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yoco :: College Basketball
(a sports weblog) news and commentary on men's college basketball and the ncaa tournament

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Saturday, May 15, 2004

PR 101

Darren Brooks declared for the NBA Draft.

I'd argue doing so is a wise move for the Missouri Valley Conference player of the year -- provided he returns for his senior season.

Declaring puts him on the map. Now that the NBA scouts have taken a look and termed him a potential pro player, they'll be sure to keep tabs on the Saluki leader.

A Winn-er?

Mike DeCourcy is no fan of Trevor Ariza's decision to declare. Neither am I. Pourquoi?

Ariza is a 6-7 forward who made 23.7 percent of his 3-pointers. He ranked third in scoring on a team that lost 17 games. He has not demonstrated any of the qualities that are helpful for an NBA small forward: long-range shooting, the ability to get off a screen and shoot, the skill to create some space with a dribble.

So where will he end up? CNN/SI's Luke Winn and I review the young man's options:

Trevor Ariza didn't leave for the NBA. He left for the NBDL.

Or Turkey. Or Italy. Or Spain. Or Israel.


Excellent point... but at least for now, there's a **possibility** that Ariza could be picked as a late second-rounder, so I've gotta say NBA. Turkey is a solid bet, though; maybe he and Dijon Thompson can learn a few things from Khalid El-Amin and Trajan Langdon over there.

Thanks for writing, Luke

Props to Luke for kindly writing back.

Taj McDavid Award

The winner of this year's Taj McDavid Award is Robert Rothbart. Let's hope he wisens up and finds himself at Indiana in the fall.

Bad Idea

Averaging 11.6 ppg for Illinois, then declaring for the NBA Draft.

Without telling Coach Weber.

Roger Powell should go back to school. Period.

Update: Mike DeCourcy minces no words:

He will play the game for money someday, but it probably won't be on this continent. Powell would be better served enrolling himself in some foreign languages classes than wasting his time with this.

Friday, May 14, 2004

Point / Counter-Point

Mike DeCourcy thinks Missouri should fire Quin Snyder. Gregg Doyel thinks Snyder should stay. Who's right?

They both might be. Because neither's opinion is as absolute as I earlier suggested. Doyel argues Missouri's violations were not as egregious as initially suspected.

After investigating the Missouri Tigers men's basketball program for months, the most damaging bit of evidence the NCAA could produce was a phone bill?

He never once calls for Snyder to coach next year's club -- though a reasonable reader assumes it is Doyel's unstated assumption. DeCourcy doesn't disagree. He doesn't argue the NCAA's findings were significant. Rather he believes the mere cloud of uncertainty - and untruthfulness - surrounding Missouri for the past 18 months is fair grounds for dismissal of a mediocre coach.

Where Snyder as successfull as Bob Huggins, DeCourcy would keep him on. But given Quin's inability to develop players (Arthur Johnson, Rickey Paulding and Jimmy McKinney) or field Big 12 regular season title contenders, DeCourcy wants him gone. In other words:

Snyder might own coaching talent, but he has not presented enough evidence to counter the weight of his program's failures.

Standing Up for What You Believe In

Dukie V is a popular commentator because, among other reasons, he's a suck-up. As punditry goes, he takes the easy way out. He compliments players, coaches and administrators left and right, only occasionally taking the time to criticize a poor decision or call out unsportsmanlike conduct. Indeed, were it not for his pre-draft diatribes about staying in school, he'd hardly ever be on record as critiquing a player or taking an unpopular position.


Gregg Doyel, on the other hand, calls it like he sees it. A recent column defends the less-than-popular notion that ex-Kansas center David Padgett should be free to transfer anywhere he wants -- including North Carolina.

Doyel's case is clear: Padgett put in his time. He didn't fit in at Kansas (though he wishes the Jayhawks the best). Public relations aside, there is no reason he should not be able to learn from Roy Williams at North Carolina.

Sure, such a position won't win Doyel any friends in the coaching profession. Roy won't notice (or acknowledge noticing) the column. Bill Self might -- and could subsequently commit to being less than forthcoming about gossip, recruits and the like in his next interview with Doyel.

But such is the life of a columnist who writes what he believes. In my mind, more power to him.

Not a bad gig, eh?

