Morning Five: 08.07.12 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on August 7th, 2012

  1. We mentioned in yesterday’s M5 that Connecticut head coach Jim Calhoun was recovering well after surgery to repair his hip from a cycling accident suffered over the weekend. According to an orthopedic surgeon not affiliated with Calhoun’s treatment, the standard recovery time for this surgery ranges between eight to 12 weeks. Basketball practice begins in earnest in nine weeks, so there’s a strong possibility that the beginning of a rebuilding season in Storrs is already off to a rough start. As Mike Decourcy writes, Connecticut as a program faces a number of long-term issues with the 70-year old Calhoun undoubtedly reaching the end of his career soon — his latest health dust-up only serves to complicate those very important issues.
  2. It’s probably not often that we’ll choose a valuable M5 blurb to write about a player who only averaged a half-point and 1.8 rebounds per contest last season. But UCLA’s Anthony Stover dismissed from the team Monday for academic problems — is a statistical anomaly of sorts — the 6’10″ rising junior only saw eight minutes a game in Ben Howland’s system, but he still managed to block shots at a higher rate in limited time (18.2%) than Kansas’ Jeff Withey (15.3%) and Kentucky’s Anthony Davis (13.8%). Of course, for every block Stover registered last season (38), he also recorded a foul (37), so there’s clearly a learning curve he must still conquer. Still, for a mid-major willing to work with the young man in the classroom, the potential (at least on the defensive end) is there.
  3. Quiet among all the other newsworthy things the NCAA has done lately, the governing body has implemented a number of new player eligibility standards that will be phased in by 2016. So why is this important now? As Dana O’Neil explains in this wide-ranging piece, high school freshmen for the Class of 2016 will report to their freshman years at high school in the next few weeks. The new requirements increase the number of core curriculum courses to 16 (10 of which must be completed in the player’s first three years of high school, and seven of those must be in math, science, or English classes), raise the minimum GPA from 2.0 to 2.3, and generally scare the bejeezus out of college coaches everywhere. According to the NCAA, 43 percent of players who entered college basketball in 2009-10 would not have been eligible to play as freshmen under these new standards. Well, that solves the fake coursework problem — now, on to the AAU problem.
  4. More on this later today, but the Legends Classic released its faux-bracket yesterday, and we could be in for quite an early season treat in the new Barclays Arena during Feast Week if things work out. This event is one of those preseason “tournaments” where the semifinal teams are prospectively placed regardless of what happens in the earlier rounds, but if both Indiana and UCLA beat their semifinal opponents (Georgia and Georgetown, respectively), we could be treated with an epic neutral site showdown between two of the nation’s top five teams. Both IU and UCLA boast talent aplenty, and if you believe CBSSports.com’s recent report that IU star Cody Zeller and UCLA star Shabazz Muhammad are the two most coveted players in college basketball by other coaches, then this potential match-up represents the best that November will likely have to offer.
  5. Next season cannot get here soon enough, but SI.com’s Andy Glockner is helping us fill the summer time off with his second annual Twitter-style State of the College Hoops Union piece where he breaks down 53 of the nation’s best teams in 140 characters or less. There’s some good stuff there, so we’d encourage you to stick with the article after reading Arizona’s blurb and his first of more than a dozen awful hoops-related puns. Out like a Lyons in March? Yeah, we meant awful as in good. Somewhere in a lair under a golf course, Jim Nantz is stealing many of Glockner’s better quips.
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11.13.08 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on November 13th, 2008

This is long overdue…

  • Injury bug.  Va Tech forward JT Thompson will be out 4-6 weeks with a herniaTyler Hansbrough appears “extremely doubtful” for UNC’s opener against Penn on Saturday.  Ole Miss guard Trevor Gaskins tore his ACL and will miss the entire season.   
  • Nevada’s sticky-fingered trio of Brandon Fields, London Giles and Ahyaro Phillips will be held out of the season opener against Montana St. on Saturday.  Not sure why Fields is still suspended, his charges were dropped.
  • UCLA’s Nikola Dragovic got into a dispute with his girlfriend last week and was arrested for misdemeanor battery.  He did not dress during last night’s game against Priarie View A&M. 
  • Tennessee freshman PG Daniel West was ruled academically ineligible to play for the Vols this season, leaving juco transfer Bobby Maze and junior JP Prince as the only two legitimate ballhandlers to run Bruce Pearl’s attack this season.
  • Georgia Tech senior guard Lewis Clinch is also academically ineligible, but he can earn his spot back on the team after the semester ends.  He’ll miss a minimum of seven games though. 
  • Don’t expect any slicing or dicing of the current 16-team Big East arrangement on his watch, says newly voted Commish John Marinatto, who will begin next July 1.  He takes over for uber-successful commisioner Mike Tranghese.
  • More meaningless exhibitions.  Stephen Curry (41 pts on 15-19 FGs) appeared rusty in an 84-54 Davidson win over Lenoir-Rhyne.  The defending champs, led by Sherron Collins (22 pts) and Cole Aldrich (17/10), handily defeated Emporia St.   Wisconsin plowed through a slogfest to win 64-47 over UW-WhitewaterUConn’s Jerome Dyson and his 18 pts led the Huskies past UMass-Lowell 82-63.  Luke Harongody’s 21/10 helped Notre Dame to an easy win over Stonehenge Stonehill 79-47 last weekendPitt’s Sam Young filled the stat sheet with 18/7/4 blks in an 82-30 mauling of La Roche as well on Sunday.
  • Jeff Goodman gives his version of preseason bracketology, and he also went with the upset over UNC in the finals (Michigan St.).  We see ya with your #15 Belmont (over Tennessee) and #14 Portland St. (over Purdue). 
  • RTC correspondent Baker (he covers the A-Sun and the SoCon) has launched his new site, Mid Major Review, which got off with a bang this week with his podcast interview of Belmont head coach, Rick Byrd, and we expect will provide great substance and analysis of the mid-major world throughout the season.  Welcome to the blogosphere, MMR.   
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John Pelphrey’s Job Just Got Harder

Posted by rtmsf on August 11th, 2008

Not a full week after John Pelphrey signed a nice one-year extension and received a ‘we have full confidence in you’ raise, he was hit with news that his talented but confounding PG Patrick Beverley has effectively been dismissed from the program.  Privacy concerns limit what school and team officials would say on the record, but Friday was the last day of summer classes at Arkansas and it doesn’t seem a major reach to think that Beverley’s dismissal involved academic problems. 

