Morning Five: 08.05.13 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on August 5th, 2013


  1. One of the more secretive parts of college athletics (and there are many such areas) is how schools go about looking for coaches and administrators. In the past they were largely just given through what can best be described as an old boys network. Today, these decisions are largely made through executive search agencies. Dana O’Neil was able to go inside Parker Executive Search, the most well-known firm, to see what exactly it is that they do. According to Parker, they simply collect data and help arrange for meetings despite all of the rumors that they essentially pick out who should be the choice. While this is all nice in theory it should be obvious to everybody that they can only search so deeply and occasionally miss things that others might consider fairly obvious like the accusations against new Rutgers AD Julie Hermann.
  2. It will not be “The Decision II” in terms of being a media spectacle, but when Jahil Okafor and Tyus Jones announce where they are committing you can be sure it will be a big day at least in the college basketball world. Okafor, the #1 recruit in the country, and Jones, a top-5 player, are reportedly a package deal and according to Mike Irvin, Okafor’s AAU coach, Duke appears to be the leader for the pair. This is backed up by sources close to Jones saying Duke is the leader for him too. Of course, Okafor’s father denies that anybody is in the lead, but we doubt that he would come out and say that with so many schools in pursuit. The fact that Duke could land such a significant pair of recruits is not really shocking, but it has been a while since Duke landed two such highly regarded players in the same class.
  3. Jeff Goodman may have left CBS for ESPN, but apparently CBS got to keep his transfer list. Although he does not include every single transfer out there Jeff Borzello put together a summary of the biggest transfers separating them into those that can play immediately, those that will have to sit out a year, and those that are in limbo as well as those that just needed a change in scenery. With all the attention paid to the top high school recruits coming in a lot of people gloss over some pretty high-impact transfers and Borzello’s list does a great job at reminding you of the most important transfers so if you are unclear on where everybody transferred (and it is almost impossible to keep track of everybody) this is a great place to start.
  4. He may have not been a successful head coach (honestly, we had almost forgotten he was a college coach) so we cannot say that we are shocked that Corliss Williamson has left Central Arkansas to become an assistant coach with the Sacramento Kings. Williamson is best known as the star of the Arkansas teams that made back-to-back national championship games winning the title in 1994, but he also went on to have a successful NBA career winning NBA Sixth Man of the Year in 2002. Unfortunately Williamson’s college coaching career was not as successful as he went 26-62 in 3 seasons. Still he will have his name to fall back on if and when he decides to move on from his new job in Sacramento.
  5. Normally this space is reserved for fairly light material, but when a former Division I assistant coach is labeled as “Islamic jihadist” it catches our eye. Such is the case of former Northern Colorado assistant Christopher Craig who has reportedly threatened Catholics and Mormons in both Arizona and Colorado. As a result authorities in Colorado are warning churches in the state to be on the lookout for Craig. Now we do not want to get into geopolitical/social issues and a loaded term like “Islamic jihadist” will certainly make this story become a bigger point of discussion than if they had chosen any other religion. Based on the reports it appears that Craig’s threats were limited to primarily verbal, which certainly does not excuse them, but hopefully someone reaches Craig before he goes beyond a point that he cannot come back from.
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Morning Five: 07.09.13 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on July 9th, 2013


  1. There were a couple of big moves involving players that will be eligible to play next season. The biggest involves Memphis who announced that incoming freshman Kuran Iverson had been cleared academically by the NCAA to play this season. Iverson, a 6’9″ forward who is ranked in the top 40 by most recruiting services and happens to be the cousin of Allen Iverson, can add quite a bit to the Tigers lineup that is still waiting to hear if Michael Dixon and Rashawn Powell will be eligible to play. At this point it seems like neither will be eligible to play, which makes the addition of Iverson even bigger. The other move, which is also pretty significant, but is of a shorter duration involves Arizona State, which picked up Penn State transfer Jermaine Marshall, who will be graduating next month and can play for the Sun Devils this coming season. Picking up a player of Marshall’s talent (averaged 15.3 points per game in the Big Ten) is a huge addition for a team that has hopes of contending in the Pac-12 next year. It will be interesting to see how committed Marshall is to the team since he initially was planning on going to Europe rather than look at another college. If his minutes dwindle or he struggles to fit in with his new teammates, we wonder how long it will take him to start looking at international flights out of Phoenix.
  2. Coming off a surprising Final Four appearance Wichita State appears to be flying high. Their hiring of Steve Forbes as an assistant coach might not register with casual fans, but it is quite a pick-up. You may remember Forbes from his time at Tennessee as an assistant before he received a one-year show-cause penalty for being evasive when NCAA authorities tried to investigate Bruce Pearl’s meeting with Aaron Craft at a cookout. Forbes had served as head coach at Northwest Florida State (a junior college) and becomes the first member of Pearl’s former staff to get a Division 1 job. Wichita State should benefit from Forbes’ experience as one of the top recruiters in the nation.
  3. This past Friday a US District Court Judge ruled that the plaintiffs in the Ed O’Bannon case can amend the lawsuit to include a current NCAA athlete as a plaintiff. Of course, the obvious concern for any athlete would be that the NCAA will single out this individual for additional investigations that the individual would not otherwise be subjected to. Yesterday, the lawyers leading the anti-trust lawsuit sent the NCAA a letter asking the NCAA to agree that no such actions will be taken against such an individual and that joining the lawsuit would not jeopardize the individual’s eligibility. In theory this is nice, but we have a hard time believing that the NCAA would give a current athlete blanket immunity and since they will not we suspect that they will miraculously stumble upon evidence that leads to an investigation of that individual.
  4. Winning international titles might have been a foregone conclusion for the US National Team for years, but as we have seen in recent years that is not necessarily the case particularly when we are not sending our “A” team. So the Under-19 team winning the World Championship is certainly worth celebrating even if it will not get mentioned in most sports sections. The team, which was led by Billy Donovan, Shaka Smart, and Tony Bennett, defeated Serbia 82-68 to win the gold medal. Arizona fans will be particularly pleased with the performance of Aaron Gordon who was named Tournament MVP. Gordon was joined on the All-Tournament Team by Jahil Okafor (class of 2014; uncommitted). We expect several players from this team–primarily rising freshmen and sophomores–to have big seasons including Marcus Smart, who did not make the All-Tournament Team, but will probably be a Preseason First-Team All-American.
  5. With the World University Games going on most college basketball fans will be paying attention to the performances of some college stars, but as Andy Glockner points out the more interesting aspect might be the shot clock. It seems like we hear every year about how scoring is down in college basketball and how decreasing the shot clock from 35 seconds to 24 seconds would speed up the game and increase scoring. As Glockner points out international competitions use the 24-second shot clock and from the comments of many college players and coaches it seems that they prefer the 35-second shot clock. It may seem obvious that they would prefer something that they are used to, but the argument that Colorado coach Tad Boyle makes about a shorter shot clock making the game more homogeneous in terms of playing style is an interesting one. In the end, the NCAA should probably base their decision on the length of the shot clock around what makes it a better product for the public, but we are guessing that coaches will prefer to keep the status quo even if it hurts the popularity of the game.
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