Morning Five: 07.27.11 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on July 27th, 2011

  1. Most college players spend their summers trying to improve their games in one way or another.  Some kids shoot 500 jumpers a day, while others work on improving their lateral quickness or positioning and footwork.  Butler’s rising senior point guard Ronald Nored, the Bulldogs’ defensive dynamo who has lived in the shorts of the opposing team’s best perimeter players for the better of three seasons, spent some of his offseason prepping for what he figures will be his ultimate destiny: Coaching.  His AAU team, called The Truth, attempts to bring The Butler Way to amateur prep basketball, and to hear one of his players tell it, the difference Nored  provides as the head man is music to our ears: Greg Gardner says, “He’s not like most AAU coaches.  We run offense, we play tough defense. Most AAU coaches let the kids run up and down. We don’t do that – we actually play real basketball.”  Can we clone a thousand of these Noreds to start teaching basketball at the amateur level all around the country — please?
  2. An update to Salinas-gate…  SI’s Pablo Torre reported on Tuesday that a number of additional names have been added to the list of investors who have lost millions of dollars as a result of David Salinas‘ financial shenanigans prior to committing suicide last week.  The most notable newbies to us are former K-State player Cartier Martin ($375,000), former Baylor star Ekpe Udoh ($350,000) and former New Mexico athletic director and NCAA Selection Committee member Rudy Davalos ($83,000).  Perhaps the most interesting part of Torre’s article, though, was this line: “SI has also learned Salinas has numerous other sports-related clients — college basketball coaches included — whose names are not yet public, and whose money is not believed to be at risk in this particular case.”  We’re not sure exactly what that might mean, but our guess is that coaches around the country are keeping their accountants on speed dial.
  3. We made mention of the trials and tribulations of Mississippi State center Renardo Sidney and his ongoing weight problems earlier this week, but according to Gary Parrish at, he’s not the only talented big man having troubles keeping the pounds off this summer.  UCLA head coach Ben Howland told Parrish that his rising sophomore center, Josh Smith, is “about 10 pounds over where he was last season,” a somewhat alarming statement given that the player checked in at a puffy 305 pounds last season.  There were times last year when Smith appeared to have All-American written all over him, but his conditioning issues and excessive weight resulted in him only playing about half the time (21.7 MPG) and finding himself in foul trouble way too often (15 times with four fouls or more).  Not good news for UCLA fans hoping to recapture the mojo of their school’s Final Four runs of 2006-08.
  4. Dana O’Neil caught up with Connecticut head coach Jim Calhoun on Orlando on Tuesday and asked him point-blank if UConn president Susan Herbst’s review of the athletic department has anything to do with his icy relationship with athletic director Jeff Hathaway.  Perhaps predictably, Calhoun ducked any inference of himself as puppet-master: “I 100 percent do think that’s unfair.  I have nothing against anybody. Jeff and I, our relationship hasn’t always been all that it should have been. When he came back [in 2003], he seemed to have changed somewhat and they say when you move over six inches to the head coach’s chair, things change. But I don’t want to see anybody lose a job.”  Maybe we should re-visit this comment next month, because UConn sports under Hathaway is coming off one of its best years in history — what other reason could there be to get rid of the guy?
  5. Yesterday we made mention in the M5 of Basketball Prospectus’ thoughtful list of the top 100 returning players in college basketball for the 2011-12 season.  We didn’t have time to do our own vetting of the list, but The Big Lead did, and as he says in the title to his post, he has some “issues” with it.  He makes some good points (especially the complete omission of Mr. Photo-BBQ, Aaron Craft), but such lists are highly subjective and speculative as a matter of course.  Let us know if you, like TBL, had any issues with BP’s list in the comments below.
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Morning Five: 07.22.11 Edition

