Morning Five: 01.13.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on January 13th, 2010

  1. It’s probably not a good sign for the long-term success of Bill Self’s Kansas team when players such as Tyshawn Taylor are stating on the record that he’s unsure about his role on the team this year, and suggests that “a lot of guys” feel the same way.  We would think an experienced team like Kansas would have that stuff figured out already.
  2. Here’s an interesting interview Ryan Fagan did with UNC’s fifth-year senior Marcus Ginyard where he states unequivocally that Texas is the toughest team they’ve faced this year (over Kentucky and Michigan State).
  3. After last night, the Big 12 is 114-1 at home, which is an impressive manufactured stat by the conference’s marketing folks.  The one loss was Northern Iowa over Iowa State back in early December, 63-60.
  4. Jay Bilas gives us his midseason All-Americans, and there are no huge surprises, but c’mon Jay, a month of Evan Turner is still better than Damion James, right?
  5. It appears that suspended Vols Cameron Tatum and Melvin Goins might be coming back at some point soon — both players reportedly passed drug tests immediately following the rental car incident on New Year’s Day, and Gary Parrish reports that the school has cleared those two from any wrongdoing.  The situation with Brian Williams is a little more dicey, as he has allegedly copped to the possession charge, but he may also be back on the team sooner rather than later.
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Tyler Smith Dismissed From Tennessee

Posted by rtmsf on January 8th, 2010

The first shoe dropped today in the Tennessee basketball players New Year’s Day fiasco, as star forward Tyler Smith was dismissed from the Tennessee basketball team in a statement released by Bruce Pearl:

We felt we had enough information at this time to dismiss Tyler Smith from the team.  I am deeply troubled and saddened. Playing basketball at the University of Tennessee is a privilege, and where conduct is displayed that is detrimental to the team and the university, this discipline is required. Tyler has accomplished a great deal and we are all disappointed his playing career at the University of Tennessee will end this way.

Disappointment, Thy Name is Tyler

The three other players involved in the incident — Melvin Goins, Brian Williams and Cameron Tatum — remain indefinitely suspended as #1 Kansas visits Knoxville this weekend.  The twitterati and message board chatter yesterday implied that this decision was coming, as allegedly Smith was found to be the owner of the two guns found in the rental car where the four players were riding. 

This is obviously a huge blow to the Tennessee team this year as well as to Bruce Pearl’s program in general.  Smith was generally viewed as a success story around the SEC, as the local kid had returned home from Iowa after his freshman year to be with his sick father and help Pearl rebuild the UT program.  He was all-SEC first team as a sophomore and junior, and helped lead UT to its second straight Sweet Sixteen in 2008 for the first time in program history.  Furthermore, the perception that Pearl only has loose control of his players is exacerbated by this situation, and it may ultimately impact his recruiting to Knoxville. 

Smith, to his credit, said in a statement that he’s only a dozen hours short of his degree and he intends on finishing it, but what on earth was he thinking here?  If he really feels such imminent danger on a daily basis that he needs to have not one, but two, weapons near him at all times, then it’s probably for the best that he’s no longer staining Tennessee athletics with whatever he’s involved in; but if he’s just trying to act hard by brandishing guns in a way that really isn’t necessary given his lifestyle and status as a star UT athlete, then he may want to give Gilbert Arenas a text to see how that’s working out for him these days. 

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Afternoon Five: 01.04.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on January 4th, 2010

  1. Mike DeCourcy correctly skewers USC officials for throwing its basketball program under the bus to save the cash-cow football program.  It’s a classic negotiation technique that nobody will ever admit on the record to doing — give up something you don’t really care about to protect the thing that you do (apparently others have seen through this mirage as well).  Sad for Mike Gerrity and company.  The hope here is that these players win the Pac-10 regular season and celebrate in style (see: Kentucky 1991). 
  2. Bill & Mary: the plucky little Tribe that could
  3. Bruce Pearl apologized to anyone who would listen — including Tennessee women’s coach Pat Summit — for his four players’ arrests last week where they were found with drugs and guns in a rental car.  That’s all fine and well, but what’s going to be the verdict on these guys, Coach? 
  4. Jeff Goodman analyzes what people are calling Kentucky’s x-factor this year: the head of talented center DeMarcus Cousins.  If he keeps it, the Cats could go all the way; if he doesnt’…
  5. Step right up!  Get your official signed logo UConn basketball from “HOF Legend” Alex Oriakhi.  Yes, for $99.99 you can be the proud owner of this certain treasure as you watch its value exponentially grow on your mantle!  (for those of you wondering, Oriakhi is a nice player… he averaged 5/9/2 blks in 29 MPG… he has a long way to go to be worth paying $100 for a signed ball, though)
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Tennessee Players Celebrate the New Year By Destroying Their Team

