Houston’s Smartest Move: Hiring Kelvin Sampson

Posted by Mike Lemaire on April 4th, 2014

It has been rumored for some time but multiple reports have seemingly confirmed it – former Oklahoma and Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson is making his return to the college basketball ranks as the head coach for Houston. Sampson doesn’t even have to change area codes for his new job as he has spent the past three seasons as an assistant coach right across town with the Houston Rockets. Why was he coaching in the NBA when he has such a proven track record at the collegiate level? Well, if you are a college basketball fan, you should have at least some idea how to answer that question.

Kelvin Sampson is a Strong Hire for Houston

Kelvin Sampson is a Strong Hire for Houston

Sampson made headlines in 2008 when he was hit with a five-year show-cause penalty for basically calling and texting recruits even after the NCAA had repeatedly told him to stop doing so. He was also at the center of the Eric Gordon recruiting saga after bringing the star to Indiana despite Gordon’s verbal commitment to Illinois. There may be some hand-wringing over Houston’s decision to bring a repeated NCAA felon on board, but he has served his time away from the collegiate ranks and if other coaches like Bruce Pearl are being given second chances, there is no reason Sampson doesn’t deserve one as well. Frankly, the marriage looks like a savvy move from both parties.

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Morning Five: 04.03.14 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on April 3rd, 2014

morning5

  1. Fans in the AAC can start working on their cell phone and texting jokes as Houston hired Kelvin Sampson to be its next coach. Sampson was successful at both Oklahoma and Indiana before a variety of issues that have been documented in great detail before derailed him leading to a five-year show-cause penalty in 2008. Sampson has spent the last six years floating between jobs in the NBA and was serving as an assistant for the Houston Rockets so he might not even have to move for his new job although he might be moving into a bigger house with the upgrade in his salary. Much like the Bruce Pearl hire this has to be considered a huge get for the program, but we have to wonder how long he will stay there..
  2. After what has to be considered a successful first season for Steve Alford things are looking pretty good at UCLA. However, accusations by a spurned sports agent that he provided former Bruin Tyler Honeycutt with impermissible benefits could halt that progress. The school had previously investigated the matter and said that the NCAA ruled the case closed, but with the new documentation they will have to investigate the matter further. This is the second such incident involving UCLA in the past two years (Shabazz Muhammad being the more well-known case), but we wouldn’t consider it an issue with the school. Our bigger question is why do these issues typically arise with mid-level players and not the real stars?
  3. With many of the bigger jobs being filled or in the process of being filled the attention on the coaching carousel shifts to the mid-tier schools. One example of this is North Carolina Central coach LeVelle Morton, who is reportedly interviewing at Florida Atlantic and Marshall. Morton has led the Eagles to better records in each of his five seasons culminating in a NCAA Tournament appearance this season. His move might not move the needle nationally, but it could lead him to an even bigger job in the future.
  4. Chane Behanan cannot seem to avoid getting in trouble. The former Louisville forward, who was kicked off the team for marijuana use, has already enrolled at Colorado State, but took a trip back to Louisville this week. At 1 AM on Wednesday morning he was cited, but not arrested for marijuana possession after a police officer smelled marijuana in a car in which Behanan was a passenger. Behanan reportedly admitted to having a marijuana cigarette. Although he was not arrested he will have a court date later this month. Avoiding the whole social discussion regarding the legalization of marijuana one has to question Behanan’s maturity at this point for getting arrested for something after he has already been through so much.
  5. Next season could be a rough one for Missouri after Jabari Brown announced that he would enter the NBA Draft. Brown joins fellow junior Jordan Clarkson in potentially leaving Missouri early although both could withdraw their names from the Draft by April 15 depending on what they hear. Brown was a first-team All-SEC player this season and led the conference in scoring at 19.9 points per game. Like Clarkson, Brown is also projected to be a second-round pick so it would seem to make sense for him to return, but it would not be the first time that we have seen a player leave early for that type of fate.
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Coaching Carousel a Thrill Ride for AAC Programs

Posted by CD Bradley on March 25th, 2014

While 16 teams remain alive in the chase for a championship – including AAC members UConn and Louisville – several other teams are chasing the new coaches that they hope might get them to the Sweet Sixteen some day. USF and Houston have now found their way onto this year’s coaching carousel, and their candidate pools say a lot about where the conference stands and where it’s going. USF fired Stan Heath after the AAC Tournament, and Houston announced Monday that James Dickey had stepped down to deal with a family matter. Reports on Tuesday morning indicate that Manhattan head coach Steve Masiello, fresh off a competitive round of 64 loss to Louisville and his mentor, Rick Pitino, has accepted the South Florida position.

