Posted on: September 6, 2011 10:09 am

Multiple suitors in need of (Wannah) Bail

By Jeff Borzello

Wannah Bail certainly has the name of a basketball player. Extremely long and athletic, Bail also has the build and body of a highly-touted prospect.

This summer, however, Bail felt he didn’t get a chance to show his full host of talents due to a toe injury.

“Not my best, especially coming off injury,” he said. “I had always felt as if I could have done something better, even after giving it my all.”

When healthy, Bail has the physical tools to be a dominant performer. Ranked No. 68 in the CBSSports.com Top 100, the 6-foot-7 power forward runs the floor extremely well and uses his strength to make plays at both ends of the court. He can get solid position for offensive post-ups, and he is a very good shot-blocker and rebounder. If he refines his offensive game, Bail could be a stud.

Bail, a native of the Bahamas, is now enrolled at Lamar Consolidated (Texas) after bouncing around a few high schools in the Lonestar State last year. His recruitment will also begin to sort itself out with coaches finally able to track him during the school season.

“It’s going good,” Bail said of his recruitment. “I’m really enjoying it.”

For now, Bail is hearing from Auburn, St. John’s, Houston, Texas Tech, Florida State, Maryland, Kansas, South Florida, Indiana, Texas A&M, Baylor, Washington State and others. All besides Kansas have offered.

Bail plans to take his recruitment slowly, but did take a visit to Houston on Saturday, when the Cougars beat UCLA in the football season opener. Michael Carey and Chicken Knowles also joined him on campus.

Don’t look for a decision soon.

“I have no favorites,” he said.

Photo: Adidas Nations

Posted on: August 2, 2011 10:51 am
Edited on: August 2, 2011 12:13 pm

Big Ten Offseason Report

By Jeff Goodman

Big Ten Offseason Report

Illinois – The Illini will go to Italy from Aug. 10-20 and will play in the Cancun Challenge on Nov. 23-24. Bruce Weber’s team will also play a non-league slate that includes games at Maryland (11-29), vs. Gonzaga (12-3), against UNLV (12-17 in Chicago) at against Missouri (12-22 in St. Louis). Illinois also added Bradley transfer Sam Maniscalco as a one-year transfer who is eligible this season.

Indiana – The Hoosiers added former IU star Calbert Cheaney as the director of basketball operations, replacing Drew Adams (New Mexico). Tom Crean & Co. will play in the Crossroad Classic against Notre Dame on Dec. 17 and the Hoosiers have non-conference games at N.C. State (11-30), vs. Butler (11-27) and against Kentucky (12-10). Bobby Capobianco transferred to Valparaiso.

Iowa – The Hawkeyes will play in the Dale Howard Classic in Des Moines, an event that also includes Creighton, Campbell, Chicago State and N.C. A&T. Fran McCaffrey’s non-league slate includes games against Clemson (11-29), at Northern Iowa (12-6) and at Iowa State (12-9). Cully Payne (Loyola) and Anthony Hubbard both transferred out of the program.

Michigan – The Wolverines will play in the Maui Invitational and also have non-league games at Virginia (11-29), against Iowa State (12-3) and at Arkansas (1-21).

Michigan State – Mark Montgomery left to become the head coach at Northern Illinois and was replaced by Dane Fife, who was previously the head coach at IPFW. The Spartans will play North Carolina in the Carrier Classic in San Diego on Nov. 11 and will also face Duke on Nov. 15 in the Champions Classic. They also have non-league games against Florida State (11-30) and at Gonzaga (12-10). Brandon Wood transferred in from Valparaiso and is eligible to play this season while Garrick Sherman (Notre Dame) and Korie Lucious (Iowa State) both left.

Minnesota – The Golden Gophers will play in the Old Spice Classic down in Orlando and also have non-league games scheduled against Virginia Tech (11-30) and vs. USC (12-3). Dominique Dawson (Kentucky Wesleyan) and Colton Iverson (Colorado State) both transferred out.

Nebraska – Jeremy Cox replaces Tracy Webster on Doc Sadler’s staff. The Cornhuskers will play Wake Forest (11-30) at home, vs. Creighton (12-4) and at TCU (12-10) in the non-conference slate. Eshaunte Jones transferred out of the program while Bo Spencer is eligible this season after coming in a year ago from LSU.

