Posted on: July 28, 2011 2:21 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2011 2:36 pm

Oklahoma offers up more punishments for itself

By Matt Norlander

Think Lon Kruger knew this was part of the deal when he came to Oklahoma?

Think he would have left UNLV a few months ago anyway if he did?

I have to believe he knew what was coming, that officials with the university laid out the forthcoming scenario to him when he was getting ready to ink a contract. Still, Kruger's not going to have a lot to work with in the coming years, as he'll sift through the mess, the erosion, that was left by the Kelvin Sampson and Jeff Capel eras. Both saw major infractions levied against the basketball program.

The latest came Thursday, as the Sooners, according to the Associated Press, asked the NCAA to give it two more years worth of probation, and not only that. The school offered up a docked scholarship, two offiicial visits taken away and 10 in-person recruiting days to be eliminated for 2011-12. There's also a vacation of the 2009-10 season, when OU went 13-18, the year after Blake Griffin left the team. A vapid, meaningless-yet-mandatory action every school has as its go-to now.

Why so much, though? It's because Oklahoma acted badly under Capel -- while it was already on probation the first time, in the aftermath of the Sampson violations.

This peace offering from OU to the NCAA stems from major violations by Oronde Taliaferro, a former assistant under Jeff Capel, who is now an assistant coach with Duke. Taliaferro was forced out in 2010, when Oklahoma began its investigation into the wrongdoings, specifically, illegal phone calls.

"The university and NCAA investigators released a summary report Thursday proposing penalties for the infractions committee to consider. Athletic department spokesman Kenny Mossman said that process should take several weeks and Oklahoma will not comment until the process is resolved," according to the AP's report.

Oklahoma committed major violations while it was on probation. That's huge, folks, even if you don't consider the phone-call rules to be contemporary. And the NCAA, and its president, Mark Emmert, have stated they're going to go hard after the rule-breakers. Harder than in most cases before. Oklahoma's giving up a lot here. The case may not be sexy or get much attention, but since -- as of now -- there's no apparent lying or veiling of facts, this could be a barometer for how serious the NCAA wants to be.

Since those affiliated with the Capel years are now gone (like Pearl and Tennessee's case), if not much else is thrown at Oklahoma, then we'll know what kind of regime Emmert is running. If schools eliminate all vested parties and attached coaches to staffs that commit major violations, will schools largely be off the hook afterward? Oklahoma's verdict will be one of the few in the early going that clues us in.

Photo: AP

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: July 25, 2011 12:51 pm
Edited on: July 25, 2011 12:58 pm

Source: Oklahoma decision coming, Capel not named

By Jeff Goodman

The NCAA’s decision in the Oklahoma men’s basketball probe is expected this week, sources told CBSSports.com. Former Sooners coach Jeff Capel will not be named in the report.

Former Oklahoma assistant Oronde Taliaferro resigned in April 2010 after it was found that he had made numerous phone calls to a Merrill Lynch representative in Florida.

The investigation was triggered by a TMZ.com report that former Oklahoma big man Keith “Tiny” Gallon had received a wire transfer from the financial representative, Jeffrey Hausinger.

The school conducted its own investigation before the NCAA’s probe.

Capel, who was fired after this past season, is not named in the report. Capel was 96-69 in five seasons at the helm and has since taken a job at an assistant coach at Duke, his alma mater.

Taliaferro, who is no longer in college basketball, is expected to receive a show-cause penalty for his part in the investigation. 

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: June 28, 2011 8:48 pm
Edited on: June 28, 2011 8:50 pm

Rotnei Clarke set to visit Butler

By Jeff Goodman

Rotnei Clarke is taking an official visit to Butler later this week.

The former Arkansas Razorback told CBSSports.com that he will visit Brad Stevens and the Bulldogs on Thursday – and also may take official visits to Virginia and Oklahoma.

``I’m not trying to rush through the process,” said Clarke, an Oklahoma native. ``I only have one year left to play, so I want to make sure I make the best decision.”

The 6-foot Clarke led Arkansas in scoring last season at 15.2 points per game and is arguably the top shooter in the country. He will sit out next season and then have one year remaining of eligibility in 2012-13.

Butler is coming off back-to-back national championship game appearances. 

