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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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Friday, June 11, 2004

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

My read on Andy Katz's latest draft update.

The Good: Ryan Gomes will "most likely" be at Providence in the fall.

The Bad: Nate Robinson won't be back at Washington for his junior season. Even as a mid-second rounder, he'd rather go to the NBA. Bad call. Standing 5'7" tall, he won't last very long in the league.

The Ugly: Martin Iti is also leaning towards staying in the draft. He averaged six points last year, as a freshman for Charlotte.


They Said It

"The NCAA is so mad at Kentucky, they're going to give Cleveland State two more years' probation."
-- Jerry Tarkanian


setting a good example

Cincinnati's Bob Huggins was charged with a DUI on Tuesday night. Fess up if you didn't see this one coming.


Thursday, June 10, 2004

The Law of Diminishing Recruits

Gregg Doyel adds his take to the emerging consensus about Kansas' exceptional recruiting haul which includes high school seniors Alex Galindo and C.J. Giles and juniors Mario Chalmers and Micah Downs. All bona-fide studs.

At column's end, Doyel posits a scary thought.

What's next -- a commitment from the class of 2005's best power forward?

Well ...

Tyler Hansbrough, the 6-9 forward from Poplar Bluff, Mo., is choosing among Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina. If Hansbrough picks the Jayhawks -- and isn't everyone these days? -- Self will be bigger in Kansas than Clinton, Dole, President Bush and Santa Claus.

He sure would. But without knowing a single fact about Tyler Hansbrough, I find it hard to believe he'll wind up in Lawrence. Why?

For high-level programs, The Law of Diminishing Recruits.

Elite players want playing time. Current or already signed stars take playing time. Therefore, with each additional phenom signed, it becomes more difficult to ink the next.

Note: The law does not appear to apply to Duke and, several years back, did not seem to apply to Rick Pitino's University of Kentucky Wildcats.

Second Note: The opposite is true for lower-level programs. A star recruits attracts others...


Musings

On the NBA Draft.

Kirk Snyder isn't worth a lottery pick for two reasons. First, Danny Ainge is a fan. Second, he's not much of an outside shooter...Four seasons at Duke didn't cost Chris Duhon a spot in the first round. Chris Duhon's only slightly above average play over four seasons at Duke cost Chris Duhon a spot in the first round...At least two and as many as four unpronounceables will be selected in the lottery because NBA coaches can't teach size...Looking for a player who will have an immediate impact, the Charlotte Bobcats will refrain from drafting high school phenom Shaun Livingston. Pundits will praise the expansion franchise after the draft, only to ridicule the organization three or four years down the line, when Livingston is an All-Star...If Lawrence Roberts withdraws from the draft, the SEC won't have a player selected in the first round. No surprise. Save Tubby, the NCAA's top coaches are in other leagues...Of the participants at the NBA's pre-draft camp in Chicago, only seven players may yet return to college. Delonte West won't receive a guarantee that he'll be picked in the first round and will return to lead St. Joe's. Lawrence Roberts may or may not be given a guarantee. Either way, he'll follow his heart and his agent's advice and stay in the draft. Ryan Gomes, Brandon Bass, Nate Robinson, Martin Iti, and Dijon Thompson won't hear anything they don't already know -- they're not first round picks. Still, don't be surprised if one of the five ignores common sense and fails to return to school...For all its post-season failings, the PAC-10 will again produce several solid NBA first-rounders. One of whom, Josh Childress, will impress Bill Simmons with a suit that actually fits.


Blasphemy

I vote Adrian Wojnarowski off the ESPN island.

With a three-year extension on the table at Texas Tech, with his loyalty to AD Gerald Myers, this is a long-shot, but the rest of the sport should be rooting for it. Because NCAA basketball is sick. It's dying. Worse, it's putting people to sleep. The players are gone, one in the rising generation of coaches is just like the next in the assembly line, and college basketball could do worse than having Knight in the chase for a national championship again.

College basketball is alive and well.


The Wolverines

ESPN just released the schedule for the ACC-Big 10 Challenge.

Among the games, a visit by Michigan to Georgia Tech. The December 2nd game is a huge opportunity for the Wolverines. An upset would affirm Michigan's return to prominence.


From Bad to Worse

At Ohio State. Maybe Jim O'Brien won't be available to coach next year...

Blatant and therefore half-witted actions, if you ask me.


Wednesday, June 09, 2004

"UNC's Youth Movement" -- ???

Silly ESPN. Updating webpages is for kids...


Tuesday, June 08, 2004

ahem...Rob Oller

I admired Jim O'Brien when he coached at Boston College. Successful, down to earth and principled. His Eagles were a real class act. A pleasure to watch and support.

I was therefore surprised to learn that this morning Ohio State fired head coach Jim O'Brien, alleging the program committed NCAA violations under his watch.

Five years ago, Ohio State gave Aleksandar Radojevic, a Serbian recruit, several thousand dollars. At the time Radojevic's family was living abroad and, according to O'Brien, was in "dire financial straits."

Although Radojevic ended up elsewhere, Ohio State athletic director Andy Geiger recently discovered the payment. While investigating the incident, Geiger asked O'Brien whether he knew the action violated NCAA rules. O'Brien admitted that he did.

As a result, Geiger today fired the coach who had led the Buckeyes to the Final Four in 1999 and two Big Ten regular-season co-championships in 2000 and 2002.

A sad story, I must say.

Which raises questions about a column sports reporter Rob Oller wrote for the Columbus Dispatch in May. At the time, McDonald's All-American Malik Hairston has just chosen Oregon over Ohio State and five other schools.

