Checking In On… the Pac-12

Posted by rtmsf on December 8th, 2011

Andrew Murawa is the RTC correspondent for the Pac-12 and Mountain West conferences.  

Reader’s Take

 

Top Storylines

  • More Behavioral Problems – While the struggles of the Pac-12 conference as a whole has been well-documented, the sheer number of off-the-court distractions coaches up and down the conference have had to deal with has been astounding. There’s the ongoing Reeves Nelson soap opera at UCLA. Josiah Turner has been patently unable to get it together in Arizona. Jabari Brown quit on his team after just two games because he was “only” getting about 26 minutes a game. This week Utah suspended Josh Watkins, one of just three players in the Pac-12 to score in double figures in each of his team’s games (Washington’s Terrence Ross and Washington State’s Brock Motum the other two). Then there are lesser lights like Oregon’s Bruce Barron (quit on his team as well), Arizona’s Sidiki Johnson (suspended, dismissed and now transferring out) and Washington State’s D.J. Shelton (suspended). That’s not even including Joshua Smith’s issues, Jerime Anderson’s legal troubles, or Jahii Carson’s inability to get eligible. While the play on the court has been less than stellar around the conference, it is the off-the-court nonsense that is giving the conference the biggest black eye.

Josh Watkins' Troubles Are Only the Latest and Greatest...

  • Surprising Players Stepping Up – In the place of all the missing or invisible players, these teams have needed somebody to step up, and there have been some surprising players that are doing their part. Just looking at the five players that were nominated for the Pac-12 Player of the Week last week gives you a list of surprising names: Charlie Enquist, Ahmad Starks, Anthony Brown, Keala King and, the winner of the award, Solomon Hill. No disrespect to any of those guys, but I don’t think you would have found any of those names on most preseason all-Pac-12 teams. Hill has been a versatile and steadying force for Arizona.  Not only is the junior post leading the team in points (12.4 PPG), assists (3.1 APG) and minutes (31.5 MPG), but Hill is also grabbing the second most rebounds (7.8 RPG), and he’ll likely be a candidate for the Pac-12 award on a semi-regular basis throughout the year. But Charlie Enquist? That’s a guy who had scored a total of 50 points and grabbed a total of 41 rebounds in his 54 games in his previous three years in Pullman. This week he scored 28 and grabbed 19 rebounds. Meanwhile, King was awful at Arizona State last year (36.5% from the field, 1-18 threes, more turnovers than assists), but has scored 65 points in his last three games while posting a 75.8 eFG%. Starks had 16 points and four threes in Oregon State’s win over Montana, and Anthony Brown scored 27 points in two games for Stanford this week. For the underachieving teams in this conference to improve between now and March, they’ll need players to step up and make bigger-than-expected contributions.
  • Stanford For Real? – At the start of the season, it was more or less consensus that there were four teams in the upper tier of the Pac-12: Arizona, Cal, UCLA and Washington. It didn’t take long for one of those four teams to drop from that group (I’ll let you guess which one that was), but with Stanford sporting the best record in the Pac-12 at 8-1 so far (the lone loss a tough six-point defeat at Madison Square Garden to Syracuse), the Cardinal may have jumped up into that group. Of Stanford’s eight victories this season, seven of them have come by 12 or more, with only their most recent come-from-behind win against NC State being a tight one. And at least one RTC correspondent came away from that game impressed enough to confirm that Stanford is good enough, at least defensively, to contend for the conference title. The Cardinal are now in the midst of 13 days off surrounding finals, and really only have one challenging non-conference game remaining (December 22 against Butler). But, if the Cardinal can pick up where it left off, coach Johnny Dawkins‘ squad will be a tough out during conference play.

Player of the Year Watch

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UCLA’s Bruin Road Show: An Early Assessment

Posted by rtmsf on December 5th, 2011

Andrew Murawa is the RTC correspondent for the Pac-12 and Mountain West conferences. He filed this column after Texas’ win over UCLA Saturday afternoon in Los Angeles.