As reported by Dean Juipe of the Las Vegas Sun:

Former, unloved UNLV basketball coach Rollie Massimino is living in Tequesta, Fla., and allegedly playing 27 holes of golf a day off the $1.9-million severance he received from the school. He's 69 and suffered a stroke last year, but, apparently, he's well enough to live a life of leisure at UNLV's expense.

Living Large in Lawrence

As reported by Greg Hansen in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

The Kansas Jayhawks this year leased a Boeing 737 for use on basketball trips. It's the same plane nine NHL and four NBA teams use for travel. All seats are first class. Every overhead bin has a DVD player. The Jayhawks avoid those annoying airport check-in and security delays by flying out of a private-planes-only airport.

Come On, Now

Play nice.

Does Rep. Spencer Bachus, Republican from Alabama, really believe that the creation of a congressional panel to probe NCAA oversight of college sports will rid Auburn basketball of its problems? Or solve the organization's problems?

I'm as big a believer in reforming the NCAA as the next guy. But the association is just that -- an association of its members.

If Alabama (football), Auburn (basketball) or others have a problem with college sports' governing body, they ought to take it up internally.

Because six months away from the election, you can be sure our congressmen and women won't propose the necessary changes.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Malik Hairston, Part III: All's Fair in Love and War?

Oh, Andy. Why rain on Oregon's parade?

Oregon landed Malik Hairston on Wednesday after he landed in Eugene via a private jet. And while the Ducks secured their highest profile recruit since getting Luke Ridnour and Luke Jackson, they also fell prey to a trend that is likely going to end soon. Private plane trips for recruiting visits are on the docket to be discussed when a recruiting committee meets with the NCAA next week in Chicago. Oregon has run a clean program and flying Hairston from Detroit to Eugene isn't against the rules. But it sends message that Hairston is royalty. Oregon says it had a short 24-hour window to get Hairston in for a recruiting visit April 23-24. So, it did something it had done only one other time in eight years and that was order up a private jet. According to Flightcraft, the company used, a roundtrip Detroit-Eugene chartered service would run $21,000 (a figure not disputed by Oregon). A Lincoln Town Car picked up Hairston, another fact not argued by the staff. Hairston flew commercial to his other visits, although plenty of other schools do this. The irony is that Oregon's Ernie Kent is against private planes for recruits and he's one of the coaches pushing to get rid of the practice.

Wow. I find it grotesque-ironic-terrible-unfortunate-etc that a team can pay $21,000 to fly a recruit in for a campus visit, but not $1,000 to bus his parents in to see a game. Or to feed his younger sister. Or buy medicine for his grandparents (and the emotionally-appealing and only quasi-relevant examples could go on and on)...

That being said, you play within the rules. And you play to win the game. Oregon's tactics may have been aggressive, but they were not illegal. Congrats to the Ducks on picking up a great player.

Malik Hairston, Part II: They Said It

"I want to Carmeloize Oregon."
-- Ducks' signee Malik Hairston

Malik Hairston, Part I: The Mighty Ducks

(Sorry, I couldn't resist).

Malik Hairston's decision to matriculate at Oregon has the folks in Eugene counting their lucky stars. Bob at the Ducks Blog goes nuts:

Ernie lands the biggest recruit in Oregon history. Malik's a Duck.
The biggest signing in the history of Oregon basketball.
Not even close. Rinour? Great. Jones, Ballard, Lee, Anthony Taylor, Rassmussen, Brooks and Luke Jackson? All terrific signings. This one takes it to a whole 'nother level. Seriously. This kid can flat out ball. The Number 7 overall rated player in the nation. Maybe the best player 'not' going straight to the NBA. Hairston's likely to only stick around for a year or two. But he could have a phenomenal impact on the Ducks ability to raise the profile of the entire program.

Hard to disagree with Bob's analysis or frown upon his enthusiasm. Malik was a McDonald’s High School All American. A 6’6 shooting guard, he averaged 22 points per game in his senior year at Detroit's Renaissance High School. He's a skilled perimeter player who can contribute on offense and on defense, as a shooter or a slasher, and as a scorer or a passer. Plus, he's got the intangibles. Scouts say he has "a passion and feel for the game."

