10.08.09 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on October 8th, 2009

Like the first trickles of a flash flood, the verbal barrage about our beloved sport really started picking up this week.  There’s a lot more previewing, interviewing, writing, talking and salivating going on around the college hoops blogosphere.  Let’s take a look at some of the items that are catching our interest…

  • Dissecting Duke’s Recruiting.  Gary Parrish wrote an interesting article last week about Duke’s recruiting over the past five seasons and we had to comment on it because it fairly accurately depicts what the substantive problem with Duke has been in the postseason (i.e., away from CIS).  We’re on record as saying that Duke hasn’t had a true game-changing stud since Luol Deng graced the gothic campus with his presence for one season in 2003-04.  This is not to say that Duke has been without very good players during that time.  Shelden Williams, JJ Redick and Gerald Henderson all come to mind as great collegians.  But none of those players, and certainly none of the laundry list that Parrish mentions as some of K’s other ‘top’ recruits (McBob, Singler, etc.), are the kinds of elite NBA-level talent that gets teams through the regionals and into the Final Four.  There are of course notable exceptions (George Mason in 2006 is the most obvious), but this is Duke, and Duke is always taking a team’s best shot.  They’re going to be very well coached, but Coach K and his staff know that well-coached moderate talent will lose out to elite talent more often than not.  This is why when Parrish says that Duke needs to secure commitments from Harrison Barnes and Kyrie Irving in order to compete with UNC, Kansas and now Kentucky on the national stage again, he’s right.  The Jon Scheyers of the world are great to have on your team, and will win you a lot of games over four years; but they’re not the players who can carry a team through rough spots en route to the Final Four.  If you don’t believe us, check out who was the MOP of the 2004 Atlanta Regional, leading the team in scoring in both regional games and literally saving the team on more than one occasion with clutch buckets (hint: it wasn’t the more celebrated upperclassmen).    Box scores here and here.  If Duke is serious about getting back to the big stage again before Coach K retires, he needs players like Barnes and Irving to get it done.  Fundamentally, Duke fans probably realize this, which is why each of these visits makes for tense moments in Durham.
  • Midnight Madness.  So we’re only eight days away from the start of basketball practice, and thankfully the NCAA closed the loophole that meant we were having these things all month of October, like last year.  But ESPNU will be back with coverage from 9pm to 1am EDT next Friday, with a simulcast from 8:30-9pm EST on ESPN.  There will be coverage from nine schools this year, including Kansas’ Late Night in the Phog, Kentucky’s Big Blue Madness, UNC’s Late Night With Roy, and several others (Michigan St., Duke, Washington, Georgetown, UConn and North Dakota St.).  RTC will hopefully provide live coverage in some fashion, but we’re still working out what that will be.  Make sure to check back early next week for more details. 
  • Prodigious Previews, Batman.  From Goodman, the Big Ten, the SEC, the ACC and Big East.  From Parrish, his final Top 25 (and 1) and his preseason all-americans.  Some players getting early-season pub are Gani Lawal, Isaiah Thomas, Alex Stepheson, Lance Stephenson, and the entire Mississippi St. frontline.  Mike DeCourcy answers five questions about his season preview.   
  • Quick Hits.  Patrick Patterson: his junior year at UK will be his last.  Kevin Laue:  great to see things working out for him at Manhattan (RTC flashback).  Contract Extensions: Ed DeChellis at Penn St. and Louis Orr at Bowling Green (Parrish calls BS on these).  Zach Spiker: the new head Cadet at Army.  James Keefe: UCLA F injured shoulder, out 4-6 weeks.  Len Elmore: has UNC, Michigan St., Kansas and Michigan in his F4BinghamtonNancy Zimpher was listening to us after allCAA: silver anniversary teamSeth Davis: an interesting read on overworked college officialsChris Taft: remember himRivals Team Recruiting Rankings: early list for 2010 is out


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Cue the Next 1-and-Done Scandal: Lance Stephenson at Cincinnati?

Posted by rtmsf on June 29th, 2009

If the report is true that Cincinnati is going to pull the trigger (Russian Roulette style) this week and offer a scholarship to NYC legend and phenomenal talent, Lance Stephenson,  let’s take a short trip in our RTC time Maybach to peek at what things might look like a year from now.  Fast forwarding…

lance stephenson

Born Ready For Ineligibility?

Dateline: June 29, 2010

The University of Cincinnati and Mick Cronin were rocked by allegations that surfaced over the weekend that their one-and-done star, Lance Stephenson, may have been ineligible during his only season in the Queen City.  In a YahooSports report, Stephenson, a third-team All-American and the third pick in last week’s NBA Draft, is alleged to have been paid handsomely during his junior year of high school for his role on an internet reality series called “Born Ready” that aired last year on MTV2.  Rumors have followed Stephenson for years as to the propriety of that arrangement, and his father has steadfastly repeated that his son’s income from that series was $0, but the report indicates that Stephenson’s handlers funneled cash from the production through his extended family members so as to keep his amateur eligibility intact.  After committing to UC last summer, the NCAA Clearinghouse verified Stephenson’s eligibility, but assuming the allegations are true, the key issue now is whether Cincinnati’s 27 wins from a Sweet Sixteen season should be removed for competing with an ineligible player.  You may recall that Memphis faced a similar situation with Derrick Rose last summer (his eligibility was compromised based on his entrance exam even though the Clearinghouse admitted him).  This makes the third consecutive offseason where an elite one-and-done player and NBA Draft pick has left a wide swath of NCAA rules-oriented destruction in his wake – the NCAA needs to address this problem, and SOON.

Note: the above account is a satirical fiction, fyi, for any idiot who tries to cut/paste it out of context. 

Clearly we don’t see this going well. 

According to Zagsblog, Stephenson will learn his fate today on a criminal matter relating to the alleged groping of a 17-year old girl last year (presumably not bad), and he will use that jumping point to commit to the Bearcats tomorrow.  In an odd coincidence, Nancy Zimpher, the UC president who famously stood down head coach Bob Huggins and had him ousted in 2005 over years of renegade behavior and recruiting, recently took a position as the Chancellor of the SUNY system (effective June 1, 2009).  Could it be that the new president, Monica Rimai, is friendlier to the athletic interests of the university? 

One thing is for certain, as BiaH outlines in his post today, with Stephenson in the mix along with Deonta Vaughn and others, Cincy could be in a position to compete for a conference title in a shallower Big East next year.  For Cincy fans, that should be very exciting; it’s just any fallout the year after next that should worry them.

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