Morning Five: 10.24.13 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on October 24th, 2013

morning5

  1. The last time anyone saw UCLA’s mammoth center Josh Smith, this equally hilarious but also pathetic GIF was the result. To everyone else, the Airball Layup Incident may have been just another amusing moment during a somewhat meaningless Bruins’ home opener against Indiana State, but to College Basketball Nation it was a spot-on encapsulation of Smith’s disappointing career. In two up-and-down years in Westwood, nobody had denied the 6’10″ center’s soft hands and nice touch around the basket — the problem was that, because of his — how should we put this? — excessive weight problem, he simply could not get up and down the floor. In his freshman and sophomore seasons, he hovered around 20 MPG despite logging solid offensive ratings and commanding the offensive glass (top 15 nationally in offensive rebounding percentage both seasons). Shortly after the ALI, Smith decided to transfer to Georgetown, and yesterday the NCAA handed down its decision on his eligibility request to play immediately. Shockingly, despite that fact that Smith played in six UCLA games before his transfer and didn’t move closer to home to care for an ailing family member (he’s from Seattle), the governing body decided to give him two full years, effective immediately, to play for the Hoyas. As Gary Parrish writes in comparing the Smith decision with NCAA precedent, “For now, though, I’ll just sit here baffled.”
  2. Speaking of baffling, the narrative coming out of preseason practices and scrimmages is sounding off like a fog horn at this point. The new officiating points of emphasis suggest that hand-checking on the perimeter will be called early and often, and if you believe the buzz around the country, some coaches are downright terrified. ACC microsite writer Brad Jenkins wrote last week that his viewing of the scrimmage during Duke’s Countdown to Craziness was “foul-plagued,” and if this box score from a recent secret scrimmage between Xavier and Ohio U. is any further indication — there were 71 fouls and 91 free throw attempts in that game — they should be. It got so bad that two players were whistled for seven fouls in that contest, while a third was called for six. The process of re-learning how to defend on the perimeter is not something that many players can solve overnight, so although the college basketball product should be more free-flowing and ultimately better in the long run, the first month of this season could have more than a few games where the second units are playing in crunch time.
  3. It’s the classic deal with the devil: At what point does a person’s value to an organization no longer outweigh the trouble that he causes? In the case of Maryland assistant coach Dalonte Hill, the answer has until now remained on the positive side of the ledger. After Hill’s third DUI arrest in the last five years (and second while employed under Mark Turgeon at Maryland), the 34-year old who is reportedly the highest-paid assistant coach in the country, is certainly testing the integrity of that question. Since Hill’s Sunday night car crash and arrest, he is taking a leave of absence from the program, but the underlying issue that is surely on the minds of his employer is that he is one of the very best (and connected) recruiters in the sport. His ties to the Washington-area AAU program called DC Assault has allowed the Terps to get involved with local prep products that simply weren’t available to them under Gary Williams. It will certainly be interesting to see how Maryland brass decides to handle this, but there’s absolutely no way that they’ll completely remove him. He’s not quite below the horizontal line just yet.
  4. Notre Dame is one of the three new teams joining the ACC this season, and the whole conceptual framework behind it still feels a little unreal. But playing the likes of Duke, North Carolina and Maryland to go along with former Big East foes Syracuse and Pittsburgh will certainly feel real enough to Mike Brey in short order. In this article from Matt Fortuna at ESPN.com, Brey discusses the hoop-jumping and maneuvering that his program had to do to get into the basketball league of his wildest dreams, the ACC. Dreams do come true, apparently, as a rumored possible move to the Big 12 a couple of years ago would have been Brey’s “worst nightmare.” With an experienced and talented backcourt returning for the Irish to go along with Brey’s proven ability to get the most from his players, it wouldn’t surprise anyone to see him challenging those schools near the top of his new league’s pecking order as soon as this winter.
  5. To most fans in today’s college basketball environment, a scheduled game three years away between Kentucky and UTEP would be virtually meaningless. But to fans of the sport who know their history and are aware that in 1966 UTEP was called Texas Western, such a potential game raises more than a few eyebrows. Current UTEP head coach Tim Floyd told a tipoff audience on Wednesday that his school and Kentucky are exploring a rematch of the most historic college basketball game of all-time — the Brown vs. Board of Education of college basketball — Texas Western vs. Kentucky, in 2016. The date would signify the 50th anniversary of the first game where an all-black Texas Western starting lineup knocked off favored and all-white Kentucky in the national championship game in College Park, Maryland. If things go right with this idea, they will hold the game on MLK Day in Cole Field House, the exact site of the start of the cultural revolution in college basketball.
Share this story

Bob Huggins Trips and Breaks Four Ribs

Posted by rtmsf on July 24th, 2010

West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins tripped over a coffee table and broke four ribs last night in his hotel room in Las Vegas.  As Gary Parrish first reported on Friday night, Huggins was taken to the hospital and treated with the expectation that he will be released today.  [Update: reports are that he will spend Saturday night in the hospital for further observation.]  The 56-year old coach had a heart attack some eight years ago, but the reports coming out on this story are that this accident had nothing to do with his ticker.

Who Was Huggs' Da'Sean Last Night?

Nevertheless, this incident is the second known situation in a span of just over two years where Huggins has lost his balance and fallen hard enough to be taken to the hospital.  In May 2008, the curmudgeonly coach tripped in the Charlotte airport, hitting his head on the pavement and causing a brief scare although he was ultimately fine.  We hesitate to fall back on the easy “What Happens in Vegas” joke, but considering how far Huggins has come since his DUI arrest in 2004, a little public scrutiny won’t hurt him.  For the sake of his personal and financial health (there is a substance abuse clause in his WVU contract), we hope that these incidents are the result of general clumsiness and nothing more sinister.    After all, given his redemption, we’re actually starting to like the guy.