Manhattan head coach Steve Masiello has emerged as a leading candidate for the USF job. (NY Daily News)

Manhattan head coach Steve Masiello has taken the USF job. (NY Daily News)

The USF job quickly was initially linked to some major names, including Buzz Williams (more on him in a moment), but Masiello appears to be the guy. The loss to Louisville was a particularly emotional one for Masiello, who was once a 12-year-old ballboy for Pitino with the Knicks, played for him as a walk-on at Kentucky, and served as an assistant at Louisville for six years before taking the Manhattan job. After the game, his old boss recommended he take the USF job, as he told the Tampa Tribune: “For you, it’s a grand slam.”

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AAC M5:03.25.14 Edition

Posted by Ross Schulz on March 25th, 2014

AAC_morning5_header

  1. Houston joins South Florida as AAC teams looking for a new leader, as head coach James Dickey stepped down for personal reasons on Monday afternoon. The main replacement candidate is former Oklahoma and Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson, who received a five-year show-cause order from the NCAA in 2008 for impermissible phone calls to recruits. Dickey, who completed four mediocre seasons at Houston (64-62), had one year left on his contract. “This has been a difficult decision to make. I continually preach to my players about being an everyday guy, and the balance of your personal and professional life is a major part of it,” the coach said. “With that being said, I have a family matter that requires my time and energy.”
  2. Another strong candidate has emerged for the other opening in the AAC, Manhattan head coach Steve Masiello, at South Florida. Masiello reached out to mentor Rick Pitino about the job opportunity when it was offered and Pitino told him It’d be a “grand slam.” Pitino said he thought USF was a marginal job in the Big East, but a great job in the AAC. Masiello, 36, led Manhattan to a 60-39 record including an NCAA Tournament appearance this season. Pitino said Masiello is both a great recruiter and an X-and-O’s coach. Stan Heath was fired after compiling a 97-130 mark in seven seasons.
  3. Even after sluggish wins in their first two games of the Tournament, Louisville remains one of the favorites to cut down the nets in North Texas. The Cardinals are the third favorite at 5 to 1, behind Florida (7/2) and Michigan State (9/2) to win it all, according to Bovada.LV. Rick Pitino’s squad is the favorite, however, with 11/10 odds, to win the Midwest Region. Connecticut on the other hand is the 13th betting favorite to win it all, tied with San Diego State and is the long shot to win the East Region with 9/2 odds. The site also gives odds to win the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four and Russ Smith (9/1) is the second betting favorite behind Scottie Wilbekin (7/1). Odds for the winner of the award last year, Luke Hancock, are 18/1. Montrezl Harrell also made the list with 20/1 odds, while Shabazz Napier comes in at 40/1.
  4. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer declared Friday as “Cardinal Red Day” and encouraged everyone to wear red. In 2012, Fischer made a similar declaration before the Kentucky vs. Louisville Final Four game and said the city set a world record for people wearing red in a single day. He hopes to break that record this week. “This is another great time to be a Louisvillian and to show your support for our hometown team,” he said. “I want to paint the town red — literally. Everyone knows that UK fans will be seeing red when the Cards win on Friday.” Fischer encouraged all businesses to display the Cardinals’ colors in their windows and for residents to do the same with their homes.
  5. Cincinnati needed more than Sean Kilpatrick throughout the season. In the Bearcats’ NCAA Tournament defeat to Harvard, the Bearcats needed more Kilpatrick. The senior finished with 18 points on just 13 shots, taking only four shots in the second half and going more than 13 minutes without attempting a shot. Unfortunately for Cincinnati, no one else picked up the slack as Kilpatrick was double-teamed and taken out of the game. It was a familiar story in Bearcats losses throughout the year, and nothing changed in the Tournament. Good defense can only take a team so far when it can’t find a way to put the ball in the hoop.
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Big Ten Coaches on the Not-So-Hot Seat, Part I

