Morning Five: 09.24.12 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on September 24th, 2012

  1. Andy Katz reported on Friday that the Saint Mary’s men’s basketball program is currently under investigation by the NCAA for potential recruiting violations of an as-yet unknown variety. Few additional details were forthcoming over the weekend, but what little smoke that there appears to exist is surrounding former assistant coach David Patrick (currently an assistant at LSU), an Australian who was instrumental in recruiting former star guard Patty Mills to the campus. The tiny school that is coached by Randy Bennett has become one of the pre-eminent mid-major programs in America in large part due to its Australian talent pipeline — defending WCC POY and Olympian Matthew Dellavedova is only the latest and greatest Gael product of Oz — it makes you wonder if the attraction to Moraga, California, involved incentives beyond a beautiful campus surrounded by verdant hills. We’ll have more on this topic later this morning.
  2. Now that the Billy Gillispie era has officially ended at Texas Tech, the university is left picking up the pieces of its reputation and trying to figure out what to do next. It’s not like there’s a lot of tradition or much fan support for the basketball program anyway, but the danger of making a poor decision now is that it could realistically embed the program at the bottom of the Big 12 for the next half-decade. Nevertheless, the school hopes to name an interim head coach for the upcoming season within the next two weeks, and assistant head coach Chris Walker by virtue of his association with Gillispie’s antics may not be the choice for the permanent job. Andy Katz suggested three viable candidates last week — Rob Evans, Doc Sadler, and Reggie Theus — all of whom have significant and successful head coaching experience along with ties to the region that would help the program transition to a new, and hopefully, better era.
  3. Oregon received great news over the weekend as Dana Altman’s program reportedly has received a transfer commitment from former Rice star Arsalan Kazemi, a double-double machine who will apply for a hardship waiver to play immediately. Kazemi is notable as the first Iranian to play Division I NCAA basketball, but the “Beast of the Middle East” is certainly more than a demographic footnote — the 6’7″, 220-pounder consistently pounds the glass as one of the best defensive rebounders in America, and his free throw rate is annually one of the best in the nation. We’re not sure the basis for Kazemi’s waiver request to play this season, but if approved, an all-senior front line of Tony Woods, EJ Singler, and Kazemi would be one of the best in the Pac-12, if not the nation.
  4. It’s not very often that you’ll read a piece from a national columnist encouraging his readers to rise up as one and not let an issue drop out of the collective consciousness. And yet, that’s exactly what CBSSports.com‘s Gregg Doyel does when he outlines what he calls the “hypocrisy of the NCAA” in predicting that absolutely nothing will happen to Duke as a result of the Lance Thomas jewelry loan situation. Doyel is a flashpoint writer — pretty much every major fan base thinks he has a specific beef with them, when in reality being critical is his style — but he has the status to make something his crusade if he chooses to do so. We’re guessing that many of the enemies he’s made over the years would turn on a dime and become his biggest fans if he actually was capable of nailing the Blue Devil program on this one.
  5. We’re willing to root for Northwestern to finally make the NCAA Tournament as much as the next guy, but the storyline gets a little tiresome when every piece of news surrounding the program is viewed through that particular prism. Still, the weekend news that junior guard JerShon Cobb has been suspended for the entire 2012-13 season because of a violation of team policy has to be disconcerting to Wildcat fans. Cobb has been a part-time starter who offers solid offensive production (career 7.3 PPG) in around 20 minutes per contest; his removal from the lineup changes the complexion of a team already anticipating the replacement of the offense of its former star, John Shurna. In a loaded Big Ten conference where a .500 record is a reasonable goal, Bill Carmody will need to find additional offense from unexpected places if his team is to have any shot at getting the NCAA albatross off its back.
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Big East Evening Five: 03.28.12 Edition

