The Sad Saga of Baylor’s J’Mison Morgan Ends With a Dismissal

Posted by dnspewak on December 31st, 2012

Five years ago, long before reality set in, there was a big kid with a world of potential. He committed to play for Ben Howland and UCLA, which had just wrapped up a run of three straight Final Fours. They wrote things like this about him:

J'Mison Morgan Represents Potential Personified

J’Mison Morgan Represents Untapped Potential Personified

Rated the No. 3 center and the No. 23 overall prospect in the Class of 2008 by Scout.com … listed as the No. 4 center and the No. 25 overall prospect in the Class of 2008 by Rivals.com … rated the No. 2 center in the nation by Streetball and the No. 4 player at his position by BasketballPreps.com …

They made a glitzy Rivals.com profile for him that looked like this. Committed to UCLA after originally pledging to LSU and former coach John Brady. Offers from Kansas and Kentucky. Louisville. Alabama. Cincinnati. J’Mison Morgan was on his way to a heck of a college career, no doubt about it. But things didn’t quite work out at his first stop in Westwood. He struggled with his weight, got into Howland’s doghouse, faced a short suspension, and eventually found himself dismissed from the team after two unproductive seasons.

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Contrary Opinion: UCLA Story Salacious, But Nothing New Here

Posted by AMurawa on February 29th, 2012

Yesterday about this time, when news broke that George Dohrmann would be publishing a “highly negative” piece about the UCLA basketball program, there were plenty of people who immediately expected the worst. I, for one, figured that today I’d be writing about potential NCAA violations and speculating on who may be the next basketball coach for the Bruins. While the Sports Illustrated piece is certainly not something that is going to be framed and hung on the wall in Ben Howland’s office, compared to those previous expectations, Bruin fans can take a deep breath and relax. Sure, there are loads and loads of very unflattering portraits of former and current players, and mostly of Howland, but still the most damning fact against Howland is a 14-18 record in 2010 and a 16-13 record right now; this Dohrmann piece just explains how the program got to that point. And while there are plenty of salacious details and anecdotes, none of them really change what we already knew about the UCLA program before yesterday.

Ben Howland, UCLA

Ben Howland Was Painted In An Unflattering Light, But There Were No Great Revelations (Kelvin Kuo/US Presswire)

At the bottom of this piece, the finger points squarely at problems with a couple of recruiting classes — the groups of 2008 and 2009. The 2008 class featured guys like Jerime Anderson, Drew Gordon and J’Mison Morgan, while the 2009 class ominously included Reeves Nelson, but also Anthony Stover, among others. There are allegations of drug use among these players (and other players on recent UCLA teams), but the bottom line problem was Howland’s inability to sufficiently discipline these players for their numerous missteps. The poster child here is, of course, Nelson. There are stories seemingly by the barrelful about how bad of a teammate he was. After 2010 recruit Matt Carlino sustained a concussion early in his freshman year causing him to miss time, Nelson repeatedly railed on him for being soft, called him “concussion boy” and went out of his way to instigate contact with Carlino during practices, eventually helping to drive Carlino out of the program. Nelson also had repeated altercations in practice with another eventual UCLA transfer, Mike Moser. There are reports of Nelson abusing people all over the Bruin program, from student managers all the way up to assistant coaches. And all that is just scratching the surface of what is in the article, knowing full well that there are plenty of incidents that didn’t make the piece and never even reached Dohrmann’s ears. And, until this season, Howland did nothing about it.

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Pac-12 Morning Five: 01.26.12 Edition

