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

yoco :: College Basketball has a new home! If you are not automatically redirected to http://www.yocohoops.com in 5 seconds, please click here.

Saturday, October 16, 2004



Sean May: Liar, liar, pants on fire.

bad journalism

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch blames the local sports commission for its own oversight.

As he looked at the long-range sports calendar on the front page of his Post-Dispatch sports section Friday, St. Louis Sports Commission President Frank Viverito wondered about an event that didn't make the April cut.

"I guess we have a little work to do in terms of awareness," Viverito said.

The event? The NCAA Tournament men's basketball Final Four, which will return to St. Louis for the first time since 1978 - a generation gap during which the magnitude and scope of the occasion were radically transformed.

Credit Viverito with being kind to his hometown paper.


is the sincerest form of flattery

Not Kosher

Moving from one conference to another is fine. But disrespecting your old conference on your way out the door is not. Whither sportsmanship.

At Cincinnati, a visitor walks under a Big East logo as he approaches Huggins' office. Cincinnati ran out of C-USA stationery, decided against ordering another batch and is already using Big East stationery. Marquette's media guide contains information on the Big East, and hats and T-shirts with the Big East logo will be on sale during this season's games. Louisville has the Big East logo on the front of its basketball media guide and has distributed golf shirts with the Big East logo to its athletic staff.

this is what a wildcat looks like

"I'm Ashley."

Ashley Judd, Kentucky Wildcat.

The Daily Howler

Via the Los Angeles Times.

Listen carefully: Brad Holland, the former UCLA player who coaches at the University of San Diego, got in a small dig at his alma mater. "This is my 11th year representing USD, which means I'm on my third UCLA coach," Holland said. (Jim Harrick, Steve Lavin and Ben Howland, if you're counting.)

Holland, mentioned as a candidate when Howland was hired, said he got a few phone calls from people with too much wax in their ears. "They called and said, 'Wow, that's great, you got the job.' And I said, 'No, that's Ben Howland,'" Holland said.

billy the adult?

Billy Edelin grows up here. I must admit his newfound maturity caught me off guard.

Rumor has

Sports Illustrated ready to announce Ilinois as the magazine's preseason favorite.

Friday, October 15, 2004

They Said It

"We lined up for the team picture and the coaches were bigger than the players. We should have had the guys in the back stand on chairs to make them look bigger."
-- Auburn coach Jeff Lebo

Good Health: Price


Former Amityville basketball star A.J. Price was released from the intensive care unit at Hartford Hospital Thursday and moved into a private room, 11 days after being airlifted there with a brain hemorrhage, according to family. A hospital spokesperson said Price was upgraded from critical to stable condition...

His condition has improved so much in the last 24 hours that Price bypassed traditional monitoring in a step-down room and was moved from ICU into a private room, family said. It's still unclear how long Price, a 6-2, 190-pound guard, will remain hospitalized.

"You know he's getting better because he wanted to know where his cell phone is," Inga Price said.

If I had A.J.'s number, I'd call and leave a message wishing him well.

poorly suited

Even if the NIT wins its lawsuit and the court bars the NCAA from compelling member schools to participate in its postseason tournament, does anybody really believe a team would turn down an invitation to the NCAA Tournament to the play in the NIT?

In 1970, upset with his team’s regional assignment and acting before the NCAA enacted its monopolistic requirement, Al McGuire rebuffed the NCAA’s invitation and committed his Marquette club to the postseason NIT instead.

But times have changed. The NCAA Tournament has established itself as the game’s premier postseason event. Millions of fans tune in to watch CBS’ coverage of March Madness. No athletic director today could allow their college or university to forego significant revenue and hours of free media for the sake of a coach’s ego.



Ten years later, ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale still hasn't reimbursed Cory Clouse for the cost of his textbooks...

Clouse said he tried to reach Vitale, who promised to pay for his books if he made the shot, by leaving a message at several phone numbers he was given for him, although he didn't know if they were the correct numbers. He said he also left an e-mail on Vitale's Web site, but never received a response.

where are

they now?

Cory "half-court" Clouse works as a salesman for Northgate Lincoln-Mercury Volkswagen.

The Who

A bad choice of words.

ASU coach Rob Evans isn't ready to say goodbye, but he'd say thanks if it played out that way this year.

Evans is on the hot seat after going 90-89 in six years at Arizona State. Under his direction, the Sun Devils have had three losing seasons in the past four years.

Norm Frauenheim's column, however, isn't about Evans, but about Playboy Preseason All-American Ike Diogu.

Thursday, October 14, 2004


Midnight Madness, Tonight. FINALLY.

Traveling for work today. Sorry folks. Be back tomorrow.