Posted by rtmsf on January 2nd, 2010

The hits keep on coming for the University of Tennessee athletic department.  Just seven weeks after three Vol football players were arrested for attempted armed robbery of a local convenience store, four hoopsters were arrested this morning (at 11:30 am) during a traffic stop where a baggy of marijuana and two guns were found in a rental car Cameron Tatum was driving.  From the police report:

According to the incident report, one KPD officer immediately requested backup and a K-9 officer after approaching the vehicle, driven by Tatum, and smelling a “strong odor of marijuana.”  The four players then were removed from the vehicle so it could be searched, and officers found two handguns, drugs and an open container of alcohol. One weapon was discovered under each of the front seats, and the one discovered under Smith’s passenger seat had an altered serial number, the report said. That led to felony charges at first, but all charges were misdemeanors later in the evening, according to multiple sources.

Smith, Tatum, Williams, Goins

These weren’t just any average players, either.  The arrested players were forward Tyler Smith, UT’s best all-around player, along with fellow starting forward Tatum, key reserve guard Melvin Goins and center Brian Williams — the four represent 41% of the team’s point production, 47% of the rebounds, 50% of the assists and 40% of the team’s minutes.In other words, this is a HUGE problem for Bruce Pearl.  As of Friday night, Pearl has indefinitely suspended all four players and will gather more details before making a decision as to their futures with the program.

Of particular concern are the guns found under the seats.  None of the four has taken credit for the ownership of these yet, and with good reason, as those weapons could be linked to other crimes.  But, it creates an interesting prisoner’s dilemma situation, where if any player realistically wants to have a chance to continue his career at UT, he should come clean about another player’s ownership of the guns to save himself; otherwise, all four players could be charged with possession of the firearms.  Will the code of the street/team take precedence over one’s self-interest and individual survival?  You would have to believe that one or more will finger the others in order to absolve themselves of responsibility for the whole mess.  But we ask again – WHY do players need to have guns lying around (see: Agent Zero and Javaris Crittenton)?  It just doesn’t make any sense.

It will be very interesting to see how this ultimately shakes out, but things are not looking very good at all in Knoxville, a mere 24 hours after UT took it to Memphis in a huge win over their rival in the FedEx Forum, and only a few days prior to big games at home against visiting Charlotte and #1 Kansas.  It appeared that Bruce Pearl’s team might have been turning the corner after some early struggles, but the only corner that may be in the future for much of his team at this point is looking more like something out of “The Wire” rather than at Thompson-Boling Arena.

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Tough Day in College Hoopdom…

Posted by rtmsf on September 16th, 2009

A series of unfortunate events came down the pike to ruin what had previously been an exciting day when ESPN released it’s 24 Hours of Hoops schedule for November 17.  Let’s briefly cover each so that we can move on to more pleasant things (hopefully tomorrow).