Posted by AMurawa on January 26th, 2012

  1. One of the running themes of life in the Pac-12 this season has been important players leaving their teams, for one reason or another, in the middle of the season. There have been dismissals, academic problems, and abrupt transfers, and there have been enough of them to put together a pretty strong team: try Josh Watkins, Jabari Brown, Keala King, Reeves Nelson and Richard Solomon on for size. Aside from the debilitating headache any coach immediately suffers upon so much as seeing those five names together, that’s an awful lot of talent that has disappeared from Pac-12 rosters just since the start of the season.
  2. Along those same lines, UCLA has been hurt by transfers more than any other Pac-12 program. Currently, former Bruins Drew Gordon, Mike Moser, Chace Stanback, and Matt Carlino are playing – and excelling – at other Division I programs. Throw in J’Mison Morgan, who is redshirting at Baylor after playing limited minutes there last season, and Nelson, who turned pro in Europe rather than transfer, and the Bruins have had a significant talent drain. BruinsNation goes through all the transfers and looks at the causes and effects of the decisions of these players to transfer out of Ben Howland’s program.
  3. As an antidote for the above two stories which may leave a bad taste in your mouth, we turn to a great story about California center Robert Thurman, a former walk-on who is making a big impact for the Golden Bears in the wake of Solomon’s academic ineligibility. Against Washington on Thursday night, the “Thurmanator” posted career-highs of 16 points and seven rebounds helping Cal spring the road upset. Coming into the year, Thurman didn’t expect to have much of a role on this team beyond just working hard in practice, but going forward he will be an important piece on the Bear team.
  4. When Washington visits Arizona State tonight, both teams will have key players regarded as questionable for action. For the homestanding Sun Devils, Trent Lockett has missed the two games after spraining an ankle early in the second half against Oregon State a couple weeks back, and although he is making progress, there is no new update on his status. For the Huskies. C.J. Wilcox has missed U-Dub’s last three games with a stress fracture in his hip. He’ll go through some tests prior to the game on Thursday and will be a game-time decision, based largely on the amount of pain he feels, but may remain out until the Huskies head to Tucson on Saturday.
  5. Lastly, a little something that has little or no effect on the play on the court: snazzy new uniforms for Arizona. Nike announced on Wednesday that they had created new uniforms for nine programs who have won national championships (Arizona, Connecticut, Duke, Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Syracuse along with the women’s teams from Baylor and Connecticut) that those teams will wear at specially selected games this season. Arizona will wear their “Hyper Elite Platinum” unis at home against UCLA on February 25.
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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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Big 12 Team Previews: Baylor Bears

Posted by dnspewak on November 11th, 2011

Predicted finish: 2nd

2010-11 Record: 18-13, 7-9 (7th, Big 12)

Head Coach: Scott Drew, 9th season

Key Losses: Lacedarius Dunn (19.5 PPG)

It’s been an up-and-down stretch lately for Scott Drew at Baylor. In 2007-08, Drew led the Bears to their first NCAA Tournament appearance in decades, capping a remarkable turnaround for the program just five years after the ugly Patrick Dennehy murder scandal. With high expectations the next season, though, the Bears flopped; they then recovered for an Elite Eight appearance in 2009-10 before tumbling to a 7-9 record in Big 12 play last season. If the trend continues, perhaps BU will make a Final Four this season. That’s not even a wild scenario, considering the Bears have one of the nation’s most ferocious frontcourts. Even with all of the talent in Waco, they’ll need better point guard play, and they must learn how to play as a cohesive unit. If that happens, there’s no stopping these guys.

Potential Lotto Pick Perry Jones Made An Unexpected Return To Waco, But Will Chemistry Issues Plague The Bears Again?

The Stars: Perry Jones could have made millions as an NBA Draft lottery pick this spring, but he bypassed that option and returned for his sophomore season at Baylor. Although the 6’11” forward wasn’t perfect last season, he was still one of the nation’s top freshman. In 2011-12, he’s a Big 12 Player of the Year and All-America candidate who can score from anywhere on the floor. The other star opposite of Jones is Quincy Miller, the freshman stud who loves to attack the offensive glass and use his freakish athleticism in transition. Like Jones, Miller is a long, fast forward with great defensive potential and a future in the NBA.

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RTC Summer Updates: Big 12 Conference

Posted by Brian Goodman on August 10th, 2011

With the completion of the NBA Draft and the annual coaching and transfer carousels nearing their ends, RTC is rolling out a new series, RTC Summer Updates, to give you a crash course on each Division I conference during the summer months. Our latest update comes courtesy of our Big 12 correspondent, Evan Pfaff.