Posted by mlemaire on March 28th, 2012

  1. We missed yesterday, so you are getting a double dose of Big East news this morning because we feel bad. We start with the scouting report on Louisville, based on the opinions of opposing coaches, and put together by the good folks at CBS Sports. The information isn’t exactly new if you have been following the Cardinals all season. Take care of the ball against their press, try to slow down their transition attack, keep Peyton Siva out of the lane, and you will have an excellent chance of winning the game. The good news for Kentucky is, that their defense is so good, Louisville should only be able to score in transition and off of turnovers. So assuming that Marquis Teague can handle the press, and assuming Kentucky’s athletes get back and set up defensively, they should be able to handle the Cardinals with relative ease.
  2. You didn’t think we were going to make it a whole week without a borderline insane story about the fervent passion of Louisville and Kentucky fans did you? In fact, we didn’t even make it through half the week before news broke that two fans got into a fight while awaiting treatment at a dialysis center. You really can’t make this stuff up. If you want to look on the bright side, this is part of what makes college sports so awesome. It may be a wild generalization, but fans of professional sports teams don’t care half as much about their teams as these folks in the Bluegrass State. And the passion for Alabama and Auburn football is on an entirely different level. I am setting the over/under on the breaking of more crazy stories like this at two, which won’t count fallout from the outcome of the game, which is sure to bring out only the best in both team’s fan bases.
  3. In predictable and also understandable fashion, the media has jumped all over the “hated rivals” storyline. Luckily, there is only one columnist angry enough to really put perspective on the whole rivalry, and that is noted flame-fanner Gregg Doyel. His column isn’t long, and it doesn’t make any profound points, but it does succinctly sum up just how insane this game will be.
  4.  The list of Big East players headed to the NBA Draft continued to swell yesterday as Georgetown forward Hollis Thompson announced he would forgo his senior season and hire an agent. Thompson tested the waters last season before withdrawing his name and from the looks of John Thompson III‘s comments, this decision is hardly surprising. The real question is whether Thompson will end up drafted. I understand the move, because his stock isn’t likely to rise dramatically even if he has an excellent senior season, but right now he looks like he will need to get lucky to stick with a team. He does have the skill set and size to be an NBA small forward, but he hardly dominated collegiate competition, so how can he be expected to make an impact at the next level?
  5. Our pal Jeff Goodman over at CBS Sports has released his initial transfer list and there are some interesting names worth noting. First, the list is what alerted me to the news that Notre Dame guard Alex Dragicevich is transferring out of South Bend, a blow to Mike Brey’s program which was going to rely more heavily on his outside shooting next season. The list also reminded me of one of the more interesting Final Four storylines and that is that Louisville forward Jared Swopshire already announced he won’t be back next season, but for now he is playing meaningful minutes on a team eyeing a national championship. Thanks to playing time and the scholarship numbers game, Swopshire will be looking for a new home. But for now, we are sure he is relishing the position he is in.
  6. Speaking of Goodman and transfers out of the Big East, soon after the list was published, Goodman tweeted that Providence sophomore Gerard Coleman was a likely candidate to transfer out of the program. Assuming Vincent Council stays in school and both highly touted freshman guards arrive on campus in time for next season, the Friars’ backcourt was looking awfully crowded. But if Coleman does indeed transfer, coach Ed Cooley loses quite the luxury. Coleman’s play tailed off in the second half of the season, but he is a quality scorer and is physical enough to give Cooley a legitimately dangerous three-guard lineup. On the other hand, his departure will open up more playing time for Ricardo Ledo and Kris Dunn, which can really only be a good thing, assuming the duo is as good as advertised.
  7. As an unabashedly biased Villanova fan, I have spent a good deal of words explaining that Wildcats’ guard Maalik Wayns would be silly to enter the NBA Draft this season, so it’s only logical that Wayns made it final recently, announcing plans to hire an agent and forgo his senior season on the Main Line. Look, players enter the draft for a litany of reasons, so saying he made a stupid decision without knowing his true reasons is rather presumptuous of me. That said, Wayns is looking like a second-round pick at best, and a great senior season probably could have given his draft stock a much-needed shot in the arm. Despite his penchant for taking terrible shots and making questionable decisions, Wayns would have been a huge help to ‘Nova’s rebuilding efforts next season, but now they will need to look elsewhere for that leadership.
  8. Not everyone in West Virginia is spitting on the Big East on their way out the door. Charleston Gazette columnist Mitch Vingle penned a letter to Big East basketball that reads like a breakup letter from a guy who is already regretting the split. He uses some personal reflections mixed with classic personalities from the conference to show plenty of awesome things about the conference and its rich basketball history. The sad thing is, the Big East will miss West Virginia too. Yes, of course they will miss their football tradition and revenue, but the Mountaineers are a quality basketball program, and no amount of SMU and Central Florida will change that. The Mountaineers made their choice, choosing money over tradition, and now so many of us will be left to cling to memories that may never happen again.
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Morning Five: 04.22.11 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on April 22nd, 2011

