Morning Five: 10.01.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on October 1st, 2010

  1. Hehehehehehe……..  see that date up there, folks?  Yeah, it says “10,” meaning October.  October means autumn, changing weather, falling leaves and Halloween.  It also means we’re officially two weeks from Midnight Madness (we refuse to call it anything else even if it’s not at the witching hour anymore), and we’re just over a month from the first official games (November 8: Seattle @ Maryland; Rhode Island @ Pittsburgh; Navy @ Texas; UC Irvine @ Illinois).  The 2010-11 RTC Season Preview will kick off in earnest on Monday, and we’re fully stocked around here with espresso beans and other stimulants to get us through it.  Prepare yourselves.
  2. We discussed the allegations made against two unnamed Michigan State players on Wednesday, ultimately concluding that something messy happened in Wonders Hall (yes, that’s the name) on the MSU campus on the night of August 29-30 even if the Ingham County District Attorney didn’t believe so.  Today the source that originally reported the story, the Michigan Messenger, released a copy of the official police report with names redacted.  If you’re the type of person who is creative in piecing together subtle clues from a document such as this, you can narrow down the list of possible suspects to only a few options.  You can engage in that exercise on your own time, but we’re intrigued that much of the national media is treating this story as if it doesn’t exist.  As far as we can tell, only USA Today and some local Michigan news stations and papers have reported this incident so far, but a police report where it clearly shows one player corroborating the testimony of a victim about not being “free to leave” during an alleged sexual assault (p.8) is worth wider consideration in our estimation.  ESPN, quick to ramp up the 24/7 news cycle on a Ben Roethlisberger sexual assault story, is deafeningly silent on this one — but we’re not holding our breath.
  3. Remember the story that class of 2011 uber-recruit Anthony Davis‘ father was requesting $200,000 for the services of his son for one year at the college of his “choice?”  Two hundred large seemed like a hefty price tag to us at the time, that is, until we read this piece where a San Diego high school player named Chen Cai reportedly took over $30,000 in gifts from a Chinese marketing company called Zou Marketing.  The 6’8 senior forward (who may actually be 20 years old instead of 17) averaged 26/17 last year and has led his team, Maranatha Christian, to three straight section runner-up finishes.  As a result of documents showing that he took the gifts, though, Cai has already been declared ineligible to play this coming season, and you’d have to figure that he’s also going to be ineligible to play college ball as well.
  4. We’re fairly certain that even if Wisconsin had gone 36-0 heading into Final Four weekend in 2011, most college basketball fans still wouldn’t be able to pick Jon Leuer out of a lineup.  This shouldn’t stand, though.  As Mike DeCourcy points out in his profile, Leuer is one of the most versatile big men in the entire country this year, and as difficult as it is to watch the Badgers on television, we certainly encourage you to do so.  At least once.  You might even enjoy it.
  5. We were hoping to find this yesterday, but today will have to do.  We mentioned that UNC legend Dean Smith made a visit to the Charlotte Bobcats’ training camp on Wednesday; he must have enjoyed it so much that he wanted to do it again because he made a return trip on Thursday.  Who knows — maybe LB and MJ will make him an honorary assistant coach of the Bobcats this season?  Good to see him out in the world doing the thing he loves most.

Two Coaching Legends Discussing Strategies (AP/C. Burton)

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Two Michigan State Players Guilty of Poor Judgment, Possibly More?

Posted by rtmsf on September 29th, 2010

We’ve blathered on and on about this before, but year after year it never fails to amaze.  Anecdotally at least, it seems that the months of August and September every single year are marked with college basketball players filling up the police blotters.  Why can’t guys stick to getting ready for the upcoming hoops season rather than involving themselves in all sorts of other nonsense?  Our theory is that players get back to school and have nothing going on for the first time in quite a while.  Summer camp and international team obligations are over. Individual workouts won’t start for another month, and the formal start of practice a month after that.   The demands of classwork haven’t really kicked in yet.  The weather is still hot, and guys are looking to cut loose.

A Different Kind of Madness Every Fall

In other words, all of the pieces of the common aphorism that “idle hands are the devil’s playthings” are in place, and just as consistently as sundresses on the quad in August, players around the nation cannot seem to avoid the early fall tendency to put themselves in situations where trouble finds them.   We’re not being accusatory here — we fully allow and understand that players are often victims of false accusations and overzealous police and prosecutors as a result of their local celebrity — but that’s why they need to be careful to stay out of risky situations.  And yet, year after year, they don’t. 

The latest and greatest case comes from Michigan State.  You know, Tom Izzo’s superb program that has been to the last two Final Fours and is an odds-on favorite to reach a third next April.  According to a report released today by the Michigan Messenger, two high-profile (unnamed) MSU players were accused of a serious sexual assault in a dorm on the night of August 29-30.  The details of both the police report, much of which was corroborated by the alleged victim and one of the two players, paint a horrific picture. 

Once in the room, the three started playing basketball using a mini-hoop. When the victim missed a basket, one of the men told her she had to remove an article of clothing. The victim agreed and removed her t-shirt because she had a tank top on underneath.  At this point, the victim says, the players began to deliberately miss baskets until they were stripped “completely naked.” One of the men allegedly blocked the doorway to the room, while the other “cornered” the victim in the room.  “[The victim] explained to [detectives] that the body language of [the players] suggested she was not free to leave,” the report says. “[Redacted] was blocking any escape path to the exit of the dorm room. [The victim] stated that after [redacted] approached the door he turned the lights in the room off and the room went completely dark. At this point, the sexual assault began.  The victim told police the players penetrated her in various positions. The victim told detectives the players allegedly asked her “how does that feel?” and “how do you want it?” The victim says she told the players she didn’t want it and gave “other indicators she was not a willing participant.”  The victim told police that the players pinned her down, but at one point she freed her arms momentarily and struck one of the players in the face. The player was on top of her and in response to her hitting him, he allegedly said, “Don’t. Just relax. C’mon,” as he continued to assault her, the report says.

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