Seven Sweet Scoops: Ferguson Decommits, Thon Maker Visits Kansas & More…

Posted by Sean Moran on March 7th, 2016

7sweetscoops

Seven Sweet Scoops is a weekly column by Sean Moran, the RTC recruiting guru. Once a week throughout the season he will bring you seven notes from the high-stakes world of college basketball recruiting. We also encourage you to check out his contributions at The Intentional Fouldedicated to recruiting coverage and analysis. You can also follow Sean at his Twitter account @Seanmohoops for up-to-date news from the high school and college hoops scene. If you have any suggestions as to areas we are missing or different things you would like to see, please let us know at rushthecourt@yahoo.com.

Note: Scout.com used for all player rankings.

1. Five-Star Senior Decommits From Alabama

Small forward Terrance Ferguson had been the biggest commitment in Avery Johnson’s short tenure at Alabama, but the No. 13 player in the senior class decided to re-open his recruitment last week. Questions circulated in November regarding the strength of Ferguson’s commitment when he failed to sign a National Letter of Intent with the Crimson Tide on signing day. At the time his mother referenced a possible signing ceremony as the reason for the delay, but that never came to fruition. Schools like Kansas and Baylor were heavily involved in Ferguson’s recruitment and both will certainly try to get back into the picture. One school that was not involved was St. John’s, but members of the Red Storm coaching staff watched the 6’7″ high-flyer play last week. The five-star wing has a game ready-made for the NBA. With a picture perfect jump shot and explosive leaping ability, Ferguson’s strengths are hitting deep jumpers and finishing at the rim with highlight reel dunks. Ferguson has also been a mainstay in USA Basketball circles, winning gold medals on the U-16, U-17, and U-19 teams the last several years. Ferguson currently plays for Advanced Prep International (API) in Dallas, which has a similar make-up to the old Prime Prep teams.

2. Kevin Knox Watched Duke-North Carolina Saturday

Just one year ago, Kevin Knox was a lightly regarded sophomore at Tampa (FL) Catholic; now a junior, the 6’7” forward has risen up the rankings so fast that he is in the midst of a big-time recruiting battle between two of college basketball’s biggest blue-bloods. Knox made a weekend trip to North Carolina a few weeks ago where he split time between the Duke and UNC campuses, and he was back in the area on Saturday to catch the rivalry game in Durham. Knox, an athletic power forward with nice touch out to the three-point line, ranks as the No. 6 prospect in his class. Coach K is selling him on being the school’s next Brandon Ingram, but Kansas — the latest school to offer Knox –and Kentucky are also showing interest. Knox’s father played football at Florida State, so the Seminoles are a dark horse school in this recruitment.

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Sweet Seven Scoops: Andrew Jones Playing for 5-Star Status, Shoe Rivalries, & More

Posted by Sean Moran on December 9th, 2015

7sweetscoops

Seven Sweet Scoops is a weekly column by Sean Moran, the RTC recruiting guru. Once a week throughout the season he will bring you seven notes from the high-stakes world of college basketball recruiting. We also encourage you to check out his contributions at The Intentional Fouldedicated to recruiting coverage and analysis. You can also follow Sean at his Twitter account @Seanmohoops for up-to-date news from the high school and college hoops scene. If you have any suggestions as to areas we are missing or different things you would like to see, please let us know at rushthecourt@yahoo.com.

Note: Scout.com used for all player rankings.

1. Andrew Jones Makes a Play for 5-Star Status

Shooting guard Andrew Jones was one of the hottest names on the summer AAU circuit and his rise is still going strong with the tip of the high school basketball season. The wiry point guard from Texas recently averaged 33.0 points and seven rebounds over two games in the prestigious Thanksgiving Hoopfest against two of the top guards in the country. In his first game, Jones dropped 37 points against 2017 guard Trae Young and then in a mano y mano battle against future Kentucky guard De’Aron Fox, he scored 29 more. When offers started pouring in last summer, it looked like Jones’ recruitment was going to end quickly with official visits to Arizona and Louisville. Now, Jones is also considering SMU, Baylor and he has an official visit next weekend in Austin when Texas takes on North Carolina. The Irving, Texas, native is currently ranked No. 30 in the 2016 class and will make a strong push for McDonald’s All-American status as his senior season progresses.