The Hawgs Have Some Rebuilding Ahead of Them

Arkansas was already facing a rebuilding year next season, having lost four starters from an NCAA second-round casualty squad.  Beverley stood to be the leading returning scorer (12 ppg) and rebounder (7 rpg) and overall team leader despite his diminutive size (6’1).  As Hawg blog Razorback Expats put it, this kinda sucks:

John Pelphrey’s incoming recruiting class is highly regarded, but you can’t like the fact that the player who is now the Hogs’ leading returning scorer – that would be junior guard Stefan Welsh – averaged a whopping 5.3 points per game last year. Only a few days before Beverley was ruled ineligible, Pelphrey told the media that “our basketball team is only going to be as good as our three juniors.” Oops.

Looks like Alabama’s (the presumptive 2009 SEC West champion) seventeen basketball fans are collectively rejoicing right now.

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10.10.07 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on October 10th, 2007

Lots of MSM content coming out this week…

  • But first, have you heard that Stanford’s Brook Lopez can’t pass calculus?  He’ll be out until he figures out derivatives (presumably Dec. 19, after nine games).
  • Along the same lines, the NCAA cleared Marquette big man frosh Trevor Mbakwe to play this season.
  • New Mexico swingman and all-Mtn West selection Tony Danridge had surgery on his broken left leg, and is expected to be back by January 2008.   Arkansas forward Sonny Weems is due back from his hand injury within the next couple of weeks.    
  • A hoops pollster explains why college football polling is misguided
  • Shawn Siegel lists the top 25 players in the ACC. 
  • CSTV claims Louisville and UConn have the top 2008 Big East recruiting classes so far. 
  • We already know why George Mason will get an at-large bid next spring – one name: Tom O’Connor
  • DeCourcy goes with Chris Lofton as his preseason POY, but there’s no way we think he’ll win it. 
  • Catching up with coaches…  Parrish looks at how Dan Monson is adjusting to life at Long Beach St.  Katz examines how Jim Calhoun is recovering from his worst season ever.  And the AP reports on John Beilein not knowing what to expect at Michigan.
  • Luke Winn also has an interesting Q&A with Jerel McNeal, defensive dynamo at Marquette. 
  • Finally, the offense that’s taking over the nation – Memphis’s AASAA
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Ineligible Bachelors

Posted by rtmsf on August 29th, 2007

It’s that time of year again.

Classes are already in session at many of our nation’s fair universities, and the first few days of school are always the best. Every new class seems interesting; every freshman girl is a hook-up prospect; even the textbooks you just dropped $1000 on seem to hold promises of educational fulfillment within. That is, before boredom reality sets in and you realize that solving organic chemistry problems using those confounding erector sets still doesn’t make any sense and the freshman gals are just as completely and utterly uninterested in you as last year’s class was. Oh well – at least football’s starting and a case of Beast still only costs $6.99, right?

Coeds Sunning

You Still Have No Shot (even with the chub)

Along with the beginning of classes also comes another rite of fall passage – the annual news that some hoopsters around the nation didn’t get the job done in the classroom over the summer and will be academically ineligible for the fall semester. This usually doesn’t mean much from an on-court standpoint, because the players can still practice with the team – they just can’t play in any games until they’re eligible again. And given that most fall semesters end in mid-December, the amount of games any player tends to miss is usually in the single digits.

Already the following players have been declared ineligible for the fall semester:

  • Quinton WatkinsIllinois – incoming freshman leaves Bruce Weber with a thin backcourt after Jamar Smith’s DUI rendered him ineligible for the entire season
  • Lyndale BurlesonNevada – presumptive junior starting PG for Mark Fox’s squad didn’t have enough credits to become eligible
  • AJ RatliffIndiana – the senior guard (9.3 ppg last year) and Indiana Mr. Basketball will miss the first nine games of the season
  • Ra’Sean DickeyGeorgia Tech – 6’9 senior starting forward (8.1 ppg; 5.3 rpg) will also miss the first semester due to grades

Isn’t it odd how so many players become ineligible for the fall semester but seemingly always make the grades for the spring semester? We suppose that has something to do with the tutorial services available to athletes that may not be as comprehensive during the summer months. Consider how the Purdue women’s basketball team does it (h/t to Lion in Oil):

Former Purdue assistant Katrina Merriweather has admitted to typing and revising a paper for guard Cherelle George during the 2005-2006 season. Sociology 220 must have been harder for George than she’d expected. Witness the following email exchange between the two:

10/26/05, 4:45 PM Merriweather to George: Here are some thoughts that should help. Make sure you read it and add your own info from class notes or any textbooks you use. All of my info is from the internet and what I remember…

10/26/05, 10:16 PM Merriweather to George: Throw away the other one. This one is better and more organized….

11/29/05, 2:43 AM Merriweather to George: Hey, you still have to do the title page and the reference page. I have attached everything you need to do those (two) things. Make sure you reread the paper and make it sound like you.

Ahh yes, nothing like a little academic fraud to whisk in the fall semester. Happy studying, folks!

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