Some suspension news: Creighton’s P’Allen Stinnett was suspended indefinitely by Dana Altman for conduct unbecoming to the team, and Michigan’s Manny Harris has been reinstated to play tonight against Michigan State. Harris’ 85-game streak of games played for the Wolverines ended on Saturday when he was held out of their game against Purdue.
Purdue’s Matt Painter and Lewis Jackson have a tough decision to make in the coming weeks over whether the talented point guard will play this season. Jackson could help provide depth in the Boilermaker backcourt, but there’s a considerable dilemma over whether it’s worthwhile to play him for less than a third of the season. Not that anyone cares, but we’d sit him out and let him get his legs and rhythm back in the offseason.
Seth Davis’Hoop Thoughts this week discusses Josh Pastner at Memphis, Texas’ poor foul shooting, Duke’s depth, and some SDSU students that remind us of our Halloween costume from a few years back.
Did you hear that John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats moved to #1 in both the AP and Coach’s Polls yesterday? Coach Cal was so jazzed by it that he and ESPN’s John Buccigross (both Pittsburgh natives) had a little good-natured fun calling each other “jagoffs.”
Joe Dumars’ son, 6’5 freshman forward Jordan (is that a joke?), has already left the South Florida program and enrolled at Michigan for the remainder of his career. He’s only played 27 minutes so far this season, scoring all six of his points in a single game against Kent State.
Oklahoma State’s Marshall Moses was suspended for one game almost immediately after his arrest for possession of marijuana and driving on a suspended license. Averaging 11/10 on the season, he will miss tonight’s game against Coppin State.
Tennesseeupdate from the AD himself: “we start at dismissal and work our way backwards.” Sounds about right. Let’s hope he means it.
Here’s Seth Davis‘ annual Stock Report. This is always a fun read, and his UNC “sell” looks particularly prescient after last night’s loss to Charleston, but there will always be a few quibbles on something like this. We will not, for example, be buying anything Florida is selling, and we are definitely unloading what little Louisville stock we still have lying around, but overall, pretty good assessment.
Matt Doherty appears ready to forgive and forget (mostly) his exit from North Carolina five years ago, but one quote in this probing article is revealing. Speaking as to whether he was forced out because Roy Williams was ready to return to Chapel Hill, he said, “I don’t think that was the case. But I also do know – I don’t think schools make changes like that without having feelers out there.” Sounds like Doherty doesn’t believe himself.
Doctors are shutting it down for South Carolina forward Dominique Archie yesterday, after realizing that his rehab would not allow him to return to full strength this season. He injured the knee in a game against Miami (FL) four weeks ago and had not played since. This will quite obviously hurt SC’s chances of getting through the rugged SEC East, especially considering the Gamecocks’ troubles on the glass (Archie was leading the team with 6.0 RPG).
UCLA’s Nikola Dragovicpleaded not guilty yesterday to a charge of felony assault deriving from an incident outside a Hollywood (always up to no good) concert on October 28. He is alleging self-defense for tackling a guy into a plate glass window which severed the man’s Achilles tendon. Dragovic is averaging 8/6 for the struggling Bruins, but he has already served a two-game suspension as a result of this ongoing distraction.
Remember this anecdote about Rob Senderoff, the assistant coach caught up in the Kelvin Sampson phone-call fiasco at Indiana, when Memphis gets its final ruling from the NCAA in a few weeks, or whenever. Does anyone else feel that with Myles Brand not steering the ship that the NCAA is listing frightfully to starboard?
First Laettner, now Bobby Hurley. If we were Coach K or Grant Hill’s investment manager, we’d probably make sure that their financial tentacles never touch the Bluegrass State. Those Kentucky people will get it back someway, somehow. It, of course, meaning $946,961.58.
You guys remember Royce White, the uber-talented freshman power forward from Minnesota who has spent the better part of his first semester in college getting in various forms of trouble — allegedly shoplifting at the Mall of America followed by shoving a security officer onto the ground (twice), and somehow later getting mixed up in a laptop theft on campus where it’s still uncertain how involved (if at all) White may have been in that incident. Needless to say, he’s been on semi-permanent suspension by Tubby Smith as the team and school awaited to learn how all of this would ultimately shake out.
