Morning Five: 12:12.13 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on December 12th, 2013

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  1. When all the pundits saying that pay-for-play was coming we said that it was still a long way away. Yesterday, Mark Emmert agreed with us. According to Emmert, despite the public’s perceived growing desire to see college athletes be paid the college administrators he has talked to do not agree with that sentiment. Emmert did note that most were in favor of trying to better cover the actual cost of attendance and offer more substantial benefits for players. It is almost always unpopular to do so, but we continue to agree with Emmert’s sentiment on this although our reasons are more economically driven and reflect a belief that paying some athletes (sorry, student-athletes) would have a detrimental effect on the average college athlete in much the same way that Title IX has been perversely dealt with in the sense that some schools will just start cutting sports because they simply do not have the money to subsidize full scholarships when they are spending big money on a few athletes for revenue sports.
  2. Any hopes of Providence fans that the team could compete in the Big East this year were dashed by the announcement that sophomore point guard Kris Dunn would undergo season-ending surgery on his injured shoulder. Providence has been able to compile a respectable 7-2 record mostly without Dunn, who sustained the injury during an exhibition game on November 2 that forced him to miss the first three games of the season before returning for four games in which he looked like a completely different player averaging 3.8 points per game shoot an anemic 31.6 percent from the field. This is the second straight year that the Friars had their hopes of being competitive dashed by losing a key guard. Last year it was Ricky Ledo, who did not qualify academically. This year, in addition to Dunn, the Friars are also playing without their top two incoming recruits–forward Brandon Austin and guard Rodney Bullock–who have been suspended indefinitely since before the season started for an undisclosed team rules violation.
  3. We did not expect Drake to contend in the Missouri Valley Conference this year, but they certainly could have been a top-tier team in the conference. Those hopes may have ended with the announcement that senior guard Gary Ricks Jr. will miss the remainder of the season after fracturing a bone in his left foot. Ricks was the team’s second-leading scorer at 12.3 points per game, leader in assists at 3.6 per game, and also its best 3-point shooter at 45 percent on the year. Ricks’ departure will not only mean an increase burden on Richard Carter, but also the remained of the players who have essentially functioned as role players with Carter and Ricks running the show this season.
  4. We are not sure why it suddenly became a major topic yesterday, but the Internet was all over the announcement by Seton Hall that Tom Mayaan, an Israeli citizen, had to leave Seton Hall to join the Israeli army. For those who are not familiar with the Israeli army, all Israeli citizens over the age are required to serve (men for three years and women for two years). That in itself would be a notable story, but the thing is that it appears that this was known as far back as November 19. Mayaan only put up modest numbers (2.4 points, 2.7 assists, and 1.2 rebounds per game) so it seems like the Pirates will be able to replace his production and perhaps he even may serve as a rallying point for the team.
  5. Former North Carolina State coach Sidney Lowe pleaded guilty to failing to file taxes in North Carolina between 2009 and 2011. In exchange, Lowe received a suspended 45-day jail sentence, was placed on 36 months of unsupervised probation, must complete 100 hours of community service within the year, and must pay more than $79,000 in restitution plus a $2,000 fine. According to reports, Lowe made $962,000 in 2009, $953,000 in 2010, and $659,000 in 2011 with a base salary of $210,000 per year that came to $760,000 per year when TV and radio contracts were included with the remainder of his income coming through bonuses. While this is not nearly as embarrassing as what happened to Kentucky legend Richie Farmer it is an ignominious end to a star on the 1983 championship team in what might be his last significant moment in association with the school.
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Big East M5: 11.25.13 Edition

