Morning Five: 05.27.11 Edition

Posted by jstevrtc on May 27th, 2011

  1. Greg Paulus started for three years at Duke, played a year of quarterback at Syracuse, was an assistant coach at Navy last season, and already has landed his fourth gig. Thad Matta hired Paulus as Ohio State’s new video coordinator yesterday, which makes that Big Ten-ACC matchup that has the Blue Devils traveling to Columbus next season all the more interesting. Wonder if Coach Matta will be hitting up Greg for a little insider breakdown of Duke game film ahead of that little get-together?
  2. Props to the PROP! And by that we mean the NCAA’s Playing Rules Oversight Panel. Yesterday they approved the addition of an arc to be drawn on the floor three feet out from the basket inside of which a charge will not be called on an offensive player. There are also now two categorizations of certain types of hard fouls. Flagrant 1 means an intentional foul, and Flagrant 2 signifies a flagrant foul. As for the arc, we’re glad they added it, but are we to assume it theoretically extends to the baseline as well? And if so, why not just draw it? Guarantee you that will come up in at least one big game before New Year’s. And what’s the official name? The “three-foot arc?” We think that’s the best (and only real) option.
  3. A few weeks ago we posted an article about how researchers at the University of Washington found that Division I men’s basketball players had a greatly higher incidence of sudden cardiac arrest compared with college athletes in any division or any other sport, a fact that speaks to the necessity of pre-participation screening as well as availability of automatic defibrillators in gyms/arenas. Next month, researchers from several sites in Kansas will publish a study on student-athletes they screened (though it doesn’t look like any of them were college basketball players) that resulted in the same recommendation. We haven’t got our hands on their data yet, but we hope solid research and public outcry both continue to force schools’ hands on this.
  4. Mac Engel writes a sports blog for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Yesterday he published a conversation he recently had with Louisville head honcho Rick Pitino about how schools like TCU joining the Big East adds value to both Louisville and TCU, explaining to Engel that, “When I came to Louisville we were a top 10 program. In terms of value according to Forbes, there is only one basketball program among the top 50 money-making athletic programs in the country that is basketball. The rest are all football. We’re the one.” That’s not exactly true. That would mean U of L is the nation’s most valuable college hoops program, and, according to Forbes (which Pitino cited), the value list has gone 1) North Carolina, 2) Kentucky, and 3) Louisville for the last three years. Louisville has been the most profitable team in several Forbes surveys, but UNC recently took that distinction as well.
  5. St. John’s would love to tell NCAA bylaw 11.4.2 where to stick it. It’s been a tough week for Steve Lavin and that particular provision; first, Arizona transfer Lamont “MoMo” Jones was prohibited from transferring to SJU because of that rule. Yesterday it was revealed that incoming big-time recruit Maurice Harkless might not be able to play there, either, because of the same rule. Harkless played a little AAU ball with the New York Gauchos, a team that employs St. John’s Director of Basketball Operations Moe Hicks as an administrator. Rule 11.4.2 says a school that employs someone associated with a prospective player ”in any athletics department noncoaching staff position” can’t recruit that player for two years. Still, St. John’s is optimistic they’ll be able to smooth this over and welcome Harkless in the fall.
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NCAA Closes Recruiting Loophole — Sort Of

Posted by jstevrtc on January 14th, 2010

According to this report from CBS Sports, earlier today the NCAA passed legislation regarding a subject they’ve been talking about tackling for years, specifically that of basketball programs hiring “anyone associated with a basketball recruit for a two-year period before or after the player enrolls at the school.”  Gone, therefore, are the days when a coach could entice a prized recruit to play at his program by also offering up a job as an assistant coach or administrative assistant (fill in whatever title you wish) to the recruit’s high school or AAU coach, or to a family member.

