Andre Drummondannounced his “final five” list of considered colleges yesterday, putting to rest the question about his intentions to either go to college in the next couple of weeks or attend prep school for another year (our summary from yesterday). He will do the latter, which means while one round of speculation has ended, another has begun. Drummond has graduated from high school, so another year of prep school would put him a year out from his graduating class, meaning he could make himself eligible for the 2012 NBA Draft. If he decides ever to attend college, his five-school shortlist has a decidedly Big East flavor, save one. In ESPNU’s updated recruiting rankings for 2012, he now occupies the #2 spot, behind only Shabazz Muhammad.
Any fan of college basketball should read Jeff Goodman’s examination of the big bad class of 2002 and how things are going for them now, but if you are a supposed big-shot high school baller and you are reading this, you definitely need to stop what you’re doing right now and check it out. Shows what can happen to you if you start believing all the hype. We’re glad that so many of them have found ways to be happy whether playing basketball or not, but it also sounds like there are a couple of fellows from that class still blaming everyone else except themselves for their lack of NBA success.
Former Tennessee assistant Tony Jones has claimed that the school’s legal counsel instructed him and the rest of the UT staff, including head coach Bruce Pearl, not to be totally open with NCAA officials during the agency’s probe into the program last summer. It should be noted that this, in and of itself, isn’t as sinister as it sounds; clients are almost always told by their attorneys only to answer the questions asked of them and not to, er, volunteer any extra information. That’s how Jones describes the directive from UT’s counsel. In the linked article, he gives an example of a question he was asked during the investigation, along with his response, so we’ll let you decide if he did what he was told or if there’s anything wrong with his answer.
NCAA prez Mark Emmert is a fan of restricting the post-season opportunities of teams that don’t perform up to par academically. He advocates a raising of the minimum team Academic Progress Rate score from 925 to 930, as well as possibly keeping teams caught under it out of the NCAA Tournament. It sounds interesting, but we’re wondering how such a provision would weigh on the minds of high school prospects when it came time to narrow down their school lists. Some schools, as we all know, are harder than others.
It was a good news/bad news day for Wake Forest. The bad news came in the form of the arrest of sophomore forward Melvin Tabb (1.6 PPG, 2.0 RPG last season) on a trio of charges including felony breaking and entering from an incident that happened on the Wake campus back in June. Between suspensions and injuries, Tabb played in just 14 of the Deacs’ games last season, but he’ll play in none this year; head coach Jeff Bzdelik has booted Tabb from the team. What struck us as good news for Wake, though, was the hire of former WFU stud Randolph Childress as an assistant to the AD. That can only mean the little jewel below will be replayed and acted out during practices numerous times, and you couldn’t really blame them. It’s just too funny not to show on the occasion of Childress’ return to Wake, so here you go (sorry, Jeff McInnis fans):
We’ve been anxiously awaiting the next thirty days for the last eleven months. You have too. In fact, if this isn’t your favorite time of year by a healthy margin then you should probably click away from this site for a while. Because we plan on waterboarding you with March Madness coverage. Seriously, you’re going to feel like Dick Cheney himself is holding a Spalding-logoed towel over your face. Your intake will be so voluminous that you’ll be drooling Gus Johnson and bracket residue in your sleep. Or Seth Davis, if that’s more your style. The point is that we’re all locked in and ready to go. Are you? To help us all get into the mood, we like to click around a fancy little website called YouTube for a daily dose of notable events, happenings, finishes, ups and downs relating to the next month. We’re going to try to make this video compilation a little smarter, a little edgier, a little historical-er. Or whatever. Sure, you’ll see some old favorites that never lose their luster, but you’ll also see some that maybe you’ve forgotten or never knew to begin with. That’s the hope, at least. We’ll be matching the videos by the appropriate week, so for the next four days, we’ll be re-visiting some of the timeless moments from Championship Week. Enjoy.
Dateline:1995 ACC Tournament
Context: In the 1995 ACC race for conference superiority, there were four teams who stood above the rest. UNC, Wake Forest, Maryland and Virginia ended the season in a four-way tie for first place at 12-4 in one of the most closely contested conference races in the history of the league. The NBA talent just on those four teams was impressive: Jerry Stackhouse, Rasheed Wallace and Jeff McInnis at Carolina; Tim Duncan and Rusty Larue at Wake; Joe Smith and Keith Booth at Maryland; Cory Alexander at UVa. But in that year, there was one player who barely got time at the next level who made the ACC Tournament his own personal shooting gallery: Wake’s assassin, Randolph Childress. In the quarterfinals against Duke, Childress drilled eight threes and went off for 40 points and seven assists in a comeback win. The next day in the semis, he cooled off for only six threes and 30/7 assts against Virginia as Wake won again, moving on to face their nemesis North Carolina in the ACC Championship game. In that overtime thriller, Childress again went nuts, hitting nine more threes en route to scoring 37 points and handing out another seven dimes, including the last 22 points and the game-winner for Wake (keep in mind that eventual 4-time NBA champion Duncan was also on this team). Over the course of three days, Childress shattered the ACC Tournament record for points (107) and scoring average (35.7 PPG), leaving many of the long-time ACC observers stating that they’d never seen anything like it before in the history of that storied league (even so, Childress was not a unanimous selection for tournament MVP!). Legend has it that he played the tournament with a broken finger and that during the stretch run against Carolina, he told his teammates to give him the ball every time down the floor and “get out of the way.” Interestingly, the video showing one of Childress’ crossovers to get open for a three against Jeff McInnis has gotten even more run that his shot to win the game in overtime, but they’re both fantastic.
For Carolina basketball fans, the title of this post has significant meaning beyond the city of Motown and its crappy cars. Some of our younger readers may recall that in 1996 Jeff McInnis was the hotheaded starting point guard for the Tar Heels. That version of the Heels was decent, with a nascent Antawn Jamison and Vince Carter as freshmen, but the “star” of the show (at least in his mind) was clearly the junior McInnis.
According to rumors flying around the Triangle area that year, McInnis was more than just a star on the basketball court. You couldn’t go a Harris Teeter in Cary or Hillsborough without hearing that he had procured some extra practice time with assistant coach and Carolina legend Phil Ford’s wife. Duke fans, in all their ribald ingenuity, queried on signs whether Jeff had “driven a Ford lately?” From Josh Levin at Slate:
Sometimes the whispers get so loud that one of the subjects goes public to defend his reputation. In 1996, practically everyone in North Carolina had heard the gossip that University of North Carolina point guard Jeff McInnis had been sleeping with Phil Ford’s wife. In his book A March to Madness, sportswriter John Feinstein delicately alludes to Duke fans razzing McInnis about “personal animosity between him and assistant coach Phil Ford.” As that year’s NBA draft neared, McInnis broke the official silence when he told the Charlotte Observer that Orlando Magic staffers had quizzed him about the allegations that he was leaving school early due to the fallout from an affair with Ford’s wife. His answer: “Nothing ever happened. She is often hugging players. … The Duke people blew the whole thing up.”
That was over a decade ago. Since then Phil Ford had a couple of well-publicized DUIs and was released by the Fiasco Otherwise Known as Matt Doherty, and has spent the last couple of years working in an education fundraising capacity for UNC, and now, the Charlotte Bobcats. So why is this all relevant today?
Well, because now you too can purchase a piece of Phil Ford history (nagging not included)! His 2000 Final Four ring earned as an assistant coach is on Ebay, and it costs five g’s. Mewonders whether McInnis ever spent that much on Mrs. Ford (h/t AOL Fanhouse).