A series of unfortunate events came down the pike to ruin what had previously been an exciting day when ESPN released it’s 24 Hours of Hoops schedule for November 17. Let’s briefly cover each so that we can move on to more pleasant things (hopefully tomorrow).
- We woke up to the news that Pitt’s best returning player, Jermaine Dixon, broke his right foot for the second time this summer while playing in a pickup game. Given that it’s already mid-September and the doctors are telling him that it’ll take at least eight weeks to heal, this news clearly puts Jamie Dixon’s squad behind the 8-ball going into October practice and the first few games of the season. We would be completely shocked if Pitt fell off the map this year because Dixon is such an excellent coach, but on paper the 09-10 team already appears to be the weakest of his seven-year tenure. Losing their only returning starter for a while near the start of the season cannot help. And what’s up with that right foot – is this mere coincidence or does he have a problem there?
- From the crime blotter, Wisconsin freshman guards Jeremy Glover and Diamond Taylor are now off the team (Glover was dismissed; Taylor withdrew) after their arrest for allegedly stealing ipods, a cell phone and $400 in cash last week from a UW dorm. The two players were expected to provide backcourt depth this season for Bo Ryan’s team, but he’ll need to lean more heavily on returnees Trevon Hughes and Jason Bohannon than anticipated.
- Finally, as you’ve probably heard by now, NCAA President-cum-Reformer Myles Brand died today from pancreatic cancer. As the head honcho of the NCAA over the last six years, we’ve certainly had our fair share of criticism directed at his leadership, mostly with respect to investigations of alleged violations and selective enforcement of the rules. But there can be no question that we completely respect and admire the work that Brand did in terms tying academic performance of athletes at the sport-level (and soon, coach-level) to key athletic assets such as scholarships and postseason appearances. The Academic Progress Report (APR) that Brand initiated to achieve this end definitely contains some loopholes, but at the very least, he has schools, ADs and coaches thinking about performance of their players in the classroom, which is a far, far cry from where it was ten years ago. RTC lauds Myles Brand for this impressive and hopefully lasting achievement, and we hope that to honor his legacy, his replacement will continue to tweak the APR, giving it teeth, so that schools will take it seriously. RIP, Mr. Brand.