Past Imperfect: Parrish Casebier Was All Wrong

Posted by JWeill on February 9th, 2012

Past Imperfect is a series focusing on the history of the game. Every two weeks, RTC contributor Joshua Lars Weill (@AgonicaBoss|Email) highlights some piece of historical arcana that may (or may not) be relevant to today’s college basketball landscape. This week: the forgotten rise and fall of Evansville’s Parrish Casebier.

Things were never quite right with Parrish Casebier. Born in Owensboro, Kentucky to unmarried black parents, he was adopted at age two by a white family and brought across the Ohio River to live in tiny Rockport, Indiana, where he spent his youth struggling with being different. His younger sister was later adopted by the same family, and together they endured the taunts and bitter looks that came from neighbors, other kids and even some family.

Though he became a basketball standout at South Spencer High School, where he was the state’s second-leading scorer as a senior, even his own coach didn’t always like him. And at 6’3”, stocky, with short arms and little lift, Casebier was built all wrong for big-time college basketball. He was a forward with a guard’s size and a guard with a forward’s handle. In the world of Indiana high school basketball, Casebier’s muscle and will made him a star. But college coaches were mostly unimpressed.

Though Casebier could fill up the net, once scoring 49 points in a game two times in a mere two weeks, there was just something off. He talked back to coaches and got in fights almost daily. He skipped classes and all but dared the school to take away the one thing that made Casebier not just different but better. While further upstate Indiana-bound legend Damon Bailey was wrapping up his storybook prep career before heading off to play for Bob Knight at Indiana, Casebier was trying to earn a place on the state all-star roster or working out for mid-major college coaches.

Some of that lack of interest was due to Casebier’s size and lack of athleticism, but some of it, too, was an unspoken reputation for being a difficult kid, a kid with issues. But college coaches, especially at the lower levels, still take talent, even troubled talent, and Casebier clearly was one. So he picked the school that had first offered him a scholarship, the University of Evansville, over Western Kentucky and Indiana State. Schools like Evansville live off of under-recruited kids who don’t fit the profile that major colleges have for what a player is ‘supposed to be.’ And 6’3” power forwards are not supposed to be successful at the college level. The coach of the Purple Aces, Jim Crews, had been a longtime Knight assistant and he knew he was getting in Casebier a volume scorer who he would have to manage off the court. And for much of the time Casebier played in Evansville, things went fine, on the court.

Casebier was a star at South Spencer High School in Indiana.

Being different was something Casebier had adapted to, even if he hadn’t always done it willingly. Hardly an athletic marvel, Casebier instead relied on craftiness and shot fakes, often pumping three or even four times before shooting. The result was a school record for free throws attempted. There was some precedent for a game like Casebier’s. With his build, he offered a similar skill set to that of NBA star Charles Barkley, who was a capable but uncommon shooter from distance, and whose bulk belied his quickness and grit. But Casebier lacked Barkley’s otherworldly athleticism. And also his sense of self.

“He causes a lot of matchup problems,” Loyola of Chicago head coach Will Rey once said, “because he posts up. He scores on putbacks. He can shoot threes.”

As a freshman, Casebier averaged 15 points and 7.2 rebounds a game, not bad for an introduction to college ball, even in an off-the-radar conference nationally. The team was mediocre, but young, and the future looked bright indeed.

But before his sophomore campaign, the other side of Parrish Casebier also began to show itself. Before the season began, Casebier was one of several Evansville students caught in a textbook-selling scam and the soon-to-be basketball star was forced to sit out the first five games of the season. It was a trend of on-court/off-court swings that would manifest itself multiple times over the years, as was his generally dismissive response to being caught. It was, he told everyone, no big deal. They had singled him out because of his status. Read the rest of this entry »

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2009-10 Conference Primers: #29 – Patriot League

Posted by rtmsf on October 7th, 2009

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Michael Hurley is the RTC correspondent for the Patriot League and America East ConferenceClick here for all of our 2009-10 Season Preview materials..

Predicted Order of Finish:

  1. Holy Cross  (11-3)
  2. Lehigh  (10-4)
  3. Army  (9-5)
  4. Navy  (7-7)
  5. Bucknell  (6-8)
  6. Colgate  (6-8)
  7. Lafayette  (4-10)
  8. American  (3-11)

All-Conference Team:

  • Marquis Hall (G), Sr., Lehigh
  • R.J Evans (G), Soph., Holy Cross
  • Andrew Keister (F), Jr.,  Holy Cross
  • Zahir Carrington (F), Sr., Lehigh
  • Patrick Behan (F/C), Jr., Bucknell

6th Man. Chris Harris (G), Sr., Navy

Impact Newcomer. Jeff Holton (F), Fr., American

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What You Need to Know. American’s dominance it seems will come to an end this year after back-to-back Patriot League championships.  The “American” have seven freshman on the 2009-10 team, and the current team has zero combined starts between them, so they will experience a steep learning curve. With the most well known coach in the PL gone (Ralph Willard at Holy Cross), we will have to see if Sean Kearney can carry the torch with a squad full of talented returning players in Worcester.  With his experience coaching at this level, I am willing to bet he can, which is why they are my pick for the conference champions.  As a whole, the entire league returns more talent this year than any year in recent memory.