Reader’s Take

Summer Storylines

  • Round Robin Scheduling – For the first time since the Big 12 was formed, the conference will implement full round-robin scheduling, meaning each school will play a home-and-home with each of the other nine schools in the conference.  In the past, schools played the teams in their division in a home-and-home, but only played schools in the other division once per season, switching home courts every year.  That meant the epic battles between the Texas Longhorns and Kansas Jayhawks happened only once per regular season, and whichever school hosted the game had a monumental advantage over the other.  With a full round-robin format, not only will each school play two additional conference games, but seeding will be based more on outcomes on the floor than the scheduling fates.
  • Reloading Talent – The Big 12 is used to replacing an enormous amount of talent. In 2010, ten Big 12 players were taken in the NBA Draft.  Two months ago, the Big 12 cupboards were once again raided, as seven players heard their names called. The conference should again be stacked and we might hear as many as ten names called on draft day 2012. From incoming freshmen like Baylor’s Quincy Miller, Texas’ Myck Kabongo and Oklahoma State’s LeBryan Nash, to returning stars like Kansas’ Thomas Robinson, Baylor’s Perry Jones III and Texas A&M’s Khris Middleton, the Big 12 should again be a breeding ground for NBA rosters.
  • New Coaches… EVERYWHERE.  Change is inevitable in college athletics, but stability at the top usually translates into success on the floor. So it is eye opening that from Mike Anderson and Mark Turgeon leaving to Pat Knight and Jeff Capel being shown the door, the Big 12 had a 40% coaching turnover this summer. Now with Frank Haith, Billy Kennedy, Billy Gillispie and Lon Kruger roaming Big 12 sidelines, the conference has some questions to answer. Can Missouri conform to a set offense? Can A&M meet high preseason expectations under new management? Do Billy Clyde Gillispie and Lon Kruger have another run left in them?

Kansas head coach Bill Self has a tall task in front of him after losing most of the punch from last season's potent lineup.

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Conference Report Card: Big 12

Posted by Brian Goodman on April 25th, 2011


 

 

Brian Goodman is an RTC editor and contributor.

Year In Review

Before the start of the season, pollsters bought into Kansas State as the sexy pick to take the Big 12 in 2011 on the heels of an Elite Eight appearance in 2010. The Big 12 was not overly impressive in non-conference play, as the Wildcats fell hard to Duke in a de facto home game in Kansas City, and Missouri did the same against Georgetown in one of the more thrilling matchups of the early season.

As league play began, the preseason #3 Wildcats disappointed, starting 2-5, and the usual stalwarts of the Big 12, Kansas and Texas, rose to the top. After topping the Jayhawks at Allen Fieldhouse in January, the Longhorns looked to be in the driver’s seat, especially after Kansas was blindsided at Bramlage Coliseum to give Texas a two-game lead. However, Rick Barnes‘ team suffered another late-season collapse, going 2-3 to finish the regular season while the Jayhawks dusted off the competition to pull ahead to take their seventh straight conference crown.

Elsewhere in the conference, the Wildcats bounced back to end the season in third place. The middle of the conference wasn’t settled until the latter stages of the season with Missouri falling lat and Texas A&MColorado and Nebraska treading water. Baylor underachieved, given the talented personnel in Waco, and Oklahoma State never really looked in sync. OklahomaTexas Tech and Iowa State all had awful seasons to finish at the bottom of the standings.

In the conference tournament final, Kansas played its best basketball of the season, topping Texas to gain some revenge entering the Big Dance. Colorado was snubbed on Selection Sunday despite beating Kansas State three times, but the Big 12 still managed to get five teams into the NCAA Tournament. However, only the Jayhawks made it out of opening weekend alive, and they fell short of expectations as they lost to Shaka Smart and the Rams’ reign of BCS destruction.

KU's front line of Thomas Robinson (left) and the Morris twins evolved into a strength, and the Jayhawks struggled most when they weren't utilized on offense. (AP/Jamie Squire)

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ATB: UCSB Continues Surprising Upset Week