  1. Your daily NBA Draft early entrant rowboat took on a bit more water yesterday, as three more prominent players made it official that they will be entering this year’s June festivities.  Wasn’t the looming lockout supposed to scare most of these mid-level guys into sticking around another year?  Isn’t happening.  The most notable player to announce Thursday was Texas forward Tristan Thompson, who reneged on an earlier statement that he was returning for his sophomore season.  Thompson told the media prior to UT’s Third Round game against Arizona last month that he was “coming back another year” and that he couldn’t wait to play with incoming guard Myck Kabongo, a fellow Canadian.  And therein lies a lesson, young’ins — don’t make such statements until you’re mentally ready to do so and physically ready to back them up.  UT now anxiously awaits Jordan Hamilton’s draft decision to learn if they’ll have a legitimate chance next season.
  2. Two other sophomores also made their names available for the NBA Draft, Colorado’s Alec Burks and Michigan’s Darius Morris.  Burks, an all-Big 12 wing who led the league in scoring average and set school records for points in both his freshman and sophomore years, will sign with an agent and is expected to be the first shooting guard chosen in June.  Morris, on the other hand, is in a more tenuous position.  John Beilein said that this declaration was “exploratory” and it had better be, as Morris is projected as a second round pick (or worse) in most mock drafts — we’d expect to see him back in Ann Arbor next year.  Who’s next?  Step right up, folks, because there’s only two days left until the draft deadline on Sunday.
  3. There are always naysayers among us, and without them we’d have no reason for aye-sayers.  But if you thought that the 2010-11 season was pretty much a stinker from start to finish, that it never held your attention because of a lack of star power, that parity “sounds good on paper but looks bad on television,” then this article from Gregg Doyel is completely for you.  Rather than getting into a 500-word retort to this position, suffice it to say that our opinion is that last season was generally a good one that ended with a thud, and leave it at that.
  4. Somebody needed to say it, but Tim Dwyer at The University Daily Kansan does it better than most with his targeted missive on Bill Self’s program: “Start six years ago, when J.R. Giddens was stabbed in a 2005 fight that witnesses said he instigated. C.J. Giles, who was there at the Giddens stabbing, was arrested for battery in 2006. Sherron Collins was charged with sexual assault, though the charges were dropped when Collins filed a counterclaim for defamation. Then there was Markieff Morris’ battery charge. Morningstar’s DUI. Fights with the football team, highlighted by Tyshawn Taylor’s injury and Facebook posts. Little’s battery charge. And now [Thomas] Robinson’s [recent assault charge].”  He goes on to say that many KU fans criticize Self for his NCAA Tournament failures when they really should be looking at a demonstrated tendency toward lawlessness from his players.  Yet for some reason, at least at the national level, KU and Self seem to skirt this perception.
  5. The late-breaking news on Thursday revolved around reports that George Mason head coach and inspiration to mid-majors everywhere, Jim Larranaga, might be taking the open position at Miami (FL).  Whether this is a power play for a better contract at GMU or a genuine opportunity to leave NoVa’s unpredictable weather for a warmer climate, we’re not sure; but it is odd in that Larranaga has certainly had better offers in his lap before this one (Providence; certainly others), and yet according to the Miami Herald, they are reporting that he will make the move as soon as Friday.  Maybe the financial offer was too sweet to pass up, but we’re not sure we see this working out very well in Coral Gables for either party in the long run.
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Morning Five: 02.12.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on February 12th, 2010