Don’t be fooled — this tactic is as much in practice today as it was in the past.  A piece by the inestimable Andy Katz published at ESPN.com back in September brought up the matter of Louisville’s Rick Pitino hiring an assistant coach from star recruit Marquis Teague’s high school team as an assistant at the U of L program, and that many people are questioning the timing.  At the beginning of the article he cites several examples of programs hiring associates/family members to help land recruits: during Bob Huggins’ one year at Kansas State, the program hired UNC-Charlotte assistant Dalonte Hill (Michael Beasley’s AAU coach); Beasley decided to get out of his initial commitment to Charlotte and head to K-State soon after.  Danny Manning’s father was on Kansas’ staff during the Danny and the Miracles title year, and Mario Chalmers’ father was a staff member on their championship team from two years ago.  John Calipari hired Milt Wagner to his staff right around the time that his son, prized prepster DaJuan Wagner, had signed with Memphis.  It’s true, in each of these situations, there were reasons to hire the associate/family member other than their relation to the star player, and many of them were in their positions before and after the player came or left.  The point is, though, that shady or not, this stuff happens.  We know why it happens.  And the NCAA has now attempted to do something about it.

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John Wall Eligibility Issues Resolved

Posted by jstevrtc on October 31st, 2009

Kentucky fans are breathing easier tonight.

According to Lexington television station WLEX-18, the NCAA has cleared Kentucky’s insanely talented point guard (and pretty good dancer) John Wall to play, provided that a couple of conditions are met — namely, the repayment of travel expenses and the sitting of Wall for two games.  The games are UK’s exhibition this Monday night against Campbellsville and the November 13th regular season opener against Morehead State.  This all stems from Wall having played AAU basketball under coach Brian Clifton, who, even though he was not acting as one, was a certified agent at the time.  The expenses, totalling $787.58, are evidently related to costs in making unofficial visits to various schools.

We sort of figured that even if anything came from this at all that it wouldn’t be much, and that’s pretty much what has happened.  No word on whether or not the eligibility of any other player from that AAU squad has been adjusted.  In the report from Lex18.com, to his credit, Wall’s first offering of gratitude went to his mother, for whom Wall claims the wait for a final ruling has been particularly difficult; head coach John Calipari added, “John Wall is a great kid who always tries to do the right thing and his mother is a great lady.  I’m just happy this is behind us.”

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SEC Commissioner Slive Questions Wall’s Eligibility

Posted by jstevrtc on October 22nd, 2009

There aren’t many things these days that could spoil the tidal wave of hope and anticipation that has consumed the entire state of Kentucky and Wildcat supporters the world over.  But this is definitely one of them. 

ESPN.com is reporting that issues have been raised regarding the recruitment and signing of presumptive freshman superstar John Wall.  Evidently, SEC commissioner Mike Slive has confirmed to ESPN that the eligibility questions are centered around Wall’s having played AAU ball for coach Brian Clifton, who was once a certified agent.  By NCAA rule, playing for an agent implies that you accepted illegal benefits from them.  It is being investigated how much — if anything at all — Wall would be responsible for.  Things are a little vague at this point, but Wall’s eligibility for any or all games would be affected by the amount of benefits he is deemed to have accepted, which he would have to repay.  It should be noted that Mr. Clifton claims that, though he admits he was at one time a licensed and certified agent, he forfeited his agent’s license in August of 2008 to commit all of his energies to his AAU teams. 

In the early going, there are two questions at the forefront of this:  first, if you play for someone, is it to be assumed that you accepted illegal benefits from them?  Second, if you technically have an agent’s license but aren’t acting as an agent, are your players violating NCAA rules?  Given the NCAA’s, er, interesting way of interpreting the rules, it will be interesting to see where, if anywhere, this goes.

More on this as events unfold.