  • We woke up to the news that Pitt’s best returning player, Jermaine Dixon, broke his right foot for the second time this summer while playing in a pickup game.  Given that it’s already mid-September and the doctors are telling him that it’ll take at least eight weeks to heal, this news clearly puts Jamie Dixon’s squad behind the 8-ball going into October practice and the first few games of the season.  We would be completely shocked if Pitt fell off the map this year because Dixon is such an excellent coach, but on paper the 09-10 team already appears to be the weakest of his seven-year tenure.  Losing their only returning starter for a while near the start of the season cannot help.  And what’s up with that right foot – is this mere coincidence or does he have a problem there?
  • From the crime blotter, Wisconsin freshman guards Jeremy Glover and Diamond Taylor are now off the team (Glover was dismissed; Taylor withdrew) after their arrest for allegedly stealing ipods, a cell phone and $400 in cash last week from a UW dorm.  The two players were expected to provide backcourt depth this season for Bo Ryan’s team, but he’ll need to lean more heavily on returnees Trevon Hughes and Jason Bohannon than anticipated.
  • Finally, as you’ve probably heard by now, NCAA President-cum-Reformer Myles Brand died today from pancreatic cancer.  As the head honcho of the NCAA over the last six years, we’ve certainly had our fair share of criticism directed at his leadership, mostly with respect to investigations of alleged violations and selective enforcement of the rules.  But there can be no question that we completely respect and admire the work that Brand did in terms tying academic performance of athletes at the sport-level (and soon, coach-level) to key athletic assets such as scholarships and postseason appearances.  The Academic Progress Report (APR) that Brand initiated to achieve this end definitely contains some loopholes, but at the very least, he has schools, ADs and coaches thinking about performance of their players in the classroom, which is a far, far cry from where it was ten years ago.  RTC lauds Myles Brand for this impressive and hopefully lasting achievement, and we hope that to honor his legacy, his replacement will continue to tweak the APR, giving it teeth, so that schools will take it seriously.  RIP, Mr. Brand.
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10.21.08 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on October 20th, 2008

Let’s see if we can get through some of the news piling up…

  • CHN averages the rankings from the three preview magazines that are already out (Athlon, Lindy’s and TSN/S&S).  UNC still #1.  CHN gives us the mid-majors to keep an eye on this season as possible NCAA Cinderellas.  And here’s your EA Sports NCAA Basketball 09 Top 25 (now partnered with Blue Ribbon).  We know you were waiting for it.
  • Hahahahaha, so it appears the ACC is cooking the books Wachovia-style in an attempt to act like it has more televised games this year than it actually has. 
  • North Dakota Fighting Maize?  According to the North Dakota state legislature, the Fighting Sioux are out
  • Syracuse had best hope that Jonny Flynn doesn’t get hurt this season, as the Orange’s backup PG Scoop Jardine is redshirting.
  • Nevada starting guard Brandon Fields and two freshmen were charged with petty larceny last week, and suspended indefinitely.  Brilliance.  Oh, and Fields was all-academic WAC, proving that good grades doesn’t necessarily mean you have a brain. 
  • Seth Davis asks twenty questions as we get started with the 2008-09 season.  Gary Parrish has 24 things that he can’t wait to see this season, and his Top 26 teams.  Mike DeCourcy offers five things he hopes to see this year.
  • Katz hints on our issue with UConn as a F4 threat (zero postseason wins since 2006) in this story about Stanley Robinson.   He also provides us with a nice update of open questions as we head into the first week of practices. 
  • Yep, this is going to get old real, real fast.  Tyler Hansbrough, the symbol of all things good and merciful.   
  • Dan Hanner over at YABB throws us some love (thanks, Dan!), and does a breakdown of the preseason tournaments by school participation – cool concept. 
  • Truly, the most Epic Post of all-time.  Maybe the author wants to be an RTC correspondent???  Our fave blurbs were Florida and Colgate, fyi.
  • Being Cinderella (Davidson) can pay dividends.
  • This is pretty awesome over at STF – Drake U’u and Da’Veen Dildy are our favorites.  Honorable mention to An’Juan Wildnerness (isn’t that in Alaska?).
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10.16.08 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on October 16th, 2008

We’re only a day from the real start of practice… let’s lace em up!