Things have been tough enough for the UCLA basketball team this season, without having its home court conspire against it. But, that’s exactly what happened Saturday afternoon as the Bruins hosted Texas at the Los Angeles Sports Arena, one of the temporary homes for UCLA this year as venerable old Pauley Pavilion undergoes much-needed renovations. Just after the under-four minute media timeout, as Longhorn forward Alexis Wangmene headed to the free throw line to shoot the front-end of a one-and-one, the entire arena was plunged into relative darkness due to an area-wide power surge. At that time, the Bruins were up 30-19 and had turned in its best 16-minute stretch of the season. Guards Lazeric Jones and Jerime Anderson had knocked down some threes. The Wear twins had been hitting the glass and scoring inside. And perhaps most importantly, the Bruins had been diving after loose balls, scrapping for every rebound, and defending like crazy, keeping the quicker Texas guards out of the lane – just generally outworking them to that point.

The LA Sports Arena Serves as UCLA's Home Venue This Season

Over the next 13-plus minutes, as the lights slowly reset to full-power, Texas had a chance in their huddle to start over. “We had a chance to regroup,” said the Longhorns’ freshman point guard Myck Kabongo. “Thank god for those lights. It was a turning point.” Despite, as one fan yelled out just as play resumed, “the greatest icing ever,” Wangmene hit both his free throws and the Longhorns played the final four minutes of the half with a new zeal. Kabongo in particular was like a different player, easily getting penetration against UCLA guards and finding open teammates, notching his first three assists of the day on Texas’ last four possessions of the half. By the intermission, UT has posted a quick 9-4 mini-run and cut the Bruin lead, which had been double-digits most of the first half, to just six. From there, the second half was a mere formality. Texas posted a 75% effective field goal percentage in the second half, the talented but confounding UCLA frontcourt duo of Joshua Smith and Reeves Nelson combined to play just four minutes, and Texas outscored UCLA 50-29 after the power outage.

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Checking In On… the Pac-12

Posted by Brian Goodman on November 24th, 2011

Andrew Murawa is the RTC correspondent for the Mountain West and Pac-12 conferences.

Reader’s Take

Top Storylines

Problem Children – The overriding theme in the Pac-12 thus far this season has been problems: chemistry problems, behavioral problems, injury problems, and probably problems on top of those problems. (You know how when you repeat the same word a lot you realize how weird it sounds? Problem is a weird word.) The most high-profile of all these categories has been a handful of student-athletes around the conference creating problems for their teams out of thin air. The Reeves Nelson meltdown at UCLA has been the most high profile, with Jabari Brown’s premature defection from Oregon not far behind, but elsewhere around the conference there have been issues as well. At UCLA, senior point guard Jerime Anderson, a guy who should have been in a leadership position for this team, got busted for stealing a laptop this summer, pleading guilty to a couple misdemeanors and was suspended for two games (including one exhibition game) at the start of the year. On the same squad, ultra-talented big man Joshua Smith came back to the team this year ultra-big, looking as big or bigger than the 300+ pounds he showed he was unable to play at last year, then followed a loss to Loyola Marymount loss by making a fool of himself on Twitter. Over in Arizona, Sean Miller has had troubles of his own with freshmen Josiah Turner and Sidiki Johnson. Johnson is currently suspended, while Turner has displayed some chemistry problems of his own, causing him to be banished to the bench for a game by Miller. In short, aside from some bad basketball on the court, there have been a handful of players around the league making negative headlines off the court as well.

Problem Programs – Nobody really expected the Pac-12 to be a great conference this season, but the expectation was that it would be roughly as good as last year and primed for a big upswing next year with a batch of new highly regarded freshmen joining the talented youngsters currently littering conference rosters. Instead, through Tuesday night’s games, the conference had posted a combined 30-18 record, had just one remaining team (Stanford) still sporting an undefeated record and had a handful of teams in line for the title of worst BCS conference team. UCLA’s losses to Loyola Marymount and Middle Tennessee State have been well-documented, while USC’s 36-point disaster of a performance, in which enough bricks to build several wolf-proof houses were produced, is an excellent example of basketball at its ugliest. Nevertheless, as bad as UCLA and USC have been, one could easily envision both of those teams as middle-of-the-Pac contenders in the conference. That alone should tell you how bad the bottom of the conference is, but if further explanation is needed, look no further than Arizona State and Utah. The Sun Devils dropped a game at home to Pepperdine (a team that will challenge for the basement in the WCC) while Utah squeaked by NAIA also-ran San Diego Christian College (seriously, that’s a team that was 8-22 last year and lost 15 of its last 16 games) by three points before getting drilled by Boise State and losing to Montana State. As bad as the Pac-12 is, this Utah team is far and away the worst team in the conference.

