Morning Five: 09.14.12 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on September 14th, 2012

  1. Jim Calhoun is no longer the head men’s basketball coach at Connecticut, and for most of us covering this sport, we really don’t know of a time when that wasn’t the case. Say what you like about him, but the 70-year old head coach is arguably the greatest program-builder of the modern era. Consider this factoid: When Calhoun took the helm at UConn in 1986, the program hadn’t won an NCAA Tournament game in a decade and only had achieved four victories in its history. Since then? Forty-eight NCAA victories, 10 Big East championships, and of course, those three national titles. Incredible. Let’s run down some of the best articles on the legacy of Calhoun: Seth Davis (“His pals joke that he’s not happy unless he’s miserable.”); Mike DeCourcy (“That is what Calhoun did better than anyone, ever: Coaching ‘em up.”); Dana O’Neil (“He was pointed without being vicious, upfront with his complaint, yet willing to concede that there were two sides to that particular story.”); Alexander Wolff (“Calhoun needed a cantilevered epaulet for the chip on his shoulder.”); Andy Katz (“He created a national power at a school that lacked tradition, facilities and a deep recruiting pool.”). There’s also this collection of some of his best quotes from The Connecticut Post.
  2. Jim Calhoun helped make the Big East the basketball juggernaut that it became, but now upon the week of his retirement, he must feel rather bittersweet about yet another very good basketball program (Notre Dame) alighting for the greener pastures of the ACC. The media analysis is varied, but by and large, most people seem to think that this move was a win/win for both the school and the new conference. Head coach Mike Brey certainly must think so, given the reported quote to his AD regarding conference realignment: “Please don’t take me to the Big 12.” All chuckling aside, the ACC’s John Swofford can rest easy in the knowledge that he’s managed to protect both the league’s all-important basketball and academic branding while keeping the football schools in Florida and South Carolina equally engaged. If the ACC decides to grab another similarly situated basketball/Olympic sports school in the near future to get to 16, we proffered a few leading candidates on Thursday.
  3. We mentioned earlier this week the Raleigh News & Observer‘s report that Tyler Hansbrough‘s mother, Tami, had come under fire along with her boyfriend Matt Kupec (the Chief of UNC fundraising until this week) over a number of personal trips funded with university dollars where the couple traveled around the country to watch her other son, Ben Hansbrough, play basketball for Notre Dame. She was originally placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, but late Wednesday Hansbrough tendered her resignation to the school, leaving little question as to her alleged culpability. The six trips to see the younger Hansbrough occurred during the 2010-11 season, but according to the N&O, the couple has taken as many as 25 trips together since May 2010 on the school’s dime. It’s unclear at this point whether any or all of those trips were legitimate, but this is yet another black stain on the UNC brand — it makes you wonder just what kind of internal controls they have in place in Chapel Hill, because it certainly doesn’t appear there are many.
  4. Sean Miller is absolutely tearing it up on the recruiting trail down in the desert, as five-star prospect in the Class of 2013, Rondae Jefferson, has committed to the Wildcats. A 6’7″, 215-lb. small forward from Chester, Pennsylvania, Jefferson’s commitment proves that the UA brand name remains relevant nationally, as Miller is on track to bring in his third straight top 10 recruiting class with this pickup.‘s Paul Biancardi describes Jefferson as one of the hardest-working players in his class, and is somewhat reminiscent of Kentucky’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in his relentless attacks on the rim. It’s been over a decade since another RJ patrolled the wing at the McKale Center, but without question Miller is looking to bring back those glory days with a continual influx of players like these. One other recruiting note: According to, eight of the top 10 players nationally in this class are still uncommitted.
  5. Let’s close with an uplifter in a week that was less than so… remember the tearjerker of a story involving a Gettysburg College player named Cory Weissman who had suffered a terrible stroke but who received a chance to play and made a single free throw — the only point of his college career — on Senior Day last season? The story got a lot of coverage last spring, with ESPN, SI, NPR, and just about everyone else doing a feature profile on his remarkable story. Well, that story had some legs, as 1,000 to 1: The Cory Weissman Story will begin shooting on the Gettysburg campus a little later this fall. If you don’t recall his triumphant moment, you can check it out on Youtube here — just make sure you have a few Kleenex handy.
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