Morning Five: 04.10.14 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on April 10th, 2014

morning5

  1. As expected Kansas freshman center Joel Embiid announced that he will be entering this year’s NBA Draft. In our minds, there was really no question as to Embiid’s decision as he is a guaranteed top-five pick (barring any serious findings during his physicals). Before his back injury we would have said that Embiid might have been the favorite to the #1 overall pick. Now we would only hedge a little bit by saying that he will be a top-five pick because despite his back injury, which can be concerning, he does have a skill set that very few NBA big men have, which makes him an extremely valuable commodity. Embiid’s departure could also open the door for Kansas to land Myles Turner, the #2 overall recruit in the class of 2014 and the lone remaining uncommitted recruit, as Embiid and Turner likely would have been sharing minutes. With Embiid off to the NBA it might lead Turner to head to Lawrence.
  2. Wisconsin-Milwaukee will not be repeating its surprise run to the NCAA Tournament next year. In fact, they won’t even be able to defend their Horizon League Tournament crown after receiving a one-year post-season ban for its low APR score. This clearly is not as high-profile as Connecticut’s one-year ban in 2013 and we don’t expect to see a player (sorry student-athlete) standing next to Rob Jeter talking about being banned, but it is a significant blow to the program. At this point, we have to place blame the program particularly when they have known about these APR guidelines for years.
  3. The big news of the day in the college basketball world was Massachusetts point guard Derrick Gordon announcing that he is gay. There have been countless opinions posted online and spoken over the air so we won’t get into the issue too much other than to applaud Gordon for his decision to make the announcement more for the change it can make for others than anything related to himself although that clearly is a big issue too. We hope that opposing players and fans (particularly the fans) behave appropriately when they play Massachusetts. We also hope that we see the day when this type of announcement not only does not need to be made, but it also is not a news story because society has become so accepting.
  4. It did not take Jim Fox very long to become one of our favorite college basketball coaches. Just one day after taking over at Appalachian State, Fox released Devonte Graham from his previously signed National Letter of Intent. As we mentioned yesterday, Graham had signed before his recruiting stock rose significantly and then wanted to back out. The entire issue had been handled poorly by the previous Appalachian State coaching staff and probably affected their ability to recruit players. In the end, this works out best for both Graham and Appalachian State so we are glad that the new staff was able to take a step back and do what was best for both parties.
  5. Tony Jasick will be introduced as the new coach at Jacksonville later today. Jasick, who led Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne to a 25-win season and a win in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament this season, is just 36 years old, but already has three years of head coaching experience compiling a 52-47 record with a significant improvement in the team’s record each season. He recently received the Hugh Durham National Coach of the Year as the top Division I mid-major coach in college basketball, which we guess is a big deal even though we have never heard of it. Jasick will be replacing Cliff Warren, the longest tenured coach in the school’s history, but who also finished with three losing seasons.
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Morning Five: 11.25.13 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on November 25th, 2013