2. Shoe Wars: Getting Ready for 2016

All eyes will be on New York City come the weekend of April 15-17. That weekend marks the first live recruiting period for college coaches and both Nike and Under Armour will be hosting their inaugural AAU events in the basketball mecca. This will be Nike’s first foray into New York City since the company kicked off its Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) and will coincide with the Jordan Brand Classic, an All-Star event at the Barclays Center for some of the top players in the class of 2015. Last year, Under Armour had one of their AAU weekends just outside of New York City, but two of the main players in grassroots basketball are raising the bar this year. You can certainly bet that all of the college coaches that will be out on the road in April will appreciate both rivals hosting their events within easy driving distance of each other. Read the rest of this entry »

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Ranking the Pac-12 Coaching Jobs

Posted by Andrew Murawa (@AMurawa) on December 18th, 2013

Last week, Will Leitch of Sports on Earth wrote a piece ranking the Best 25 Coaching Positions in College Basketball. Since then, some of my colleagues here at RTC have taken their swings at the same topic, albeit on a micro-level, counting down the best jobs in each conference from top to bottom. Now it’s the Pac-12’s turn, using Leitch’s list of priorities. To be clear, we’re not talking about any one thing here. We’re not talking about which team is the best this year, or who has the best chance to be really good in 2017. We’re talking about playing a fun hypothetical game designed to do little more than to start an argument; to wit, if suddenly every single Pac-12 job opened up all at once tomorrow morning, which school would have the best chance of landing its most desired head coach. Or, as Leitch put it: “If I were a hypothetical Average Coach, which job would I most desire?” It’s a completely unanswerable question that is dependent on a million different factors, right? Yeah, screw that. Find the correct answers below.

  1. Arizona – Leitch puts Arizona as the 11th best job in the nation, just behind UCLA, which checks in at #8. UCLA’s got 11 banners in the rafters, the legacy of John Wooden, an alumni list that could be mistaken for a list of basketball Hall of Fame inductees, a great campus with an opportunity for a great education, and it’s right there in the heart of Los Angeles. Undoubtedly, UCLA is one of the three best college basketball programs of all-time. But Arizona’s the better job. We’ll get to some of the relative negatives on the UCLA side of things below, but here, since we’re talking about Arizona, let’s wax positivity about this position. Arizona, as you may know, has had some basketball success of its own. It is the Pac-12 program with the most recent NCAA title (1997). In the modern era of college basketball (let’s call that post-Magic/Bird), it has the most regular season conference titles of anyone in the Pac-12, it has as many Final Four appearances as UCLA (at least according to the NCAA’s official record book; UCLA had its 1980 Final Four appearance vacated), and it’s got the same number of national championships as the Bruins. Let’s call those records a wash. What is not a wash is the level of support that the Arizona fan base gives its team. It isn’t really up for debate; Arizona has the best basketball fans in the Pac-12. By a long shot. And, in part because of that, when it comes down to the facilities arms race, Arizona is probably in the lead there as well. That’s true even before the McKale Center begins a $30 million renovation. UCLA is a great job, don’t get me wrong, but all things being equal, the UofA head coaching gig offers the best chance for success in the Pac-12 over the next couple decades.

    The Renovations To The McKale Center, Announced Monday, Will Put Arizona Another Step Forward On the Facilities' Front (Arizona Athletics)

    The Renovations To The McKale Center, Announced Monday, Will Put Arizona Another Step Forward On the Facilities’ Front (Arizona Athletics)

  2. UCLA – Above, we’ve already alluded to quite a few of the positives that UCLA has going its way. Its history is unmatched in college basketball. But, in the past 35 years, UCLA has one national title and 10 times has gotten at least a piece of the Pac-12 title. In other words, while nobody is ever going to forget about that great history, UCLA takes something of a back seat in the modern era of college basketball. And a lot of that has to do with fan support. Right now, you go to a UCLA basketball game and you’re liable to see a Pauley Pavilion that would generously be called half-full. Even during the three-straight Final Four era of Ben Howland, there were plum mid-afternoon weekend starting times against Top 25 conference opponents that wouldn’t sell out. And the expectations at UCLA? Yikes. Yes, it was probably best for both sides that Howland and UCLA parted last season, but let’s remember: Howland went to three straight Final Fours half a decade ago, was coming off a Pac-12 title, and got straight canned. Limited fan support plus unreasonable expectations? Yeah, UCLA is a good job – a very good job – but compared to the sunshine and rainbows in Tucson, Westwood is a briar patch. Read the rest of this entry »
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ACC Weekly Five: 08.20.12 Edition

