What’s this? Two days in a row with FBs? Indeed. There’s a lot to get caught up on…
- Duke Downer. The biggest news today was the news that Duke point guard Elliot Williams (he of the happy, happy feet) will be leaving the Duke program so that he can move closer to Memphis, his hometown. Reportedly his mother is facing a life-threatening illness there and Williams wants to be nearby for support as she battles her disease. He plans on petitioning the NCAA to waive the one-year transfer obligation so that he will be able to play immediately at his new school (presumably Memphis). This is undoubtedly a major blow to Coach K’s backcourt in 2009-10, as he’ll now be left with only Jon Scheyer and Nolan Smith to log minutes there. Big things were expected of Williams based on his insertion into the starting lineup at midseason and his excellent all-around play down the stretch. Duke fans are largely crushed by this news, given the unfortunate circumstances causing it as well as the huge, gaping hole in the backcourt it leaves (while, ironically, the perfect fix named Seth Curry can only wait and watch next season). In other Duke news that came out today, Coach K is the highest paid Duke employee by far ($3.6M last year) – no surprise there.
- Like Father, Not Like Son. A bit of a surprise today is that Jeffrey Jordan (you know, that Mike guy’s son) is ending his basketball career at Illinois to focus on his studies. This comes on the heels of news from earlier this year that Jordan’s hard work and commitment to the program had resulted in a scholarship for the rest of his time at the school. Guess he’d had enough. Actually, we can totally understand this. Jordan was undeniably under more pressure to perform than any walk-on turned scholarship player in the history of college basketball, and although it made for nice copy, it’s safe to say that Jordan probably didn’t love the sport anywhere near the same as his famous dad. He probably reached a personal epiphany of some kind that included a heart-to-heart with pops, and once MJ gave him the blessing, he’s now free to pursue the activities he truly enjoys. Good for him. And good for him for working his tail off in his two years at Illinois to go from walk-on to scholarship to expected contributor, despite limited talent.
- Vegas, Baby. The WAC has followed its mid-major brethren WCC and Mountain West Conferences by moving its postseason tournament to Las Vegas, where the Orleans Arena will host beginning in 2011. This comes on the heels of a very successful WCC Tournament at the Orleans last year, where a sold-out, raucous arena was shown on national television for St. Mary’s vs. Gonzaga. The MWC already holds its conference tournament at the Thomas & Mack Center down the street, and this move by the WAC means that Vegas will become the basketball destination for every legitimate conference (save the Pac-10) west of the Rockies every March. Sounds like a really fun environment for fans of these leagues.
- No, No, No. Everyone got this wrong. Derrick Rose wasn’t flashing a gang sign in the below pic, he was practicing universal remote hand signals for the letter “B” on the SAT exam.
- Some Quick Hits. Wayman Tisdale Center: good move by Oklahoma here. Karen Sypher: that bitch set me up! Stan Van Gundy: the NCAA’s 1-and-done rule is a sham. DeMarre Carroll: you hate to see something like this derail a kid’s first round aspirations. EA Sports: Blake Griffin is in the game. Doug Wojcik: SIX. MORE. YEARS!!! Drew Gordon: UCLA’s rising sophomore will be ok after tearing his patellar tendon last week. Oliver Purnell: two-year extension at Clemson. Sean Miller: his five-year contract at Arizona ($1.6M per) was approved. Akron’s Keith Dambrot: extended through 2016.