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Is Ben Howland’s Job in Jeopardy?

Posted by AMurawa on November 18th, 2011

The UCLA basketball program is 0-2 for the first time since Steve Lavin’s final disastrous year in Westwood. An 0-2 record isn’t necessarily the end of the world, but the Bruins haven’t exactly come by their record in the same way that Belmont did (with losses to college hoops powers Duke and Memphis). The Bruins have lost their opening two games to Loyola Marymount and Middle Tennessee State – and not in particularly compelling fashion either. Along the way, last year’s leading scorer and Sports Illustrated cover boy Reeves Nelson was suspended for behavioral problems, sophomore center Joshua Smith tweeted out an immature response following the LMU loss and senior point guard Jerime Anderson served the last half of his very light punishment for stealing a laptop over the summer with a suspension against LMU before coming back to underwhelm against MTSU. In short, the UCLA basketball program is a hot mess right now, a dumpster fire, a train wreck. Worse yet, it is all of those things for the second time in three years.

All of which begs the question, does head coach Ben Howland have reason to fear for his job? It’s not all that long ago that such a question would have been absurd. Remember, Howland had his Bruins in the Final Four three straight times between 2006 and 2008. Between the 2005-06 season and the 2008-09 season, he posted an astounding 123-26 (82.6%) record, with a 65-16 (80.2%) record in the Pac-10, including conference tournament games. Furthermore, Howland was absolutely killing it on the recruiting trail.

Ben Howland, UCLA

Ben Howland Has Had Some Great Successes At UCLA, But His Program Is Currently Struggling

After a two-man 2007 recruiting class ranked #10 in the nation by ESPNU, largely on the strength of Kevin Love, the #1 recruit in the nation (the class also included current UNLV senior Chace Stanback), Howland had then inked the #1 class in the nation for 2008, highlighted by point guard Jrue Holiday, with guys like Drew Gordon, J’Mison Morgan, Malcolm Lee and Anderson expected to make major impacts during their time in Westwood. The following year Howland added another five players (Tyler Honeycutt, Mike Moser, Brendan Lane, Nelson and Anthony Stover) for the #13 class in the nation. Of those 12 players in those three classes, six played either one season at UCLA or left the program prior to completing a second season. Four of them transferred out to other Division I schools with varying degress of success at their new destinations. The 2008 class goes down in history as a strong contender for the most disappointing recruiting class ever, with only Lee and Anderson making significant extended contributions to the program, and even those two players considered as serious underachievers compared to their incoming reputations.

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UCLA on the Verge of a Meltdown?

Posted by AMurawa on November 15th, 2011

Less than a week into a season where UCLA was picked by the media to win the conference, Bruin fans are beginning to have flashbacks to the 2009-10 disaster of a year. That season got off to an ignominious start with a double overtime home loss to a southern California afterthought, Cal State Fullerton, and proceeded downhill quickly, with an oh-fer 76 Classic close on its heels and sophomore big man Drew Gordon having some run-ins with head coach Ben Howland that ended in his eventual transfer out of the program. The season was “highlighted” by some awful guard play and an inability to stop anyone on the defensive end, and after a 2-6 start, ended in a 14-18 record.