Posted by George Hershey on November 25th, 2013

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  1. Seton Hall has had a crazy last couple days. On Tuesday news came out that sophomore guard Tom Mayaan will most likely have to return to his home country of Israel to serve his three year military requirement. Mayaan thought he was going to receive an athletic exception after playing well for the Israeli U-20 team this summer, but his uncle returned to the US to relay the bad news. It is thought to be a misunderstanding between Mayaan and the Israel Defense Forces, but if Mayaan does have to leave it could mean the end of his collegiate basketball career. Seton Hall would lose a key role player who has provided solid play so far, dishing out 3.5 assists per game in 17 minutes. More bad news is that during the Pirates epic collapse to Oklahoma on Friday, Czech forward Patrik Auda re-injured his right foot and will be evaluated today.Kevin Willard said “The swelling went down. I don’t want to be too optimistic because when I do, something bad happens.” It will come down to if he bent the screw they put in last year. If he didn’t he could return in a month, but if he did then he will miss the year. The Pirates pulled out a win on Saturday night, but his defense and rebounding were missed.
  2. Another St. John’s player has been suspended. After having D’Angelo Harrison suspended for the end of last year and Chris Obekpa suspended this preseason, Steve Lavin has ruled freshman Rysheed Jordan out indefinitely. Jordan missed Friday’s contest against Monmouth and it doesn’t seem he will play in tomorrow’s game against Longwood. Fortunately he has not missed a big game yet, but the final big non-conference game the Johnnies have is against Syracuse on December 15. As a freshman, Jordan can use all the game experience he can get, and when (if) he comes back he may well find himself farther down the bench. The preseason Big East Freshman of the Year was hyped as an instant contributor and he has played well in his action so far, averaging four points and two assists. Hopefully Jordan pulls it together and is reinstated before his freshman year is lost.
  3. An interesting figure over the weekend was that Creighton drew over 18,000 fans for their win over Tulsa. For a private school to draw that many fans for a game against a team like Tulsa is amazing. Fans of teams outside Omaha probably do not realize how big Creighton basketball is in Omaha. A Twitter user compared the Creighton fans to Nebraska football fans, the ultimate compliment. Several Big East teams do very well in attendance each year. Creighton ranks sixth in all of Division 1 and Marquette is fifteenth. The Golden Eagles had over 13,000 in attendance for their unimpressive performance over New Hampshire. All the Big East teams are in the top 75 which speaks to the great fan bases and hoop-enthused communities, one of the things that makes Big East basketball great.
  4. The weekend saw some great individual performances from Big East players. Stud Doug McDermott poured in 33 points on Saturday night. The most interesting, and amazing, note of the week is, as Rob Anderson pointed out on Twitter, “Today was Doug McDermott’s 60th career game with 20 or more points. He’s had 19 or less in just 54 contests.” The fact that he has had more games with over 20 points than not in his entire career is phenomenal. His scoring is even more important with Grant Gibbs recent scoring slump. It may be due in part to his hurt finger, but Gibbs production will have to be made up. Gibbs continues to distribute the ball well, but if Creighton is to be a serious contender, they will need his scoring. Chris Obekpa, St. John’s defensive force, followed up his seven block performance on Tuesday with nine on Friday. To be able to do that is amazing, and Obekpa is only 6’9″, much shorter than most premier shot blockers in recent history.
  5. Providence coach Ed Cooley and his squad headed down to St. Thomas for the Paradise Jam with his two suspended freshmen–Brandon Austin and Rodney Bullock– who have yet to play in a game, but have been practicing with the team the past few weeks. Austin was expected to contribute at a high level right away, like Rysheed Jordan, but if he is unable to get some run before conference play begins, it is doubtful he will have a role on the team this year. His addition would be an added boost to an already impressive Providence team, who will play in the final of the Paradise Jam tonight against Maryland, if he can work his way into the rotation soon. Kris Dunn has showed that one can come back from a brief spell off the court. Since he returned from a minor shoulder injury, he has propelled the Friars to a win over Vanderbilt and has been magnificent creating opportunities for his teammates, averaging over six assists per contest.  This Friars team looks special and will have a shot to really test themselves against Kentucky in Brooklyn next Sunday.
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Big East M5: 10.23.12 Edition

Posted by Dan Lyons on October 23rd, 2012

  1. While the Orange basketball season is still a few weeks away, Central New York basketball fans got a bit of a treat at the Carrier Dome last night. Syracuse hosted an NBA preseason tilt between the New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers featuring former Orange legend Carmelo Anthony. The Sixers won the game 98-90, although Anthony played well, scoring 23 points and tallying six rebounds, five assists, and four steals in the game. Perhaps more notably, this weekend was Carmelo’s first chance to get a full tour of the Syracuse building which bears his name – the Carmelo K. Anthony Basketball Center. Anthony, who donated $3 million towards the construction of the top-flight training facility, was a bit awestruck by the experience, according to Syracuse.com‘s Mike Waters:

    “I was there yesterday. That was the first time I had a chance to get around and walk through the whole facility. I watched the team practice. I actually got a work-out in over there. I was kind of surreal for me to walk around and see my name plastered around the building and the outside of the building. [...] I was … I don’t know what word to use. It was shocking to me just to see that. I called my family and sent them pictures of it. [...] It was one of those moments that I’ll never forget.’’

  2. Sporting News’ Matt Crossman wrote an excellent piece this week on Louisville center Gorgui Dieng. While it is easy for many to get caught up in the life that comes with being an elite level college athlete, especially one who has received numerous preseason accolades after last 2011-12’s Final Four run, Dieng has managed to stay exceptionally humble. Crossman discusses Dieng’s move from Senegal and his adjustment to life in America, both socially and on the court, as well as his strength as a student. More than anything, Dieng’s refreshing view on life shines through:“People forget the basics. Now, it’s all about money. It’s all about what you got,” Dieng says. “They forget happiness. There is nothing better than a smile. Nothing.”
  3. Big East basketball has a reputation for being more physical than most other leagues, and Rutgers feels as though it has struggled in the past because of this. Enter strength coach Mike Johansen, who made it his goal to improve the Scarlet Knights’ strength numbers across the board. It seems as though he’s succeeded.  According to this Daily Record report, the team’s average squat is up 73 pounds, its average clean has increased by 30 pounds, and its average bench is up 40 pounds. Time will tell if this will have a major impact for Rutgers on the court, but at the very least they should be more physically prepared for the rigors of a full Big East slate.
  4. In other New Jersey basketball news, Seton Hall has been bitten by the injury bug early this year. Point guard Aaron Cosby will be missing four to six weeks with a PCL strain. Luckily for Cosby and the Pirates, the injury does not appear to be too serious and will not require surgery. The vacant point guard job is now left up to sophomore Freddie Wilson, who played sparingly last year, and freshman Tom Mayaan, who is coming off of a torn ACL.
  5. When it comes to the use of dog logos in the state of Connecticut, UConn wants to be sure that you won’t confuse them with The Morgan School, a Clinton, Connecticut, high school with an enrollment of 558 students: “A letter from James D. Aronowitz, associate general counsel for the Atlanta-based Collegiate Licensing Company, which represents UConn, politely asked Clinton educators to stop using the logo. The letter said use of the similar dog could interfere with UConn’s ability to “effectively market and license” the use of the logo.” To be fair, the schools’ logos are quite similar, and The Morgan School seems to be handling the situation amicably, but let it be known — if you are a high school in New England (or even as far as Montana, as the article states) that uses the ‘husky’ as a mascot you should probably consider a switch before UConn finds you.  For maximum internet appeal, I suggest becoming the ‘Corgis’.
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