the team.”

Sidney has not lived up to his potential yet

In between the three suspensions (counting the upcoming one), Sidney has shown flashes of brilliance in his two games as he scored 12 points and grabbed five rebounds in 24 minutes against Virginia Tech, and scored 19 points and grabbed six rebounds in 20 minutes against San Diego. Still, there continues to be an aura of trouble around Sidney and many are questioning his commitment to the game as Mike DeCourcy astutely noted that, despite having nearly 20 months to get ready for his first game, Sidney still was not in shape. Now the question is whether Mississippi State, which waited nearly a year and a half to get Sidney into a Bulldog uniform, is willing to take Sidney back. His talent is unquestioned and many have stated that he may be the most talented player in college basketball, but you have to wonder how much more Stansbury and the rest of the team are willing to put up with before they cut the cord like Memphis did with Jelan Kendrick earlier this season. Now there are also reports that many of his teammates want him off the team as his talent is no longer worth the trouble. If he is kicked off the team, we suspect that he would seriously consider entering the NBA Draft as he would have a difficult time finding another high-level college program that would be willing to take a chance on him.

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Renardo Sidney Suspended For One Game

Posted by jstevrtc on December 21st, 2010

After sitting out for a season and nine games, Renardo Sidney made his debut for Mississippi State this past Saturday. The 6’11, 270-pound forward played 25 minutes, scored 12 points, snagged three boards, and fouled out against Virginia Tech. The Hokies smoked Sidney’s Bulldogs, 88-57.

Now, for Sidney, it’s back to the pine. He’s not sitting because of his performance during his only game, though. The problem was his behavior during practice on Monday.

Sitting Out Is Nothing New For Sidney

Mississippi State head coach Rick Stansbury suspended Sidney one game for an outburst during the Bulldogs’ workout ahead of their game against Washington State on Wednesday in the Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu. Stansbury originally announced the suspension as an indefinite one, but a school official later confirmed that Sidney would only be out for a single game.

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Villanova Suspension Of Pinkston Best Move For All Involved

Posted by jstevrtc on December 6th, 2010

Villanova announced on Monday that freshman forward JayVaughn Pinkston is suspended from the school for the spring semester, meaning he isn’t permitted to attend classes, let alone play or practice with the basketball team. The suspension comes as a result of an off-campus fight in which Pinkston was involved on November 6th. He was charged with two counts of assault, but has attended classes and practiced with the team since then.

The Next 12 Months of No Basketball Will Determine the Rest of Pinkston's Basketball Life.

It’s never good when a kid faces assault charges and also has to miss out on a year of college because of mistakes like this, or rather, that they happen in the first place. Supporters of Villanova basketball certainly don’t like that their team will have to go a year without a 6’6 and 235-pound power forward ranked as one of the top 75 recruits in the nation last year as a high school senior. Consider this, though — it might not seem it at first, but there is still a lot of good that can come from this. It may even end up actually being the best thing for everybody right now.

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Jelan Kendrick Out Of Memphis And On To. . .

Posted by nvr1983 on November 13th, 2010

We first heard about trouble in Memphis for star small forward Jelan Kendrick when he was temporarily suspended from the team less than a month ago. At the time Josh Pastner and the Tigers staff tried to say that it was not a unilateral decision at the time, but today Pastner and his staff have decided to kick Kendrick off the team for good. According to sources the decision was not the result of a single specific incident, but instead the culmination of months of poor decisions by Kendrick. Clearly for the Tigers this is a big loss as a combination of Kendrick and Will Barton could have been lethal in Conference USA particularly if they had both stuck around for a few years, but on the plus side the Tigers know who they will have relatively early in the season and can adapt instead of having this happen in February or March.

Is the potential reward worth the likely headache?

The more interesting this is what will happen to Kendrick. As we have seen with Tony Woods there will undoubtedly be no shortage of suitors for Kendrick especially since Kendrick is more talented than Woods and has a much less serious charge against him. The question is where he will end up. While any program would love to add a player of Kendrick’s caliber there are probably a select few programs that we would expect to stay above the fray such as Duke, UNC, Syracuse, and several other well-known programs that could probably land a player of Kendrick’s caliber in the next year or two. That leaves the rest of the nation potentially open to Kendrick. While other coaches come to mind such as Bob Huggins particularly during his Cincinnati days as suckers for a reclamation project we suspect that Kendrick will probably be taking a step down in terms of notoriety of the program that he goes to. Our pick? UTEP with Tony Barbee (now Tim Floyd as the former Iowa State/Chicago Bulls/New Orleans Hornets/USC coach) had a modicum of success with Derrick Caracter, a perpetual malcontent, last season and got him to the NBA where is currently on the LA Lakers roster. Caracter may not have had as many altercations with his teammates as Kendrick reportedly has, but he had a well-known reputation for driving his coaches crazy. Having said that there are plenty of other options for Kendrick (and we suspect that he will have no less than 20 offers by the time Monday morning rolls around) and we will be eager to see which coaches would be willing to take a chance on a player with Kendrick’s reputation for a change to work with a player of Kendrick’s ability.