Joshua Smith, Reeves Nelson, UCLA

Nelson and Smith Are Causing Chemistry Issues This Season

Although this vintage of the Bruins has only played one game, they’ve already got the loss to a southern California afterthought in the books, a game in which they displayed awful guard play and an inability to stop anyone, and with yesterday’s revelation that junior forward and preseason all-conference selection Reeves Nelson has been suspended indefinitely by Howland for poor conduct in the opening days of the season, they’ve got the attitude problems too. Aside from skipping Monday’s practice, Nelson’s immature behavior also reared its ugly head in the opener against LMU, where he failed to participate in a timeout huddle on more than one occasion, yelled at teammates, and made progressively more erratic shot selections. The length of the suspension will be determined in a face-to-face meeting between Nelson and Howland soon, but there have already been whispers that Nelson is considering moving on from UCLA. And with a trip to the Maui Invitational to face a stacked tournament field around the corner (luckily, the Bruins drew host Chaminade in the opening round), the Bruins are on the verge of a complete meltdown.

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Morning Five: 11.15.11 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on November 15th, 2011

SPONSORED: Rush the Court is pleased to bring you a one-day fantasy college basketball league courtesy of FanDuel.com to tip off the season. The league, which is completely free to enter, starts TONIGHT involving several teams — Kentucky, Kansas, Michigan State, Duke, Florida, Ohio State, Miami (FL), Rutgers — and features $200 in prizes. Even better, if you beat our trained monkey that we’ve assigned to make our picks (username: RTCmonkey), you’ll win even more. Test your college hoops knowledge to win! Click here to enter.

  1. Maybe you’ve forgotten or maybe you’re just dropping by, but today is pretty much a national holiday around these parts. One of ESPN’s better ideas, the 24-Hour Tip-Off Marathon, tipped off at Midnight ET last night in Spokane and is currently plowing its way through sunrise in the eastern time zone after stopovers in California and Hawaii overnight. Of course, the late night and morning games are mere appetizers to a $50 steak dinner coming up this evening when we’ll be rewarded with two games from the Champions Classic (Duke vs. Michigan State and Kentucky vs. Kansas) and a Top Ten matchup between Florida and Ohio State in Columbus. From Coach K’s pursuit of win #903 to the fascinating development of Cal’s young Cats to the return of OSU’s Jared Sullinger for a second season, storylines abound on this day. If you’re lucky enough to not have to work on a random Tuesday in November (hint, hint), strap yourselves in for a smorgasbord of college basketball a full week before you’re legally allowed to stuff your face.
  2. Of course, the top storyline of the day remains Mike Krzyzewski‘s chance tonight to become the sport’s all-time wins leader in Division I men’s basketball. Coming into the Champions Classic game against Michigan State this evening, Coach K sits tied with his former coach and mentor, Bob Knight, at 902 total wins, and if you believe in Vegas odds, he has a 72% chance of doing the trick tonight in Madison Square Garden. We’re sure that the testimonials for K’s greatness will come fast and furious all day long, but here’s two good interviews to get you started.  Former Duke superstar and all-around good guy Grant Hill spoke with TSN’s Ryan Fagan recently about K’s far-reaching positive influence on him, and recent graduate Nolan Smith spoke with TSN’s Mike DeCourcy about some of the life lessons K imparted to him as a father figure. Expect to see many more of these in the next 24-48 hours.
  3. What UCLA head coach Ben Howland needs is more attitude problems on his team. Let’s recap recent events, shall we? After the vaunted Class of 2008 recruiting class nearly brought his program to its knees through various busts, poor attitudes and problem children, it appeared that the Bruins may have been turning the corner by shedding itself of most of those players (Jerime Anderson, currently on suspension, remains). Then, over the weekend, sophomore center Joshua Smith tweeted that his team had lost to a bunch of “bums” after an opening night loss to Loyola Marymount — but perhaps worse than that, he ‘lol’-ed about it, suggesting an alarming irreverence from a player whom Howland needs to stay on the floor (he contributed a paltry 5/4 in only 16 minutes of action). The latest kerfuffle involves UCLA’s leading returning scorer and rebounder, Reeves Nelson, a player whom an ESPN report alleges is causing problems within the UCLA team as a result of his attitude. After skipping practice Monday, he has been suspended for tonight’s game versus Middle Tennessee State and his long-term future with the team appears in doubt. What in the name of the Wizard is going on in Westwood?
  4. Seth Davis gives us his Hoops Thoughts for the opening weekend of college basketball and his first point about the ridiculous (and slippery) decals stuck to the floors of the various pre-conference events around the country is a salient one.  As he points out, Michigan State’s Branden Dawson is only the latest of disasters averted, as his right knee buckled on a Quicken Loans decal for the Carrier Classic, and for a few minutes it appeared as if the injury may have been much worse than it was. What’s amazing about this phenomenon is that college athletics has all kinds of rules meant to protect players in its various sports from injury, and yet even after years of complaining from coaches and media alike, the decals stay. Here’s an idea that seems a reasonable compromise — use the yellow-line first down technology in football to digitally layer the advertising images onto the floor. That way, the dollars that support these events remain secured, but not at the expense of potentially losing a player to severe injury. What are we missing here?
  5. Perhaps not since Damon Bailey was recruited to Indiana in the late 1980s has a single player held so much hope and promise for the Crimson and Cream denizens of the Hoosier State.  But freshman Cody Zeller represents a new beginning to many IU fans wishing for a return to the glory days of Indiana basketball under the General and even before him, Branch McCracken. Basketball Prospectus takes a closer look at the enormous expectations that are being placed on the young player, effectively (and graphically) showing that he faces perhaps more homegrown pressure than any other major recruit in the last four years. Can’t say we disagree with the premise, but it’s a little unfair that so much is riding on a young man who may need some time to develop into an effective player at the Big Ten level.
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Pac-12 Team Previews: UCLA