I, Kelenna Azubuike

regretfully declare for the NBA Draft. Unfortunately, my family situation compels me to forego my final year of eligibility at the University of Kentucky...

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Bowling for Soup

Grmph. We might be back to where we started. According to the latest Harris Poll, college basketball is no more popular today -- as a "favorite sport" -- than it was in 1985.

But I trust this Harris Poll about as far as I can throw Rick Majerus. Not only is the survey's conclusion about college basketball suspect, but I highly doubt that auto racing is only marginally more popular today than it was before the NASCAR explosion.

And I would walk 500 more?

Ben Hansen does the legwork. It doesn't seem as if Lute Olson is going anywhere soon.

It’s impressive that the Wildcat coaching staff was able to get six of the nation’s premier underclass prospects to come into town on unofficials for Midnight Madness.

UA isn’t spending one dime on them to come.

Each of the six kids’ parents are footing the bill, and aren’t exactly making an insignificant cross-town trek to get here, either.

Let’s associate each of the six kids with their respective hometowns and add the exact distance mileage-wise each has to travel to Tucson.

-Chase Budinger, 6-6 Jr. SF – Carlsbad, Calif. (437 miles).
-James Keefe, 6-9 Jr. WF – Coto de Caza, Calif. (483 miles).
-Alex Stepheson, 6-9 Jr. PF – Studio City, Calif. (501 miles).
-Quincy Pondexter, 6-7 Jr. WG – Fresno, Calif. (706 miles).
-Josh Lomers, 7-0 Jr. C – Boerne, Tex. (837 miles).
-Keith Olson, 6-11 Soph. C – Gardnerville, Nev. (839 miles).

That’s a minimum driving time of six hours to Tucson.

Fat Cats





To put the Wildcats' deal in perspective, consider that the entire Mountain West Conference recently secured $82 million over seven years, or $11.7 million per year, for the multimedia rights to any and all of the MWC's sporting events. Under the school’s new contract, the University of Kentucky alone will receive $8.0 million per year for multimedia rights.

Anything's possible, but…

Despite Gregg Doyel’s estimate, it is quite unlikely that Connecticut's Rashad Anderson will accomplish what both Ben Gordon and Emeka Okafor were unable to achieve: averaging 20 points a game.

Anderson may have a “breakout season,” but if so, he’ll succeed as a result of demonstrating an elevated level of maturity and leadership, not as a result of scoring more points or gathering a few more rebounds per game. The former will be much more important to Connecticut’s fortunes than the latter. Will Anderson help Rudy Gay, Josh Boone and Charlie Villanueva mature into double-digit contributors? Or will he horde the ball on offense and selfishly shoot his way to a high average?

Indeed, the focus on the quantitative rather than the qualitative is the central weakness of Doyel’s latest column. Many of the players he names, among them Oregon’s Aaron Brooks, Charlotte’s Martin Iti and Michigan’s Courtney Sims, should have more productive seasons. But beginning with Salim Stoudamire, others he forgets could make significant progress on a qualitative level as they lead their teams onward and upward.

They Said It

"You heard I'm kind of tough as a coach? That'll be the last kiss you'll be getting from me for the next four years."
-- Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun, speaking to hospitalized freshman A.J. Price

Turn Around

bright eyes, every now and then I fall apart.

And I need you now, and I need you more than ever.

To [St. John's University coach Norm] Roberts, that means leaving no stone unturned - and no gym unvisited - in the effort to restock a program that has only four returning scholarship players.

"As far as reconnecting with city coaches and the AAU programs, I would give them a grade of an A," St. Raymond's coach Oliver Antigua said.

Roberts began by attending the first Catholic league coaches meeting held after he was hired. "He wanted to make sure he got to know all of us and told us St. John's was our program. I was really impressed with that," Antigua said. "From that day on he's been active and involved and calling coaches and inviting them to his office and stopping by open gyms and saying hello."

In six years at St. Raymond's, Antigua never was invited to St. John's until Roberts got the job. Christ the King coach Bob Oliva has seen Roberts four times since June; Oliva said Jarvis came to CK's gym once in his five-plus years. Gary Charles, coach of the summer powerhouse Long Island Panthers, was conducting practice with his 15-and-under team when Roberts called to invite them to Alumni Hall.



But, [Supreme Court Justice Clarence] Thomas noted to a guest, he hadn't signed up for TiVo because that's one way "Big Brother" can intrude on your life. At the time, college basketball was on his mind. He had just returned from visiting Texas Tech coach Bob Knight, a good friend. One reason they get along so well, he told this guest, is their shared distrust of the media.