Clarke was finally given his release earlier this month from new coach Mike Anderson just days after CBSSports.com’s story in which Clarke said that Anderson denied his request.

Clarke said he was also denied his request to transfer shortly after former Arkansas coach John Pelphrey was fired.

The speculation, following his recent release by Arkansas, was that Clarke was headed to play his final year at Gonzaga – one of his finalists coming out of high school.

However, Clarke told CBSSports.com on Tuesday night that he intends to do his due diligence in the process – and as of now, does not have plans to visit the ‘Zags.

``I’ve in no way made a decision yet,” Clarke said. ``I just want to get as much information as possible before I decide.” 

Posted on: May 27, 2011 11:30 am
Edited on: May 27, 2011 2:46 pm

Conference Catch-ups: The Big 12

Posted by Jeff Borzello

It may still feel like the Final Four just ended, but for most schools, the offseason is now more than two months old. With that in mind, all of us at the blog are going to take this week to give you what we’re calling “Conference Catch-Ups.” The motive is to recap the biggest storylines in college basketball’s offseason so far, plus keep your appetite whetted in what is the longest offseason in major American sports.

The Big Stories

The Big 12 is now the Big 10 . . . kind of: The Big 12 will have a new look next season, going from 12 teams to 10 as Colorado heads to the Pac-12 and Nebraska goes to the Big Ten. It won’t be too big of a loss for the conference, quality-wise, as neither team was a consistent NCAA tournament contender in recent years. Both teams were in the mix for a bid last season, but fell short down the stretch. Without the two teams, though, the divisional scheduling in which the six teams from the “North” play each other twice and the same in the “South.”

Kansas needs to reload: The Jayhawks are certainly not the same team they were in late March when they lost in the Elite Eight. Twins Marcus and Markieff Morris left early for the NBA, as did freshman guard Josh Selby. In addition, Brady Morningstar, Tyrel Reed and Mario Little were all seniors. Bill Self does return Tyshawn Taylor on the perimeter and Thomas Robinson down low, but a host of freshmen and inconsistent returnees need to step up immediately.

Turnover in Texas: The Lonestar State will be very different next season. It starts in Texas, where Rick Barnes lost nearly everyone from last year’s NCAA tournament team. Three players left early for the NBA draft, while five players used up their eligibility. Texas A&M will have a new coach in former Murray State head man Billy Kennedy, who replaces Mark Turgeon. Turgeon went east to Maryland. At Texas Tech, Billy Gillispie enters the fold, taking over for Pat Knight after several disappointing seasons in Lubbock. Baylor returns plenty of talent, but needs to replace LaceDarius Dunn, the conference’s all-time leading scorer.

Coaching carousel hits hard: Texas Tech and Texas A&M weren’t the only two schools to undergo coaching changes. At Missouri, Mike Anderson left with the highest winning percentage in school history to coach at Arkansas. In his place, the Tigers brought in Miami (Fl.) head coach Frank Haith. It was a move that raised eyebrows across the college basketball world. Oklahoma also made a move, getting rid of Jeff Capel and replacing him with UNLV head coach Lon Kruger.

Transfer central: Iowa State is going to be a tremendous case study next season. The Cyclones struggled mightily last season, fighting their way to three Big 12 wins. Next year will be different, though. Royce White (Minnesota), Chris Allen (Michigan State), Chris Babb (Penn State) and Anthony Booker (Southern Illinois) are all eligible after sitting out. Fred Hoiberg has plenty of talent in those five; will they be able to coexist?

The Great Unknown

How will Baylor play together? The Bears have some of the best talent in the country, with future lottery picks Perry Jones and incoming freshman Quincy Miller anchoring the frontcourt. Quincy Acy is another extremely athletic frontcourt player, while Anthony Jones brings length and versatility. The perimeter should be bolstered by California transfer Gary Franklin, JC transfer Pierre Jackson and freshman Deuce Bello. On paper, Scott Drew could have the most talent in the Big 12. With that said, Drew also had a loaded roster last season – and didn’t even reach the postseason. If everything comes together, Baylor has the potential to make a deep run in March. If not, the Bears can implode again.