Posted by AMurawa on November 3rd, 2011

Over the next two weeks, we’ll be previewing each of the Pac-12 teams as we head into the season.

UCLA Bruins

Strengths.  The Bruins’ biggest strength is in their frontcourt, a big and deep group of talented athletes led by 6’8” junior forward Reeves Nelson and 6’10” sophomore center Josh Smith. The two make a rugged duo that can cause matchup problems for most all of their opponents. North Carolina transfers David and Travis Wear (each listed at 6’10”) join 6’9” junior forward Brendan Lane and 6’10” sophomore center Anthony Stover to provide depth. David Wear will spend a lot of time playing out of position at the three, giving the Bruins an imposing frontline that will cause almost all of their opponents fits on the glass. If Wear can handle guarding smaller, quicker wings, the UCLA front line will be a serious strength.

Joshua Smith, Reeves Nelson, UCLA

Reeves Nelson And Joshua Smith Make Up A Formidable Frontcourt Duo

Weaknesses. If head coach Ben Howland’s goal is to get his best players on the court, he’ll have to play a guy like David Wear out of position. With so much depth at the four and five spots, there is no way all of those guys could get playing time if some of them didn’t slide over at times. This could open the Bruins up to being exploited by talented, athletic wings. Additionally, UCLA lacks a deadly three-point shooter. Ideally sophomore off-guard Tyler Lamb could grow into that role, but his jumper is not ready for prime time in that area either. If opposing defenses sag in to either deny the ball to the bigs or pester them once they have the ball, the Bruins lack a perimeter threat to serve as a deterrent. Oh, one last thing: the point guard play of Lazeric Jones and Jerime Anderson tends toward the erratic. Those are probably more significant weaknesses than a major conference contender should have. Read the rest of this entry »

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RTC Conference Primers: #6 – Pac-12

Posted by Brian Goodman on November 1st, 2011

Andrew Murawa is the RTC correspondent for the Pac-12 and Mountain West conferences as well as a Pac-12 microsite staffer. You can find him on Twitter @AMurawa.

Reader’s Take I

With only two of the ten players named to last year’s All-Pac-10 team returning, the race for the conference player of the year is wide open.

 

Top Storylines

  • Twelve Is The New Ten: After 33 seasons, college basketball fans on the west coast are getting used to calling their conference the Pac-12. With Colorado and Utah along for the ride (and currently taking their lumps in football), gone are the days of the home-and-away round-robin schedule on the basketball side of things. But lest the traditionalists complain too much, it could have been much different, as schools from Oklahoma and Texas (obviously the very definition of “Pacific” states) flirted with changing their allegiance for the second consecutive year before heading back to the Big 12.
  • Fresh Blood: As mentioned above in our poll question, the conference loses eight of the ten players on last year’s all-Pac-10 team, with just Jorge Gutierrez of Cal and UCLA’s Reeves Nelson returning. In other words, it is time for a new set of players to step up and take the reins of the league. The most likely candidates are a talented group of freshman guards – names like Josiah Turner and Nick Johnson at Arizona, Tony Wroten, Jr. at Washington, Jabari Brown at Oregon, Norman Powell at UCLA and Chasson Randle at Stanford.

