Posted on: July 28, 2011 3:56 pm
By Jeff Goodman
I’m not sure there was a sadder story in college basketball last season than that of Brayden Carr.
Rutgers director of basketball operations Jim Carr’s son passed away last May, prior to his third birthday.
``There are impossible days,” Carr told CBSSports.com on Thursday. ``But the kindness we’ve received from the basketball community has really helped.”
Brayden had been fighting for his life since he was six months old, suffering from epilepsy, cerebral palsy and seizures which eventually forced his heart to stop.
Jim and his wife, Natalie, have set up a foundation – called “In Brayden’s Eyes, The Brayden Carr Foundation, Inc.”
``We were able to get help from the coaching world and receive the medical care he needed,” Carr said. ``But we want to give back because a lot of people weren’t as fortunate as us.”
Carr said the intent for the proceeds is to help with things such as extra therapy sessions, camps that families are unable to afford and also for parents to be able to get to out-of-town medical appointments.
All of the proceeds from the upcoming Sept. 30 coaches clinic at Rutgers will go to the foundation.
It’s a terrific lineup that includes former NBA coaches Jeff Van Gundy and Larry Brown, current college coaches John Calipari, Bill Self and Mike Rice and Hall of Fame high school coach Bob Hurley Sr.
Carr said that the clinic, the first of what will be an annual event, is open to all coaches at all levels. The entire New Jersey Nets staff – including Avery Johnson – signed up earlier this week.
``Everyone’s welcome,” Carr said. ``This has been keeping my wife and I busy. It’ll be nice for one day for his name to be the focal point of college basketball.”
For information, visit BraydenCarrFoundation.org or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted on: July 27, 2011 9:52 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2011 12:18 pm
By Jeff Goodman
Nolan Smith had never been tossed from a game. Not at any level.
That changed on Wednesday night when the former Duke star was ejected while coaching the D.C Assault team at a tournament in Phoenix.
``It felt good,” the usually mild-mannered Smith said just minutes after the game. ``Coaching and playing is totally different. I was frustrated with the team not playing hard and not playing with energy. I knew my team would respond in the right way.”
``Refs were missing some obvious calls,” Smith added. ``And my kids needed some fire in them.”
So a few choice words came out of Smith’s mouth and the next thing he knew he was history.
``We were down 19 when I did it,” Smith said. ``And we came back and lost by 2.”
Hey Nolan: Maybe it was, um, just the coaching change that altered the complexion of the game.
Smith is an example of a kid who flat-out gets it. I’ve never heard a negative word said about Smith – and this is just another example why. He spent most of Las Vegas coaching the D.C. Assault program that he played for a few years back. His record, following tonight’s loss in Phoenix, stands at 8-2.
Smith said he will put his coaching career on hold for a while when he leaves Phoenix tomorrow for Louisville to see his grandmother.
``I had a lot of fun,” Smith said. ``I think the kids liked having me around and I learned a lot. You have to learn the personalities on the team in order to get the kids to play hard for you.”
Posted on: July 27, 2011 1:52 pm
Edited on: July 27, 2011 2:35 pm
Jeff Goodman and Gary Parrish
LAS VEGAS – David Salinas had virtually no involvement in his summer basketball program over the last few years, several parents and players from the Houston Select program told CBSSports.com.
Salinas, the financial advisor and founder of Houston Select, committed suicide earlier this month in the midst of a Security an Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation in which he scammed college basketball coaches and other clients out of millions of dollars.
``He wasn’t involved in the program at all,” said Gerald Wilson, whose son, Garrett has been on the Houston Select team for the past two years. ``I wouldn’t know him if he walked in the gym now.”
``I’ve been coaching in the summer for a long time and he hasn’t been to a game in the last four years,” said Houston Select coach Greg Wise, the father of former Arizona guard Nic Wise.
The players also had no interaction with Salinas.
``I didn’t know him at all,” added Houston Select player John Gillon. ``He was never around. I never met him.”
``None of us knew him personally,” continued guard Garrett Wilson. ``My dad read about it, and he told me about it, but none of us had an affiliation with him, so it really didn’t bother us.”
Salinas was the chairman of J. David Financial Group and had, according to several sources, had a client roster that included numerous head and assistant coaches.
But the coaches comprised a small portion of the estimated $55 million that is unaccounted for.
Coaches such as Gonzaga assistant Ray Giacoletti, who had known Salinas for more than 20 years, and ex-Rice coaches Scott Thompson, Willis Wilson and Grey Giovanine had all begun investing with Salinas years ago.
However, the list of college coaches included Texas Tech’s Billy Gillispie, former Arizona coach Lute Olson, Baylor’s Scott Drew and Gonzaga’s Mark Few – among others. SI.com also reported that NBA players Cartier Martin and Ekpe Udoh lost money in the scheme.
According to sources, many of the coaches began investing over the last few years.
There have been several players that have come out of the Houston Select program that have signed with clients.
However, Houston Select was not a program that churned out Division 1 players at a high rate – and this year’s group doesn’t have a single high-level player.
