Morning Five: 09.10.14 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on September 10th, 2014


  1. As we descend the back end of the calendar year, slowly but certainly inching toward cooler weather and the magical return of college basketball, the 24/7/365 behemoth that is Kentucky Basketball continues to play chess while the rest of its competition is playing checkers. John Calipari announced on Tuesday that he plans to offer a first-of-its-kind scouting combine for NBA personnel to assess his boatload of prep All-Americans in a structured environment (and in lieu of endless in-season scouting visits to practice). Several college football programs do something similar for their future professionals, but these so-called “pro days” typically come after the season has completed but before April’s NFL Draft. And if you think there won’t be a recruiting component to this October 10-11 event in Lexington, keep dreaming. Coach Cal continues to think creatively, and his success is to show for it.
  2. The rest of the SEC‘s basketball programs have enough trouble keeping up with the Caliparis on the recruiting trail as it is, but as’s Gary Parrish notes in this article, a little-known league rule about junior college transfers further limits the SEC’s 13 other schools from attracting local players who could have been good fits. Marquette’s Jae Crowder — originally from Georgia — is his prime example, citing that the Peach State native and 2012 Big East Player of the Year was precluded from enrolling at any SEC school (including the one in Athens) because he had not spent at least three semesters at his junior college prior to matriculation. It’s an exceptionally odd rule — especially in the loosey-goosey SEC — but it is one that limits the talent pool by a sliver and gives other leagues a bit of a competitive advantage in certain instances.
  3. New Jersey governor Chris Christie hasn’t had the best year-plus in his role as the chief executive of the nation’s favorite drive-through state, but he may have turned the corner in many sports fans’ minds with his announcement this week that the Garden State would allow sports gambling in its race tracks and casinos. This is an obvious last-ditch response to the ongoing implosion of the Atlantic City gaming industry, but the timing of this initiative with the NFL and college football getting under way couldn’t be any better from a quick revenue perspective. The NCAA is on record as very much against this, and it’s unclear as to the ultimate legality of the directive, but Christie is willing to take a shot at it. Could Jersey finally be on a path to become the East Coast’s Vegas through sports gambling? Stay tuned on this one over the next few weeks and as we push on toward the start of college hoops in November.
  4. While in the legal realm — hey, it’s the offseason — the plaintiffs in the Ed O’Bannon name and likeness case announced earlier this week that they would not seek an appeal of any part of district court judge Claudia Wilken’s decision that mostly fell in their favor. The NCAA, of course, is appealing the antitrust holding of the decision — the core issue that will require schools to compensate players for the use of their images — so you may be wondering why the winners would even consider an appeal. The reason is because the O’Bannon plaintiffs didn’t get everything they were hoping for, but they got enough. Now on to the appellate court…
  5. Finally, we’d like to once again put out a feeler to any of our readers — long-timers or newbies — who might want to give a shot at writing about college basketball this upcoming season. We need national columnists in addition to knowledgeable writers for each of the major basketball leagues — the ACC, American, Big Ten, Big East, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC, along with the Other 26 — to fill out our roster. We invite anybody with an interest to send us some information about yourself and a writing sample to Thanks for your interest.
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NCAA Joins Pro Leagues in Challenging NJ Gambling Law, But Why?

Posted by Chris Johnson on August 8th, 2012

Christopher Johnson is an RTC Columnist. He can be reached @ChrisDJohnsonn.

Since 1992, thanks to the Federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, legal sports betting in any form has only existed in four states: Montana, Oregon and Delaware have sports lotteries, while Nevada as everyone knows enjoys an entire sports booking industry. New Jersey, home to one of the nation’s most popular casino hot spots in Atlantic City, was granted a one-year time frame between 1993-94 to opt into the exclusive group, but failed to act and thus missed out on the opportunity to become the fifth member state. Governor Chris Christie sought to make up for his state’s inaction last January when he spearheaded the passage of a new law that violated the 1992 Act by legalizing gambling in his state. Christie was essentially challenging a federal law with full knowledge that a long and enduring legal battle would be waged to prevent the new state legislation. He acknowledged as much in May at a press conference in Atlantic City, saying, “If someone wants to stop us, then let them try to stop us. Am I expecting there may be legal action taken against us to try to prevent it? Yes. But I have every confidence we’re going to be successful.”