Jorge Gutierrez Is A Lightning Rod Of A Guard For Mike Montgomery's Golden Bears, And Big Things Are Expected.

  • The Carson Show On Hold. A seventh highly-touted freshman guard, however, is stuck in limbo. Arizona State’s Jahii Carson has yet to be cleared for practice while an investigation continues into an online course the 5’10” point guard took this summer at Adams State in Colorado. That school has yet to release his course transcript, and until that happens, Carson is unable to practice with the Sun Devils, making an already difficult situation (being regarded as a savior for a team coming off a 12-19 campaign) even worse.
  • Hard Times for Kevin Parrom: Sometimes, just when everything is going well, life conspires to deal you a set of circumstances that just suck. It’s not bad enough that Parrom took a couple of bullets on September 24 during a home invasion, while in the Bronx visiting his sick mother. But on October 16, Parrom’s mom then passed away after a long battle with cancer. While both incidents will have lasting effects on Parrom, the bullet wounds are the biggest obstacle to him getting back on the court, with bullet fragments lodged in his right leg, a boot on his right foot, nerve damage and his left hand currently wrapped up to protect lacerations sustained in the attack. Parrom is rehabilitating his injuries and as of this writing, no hard timetable is set for his return. But if anybody is due for a good break or two, Parrom’s the guy. Get well soon, Kevin.

Predicted Order of Finish

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20 Questions: What is the Best November Tournament This Season?

Posted by dnspewak on October 24th, 2011

Danny Spewak is the RTC correspondent for the Sun Belt Conference and a Big 12 microsite writer.

Question: What is the Best November Tournament This Season?

The pick: Maui Invitational

Participants (with preseason rank): Island: Duke (#6), Memphis (#9), Kansas (#13), Michigan (#18), UCLA (#20), Tennessee, Georgetown, Chaminade; Regional: Belmont, Middle Tennessee, UNC Greensboro, Towson

The theme at the Maui Invitational this fall is history. Sure, it’s impressive that the field includes five teams ranked in the preseason Top 20 in the Coaches’ Poll, but the bracket will also provide us with all kinds of wonderful nostalgia. On one side of the bracket, Duke and Michigan might play a rematch of the 1992 National Championship in the semifinals; or, Memphis and Tennessee could battle for in-state supremacy once again (except the game is, you know, in Hawaii). The possibilities are endless — and that’s the case on the other side too. The winner of Georgetown/Kansas will likely face UCLA, and those three programs have 15 combined NCAA titles. And hey, if Memphis and Kansas keep winning, they could meet in a rematch of the 2008 title game. Mario Chalmers won’t be allowed in the building this time.

John Wooden is Just One Legend This Historic Tournament Will Remind Us Of

At this point, you may be physically shaking at some of these matchups. We don’t blame you. That’s how enticing these games are: they’ve got historical value, star power, legendary coaches and terrific fan bases. And you think that’s all the 2011 Maui Invitational has to offer? Take a look at the regional rounds, which also includes Belmont, widely considered one of the top non-BCS programs this season with the majority of an NCAA Tournament team returning. The Bruins dominated the Atlantic Sun in 2010-11, and it’ll face Duke in the regional round of this tournament at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The result of the game won’t determine who flies to Hawaii — Duke will automatically advance — but the Bruins are likely to put a scare into the Blue Devils (2008 NCAA tourney, anybody?).

