Let’s get caught up after a glorious weekend…
- Elliot Williams to Memphis. Nothing surprising here, as we reported last week that Elliot Williams was leaving Duke to move closer to home to attend to his mother’s illness. The only school that made reasonable sense was his hometown University of Memphis, and Gary Parrish reported yesterday that Williams will indeed become a Tiger. If Williams can get the NCAA to approve his hardship waiver so that he can play next season, he should walk right into a starting position at the PG spot for Josh Pastner’s squad. While we’re on the subject of Memphis getting new players, former Kentucky player (well, he never actually played) Matt Pilgrim is probably transferring to Memphis with the assistance of new UK coach John Calipari. Pilgrim, a transfer from Hampton who sat out last season at UK, wasn’t part of the new regime’s plans. Since he didn’t want to leave Lexington but was no longer welcome, Coach Cal is trying to facilitate a seamless transfer for him.
- The NCAA Shell Game. Seth Davis wrote an article last week that illustrates just how one-sided the NCAA scholarship system can be. When new coaches (e.g.,Isiah Thomas and John Calipari) get to their new schools, they often feel the need to run off players (such as Pilgrim, mentioned above) who don’t fit in their lofty plans for the program. That’s all fine and well for replacing lesser players, but the whole house of cards gets exposed when a coach wants to keep a player who otherwise would like to transfer. Meet Freddy Asprilla, a 6’10 Colombian center at FIU who had a great freshman year and wants to transfer to a major conference school, but whom isn’t being released by FIU simply because, well, they don’t have to. There’s an adage about the deck getting stacked somewhere in here.
- FIU Cheerleading. We know it’s purely coincidental that FIU is enabling cost-cutting measures by cutting its cheerleaders during the same year that they hired Isiah Thomas to coach their men’s basketball team (Thomas isn’t taking a base salary this year). Still, the rich irony of FIU wholly dismantling the cheerleading team within months of Thomas’ arrival on campus isn’t lost on anyone. Sometimes the unintended consequences are more compelling than the intended ones.
- NBA Draft Detritus. Gary Parrish: the NBA will find you wherever you play. Luke Winn: behind the scenes at MSG, and raising legitimate questions as to Ty Lawson and DeJuan Blair’s draft positions. Jeff Goodman: Brandon Jennings made the right choice to go to Europe. More Parrish: like RTC, he also thinks Demar DeRozan is going to be a stud.
- More Quick Hits. Marquette’s Maurice Acker: done with basketball. Renardo Sidney: stop delaying, NCAA. Jeremy Tyler: headed to Israel? Brian Ellerbe: new assistant at GW. BYU’s Dave Rose: now cancer-free and returning to coach this fall. William & Mary: considering an asparagus mascot. Roy Williams: Aw Shucks… the RW Story, on sale in November. Antonio Anderson: those Ws are ours!