Posted by jstevrtc on July 22nd, 2011

  1. In Andy Katz’s latest update on the David Salinas situation, he reports that the University of Houston has found nothing that would suggest any compliance problems regarding their basketball program and the late investment advisor. Sticking to his guns, he also repeats that the NCAA has not launched a formal investigation into the matter because it lacks the evidence to do so right now (perhaps the corpus of the departed, the coaches talking to the media about their squandered money, and the federal investigation aren’t enough). Because we know people are being called about this — indeed, Katz notes as much in his article — as we alluded to in yesterday’s M5, maybe this is the difference between a formal and informal inquiry. When the NCAA calls and you’re on the other end of the phone, though, it probably feels formal enough. Also, do they have to ask the same questions a seond time when they investigation goes from informal to formal?
  2. Remember Tony Mitchell? He was a top Class of 2010 prospect who initially signed with Missouri, but, after an investigation into his high school transcripts, it was found that he had attended an unaccredited prep school for a year on the advice of an AAU coach. Ruled ineligible at Missouri, he’s been at North Texas attempting to fulfill his academic obligations and get back on the court. SI‘s Luke Winn spent some time with Mitchell in Riga, Latvia during the latter’s service on the USA squad that just finished fifth in the FIBA U19 World Championships. The entire article is great, but the part that really got our attention was when Winn showed, through tempo-free stats gathered at the U19 tournament, how Mitchell compared pretty darn favorably to the best player in the competition, Lithuania’s Jonas Valanciunas…who just got taken 5th in the NBA Draft.
  3. What is it with basketball, the state of Texas, and Ponzi schemes? Totally unrelated to the Salinas matter, a San Antonio businessman pleaded guilty yesterday and could face up to eight years in the big house due to his involvement in a false investment scheme once led by Travis Correll — a former Southeastern Conference referee! Correll is already in prison on a nine-year stretch and gets to pay $29 million in restitution when he gets out.
  4. The July evaluation period(s) — big opportunity for previously unseen prospects, or teeming, swarming cesspool of corruption? Maybe that’s taking it a little too far, but one has to admit that in the past it’s always seemingly been these summer recruiting periods where so much naughtiness happens. John Wall says his life would be drastically different if he hadn’t had the July eval period to show his stuff. Everyone knows it needs an overhaul, but getting rid of it entirely might not be the way to go. Change is coming, though, and that right soon. What results may be a paradigm in which the traveling recruiting analysts become some very important (and therefore popular and probably very rich) dudes. Interesting stuff from the Washington Post, including takes from the likes of Messrs. Pastner, Calipari, and Izzo.
  5. Excellent and difficult question by CBS Sports’ Jeff Goodman: on the list of college basketball’s great accomplishments, where does Butler making consecutive title games rank? Mike Krzyzewski and Jim Boeheim both had pretty high praise, as you’d expect. We’re not going to tell you where Mr. Goodman listed it, so you’ll have click on the above link to find that out, but one thing we’re wondering is…what about next season? If Butler doesn’t have another great Tournament run (Bulldog fans, we’re not saying it won’t happen, this is a hypothetical), you know there will be people who will say that Brad Stevens should have cashed in and switched jobs when the gettin’ was good. If you hear such things, after you’ve rolled your eyes, please do it again on our behalf.
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Morning Five: 07.21.11 Edition

Posted by jstevrtc on July 21st, 2011

  1. “My account was hacked!” goes the common cry of players and sometimes even coaches who tweet something they soon end up regretting, right? Well, you wont hear anything like that coming from any of the University of New Mexico’s players. In fact, you won’t hear anything at all in the way of tweets from them, because Steve Alford has mandated a Twitter gag order for everyone on his squad. As of this writing, Facebook is still allowed. So, what do you think? Overprotective, or sound judgment by Coach Alford?
  2. And now, your daily Salinas: most of the talk in this area on Wednesday centered around the NCAA investigation into the matter. As in…does one exist? First, the revered Andy Katz stepped up with an article announcing that the NCAA had no intention of investigating the possibility of what would amount to a player-for-investment money scam (not to mention the simultaneous alleged Ponzi scheme being examined by the Feds). The only problem is that for the rest of the day people came forward with evidence that such an investigation had already begun. Was Katz lied to or did the NCAA change their mind extremely quickly on the matter? Or is this the difference between a formal vs. informal probe?
  3. Louisville will not be getting lei’d in 2012. They’ve pulled out of the Maui Invitational that year and will be replaced by Marquette. But don’t put the floral shirts, sunscreen and swimming trunks away just yet, Cardinal fans. Instead of Maui that year, you’ll have to settle for the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas. Card Chronicle has a pretty persuasive list of reasons as to why this is a better move for the team, not the least of which is that the Bahamas is emerging as fertile ground for basketball talent.
  4. There was a Sweet 16 ten years ago, but in the last 40 years that’s all that Penn State basketball has had to get happy about as far as NCAA Tournament achievements. We had to stop and consider that before immediately writing off the notion that, as Black Shoe Diaries asserts, the best days ever for Penn State basketball are now underway with the hiring of Pat Chambers. Obviously we’ll have to wait and see if they’re proven correct, but after reading the piece and the comments section we’ll at least give everyone involved full marks for how they’ve used Chambers’ arrival as an opportunity to renew their emotional investment.
  5. Andy Staples sure knows how to get your attention. Sports Illustrated is doing a series called “The Best Team I Ever Covered” in which it asks each of its writers over several sports about…well, you get it. For his submission, Staples chose the 2005-06 Florida Gators and included the words “Miss Sweden” in the title. We didn’t consider ourselves suckered, however, since his story was a nice insight into his coverage of that squad and the odd yet enjoyable journey it must have been. For the few of you who weren’t aware, Joakim Noah’s mother was a Miss Sweden. Yes, that Joakim Noah.
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Around The Blogosphere: July 20, 2011

