Posted by rtmsf on August 10th, 2012
- Years ago when things were still going well for Billy Gillispie at Kentucky, we took him and his supporters to task for the ridiculous and utterly embarrassing notion that offering scholarships to 8th graders was a good idea (Michael Avery, anyone?). Thankfully coaches are no longer allowed to sniff around the junior high schoolyards as much as they used to, but that doesn’t mean that young players still can’t make pie-in-the-sky commitments years before they can even drive. As Gary Parrish wrote Thursday, Indianapolis junior Trey Lyles‘ recent de-commitment from Tom Crean’s flagship state school exhibits exactly why it’s probably not a great idea to listen to what 13- or 14-year olds think they’re going to do four years from now. A top 10 player in the Class of 2014, Lyles no doubt wanted to see what other fish are in the sea, and who can blame him? There’s something to be said for the concept of being wanted — and we’ll give credit to Lyles for the realization that few opportunities in life are as good as the one he has in front of him right now.
- A little more recruiting talk today, as Michigan‘s Class of 2013 is shaping up as perhaps the best that the school has enjoyed since Ed Martin was sending bags of hundreds to Ann Arbor on his days off. With the quick ascent of 6’6″ wing Zak Irvin on ESPN.com’s latest top 100 list — he rose more than 20 spots to #21 after a great summer — the Wolverines currently have a three-player class that ranks second only to Florida on ESPN’s list. Keeping in mind that only four of the top 20 players in this class have yet committed, this class led by Irvin gives John Beilein a shot at putting one or even two recruits (depending on how Derrick Walton’s senior season goes) into the McDonald’s All-American game next year for the first time since 2002 (Mitch McGary as a fifth-year senior was ineligible last season). Michigan will start next season in the preseason Top 10 — get used to seeing the Wolverines at or near those lofty heights for many years to come.
- Marquette announced yesterday that it was investigating a possible NCAA rules violation involving its men’s basketball program. Very few details were released by the school, but the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported that a source disclosed that the violation may be related to recruiting. It is perhaps unrelated, but already this summer the Golden Eagles have lost a junior college transfer named TJ Taylor after only two weeks on campus. Regardless of what the violation turns out to be, it sounds like a relatively minor violation where any punishment the school suffers will be completely irrelevant.
- Three months from now we’ll either have a brand-new president or another term from our existing one. If you listen to the talking heads on television, the decision from the American people on this important civic duty may come down to class warfare — the concept that the rich and poor are in conflict with each other in divvying up the pie. ESPN.com’s Myron Medcalf drills down to the bone on a similar issue: the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate (APR) has inspired an arms race of sorts on the academic side of the athletic shops. The wealthiest schools can afford to provide computer labs with the best equipment, traveling tutors, language labs, and so forth — anything to help keep academically marginal kids at those schools eligible. However, at a number of the poorer schools (such as, in his example, Mississippi Valley State), the idea of spending $2.6 million on academic support services for athletes (as Texas did in 2011-12) is laughable. If there’s one thing we know from several thousand years of world history, it’s that the poor never actually win the battle no matter how much the rich say that they ultimately will. Good piece by Medcalf, well worth the read.
- We mentioned in yesterday’s M5 that UNC’s Roy Williams was listed by his peers as the most “overrated” head coach in college basketball. We also scoffed at the idea that someone who has won two national titles in under a decade at the helm in Chapel Hill could ever be truthfully considered “overrated.” It appears we are not alone with this opinion, as Mike DeCourcy rips the results to shreds with a laundry list discussing all of Ol’ Roy’s achievements. If you can get past the bizarro world reference to Kelly Clarkson and Paula Abdul, DeCourcy’s argument is spot on. The easiest criticism in all of sports is to dismiss accomplishments because of “all the talent” available to a coach (nevermind how talent is determined at the time) — but the fallacy in that stance is that it ignores the countless coaches who also recruit great talent yet never actually produce with it. We pose the question again — if Roy Williams is an “overrated” coach, how many national titles should he have reasonably won by now?