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Baylor’s Dunn Suspended For Three Games

Posted by jstevrtc on November 12th, 2010

Baylor guard and scorer extraordinaire LaceDarius Dunn will stay suspended for the first three games of the season in the aftermath of the allegations that he assaulted his girlfriend in a domestic dispute in September. Dunn will therefore miss the games against Grambling State, La Salle, and Jackson State and return against Lipscomb on November 22nd.

The Bears Will Be At Full Strength By Thanksgiving; Dunn Returns 22 November

The details of the incident involving the alleged assault are still hazy. Early reports indicated that Dunn broke his girlfriend’s jaw in the altercation; later, she claimed that there was no assault at all, and she did not pursue charges against Dunn. The McLennan County DA still has the case, as the linked AP report says. Dunn resumed attending classes shortly after the incident but was suspended from all competitive basketball activity. That suspension will end after the Jackson State contest.

 

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Enes Can’t-er; NCAA Rules Him Ineligible

Posted by jstevrtc on November 11th, 2010

On the eve of Kentucky’s season opener against East Tennessee State, the NCAA has ruled Kentucky’s Enes Kanter as permanently ineligible to participate, claiming that he was paid more than the “necessary expenses” during his time with the Turkish club Fenerbahce two years ago.

The NCAA statement released earlier tonight explains that while Kanter “competed primarily for the club’s under-18 junior team, he did compete for the club’s senior team in 2008-09. According to facts agreed to by the university and the NCAA Eligibility Center, Kanter received $33,033 more than his expenses for the 2008-09 season.” In the NCAA’s eyes, this makes Kanter a professional basketball player.

Kanter and the Big Blue Nation Took One On the Chin Tonight

The issue here was not that Kanter played in games with professional players during his short time playing on the senior level at Fenerbahce. The NCAA statement notes that, “The new NCAA rule that allows prospective student-athletes to compete on teams with professionals while maintaining their amateur status prior to college applies,” but then says that Kanter simply received what the NCAA considers too much compensation for that season.

Obviously, Kentucky will appeal. Because the school agreed to all of the facts and figures involved in the NCAA’s process of making this decision, the appeal will likely center on reducing the harshness of the punishment and citing any remotely relevant precedents to that effect. Kanter can practice with UK until the appeals process is finished.

In the wake of this decision, new transfer Eloy Vargas (6’11, 250 lb.) and senior reserve Josh Harrellson (6’10, 275 lb.) take on greater importance for John Calipari’s second Wildcat squad. Kentucky could also conceivably employ a smaller lineup, using 6’8 freshman Terrence Jones in the middle and surrounding him with four guards, namely freshman sensation Brandon Knight, de facto team leader Darius Miller, slasher DeAndre Liggins, and Doron Lamb, another freshman who has started both of  UK’s exhibition games. We’ll find out soon enough, since the season opener is tomorrow night.

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Max Zhang Takes His Talents To Shanghai

Posted by nvr1983 on October 30th, 2010

Although October would usually be preposterously early for a player to leave school to turn pro we have our first case of the year with Max Zhang, a junior center at California, who has decided to turn pro after accepting an offer from the Shanghai Sharks (aka Yao Ming‘s team) of the Chinese Basketball Association. The 7’2″ center, the tallest player in Cal history, only produced modest numbers (3.1 points and 2.4 rebounds per game) last year, but was expected to play an increased role as his game matured after another summer training with the Chinese national team.

Zhang was expected to miss some of the Bears’ early-season action while he played for the Chinese national team in the Asian Games in November. With a more developed game Zhang could have provided Mike Montgomery with some quality minutes in the Pac-10 that has relatively few quality big men (even by today’s standards). Instead, those minutes will likely go to Bak Bak, Richard Solomon, or Robert Thurman, all of whom have even less experience at the college level than Zhang. Still despite all of his potential size, Zhang will be most remembered by Cal fans as somewhat of a novelty item (see below) who helped galvanize the crowd during his sparse minutes on the floor.

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Bost Isn’t Lost, Will Play Partial Season

Posted by jstevrtc on September 29th, 2010

The NCAA has reinstated Dee Bost back to the Mississippi State Bulldogs in a move that has surprised almost every follower of college basketball.

Bost, who averaged 13.0 PPG and 5.2 APG in 2009-10 — submitted his name into the NBA Draft after last season, then decided to return to college after he realized that he was unlikely to be drafted in either of the draft’s two rounds. He then missed the withdrawal date by less than a day, using a defense of “I didn’t know,” meaning he wasn’t aware that the NCAA had moved the draft-withdrawal deadline up by a week to May 8th, effectively giving early-entry prospects a mere one week (sort of limits the number of workouts a kid can schedule, eh?) to make the decision to jump to the NBA or stay in school. He also claimed lack of knowledge of a new NCAA rule that prohibits collegians from declaring for the draft but then returning to school if they weren’t picked. The old rule that allowed this doesn’t exist anymore.