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Quinnipiac Keeps Two Players Charged With Assault On The Team

Posted by nvr1983 on September 21st, 2011

One of the major tenets of the American legal system is the concept that an individual is innocent until proven guilty. It is a principle that is commonly cited by defense attorneys and supporters of the accused. However, in the world of college sports, most programs keep this principle confined to the legal system and usually suspend the athletes while the school and legal system investigate the charges. Quinnipiac apparently is not one of those programs. Early Sunday morning, James Johnson, who was 1st team All-NEC while averaging 16.1 PPG last year as a junior, and Ike Azotam, who averaged 5.2 PPG and 5.5 RPG last year as a freshman, were arrested after allegedly assaulting two other students during a fight on-campus.  Johnson and Azotam were both charged with third-degree assault and second-degree breach of peace and detained before being released on $5,000 bond.

Azotam (L) & Johnson (R) Are Due In Court On Monday (Credit: Hamden Police)

While this is an unfortunately not uncommon occurrence on college campuses it was strange to hear that the school has reportedly decided to keep the two players on the team while they are investigating the matter. In reality, this is probably a trivial matter as the two players are due in court next Monday, September 26, but the standard protocol in college sports over the years has been to suspend the players while the investigation is on-going regardless of how light the penalties may be (see the recent cases of Erik Murphy and Jerime Anderson). For their part, neither Azotam nor Johnson have alluded to the incident on their Twitter accounts although Azotam has kept tweeting as if nothing had happened (unless you count this) while Johnson has been silent.

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Around The Blogosphere: September 20, 2011

Posted by nvr1983 on September 20th, 2011

If you are interested in participating in our ATB2 feature, send in your submissions to rushthecourt@gmail.com. We will add to this post throughout the day as the submissions come in so keep on sending them.

News

  • Calhoun on expansion: UConn needs to do what’s best for UConn:  Jim Calhoun offers his thoughts on what UConn should do. (The UConn Blog)
  • Jim Boeheim Grinning & Bearing It, Barely…: “Obviously, Jim Boeheim hates the idea of Syracuse going to the ACC. You can give me all the official statements you want. We all know they’re B.S. and the idea of SU playing Clemson & Florida State instead of Georgetown and Villanova makes him vomit.” (Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician)
  • Jerime Anderson Reinstated: The senior guard was suspended two games for stealing a laptop. (Bruins Nation)
  • Maryland (and Duke?) Wants the ACC to Keep Expanding: “Per the Jeff Barker at the Baltimore Sun, the Terrapins’ athletic department is partnering with – get this – Duke, in privately pushing for the addition of two more teams, thereby making the ACC the first conference to go to 16.” (Testudo Times)
  • UM Hoops to Host Crisler Arena Open House: “The University of Michigan men’s and women’s basketball programs will host an open house on Friday (Sept. 23) from 5-8 p.m. at Crisler Arena.” (UM Hoops)
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UCLA Suspends Jerime Anderson For Two Games For Laptop Theft

Posted by nvr1983 on September 19th, 2011

After initially suspending senior guard Jerime Anderson indefinitely following his arrest on July 26 for an on-campus laptop theft, UCLA has announced that they were reducing his suspension to two games in light on Anderson pleading guilty to two misdemeanor counts (appropriation of lost property and trespassing). According to the deal that Anderson received from the court he will have to serve 300 hours of community service and if he stays out of trouble for the next two years his the appropriation of lost property charge will be expunged from his record.

Anderson Will Have to Sit Out Two Games (Credit: Anne Cusack /Los Angeles Times)

Anderson, who averaged 5.1 PPG and 2.6 APG as a back-up to Lazeric Jones last season, gained a measure of notoriety for his reported involvement as the host of a large party soon after his initial suspension (he later removed his name away from the party and reportedly did not attend). In a statement released by the school, Ben Howland said, “Now that the legal proceedings in conjunction with Jerime’s arrest have been finalized, I am re-instating him to the team with a two-game suspension. Jerime has been very remorseful in acknowledging his mistake and accepting responsibility for his actions. I believe he has learned a valuable lesson.”

As a result of the suspension, Anderson will miss UCLA’s exhibition game against Cal State San Bernandino on November 6 and their regular season opener against Loyola Marymount on November 11. Once he returns, Anderson and the rest of the Bruins will have two more games to get used to playing together before they face their first true test of the season, a match-up against either Kansas or Georgetown on November 22.

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