Morning Five: 01.16.12 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on January 16th, 2012

  1. It seems like Ryan Boatright is having quite a bit of trouble with the NCAA this season. After sitting out six games to start the season for taking impermissible benefits (an airplane ticket from his AAU coach), the Connecticut freshman finds himself in the NCAA’s crosshairs again. As a result the school has decided to hold him out of competition until the NCAA makes a decision. While the school is not willing to disclose any more information at this time, at least one report suggests that the source of both this new allegation and the prior allegation is the ex-boyfriend of Boatright’s mother with a grudge against Boatright’s mother. While we cannot verify that report, we do find it interesting that the NCAA is going after Boatright again when we all know there are plenty of other athletes that have probably been involved in a violation of some sort especially with the seediness of the AAU circuit. And of course there is the issue of when the NCAA will make a decision, which would most likely be the deciding factor in when the school could let Boatright play again. As one local media member points out the last time took quite a while to figure out and there is no indication that this investigation will be any quicker.
  2. It was an eventful weekend for North Carolina. On Friday they announced that Leslie McDonald would redshirt this season as he continues to recover from a torn ACL in his right knee. As we mentioned before McDonald could have provided the Tar Heels with another outside shooting option, but as it is they already have plenty of scoring options. On Saturday, the Tar Heels submitted one of the worst performances by a national championship contender that we can remember in 33-point loss at Florida State. Things got so out of hand that Leonard Hamilton suggested to Roy Williams that he send his UNC team to the locker room except for the five players on the court before the FSU students rushed the court.
  3. Eastern Illinois received a commitment on Friday from former Connecticut reserve guard Darius Smith. Smith, who transferred from UConn after his freshman year, spent a year at a junior college in Idaho where he had to overcome injuries from a car accident and managed to put up solid if not spectacular numbers (8.4 points, 5.3 assists, 5.1 rebounds, and 3.1 steals per game). For Smith, a coveted recruit out of Marshall High School in Chicago (the school Arthur Agee graduated from), this means a chance to prove himself at the Division I level in his home state.
  4. Yesterday, one of Bernie Fine‘s accuser admitted that he had lied about being sexually molested by Fine. Floyd VanHooser, who was the fourth individual to accuse the former Syracuse assistant coach of sexually molesting him, claims that his lies were born out of frustration with Fine for not hiring a lawyer for him to fight VanHooser’s latest criminal charges stemming from a burglary charge, one of dozens that he has reportedly been arrested for. While VanHooser’s claims, which were deemed to be not credible by the District Attorney at the time, can be taken off the list against the allegations against Fine, they should not necessarily lessen the credibility of the other accusers.
  5. As part of the ongoing debate on scholarship reform the NCAA announced its support for the $2,000 stipend proposal, but directed a working group to come back with a proposal for its implementation in April. In essence, the NCAA asked a committee to figure out a way that the proposal could work within the boundaries of Title IX and the financial differences between big-time and small Division I programs. While the press release indicates that the rules change could go into effect as early as the 2013-14 season, it does not explain how this would impact high school seniors who signed scholarship offers in the fall when they were promised the $2,000 stipend.
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Calhoun To Sign Long-Term Extension?

Posted by zhayes9 on September 30th, 2009

News broke yesterday that longtime Connecticut men’s basketball coach Jim Calhoun and athletic director Jeff Hathaway are working on securing a long-term contract extension for the highly successful and equally embattled face of the program that could reach a maximum of six more years roaming the UConn bench.

The last 14 months have certainly been a roller-coaster ride for Calhoun, leading many to believe the 805-game winner may step down after 2008-09 to deal with his health problems and spend more time with his six grandchildren. Calhoun is a two-time cancer survivor, including dealing with extensive chemotherapy prior to last season, and recently suffered eight broken ribs in a bike accident in June. Calhoun also dealt with the Ken Krayeske “not a dime” press conference controversy, the Nate Miles restraining order and subsequent NCAA investigation, missing the first round game of the NCAA Tournament due to acute stress and, on the flip-side, a highly successful 31-5 (15-3) campaign that ended with a trip to the Final Four.


Instead of quitting amidst the gunfire, Calhoun will chug on. And in the end, this is the best possible scenario for Connecticut fans. Even at the ripe age of 67, Calhoun has the fire to recruit with the best young coaches in the business, spending seven of the first ten summer recruiting days traveling around the country pursuing the cream of the crop, just weeks after the bike crash. After losing an abundance of talent from last year’s squad, Calhoun has reloaded with five-star impact center Alex Oriakhi and his boarding school teammate Jamal Coombs-McDaniel along with four-star point guard Darius Smith. Connecticut remains in the hunt for superstar 2010 recruits Brandon Knight, Cory Joseph, Doron Lamb and Roscoe Smith. The fact that these recruits will know that Calhoun will be in Storrs for the long haul can only help in their recruitment.

One thing you know about Jim Calhoun: He’s a fighter. He won’t quit. Love him or hate him, few college coaches have the fire of the 67-year old Calhoun. With two national titles, three Final Fours, a Hall-of-Fame plaque to his resume and 557 career wins at Connecticut (including the love of almost every former player), an extension seems inevitable, even if it should extend into his mid-70s. While his doctor may not advise it, Calhoun’s never-wavering passion for coaching young men should trump all.

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