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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, June 05, 2004

They Said It

"Fifteen years ago, I'd see this SEC coach and say, 'How do you get by with that?' They'd make fun. They'd say, 'Oh, I gave the guy $15,000, or we did this or that.' You never knew if it were true or not. They (SEC coaches) would laugh it off and say, 'Local rules prevail.'"
-- South Carolina basketball coach Dave Odom, formerly the head coach at Wake Forest

gotta be the shoes

The Oregonian's John Canzano rolls out the conspiracy theory (of sorts):

Telfair should be headed to Louisville to play for Rick Pitino. But he's not.

Adidas made sure of it. The sneaker company, woefully overshadowed after losing both LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony to Nike, needed to do something.

It needed Telfair.

And Telfair ended up needing Adidas because what kid in his right mind is going to turn down a six-year deal worth $1 million to $2 million annually?

You could see the deal coming. Telfair has been a regular at the Adidas ABCD summer camp. Also, his high school and summer league coach, Dwayne "Tiny" Morton, has deep Adidas ties. But all of this sneaker interference sort of makes you wonder where the marketing hype ends and the basketball player begins.

But I buy it. Telfair, a flashy point guard with great passing ability but limited shooting prowess, is headed towards the NBA rather than Louisville in large part due to the influence of Adidas -- the company's agents, camps, coaches, and money. A darn shame.

This is Big

From the Sporting News (print edition):

Things are looking better for PG Billy Edelin's return to the Syracuse program. He left the team after 17 games last season to deal with personal concerns. He still faces some hurdles in being able to return to competition, but the odds favor it. Edelin averaged 13.8 points and 5.2 assists in his abbreviated sophomore season; his presence would free Gerry McNamara to function as a scorer.

Edelin is worth a couple spots in my Top 25. With him in the lineup, the Orange become the favorite to the win the Big East and a legitimate national championship contender.

Working the lobby

Dated by three months, but a solid read nonetheless. Mike DeCourcy covers the work done by conference offices to advocate the candidacy of their teams before the NCAA Selection Committee. The gist:

Just before selection weekend, the leagues present organized material that champions the strength of their teams. A lot of this information can be found on a Ratings Percentage Index breakdown page: overall record, conference record, record against various levels of RPI teams, etc. But there also is information about injuries and suspensions that might have affected results. The committee often talks about how teams will be given breaks if injuries affected results--so long as those players are back competing effectively.

I imagined lobbying was a part of the selection process. But until I read DeCourcy's piece I had little confirmation. No longer.

Friday, June 04, 2004

Lose Lappas

Reason #328 for UMass to fire Steve Lappas: This year's "recruiting class." Two guys who probably wouldn't start at any other Division I program.

More Scheduling

News and notes, compiled from various sources:

-- Boston College will start a two-game, home-and-home series with Duquesne at the Conte Forum this fall. A gimme for the Eagles.
-- DePaul has two more games to schedule. Coach Dave Leitao is waiting on Dorell Wright. If Wright delays his NBA career, Leitao will go for bigger-name foes. But if the higher schooler stays in the draft, DePaul would opt for easier non-conference games. If I were Dave Leitao, I'd split the difference. With Conference USA's emerging strength, I'd schedule one high-quality one lower-quality opponent.
-- Oklahoma and Duke are talking about a December game in New York, at Madison Square Garden. This classic "Made for TV" game would not be a sure victory for the Dukies.
-- Richmond hosts Colorado on January 4th. The Buffaloes will lose away from home.
-- The Great Alaska Shootout will include Alabama, Alaska-Anchorage, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Utah, Wake Forest, Washington, and a team to be determined. A high-quality field, in my eyes. Alabama and Washington, both ranked in my Top 25, have the possibility of securing a marquee win (Wake Forest) or accumulating disappointing losses (Oklahoma, Utah).
-- The Las Vegas Showdown on December 18 will feature Oklahoma State playing UNLV and Georgia Tech playing a team to be determined, possibly Gonzaga. I'm sure the Zags would love the opportunity to knock off the Yellow Jackets.

if he raised a million dollars

for the Boys & Girls clubs of America, am I obligated to appreciate his commentary?

Nope. That being said, good for Dickie V.