Posted by nvr1983 on July 20th, 2011

If you are interested in participating in our ATB2 feature, send in your submissions to We will add to this post throughout the day as the submissions come in so keep on sending them.

General News

  • Jon Hood Torn ACL: The Kentucky guard tore his ACL in a pick-up game on Monday and will undergo surgery in the near future, but there is no estimate for his return at this time. (A Sea of Blue)
  • Syracuse Orange Basketball Schedule: A preliminary look at Syracuse’s schedule for next season. (Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician)
  • Mark Few also involved with David Salinas: Reports on a potential connection between the Gonzaga coach and the deceased AAU middleman. (The Slipper Still Fits)
  •  Ponzi Scheme Burns Gillispie The Worst: “Former Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie was named by CBS Sports as a participant in a Ponzi scheme organized by an AAU team founder, which took advantage of college coaches.  And according to a story by Sports Illustrated, Gillispie wasn’t just a part of it. He was the biggest victim. In fact, he contributed nearly double the money of the second largest contributor, former Utah head coach Ray Giacoletti.” (Kentucky Sports Radio)
  • LSU transfer Garrett Green will visit Indiana: The Hoosiers, with one additional available scholarship for next season, have contact the big man who averaged 6.3 points and 5.1 rebounds in 18 minutes per game last season. (Inside the Hall)
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Morning Five: 07.20.11 Edition

Posted by jstevrtc on July 20th, 2011

  1. Sporting News‘ Mike DeCourcy posted a fine summary yesterday of 2012 prospect Myles Davis‘ decision to verbally commit to Xavier, and we also saw that Mr. DeCourcy later tweeted a confirmation that Myles Davis was indeed named after…Miles Davis. This automatically makes him the coolest player in the 2012 class. We hope someone someday challenges Davis about his shot selection in some post-game press conference, so he can reply with something to the effect of, “There are no bad shots, just shots in the wrong places.” If this happens, inasmuch as we can’t reward Davis, we pledge to mow Chris Mack’s lawn on an as-needed basis for the entire off-season next summer.
  2. As MSNBC’s Mike Miller tweeted early yesterday, the fallout from this David Salinas possible Ponzi scheme story will come in the form of a “slow burn of incriminating details” over the rest of the summer.’s Pablo Torre has the latest on this fiasco, including names of coaches, amounts of money with which they entrusted Salinas, and a list of players who came through Salinas’ AAU program in Houston that, as the author says, “sparks potential questions.” Certainly true, especially when considering what (as the author notes in his article) former Houston coach Tom Penders told The Daily on Monday — that Salinas once offered him the chance to invest $100,000 with him, in the process making “a strong, strong implication” that the 100-large would grease the rails for Penders in terms of access to prospects at Salinas’ program. Yeesh. By the way, the biggest loss from Salinas’ business practices appears to have been $2.3 million (!!) that once belonged to new Texas Tech coach Billy Gillispie.
  3. Kentucky’s Jon Hood tore his right ACL during a pick-up game on Monday and will likely have to redshirt the 2011-12 season. Surgery has yet to be scheduled as they wait for inflammation around the knee to subside. You might look at Hood’s 0.8 PPG and 4.3 MPG from last season and write this off as an unfortunate incident for the young man and just a minor loss for the team, but beware; Hood is the only rising junior on the team, and Kentucky lost a potential senior when DeAndre Liggins left a year early for the NBA. They still have Darius Miller and Eloy Vargas as returning seniors, but when you’re as heavy on freshmen and sophomores as Kentucky, you’ll take any upperclassmen leadership you can get.
  4. Any coach will tell you that when you take over for another coach at a struggling program, it’s not just about new offenses and new defenses and so on. It often involves a change of the very culture of the place, and sometimes even a re-commitment to basic matters of professionalism by everyone concerned, and the process can sometimes take a couple of years. Coach-turned-announcer-turned-coach Mark Gottfried has a long row to hoe at NC State, but he knows that his first job is to convince his players that success begins with things as elementary as daily off-court habits that have little or nothing to do with basketball.
  5. If the latest “Hoop Thoughts” from Seth Davis doesn’t get your mid-July college basketball juices flowing, we wonder what will. In the latest edition, Davis takes the pulses of nine programs, each based on recent conversations he had with the coaches of those teams. We don’t want to give too much away, but Duke, Louisville, Michigan State, and Ohio State backers should take note. And he leads off with a proclamation of who will be the next official Cinderella in the vein of Gonzaga and Butler.
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Morning Five: 07.18.11 Edition

