Morning Five: 02.07.13 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on February 7th, 2013


  1. Most of the nation was focused on football recruits during National Signing Day yesterday, but Iowa State may have been the biggest loser yesterday in terms of its recruiting when the NCAA denied the school’s appeal to make Maurice Jones eligible for the 2013-14 season. Jones, who averaged 13 points, 3.5 assists, 2.7 rebounds, and 1.8 steals per game as a sophomore at USC before transferring to Iowa State, was not academically eligible to play when he left USC last September and apparently did not improve his grades enough in time for the NCAA to lift his ineligibility. The Cyclones had hoped to have Jones be eligible in time for the second half of next season, but with Jones having to sit out next season too we wonder if he will take a different route including going to a junior college and if Jones isn’t in Ames we would assume his recruitment would open up again.
  2. We have been talking about the Ed O’Bannon case for a few years on this site, but it seems like the mainstream media is just starting to get a sense of how big this case could be for (or actually against) the NCAA. The latest addition is Charles Pierce, who points out how big of a deal profit-sharing could be for student-athletes and the member institutions. We won’t try to argue that it would not be at the very least a very significant symbolic change we do wonder how the member institutions will try to fudge the numbers in an attempt to give the athletes as small an amount of money as possible. Perhaps all of this talk about major athletic departments struggling financially is just setting the stage for schools to say they cannot afford to pay student-athletes significant sums of money.
  3. One of the great things about Luke Winn’s weekly Power Ranking column is his versatility in pulling out interesting statistics to analyze and present the best teams in college basketball. While Winn has a few crutches like his reliable Aaron Craft Turnometer he usually presents a new statistic to analyze for each team each week. The stat that jumped out at us this week was Florida‘s (possible over-)reliance on three-point shooting. While such high volume three-point shooting makes a team extremely dangerous it also makes them vulnerable to early exits when they go cold from the field (live by the three…).
  4. For years Dick Vitale has talked about how he tried to recruit Magic Johnson to play for him while he was still a college coach at Detroit and if Magic had joined him he might still be coaching. Well Vitale is getting his wish (sort of) as Magic will be paired with Vitale (and Mike Tirico) on February 19 when Indiana plays at Michigan State. While Magic has served in virtually every role imaginable in basketball this game will be his first as a college basketball analyst. We just hope that both Magic and Vitale are able to control themselves to let the players (and not the announcers) become the focus for those of us watching at home.
  5. We are still trying to figure out what exactly happened with the Hamline incident that left one of the team’s players facing a second-degree assault charge and its coach suspended. Yesterday that coach, Nelson Whitmore, left the school in what has been described as a “mutual agreement”. All we know about the case is what reportedly happened between the victim and the Hamline basketball player. What we don’t know is what Whitmore did to merit such a severe sanction as the school said his actions did not violate any NCAA rules. Even though we are never happy to see somebody leave his or her job we are happy to see a school own a problem like this even if we wish this entire episode had never happened.
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Morning Five: 01.07.13 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on January 7th, 2013


  1. The big news of the weekend happened on Saturday when Lehigh star CJ McCollum left their game against VCU after what appeared to be a fairly innocuous drive. However, when he returned to the court he was on crutches and told a teammate that his foot was broken, which was confirmed the following day as a fracture of his fifth metatarsal in his left foot and is expected to be out for 8-10 weeks. The injury is obviously a crushing blow for Lehigh’s season although it is possible the McCollum could return in time for the Patriot League conference tournament. However, various reports indicate that the plan is to be as conservative as possible, which seems to be the most reasonable choice given the fact that McCollum is still probably a first round choice as long as he comes back healthy.
  2. According to unnamed sources, the “Catholic 7” are on the verge on striking a lucrative television deal worth more than $500 million over 12 years. The sources, who may have their own agendas in providing this information, are reporting that Fox is looking at putting the new conference on Fox Sports 1, which will replace Speed (already in 81 million households in the US). The deal would pay each of the seven schools about twice as much as they would have made had they elected to stay in the Big East. Interestingly, the seven schools are expecting that any incoming schools would be paid less than half of the television money that the “Catholic 7” are making because those new schools would still be making significantly more than they are making in their current television contracts. This might sound reasonable in theory, but we would be surprised if the schools agreed to do so for more than a few years.
  3. File this under the category of “the rich get richer”. On Saturday, Dakari Johnson committed to Kentucky adding to their already ridiculous incoming recruiting class. Johnson, who is the consensus #1 center in this year’s class even though he only reclassified to the class of 2013 from the class of 2014 back in November, announced his decision on ESPN2/ESPNU after his team’s convincing victory over a Jabari Parker-led team from Simeon (IL). Johnson is the third player ranked #1 at his position to join the incoming class at Kentucky with twins Andrew and Aaron Harrison being the others with James Young (#2 shooting guard/#6 overall), Marcus Lee (#11 power forward/#30 overall), and Derek Willis (three-star power forward) rounding out the class so far. At this point Kentucky has already secured the #1 overall class for 2013 and everybody’s attention will be turned to where they rank historically. The obvious comparison is the Fab Five class that came into Michigan in the fall of 1991. We are sure that plenty of recruiting analysts will be chiming in with their thoughts in the next few months, but we will hold off on any comparisons (apparently so will John Calipari) except to say that we doubt they will have the cultural legacy, but hope they will exist in the eyes of the NCAA.
  4. After Jim Boeheim passed Bob Knight on the all-time victory list there was quite a bit of talk about where he ranked among the greatest coaches of all-time. One coach who we never hear mentioned in these discussions, but probably merits consideration to at least be mentioned is the legendary Jerry Tarkanian. While many reasons have been cited including the infamous hot tub photo where several of Tarkanian’s players are seen with Richard Perry, a famous gambler who had been convicted twice of sports bribery, it would seem that Tarkanian is unjustly left out of these discussions. As Sam Borden points out in his excellent article on Tarkanian in The New York Times Tarkanian was a pioneer who was well ahead of his time. As Borden points out, one of the sticky subjects around Tarkanian is that he still is not in the Hall of Fame despite his ridiculous coaching credentials as the lingering questions surrounding his methods and the people surrounding his programs have made many uneasy to include him in such select company. In our opinion, Tarkanian belongs in the Hall of Fame with the understanding that those who actually know the game will be aware of the allegations surrounding his career.
  5. If you are unhappy with how your team’s season is going so far, be happy that you are not a fan of Hamline, a Division III school that has suspended its head coach indefinitely, dismissed a player, forfeited its game on Saturday, and is considering additional discipline/suspensions for the 14 remaining players on the team. The origins of this fiasco appear to start after the team’s trip to Spokane, Washington when Eugene Lawrence III was charged with felony second-degree assault after allegedly punching a women in the face. The entire story, which is described in detail including the circumstances around the encounter and Lawrence’s reaction afterwards, is disturbing although we are not sure how the coach and the rest of the team fit in here. Hopefully the situation can be resolved, but we have to applaud the school (or at least someone at some level) for stepping in and apparently taking charge of this mess.
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