Merry Christmas: What’s In Santa’s Bag For Pac-12 Programs?

Posted by AMurawa on December 20th, 2011

It’s that time of the year where everybody is on the lookout for that one great gift for their friends and family. In the spirit of the season of giving, I’ve been racking my brain, trying to come up with the perfect gifts for all of the Pac-12 basketball programs. My good friend Mr. Claus is willing to help me out, and between the two of us, we think we’ve found just the right thing for everybody around the conference.

Arizona – Is it too much to ask for Derrick Williams back? Because he would go a long way towards curing the Wildcats’ ills up front. But since we don’t want to take Williams’ new contract or endorsement deals away from him, we’re going to have to settle on a babysitter for freshman point guard Josiah Turner. Just somebody who can make sure the kid eats his fruits and vegetables and gets to class and practice on time and in one piece, allowing Turner to simply focus on taking care of business at Point Guard U.

Josiah Turner, Arizona

Josiah Turner Has All The Physical Tools To Be Another Great Arizona Point Guard, But He Needs Help Clearing Up His Off-The-Court Struggles (photo credit: Mamta Popat, Arizona Daily Star)

Arizona State – All Sun Devil hoops fans want for Christmas is just one letter grade higher in one class on Jahii Carson’s transcript. The freshman point guard just missed getting a high enough score on his ACT exam to earn eligibility in Tempe, but just one point higher or one letter grade higher on his high school transcript would have made the speedy point ready to play. Santa has assured me that he’s found a minor discrepancy in Carson’s junior year Spanish class that could get him on the court immediately. Sure, Carson isn’t going to turn the Sun Devils into a Tournament team overnight, but they’ll certainly be a lot easier on the eyes.

California – Hey, it’s not much, but this wake-up call service we scored for roomies Allen Crabbe and Richard Solomon should save the Bears countless hours of missed practices and subsequent benchings. And we’re even throwing in a brand new icemaker, which should help Jorge Gutierrez heal up all those bumps and bruises he gets from diving all over the court.

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Morning Five: 11.10.11 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on November 10th, 2011

  1. After the ongoing fiasco at Penn State we have become a little numb to old-fashion college sports scandals, but Central Florida appears to be embroiled in a pretty big one. Yesterday, the NCAA delivered its 16-page notice of allegations to the school, which led athletic director Keith Tribble to resign and men’s basketball coach Donnie Jones to be suspended for three conference games. According to reports, the NCAA is alleging that a recruiter for a sports agency paid for tuition and travel expenses for players and recruits. The recruiter and his associate reportedly brought in six basketball players and five football players to the program with Jones and other high-level people in the UCF program being aware of the illegal actions and doing nothing about it. On the bright side for Jones, he was the only one who was not cited for an ethics violation (lying to the NCAA). As Mike Bianchi writes, “At least it’s not Penn State.”
  2. When BYU suspended center Brandon Davies for violating its “Honor Code” last season plenty of people chimed in with their thoughts on the matter, but one person we had not heard from was Davies himself. That is until yesterday. For his part, Davies claims to feel that he was “definitely treated more than fair”. While some will argue with this saying that Davies does not really have any choice but to say that we would argue like we did last March that Davies entered into the contract knowing what the expectations were and that he broke that contract so he should have expected repercussions.
  3. Speaking of contracts that may carry repercussions, yesterday was the first day that recruits could sign their National Letter of Intent. Despite our warning, many top recruits signed these documents that are only binding on their end, but not binding for the university or the coach. Things went about as expected with Arizona being the big winner. One surprise was that Gary Harris, one of the top shooting guards in the class, committed to Michigan State spurning his home state schools (Indiana and Purdue).
  4. In September, we introduced you to Damiene Cain, the highly touted recruit who turned down a Division I basketball scholarship to focus on academics. It turns out that we may have been wrong as now Cain might end up playing for Colorado and that medical issues may have been the actual reason that he left the team in the first place. Normally, we would expect a coach to hesitate to take a player back if he had left the team previously unless he really did leave for medical reasons, but Tad Boyle could really use some help inside and Cain would certainly add some depth on a thin Colorado team. We don’t expect Boyle to make a decision for a few weeks so don’t be surprised if Cain isn’t in a Colorado uniform until after conference play begins.
  5. What happens when you are really bad at your job? You probably get fired and hope to collect your pension assuming that some idiotic portfolio manager has not made some bad investments. In the world of corporate America and big-time college sports that is not always the case. Take Jeff Capel, the former coach at Oklahoma, who was fired this year after back-to-back losing seasons (in the post-Blake Griffin era where it is a lot harder to win without a player who is twice as good as everybody else on the court). Documents released yesterday revealed that in addition to collecting four extra months of salary after being fired in March, Capel also received two additional payments in excess of $1.75 million. The four extra months of salary and an additional $1.25 million (his base salary over the five years remaining on his contract) were part of his original contract, but we are not sure where the extra $504,000 came from and apparently the school is unwilling to release any additional information about his buyout. Nice work if you can get it.
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Colorado Recruit Opts Out of College Basketball to Get an Education

Posted by nvr1983 on September 13th, 2011

File this one under stories you won’t read too frequently. In a surprising decision Colorado recruit Damiene Cain, who was one of the top high school players in California last season, has decided not to play for the school, but not for the reason that more than 99% of major players decide not to play for a school. In this case, Cain has decided to not play college basketball and instead focus on his studies. The decision to do so comes as a blow to the Buffaloes, but it appears that coach Tad Boyle is on board with Cain’s decision in his statement (not sure he could say otherwise): “Damiene and I have had numerous conversations over the past two weeks in regards to where basketball fits in his life. The health, happiness and well-being of our players is always a paramount concern. Damiene Cain is a terrific young man, and we support him in his decision.”

Cain's Approach May Be Unconventional, but It May Work Out (Credit:

Although we love college basketball (you may have noticed we spend quite a bit of time writing about it), we have to applaud Cain here. It is refreshing to see someone actually care enough about his or her studies to turn down the chance to play big-time college basketball. Too often players seem to treat the college part of college basketball as a minor annoyance (not counting the parties and girls part of college) and leave with nothing more than memories of a college basketball career and a relative lack of employability at least by a college graduate’s standards assuming that they actually get their diploma. Now there are plenty of very good college basketball players who actually do go to class and get an education, but in many cases that doesn’t happen and the APR scores at many schools is reflective of this regardless of whatever issues some might have with the APR and its utility. While there are a handful of college basketball players every year who leave and land well-paying jobs playing basketball either domestically or internationally for the vast majority that isn’t the case. Realistically, for a player like Cain, who despite his accolades on the state level was only a three-star recruit, his future earning potential is most likely more directly related to what he learns in a classroom than what he accomplishes on the court. This isn’t to say that Cain’s basketball career is over and we hope that at some point he returns to play as he still has plenty of time to make a decision to come back and play college basketball either for the Buffaloes or another school in the future, but at this time he appears to be focused on his long-term future.

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