Posted by KCarpenter on August 20th, 2012

  1. Raleigh News & Observer: The ongoing saga of academic fraud at North Carolina continues as more details emerge, and frankly, things are just getting weirder. While Julius Peppers admitted that the transcript that was posted on the UNC website last weekend was his, he also offered a great deal of disgust at the gross breach of his privacy by the university. The university, after admitting that earlier reviews of academic problems at the school weren’t enough, hired an outside consulting and auditing firm to more thoroughly investigate the irregularities in the grades and transcripts of North Carolina’s student athletes. Hopefully, soon we will have some idea of what exactly has been going on with these student-athletes in Chapel Hill and for how long.
  2. Fayetteville Observer: Meanwhile, down the road, North Carolina State is dealing with an even stranger issue of athlete academic eligibility. Star recruit and Raleigh native Rodney Purvis missed his first few classes because he had not yet been cleared by the NCAA, which is still reviewing Purvis’ high school. While the NCAA guidelines don’t preclude a student from attending class, the guidelines mean that if Purvis for some reason was found ineligible, he would be unable to receive an athletic scholarship and would be forced to pay tuition to NC State out of pocket. Remember everyone: The NCAA wants student-athletes to receive a quality college education. Seriously. Stop laughing.
  3. Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory is looking forward to this year. In particular he’s excited about the impact of sophomore Julian Royal. Royal played better and better as the season rolled on, and apparently his strength and conditioning has Gregory excited about the potential for the coming year.
  4. ESPN: Make a note to yourself to get excited for the preseason tournaments in 2017. Nike has finalized a truly excellent list of teams for a pair of tournaments designed to honor Nike founder Phil Knight’s 80th birthday. Considering Nike’s clout in the college basketball world, it’s unsurprising that many of the best teams in the country will be competing. The ACC representatives are, unsurprisingly, Duke and North Carolina. The two blue-bloods will find themselves pitted against the likes of Georgetown, Connecticut, Michigan State, Ohio State, and some other school called Kentucky. It might be a set of games. I suppose we will find out in five years.
  5. Boston Globe:  Gene DeFillipo, the athletic director for Boston College over the last 15 years, will be stepping down from his post in September. DeFillipo has been a steadying presence for BC, overseeing the rebuilding of the program after a gambling scandal devastated the football team and helping to oversee the move from the Big East to the Atlantic Coast Conference. During his tenure, BC claimed its fair share of NCAA titles, including an impressive four championships in ice hockey.
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Could the 16-Team Nike Event Signal a Shift in Scheduling Patterns?

Posted by Chris Johnson on August 17th, 2012

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

While Michigan State has found on-court success under the steady hand of coach Tom Izzo, his athletic director Mark Hollis has embraced progressive scheduling tactics that have granted the Spartans access to some of the nation’s most unique events. Last year, Hollis set the standard for inventive hosting sites by spearheading the plans for Michigan State’s game against North Carolina aboard the active warship USS Carl Vinson. The sensational vistas and patriotic atmosphere made the Carrier Classic an unmitigated success. Three similar events next season – on the same day, no less – have been scheduled since, with each taking place on a different U.S. Naval ship; a three-fold amplification of college hoops nationalism, all thanks to Hollis’ trailblazing work. He one-upped himself earlier this year by reaching an agreement for MSU to play Connecticut in a 2012-13 season-opening event at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, an active U.S. forces garrison and NATO site. Hollis’ next endeavor was a historical tribute to the 1963 Mississippi State-Loyola (Chicago) NCAA Tournament game that took place against the wishes of Mississippi’s segregationist governor, which he accomplished by initially offering a neutral site on the MSU campus, then helping to arrange a two-year home-and-home series between the two schools.

The 16-team event will honor the 80th birthday of Nike co-founder Phil Knight (Photo credit: Steve Dipaola/Reuters).

The creative AD has now set his sights on another commemorative event, this one far more inclusive than any of his recent scheduling novelties. According to ESPN’s Andy Katz, Hollis has received confirmation from 16 schools on a dual-pronged mega-tournament honoring the 80th birthday of Nike chairman Phil Knight. The event is tentatively scheduled for a four-day period in November 2017, with two separate fixtures (The Rose Garden and Veterans Memorial Coliseum) featuring an eight-team fields. Hollis selected 16 Nike-sponsored schools he feels represents “all of college basketball’s power conferences.” With multiple participants from each league, the two-tournament format prevents a violation of NCAA protocol prohibiting conference opponents from playing in the same event. The 16 teams are participating on behalf of their own programs in an effort to pay homage to Knight and his illustrious résumé. Neither Nike nor Knight will be involved in staging the festivities.

