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: 07.01.11 Edition

Posted by jstevrtc on July 1st, 2011

  1. The FIBA Under-19 World Championship is held every couple of years in some exotic locale. This year’s tournament is in Riga, Latvia (yep, that Riga) and the USA are the defending champs, having taken the gold in Auckland in 2009. Our boys had trouble in exhibitions against a couple of Lithuanian youth teams in the lead-up, but they won their first game against Egypt yesterday by 55 points. Obviously we’re keeping an eye on how the team does, but, as the Wall Street Journal points out, what’s just as interesting is seeing the huge surges next season in the skill and confidence of the players on the current team. The article mentions the most impressive one we can recall: Pittsburgh’s Ashton Gibbs in 2009, who came back from New Zealand a changed man, averaging 4.7 PPG the season before his U19 squad membership and 15.7 PPG after it.
  2. The blog at the San Antonio Express-News has taken a San Diego writer to task regarding the question of whether or not Kawhi Leonard fell victim to some bad advice when he decided to leave San Diego State early for the NBA.’s Lee Hamilton says Leonard should have stayed, gone higher in next year’s draft, and hopefully wouldn’t have ended up with the Spurs whom he claims are a poor fit for Leonard. Tim Griffin of the SAEN feels that Leonard will be fine in San Antonio and this was the year to make the jump. Our stance: as much as we loved watching him in college, Leonard made the right call. You don’t know what will await a 15th pick next year, and 2012 will bring a deeper draft. Plus, even though the Spurs are unlikely to soon return to their recent championship form, you can do a lot worse than learn from Tim Duncan for a few seasons.
  3. Incoming coach Archie Miller would rather be back on campus while potential Flyers are making visits to the University of Dayton in August, but he won’t be there, poor guy. From August 8-18 he’ll be learning about his new team as they play exhibitions in Belgium, France, and the Netherlands. Color us jealous. As the linked article explains, Miller already has a reputation among his players as a coach who gives them a little more independence (read: responsibility) both on and off the floor. That said…a little advice, guys, given your destinations: 1) it’s called a bidet, 2) iPhone + no European voltage adapter = bad scene, man, and, 3) those aren’t the brownies you’re used to at home. Hey, Coach Miller, if you need someone to come along and blog the entire trip…
  4. For the past ten years the Pac-10 Tournament has been held in Los Angeles. And why not? Couple of schools reside there, huge city, basketball-friendly…but is it time for a switch? LA wants to keep it, and Phoenix has raised its hand for consideration, but the most interesting possibility in our eyes is Seattle. The 2012 Pac-10 Pac-12 get-together will still happen in Los Angeles, but a move could happen as soon as 2013.
  5. Rotnei Clarke isn’t the only guard leaving Arkansas. Razorback point guard Jeff Peterson will play his senior season at a third school (he was Iowa before transferring to Arkansas), this time Florida State. This is a different situation, though. Peterson has already graduated from Arkansas, and he’s taking advantage of that rule that allows student-athletes to change schools and play immediately if the school in which they’re enrolling has a graduate program in an area not offered by the previous school. Peterson averaged 6.3 PPG, 2.2 RPG and 2.4 APG in 21.8 MPG last season and will be going after a marketing master’s in the B-school. With the departure of these two gents, the Hogs have lost last year’s co-leaders in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3) and will return only two guards who played more than 12.5 MPG.
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Morning Five: 06.08.11 Edition

Posted by jstevrtc on June 8th, 2011

  1. Bob Knight described the rule that a bunch of Ohio State football players broke when they sold some memorabilia for cash and tattoos as “idiotic” at a speaking engagement on Monday night. Listen, there’s no denying the man his rightful place on the Mt. Rushmore of college basketball coaches, but there are a few things about his bemoaning that rule that leave us unconvinced of his stance on it: 1) Coach Knight is an OSU alum; 2) he doesn’t strike us as the type of guy who prefers his players walking around with tattoos on their skin or cold rolls of cash in their pockets; 3) would he feel the same if a couple of John Calipari’s players did the same thing? Or would he preach about how players should be happy with the compensation that comes in the form of the opportunity to receive a college education, and therefore should stay away from places like pawn shops and tattoo parlors?
  2. In the wake of Tennessee AD Mark Hamilton’s firing on Tuesday, Mark Wiedmer of the Chattanooga Times Free Press wrote an interesting piece that got us wondering about punishment, blame, and where the truth lies within those. Hamilton departs UT with the school’s two biggest men’s sports in trouble and we assume he’d been packing up his own office for months in anticipation of getting the ziggy, but we always wonder how much policing the ADs are really able to do when they hire some of these guys. And we agree with Wiedmer’s mention of how Hamilton’s ouster a mere three days before UT stands tall before the man (“the man” being the NCAA Committee on Infractions) is an obvious move to gain favor with the COI.
  3. We’ve been having an enjoyable exchange over Twitter with Sporting News’ Mike DeCourcy about his article on Tuesday in which he ranked the best college hoops coaching jobs out there. We did our own writeup on the same topic about a month ago, and it’s generated a nice discussion, which is…well, sort of the point of all this. We assume you’re already following both RTC and DeCourcy on Twitter, so by all means, let us know what you think of both lists, even if you vehemently disagree. We’re all big boys, so we can take the bad with the good. And if you comment via tweet or the comments section, let’s also hear your defense for your position.
  4. Thomas Emma played at Duke from 1980-83 and captained the Blue Devils as a starter at guard in his final year there. Known for his long-range ability on the court and his sense of humor off of it, he also shot over 84% from the free throw line during his time there, placing him among the school’s best in that department. After graduating, he earned a master’s degree from Columbia, and was president of a company called Power Performance that helps train young athletes. On Monday morning, facing undisclosed health issues and reportedly suffering from increasing depression because of them, Mr. Emma leapt from the 12th floor of the New York Athletic Club and plunged to his death onto a second-floor landing of the Essex Hotel next door. We can’t imagine the agony his family is going through right now, but our thoughts and best wishes are with them.
  5. Khyle Marshall impressed a lot of people with his play last season in helping Butler get back to the national championship game, and that evidently includes the decision-makers at USA Basketball. Marshall, a rising sophomore who was the Bulldogs’ leading bench scorer and rebounder despite adding only 5.8 PPG and 3.8 RPG last year, has been invited to try out for the American team that will defend its 2009 title at the FIBA U19 World Championship in Latvia, which starts at the end of this month. He can ask a couple of his fellow Brad Stevens disciples for advice on this, if he likes; both Gordon Hayward and Shelvin Mack were on that 2009 team that took gold in New Zealand.


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