Northwestern – Former Rutgers head coach Fred Hill replaces Mitch Henderson, who got the head job at Princeton, on the staff. The Wildcats will play in the Charleston Classic (11-17/20) and also have a non-league game at Georgia Tech (11-29). Nikola Cerina transferred to TCU.

Ohio State – Assistant Brandon Miller shockingly resigned and was replaced by Cleveland Cavs assistant and alum Chris Jent. Kevin Kuwik also left for an assistant spot at Dayton and the new video coordinator is former Duke point guard and Syracuse quarterback Greg Paulus, who was at Navy last season. The Buckeyes will play in the Global Sports Shootout, an event that includes Florida, Jackson State, North Florida and Wright State. Ohio State will play Florida at home on Nov. 15 and also have non-conference games against Duke (11-29), at Kansas (12-10) and at South Carolina (12-17). BC transfer Evan Ravenel is eligible this season.

Penn State – Pat Chambers brought Brian Daly with him from Boston University, added Eugene Burroughs (Navy), Keith Urgo (Villanova) and also brought Ross Condon as his director of basketball operations. The Nittany Lions will play at Boston College (11-30) and vs. Mississippi (12-4). Taran Buie transferred to Hofstra.

Purdue – Paul Lusk left to take the head job at Missouri State and Mike Jackson was forced to leave after a DUI. They were replaced by Greg Gary (Duquesne) and Micah Shrewsberry (Butler). The Boilermakers will play in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off and also against Butler on Dec. 17 in the Crossroad Classic in Indy. Matt Painter’s team also has non-league games against Miami (11-29) and at Xavier (12-3).

Wisconsin – The Badgers will play in the Chicago Invitational (11-25/26) and also have non-league games at North Carolina (11-30), vs. UNLV (12-10) and vs. Marquette (12-3). Zach Bohannan transferred into the program from Air Force.

Offseason reports: Big 12 Pac-12

Photo: AP
Posted on: July 20, 2011 2:06 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 3:22 pm
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Posted on: June 17, 2011 3:05 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2011 3:20 pm

Five-star guard Gary Harris cuts list to top five


By Jeff Borzello

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Gary Harris has been notoriously quiet when it comes to recruitment, keeping it close to the vest.

At the NBAPA camp on Thursday, Harris made it clear he’s making advancements in the process.

“Indiana, Michigan State, Louisville, Notre Dame and Purdue are coming at me the hardest,” Harris said. “That’s my top five.”

Harris, a 6-foot-4 guard from Hamilton Southeastern (Ind.), is one of the more intriguing prospects in the class of 2012. He is physical and long, which makes him tough on the defensive end and difficult to stop on the offensively. Harris is deadly with his mid-range game, and is working on getting to the basket.

The five schools on his list will have to wait to see him make his next move.

“After the summer is over, or after this June and July, my parents and I are going to sit down and talk about it,” Harris said. “I’m looking for a school where I can get playing time.”

Harris, rated as a five-star recruit by most services, is also looking to demonstrate his ability to run an offense and facilitate for others.

“I want to come here, play my total game, show off my versatility,” he said. “I want to show what I can do, show that I’m not one-dimensional.”

“I want to be a combo guard, I’m working on my ball-handling,” Harris added.

If the Midwesterner is able to consistently handle the ball and switch between the two guard positions, he will have no problem making an impact at the next level.

Photo:Nation of Blue

Posted on: June 9, 2011 10:55 am
Edited on: June 9, 2011 1:43 pm

Topflight Indiana recruit claims his innocence

Posted by Matt Norlander

The last thing college sports needs right now is more evidence of players receiving improper benefits.

Indiana recruit Hanner Perea was labeled as such a player by Mike Fish in Fish's detailed reporting on Indiana Elite, an AAU program, last month. Fish looked into the program, its director, Mark Adams, and the ties Adams has made between Indiana Elite and A-HOPE, a program specifically put together to bring kids from Africa to the United States in an effort to improve their life through basketball.