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Morning Five: 08.17.12 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on August 17th, 2012

  1. Ever wake up on a random summer Thursday to learn about something planned for five years from now, and spend the rest of the day giddy thinking about it? Yeah, us too. When the Champions Classic was announced two years ago featuring a rotating schedule between Kansas, Duke, Kentucky and Michigan State, we were happy. When the as-yet-unnamed Phil Knight event was announced yesterday featuring a ridiculously cool dual tournament format that includes the likes of Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, Florida, Connecticut, Michigan State, Gonzaga, Ohio State, Texas, Oregon, Stanford, Butler, Oklahoma, Georgetown, Xavier and Portland facing off over four days, we were ecstatic. Everyone loves some March Madness — this one-of-a-kind event to celebrate the 80th birthday of Nike founder Phil Knight will be as close as it gets to November Madness. Football people have trouble understanding this, but basketball at every level has always been a tournament sport — you win, you advance; you lose, you go home. Our only beef with this idea — why only one year? Make it permanent!
  2. If all the contracts are signed and this Phil Knight event actually comes to pass in 2017, perhaps some of this summer’s younger prep stars will be playing in it. This year’s high school juniors would be college seniors in the 2017-18 season if they played straight through, after all. SI.com’s Frank Burlison released a summer recruiting report for those of us who haven’t kept up with all the news from the summer camps and tournaments, and from his perspective, North Carolina and Florida had the most successful season on the prep circuit. Interestingly, Burlison’s analysis of Jabari Parker, SI’s cover boy as the best prospect since LeBron James, rates him fifth in his own class. His educated opinion is that Class of 2014’s Andrew Wiggins is the best player in high school basketball, regardless of class. Maybe SI will put him on the cover next year with the headline “Best Since Jabari Parker!”
  3. Everyone knows that Boise State‘s blue-fielded football program is poised to join the Big East on the gridiron beginning in 2013 — what was less certain is what would happen to all of the university’s other sports, including men’s basketball. No longer is this in question, as it appears that the Broncos will join the Big West just as fellow Big East/Big West member San Diego State has already done. Confused? Yeah, when you take into account that Boise State’s football (Big East), wrestling (Pac-12), gymastics (WAC), women’s swimming and diving (Mountain West), and men’s basketball and all other sports (Big West) reside in five different leagues from coast to coast, it really hits home just how ridiculous certain results of conference realignment has gotten. The volume of paperwork running through the athletic department alone must be downright Himalayan.
  4. Most college basketball head coaches are notoriously apolitical — at least publicly — being either too busy or too strategically diplomatic to engage in much discussion about the issues facing the country in an exceptionally polarized political environment. In a slightly odd twist from the norm, a number of prominent head coaches including Tom Izzo, Ben Howland, Johnny Dawkins, Tubby Smith, Jamie Dixon, Mike Montgomery, and Phil Martelli recently filed a “friend of the court” brief along with the NABC and Black Coaches and Administrators organizations regarding a Supreme Court case about race-based admissions decisions. The amicus brief (in full here), one of over 50 submitted for this case, argues that public universities should have considerable discretion in how they choose their admitted students, which may include attempts at balancing diversity by considering factors other than test scores and grades. This is a touchy subject for many people, but we’ll leave it at this — schools have always found ways to admit people who fell outside the numbers, long before anyone knew what affirmative action was. There’s no reason to believe that will ever change, simply because it’s not in their best interests to do so.
  5. It appears that all of the external pressure on North Carolina is resulting in some much-needed action. On Thursday, UNC chancellor Holden Thorp announced that former North Carolina governor James G. Martin (for those of you wondering, he’s a Davidson alumnus) will lead an independent review of UNC’s academic issues prior to 2007 in tandem with Virchow, Krause & Company, a national management consulting firm. Thorp said that he expects the team’s findings to be reported within a few weeks in the hopes that the school can put this scandal behind them, but of course that will also ultimately depend on what any new findings actually reveal. It’s good to see that UNC is taking this seriously, though, and has removed the investigation from its internal mechanisms. Roy Williams has an opinion on the matter, for what it’s worth.