The NCAA is one of five sports league governing bodies involved in a class-action lawsuit against the state of New Jersey and its groundbreaking gambling law (Photo Credit: AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Christie has met his day of reckoning. On Tuesday the NCAA and four governing bodies of North America’s major sports – the NHL, NBA, NFL and MLB – filed a lawsuit against New Jersey on the grounds that the state’s legislation legalizing sports gambling within its borders represents a direct threat to “the character and integrity” of sporting events and a “clear and flagrant” violation of federal law. This development comes as no surprise to Christie. He knew full well upon signing the state law of the inevitable flurry of lawsuits that would ensue, and so the governor reiterated his stance after catching word of the organizations’ actions. “I don’t believe that the federal government has the right to decide that only certain states can have sports gambling. On what basis?” he said.

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These Are Exciting Times for Oregon State Basketball

Posted by Connor Pelton on November 21st, 2011

Coach Craig Robinson told anyone who would listen in the preseason that the Beavers finally had the talent to compete in every game in which they play this season. Guess he was right. Oregon State is now 4-0 going into tonight’s game against #18 Vanderbilt in East Rutherford, New Jersey, as part of the Legends Classic. The Beavers opened up the season with a pair of expected, easy victories against Cal State Bakersfield and West Alabama. On Wednesday they faced their first real test against a tough Hofstra team, a game that the Beavers surely would have dropped in the past. But after getting down late in the first half, OSU climbed back for a ten-point win. However, the Pride are a middle-of-the-pack CAA team, not a Big 12 powerhouse like Texas. Due to their weak non-conference schedule, these two games in New Jersey are absolutely huge if they want to go dancing come March.

There were no highlight-reel dunks from Cunningham against Texas, but the junior guard got the job done from the charity stripe

OSU knew that coming in and responded superbly against a talented Texas team. The Longhorns, led by J’Covan Brown (25 points, nine assists), stretched the Beaver defense to the max with hot perimeter shooting early on, but Oregon State would not go away. It seemed as if Jared Cunningham had an answer when his team needed it most, including five huge free throws in the final 2:50 of regulation to force overtime. From there it seemed to be destiny for Oregon State. The center was draining threes, the Horns were missing wide open looks, and in the end Robinson’s team escaped with a five-point win and a spot in the Legends Classic Championship.

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Floriani At Jersey City’s Hamilton Park League

Posted by jstevrtc on July 31st, 2010

JERSEY CITY, NJ — I can’t really file this under “How I’m Spending My Summer Vacation,” because for those of us devotedly fanatic about this game there is no time off.  No college games are contested, but there are other items such as the NBA Draft in June, the NBA playoffs, and of course, on the college front, the summer circuit and recruiting.

The City Game.

Players who want to take it to the proverbial next level also realize there is no extended down time. Summer is a time to work on your game and improve. A place where players can do both is the Hamilton Park Summer League in Jersey City, one of the most popular leagues. As you’d suspect, it derives its name from the Hamilton Park location (the late Al McGuire always said, “keep it simple, stupid”).

For officials, it is a great way to stay sharp and work on deficiencies. Games are fast, competitive, and a test to one’s judgment and game-management skills. To yours truly, on the officiating and reporting end it is a virtual Nirvana, an opportunity to work and write about some excellent games and programs putting it all out there.

We're betting Mr. Floriani plunked down a few bucks to sample the cuisine. And we don't blame him.

The past few seasons saw the HP league operate with a grade school, girls’, and boys’ high school divisions. This summer saw a shift as the girls are at Dickinson High School while the grade school relocated to High Tech about six miles away in North Bergen. The action this season is limited to the boys with a strong 17-team contingent.

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