He joins an already impressive group of recruits. Marty Leunen, Chamberlain Oguchi, Bryce Taylor and junior college transfer Kenny Love round out a crew that is sure to propel Oregon into the NCAA.

Conversely, how would you feel if you had just lost the Hairston sweepstakes? Columnist Chuck Woodling captures the mood in Lawrence, Kansas.


To Gregg Doyel. He's been quite prolific over at cbs.sportsline.com.

After reviewing ESPN.com, CNNSI.com, FOXSPORTS.com, and CBS.SPORTSLINE.com, I can say that Doyel's work rivals his rivals, perhaps besting the best.

My thoughts on his writing to come, tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004


57 violations later, Quin Snyder still has a job.

The fall guys? Assistants Lane Odom and Tony Harvey.


Student Newspapers

Hey, I wrote for Washington University's Student Life while in school.

So why not recognize an insightful piece of collegiate journalism when I see it? The Daily Orange writes about Warrick's decision to return to the 'Cuse...

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Tubby, Live and Uncut

Unlike George W. Bush, Tubby holds frequent press conferences. You gotta love him:

On if expectations will be higher next year because of the freshman class
Expectations never change. Expectations have always been the same in my book every year. Our expectations have always been to win the SEC, which we have done a pretty good job of, and go as deep as we can in the NCAA Tournament. Nobody is guaranteed anything – championships, national championships, Final Fours… We need to get to the Final Four, and I am getting antsy about not being there for the last couple years especially. I don’t think we have ever reached all our expectations except in ’98.

Ain't that the truth. I doubt the Wildcats will win the NCAA Tournament this upcoming season. But with the recruiting class they just inked, another championship shouldn't be too far away.

Worth the Wait

Andy Katz gives us hope, letting us know what we have to look forward to next year.

Back for more: Wayne Simien, Kansas. Raymond Felton and Rashad McCants, North Carolina. Ronny Turiaf, Gonzaga. Hakim Warrick, Jr., Syracuse. Julius Hodge, N.C. State. Chris Paul, Wake Forest. Bracey Wright, Indiana. And on and on.

Is this really a surprise? Part II

A Fresno State basketball player in trouble with the law? No...Couldn't be...

Tark: Not Hall of Fame worthy.

Is this really a surprise?

Missouri cheated.

Another reason to fire Quin Snyder?


Zigs and Zags his way back to Spokane.

Mark Few will sure be happy to have Turiaf back at Gonzaga for his senior season.

Monday, May 10, 2004

They Said It

"Anybody that wants to say that race car drivers aren't athletes needs to come see me. I played four years of college basketball, and thank you, John Thompson. These guys did a great job on pit road. The driver had to apologize to them because he actually got a little bit tired. I burned myself up a little bit, but it's part of the sport."

-- Brendan Gaughan, rookie driver and a former Georgetown University basketball player, after his career-best sixth-place finish in the 97-degree temperature at the California Speedway.

"It does hurt the recruiting process, but it's not the case that I have one year left. People are listening to everybody but me."

-- Henry Bibby, University of Southern California basketball coach, on having 2 years left on his contract, not 1 that other coaches are claiming

Sunday, May 09, 2004

A Nice Tradition, no?

Who knew?

[Cliff] Hawkins and other outgoing [University of Kentucky] 'Cats have been taking a tour around the state playing in high school gyms for money. It's an annual event, mainly for those departing Wildcats who aren't locks for the first round of the NBA draft.

Sparks will Fly

According to Andy Katz, point guard Patrick Sparks will be among this year's impact transfers after leaving Western Kentucky for Kentucky.

As a sophomore, the first-team all-Sun Belt guard led the Hilltoppers to the NCAA Tournament. As a junior, he hopes to direct the Wildcat offense, passing to incoming freshmen All-Americans Joe Crawford and Robert Morris as well as returning forward Chuck Hayes and wing Kelenna Azubuike. Yes, Tubby's crew will be young this season. But with Sparks as an experienced and steadying hand, I'm expecting the 'Cats to contend for the SEC title.

Another bonus for Sparks: a sense of humor.

"Right now, everybody loves me at Kentucky. But that's because I haven't turned the ball over yet," Sparks joked. "That can all change with one game. There's no other place like this. This is like the New York Yankees in terms of the media attention."