Share this story

09.18.08 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on September 18th, 2008

Wouldn’t it be nice if this were Oct. 19 instead of Sept. 19?

  • Which Great White Hope is actually a better player? – maybe we’ll delve into that sometime soon.  Gary Parrish takes a look now.
  • The seemingly snakebitten AJ Price from UConn is supposedly all the way back from offseason ACL surgery.  In completely unrelated news, UConn has added Lojack to all of its campus laptops. 
  • In a somewhat odd twist, the NCAA directed Indiana to delay its response to the latest allegations from the Kelvin Sanctions scandal last spring.  The university now has until Sept. 26 to craft its response.  Someone go on vacation?
  • Seth Davis writes a pretty good recount of what five teams – Kansas, Missouri, Purdue, S. Illinois and Notre Dame – did on their Labor Day weekend trips.
  • Remember Illinois guard Jamar Smith? – he received 18 months probation for his alcohol violation stemming from his DUI arrest last spring.  He plans to play for S. Indiana next season (yeah, that’s what we said too).
Share this story

Drinking and Driving: Tales from Tobacco Road

Posted by nvr1983 on June 6th, 2008

It was just around 2 years ago that a fresh-faced youngster from Duke University decided to pop back a few Zimas (along with his collar) and take a late night drive around Durham before the NBA Draft. Now comes news out of Chapel Hill that Ty Lawson (basically the antithesis of Redick–UNC, black, athletic, no shot versus Duke, white, unathletic, and great shot) decided to do essentially the same thing. Let’s take a look at the results.

Two years ago, J.J. Redick stumbled into the Durham County Jail:

The ACC\'s all-time leading scorer (collar half-popped) 

Polo shirt + bleary-eyed look + messed up hair + semi-popped collar = Perfection

After seeing what the ACC’s all-time scorer did 2 years before, let’s see what Lawson was able to pull off:

Looking a little too clean there, Ty

First off, Lawson looks pretty normal here. He looks pretty composed and is staring straight ahead at the camera. If I didn’t know better, I would have thought this was his team photo from the look on his face. If Ty wants to move into J.J. territory and possibly land on The Smoking Gun he needs a lot of work. I’m not a fan of the white t-shirt for these photos, but at least spill something on it. Show a little effort, Ty!

Share this story

Huggins Takes the Fall

Posted by rtmsf on May 8th, 2008

If you haven’t heard yet, West Virginia coach and new twenty-millionaire Bob Huggins tripped over a cone (ice cream?  bustier?  oh, traffic, right) at the Charlotte airport today, banging his head against the pavement.  He was taken to a local Charlotte hospital for observation, but he apparently will be fine. 

Must.  Resist.  Urge.  To.  Make.  Tasteless.  Alcohol.  Joke.   

So instead

 

There must be a video of this incident somewhere – let us know if you can find it. 

Share this story

08.27.07 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on August 27th, 2007

In the spirit of the new school year and the imminent college football season… 

  • First we offer the top 10 party schools in America.  Looking at the top 5, might there be a link between hedonism, the South and football? 
  • Speaking of the dirty South, this future Clemson grad wants us to know that she has ”the Iraq’s” education on her mind, er, something like that… 
  • Moving back to our bread & butter, in a tragedy of Odin-esque proportions, Oregon plans to take Phil Knight’s $100M largesse and use it to build a new on-campus arena.  Sadly, McArthur Court will be tossed into the dustbin of great historical arenas.  Why doesn’t UO end the charade and just call themselves the Oregon Nikes from now on?
  • Richard Jefferson donated $3.5M to his alma mater Arizona for their new practice facility.  But he’s still only the third best UA alum in the NBA, according to fellow Cat Agent Zero.   
  • SLAM put out its early top 25 last week.  Intriguing omissions – Duke, Florida, Oregon.  Say what inclusions? – Clemson, Alabama, Cal.
  • Mike DeCourcey at TSN picks five teams from which he believes a 2008 champion will emerge – Georgetown, UNC, Kansas, UCLA and Memphis. 
  • All kinds of knee problems – Syracuse guard Andy Rautins blew out his left knee during the Tournament of the Americas while playing for Team Canada - the Cuse’s leading returning three-point shooter will miss the entire 2007-08 season.  Duke’s David McClure (6-8 weeks) and Bama’s Ronald Steele (ditto) also had less serious knee surgeries last week – both are expected to be 100% by the season.   
  • Illinois guard Jamar Smith will miss the season due to his DUI arrest in February.  He will be eligible to return to the team in the 2008-09 season.  Oh, and Jeff Goodman reminds us that Bruce Weber still can’t recruit.   
  • From the rumor mill –
    • Word is pickup basketball at UCLA got heated Monday when Golden State star point guard Baron Davis engaged in some trash-talking with heralded Southern Cal freshman point guard O.J. Mayo. Davis got upset with Mayo after he didn’t respect one of Davis’ calls. Word is Davis, a native of Los Angeles, told Mayo that he doesn’t know who he is other than the fact that he wasn’t from Los Angeles and he also needed to respect a veteran’s call. Word is Mayo more than held his own in the games. (h/t to Bruin Report Online)
  • Former ECU head coach Ricky Stokes has been paid $250,000 to not take the administrative job originally offered him after his demotion.   
  • In a sad and bizarre end to what was probably a tortured life, former one-and-done Seton Hall star Eddie Griffin died of an apparent suicide last week when he drove his car into a moving train.  RIP Eddie. 
  • Finally, from the opposite end of the spectrum, Butch van Breda Kolff, former Princeton coach and hoops purist, died at 84 last week.  As head coach, he led Bill Bradley’s Princeton Tigers to the 1965 Final Four, its only appearance.  RIP Butch. 

 

Share this story