Posted by rtmsf on December 16th, 2010

The LedeUpset Week and We Never Saw It Coming? A quiet week has turned into a not-so-quiet one as now two nights in a row at least one ranked team has dropped a home game to a visiting mid-major.  Tonight’s victim was the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels, who ran into a team in UC Santa Barbara that acts as a sort-of nemesis to the desert school.  The two teams don’t play on a regular basis, but they have played a few times in the past dozen or so years since the Rebs left the Big West, and UCSB has won them all.  It’s fairly amazing what UCSB was able to do against one of the better offensive teams in the nation, but the Gauchos entered the Thomas & Mack Center tonight and shut down Lon Kruger’s team.  UNLV was only able to hit 29% of its shots and 6-29 from deep, startling figures for a team that came into the game as the fifth-best effective field goal shooting team in America.  UCSB, with James Nunnally (23/7) and Orlando Johnson (12/15), is projected to win the Big West in March, but the Gauchos hadn’t put it together yet this year, already losing games to North Dakota State, Portland and Oregon.  Perhaps this win is their coming-out, and they’ll have another chance soon to prove their mettle at SDSU over the weekend.  Over the last two evenings, we’ve now witnessed Oakland, Drexel and UC Santa Barbara all enter ranked teams’ buildings and come out with victories — each name is one you should keep an eye on heading into March because each will be very dangerous given the right matchups.

UNLV is Hanging Their Heads (LV Sun/S. Morris)

Your Watercooler MomentJon Diebler Finds the Zone, Enjoys His Time There.  Ohio State’s Jon Diebler is one of the best three-point shooters in the nation; the big Buckeye guard hit 212 treys at a 42% clip in the last two seasons, so you knew he had the stroke.  Tonight his performance from beyond the arc can only be described as sublime.  After missing his first two shots, Diebler proceeded to drain his next nine bombs from various places all over the court, matching a Buckeye record set by Jay Burson.  He then missed his final three, logging a 9-14 shooting night from deep and upping his percentage on the year to 49.2%.  OSU, of course, is on everyone’s short list of teams challenging Duke for the role of championship contender, and a big reason for that is the consistent play of Diebler.  He doesn’t take bad shots, and even though a ridiculous 83% of his attempts are behind the arc, when you have offensive weapons like Jared Sullinger inside and William Buford on the wing, his role as the Lee Humphrey bomber is exactly what Thad Matta needs.

Tonight’s Quick Hits...

  • Minny’s Trevor Mbakwe.  It took forever-and-a-day to get him into a Gopher uniform, but he’s been well worth the wait.  Tonight he put up his seventh dub-dub of the season (13/13/2 blks) in only eleven games, and he’s proven an absolute force inside with his strong hands and girth.  On the year, he’s pulling 14/11 on 62% shooting, and in just about any other conference than the Big Ten, that’d be good enough for first-team all-conference consideration.  Mbakwe is definitely a major reason that the Gophers are currently 10-1 and looking like a team ready to make some noise in the Big Ten race.
  • Central Florida’s 9-0 Start.  UCF crushed Louisiana-Lafayette tonight to keep their undefeated record intact.  The laudable part of the win tonight, though, was that the Knights were able to win by 21 points without a good game from their rising star Marcus Jordan.  The Son of GOAT shot 2-9 from the field in a 7-point, 4-turnover performance, but his slack was picked up by sophomore forward Keith Clanton’s 28/8/3 blks, a player who may not have the name recognition or pedigree but who actually is having a better season (17/9 on 59% shooting).  The two make a formidable duo that the rest of Conference USA does not look forward to facing this season.
  • Welcome Back, J’Mison Morgan.  The last time we saw the enigmatic Morgan, the 6’11 redshirt junior was on his way out of Westwood to places unknown after leaving UCLA.  He’s been coming off the bench for Scott Drew’s team this year, but tonight against Bethune-Cookman he showed some of the reasons why he was such a highly rated recruit a few years ago.  In only fifteen minutes of action, he had 11 points, five rebounds and four blocks against their undersized opponent — his best game of the season so far.  With the size and length that Baylor has at its disposal this year inside (6’11 Perry Jones, 6’10 Anthony Jones and Morgan), Morgan doesn’t figure to play starter’s minutes, but he can certainly provide talented depth off the bench beyond what most teams in the country can produce.

… and Misses.