Posted by Alex Moscoso (@AlexPMoscoso) on October 29th, 2013

It’s that time of the year when fans get their usual dose of preseason predictions. One of the usual mechanisms in this onslaught is the “Coaches on the Hot Seat” list where writers identify those coaches whose job status relies on the success of their upcoming season. Each preseason in the Big Ten, previously successful coaches routinely find themselves on this list and almost never escape it. The conference is widely considered to have the best head coaches of any league which makes wins tough to come by. This competition leads to very good coaches experiencing disappointing seasons, finding themselves on the hot seat, and then eventually being fired. Last year, it was Tubby Smith at Minnesota who found himself without a job in April.  A national championship-winning coach at Kentucky, Smith led the Golden Gophers to their first NCAA Tournament win in 16 years (and, actually, longer since the NCAA vacated the 1996-97 season after charging Minnesota with academic fraud). The year before that, it was Bruce Weber at Illinois standing in the unemployment line. A former National Coach of the Year and NCAA Tournament runner-up, Weber won 100 more games than he lost over a nine-year stint. And there are others. All this goes to show that in this league, being a talented head coach might get you in the door, but it won’t save you from the hot seat.

Relax, Coach Crean.  You many have lost two NBA lottery picks.  But you're not going anywhere.

Relax, Coach Crean. You may have lost two NBA lottery picks. But you’re not going anywhere.

This year is a little different.  Barring any unforeseen scandals, there seems to be no Big Ten coaches who are in immediate danger of losing their jobs. So here at the RTC Big Ten microsite, we have instead decided to look at the coaches around the league and examine their current situations: Why are they not in danger of having to endure a sad and uncomfortable final press conference at the end of the year? In the interest of brevity, we will not review the likes of Tom Izzo, John Beilein, Thad Matta or Bo Ryan. Their current situations can be summed up in these words: They are awesome at coaching college basketball and aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.  For the rest of the Big Ten’s eight coaches, things are a little more nuanced. Here’s why:

John Groce (Illinois): I listed in a previous post Groce’s accomplishments from last year. Those include a trip to the round of 32 of the NCAA Tournament from a roster that had all but given up the year before. But more importantly, Groce has secured quite a bit of outstanding talent for the future of his program. A bevy of promising transfers and recruits are set to join the Illini this year and next. His program is in a position to start challenging for Big Ten titles as early as 2014-15, and if Groce can land a commitment from Top 10 recruit Cliff Alexander next month, Illini fans can start dreaming even bigger. He’s in good shape.

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NCAA Closes the Book on Miami Scandal as Frank Haith Skates

Posted by Matt Patton on October 23rd, 2013

Yesterday, over two years after Nevin Shapiro contacted the NCAA with allegations of wrongdoing throughout the athletic department, Miami finally got closure from the Committee on Infractions in a scathing 102-page report that confirmed nearly all of the substantive allegations from Charles Robinson’s initial report. More specifically, the NCAA found that Miami “lacked institutional control” in both overlooking Shapiro’s violations and actively covering them up after the fact.

Mark Emmert and the NCAA seemed bigger than life before handing down Miami's judgement. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Mark Emmert and the NCAA seemed bigger than life before handing down Miami’s judgement. (AP/LM Otero)

The most serious punishments were reserved for some of the coaches implicated – Frank Haith (“former head men’s basketball coach”), Jorge Fernandez (“former assistant men’s basketball coach B”), and two former assistant football coaches — each of whom received punishments ranging from  a five-game suspension for Haith (now at Missouri) to a two-year show-cause for Fernandez. The football team will lose three scholarships per year over the next three years, and the basketball team will lose one scholarship per year over the same time. All of this comes on top of the university’s self-imposed punishments, which were significant. But the penalties are a far cry from two years ago when Mark Emmert threw around the phrase “death penalty” with various major media outlets.