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Morning Five: 01.26.12 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on January 26th, 2012

  1. Gray is the way, so says the shoe company behemoth Nike, which on Wednesday unveiled nine new “platinum” uniform designs that will be worn by hand-selected schools that have won national championships as members of the Beaverton, Oregon, product line. Seven men’s schools — Arizona, Connecticut, Duke, Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Syracuse — along with two women’s schools — Baylor and Connecticut — will sport the post-modern uniforms for one game later this season. These uniforms are certain to be a marketing hit in much the same way that some of their alt-football jerseys have been, most notably at Oregon. The template for each uniform is basically the same — a silver base with one primary accent color as trim — and you can see a few of the examples here: Kentucky, North Carolina, Syracuse. One interesting note is that each school has an aerographic star on the back of the jersey for each national title it has won. Kentucky’s, for example, has seven stars on its back. North Carolina has five, while Duke has four, and so on. Somebody needs to get Phil Knight on the phone immediately to explain to him the necessity of claiming Helms titles as national championships too. Right?
  2. Michael McKnight of SI.com checks in with an in-depth look at the point-shaving scandalthat enveloped the San Diego basketball program last year, and concludes that the evidence that the federal government thinks it has against former Torero star player Brandon Johnson and the other defendants might not be all that it’s cracked up to be. For one, the primary informant that the government relied upon for its information is not only marginally credible, but there may be major problems rendering his testimony admissible in a court of law anyway. Further, a review of the possible game that Johnson was most likely to have shaved points from — February 18, 2010 vs. St. Mary’s — shows that the evidence to support such a claim is less than persuasive. It’s an interesting read about a situation that made a very mild wave last year before everyone moved on to conference realignment, but one that SI has clearly done its work on in the interim.
  3. Seth Davis has been busy this week as we slip and slide into the final six weeks of the regular season. His always-fun mailbag column has made a re-appearance, and this time the topics ranged from the legitimacy of Missouri (written before the Tigers were RTC’d last night at Oklahoma State), the highest NCAA seed that Murray State can expect in March (we’d generally agree), the passion of Iowa’s Fran McCaffery (don’t you hate Iowa?), doubting San Diego State (and San Diego State?), and a few others (and everyone else?).
  4. Star treatment — it’s a fact of life in basketball at almost every level of the sport. From grade school to the highest of the professional leagues, defensive schemes are typically designed around stopping the other team’s best player. Mike DeCourcy takes a look at how such treatment has impacted an RTC favorite, Creighton’s Doug McDermott this season as game plans have adjusted to compensate for his ridiculous numbers (24/9 on 62%/50%/83% shooting). It’s true that his numbers have dropped a bit in conference play as the double-teams have come at him in earnest, but great players get their numbers regardless, and we have no doubt that McDermott will learn to adjust on the fly as he’s been so capable at doing throughout his short collegiate career.
  5. We mentioned this in yesterday’s M5, but the public unveiling of Gary Williams Court at Maryland occurred prior to last night’s game versus Duke at the Comcast Center. Even though the game ended up as yet another loss to the hated Blue Devils (1-10 in the last five seasons), the moments prior to the game were touching as Maryland fans received a final chance to cheer for and say goodbye to the coach that led the Terps to their greatest heights as a basketball program. Remember that Williams decided to retire after his star player last season, Jordan Williams, left school in early May to enter the NBA Draft. His many supporters and fans at the school had not had a chance until last night to give him a proper sendoff.

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Morning Five: 12.10.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on December 10th, 2010