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07.06.09 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on July 6th, 2009

Hope everyone had a brilliant ID4…

  • Class of 2009. Evan Daniels of Scout.com wrote an interesting piece on how wishy-washy the high school class of 2009 was before finally settling on a school. Six of the top ten players – John Wall, Xavier Henry, Lance Stephenson, Renardo Sidney, DeMarcus Cousins, Derrick Favors – had what Daniels terms an ‘interesting’ recruitment. Interesting in the sense that the propect took forever to decide on a destination, had eligibility concerns, switched up commitments, or all of the above. From our view, this is a predictable byproduct of the NBA’s 1-and-done rule, which is now impacting its fourth class of high school seniors. All of these above players are viewing one year in college as just another somewhat annoying hoop to jump through – an unavoidable pit stop on their way to riches in the League. When seen through that prism, there’s little emotional investment in the process of choosing a college (in fact, choosing a coach is infinitely more important) and the concomitant worries about staying eligible for that one season become mitigated by all the shady characters and hangers-on offering nickels now for promises later. There’s no easy fix for this problem and as we showed last week, 1-and-dones generally help programs more than they hurt, but the NBA requiring two years after high school could help players take more ownership over this process simply because they’d be forced to care more.
  • 2009-10 Scheduling.  The Big East announced its completely unbalanced schedule last week, and Andy Katz believes that Villanova and UConn have the toughest two slates, with each having all three ‘home-and-homes’ with other contenders (at least, on paper).  What’s interesting in going down this list is just how far off the talent level has fallen in this conference since last season – it’s phenomenal, really.  Moving on…  the Jimmy V Classic is going for slow and methodical this year, with its recent announcement that Butler v. Georgetown and Pitt v. Indiana will be the schools represented.  Pitt should easily desecrate IU, but we’d look for Butler-Gtown to be a very good game.  And if you browse to the bottom of this blog post by Katz, you’ll see a good analysis of the various preseason tournaments as they currently stand.  We’d have to agree that the Maui Invitational seems very weak compared to its norm, but the 76 Classic for the second year in a row is strong. 
  • Top Rivalries.  Pat Forde took an old-fashioned beating for his article last week outlining what he thinks are the ten hottest hoops rivalries heading into next season.  To recap, Kentucky-Louisville was #1, Michigan St.-Purdue was #2 (???), Kentucky-Tennessee was #3, and UNC-Duke was #4.  Something seems amiss here.  We think we understand his premise that these are the projected top rivalries for the upcoming season, but maybe what he should have said was ‘games.’  For a rivalry to exist, there needs to be historical gravitas behind it – countless incidents, slights, fights, etc., that give each school a bitter taste in its mouth for the other.  Do Michigan St. fans have such negative feelings about Purdue?  Villanova and Pitt?  Instead, Forde seems to rely considerably on coaching rivalries in making this list – Calipari vs. Pitino; Calipari vs. Pearl; Ford vs. Capel; Montgomery vs. his old school.  This is an interesting way to categorize school rivalries, but he probably should have been a little clearer about that; otherwise, it’s difficult to swallow some of his inclusions without question.  Syracuse-UConn? Maryland-Duke?  And many more…  
  • Some Quick Hits.  Duke: playing zone next season?  Jay Wright: loving life at VillanovaClass of 2009 (again): mapping the top 25Dave Rose: a harrowing month of JuneClass of 2010: time for the July scouting period.  AAU Ball: shocking lack of fundamentals (um, thanks for the investigative journalism, WSJ). July Recruiting Period: Gary Parrish’s FAQ.
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Are the NCAA & NBA forming an alliance to corrupt America’s youth?

Posted by nvr1983 on March 18th, 2008

Anthony Schoettle of the Indianapolis Business Journal reports on a very interesting development: the NCAA and NBA are planning on developing year-round training programs for high-school players with academies for elite players and conduct sanctioned tournaments and leagues. In addition, they are also considering training programs for coaches and officials (hello, Tim Donaghy) and finding corporate sponsors for the program (as if commercializing the sport wasn’t enough).

While we agree that youth basketball in the US is rampant with shady dealings and kids these days don’t learn fundamentals, we get the sense that these two organizations are more concerned about their own interests. By taking over AAU and high school basketball, both organizations can control the supply of their product (that is all these kids are to the NCAA and NBA) and mold it just the way they would like.

If we had our way, Myles Brand and David Stern would be questioned on issues like this, but somehow we think they will get their way without too much resistance if they really want it.

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