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09.30.09 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on September 30th, 2009

You know what tomorrow is, right?  Yeah, October.  Us too. 

  • Scare at Tennessee.   A very frightening story out of Knoxville earlier this week was that Vol sophomore forward Emmanuel Negedu collapsed while lifting weights on Monday and reportedly had to be revived by UT medical staff prior to his transport to the hospital.  He’s spent the last two nights there under watch, and doctors continue to perform tests on him to make sure that he’s not suffering from something deadly.  We all know the stories over the years, from Len Bias to Hank Gathers to Reggie Lewis, and these are always scary incidents.  RTC wishes Negedu the best of luck and wishes for a full recovery. 
  • Cleaning up at Binghamton...  Two ugly incidents put an early stain on the 2009-10 season, as we discussed in separate posts when they happened last week.  Both were stories capable of sending shock waves through college basketball this week, though, as Binghamton yesterday fired an adjunct lecturer who claimed in a NYT article last February that basketball players were receiving preferential treatment in the classroom (grade changing, independent study, and the like).  The Binghamton program is now in shambles on the court, but we continue to be shocked and amazed that Kevin Broadus, the recruiter of all the problem children who ended up dismissed (and arrested), is skating on this one.  Seriously, think about this - Binghamton cans the whistleblowing prof but not the coach who orchestrated the entire mess?  How is this possible?  Isn’t the SUNY chancellor now the same woman who stood on the library steps and shouted “no more” to the Cincinnati faithful when she 86ed Bob Huggins four years ago?  And yet she’s curiously silent (along with BU’s president, Lois B. DeFleur, for the most part).  Something’s not right here, and we figure there’s more to come.  If there is, we can rest assured the NYT’s Pete Thamel will figure it out.     EDITED TO ADD: Yep, the AD is gone, can Broadus be far behind?
  • …and Kansas.   Perhaps the uglier incident last week was the three fights between members of the KU basketball and football teams.  Much was written about how embarrassing this was to the university, the athletic department, the coaches and players involved, and Thursday’s public, formal apologies did little to defuse the PR hit that Bill Self’s program took last week.  The word is that players were fighting over (what else?) girls and rep, but KU football players shouldn’t be fooled into thinking that just because they’ve had a nice run in that program the last few years that Kansas will ever be anything but a basketball school.  The question now is what will Bill Self do to punish the guilty parties?  We already know that Tyshawn Taylor was involved due to his dislocated finger that’ll hold him out of workouts for around a month.  We also know that one of the Morris twins pushed a football player down the stairs, a very dangerous act of battery (this would be Markieff’s second, btw) that was mitigated by another player catching the falling player as he made his way downward.   News outlets all report that there were some other hoops players involved as well.  We think that, for the sake of his program, Bill Self has to take a very serious stand on this one.  You simply cannot have the players on a preseason #1 team running around campus fighting indiscriminately with players from the football team.  Not only can your own players get hurt, but with so many big bodies involved, run-of-the-mill students can also get hurt.  Luckily, that didn’t happen here, but Self needs to show that he’s totally in charge of his program.  Anything less than a several-game suspension for all of the players involved would reveal that early-season Ws are more important to him than discipline.  If it were us, we’d sit the Morris who threw the player down the stairs for ten games and the others for five each.  No questions asked.  If Kansas loses an early game or two versus Memphis and/or UCLA because of it, well, too bad.  The good will that Self engenders as a no-nonsense coach will provide far greater benefits over time in terms of recruiting and public reputation than it will by letting these players off easy.    
  • Non-BCS Schools Receive Harsher Penalties Than BCS Schools – No Way!!  This jewel made it into our inbox last week from the Orlando Sentinel.  The Michael Buckner Law Firm performed an analysis that showed that the average years of probation meted out to non-BCS programs was longer than those handed out to BCS programs over a 4+ year period in the late 2000s.  The average amount of probation time for a non-BCS program was 2.74 years versus 2.58 years for BCS programs.  There’s no accounting for whether the difference is simple error or actual bias, but what is more damning from this study is the finding that the HBCU schools (historically black colleges and universities) were given 3.83 years of probation versus the aforementioned 2.58 for BCS schools.  That seems a little ridiculous to us.  Of course, the NCAA predictably dismissed the study on statistical grounds, and we understand their complaint.  So here’s our suggestion to the NCAA: hire an independent researcher to examine your enforcement policies and practices for consistency and bias, and get back to us.  Something tells us we’ll be waiting on that for quite some time.
  • Quick HitsBlue Ribbontop 25 and all-americansJames Ischgood luck, sir.   Billy Clyde: offered a plea bargain in Ky.  Gary Williams: one-year extensionNolan Richardson: the descent continuesMVC Nonconf Schedulestremendous analysis.   Gonzaga:  are they reloading or rebuilding in Spokane?  Luke Winn: charting peaks and valleys of the offseason.  Avery Bradley and Jared Sullinger: get to know themCvC: pushing for healthcare reform on Capitol Hill.  Goodman: top 20 backcourts and top 20 frontcourts AND his Big 12 previewTyler Smith: who will be the first person he follows on TwitterJim Crews: fired at Army after 7 years.  Herb Sendek: busily not gloating in TempeDemetrius Jemison: Bama forward out for the season with a ruptured Achilles.   Shocker: Derrick Rose says he took his own SATA Decade Ago: Harold “The Show” ArceneauxRay McCallum, Sr.: walking the fine line between parent and recruiter