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Morning Five: 09.14.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on September 14th, 2010

  1. Delving into the phone call issue in the wake of Bruce Pearl’s self-reported violations last week, Gary Parrish anonymously interviewed ten NCAA coaches across the spectrum, and guess what, they all admitted to making impermissible calls themselves.  We certainly understand the point that several in the article make about the difference between fifteen and two hundred impermissible calls, but with so many of the coaches also agreeing that the calls make little difference in the recruit’s ultimate destination, why do they continue to do it?  Someone in this game once said not to mistake activity for achievement, and we think it might appropriately apply here.
  2. That didn’t take long.  On the Monday immediately following Wake Forest center Tony Woods’ arrest for various kinds of assault, the school suspended him indefinitely.  If the allegations against him are even remotely true, it’s doubtful we’ll ever seen him in the ACC again.
  3. Former UCLA underachiever J’Mison Morgan will be eligible to play at Baylor this winter after the NCAA approved his waiver to be closer to his ill grandmother, his legal guardian.  Normally, a player transferring in who averaged a grand total of two points and one rebound per game over two seasons wouldn’t be cause for celebration, but few players bring the high school pedigree of the 6’10 Morgan — he was a top 25 recruit in the class of 2008 and has the physical tools to be a very good player.  If the new environment suits him and he can get his head out of the clouds, Morgan could legitimately become a major contributor on a very talented Bears front line along with Perry Jones and Quincy Acy in 2010-11.
  4. Steve Lavin is settling in nicely at St. John’s, as this article from the LA Times examines from the perspective of a California boy gone east.  Maybe we’re just suckers for the boyish good looks and eloquence of Lav, but we think he’ll actually be quite successful in NYC.
  5. Would you believe that March Madness darling Northern Iowa could be on the verge of a decision to eliminate all of its D1 sports?  Mere months after the greatest moment in the school’s athletic history (Farokhmanesh!), president Ben Allen stated on Monday that with additional anticipated cuts to the athletic program budget, the school could find itself unable to compete in Division I and would consider such a seemingly drastic move.  It all comes down to dollars (always), but it’s hard for us to believe that a school with a strong basketball program and a nationally competitive football program in 1-AA would be in such dire straits.  Let’s hope the Panthers avoid armageddon on this one.
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Morning Five: 04.27.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on April 27th, 2010

  1. It’s not often that you see a BCS-level coach leave his position for a mid-major job (even a very good one), but that’s what will happen today when Iowa State’s Greg McDermott takes over for the departed Dana Altman at Creighton.  McDermott was clearly on thin ice with a 59-68 (18-46 Big 12) record in four seasons in Ames and little prospect for improvement in the near future, so this has every hallmark of a pre-emptive strike.  McDermott of course was at Northern Iowa in the MVC for five years prior to taking the ISU job, and he did very well there, going to three straight NCAA Tournaments from 2004-06.  He said that one of the primary reasons he wanted to take the Creighton job was for an opportunity to coach his son, an incoming freshman who had signed with UNI but will be allowed to move on to Creighton to play for his dad.
  2. As for Altman’s move to Oregon, it became official yesterday.  He’ll roughly double his annual salary to $1.8M per year in a seven-year contract that will include some seriously high expectations.  As we said before, though, we expect he’ll do very well there.  Gary Parrish and Jeff Goodman give their takes.
  3. Good weekend in the Big 12 for a couple of Texas teams — Baylor picked up UCLA transfer center J’Mison Morgan, a talented but enigmatic player who never seemed to be able to find a role in Westwood; and the Horns got a commitment from highly touted point guard Cory Joseph, the #7 overall player on the Rivals rankings in 2010.
  4. Well, DePaul’s Oliver Purnell is off to a rousing start with the Chicago Public League high school coaches.  You know, the ones who control all of the great talent coming out of that city every year.  We’re sure this is all going to work out famously.
  5. Love this stuff.  A well-done photo montage from the 2009-10 season from CHJ.  What is your favorite?  Gotta say that the Randy Culpepper dunk attempt is ours, with the second-prize going to the Lebron photo at Kentucky.  Creepiest pic?  The Jon Scheyer one in the Carolina-bluish warmups.  Great stuff — check it out.
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Comings & Goings: Oregon Chasing Tubby; Tim Floyd to UTEP – Really?