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Big 12 M5: New Year’s Eve Edition

Posted by dnspewak on December 31st, 2012

morning5_big12

  1. They’ve been gearing up for New Year’s Eve in Stillwater for months, and not because they particularly care about the calendar flipping or watching the ball drop in Times Square. Instead, they’ve been gearing up for tonight’s showdown between Oklahoma State and Gonzaga. It’s not only a Top 25 battle — the local media and fans are also billing it as a Game of the Century of sorts, the kind of program-defining game Travis Ford must win to re-establish the Cowboys as a relevant Big 12 program. Good news is, Oklahoma State earned some respect already by demolishing North Carolina State and winning the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. Ford isn’t desperate for a marquee victory, but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t help. The Zags, on the other hand, are no stranger to the Big 12. They’ve already knocked off four teams from this league this year alone: West Virginia, Baylor, Oklahoma and Kansas State, all by an average of 20 points.
  2. “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” The man who penned that quote — a Scottish author named Ian Maclaren — died in 1907. And yet the inspirational phrase applies to Ben McLemore more than a century later. As you’ve watched McLemore this season, you’ve seen him blossom as a scorer and leader for Kansas. You probably didn’t know he has an older brother in a maximum-security prison. You probably also didn’t know his older brother missed McLemore’s first college basketball game and might not ever get to see him play. The freshman wouldn’t expand on how his brother got to prison five years ago, and it’s also unclear how long he’ll be there, but the KU freshman was able to make a visit during the Christmas holiday. This has been McLemore’s life throughout most of his adolescence, and it’s something to think about the next time you see him step on the court at Allen Fieldhouse.
  3. During each of Kansas State‘s televised games, announcers have repeatedly mentioned Bruce Weber‘s motion offense and how it will take time for his new team to adjust to his philosophy. Unlike most of what comes out of commentators’ mouths, they’re right on this one. Weber is famous for his fine-tuned motion offense, and it’s more strict than what Frank Martin required on the offensive end. Defensively, though, nothing has changed. This team still needs to defend to win. As Weber puts it, “We have to guard. We’re good at it. We showed last week, if we can play at the right level, we can be OK offensively enough to win.”
  4. It’s been very difficult to see the downfall of Royce White after such a marvelous season with Iowa State in 2011-12. White’s issues with the Houston Rockets have been extensively publicized, and now there’s a new chapter: White has declined to play for the Rocket’s D-League team, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. Nobody’s quite sure where he’ll go from here, but White claims the organization will not do enough to accommodate his mental health issues. He issued a statement as well, explaining his stance and calling information released by the Rockets’ “misleading” and, at times, “totally inaccurate.”
  5. Upon hearing that former Oklahoma (among other schools, most famously Indiana) coach Kelvin Sampson could become a candidate for the Brooklyn Nets’ head coaching job, we have to ask the question: Do the Nets have an unlimited calling plan? Cheap shot. We know. Still, it’s wild to consider Sampson may get the full-time gig in Brooklyn after impermissible phone calls landed him in hot water with the NCAA in 2008. He’s actually under a “show-cause” penalty until 2013, which means he can’t get back into the college game until next year. So why not coach the pros? He already coached on an interim basis for 13 games this season during the absence of Kevin McHale, finishing a modest 7-6.
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Arizona Week: Q&A With Pachoops’ Adam Butler

Posted by AMurawa on June 29th, 2012

As we head toward closing out our coverage of the Arizona basketball program in our third of a summer-long series of in-depth looks at Pac-12 schools, we’re inviting Adam Butler of Pachoops back in to give us his thoughts on the big questions facing the Wildcats in 2012-13. Adam gave us a hand yesterday with our Burning Question of the week, and we hope to have him back from time to time to add his unique perspective. Without further ado, here’s what we came up with:

RTC: Let’s dig right in here Adam, starting from the top of the program. So, in 29 seasons since Lute Olson took over the Wildcat program, the team has missed the NCAA Tournament exactly three times: Olson’s first year, and then two of the three years under current head coach Sean Miller. Yet, it seems there is a confidence around the program that not only do they have the right coach, but that big things are on the verge of happening again in Tucson. Do you hold that view as well? And why or why not?