NBA Draft report

The NBA draft only hit two teams in the Big 12, but it decimated both squads. Kansas lost twins Marcus and Markieff Morris, as well as freshman Josh Selby. All three could be first-round picks, but the Morris twins would have anchored another deep run had they returned. Texas went from a top-five team to a borderline NCAA tournament team when Cory Joseph, Tristan Thompson and Jordan Hamilton left for the NBA. 

The biggest surprise return was easily Baylor’s Perry Jones. Jones would have been a lottery pick this season and is also suspended for the first five games in the fall. No one would have batted an eye had Jones entered his name into the draft pool. Alas, he decided to return to Waco. Missouri received good news when Kim English and Laurence Bowers withdrew their names, while Texas A&M was also happy when David Loubeau returned to College Station.



- Will Clyburn (from Utah) to Iowa State

- Amath M’Baye (from Wyoming) to Oklahoma


- Stargell Love (from Baylor)

- Dragan Sekelja (from Baylor) to Florida Atlantic

- Calvin Godfrey (from Iowa State) – dismissed

- Eric McKnight (from Iowa State)

- Royce Woolridge (from Kansas)

- Nick Russell (from Kansas State)

- Juevol Myles (from Kansas State)

- Nick Thompson (from Oklahoma)

- Roger Franklin (from Oklahoma State) to North Texas

- Ray Penn (from Oklahoma State)

- Jarred Shaw (from Oklahoma State) to Utah State

My commentary in 20 words or less

Baylor: The Bears have the most talent in the league; will everyone mesh and play together? Or will they collapse?

Iowa State: Might be the most interesting team in the league – five transfers are eligible. The talent is there.

Kansas: After losing seven players from last season, Bill Self has work to do. Thomas Robinson is ready to take the next step.

Kansas State: They lose the heart and soul of the program in Jacob Pullen. Frank Martin faces a rebuilding year.

Missouri: Mike Anderson didn’t leave the cupboard bare, but it’s not clear how the players will adapt to Frank Haith’s playing style.

Oklahoma: Jeff Capel is gone, but the Sooners have a lot of young pieces. Lon Kruger needs to get consistency from them.

Oklahoma State: There’s a chance freshman LeBryan Nash leads the conference in scoring next season.

Texas: Very little returns from last season; Myck Kabongo leads a deep group of talented freshmen that need to make an impact.

Texas A&M: The Aggies are being overlooked as a conference title contender. Khris Middleton is vastly underrated nationally.

Texas Tech: Completely unpredictable at this point. Red Raiders have a new coach and nine fresh faces entering the fold.

Photos: US Presswire

Posted on: May 20, 2011 12:29 pm

Perry Ellis taking time with recruiting process

Posted by Jeff Borzello

Wichita Heights (Kan.) has won three consecutive state championships and currently own a 44-game winning streak.

It’s scary to think they could be even better next year given the way Perry Ellis is improving.

“Perry is getting stronger,” said his mother, Fonda. “His shooting has really improved, he is more explosive and more confident.”

Ellis is a 6-foot-8 forward who is ranked among the top-20 players in his class by most services. He can score in a variety of ways, with his back to the basket or in the mid-range while facing up. Ellis runs the floor effectively and knows how to finish at the rim.

He was receiving interest and offers from nearly every big-time school, but trimmed his list in early December. Kansas, Kansas State, Kentucky, Memphis, Oklahoma and Wichita State made the finalists for Ellis, who has since heard from Minnesota and Duke.

“I would say that Kansas, Kansas State, Kentucky and Wichita State have all shown the most [interest] this spring,” Fonda Ellis said. “We received a call from Duke’s new assistant Jeff Capel on Tuesday.”

Ellis said the perseverance and time each school put in has made them attractive to her son.

“They are all great programs and they all have been recruiting him for a while,” she said. “He has built strong relationships with most of the coaches since eighth and ninth grade.”

Perry visited Wichita State this week, but does not plan to make any other visits until the fall. He will be on the AAU circuit this spring and summer with the Kansas Pray and Play Players.

His mother said there are no favorites yet, but he is looking for a place where he will be “totally comfortable.”

“He is really not ready to do that yet,” Ellis said in terms of leaning one way or another. “He wants to see what happens this summer first.

“He would like to take his official visits this fall and hopefully commit or sign by early signing [period].”

By that time, Wichita Heights will be on the verge of starting a run at a fourth straight state title – led by Ellis, of course.