morning5

  1. Florida still has a lot of question marks hanging over its head due to injury and eligibility concerns, but they finally have Scottie Wilbekin back after they announced that the senior point guard had been reinstated and will play tonight. Wilbekin, who averaged 9.1 points and 4.9 assists per game last season, had been suspended since June for an unspecified violation of team rules, but Florida was expected to have enough depth at the guard position to overcome his absence early in the year. While they have fared well the injuries have continued to mount (the latest being Kasey Hill’s high ankle sprain) so his return will certainly be welcome in Gainesville.
  2. We always feel uneasy when we read about a player dealing with cardiac issues as we have flashbacks to Hank Gathers. So when we heard that High Point senior Allan Chaney appeared to collapse during his team’s game yesterday we feared that we might be looking at a similar situation. However, based on the reports that we have heard it appears that his internal defibrillator fired inappropriately, which is not that uncommon of an occurrence with the device. Chaney is one of two Division I players who have the device ( Utah State’s Danny Berger is the other) and his cardiac history (viral myocarditis leading the Virginia Tech doctors to not clear him and his transfer to High Point) is well-chronicled. We just hope that this is a technical issue and not a cardiac one.
  3. If you thought that there was a possibility that Devonte Graham and Appalachian State might reconcile, you can scratch that idea. Graham made headlines earlier this year when the media became aware that Appalachian State was not letting him out of his letter of intent after he shot up the recruiting rankings. If they do not release him, Graham will either have to go to Appalachian State or sit out a year and have three years of eligibility remaining. As for the former, Graham’s coach says “there’s no shot in hell” that Graham goes to Appalachian State. So it appears that either Appalachian State will have to back down (from public criticism) or Graham will have to sit out a year. Based on what we have seen in the past few years in these type of situations it seems like the latter is a more likely scenario.
  4. We have read plenty of complaints from writers and fans about the new rules, but Tom Izzo is the first prominent coach that we are aware of to speak out so strongly against the rules. Izzo, speaking after his team’s win on Saturday, criticized the use of free throws as a means to increase scoring. Obviously it is too early to judge the impact of these rules fully so we will reserve judgement on them, but if enough coaches join Izzo in their criticism of the new rules it will be interesting to see if any modifications are made by the start of new season.
  5. It seems ridiculous to already be looking forward to 2016 early-season tournaments, but the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic has already secured a headliner for its event three years from now as it announced that Duke has agreed to participate. Although the event struggles to fill its 10,000-seat arena at Mohegan Sun the addition of Duke to the field should at least ensure that the seats are not completely empty for the entire event. With the event still three years away no other teams have committed to play there, but perhaps Duke’s early commitment will draw in a few more big-name teams to increase the profile of the event.
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The Jason Capel-Devonte Graham Controversy is Officially a Mess

Posted by Chris Johnson on September 30th, 2013

Chris Johnson is an RTC Columnist. He can be reached @ChrisDJohnsonn

The biggest source of frustration with the NCAA’s outdated guidelines is its amateurism philosophy, which holds that student-athletes cannot accept money above the amount provided with a room and board scholarship. Not far behind is the swath of restrictive policies the organization has in place, primarily those concerning transfers. In a world where coaches are allowed to switch jobs on a whim, collecting fat paychecks in the transfer while players are forced not only to seek a permission to contact and clear a desired destination with their head coach but also sit out one season before regaining eligibility, is royally screwed up. Few rational people deny this. Another source of mass antipathy? The national letter of intent (NLI), which basically forces players to give up every form of leverage they have before ever enrolling at their university of choice. By signing the NLI, players are: 1) prohibited from being recruited by other schools; 2) forced to enroll at their selected school, lest give up 25 percent of their athletic eligibility; 3) forced to abide by standard transfer rules (permission to contact, maniacally restrictive coaches declaring a raft of schools and conferences off limits, the customary one-year holdover penalty, etc.). This does not sound like a fair agreement, and it isn’t! Which leads one to wonder why a player like Devonte Graham, a point guard from Raleigh who committed to Appalachian State in September 2012 and used the early November signing period to ink his NLI, would ever sign it in the first place.

Not releasing Graham from his NLI makes Graham come off as cruel and unforgiving, but we may not know the full story (AP).

After signing to play for Appalachian State and head coach Jason Capel, Graham’s stock soared as he impressed coaches during his senior season at Broughton High School. Other schools – schools most young point guards from Raleigh would choose over Appalachian State at a moment’s notice (no offense, App) – predictably took notice. Graham had soon drawn interest from a host of high D-I programs, including Pittsburgh, Providence, Creighton, Wichita State, UConn and Rhode Island. By mid-February, Graham had asked for a release from his NLI to pursue a more high-profile college hoops experience. Far from being cooperative, Capel failed to oblige his request. Now spending a post-graduate year at Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, essentially stuck in eligibility limbo, Graham faces the likelihood of having to burn one year of eligibility if he decides to transfer to another school. Unless, of course, Capel sets him free. Based on a statement released from the school Saturday, it only appears the school, and Capel, are digging their heels in even further.

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