  1. Bowling I and Theory of Softball??  Pete Thamel of the NYT as usual is all over the Binghamton report that came out yesterday exposing the unsavory lengths that their athletic department was willing to go in order to have an NCAA Tournament-caliber basketball program.  Meanwhile former head coach Kevin Broadus remains on PAID administrative leave at the university awaiting a decision on his future there.  How can he have any future whatsoever given these findings?
  2. Quick, do you know how many teams currently have undefeated conference records?  If you said nine, then you either came here yesterday or you’re fibbing.  John Stevens wrote an article discussing each of those nine teams and the likelihood that they’ll get through conference play without a blemish.  Hint: the Princeton Tigers (4-0 in the Ivy League) will not.
  3. The New York Daily News reported yesterday that Rick Pitino was interested in the Nets head coaching job, which would make sense considering that they’re likely to have John Wall (and possibly Lebron James?) coming to the tri-state area in the near future.  Pitino responded with a great quote — “there’s not an ounce of truth to [the report],” which, knowing Pitino, means that he was clawing at the possibility of leaving Louisville as soon as possible.  We’ve all been to this dance with Pitino before, but Gary Parrish put it in the starkest terms when he compared it to asking the pretty gal to a middle school dance.
  4. UConn’s Jim Calhoun will be back on the bench Saturday when his Huskies play Cincinnati.  His team went 3-4 in his absence, with wins over St. John’s, DePaul, and somehow, Texas.  What shouldn’t be forgotten, though, is that his team was already 2-3 in the Big East prior to his departure, and in the last six games he coached (including a loss to Michigan), the Huskies’ efficiency margin was -3.3 points per 100 possessions.  How did replacement coach George Blaney do in his seven-game tenure?  The Huskies’ efficiency margin on his watch was -2.1 points per 100 possessions.  So before UConn fans start blaming Blaney for any of the team’s inadequacies this season (a la Pete Gaudet at Duke in 1994-95), they should be careful to examine the entire picture first.
  5. We were anxiously awaiting someone to take up the mantle of supporting the idea of NCAA96, and leave it to Gregg Doyel to be the advocate.  Some of his points are solid — in particular, the nearsighted “tradition” argument.  But the one that really doesn’t make sense to us is the explanation he gives for keeping the “crappy teams” in.  He must not have read our seminal work on the matter, published last week.  See, the problem isn’t that “crappy teams” like Vermont, Bucknell and Davidson would get into the Big Dance; it’s that sub-.500 BCS conference teams like Miami (FL), Alabama, Oklahoma and Washington would get in.  And we don’t want them in — those teams are not good enough, no matter how you evaluate them.  If the NCAA96 implementation would reward strong regular season play for mid-majors whom would otherwise be shut out, we could get on board with it.  But you, us, Gregg and the dog all know that’s not why this will be happening — the majority of the additional 31 spots will go to BCS teams.  And that’s truly crap.
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An Open Letter To The Nation’s Student Ticketholders

Posted by jstevrtc on January 28th, 2010

Rush The Court Central Command  
RTC Towers  
28 January 2010  

Even Duke RTCs Occasionally

Hey.  How you doin’ out there?  Good, good to hear.  You know, it doesn’t seem that long ago (even though it was) that all of us here at RTC were college students.  God, those were some sweet times.  Lining up for tickets, going to every home game and as many road games as we could, turning a two-hour game into a whole-day event, making signs, coming up with catcalls for our opponents…ah, such wonderful years.  The game was ours back then, and we’ve since turned it over to you.  And we love what you’ve done with it.  Fantastic job, really.  It’s a great time to be a fan of the game, especially if you’re a student.  Strong work.  