Sean Miller, Arizona

Arizona Has Missed The NCAA Tournament In Two Of Sean Miller’s Three Seasons In The Desert, But Arizona Fans Still Have Faith In Their Head Coach (AP Photo)

AB: Oh the Lute years were sweet. Arizona was no worse than a five-seed for 16 straight tournaments. Do you realize how awful March 2010 was for me? I literally fled the country. But I’ve digressed. Yes, I think Sean Miller is on the verge of very big things. He’s a phenomenal coach and has already demonstrated such in very short order. He took a bare cupboard and turned that into an Elite Eight; and before we get too far down the road talking about how that 2009 class fell into his lap, it did fall into his lap and those kids could’ve gone anywhere. But they chose Miller for a reason. And my impression of that reason is that he’s piecing together a very special something in the desert. I like to use Indiana’s rebuilding as a barometer and if you look at where they are following Kelvin Sampson bottoming them out, Tom Crean is in year five with the top team in the country in the preseason. Last season – year four – was their first taste of big success again. Arizona has essentially followed the same trajectory (2010-11 was a glorious anomaly), and finds itself with a very sound roster here in Miller year four and project to have a filthy year five. Here, let me pass you the Kool-Aid.

RTC: While the 2012-13 version of the Wildcats will have five returnees from last season, all of whom should get some run, it is a group of four highly touted freshmen and incoming transfer Mark Lyons who give the program the most cause for optimism. Let’s start with Lyons. He’s not a true point, is more of a shoot-first guy and his most recent head coach, Chris Mack, didn’t seem all that sad to see him transfer. Can he really be the type of point guard to help meld together some talented returnees with a frontcourt-heavy freshman class?

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Pac-12 Morning Five: 05.25.12 Edition

Posted by AMurawa on May 25th, 2012

  1. Money was a big story in the Pac-12 this week. First and foremost, USA Today unveiled an estimate of the worth of the Pac-12 television deals this week. Navigate Research, a Chicago-based firm that has done multimedia rights valuations for other schools and conferences figures that all told, between the conference’s deals with ESPN and Fox and their ready-to-launch Pac-12 Network, each school in the conference should expect upwards of $30 million a year over the life of their 12-year agreement. About $21 million per school is guaranteed by the deal with ESPN and Fox, with the remainder of the total based on the success of the new conference networks. While the Big Ten Network generated $79.2 million worth of profit in 2011, they have to split those profits with Fox, their partner in that venture, while the Pac-12 will own their network outright.
  2. Based on that kind of income, it is easy to see why Larry Scott earned almost $1.9 million in salary and bonuses in his first full year as Pac-12 commissioner. That figure makes Scott the highest paid conference commissioner in the land and means that he earned more than three times the compensation of previous Pac-12 commissioner Tom Hansen in his final full year. Given the wonders that Scott has done with the Pac-12’s finances, image and future prospects, I would guess that most Pac-12 fans see this as money well spent for the conference.
  3. Former UCLA forward Reeves Nelson has hired a lawyer and intends to sue Sports Illustrated and writer George Dohrmann for $10 million, claiming the article published by the magazine in March was guilty of defamation, false light and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The lawsuit claims that many of the stories in the article about Nelson were either false or drastically overstated. The lawsuit includes statements from 18 current or former players at UCLA that refute anecdotes in the article. For instance, former Bruin player Tyler Honeycutt states that the memorable tale of Nelson urinating on his clothes and bed was completely false, while recent UCLA graduate Tyler Trapani refutes the story about Nelson stepping on his chest during a practice drill. Bruin transfer and recent New Mexico big man Drew Gordon denies the claim that Nelson gave Gordon a black eye during a fight (and even denies ever having a fight with Nelson), while Alex Schrempf claims that the story that Nelson purposely in injured him by intentionally hacking him from behind is false as well. Seems like this is about the get very, very interesting as Dorhmann and SI attempt to defend themselves against this lawsuit.
  4. Washington State’s coaching staff is back at full strength again, as head coach Ken Bone hired Ray Lopes to take Jeff Hironaka’s spot on the bench. Hironaka was reassigned (read: demoted) to director of player development , and Lopes, who was most recently an assistant at Idaho, will fill his spot. Lopes is no stranger to Pullman, having coached under Kelvin Sampson on the Palouse in 1993-94, before following Sampson to Oklahoma before winding up as a head coach at Fresno State for a three-year stint. However, at both of those stops, Lopes ran afoul of the NCAA, first getting mixed up in the impermissible phone call saga with Sampson at Oklahoma, then continuing the practice in Fresno, eventually winding up with a three-year show-cause penalty for 457 impermissible phone calls while at Fresno State.
  5. Finally, after plenty of speculation that this would come to pass, Colorado redshirt sophomore point guard Shannon Sharpe will be transferring out of the program in order to play closer to his home in southern California. Sharpe’s career at Colorado goes down as a disappointment, after injuring his knee in his first practice with the Buffaloes. All told, he scored 99 points in just a hair over 600 minutes in his career in Boulder. He will have a year of eligibility remaining when he plays again at a lower-tier school (Big West schools like Cal State Fullerton or UC Irvine or perhaps Loyola Marymount or Pepperdine of the WCC would look like good landing spots where he could make an impact), although there is a possibility that he could apply for a waiver on having to sit out a year since both of his parents died of heart failure while he was in high school and he is returning home to take care of the family home.
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20 Questions: Is Indiana Slowly Getting Over the Hump?

