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Five for the Weekend: Roe ends hoops career, but should be OK

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Delvon Roe is finished with basketball.

Let's start the Five for the Weekend with that.

1. How good could Michigan State's Delvon Roe have been if not for his body failing him?

Delvon Roe was rated above Kemba Walker out of high school. (Getty Images)  
Delvon Roe was rated above Kemba Walker out of high school. (Getty Images)  
I suppose we'll never know for sure, but I can tell you this: Roe was so awesome in high school that Scout.com ranked him ahead of prospects like Kemba Walker, Al-Farouq Aminu, Elliot Williams, Iman Shumpert, Luke Babbit, Terrico White, Klay Thompson and DeAndre Liggins. In other words, Roe was a safe bet to be an NBA Draft pick just like all of those guys became, but that was before the 6-foot-8 forward seriously injured his knee for the first time back in 2007. I always assumed Roe would regain the explosiveness at some point, but he never did. It was one thing after another, from now until then. So was I surprised when Roe announced his retirement from basketball Thursday by basically explaining he could no longer take the pain that comes along with it? Yes and no. I was surprised in the sense that I didn't wake up expecting to write about this, but I'm not surprised that Roe finally reached a point where he concluded enough is enough. It's a sad way for a once-promising basketball career to end. But Roe is a well-rounded and highly respected young man. I suspect we'll look up in 10 years and he'll be successful and doing well, in some form.

2. William Buford could become Ohio State's all-time leading scorer? Really?

It's true, and it's really not that crazy. It says less about Buford and Ohio State than it does about the state of college basketball because we now live in an era where A) teams play more games than ever, and B) great players leave college almost always before their eligibility expires. So it's mostly guys like Buford -- i.e., gifted players who aren't quite gifted enough to justify an early jump to the NBA -- who are set up to finish high on their schools' all-time scoring lists, because the truly special talents that enroll (Jim Jackson, Greg Oden, Evan Turner, etc.) rarely play four seasons. As my colleague Jeff Goodman pointed out, some feel Buford "hasn't lived up to his potential." I'd argue that's precisely why Buford might become OSU's all-time leading scorer, because if he'd lived up to his potential he probably wouldn't be a senior at Ohio State.

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3. How weird does Old Dominion's Blaine Taylor look without his mustache?

I haven't seen him yet, but I'm guessing he looks fine. Just different. Which is probably why Taylor kept the mustache as long as he did, because he was so used to it and afraid of looking stupid. But let's be honest: Mustaches are kind of stupid. They just are. But sometimes being attached to something makes you keep it way longer than you should even when you know it's stupid, and I speak on this subject with experience because I have a stupid haircut. I mean, I know it's ridiculous. I read your emails. But that haircut has become part of my identity over the years, and I don't know how to get rid of it. It's like I'd rather look normal and ridiculous than different and mature. But I might reevaluate it soon. And if I find the courage to shave my head, just know that Blaine Taylor will be my inspiration. If he can change, then maybe I can change. And if I can change and Blaine Taylor can change, then, as Rocky Balboa famously put it, everybody can change.

4. Was your story about the former Tennessee assistants supposed to make us feel sorry for them?

All I wanted to do with that column was show how greatly the NCAA investigation not only has affected their careers but also their lives, and detail how there are hard feelings on both sides because of the way everything went down. Nothing more. Nothing less. It's a unique situation with devastating results, and I just found the whole thing interesting. So I wanted to visit Steve Forbes and Jason Shay at Northwest Florida State and write about it. That the parties involved opened up to me is what made the column work. So I don't care whether you feel sorry for them, exactly, and they're not asking for sympathy. But when you see where they were a year ago and where they are now, well, it's hard not to feel sympathetic on some level because I genuinely believe they played a small role in what led to their demise. Yes, they knew about the improper cookout and attended it, but what assistant is really going to stop his boss from holding a cookout he wants to hold? And no, they weren't forthcoming with the NCAA when initially asked about the infamous photograph of Bruce Pearl and Aaron Craft snapped at Pearl's home, showing a violation of NCAA rules. But, again what assistant is really going to roll on his boss before the boss has a chance to either spin his version of the story or roll on himself? In some ways, Forbes, Shay and associate head coach Tony Jones were placed in impossible situations once the photograph of Pearl and Craft surfaced. So are they completely innocent victims? No. But in reality, they acted the way most high-major assistants would act when put in similar scenarios. In that respect I know that the feedback I've received from around the country is that other college assistants are very sympathetic towards them. They know, deep down, that what happened to Forbes, Shay and Jones could happen to any of them if their boss held an improper cookout and was photographed breaking NCAA rules.

5. Where will you be for Midnight Madness?

Our four college basketball writers are going to four different schools -- specifically the four schools that'll be ranked in the top four of our CBSSports.com Preseason Top 25 (and one) polls. Goodman is going to North Carolina. Matt Norlander will be at Connecticut. Jeff Borzello will be at Syracuse. Me? I'll be at Kentucky. It'll be my third Big Blue Madness in the past five years. It's quite a scene every time, and this should be no different.


Gary Parrish is a senior college basketball columnist for CBSSports.com and frequent contributor to the CBS Sports Network. The Mississippi native also hosts the highest-rated sports talk radio show -- The Gary Parrish Show -- in the history of Memphis. He lives in that area with his wife, two children and a dog.
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