Royce White (left) in Better Times
Gopher Nation probably didn’t think it would shake out like this. Today White released a bizarre, somewhat rambling, six-minute mea culpa explanation buttressed by a couple of interestingly chosen musical montages at each end. In the opening segment straight out of Eight Mile, he walks around the streets of Minneapolis while Beanie Sigel’s “Feel It In the Air” plays in the background. After you get past the clear ripoff of the Geto Boys, a quick read of the lyrics of this song reveals a troubled mind given to fits of paranoia and instability. White then enters the video at around the 3:20 mark as narrator in a Saw-like feed from his couch, where he riffs mostly about how the “wheels of justice” are putting a “stressful burden” on him, his family, Coach Smith and the Gophers. This crescendoes to a point at the 7:20 mark when White announces that he is “leaving college basketball” but that he will not be transferring to another school, and as for his next steps, that’s “to be decided.” The clip ends with another song chosen for maximum cinematic effect as photos of his friends, family and playing career cycle through: Timbaland’s “Apologize.” (keep in mind that the chorus repeatedly states, ‘it’s too late to apologize…”) But don’t take our word for it – check it out yourself.
There’s a lot here, not least of which involves his apparent resignation from college basketball. White clearly strikes us as a troubled young man who might need some time away from the stresses of basketball and school to get himself together. One commentator said this clip reminded him of Ron Artest in his role as emerging impresario, and he’s probably on to something, but we’re a little worried that he also has a bit of Avondre Jones in him as well, the former USC/Fresno State center and rapper who became notorious in 1998 for assaulting someone with a Samarai sword back when Samarai swords were cool (along with Raider hats and do-rags, but we digress). White is only 18.5 years old, and he wouldn’t be the first kid to feel the weight of the world on his shoulders and think that exiting stage left is the answer to his problems. But there was one segment of his diatribe that rang completely true, a morsel of wisdom of which we hope that White will heed. Too many situations like this turn out to be utter train wrecks, so we hope he follows his own advice where he talked about his coach Tubby Smith, who is universally reknowned as a great teacher and man. It’s very unlikely that Tubby would counsel White to fight the justice system by withdrawing from responsibility; even if White is telling the truth about the laptop incident, he still needs to own up to the shoplifting and assault. People make mistakes, but character is earned by addressing them and learning from them. Let’s hope that White’s story on the national level doesn’t end (today?) with people wondering what could have been.
It turns out that the layup-line injury to Texas guard Varez Ward suffered Tuesday night was indeed as bad as it looked. He will miss the entire season with a ruptured quadriceps, and surgery is scheduled for next week. It’s a tough break for Rick Barnes’ team, but the good news is that he’s loaded in the backcourt with J’Covan Brown, Avery Bradley and Dogus Balbay all currently vying for minutes, and Jai Lucas becoming eligible at semester’s end. Texas will be fine.
Bob Huggins announced on Wednesday that his star forward Devin Ebanks will make his debut in Thursday’s first round game at the 76 Classic against Long Beach State. The world may never know what ‘personal issues’ struck Ebanks over the last week, but we hope that whatever it was it’s settled.
Jeff Goodman totally one-upped us on our recent tour de basketball by ending up in San Juan, PR, but he shares with us ten things he learned on this road trip. Major disagreement on one point, though. We didn’t find Evan Turner to be all that inconsistent in NYC last week — after all, he had 49/25/10 assts in two games on 18-28 shooting. We did have 14 turnovers, however, so we assume that’s what Goodman is referring to here. Sure, he may struggle as a point guard at times, especially in terms of decisionmaking, but we’re really not seeing him having many struggles in terms of a player — his average game on a given night is still better than all but about ten players in the country, in our humble opinion. And when he’s dialed in, we’re not sure there’s anyone better.
One of our favorite annual columns from Seth Davis is when he predicts the top ten breakout sophomores for the upcoming season. Last year he was right on the money with several, including superstars Jeff Teague, Kalin Lucas and Chris Wright. This year’s column has a couple of interesting choices (Larry Drew II and Tony Woods come to mind), and we’re wondering how nobody among UCLA’s sophomore corps can be on the list, but it makes for interesting debate and discussion.