One thing we’ve noticed in the past couple of weeks or so, though, is an increase in the number of court rushes, or “RTCs,” after wins.  Oh yeah, we know how fun it is.  We’ve got a few of those under our belts.  But it’s that increase that we wanted to talk to you about.  That’s why we’re writing.  We want to talk about how it’s being overdone, and not just by a little.  All the guys here at RTC, after four five a number of years as undergrads, we only had maybe one or two apiece.  It should be that rare.  Hey, calm down, we’re not trying to ruin your good time.  When it’s time to rush, we want you out there.  But it’s kind of like when you’re going out at night — we want you to have standards.  And, like so many times AFTER going out at night, we definitely don’t want you to wake up the next day, have the memory come flooding back to you, and have that “Oh, God…what have I done?!?” moment.  You know, like when you realize someone’s over there, so you roll over, turn off the camera, and…well, never mind.  That’s a story for another post.  Anyway, let’s get back to how this court-rushing exuberance has gotten out of hand.  

Good court coverage. Extra points for usage of blimp.

You know how hard it is for us in particular to say that.  But people are talking.  Gregg Doyel is talking about you.  Seth Davis is talking about you.  Other bloggers are talking about you.  Every commentator on TV is talking about you.  And if you were involved in one of the recent RTCs that was obviously uncalled for, then your families, friends, and neighbors are talking about you.  None of it’s flattering.  You don’t want that, do you?  People are definitely e-mailing and tweeting and commenting, asking us about it because of what we call ourselves around here.  Again, we don’t want to spoil the fun.  We know that RTCing will always exist.  There’s no more chance of it going away than there is of crowds actually taking Bob Knight’s advice and chanting “Great Job!” after victories over rival teams (though we despise the “overrated” chant).  It’s just not realistic to think it will ever stop.  But like we said — this is all about having standards. 

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Fast Breaks 07.31.08

Posted by rtmsf on July 31st, 2008

As July leads into August, here are some tasty bits of knowledge for the summer heat…

  • Richmond’s top player Dan Geriot is expected to miss the 08-09 season with a knee injury.  Auburn’s best player, Josh Dollard, was simply kicked off the team for not getting his sh!t together.
  • Guess we know how Texas A&M-Corpus Christi made the Tourney two years ago. 
  • Thuggins, summertime, scofflaws.  Any questions?
  • It appears as if Illinois’ Jamar Smith violated the terms of his probation by drinking alcohol; he’ll learn his fate at a Sept. 17 hearing.  In other news, a 21-year old ball player recently had sex with a woman. 
  • Memphis could be in some hot water over an improper phone call made by the FedEx CEO to one of his employees (who also happens to be the mother of the #2 rated PG in the class of 2009, Abdul Gaddy). 
  • Baylor????  No, really, Baylor????
  • Gregg Doyel says he’ll bury the hatchet with Coach K if he brings home the gold medal next month.  The most interesting part of this piece is the story about Coach K torpedoing Doyel’s book deal in 1999.   
  • Yes, UK Fans are insane.  We mean that in a good way, of course.
  • Andy Katz takes a look at the Wake Forest program one year after the untimely death of head coach Skip Prosser.
  • We thought this article by Dana O’Neil about coaches working themselves too hard in light of Prosser’s heart attack was going to suck, but we really enjoyed it.  Coaches whine and complain about the summer circuit, but they really love it (poor headline, ESPN). 
  • Jeff Goodman breaks down his top ten prospects from the summer camps in Vegas.
  • Gary Parrish gives an interesting insight into how programs game the summer recruiting circuit by not hiring assistant coaches until after they’ve developed good relationships with top prospects (sidenote: why did Arizona fire Miles Simon – that guy won them a championship!).  He follow that up with another article on how coaches get creative but ethically suspect in getting recruits onto campus in a legal manner.
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Another Culprit in the Mayo Mess

Posted by rtmsf on May 13th, 2008

In the effluvia of the OJ Mayo report from Outside the Lines (you remember, he took money and gifts from street runner Rodney Guillory, acting as a proxy for the Bill Duffy Agency) the other night, there has been a cacophany of predictable kneejerk reactions from every corner of the media universe. 

Tim Floyd and USC are to blame!

The NBA’s 1-and-done rule is to blame!

The NCAA’s lax enforcement is to blame!

AAU basketball, or even worse – the system - is to blame!