According to Oller (and Andy Katz), Hairston's decision may have been influenced by the private jet the Ducks employed (to the tune of $21,000) to fly the Detroit prospect out to Eugene for an official visit. Take it away, Rob:

That's the kind of quasi-ethical stuff that drives an oldschool coach like O'Brien nuts, which is why he has been loathe to play the recruiting game that centers on favors and perks. Come to school. Get an education. Play ball.

The alternative is repulsive to men of integrity -- with good reason. When Missouri bounced OSU from the 2002 NCAA Tournament, critics, including this one, questioned how the Tigers could recruit blue-chip talent but O'Brien couldn't, or wouldn't.

Fast forward to this week, when the NCAA determined that Missouri violated multiple rules between 1999 and 2003. The infractions included the alleged payment of players, impermissible contact with recruits and free meals to AAU coaches.

Give me character over shady characters every time.

If only it were that simple. Rob continues:

For O'Brien, missing out on Hairston has to reinforce the damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't nature of recruiting. Go after a big name but fail to land him and you're labeled a coach who can't recruit. Choose to refrain from playing the schmooze game and they say you won't recruit.

It's enough to make a coach go gray.

Or go wrong?

I'm inclined to feel bad for O'Brien. His transgression might have been one of compassion rather than competition. Radojevic comes from a war-torn part of Europe and neither you nor I know much about his family's condition. That being said, paying a recruit is a violation. Flying a recruit in for a visit is not.

Considerations of moral equivalence aside for a moment, O'Brien should understand Ohio State's decision and Oller should revise his heretofore angelic view of O'Brien.

As for me? One transgression does not a venerable coaching career ruin. I've put Jim O'Brien at the top of my list to succeed Steve Lappas at the University of Massachusetts this spring.


on the hot seat

I like Pete Gillen. But if Mike DeCourcy is right and coach has only one more chance to take the University of Virginia to the NCAA Tournament, Gillen will be looking for a job this spring.

Wake Forest, Maryland, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Duke and N.C. State should all be better than the Cavaliers -- and I don't expect Selection Sunday to please seven ACC teams.


Monday, June 07, 2004

four letter word

In his latest column on the NBA Draft, Gregg Doyel writes, "Danny Ainge is in love with Oregon SF Luke Jackson..."

If the Celtics draft Jackson, the franchise will affirm that it has yet to rid itself of "Larry Bird Syndrome," the belief that every somewhat versatile white male college basketball player between the heights of 6'8" and 6'10" has the potential to be the next Larry Bird. UGH.


Top Five Backcourts

In more or less a particular order and with a healthy assist from Ben Hansen.

-- Georgia Tech. Jarrett Jack, BJ Elder, & Will Bynum.
-- Kansas. Aaron Miles, Keith Langford, & Michael Lee.
-- Wake Forest. Chris Paul, Justin Gray, & Taron Downey.
-- Illinois. Dee Brown, Deron Williams, & Luther Head.
-- North Carolina. Raymond Felton, Rashad McCants, & Melvin Scott.


Sunday, June 06, 2004

David Padgett

There are impact transfers. And then there are impact transfers.

According to the Los Angeles Daily News, the 6-11 Kansas transfer is considering UCLA and Louisville and could make his decision as early as this week.


Around the Blogs

-- The Hoops Junkie asks "Does It Really Matter Who Coaches Golden State?" Tim argues Mike Montgomery was hired because the Warriors brain trust, having reviewed his body of work at Stanford, believes he’s the type of coach that can make something out of nothing.

-- Over at the Bulls Blog, Matt considers whether or not Chicago will use the third pick in the NBA Draft to take Duke's Luol Deng. Citing Chad Ford, he notes that both Andre Iguodala and Josh Childress have seen their stock rise. But while I'm an Arizona fan through and through and a PAC-10 enthusiast, Deng is a superior NBA prospect. Which may, of course, be more reason for Matt to fear that the Bulls will draft Childress in his place...

-- Dave Sez Dave Odom is correct. SEC clubs break the rules. In other words, Billy Donovan.

-- After having visited College Ball and been inspired to re-start Crooked Head, Andy has again gone silent. His last post revisits the age-old question of whether the NCAA ought to pay "student-athletes."

-- Chris at Chaz Sports has gone up with his Mock NBA Draft. I realize I'm going against the grain, but I disagree with his assessment that the Charlotte Bobcats will draft high schooler Shaun Livingston. Too big a risk for an expansion franchise. Deng if he drops, Iguodala is he's still available, or Childress if he rises. But not Livingston.

-- Skip Sauer, the Sports Economist, cites a study by Harvard Law School visiting researcher Michael McCann that found that "players who enter the NBA directly from high school average more points, more rebounds, and more assists than the average NBA player." The Harvard Gazette summarizes McCann's conclusions. Or you can read the entirety of McCann's review of the 29 high school players who declared for the NBA draft and signed with agents between 1975 and 2003. I'll have more on McCann's study in a subsequent post.

-- At Heels, Sox & Steelers, Ryan discusses the adjustments coaches are considering in light of the ever-greater number of high school players declaring for the NBA Draft. Interestingly, he too gives primacy to American high schoolers, all but ignoring the increased focus on international talent.

-- Trey and the Husky Blog note that Jim Calhoun, Dean Smith, and John Wooden were among the signees of a letter to Rep. Tom Osborne, R-Neb., calling for a ban on alcohol advertising for NCAA sports.