Finally, have a Happy Thanksgiving of Hoops, everyone!
UCLA’s Nikola Dragovic plans to plead not guilty to his recent charge of assault stemming from an incident at a Hollywood concert in October. According to his attorney, Dragovic was only defending himself against a drunken aggressor who had slapped his friend, and when he tried to leave, the lout followed him. There’s no way to know what to believe here, other than what eyewitness (video) evidence brings to bear.
USC’s depth problems continue as junior forward Kasey Cunningham fell awkwardly during a weekend game and tore his ACL and medial meniscus for the fourth time in his career. Talk about snakebit. Kevin O’Neill is down to six serviceable players including Marcus Johnson, a UConn transfer who sat out two games serving an NCAA suspension. Any additional injuries for USC and the Trojans may need to have tryouts or draft some of Pete Carroll’s bunch over to the hardwood.
Ohio State guard Walter Offutt announced that he will transfer at the end of this quarter, with his destination presently unknown. The sophomore guard was expected to provide defensive minutes for Thad Matta’s short bench this year, but he didn’t see time in two games in New York last week, and could probably see the writing on the wall with most starters expected to return next year in addition to a strong recruiting class coming in.
An interesting development that Mike DeCourcy discussed yesterday involves the curious recruitment of Enes Kanter, a 6’10 Turkish player who has signed with Washington for 2010. A proposed NCAA rule (2009-22) would allow players such as those in Kanter’s position (having played in a professional league without taking payment) to play immediately, rather than taking a game-for-game penalty, as in the case of WVU’s Deniz Kinicli, who must sit the first twenty games of the season this year before becoming eligible.
Did you ever wonder how we got to the current situation where Thanksgiving week has become wall-to-wall basketball with all these preseason tournaments (not a bad thing)? Luke Winn has your answer in his usual well-written style. Four letters come to mind — E. S. P. N.
UCLA’s Nikola Dragovic was arrested and subsequently suspended by head coach Ben Howland for felony assault stemming from an incident at a Hollywood concert last month. This is the second physical-force-related arrest for Dragovic in the past two seasons, as he was also arrested on suspicion of shoving his girlfriend during an argument last year. He was not prosecuted for that allegation, but we’re starting to have serious reservations about the talented Serb’s anger management. UCLA is not off to a good start at all this season, including numerous injuries, a loss to Cal State Fullerton, and now an arrest to one of their top returnees all within the first five weeks.
Magic Johnson and Larry Bird headlined this year’s inductees to the National Collegiate Hall of Fame, along with several other luminaries of the game, including former Michigan State head coach Jud Heathcote, Oklahoma star Wayman Tisdale, all-time NCAA leading scorer Travis Grant, former UCLA/UAB coach Gene Bartow, USA Basketball leader Bill Wall, and Walter Byers, the first executive director of the NCAA.
To that end, here’s a Bird/Magic story you probably don’t already know. From the KC Star, the two players were invited to compete on a World Invitational Tournament team coached by then-national championship Kentucky coach Joe B. Hall. Astonishingly, both players were put on the second string by Hall, and shockers, neither of them particularly liked that. Read about the whole story at the above link.
In case you missed it, the #1-rated power forward in the class of 2010, Tobias Harris, committed to Tennessee at the end of last week. The 6’8 player who likes what Tyler Smith has been able to accomplish in Knoxville is the highest-rated player UT has ever signed. He also considered Maryland, Syracuse, Cincinnati, Kentucky, Louisville and West Virginia.
Minnesota freshman Royce White might be looking to plead out of his legal problems arising out of an incident with a security guard at the Mall of America. What this means for his future with Tubby Smith’s team? Status unclear.
These comments were never going to end well for Mississippi State junior forward Kodi Augustus. The repentant player will miss Thursday’s game against SE Louisiana and Saturday’s game against Bethune-Cookman. Surely MSU will be ok.