There’s a lot of culpability being thrown around by the various pundits, and with good reason on many counts, but we’d like to proffer another culprit that few in the MSM have been willing to indict - their own 4th Estate, the so-called watchdogs of the community.  We in the blogosphere have been told repeatedly by those in pedigreed positions of media power that what separates us from them is the simple concept of access.  While we can riff on the same televised game that a USC beat writer for the LA Times can, he has a level of access to players, coaches and administrators that we do not (from our parents’ basement), thereby rendering his reporting more valuable than ours.  Or so the story goes.

 

While we completely agree that level of access of which the MSM has to sports figures makes our job different than theirs, there also must exist a certain amount of responsibility for said journalists to follow up on rumors, whispers and innuendo that such access enables.  Because of the difficulty for a blogger to gain entree into a circle of coaches willing to speak off the record to a trusted journalist, we expect that the writer will not simply wink and nod with the rest and ultimately let it slide into oblivion.  After all, isn’t the journalist’s role to not only report the news, but investigate it? 

Gregg Doyel wrote nineteen months ago that USC should be wary of Mayo due to his relationship with Rodney Guillory – that’s a great start.  Did anyone else follow up on this accusation of impropriety?  Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times recounts a conversation with two prominent coaches he had about recruiting Mayo during his prep days:

“It’s not even a consideration,” one coach said.  “You don’t even understand how many problems that could cause,” the other said.  Back then, there was much fear about Mayo’s large circle of friends. There were whispers that he had already been bought, a common rumor about prep basketball stars.

If there were whispers among prominent coaches about Mayo, and the writers knew about it, why didn’t anyone investigate it?  Where was the local watchdog, the award-winning LA Times investigative staff on this story?  It’s not like outing Mayo, the “next Lebron” at one time during his HS career, wouldn’t have been a prime catch.  How hard could it have been? – the Big Lead even gave the MSM a roadmap in March 2007 - you have Mayo associated with Guillory; you know that Guillory is a runner for an agent who already got USC player Jeff Trepagnier and Fresno St. player Tito Maddox in hot water several years ago; and you know the weird circumstances of Mayo’s “recruitment” to USC.  What more do you need to look deeper into this steaming hunk of  brown mess??

And yet, to our knowledge, until the OTL piece on Sunday by ESPN’s Kelly Naqi after Mayo’s college career was all-but-finished, the MSM’s inertia effectively made certain that Mayo will never face any sanctions over this scandal.  As for USC… well, we’re still waiting to hear their penalties from the Reggie Bush situation a few years back.  Just keep in mind among all the yelling about blame this week that if someone, anyone, in the MSM had been doing their job a year ago, Mayo would have never suited up for USC in the first place.  The NCAA plans on watching college basketball recruiting a little more closely, but given its limited enforcement resources, perhaps all the doomsday rhetoric being thrown around as a result of this fiasco will inspire our MSM friends to include a little more self-awareness of their watchdog role next time. 

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No more OJs at USC?

Posted by nvr1983 on May 12th, 2008

I’m not even sure where to begin with this post. Here at RTC, we have discussed OJ Mayo several times most recently in what rtmsf myopically thought would be a final retrospective on the latest OJ to grace the USC campus. As pretty much everyone knows by now Mayo has been implicated in a rather large scandal involving Bill Duffy Agency (BDA) and Rodney Guillory, who appears to have been essentially hired by BDA to bring Mayo to them.

Most of my knowledge on the topic comes from Kelly Naqi’s Outside the Lines report I saw on Sunday morning while I was staying at a beach resort so this isn’t going to be some deep NY Times investigative piece that some of you may be expecting from RTC–we’ll work on that over the summer. Instead, I think it’s more interesting to consider the impact this will have on USC and recruiting/college basketball in general given the hype that Mayo brought with him to USC and the manner in which he handled his recruitment of USC–yes, the way he recruited USC.

Will OJ still be welcome at the USC campus?