Posted by rtmsf on March 31st, 2010

The big news today is that Oregon and Mr. Moneybags Phil Knight have made a formal offer to Minnesota’s Tubby Smith, which (you know the drill) Smith vehemently denied.  In an effort to keep Tubby in Minneapolis, the Minnesota president has gotten involved and said that they hope they can put together a contract extension that will result in Smith retiring from basketball at the school.  Another source near the Duck program says that Pitt’s Jamie Dixon has been offered the job.  We’re really not sure what Oregon is thinking here.  Sure, they want a big name, but they need to be realistic about this.  Oregon may have gobs of cash to throw at a prospective coach, but they’re not nearly as important as they must think they are.  Just within the Pac-10, this is probably the fifth best basketball job (behind UCLA, Arizona, Cal and Washington), and if you’ve ever been to Eugene it cannot possibly be the easiest place in the world to recruit mostly african-american players to.  Ernie Kent probably did as well as he possibly could do there.  The play that Knight and friends should make is to scour the nation for the hottest mid-major coach in America and throw whoever that may be (Randy Bennett?  Brad Stevens?  Ben Jacobson?) a wad of cash and the keys to the new Matthew Knight arena.  Give him four years and watch him work his tail off.  You’ve probably got a better shot at long-term success with that strategy that you would ending up with someone like Tubby who has gotten comfortable with his career arc.

Moving on to other coaching news, there were two more interesting items today.  First, former USC coach Tim Floyd has been hired at UTEP to replace Tony Barbee.  Yes, this is the same guy who as head coach at USC was responsible for the OJ Mayo fiasco and other self-reported NCAA violations that ended up costing a promising Trojan team its season.  It’s nice to see that UTEP brass thinks that Floyd will be cleared to coach when the NCAA sanctions come down next month, but mixed messages are coming out of El Paso about what the school expects to hear from the NCAA.

The other piece of news is that Boston College fired Al Skinner after thirteen seasons at the helm in Chestnut Hill.  Citing “philosophical differences,” the BC athletic director said that the information was kept quiet last week as Skinner applied for the St. John’s job that went to Steve Lavin.  Rumored candidates for the job include Harvard’s Tommy Amaker, Cornell’s Steve Donahue and Richmond’s Chris Mooney.

Seton Hall lost its third player to the NBA Draft today when guard Jeremy Hazell decided to test the waters.  Hazell averaged 20.4 PPG this year, which was third-best in the Big East but he is currently projected as a late second-rounder on the current draft boards.  One player who will not be heading to the NBA Draft this year is UCLA’s J’Mison Morgan who was dismissed from the program today.  Morgan’s complete lack of production in two years in Westwood has been nothing short of confounding — the onetime top-50 recruit scored a grand total of 36 points in the 2009-10 season.

One other interesting rumor coming out of the McDonald’s All-American Game is that Kentucky is apparently telling recruits that all five of their NBA-possiblesJohn Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Daniel Orton, Eric Bledsoe, Patrick Patterson — are expected to leave for the NBA Draft.  Is UK lying to these players in the hopes that they’ll lure them into the Wildcat fold, or is there any truth to this?  Everyone expects Wall, Cousins and Patterson to be gone, but Bledsoe and Orton as well?

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Morning Five: 01.14.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on January 14th, 2010

  1. Ken Pomeroy does what he does and concludes that, when you break down games by minutes 1-40, it’s the first minute of the game where offenses are the least aggressive.  Somewhere, some coach will read this and try to put his energizer bunny reserve in for the first couple of minutes of the game.  Guaranteed.
  2. UCLA’s J’Mison Morgan will miss at least two weeks with a torn quad in his right leg.  Despite his pedigree, Morgan doesn’t play much (only 8 MPG), but it’s been that kind of a year for Ben Howland in Westwood.
  3. Rutgers transfer Greg Echinique will re-surface at Creighton, which was one of his finalists coming out of high school.  Big, big get for the mid-major power in Omaha.
  4. Could everyone have been completely wrong about “Born Ready” as an uncoachable cancer to a team?  This article by Paul Daugherty suggests that Lance Stephenson only needed a change of environment to “out here” aka Cincinnati to get his head straight.
  5. Several hours before UNC got smashed by Clemson, the UNC bus got smashed by a Clemson student (photo below from Larry Drew II’s tweet).  Roy must have known he was in for a tough night when this happened.

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