Don't Look Now: Corvallis

Former Arizona assistant Jay John has Oregon State primed for a breakout season and a trip to the NIT. Entering his third year, John has quickly but quietly transformed the Beavers from the Pac-10 doormat's into a team likely to best conference foes as often as not. The 2004-2005 edition returns all five starters -- including David Lucas (who, despite twisted rumors alleging otherwise, is still alive) -- and a total of 11 lettermen from last year's squad.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

seeking professional help

Is a recent article, “Weber wants Illini's NBA talk to end now,” a harbinger of conflict among fighting Illini (no pun intended)? Or has Coach Weber administered just what the Doctor ordered?

Everything appears in place for a big season, but coach Bruce Weber prescribed some preventive medicine Monday. He brought in former Atlanta Hawks general manager Stan Kasten to talk to the Illini about NBA scouting, the draft and agents.

Seniors Roger Powell, Luther Head and Nick Smith have pro dreams, and Powell caught Weber by surprise after last season by declaring for the NBA draft before deciding to withdraw his name…

Kasten can educate the Illini about the NBA. Then Weber wants the Illini to concentrate on being college players — his biggest concern heading into the much-anticipated season.

"Early, it would be focus on the team and not the individual," Weber said. "When you have seniors and juniors who have pro potential...I want them to be pros, but you have to make sure their focus is on the team."

I err on the side of caution. After being surprised by Roger Powell’s ill-timed and ill-informed early declaration for the NBA Draft last spring, Bruce Weber has appropriately worked to nip a season-undermining condition in the bud.

and the beat goes on

More hype.

Listen to the Notre Dame coaches, and Latimore may very well be the best college basketball player in the Big East whom nobody has heard of. He’s unknown because he hasn’t played a college game since he transferred from Arizona 18 months ago.

3.2 points and 3.1 rebounds per game.

call time

Did Mike Davis call Lute Olson before offering a scholarship to Joey Shaw, a 6'6" Phoenix guard? When the University of Arizona passes on a guard from its own backyard, you have to figure he won't turn out to be much of a college player.

Monday, October 11, 2004

The Daily Mail

Via a very simple website, big news.

Adam Fletcher, the St. Albans star regarded as West Virginia's best high school big man in the Class of 2005, has made a verbal commitment with Miami of Ohio.

Fletcher, who averaged 21.0 points and 12.1 rebounds for the Red Dragons as a junior, called Red Hawk assistant coach Frankie Smith with his decision Sunday night...

The 6-foot-9, 225-pound Fletcher, who already has reached academically qualifying test scores and carries a 3.75 grade point average, said he will sign with Coach Charlie Coles' program during the Division I basketball early signing period next month...

Miami was one of seven Mid-American Conference schools to offer a scholarship to Fletcher, who had solid offers from more than 20 Division I schools.

Is Fletcher ready to contribute from Day One? Probably not. Is he a Top 100 prospect? No. Then why all the fuss? Because "you can't teach height." And because when a player receives scholarship offers from seven (!) MAC schools, there's a very good chance he's legit.

Miami of Ohio has a reputation for NCAA upsets. Don't expect to hear much about Fletcher for the next couple years. But come 2007 and 2008, watch him help bust a bracket or two.

FYI: A Bigger House

The Living Legend Benefit Gala on behalf of the Clarence "Big House" Gaines endowed scholarships at Winston-Salem State University has announced a new co-chair and a special guest for November 7th's festivities.

I wonder if those who contribute a certain amount or more will receive a complimentary, signed copy of "They Call Me Big House."

They Said It

"I didn't come here to be on no track team."
--Former Iowa State star Jamaal Tinsley, upset about then ISU coach Larry Eustachy's preseason conditioning program


Mike DeCourcy says Indiana is over-scheduled. He's right. Indiana fans should brace themselves for a tough start.

At least it's a good one

In Luke Winn's latest column, he links to only one site.

Strange, given the multitude of subjects he discusses and the numerous players and coaches he references. At least Super Troopers was a hilarious movie...


The night before their weekly game, ACC football players are checked into a local hotel. At a significant cost to their college or university. North Carolina, for example, this year budgeted $96,000 to book 57 hotel rooms before each of the school’s 6 home games.

Coaches say the team-imposed quarantines ease any worries they may have about their players cutting loose as non-scholarship college students do on Friday nights. And with athletics budgets padded with money from football television contracts and conference bowl-game revenue, it's a luxury that Division I-A football programs don't mind assuming.

Fair enough. But why don’t college basketball players benefit from the same perk?

Financially, in-town hotel bed checks aren't an option for college basketball teams, which play three times as many home games as their football counterparts.

Not exactly. Sure, basketball clubs play three times as many home games. But they also have a third the number of players, coaches and staff.

Good News

Bears. Providence has completed its scheduled by agreeing to a game against the University of Maine.