According to the OTL report, Guillory gave Mayo cash,  a flat-screen television, cell phones, hotel rooms, clothes, meals, and airline tickets. Given Mayo’s celebrity status, it’s pretty hard to believe that Tim Floyd and others at USC didn’t notice this was going on. Some prescient writers like Gregg Doyel even warned USC about the specific threat as early as 2006, but USC never did anything about it. Floyd and USC just looked the other way and hoped nobody else would notice or at least that nobody would give them up while they raked in the money from the increased attendance and sales of Mayo’s jerseys. The transgressions are not at the same level as those involving Reggie Bush’s family at USC, but these directly involved a player (Mayo) while the majority of the financial benefit in the Bush situation appears to have been reaped by Bush’s parents who stayed at a million dollar house essentially for free.

The big question now is what the NCAA will do about it. There have been several reports over the past year that the NCAA has investigated Mayo thoroughly, but did not find anything. Given the amount of evidence presented in the OTL piece, it’s hard to imagine that the NCAA spent much time digging into Mayo if they never came across any of this stuff. Ever since Yahoo! Sports broke the Reggie Bush allegations, Internet message boards have been abuzz first with what sanctions would be levied against the Trojans and when none came with conspiracy theories about how the NCAA was protecting the Trojans while being much more harsh on other teams such as a dominant football power on the East Coast (Miami). Compounding the fans fury was the seeming indifference of the sports media outside of Yahoo! Sports (read: ESPN) to really go after USC. Fans claimed that ESPN was trying to protect its sacred cow as ESPN had hyped up the Trojans to the point where they ran a week-long segment on where the Trojans ranked historically even before their Rose Bowl game against Texas, which they lost thanks to a super-human performance by Vince Young (I Heart VY). Now that ESPN has decided to join the attack against USC, it will be interesting to see if the mainstream sports media will turn up the heat on the NCAA (still waiting for the SI cover asking USC to cancel its athletic program). For those of you who think I may be going too far, the list of transgressions by USC athletes goes far beyond Bush and Mayo and includes recent charges against athletes ranging from dealing drugs to weapons possession to sexual assault.

While I’m not on board with Pat Forde’s reactionary death penalty column, I think the NCAA should come down pretty hard on USC. I am not sure what the precedent is for multi-sport probation, but given the multiple transgressions by the USC football team and the Mayo fiasco that anybody could have seen coming, its pretty clear that the Athletic Director Mike Garrett has no control over his programs or doesn’t care as long as they win. I would think that a 1- or 2-year probation with a ban on postseason play would send a pretty clear message that the NCAA won’t tolerate this kind of behavior. However, I doubt the powers that be will punish USC that severely, but USC should at least have some scholarships taken away from them in addition to the ones they lost with their poor APR performance. If the NCAA fails to do that, the Internet and the parents’ basements that bloggers inhabit will be all over them and this time the mainstream sports media with ESPN’s support will be behind them.

The story about Mayo’s recruitment is well-known as an associate of his (Guillory) entered Tim Floyd’s office and offered Mayo and his “services” to USC. When Floyd asked for Mayo’s number to speak with him, he was told that Mayo would call him. Perhaps Guillory wanted to make sure Mayo stayed within the minute limits on the plans that Guillory was paying for. Hopefully, this fiasco will convince more coaches not to get involved in these situations as it was obvious from the beginning of this relationship who was in control. At least Floyd seemed in control over the team, but it won’t be too long before some 5-star comes in with his personal coach and pushes for certain personnel moves and demands that the offense runs through him so he can get his numbers to boost his draft status.

The final issue, and potentially the most important in terms of its overall effect on college basketball, is how this will affect the NCAA’s decision on the 1-and-done rule. It’s pretty obvious that Mayo and several other stars like Michael Beasley were never going to spend a minute more than required in college before jumping to the NBA. If it’s going to be like that for the next generation of college stars, I wonder if the trade-off is worth it. As much as opposing fans like to knock Tyler Hansbrough and J.J. Redick, they embody what we used to love about the college game with guys staying 4 years and developing their games and fans identifying teams with players and not just the coaches manning the sidelines. Unfortunately, Tyler and J.J. are not the caliber of player that we saw do that in the 1980s. College hoops fans need to face the reality that we will never see a Lebron James (would have finished his senior year last year) or Dwight Howard (would have finished his senior year this year) having those kind of historic college careers. The question is how much is it worth to bring in guys of that caliber (or Mayo who is clearly several steps below James or Howard) in for 1 year with the risk of it blowing up an athletic program like it threatens to do at USC now. Mayo’s career and eventual legacy at USC may go a long way in determining the future of this rule.

