- ESPN (Insider): I normally avoid Insider posts, but North Carolina resident Dave Telep gives us a peek under the bleachers at the uglier side of high major recruiting in college basketball that’s really a must-read for college basketball fans. Telep cites Lebron James as the first player who really took advantage of his worth and marketed himself during high school. Without giving too much away, Telep names three types of elite prospects: the clean, the agent/runner-influenced, and the bold, who just directly asks for money. The rest of the post almost reads like a how-to guide for cheating, but the one thing I wish Telep had offered was a solution. It’s no secret that there’s plenty of dirt behind high major basketball recruiting, but informed solutions are hard to come by.
- Atlanta Journal-Constitution: In case you haven’t noticed, there’s been quite a bit of turnover as far as ACC basketball coaches go. So much that Georgia Tech junior Mfon Udofia only managed to name five and a half (he knew Mark Gottfried was “the guy from Alabama”) conference coaches, not counting his own. Four ACC coaches are entering their first years and three are on their second. Mike Krzyzewski compared the recent influx of coaches to the early 1980s when he, Bobby Cremins and Jim Valvano joined over the course of two years. Those shoes are pretty big ones to fill (six NCAA Championships, myriad Final Fours and countless ACC titles clutter the three resumes).
- Huffington Post: Syracuse professor Boyce Watkins takes on the NCAA’s “funny math.” Watkins points out that while 96% of NCAA revenue does go back to the schools, the NCAA fails to calculate the incredibly high salaries of coaches. Watkins also points out the hypocrisy of paying college basketball players the same as their soccer brethren without factoring in the huge discrepancy between the coaches’ respective salaries. He also lays out policies that would more fairly represent the current NCAA system: for example, no games on school nights (ironic side note: the Ivy League actually adheres to this in conference play for basketball but not for Olympic sports), and coaches shouldn’t be able to sign endorsement deals. The anti-NCAA side of things has really gained momentum over the last six months, and I don’t think this trend will stop at partial cost of attendance stipends.
- Searching for Billy Edelin: Nick Fasulo got credentialed to see ESPN Film’s newest documentary, Unguardable. The movie covers Boston College (and later Fresno State) guard Chris Herren, who fell from the top of recruiting rankings to truly rock bottom. If this is anywhere near as good as Without Bias, it’ll be must-see TV. And from Fasulo’s review, it might be even better. Hennen managed to survive his bout with drugs and serves as the storyteller, leaving no middleman narration to distance the audience from the subject. Unguarded airs next Tuesday at 8PM on ESPN.
- CBSSports.com: Kyrie Irving is using his NBA lockout time off to help keep a promise to his family and get a degree. The first pick in last year’s NBA Draft is apparently back on Duke’s campus taking courses. This isn’t to say Irving is the only one: According to CBS, 52 current locked-out players (15% of players without college degrees) are using this time to pursue degrees they left for the greener pastures (and paychecks) of the NBA.
EXTRA: This story isn’t basketball related, but Sports Illustrated‘s Andy Staples hits the ball out of the park with his interview with former North Carolina assistant football coach John Blake. Blake’s side of the story has remained largely offstage, so it’s interesting to hear it from the man himself. The Tar Heels’ date with the NCAA Committee of Infractions is scheduled for this Friday. This just goes to show, not all stories are as black and white as they seem.