  1. The talk of Thursday was all Kyrie Irving, all the time.  The superstar freshman’s toe situation has the college basketball world buzzing about whether he’ll play again this season.  Even Irving himself fueled the fire with this tweet on Thursday morning suggesting bad (or at least, not good) news.  Jeff Goodman writes that Duke is still a national title contender, with or without the talented rookie, but obviously the Devils’ margin for error would now drop precipitously.  As Duke and Irving mull over the medical options available to him, our crack team of contributors at RTC debated the impact of Irving’s loss on the national landscape.
  2. There was an amazing comeback on Wednesday night and almost nobody outside of 432 lonely souls on a cold night in Fairfield, Connecticut, knew about it.  In a classic intersectional battle between 2-6 Hartford and 1-7 Sacred Heart, the SH Pioneers found themselves down 51-31 and their prospects looking rather bleak for a second win with eight minutes to go.  An 8-1 run followed by a march to the free throw line — remember kids, scoring with the clock stopped is the best way to score! — where Sacred Heart hit 11 of 12 foul shots brought them back into the game.  A late steal, foul and subsequent free throw with 0.2 seconds remaining by Stan Dulaire sealed the unlikely victory for the Pioneers.  We hope that none of the few in attendance decided to beat the traffic early!
  3. The SI boys’ columns came out on Thursday, and if you’re reading this, you know that Seth Davis and Luke Winn are always worth a look for some insights nobody else will have thought of yet.  Davis gives the Pitt Panthers some overdue dap (the quietest #3-ranked team in modern hoops history?) while correctly calling out NC State fans for their intellectual dishonesty, and Winn continues to make better use of interesting graphics and clip-art in his Power Rankings than any college basketball scribe has ever dared to attempt.
  4. Have you ever seen an 11-year old dunk in a game?  No, we hadn’t either.  But we’d never seen a 6’2 pre-teen named Adrian Moore, and get this, according to a profile from BIAH, Baylor is already recruiting the young lad who can sky from the Class of 2016.  Michael Avery, anyone?  We don’t think Michael Avery was doing this kind of stuff in middle school, though…  and whatever happened to that Kentucky coach who was recruiting him?

5.  Oregon unveiled a new throwback jersey yesterday that the Ducks will wear in their upcoming Saturday game against local rival (and current D-III school) Willamette University.  The unis refer back to the first game ever played at venerable old Mac Court, a 38-10 victory for the Ducks over WU in 1927.  We’re pretty sure that Phil Knight wasn’t selling shoes from the back of a truck outside the Oval in the 20s, but he’s certainly found a way to make these throwback jerseys look pretty cool (with a conspicuous swoosh on the right shoulder, of course).  (ed. note: pay no attention to the eye hovering behind the jersey)

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Oregon’s New Court: An Unvarnished Rorschach Test?

Posted by rtmsf on November 7th, 2010

Phil Knight is known as many things, but being a bore isn’t one of them.  The founder of Nike who has launched hundreds of campaigns of cool over the past three decades is a well-known University of Oregon supporter, and his creative stamp on Duck uniforms has given legions of commentators great discussion material over the years.   As we all know, Oregon’s brand new hoops home, the Matthew Knight Arena, is scheduled to open for business in early 2011 and the Nike CEO may have outdone himself this time with its design.  Or more specifically, the design of the centerpiece of the building — the Ducks’ basketball floor.

Is It a Rorschach Test or a Basketball Floor?

This isn’t the best photo, but the floor, designed by Nike’s VP for Design and Special Projects Tinker Hatfield, depicts the evergreen forests that the Pacific Northwest is known for with the motto “Deep in the Woods.”  There’s also a secondary meaning behind the floor, as UO’s 1939 national title team (in the first NCAA Tournament) was nicknamed the “Tall Firs.”  Hatfield, who may have staked his reputation and career on this design, had this to say: “We wanted to design the most iconic television presence possible for the University of Oregon by conjuring up a highly unique and visible basketball floor design. It’s inspired by our beautiful tree-covered region and the UO 1939 NCAA Championship basketball team nick-named the ‘Tall Firs.’”

Score one for unique and visible.  But unless Hatfield was going for the always-hip unvarnished Rorschach Test look, we’re not sure what he was thinking.  Looking at this thing makes us want to climb down there with a bucket of paint and a few brushes — well, after we’ve spent an hour wondering why the iconic Oregon “O” sits upon what appears to be a Stonehenge structure that spells out Tatt (ed. note: obviously, it is supposed to read “Matt”).  Other than wondering where that damn sailboat is hidden, we see a few problems with this floor.  First of all, the actual floor doesn’t have nearly the contrast of the artist’s rendition (see below), but we’re honestly not sure if that would make it better or worse.  Next, other than the emerald in the lettering and playing lines, this floor doesn’t really appear to capture the school’s primary colors of green and yellow.  It looks more like wood color, which would be fine on its own if they weren’t actually going for something else.

Color us skeptical, but maybe this floor will look a lot better in high-definition television with 12,000 green/yellow-clad screaming fans around it come January, but for now, we’re more aghast at this design than anything else.  This floor in its current form is definitely a candidate for our Ugly Floors post from a couple of years back.  We will say this about Oregon, though — more than any other school in America, they’re willing to try new and imaginative things, even if those attempts are incredibly  ugly and easily mocked.