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Billy D Epilogue

Posted by rtmsf on June 8th, 2007

Tasty Waffles

Waffles, anyone?

So now that the Billy Donovan saga has finally ended, and everyone on both sides is making nice and saying all the right things, we wanted to comment on any residual effects that may result from this whole fiasco. On the college basketball side of things, critics of Donovan have stated that the man as a coach has put forth an image that he can no longer be trusted, and that this will ultimately manifest in his recruiting. Gregg Doyel at cbssportsline.com writes:

Donovan didn’t just think about leaving. He didn’t just try to leave. He left. He came back, true, but if he was willing to leave Florida once — after promising recruits like Jai Lucas that he wouldn’t leave this offseason — what’s to stop him from leaving again? That’s not just me wondering. That’ll be the subtle spiel of every coach who recruits against Donovan, and I’m not sure that would be categorized as “unfair negative recruiting.” It would be more accurate to call that “reality.”

On the NBA side of things, critics are saying that he’ll be akin to kryptonite should he ever hope to follow his dream to coach in the NBA again. One exec from a Varsity Conference team said:

“It’s not going to leave a good taste in the mouths of a lot of people. People in the league already were asking last week, ‘What did he do to deserve a contract like that?’ And now this; it really casts a doubt about his intentions.”

Harkening back to our long-lost legal education and in the spirit of Donovan’s last seven days, we both concur and dissent with these viewpoints. The NBA issue is a no-brainer – any NBA executive will have to take a long, hard look at whether he wants to risk dealing with Donovan in the future. Thanks to what is effectively a five-year moratorium on Donovan taking another NBA job, however, this will allow ample time for hard feelings and raw nerves to diminish. If the situation arises where a true “dream job” such as the Knicks or Lakers opens after that time, then we’d still expect Donovan to get that call. This assumes, of course, that the next five years at Florida do not turn into some post-apocalyptic disaster where his coaching abilities are called into question as in the early 2000s.

Christine Donovan is much happier today

And what of the University of Florida, who rewarded Donovan’s insouciance today with a contract worth $3.5M per year for the next six seasons (plus an option for the seventh). As much as it may seem elementary to believe what Doyel says about other coaches using this against Donovan in the future, and no doubt they will try, we see another more powerful side to this argument. Instead of worries about whether Donovan will be around at UF in the near future, we now know with near-certainty that he will be in Gainesville for the next five years. He already turned down his dream college job and a near-perfect NBA situation, and is additionally barred from seeking another NBA job. Where else can he realistically go? If anything, this provides an incredible stability around his program that almost no other coach in America can claim. As such, Donovan may actually be returning to Florida in a stronger recruiting situation than he otherwise would have enjoyed had he never left in the first place. How crazy is that? Whether that will translate into more Final Fours and national titles is impossible to know.

Our (hopefully) final thought on the matter is that we’re quite pleased that Billy D was keeping tabs on our blog while he was in his solitary confinement at home the past few days. :)

I said I can’t do this and live with myself for the next two to three years. I don’t know if the press conferences should have been flip-flopped or not (Orlando second and Florida first), but my heart wasn’t into it.

It wasn’t that something happened with my wife, or Jeremy Foley guilt-tripped me or something that the Magic did upset me or there was a problem with (Magic general manager) Otis Smith or the way Christine’s face looked in a photo on the Internet at the press conference.

Everyone wants to put a reason as to why something happened. I’m terribly sorry for what happened, and I take responsibility for it. But this is a Billy Donovan issue, not a Christine Donovan or Jeremy Foley or (Orlando Magic president) Bob Vander Weide or (Magic owner) Rich DeVos issue.

 

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