Purdue’s incumbent point guard, Lewis Jackson, who was already suspended for a variety of reasons, injured his foot last week and had surgery to repair the problem today. He’s officially listed as out indefinitely but Boiled Sports believes it will be for a month or more.
Your Big West Championship is moving across Anaheim from the Convention Center to the Honda Center. Get your tickets now.
Isiah Thomas got his first collegiate win at FIU last night. Yes, it was against NAIA school Florida Memorial, and yes it was only by six points (88-82), but a win is a win, and as Isiah said afterwards, “you start wondering if you’re ever going to win a game. I told the guys at halftime, ‘I don’t care how we win. I just want to win the game, go home, rub my dog, wake up in the morning and see the sun.” Mmm-hmmmmmm.
The Big Lead scored an interview with Dick Vitale recently, and the elder statesman (he’s 70!) of college basketball announcers riffed on Calipari/Pitino, UNC/Duke and one-and-dones. Worth the few-minutes read, and we hope to meet him again next week in NYC.
Virginia’s Jamil Tucker is taking an indefinite leave of absence from the team to deal with some personal issues — he averaged 7/4 last year in a reserve forward role, and Northwestern star forward Kevin Coble injured his foot in practice and could possibly miss time because of it. It’s currently unclear the extent of the injury, but he will be examined Friday and a determination will be made at that time. This could be devastating for Northwestern’s high hopes for this season. Moving away from injuries, there were some more suspensions yesterday, including Charlotte PF Shamari Spears, who will miss the 49ers’ first game on Friday against UNC Asheville, and Hawaii’s Douglas Kurtz, whose heart of darkness begins the season with a six-game suspension for playing three games in a Brazilian professional league in 2007.
Things aren’t going very well for Tubby Smith at Minnesota lately. One of his prized recruits, Royce White, who was already suspended for a violation of team rules and has recently caused trouble (shoplifting and assault) at the Mall of America, is now under suspicion for the theft of a laptop computer. We’re not exactly experts in this sort of thing, but is it safe to say that White will be at a junior college very soon?
In getting all the preview stuff together, we lost a little track of the news other than the endless suspensions and injuries…
NCAA Not Backing Down on Renardo Sidney. If the information that Gary Parrish wrote in his “Three Storylines” articles is true, then Mississippi State’s Renardo Sidney may not play this season at all. According to the Sidney family attorney, the NCAA requested additional evidence beyond what the Sidneys gave them two weeks ago — specifically, “records that identify the sources of each [bank] deposit, cellular phone records for every family member since Jan. 1, 2006, records to indicate where every payroll check was deposited, etc.” To an untrained ear, that sounds like the NCAA isn’t buying what the Sidneys are selling. The evidence that the Sidneys previously provided — bank statements and the like — don’t mean a whole lot unless they can show the funds in those accounts are not a product of financial tomfoolery. So, what now for the Sidneys? MSU’s first game is against Rider on Friday night, so their only recourse might be to take things to court, but the NCAA could probably motion up/down/sideways until March to keep Sidney off the floor if it wanted to make a point. Even if Sidney sought injunctive relief in the interim, MSU is unlikely to play Sidney until he’s eligible by NCAA standards. Well, Jarvis Varnado and John Riek still makes for a nasty frontcourt, right?
Arkansas Suspensions. Courney Fortson and Stefan Welshwere indefinitely suspended by John Pelphrey today for their roles in various discipinary actions over the offseason. Additionally, reserve Marcus Britt will miss six games, freshman Glenn Bryant will miss two games, and walk-on Nick Mason will miss the fall semester. The latter three players were at a fraternity party last month where a student alleged several players raped her. The local prosecutor (who is related to Arkansas brass) said there wasn’t enough evidence to move forward, but the case has now been brought to a special prosecutor for further review.
Vegas Watch Mammoth Preview. It was finished over the weekend, so here’s the link to the entire thing in one place. The analysis we performed here reflects VW’s vision as to how to project the 2009-10 teams in a quantifiable manner, and we think he’s done a pretty damn good job at developing a formula that properly takes into account returnees plus incoming recruits. Keep an eye on things over there this week as he rolls out a list of the final projected ratings among the BCS conferences (and a few others) sliced and diced in various ways.