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Buzz: Bad Behavior

Posted by nvr1983 on September 23rd, 2009

I’m not sure if it is just because it is the preseason and there is nothing else for the media to focus in on, but it seems like a lot of people are getting in trouble lately. Outside of the ongoing Rick Pitino circus, which everyone is familiar with, and the Tyshawn Taylor incident (with reportedly multiple other Jayhawk basketball players involved) that exploded across the web today, there were 3 other recent stories that caught our eye:

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Patriot League Wrapup & Tourney Preview

Posted by rtmsf on March 4th, 2009

Marty Leon is the RTC correspondent for the Patriot League. 

Patrtiot League Playoff Preview

#1 American vs #8 Lafayette - Lafayette took American to overtime last week at home. American is 21-7 overall and 13-1 in league play. This is their second year in a row as #1 seed. They won 11 road games, tied for tops in the country. Like all Patriot games this will be a battle, and anything could happen but most likely will not.

#2 Holy Cross vs # 7 Bucknell – Holy Cross smoked Lehigh by 15 to end the season and are playoff sharp. Bucknell has overachieved all year but just had a tough 17 point loss to Army.  Ralph Willard’s team will march on, right into a title game with American.

#3 Navy vs #6 Colgate – This veteran Navy squad has a legit shot at a title run. Kaleno Kena had 23 as the midshipmen just beat Colgate to end the season.  Colgate too young, Navy too experienced.

#4 Army vs. #5 Lehigh – We thought Lehigh would have a better year.  They will not go to West Point and beat a determined Army team on their home turf.  Kudos to Jim Crews for a great year and the #4 seed.

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A Trip to West Point for Army-Navy

Posted by rtmsf on January 26th, 2009

Ray Floriani of College Chalktalk is an RTC correspondent for the NEC and MAAC Conferences.  He took in the Army-Navy game at West Point yesterday.

WEST POINT, NY – Everyone is familiar with the tradition, pageantry and intensity of Army-Navy. When these two distinguished service academies get together, even if its backgammon, it’s something special. On Sunday the two met for the 109th time. Navy entered Christl Arena 14-5 (3-1 Patriot League) while Army was 4-13 (0-3). It is a cliché but when these two meet you can throw out the records.

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On Sunday you could have assumed both clubs entered 0-0. Army established an early seven point lead on a pair of Julian Simmons three pointers. The remainder of the first half the Cadets kept the lead around double digits thanks to some good old fashioned Army defense. The Midshipmen shot 26% the first half and had only seven field goals as they trailed 33-26 at intermission. Shades of Bobby Knight.  And why not as Army coach Jim Crews played for the ‘General’ at Indiana.

The second half saw Army expand the lead to seventeen points. Offensively the Cadets were in a good groove on both ends. The offense ran well and defense shut down Navy. Until late.  Down the stretch the Midshipman found the range from three and made a run. They got it down to a two possession game with under a minute left. Those final seconds saw Army get enough stops and hit enough free throws to seal the 76-71 victory.

Cleveland Richard of Army led all scorers with 17 points. Adam Teague of Navy started strong and finished strong. For a better part of the game he was defended but still wound up hitting five treys and leading Navy with 16 points.  “Army played a great game,” Navy coach Billy Lange said. “They defended great which is traditional Army basketball. I think by the end of the year Army will prove to be a very good basketball team and challenge the upper echelon of our (Patriot) league.”