Good for the Friars. But better for the Bears?

The addition of the Friars, who finished third in the Big East last season and are again expected to be a conference title contender, should significantly boost Maine's RPI (Rating Percentage Index), a statistic which is a big factor in determining a team's worthiness for an NCAA Tournament bid.

It's a Big House

and a good read? From humble roots in Paducah, Kentucky, Clarence E. Gaines grew into the one of the winningest coaches of all time. Sam Hodges' review of Gaines' new book (with Clint Johnson), "They Call Me Big House," suggests the recently released story is well worth your time and money.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Bo Knows

when it is time to move on.

WSJ: You understood and supported Devin's decision and it worked out for him being the fifth player drafted (by Dallas).

Ryan: There was more that went into that than people realize. They have to understand and give credit to a young man that's proven he could discipline himself to do a lot of good things on a basketball court, so then, therefore, he could discipline his mind and his body to make good decisions away from the basketball court. And that's what Devin [Harris] did.

This was a decision based on information, good information, not some guy from the grocery store that ran up to him and said, "This is what I think." And it's OK for people to have opinions, but this was - and I'm not going to say no-brainer, because that's a term I don't use - this was an educated decision and Devin is going to make it work.

WSJ: Do you ever take that nanosecond and say, "We'd have been really good with Devin?"

Ryan: I haven't. My wife has said it to me. My five children have said it to me. My golfing partners have said it to me. My neighbors have said it to me. But Bo's never said it to Bo. (laughs). I'm not afforded that luxury, or that weakness. It's not a luxury, it's a weakness.

WSJ: You just have to move on, don't you?

Ryan: Yep. That means opportunity for other people.

Several years back, I was happy to see Wisconsin hire Bo Ryan. Local guy (UW-Platteville, UW-Milwaukee) makes good. Today, I'm glad to observe Ryan making sense. Best of luck to his Badgers as they begin practicing on Saturday.

Worst. Interview. Ever.

Everything you didn't want to know about Iowa coach Steve Alford.

3.2 points and 3.1 rebounds per game

Finally, a little common sense with respect to "D-Lat."

If Notre Dame is to return next spring to the NCAA Tournament for a fourth time in five seasons, [Arizona transfer Dennis] Latimore will have to perform at a level he never reached during two trying years in the desert.

The South Bend Tribune is being generous. For Notre Dame to succeed, Latimore must live up to expectations. But not from this summer.

From his senior year of high school. When he averaged 24.0 points, 11.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.0 blocked shots per game in earning Kansas Class 3A Player of the Year honors. A USA Today Honorable Mention All-America selection his junior year, Latimore was a Top 30 prospect from whom much was expected in Tuscon.

But from which little was received. Dennis never adjusted to life at the U of A, struggled in Olson's offense, and quickly found himself spending significant time on the bench. The most heralded member of his recruiting class going in, he quickly became Lute's least understood signee coming out.

Announcing his intent to transfer in mid-February 0f 2002, with just four regular season games left, Dennis robbed himself of the opportunity to gain valuable NCAA Tournament experience.

Experience he hopes to accumulate this season as a member of Mike Brey's Fighting Irish.

But first he must lower expectations. Because for a player who averaged 3.2 points and 3.1 rebounds in 23 games for Arizona, these are unrealistic.

Latimore is still three-plus weeks away from his first game at Notre Dame, yet the anticipation over his addition kicked in late last season. Unable to accompany the Irish on road trips, Latimore often parked himself on a couch in the team lounge to watch Notre Dame play on ESPN.

Somewhere along the way, usually during the halftime show, former Irish head coach and ESPN studio analyst Digger Phelps would offer his opinion on Notre Dame. Millions of viewers, including Latimore, listened as Phelps stressed that Latimore was the best player in the program.

"He had everybody thinking I was like Jesus coming back to save the Jews," Latimore said. "I want to be the best player on the team, but whether I am or not, that's just somebody's opinion."

Via the California Avocado Commission

The Georgia Tech Turkey Sandwich.


2 pieces of bread
3 tablespoons Russian dressing
2 - 5 slices of turkey
1 California Avocado
2 - 5 slices of fried bacon
2 slices of tomato
1 slice of Monterey Jack or Swiss cheese

The Steps

1. Toast your bread. Spread dressing on both pieces.
2. Place turkey, bacon, tomato and cheese on one piece of the toast.
3. Mash the California avocado in a small bowl, so it is still chunky but spreadable. Spread it on the other slice of bread.
4. Assemble and eat.

Makes 1 sandwich

Click here to review recipes for Husky Guacamole, Cowboy Quick Quesadilla, and Blue Devil Stuffed Avocado.