Posted by rtmsf on November 10th, 2011

I. Renko is an RTC columnist.

Question: Is Indiana Slowly Getting Over The Hump?

Indiana has long been considered a college basketball “blueblood,” one of the top six programs in the sport’s history.  But over the past 15 years, its hold on that distinction has become increasingly tenuous.  Since 1994, the Hoosiers have advanced past the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament just once, during a surprising run as a #5 seed to the 2002 national championship game.  That one shining moment aside, the last decade and a half has seen one disappointment after another :

  • The faded glory of the latter Bobby Knight years, which, by the time of his controversial departure in 2000, were distinguished mostly by NCAA Tournament flameouts and an exodus of key transfers.
  • The tumultuous tenure of Mike Davis, who, despite some early signs of turning things around, proved to be in over his head for a job with the pressure and expectations that Indiana brought.
  • The initial promise of the Kelvin Sampson era which soon imploded in a recruiting scandal that was a humiliating blow for a program that had long prided itself on doing things the right way.

Is Tom Crean Two Years Away From Competing at a High Level?

Which brings us to the Tom Crean era.  It is difficult to overstate the depths to which the Sampson saga plunged the Indiana program.  Crean inherited zero scholarship players in his first year at the helm.  As a result, Indiana fans, though no stranger to high expectations, have given Crean a long leash as he has worked on a multi-year rebuilding project.

So far, Crean has done just about everything right off the court.  He has embraced Indiana’s traditions and fan base, making them the centerpiece of his recruiting pitches.  He has been a vocal and outgoing representative of the men’s basketball program and university.  He and his family have immersed themselves in the campus community.  He has built and rejuvenated in-state recruiting networks to take advantage of Indiana’s tremendous talent base.  He has recruited high-character kids who represent the school well.  For all these reasons, Crean remains popular with the fan base.

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Morning Five: 10.28.11 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on October 28th, 2011

  1. Coming into this season we figured that Mark Turgeon was going to have a difficult time with a team that lacked a solid inside presence to the degree that there was quite a bit of speculation that he might play four guards. Yesterday he lost one of those guards for a significant part of the season when Pe’Shon Howard broke a bone in his left foot and is expected to be out for up to 3 months recovering. Howard’s injury leaves Maryland with just seven healthy scholarship players and to be honest those seven are not that good, which means that this could be a very rough start for Turgeon even if Howard comes back midway through ACC play.
  2. When the NCAA announced that it would be adopting an APR minimum of 930 (two-year average) or 900 (four-year average) for inclusion in the 2013 NCAA Tournament quite a few writers immediately noticed that defending national champion Connecticut probably would not be eligible. This was based on the assumption that the school would not be able to achieve a two-year average over 930 between the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons after it scored 826 in 2009-10, which would bring the school’s average down enough that even a reported unofficial 975 in 2010-11 would only get them up to 900.5 for two years and 888.5 for four years. It turns out that the decision may be more complex. Essentially what it boils down to is that in February the NCAA will have another series of meetings to decide whether to use scores from those years or 2010-11 and 2011-12 for inclusion in the 2013 NCAA Tournament. If they were to do the latter, they would have to move up the release of APR scores from the traditional date of May. If they stick with the current measurement, then the Huskies and other programs in a similar situation would have to rely on an appeals process or hope the NCAA creates a waiver. We would say stay tuned, but there is no way that the NCAA would risk losing a school like UConn to a new rule when the Huskies could very well be playing for a three-peat at that point.
  3. The NCAA announced another interesting policy change yesterday, but this was involves recruiting. The major change is that coaches can call or send text messages to recruits as much as they want. It also allows increased messaging on social networks and changes the recruiting periods. As nearly everybody on Twitter noted yesterday, it is somewhat amusing that Kelvin Sampson was essentially kicked out of college basketball for something that is legal just a few years later making him a pioneer of sorts.
  4. We would  like to send along our best wishes to Billy Kennedy, who revealed that he was diagnosed with early stage Parkinson’s disease in a statement he released through Texas A&M. Kennedy had taken a leave of absence earlier this month to recover from what can best be described as fatigue and other non-specific symptoms. During that time he was seen by physicians, who diagnosed him with Parkinson’s disease. We will not get into the effect this will have on the Aggies (that can come later) other than to note that Kennedy will be taking an extended leave of absence to attend to his health, which is certainly more important than basketball. We also will not delve into the progression and treatment of Parkinson’s disease other than to note that there are several medications and treatments that are available, which should hopefully help Kennedy deal with the condition.
  5. Uber-recruit Mitch McGary has narrowed his list down to Duke, Florida, and Michigan after taking Maryland and North Carolina off his list and will commit to one of those three schools next week according to his blog post on ESPN.com. Most of the speculation we have heard so far is about Duke or Michigan and we are not sure how UF fits in here, but they have obviously done something to attract McGary’s attention. At any rate, you can expect Twitter to explode next week when he makes his announcement particularly if he decides to become a Blue Devil as he may very quickly become Public Enemy #1 for the rest of the college basketball world.
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Big 12 Morning Five: 10.19.11 Edition