Crews was pleased with the offense, which had been dormant, and the defensive effort over the course of the contest. “We sustained,” Crews said in reference to the tight finish. “They (Navy) can score in bunches and when you go out to stop their three point shooters they can go right around you.”  Crews noted that Army-Navy is a rivalry ”known around the world.” He also made a very good point noting that the basketball rivalry becomes more intense because both schools share the same conference affiliation.

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A good hard fought rivalry such as Army-Navy is something special to behold. The neatly attired Cadets and Midshipman cheering their teams. Both institutions bringing bands, a mascot and cheerleaders. The post game playing of the alma mater of  both schools, with a packed house silently standing in reverence and respect. The epitome of good sportsmanship with not a verbal obscenity to be heard. Even the drive to Cristl Arena as you pass famed Miche Stadium along the winding hill with the majestic Hudson in your rear view mirror.

Yes, Army-Navy is special. Anytime. Everytime.

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2008-09 Season Primers: #23 – Patriot

Posted by rtmsf on October 19th, 2008

Marty Leon is the RTC correspondent for the Patriot League.

Predicted Order of Finish:

  1. American  (24-5,  14-0)
  2. Navy  (19-10, 8-6)
  3. Lehigh  (18-11, 7-7)
  4. Colgate  (17-11, 7-7)
  5. Holy Cross  (16-14, 7-7)
  6. Lafayette  (13-15, 7-7)
  7. Army  (13-15, 6-8)
  8. Bucknell  (5-23, 0-14)

What You Need to Know (WYN2K).  The Patriot League is the second cousin of the Ivy, with academic standards for student-athletes tougher than 90% of the rest of the country.  Bucknell and Holy Cross have been the historical kings of this league until American emerged last year.  With four starters returning led by Garrison Carr, they are a lock to win the league again.  Navy’s Kaleo Kina and Lafayette’s Andrew Brown are two of the league’s best returnees.  Here’s a clip from American’s clincher last year versus Colgate (love the RTC footage). 

 

Predicted Champion.  American (#14 NCAA) should repeat as champions.  Colgate, a conference tourney finalist last year, was set to challenge until 1,000 point scorer Kyle Roemer went down for the year with an ACL tear.  The experience of American and the program’s momentum after last years great season will lead them to Selection Sunday again.  A possible #14 seed, Jeff Jones’ squad gave Tennessee all they could handle for 35 minutes in last year’s first round of the NCAA Tourney. 

Others Considered.  Navy, Lehigh, and Colgate shore up the middle of the pack.  The Midshipmen return nine of their top ten scorers.  Marquis Hall and Zahir Carrington of Lehigh are both potential all league performers and they could be a sleeper.  Emmit Davis’ Colgate five were primed for a title run until Roemer went down, but still will be a tough out.  Holy Cross is striving to return to its glory days under Ralph Willard.  Jim Crews’ Army team had a nice year in 07-08 and will compete.  Bucknell, with new mentor Dave Paulsen, has been crushed by preseason injuries and only has ten healthy bodies at this time. 

Key Games & RPI Boosters. 

  • American @ Oklahoma  (11/14/08)
  • American @ Georgetown  (12/6/08)
  • American @ Maryland  (12/22/08)
  • Colgate @ American  (2/14/09)

Neat-O Stat.  Patriot League coaches have sigificant experience at multiple levels of college basketball.  American’s Jeff Jones has been head coach at Virginia, Holy Cross’ Ralph Willard has been head coach at Pitt, and Army’s Jim Crews has been head coach at Evansville.  On the flip side, Bucknell’s Dave Paulsen has been head coach of D3 Williams and St. Lawrence, and Emmit Davis of Colgate and a member of his staff played at St. Lawrence.

65 Team Era.  The Patriot League didn’t come into existence until the 1991-92 season, but despite its pedstrian record (2-15, .118), in its short time it’s managed to make some NCAA Tournament noise over the years.  Everyone of course remembers the Bucknell upsets of 2005 (Kansas) and 2006 (Arkansas), as the Bisons made it to the second round in consecutive years.  But from 2001-03, Ralph Willard’s Holy Cross team seemed to live on throwing major scares into top-tier seeds, losing by only four to #2 Kentucky (2001), eleven to #1 Kansas (2002), and four to #3 Marquette (2003). 

Final Thoughts.  When evaluating this league, the word that comes to mind is parity.  These teams are all evenly matched so rarely do you get a blowout in any conference games.  This is a great coach’s league.   Winning at home is crucial to having a successful season.   Anyone but American emerging this season would be a huge surprise, and AmU has a chance to break through the first round and make some noise in the NCAA tournament.

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