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Nevada Gaming Control Board Investigating Marcus Jordan

Posted by jstevrtc on August 30th, 2010

Ahhh, yes, the permanence of Twitter combined with the immaturity of (near-) teenagers. Central Florida’s Marcus Jordan is now being investigated by the Nevada Gaming Control Board to determine what laws, if any, were broken last week when the 20-year old Jordan tweeted about spending $35,000 at Haze and Liquid Pool Lounge (a nightclub and pool in the Aria complex at Vegas’ CityCenter) and $56,000 during an entire day in Las Vegas.

Jordan now has this distraction to think about in addition to classes and hoops.

Jordan, who averaged 8.0 PPG and 3.1 RPG last season as a freshman at UCF, made news close to the beginning of last season when he found himself caught between allegiance to his famous father and the contractual obligations of the school. UCF was an Adidas-sponsored school, but Marcus understandably wanted to wear the Nike Air Jordans that his father immortalized. When Marcus stuck to his guns, Adidas ended their association with the school. UCF now has an agreement with Nike that started back on July 1.

Most people with whom we spoke at that time sided with Marcus and were surprised that a more creative solution couldn’t have been worked out with UCF and Adidas in what was certainly a bizarre set of circumstances. Regarding this new incident, we hear almost as much talk about the amount of money spent and the gambling habits of the Jordan men as we do about Jordan being under 21. This is yet another strange set of circumstances, since Jordan isn’t doing anything wrong by coming from a wealthy family. He’s allowed to have and spend as much money as he wants — as long as he isn’t buying alcohol and gambling while underage, of course. The NGCB obviously couldn’t care less about the amount spent or who spent it, and will surely focus more on the fact that, yes, even in Nevada, both drinking and gambling — and the commensurate loss of wads of cash — are still the exclusive domain of adults aged 21 and over.

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Wisconsin Drops Nike – Others to Follow?

Posted by THager on April 15th, 2010

It appears that Nike’s controversial Duke advertisement is the least of their worries.  In a move that was seen as a long time coming at the University of Wisconsin, the school recently dropped Nike from their apparel contract over a dispute with labor on severence pay.  This is the first time that any American college has dropped an agreement with the multi-billion dollar company over what the school perceives as worker’s rights abuses, but the school has had a history of taking the initiative in contract agreements.  Wisconsin recently ended contracts with both New Era and Russell Athletic over similar practices, and chancellor Biddy Martin had given Nike 120 days to pay $2.6 million to Honduran workers in severance pay and back wages that started the standoff.  Wisconsin’s main apparel supplier, adidas, has had labor issues of their own but their are no plans yet to sever ties with the other shoe giant.  Wisconsin’s take:

According to the university’s Labor Code of Conduct, local labor laws must be followed, the freedom of associated and collective bargaining must be respected, and responsibility must be taken for subcontractors. Since Nike acted outside these rules, its contract was terminated.

Is Wisconsin the First of Several?

The amount of royalty fees that Wisconsin stands to lose is in the neighborhood of $50,000, relative chump change in the world of athletic apparel at a major school like Wisconsin.  But perhaps most importantly for Nike, other schools may be getting in on the act as well.  Georgetown and Washington are interested in learning more themselves.  Oklahoma, which unlike Wisconsin has Nike as their primary sponsor, is getting pressure from their students to drop the company, even going so far as to write a column requesting that OU terminate their contract with Nike.  Cornell may also be following Wisconsin’s lead as multiple workers’ rights organizations on campus have supported a termination of their contract.  Although Nike does not own the factories where the wage abuses occurred, they do use the factories to manufacture their apparel, which activists say violates Cornell’s Code of Conduct.  The ball is already rolling downhill on several campuses and if Nike isn’t careful, they’re going to find themselves underneath an avalanche of negative publicity on this matter.

According to Google Finance, the company is worth nearly $37 Billion.  So why do they feel the need to take such a PR hit when $2.6 million should be pocket change to them?  Probably the same reason that some of their overseas employees make less than $5 a day — unless you’re a potential Oregon head coach, CEO Phil Knight is not known as the most generous man in the world.  But if he doesn’t calm the storm soon, he could be facing a much bigger hit than any money he owed his (subcontracted) employees.

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Nike’s New Duke Ad

Posted by rtmsf on April 13th, 2010

Awesome or Awful?  Discuss.

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