Posted by dnspewak on October 19th, 2011

  1. Looks like Missouri‘s “inevitable” move to the SEC may not materialize after all. Just two days after an MU official told the New York Times the school would certainly apply for membership, chancellor Brady Deaton denied the report, saying the topic might not even be on the table during this week’s Board of Curators meetings in Kansas City. If there’s one thing we can take away from this, it’s that our brain hurts. One day, an official says MU’s gone; the next day, the top dog in charge says they’re not making a decision anytime soon. Within 48 hours, the tone has entirely changed, which begs the question: who is this anonymous official that spoke to the Times?
  2. Realignment will probably be the heavy topic at Big 12 Media Days, which begins today and runs through Thursday. It’ll be interesting to hear how the coaches and players respond to all the talk, and perhaps we’ll even hear a few passionate sound bites about just how sick everybody is of the discussion. As far as basketball goes, though, expect a lot of questions fired at Kansas coach Bill Self about how to defend his Big 12 title after losing the bulk of his team. Scott Drew of Baylor could also hear the tough questions about how to avoid a collapse like last season. With four new coaches in the league, that angle should also get hit hard by the writers over the next few days.
  3. A little news from a former Big 12 guy: shockingly, Bob Knight appears to have committed a recruiting violation by making illegal calls on behalf of his son Pat Knight at Lamar. This is independent of the Big 12 conference right now, of course, but the Knight family never had one ounce of accusations against them during their era at Texas Tech. Apparently, non-university officials cannot make contacts with recruits unless they’re listed as a special exemption, but Knight spoke to a few players “illegally.” If the Knight name weren’t attached to this story, it would have never hit print. But Pat and Bob Knight have star power, so they’ll have to deal with the minor but embarrassing consequences of this violation.
  4. Oklahoma better have gotten its money’s worth. The Associated Press reported that an internal investigation cost $50,000, which marked the second investigation at the school during the last five years. The school was looking into the allegations about illegal payments surrounding former coach Jeff Capel‘s program, and the situation is murky because Kelvin Sampson had already put the school on probation. This investigation isn’t as pricey as Ohio State‘s once was — that one cost a bit shy of a million dollars — bit it could result in major NCAA violations. Oklahoma has offered to take away a scholarship, vacate wins and add probation, but that might not be enough for the NCAA. After all, it wants to vacate a 13-win season in 2009-10. The humanity!
  5. Let’s give some well wishes to Oklahoma State freshman Cezar Guerrero. He suffered an injury in practice Monday, which landed him in the hospital. He’s out though, now, having been released Tuesday after a spinal cord scare. The Oklahoman says team officials would not disclose the injury at first, but it now looks like Guerrero suffered a pretty serious-looking injury. A helicopter was needed to transport him to the hospital, which is always a scary sign. The team expects him to make a full recovery, although nobody’s got any idea when he’ll see the basketball court again.
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