Photo: MaxPreps

Posted on: May 11, 2011 3:33 pm
Edited on: May 12, 2011 4:20 pm

Sophomore Austin Colbert gets taste of U-17 level


Posted by Jeff Borzello

HAMPTON, Va. – Growing up, it’s always fun to hang out with the older kids a little bit, but everyone seems more comfortable with people their own age.

For Austin Colbert, it is the same way in AAU basketball.

Colbert is arguably the best player in the Team Final AAU program, but the sophomore admittedly struggled playing with the U-17 team.

“They were all in my grill, as far as being stronger and defending me,” Colbert said at the Southern Jam Fest last weekend.

Moving back down to his natural age group, the young power forward looked more relaxed and was able to showcase his full skill set.

“It’s a little bit easier than playing with the 17s,” Colbert said. “I’m real comfortable, we’ve played together before.”

Despite that, Colbert said he enjoyed playing up a level because it gave him a chance to go against the best of the best in the class of 2012.

“It’s good for exposure,” he said. “We get to see where we compare against some real talented players.”

Colbert, a 6-foot-9 prospect from St. Patrick (N.J.), has been ranked among the top players in his class for a few years. He is very long and athletic, showing the ability to run the floor and finish in transition. Colbert is an outstanding shot-blocker who can also guard players off the dribble due to his lateral quickness.

In order to become more attractive at the next level, Colbert is expanding his game to the perimeter. He showed off his outside jumper and spent time around the arc.

“I want to move out a little bit, try to be a three,” Colbert said. “I’m athletic, I can stretch out and guard four of five positions.”

As far as recruiting, Colbert named a top five of Seton Hall, Xavier, Pittsburgh, Georgetown and Oklahoma.

“I want to go to a running school with a good coach,” he said.

By then, expect Colbert to fit right in with older players. 

Posted on: May 10, 2011 2:55 pm
Edited on: May 10, 2011 6:37 pm

Capel follows familiar path back to basketball

Posted by Eric Angevine

Will it be strange for Jeff Capel to go back to taking orders after nine years of calling his own shots, first at VCU and then at Oklahoma?

It might be, but then again, he'll be listening to his mentor, Mike Krzyzewski, the man who coached him when he was wearing the Blue Devil uniform. Taking pointers from a legend probably doesn't sting too much. Regardless of how he feels about it, Capel is not alone. Deposed head coaches often begin their comebacks as assistants; there are plenty of examples in the sport today.

One of the more prominent return-to-the-sidelines stories of the past season involved Steve Lavin's decision to return from broadcasting. Not content to put an end to his own time away from coaching, Lavin also talked his mentor, legendary former Purdue coach Gene Keady, out of retirement. Keady's return is certainly not predicated on the notion of getting back to head coaching - it comes across as almost a favor to Lavin, who has been criticized for a perceived lack of strategic knowledge of the game. Keady seemingly serves in that capacity, as well as playing senior advisor and best buddy to his former protege.

Capel almost certainly expects to end up back in charge of a program again, though it won't likely be Duke. With Chris Collins and Wojo ahead of him, and Coach K not looking to depart any time soon, it's much more likely that some school out there will put him back in charge within the next couple of seasons, once the stink of his departure from Oklahoma has a chance to die down.

It's tough to say whether Capel is making the right move, but it's the best move available to him right now. He doesn't seem like the TV analyst type, with his permanent glower in place. Looking at the other former head coaches in the ACC, it's obvious that attempting to get back into the limelight by taking a second or third seat on the bench is a strategy that yields mixed results.

Look at North Carolina. After leaving Roy Williams' Kansas staff for two years as head man at Tulsa and another five in charge of Florida State, Steve Robinson came back to Williams' side in 2002. In seven years as a Tar Heels assistant, the coaching carousel has never come back around for Robinson, who is nevertheless known as one of the game's top recruiters.

Just down the road in Raleigh, new head coach Mark Gottfried has shored up his staff with a couple of guys who are likely on different paths. Orlando Early spent five seasons as head coach at Louisiana-Monroe, going 60-92 in the Sun Belt. He spent one season as an assistant at South Carolina after that before Gottfried came calling. Bobby Lutz, on the other hand, had a pretty nice 218-158 record in 12 years at UNC-Charlotte, and was Early's boss for much of that time. Many feel Lutz was unjustly let go by Charlotte, and expect him to find another head job sooner rather than later.