Posted on: July 27, 2011 10:50 am
Edited on: July 28, 2011 12:21 pm
By Jeff Goodman
One of these years I’ll get back to the Maui Invitational.
But I’m guessing it won’t be in 2012.
The field was officially released today and it’s solid, but not spectacular. It reads as follows: North Carolina, Butler, Illinois, Marquette, Texas, Mississippi State, USC and Chaminade.
I wanted to go this year with a stacked field that includes Duke, Kansas, Memphis, Michigan, UCLA, Tennessee, Georgetown and Chaminade. However, the issue is actually the mediocre 76 Classic that I would have hit following Maui.
The lone time I’ve actually been to the Maui Invitational was on my honeymoon (yes, my wife is pretty cool) back in 2000 when Arizona beat Illinois to win the event.
Other than, of course, the honeymoon portion of the trip – it was the chance to sit next to the late Pete Newell and pick his brain on the rickety bleachers in the Lahaina Civic Center.
Posted on: July 23, 2011 11:45 am
Edited on: July 23, 2011 12:02 pm
By Jeff Goodman
Posted on: July 21, 2011 4:06 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2011 7:09 pm
By Jeff Goodman
In the ACC, it’s been Duke and North Carolina -- and everyone else.
But Florida State sits on top of the "everyone else" category. The Seminoles are the third-winningest program in the league over the last six years with 58 league victories.
Over the last three seasons, the Seminoles have averaged 23.3 wins -- and are coming off a Sweet 16 appearance last year.
Still, Leonard Hamilton’s team doesn’t get much respect.
I admit I didn’t have them in my early Preseason Top 25 -- and wasn’t alone, either. With the loss of Chris Singleton and also starting guard Derwin Kitchen, I just assumed the Seminoles would fall back into the pack.
However, this is a program that was able to win a year ago without Singleton on the court -- and then without him playing much of a role in the NCAA tournament.
So I put them in the Preseason Top 25 -- which is where they belong.
Sure, it’ll be difficult to replace the long and talented Singleton, considered one of the elite defensive players in the nation and a key reason why Florida State led the nation in field goal percentage defense (.363) -- the best mar in the ACC since 1960.
"Obviously, Chris and Derwin meant a lot to the team," Hamilton said. "But the team was forced to make adjustments last year and I think that will help us this year."
Hamilton dealt with injuries to big man Xavier Gibson and forward Terrence Shannon -- and also had to work with the adjustment on and off the court with freshman Iam Miller as well as the acclimation to the Division 1 level for junior college big men Jon Kreft and Bernard James.
Everyone is back except Singleton and Kitchen.
Hamilton has NBA size on the frontline. In fact, even with losing the 6-foot-9 Singleton, this team will be bigger. It may have more size and length than the Washington Wizards team he coached for a season in the NBA.
"That’s probably true," he admitted.
Hamilton said that the offensive execution should be improved with the big men knowing the system and multiple options at the point guard spot. There’s Miller, veteran Luke Louckes and Jeff Peterson, who is eligible immediately after transferring in from Arkansas.
"They’ll be some competition," Hamilton said. "We’re going to allow the players to compete and sort that out."
Hamilton said this year the focus will be on getting to the free throw line at a higher clip, playing faster and cutting down the turnovers -- and praying for health.
"We like this team," he said. "We’re just hoping to be void of some of those basketball demons, the injuries."
Posted on: July 20, 2011 9:12 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 9:38 pm
By Jeff Goodman
Posted on: July 19, 2011 9:47 am
Edited on: July 19, 2011 10:06 am
By Jeff Goodman
Pat Knight is the first one to admit it.
``It was the best thing that happened to me,” said the former Texas Tech coach. ``I haven’t had this much fun since I was at Akron.”
That was a dozen years ago – when he spent one season as an assistant with the Zips.
Now Knight is the head coach at Lamar – after being fired at Texas Tech following three-plus seasons and a 50-61 overall mark.
``There’s no BS in recruiting now,” Knight said. ``No cheating. I’m a flip-flop, old-school guy and now I don’t have to put on a show.”
Knight is the first one to say he was spoiled, taking over the job at Texas Tech when he father, Bob Knight, retired.
Knight was set to take the year off this season, and likely do some broadcasting work, but then he was contacted when the Lamar job opened up.
He made some calls – and was told the same thing by everyone. It’s one of the best jobs in the Southland and he’d take over a team that has the talent to compete for one of the top spots in the league.
``That’s why I took the job,” he said. ``The pieces were already in place. I just needed to get some help up front.”
Knight has four of the team’s top five scorers back – including guards Mike James (12.5 ppg), Anthony Miles (11.9 ppg) and Devon Lamb (9.5 ppg).
``They were enamored with the 3 last year and they are streaky shooters,” Knight said. ``But those guys are really quick.”
Then he added a pair of junior college frontcourt guys in Nikko Acosta and Stephen Coles.
``They can shoot the 3, post it and also drive it,” Knight said. ``In our motion offense, we don’t need them clogging up the middle.”