Bost Is Back, and a Partial Season Beats No Season At All

In our view, the NCAA has set a very interesting precedent here, and is acknowledging that the moving up of that draft-withdrawal deadline isn’t in the best interest of student-athletes.

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Enes Kanter Isn’t The Only One Who Needs Freeing

Posted by jstevrtc on September 27th, 2010

It looks like some Kentucky students (we’re assuming) had a little fun with GarageBand recently and put together a little tune and, um, rap “video” about Kentucky freshman-in-limbo Enes Kanter and the desire to see his eligibility confirmed by the NCAA:

Now, we don’t imagine a certain Mr. Mathers is shaking in his sneakers at the prospect of a showdown versus “Rich Breezy,” but we salute the creators of the “Free Enes” video, since it’s certainly better than this particular RTC contributor could do.

The video did remind us, though, of that wonderful annual ritual of sweating out tardy eligibility determinations by the NCAA, that seemingly endless process that players, coaches, and fans must endure before each season. We  are still awaiting final eligibility decisions on three players in the 2010 Rivals top twelve — specifically Kanter, Missouri commit Tony Mitchell and top-ranked Josh Selby at Kansas. Last year, Deniz Kalicli, another extremely talented Turkish player, had to sit out 20 games before making his debut at West Virginia. Kentucky’s John Wall wasn’t cleared to play until late October. Lance Stephenson didn’t know if he was eligible at Cincinnati until November 5th, and Mississippi State’s Renardo Sidney missed all of last season (his situation was admittedly a tad more complex than the others, we should note).

We assume that the NCAA adjudicates these matters as quickly as it can and is reliant upon the timeliness and veracity of the information they receive, but it seems like these decisions get handed down later and later each season. The final decision on Kanter was due almost a week ago, and we’re unaware of a timeline regarding a call being made for Selby, and for Mitchell’s chances to play in the second semester this year (he’s ineligible for the first). We all agree that in the end the most important thing is that the fairest decision be made for each kid, and that the NCAA’s calls are consistent. Unfortunately, with practices officially starting in 17 days, it’s about as likely that all of these issues will be ruled on by the time basketballs hit hardwood as it is that Rich Breezy is a pseudonym for Pete Thamel.

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The Bledsoe Ordeal Is Over

Posted by jstevrtc on September 25th, 2010

Earlier today the independent law firm investigating the question of Eric Bledsoe’s eligibility at Kentucky last season turned in its final report on the issue. By this time, you likely know why this was being done; Bledsoe’s high school transcript said he got two As in a pair of classes, but the grade reports said that he got a C and a B, and the improvement put him over the top in terms of eligibility to play basketball at UK. You can see the report here, but here’s what you really need to know: the Birmingham school board isn’t issuing Bledsoe a revised high school transcript, which means he keeps the As in those classes. Which means Bledsoe was and will always be considered eligible to have played at Kentucky.

Even Bledsoe Might Not Know What Really Happened In This Business.

The whole ordeal should serve as a reminder that, in any investigation, it’s not what happened that matters. What matters is what you can prove.

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Bledsoe, Kentucky, And The NCAA’s “Strict Liability”

Posted by jstevrtc on September 14th, 2010

The online arm of the Birmingham News, AL.com, reported earlier today that former Kentucky guard Eric Bledsoe’s official high school transcript and the “grade reports” from two of his Algebra III courses showed differing final grades. Specifically, the transcript states that he earned a grade of A in both sections of two nine-week long Algebra III courses, but the grade reports from those sections of the course show that Bledsoe was credited with a C in the first section and a B in the second. The reason this is a problem is, as the AL.com article explains, if you calculate Bledsoe’s GPA using the grades on his official transcript (the A’s), you get a 2.5, which makes him NCAA-eligible. If you calculate it with the C and B from the grade reports, Bledsoe’s GPA comes out to a 2.4375 — just short of the minimum score required for qualification.

If this grade discrepancy is true, the NCAA will want to know who knew about it, and when.

This allegation evidently comes ahead of a report that’s supposed to surface soon from an independent law firm hired by the Birmingham school system to investigate Bledsoe’s eligibility, and specifically the documentation of his academic performance at two high schools in the area. We’ll obviously have a lot to say about that when it appears. For now, though, we feel this new information brings up a few interesting questions:

  1. What is a “grade report?”
  2. How and when could there be a discrepancy?
  3. Is Kentucky (or any other school) expected to go beyond looking at official school transcripts of players when assessing their eligibility, and should the school be punished if information later emerges that implicates the player?

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