Posted by jstevrtc on July 18th, 2011

  1. North Carolina’s Leslie McDonald tore his right ACL in a summer league game on Thursday night and there’s fear he might miss the entirety of the 2011-12 season. The rising junior was seventh in minutes for last season’s Tar Heels and fifth in scoring (7.0 PPG), but second in made threes (51) and three-point percentage (38.1%). Despite McDonald’s obvious increased confidence and improved play last year, minutes at the guard position would have been tough to come by in the upcoming, with Dexter Strickland, Reggie Bullock, and Kendall Marshall comprising a formidable corps and P.J. Hairston en route. It is, nevertheless, a significant hit to the Heels’ depth in terms of both outside shooting and experience, though we’re not sure how much it moves the needle back toward Kentucky in terms of the pre-season #1.
  2. Anthony Hubbard spent four years in the hoosegow after a 2003 home robbery, then worked hard to get his life back on the right track by graduating from high school and then becoming a junior college basketball star in Maryland. With two seasons of eligibility left, he was slated to start at Iowa next year, but that’s not going to happen. Hubbard, a 6’5 guard, has decided he wants to try to find a school closer to his home in Virginia, so he’ll leave Iowa without having ever donned the Hawkeye uniform. Can’t blame either side, here. If Hubbard thinks this is the best thing for his life on and off the court, then he’s right to go before the relationship went any farther. Given the time, effort, and faith Fran McCaffrey and his staff put into bringing Hubbard to Iowa, though, you can’t blame Iowa AD Gary Barta for admitting his and his staff’s disappointment (as he does in the story) while still wishing Hubbard the best.
  3. “Ladies and gentlemen, your Rutgers University Scarlet Knights!…aka Ned Stevens Gutter Cleaning!!” Please allow yourself time to check out how the (Newark) Star-Ledger’s Brendan Prunty (a favorite of ours, by the way) ties those two entities together, but suffice to say that some players on next season’s Rutgers squad are enjoying some very valuable time together playing in the Jersey Shore summer league. Hey, it might not be one of those team trips to Europe or China, but it’s still two extra months to work on team chemistry both as players and as gentlemen, and that never hurts.
  4. People who like math major in mathematics. Students who play the cello can be cello majors. Should college athletes, then, be allowed to major in their sport if they want? Seems like that idea hasn’t ever really been taken seriously, but we hear someone make the case for it every so often; this time, Arizona State’s steps up and gives it a shot. In their proposed paradigm, obviously athletes would have to take basic requirements just like students with non-athletic majors, and the author notes how, even for those players who don’t end up playing professionally in their chosen sport, there may still be several career options for which such a major could prepare them. We add the following question: does the bachelor’s have to be the terminal degree? It would be pretty fantastic to be the first person with a “ChD” — a Doctorate of College Hoops.
  5. The college basketball story of the summer may have (unfortunately, as it happens) arrived. On Sunday, 60-year old David Salinas was found dead in Houston, apparently of suicide. Salinas founded a summer basketball program for local kids when he wasn’t acting as an “investment adviser.” CBS’ Gary Parrish and Jeff Goodman have reported that the suicide appears to be a result of the feds’ investigation of Salinas’ allegedly fraudulent business practices. The college basketball angle is that many coaches — we’re talking some big names, as you’ll read in the linked article — entrusted quite a bit of their money to Salinas, and his summer program may have helped funnel some recruits to certain schools represented by those coaches. The link between the players and the money hasn’t been firmly established as of yet, but you know the NCAA is watching this very closely. So are we, and we’ll have more up here as events warrant.


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