Remember When

Billy "Fudge" Packer declared Kevin Garnett's decision to go pro "a tragedy?"

Thursday, June 03, 2004

the coalition of the willing

Greg Hansen plays pictionary:

Sometime in the 2005-06 basketball season, it's possible University of Arizona basketball coach Lute Olson will start a lineup of players from around the globe:

Nigeria's Chukwuma Okwandu at center; Mali's Mohamed Tangara at power forward; Serbia's Ivan Radenovic as a wing shooter; Puerto Rico's Jesus Verdejo at shooting guard; and Australia's Daniel Dillon at point guard.

Imagine Arizona meeting Kentucky in the '06 Final Four. UK's starting lineup that day might include 7-foot Lukasz Obrzut of Poland; shooting guard Kelenna Azubuike of Nigeria via Great Britain; and Montreal guard Thomas Sheraf.

Wow. An intriguing scenario, no? Or evidence of a longer-term trend?

This is the future of college hoops, the beginning of an overwhelming change in the way coaches like Olson operate. In his first 20 years at Arizona, Olson had three players from other parts of the globe on the roster.

By Hansen's count, nearly half of Arizona's team will be foreign-born. In a single season, Lute will nearly double his twenty-year total.

For my money, however, American high-schoolers will remain college basketball's bread and butter. If only because they're less costly to recruit and sign and more likely to matriculate and produce. For every foreign born college star, a Christian Drejer waits in the wings.

Alternative interpretation: Bob Huggins, coming soon to a Polish juvenile detention facility near you.

Go Figure

ESPN's Chad Ford has Trevor Ariza rated higher than Ryan Gomes on his NBA Prospect depth chart.

Ariza was the second-best player on a UCLA team that went 11-17. Gomes was the team leader on a Providence team that contended for the Big East title and played in the NCAA Tournament.

Comings & Goings

Roger Powell will be back at Illinois in the fall.

On the other hand, Devin Harris is gone for good. He's hired an agent and will remain in the NBA Draft.

Both were predictable - and wise - moves.

Refuse to Play?

According to Tiger Talk, Georgia Tech just backed out of playing Memphis at the Hall of Fame Classic in Springfield, Massachusetts. I'd love to know why.


Ivan Chiriaev, the less than humble Russian teenager, withdrew from the NBA Draft.

Too bad, as the "NBA wants and needs Ivan Chiriaev." Because the young man signed with an agent, he isn't eligible to play college basketball in the United States. For now, he's off to Europe's pro leagues.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004


A couple years back, Oklahoma coach Kelvin Sampson was the favorite to succeed Lute Olson at Arizona. Sampson was given his first head coaching job by Jim Livengood, then the athletic director at Washington State -- and now the athletic director at Arizona.

Sampson has amassed quite a resume, 400 wins included, and spurned repeated overtures by Illinois (2000) and Michigan (2001), reportedly because he was waiting on Olson. But today Gregg Doyel has assistants Josh Pastner and Jim Rosborough as the likely successors to silver-haird Lute. I wonder if this means Sampson is out of the running...

Movin' On, Movin' Up

Ryan makes the case that all parties involved in the JamesOn Curry saga will be better off now that the former prep star will find himself at Oklahoma State rather than North Carolina in the fall. I couldn't agree more.


Obvious. Luol's gone for good.


More Ray Ratto:

[Johnson's] choice was essentially unfair...to Nevada, one of the many schools that lives a nervous existence below the big fish but above the plankton. They spent 22 years watching basketball happen to other people, and as soon as it happens to them, someone comes and takes it away...Life's a bitch, you see, and then you form a search committee.

Folks, Ray gets paid. Hope you're not wondering why. (If so, read his entire column).

Blue Chips, Part Deux

The return of Nick Nolte. Starring Greg Oden as Shaquille O'Neal.

Meet the New Boss

Same as the Old Boss.

In other words, Matt has a new look for the Bulls Blog. Check it out.


To school.
To family.

Congratulations to both Mark Fox and Sean Sutton. Though while both receive worthy promotions, it is hard to see either as an adequate replacement as head coach.


Ray Ratto affirms that timing is everything:

Nevada announced Johnson's departure before Stanford announced his arrival, a subtle statement of disapproval for such high-level poaching.


Recruit. Get noticed.