The most experienced former head coach on an ACC roster might come as a surprise, however. Look to Charlottesville, where the youthful Tony Bennett was able to lure Ritchie McKay to be his right-hand man. McKay has a long history of short hops, spending two years each at Portland State, Colorado State and Oregon State before taking a rather leisurely five years at New Mexico. Then it was two years at Liberty (he couldn't follow Seth Curry out the door fast enough) before he joined Bennett. McKay only made the NCAA tournament once in all those years, and his 204-186 overall record seems pretty indicative of what he's capable of. Still, McKay is only 46, so a decent mid-major job might yet again tempt him into the coach's box somewhere else.

Even Boston College is in on the act. Former Cornell coach Steve Donahue snapped up Joe Jones, who spent seven years rowing against the tide at Columbia before his 86-108 record did him in.

Capel is known as a good recruiter. His inability to keep some of his star players in line thereafter was a big part of what led him to this pretty pass. If he learns how to overcome that weakness under Coach K's tutelage, there might yet be another program willing to take a chance on the fiery young coach. He's still 36, has a reasonable 61 percent winning mark, and even served an undefeated stint as the head coach of the FIBA U18 team for USA Basketball last year.

While his exit from Oklahoma was hardly a positive move, the future may yet be very bright for Jeff Capel.

Photo: US Presswire

Posted on: March 15, 2011 10:37 am

Coach Speak: targets for Oklahoma and NC State

Will Doc Sadler stay in the Big 12?

Posted by Eric Angevine

Two more expected firings have come down the pipe as we prepare for tournament coverage. Oklahoma let Jeff Capel go, and N.C. State finally ended the Sidney Lowe era.

One of the first things we like to do in these situations is look to see which coaches are on fan wish lists and try to sort out which are fantasies and which might actually happen.

Oklahoma: It's hard to believe that the man who brought us Blake Griffin is gone, but everything for Jeff Capel went downhill when the electrifying dunker left school early to go to the NBA. Strange names come up in the local newspapers for this one. Doc Sadler is mentioned, which isn't all that odd except that he's already struggled mightily to build a winning program at a football-oriented Big 12 school. It speaks well to the respect he has in the coaching community that both Texas Tech and Oklahoma have kept an eye on him. Right up there with Sadler is Marquette's Buzz Williams, who has also been mentioned for the Tech job. Billy Gillispie is on everyone's radar, so throw him in there, too.

The strange names are these: the Norman Transcript tosses out Miami's Frank Haith and UConn women's coach Geno Auriemma. Haith seems to be on the hot seat in Miami, but his history as an assistant at Texas (from whence he got the Miami job) may make him a popular choice. Auriemma is at the pinnacle of his sport, and has shown no willingness to toss that away in favor of the challenge of rebuilding a men's program just to show he can do it. Until Jim Calhoun retires, I wouldn't expect Auriemma to ever look at making that move.

N.C. State: Sidney Lowe's firing is so fresh that the local columnists haven't really weighed in with their wish lists yet. The website Sports by Brooks has a fanciful list (which they shoot down as well) of Rick Barnes, Tubby Smith, Sean Miller and Mark Fox. Three of those coaches are in the NCAA tournament. Barnes is slotted in at the school that figures to own and operate the Big 12 from here on out. Miller and Fox are seeing their rebuilding efforts start to pay off at Arizona and Georgia, respectively, so why start over after just two years? Tubby Smith doesn't really seem like he wants to leave Minnesota.

The guys at Backing the Pack have some candidates on their list that seems sensible. Xavier coach Chris Mack would be a great get. Some other mid-major geniuses on the list are Cuonzo Martin (Missouri State), Chris Mooney (Richmond) and Blaine Taylor (ODU). Any of those gentlemen would be a fine choice as well.

State allegedly has $3 million a year set aside to lure a top coach, so it'll be interesting to see who jumps at the bait of repairing this once-proud program.

We'll do this again when the next round of coaches gets the axe, and we will, of course, keep you apprised when hirings happen. They're so much nicer than firings.

Photo: US Presswire

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