Morning Five: 05.13.11 Edition

Posted by jstevrtc on May 13th, 2011

  1. Upon hearing that Tubby Smith had been dealing with prostate cancer and is now cancer-free, we were reminded of Steve Lavin’s announcement back in early April that he had the disease, and that he had received an OK from his doctors that it was cool to delay his treatment until the season had concluded. Well, here we are — the off-season. Lavin is collaborating with his docs on what form(s) his treatment will take, but when you read this article by Kieran Darcy from, you’ll note two important points: first, Lavin’s done his homework, which should surprise nobody; he talks about PSAs and Gleason scores, so he’s going into this very familiar with his enemy, and that bodes well. Second, and more importantly, he remarks that he has a father who had prostate cancer at age 61…who is now 80.
  2. Continuing on that theme, we think you should know that back in November a kid named Taylor Statham, who plays for a prep school called Westwind Academy in Phoenix, was guarding his man during a game and got kneed in the testicles. Good thing. If he hadn’t been, doctors wouldn’t have found Statham’s testicular cancer. Just like his hair during his three rounds of chemotherapy (and surgery), the basketball scholarship offers he was receiving just vanished. As of three weeks ago, Statham is cancer-free. Offers are returning. We suggest his eventual college coach use Statham for all last-second shots and game-winning free throws. After what this young man’s endured, we doubt he’ll be too intimidated by much at all.
  3. Seth Davis’ summary of his attendance at the NCAA Enforcement Experience — LOVE that name, by the way — is a must-read. The event, put on in the same spirit of glasnost as the mock NCAA Tournament selection media gathering every February, was constructed to give the media a little insight as to how the NCAA investigates and adjudicates the many incidences of naughty business that happen in the world of college athletics. They started the thing with a video of an investigator mock-interviewing someone in a bathroom stall. Seriously, check it out.
  4. We’re still sitting in the dark listening to The Cure songs following the announcement that Gus Johnson was not returning to CBS and therefore wouldn’t be calling NCAA Tournament games for a looooong time. At least — sigh — we’ll be able to see/hear him on Fox. And, according to the New York Daily News, you may have heard of the guy who CBS might have in line to take Gus’ place — Marv Albert. Fine. For that, we’ll at least open the blinds.
  5. Sporting News reports that Murray State’s Billy Kennedy has emerged as a leading candidate for the vacant head coaching spot at Texas A&M. He was an assistant under Kermit Davis (yes, A&M fans, that happened) for the 1990-91 season, but obviously he’s more than made his own mark since then. He’s taken both Southeast Louisiana and Murray State to the Tournament, his Racers have averaged 27 wins over the past two seasons, and he’s 107-53 overall there. It might not be as sexy a hire as Buzz or Pastner (two names mentioned in the linked article), but something about this possible union feels right.
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Morning Five: 11.17.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on November 17th, 2010

  1. Wow.  We know of quite a few writers, bloggers, television personalities, gadflies and ne’er-do-wells who are hurting in a big way this morning.  After a 24 Hours of Hoops Marathon that once again did not fail to disappoint, the hangover is here.  We’re guessing that #cbb on Twitter won’t be this quiet again until sometime in May, as everyone around the country comes off their hoops-gasm and starts calculating the actuarial ratios of all-nighters to lost months of life.  Still, seeing all the different schools and fans and courts and cheerleaders and announcers and studio hosts and analysts around the country all day yesterday was pretty awesome, wouldn’t you agree?  As much as we’ve ripped apart the opening week’s haphazard trickle-out of games, this made-for-television event is brilliant and is quickly becoming one of the best regular season must-sees that the sport has to offer.  God help us all during the random future year when the 24HoH mimics a day of the NCAA Tournament and 75% of the games come down to the last possession — the WWL suits had better already have ESPN Legal working on its tort defenses.  Oh, and our guy John Stevens?  Over 11,000 words and untold hallucinations in 25+ hours of BGTDing, without a single drop of caffeine in his system (perhaps crystal meth, but certainly no coffee/soda).
  2. The biggest non-ESPN 24HoH news from the day came from Turner Sports, as the cable network announced that it will provide some of its wildly popular NBA on-air talent such as play-by-play announcer Marv Albert and the brash-but-hilarious Charles Barkley as part of its joint coverage of the NCAA Tournament with CBS.  The general consensus is that this is going to be a very good thing, and given that we are intimately familiar with the chemistry of Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Barkley on Inside the NBA (the best sports show on television by far), we think that they’ll pull it off.  Our only reservation — and admittedly, it’s a small one — is that we’ve watched (and listened) in horror to Fox when NFL announcers with their play-on-Sunday focus call college football games during the BCS bowls and it’s obvious they don’t even know or understand the key rule differences between the two sports.  We found this experience exceptionally painful.  Since none of the Turner channels (TBS, TNT, TruTV) are covering college hoops during the regular season, we’re a little concerned that even knowledgeable folks such as those listed above might have trouble making the transition.
  3. And this article is why NBA fans are different in many ways from college basketball fans.  Mr. Jeff Miller of the Orange County Register: in our sport, it actually IS about the names on the front of the jerseys.  Carolina fans will go crazy for their team whether they have a future lottery pick like Harrison Barnes or a four-year guy like Tyler Hansbrough leading the way; Kentucky fans showed as much passion for one-year man John Wall in the blue and white as they did for Tayshaun Prince; Michigan State fans loved consistently-tough guy Charlie Bell as much or more than Zach Randolph.  Here’s our suggestion.  Get out of the suburban and basketball wasteland known as the OC and high-tail it to a Missouri or K-State game at Phog Allen Fieldhouse.  While you’re in the Midwest, catch a game at Hinkle before heading over to Rupp for a Louisville or Florida game.  Detour down through Tobacco Road and venture into Cameron Indoor Stadium before your soul goes completely cold; then, since you’re on the east coast, head up to the Palestra for an epic Big Five battle.  Report back to us afterward if you gave a damn whether you actually knew the names of the players who you were watching — that is, assuming you actually enjoy the sport of basketball and not some bastardized version of star-watching.
  4. Gary Parrish takes a look at the oft-bizarre world of AP/Coaches poll ballots in his weekly column, The Poll Attacks.  Every time we read a column like this one, we thank our lucky stars that these flawed polls that reflect current perception are for entertainment purposes only.  Teams will get a chance to settle their real rankings on the court.  What some sportswriter in Eugene thinks about Villanova is about as important as what a Floridian believes concerning a local dogcatcher race in Wyoming — it’s irrelevant.  And we love it that way.
  5. Gregg Doyel examines the case of Enes Kanter and his eligibility through the prism of the NCAA rulebook and asks the question of when a pro is (or isn’t) a pro?  As he correctly points out, the NCAA has drawn a bright line with the apples/oranges comparison between sports, as in the cases of Josh Booty, Chris Weinke and current Clemson QB Kyle Parker, all of whom played professional baseball prior to becoming amateur NCAA football players.  But why have they drawn a distinction — what is the fundamental difference here?  It would be interesting to review the NCAA legislative history on this issue to see what the thinking was.
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