  • Something’s going around.  SDSU’s all-MWC forward Lorenzzo Wade was indefinitely suspended today by the university for an incident where he was accused of first-degree burglary of an inhabited dwelling.  We’re quite certain that Gabby (and resident Aztec fan) over at M2M is drowning himself in some tasty spirits right about now. 
  • Meanwhile, over in Australia, BYU player Chris Collinsworth (no, not the annoying Bob Costas lackey) was stabbed by three attackers while on his mission in that country.  He is expected to fully recover. 
  • Parrish gives us four reasons why UNC might not win it all this year. 
  • Katz writes a long piece on UConn – the Huskies are getting an awful lot of hype this year, but we dunno, they just don’t feel like a vintage Jim Calhoun team to us.
  • Here are 10 sleeper players to keep an eye on this season, and 10 sensational sophomores.
  • Do NC State fans care about this at all?  Not even a little?
  • Next stop for Patrick Beverley:  Ukraine.  Get your grades, kids. 
  • Jerry Jones is trying to get some college hoops going up in his new joint – Texas-UNC starting in 2009-10 as well as the Red River Rivalry hoops-style. 
  • Wow, if Jerry Tarkanian is blogging, what does that say about the rest of us?  To be fair, his yarns are entertaining. 
  • The crotchety old St. Joe’s Hawk himself, Phil Martelli, received an extension today through 2016. 
  • It’s good to see that Miami (OH)’s longtime coach Charlie Coles is back to good health again.  Let’s hope it stays that way. 
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Rydell’s Excessively Tinted Windows

Posted by rtmsf on May 19th, 2008

In the worst-things-you-can-do-when-pulled-over-by-the-cops anthology, this story as perpetrated by Akron sophomore guard Rydell Brooks must rank near the top.  Around midnight Saturday, Brooks and his buddy, Ed Davis, Jr., were stopped by police on what they called a “routine traffic stop.” 

Shoot First, Ask Questions Later (photo credit:

Let’s see, we’ve been pulled over many times in our driving days, and we’ve developed a keen sense of what not to do in those situations.  For one, you don’t start moving around inside the vehicle, nor do you start reaching for things that may or may not be hidden in the glovebox or the floorboard.  You try to keep yourself courteous and polite and you avoid arguing with the po-po man over whatever it is he’s saying you did.  Most importantly, you don’t pull out a bitchin’ MAC-10 and start unloading into the friendly officers under any circumstances…

Brooks and Davis had other ideas

A University of Akron basketball player is being held on charges of firing shots at Akron police officers after a traffic stop.  Akron police detectives said Rydell Brooks, 20, a UA sophomore, was pulled over on a routine traffic stop around midnight Saturday.  Police said Brooks fled from the vehicle and fired several shots at officers, who caught him after a short chase.  He is being held in the Summit County Jail, along with Edward J. Davis Jr., 20, of Cole Avenue, Akron. Davis also was in the car, police said.

From today’s arraignment hearing:

Rydell Brooks, 20, a UA sophomore, and Edward Davis Jr., 20, of Akron, are each charged with attempted murder, felonious assault and carrying a concealed weapon.  Bond was set at $1 million.  Brooks is also charged with driving with a suspended license and excessively tinted windows.  An Akron prosecutor said five guns and two ski masks were found inside Brooks’ 1997 Dodge Caravan following his arrest.  According to police, as officers approached the vehicle on Bellows Street around midnight Saturday they were greeted with gunfire. No one was injured in the gunfire. Police have not indicated that they returned the gunfire.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmkaaaaaaaaaaay…  our first question is how the hell did the police catch someone who was shooting at them without shooting that person themselves?  Really, how does that happen?  They’re claiming attempted murder here – did Brooks run out of ammo?  Did he toss the weapon while being chased?  Did the cops have one of those giant cartoon nets they shot out of a cannon?

Your Last TV Appearance (photo credit:  Akron Beacon-Journal)

And our second question is…  excessively tinted windows?  Is that why the cops stopped Brooks in the first place?  They couldn’t have possibly known that Brooks was driving on a suspended license or that he had a veritable armory in the van, so that was their probable cause?  Talk about walking into a hornet’s nest. 

See Rydell, we saw The Wire last week, that’s why you invest in a hollowed-out compartment behind the glove box.  Oh, and call Levance Fields – he seems to know how to get out of these types of messes.  Heck, he assaulted an officer, grabbed at his weapon, and didn’t even get suspended last year (granted, he didn’t shoot at the guy, but these are mere technicalities). 

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