Some have claimed the story was witch hunting. Those who did aren't involved in the business of college basketball -- Adams and Indiana Elite have had their skeptics for a while now. Right or wrong, many think Adams gets his players to choose schools and coaches with whom he has close ties with. Indiana is the latest choice, though it's far from the only school culling Indiana Elite players.

Perea hasn't been caught doing anything wrong yet, though. The NCAA is examining his case. The talented to-be Hoosier has a sordid past. He was once believed to be close to verbally committing to Baylor. He changed lanes to Indiana last year, causing Baylor assistant Mark Morefield to text Perea's high school coach that he'd have Perea deported (Perea is from Colombia).

That's a glimpse of how cutthroat and ridiculous recruiting can get. But Perea's a top-20 recruit; that's why Morefield was so upset.

Wednesday, the Indianapolis Star got Perea on the record about the pariahs surrounding him, his AAU program, his coach and the story that painted them all in a skeptical light.

“I read it,” he said. “I didn’t know somebody was doing a story like that. Not everything they said is true so I’m not going to worry about it. I haven’t done anything wrong.”

Perea said the story won’t impact him going forward and that he remains solidly committed to Indiana.

“I’m just going to keep playing and doing what I’m doing,” he said. “In the end, everyone will know what is true. When I first saw it, it bothered me but I just have keep moving ahead.”
Simple response. Hey, at least he read the story. Often times players will cop to complete ignorance and shake off any sort of negative press about them. But Perea wanted to see what was on him. I can commend that. From what I can tell, Perea's a pretty good kid, and definitely someone you'll notice fairly quickly, should he indeed get on the court for Indiana next fall.

Yes, the fall of 2012. All of this over a player who's still not a senior in high school. That tells you we may have a few more updates on Perea and the Indiana Elite program between now and then.
Category: NCAAB
Tags: Indiana
Posted on: June 1, 2011 9:13 am
Edited on: June 1, 2011 9:18 am

Do the Gophers own Big Ten home court advantage?

Image courtesy of HalcyonHoops.wordpress.com

Posted by Eric Angevine

I'm a sucker for a good graphic, and the relatively new blog Halcyon Hoops is quickly distinguishing itself as a premium purveyor of bright and shiny gewgaws. That's not a knock: the charts and graphs on the site do a great job of drawing the eye to some serious statistical analysis. The image above came from the site's exploration of student section impact on visitors' performance in the Big Ten. This is just a look at where the students are seated in various arenas, to get the real impact, you'll need to read the whole thing.

Student impact on the game is difficult to measure, but author Corey Schmidt has made a game attempt at quantifying what I'll call the "Wild Bill Effect" after the legendary Utah State pot-stirrer (and, the pot itself, at times).

To attempt to answer this question, I’ve focused on individual conferences. Here, teams know the environs of the arenas they visit, which should remove some of the other impacting factors involved when shooting free throws such as being unfamiliar with the “feel” of the baskets and arena structure. There is also some semblance of continuity in the scheduling. My pet conference for this has been the Big Ten, where teams visit all but one conference foe each year. Additionally, altitude differences are not much of a factor in this Midwestern league. Finally, the Big Ten is known for its strong student sections.

In short, he used visiting conference foe free-throw percentages, with a first half/second half split to account for the halftime directional switch, to determine which teams have the biggest advantage when playing at home.

In this model, Minnesota's beautifully aged Williams Arena came out on top in the metric. Illinois and Indiana rode the shared name Assembly Hall to top rankings as well. The worst? Not much of a surprise, it's Iowa.

There are a few surprises here, and plenty of analysis, so I'm not going to steal Corey's thunder (already stole his image, so I've done enough for one day). Head over and see where your school ranked, and let the debate begin.

Photo: Halcyon Hoops
Posted on: May 26, 2011 3:00 pm
Edited on: May 26, 2011 3:04 pm

Investigation sheds light on Indiana AAU team

Posted by Matt Norlander

Before I get to the beef of this post, I want to share a feeling with you.

As I grow older in life and in this profession, I appreciate and love investigative journalism more and more. The reasons for this are simple: good investigative reporting is incredibly hard to do, so when people do it right and do it well, I want to hunt them down and bow to them for their public service and diligence. Without the gumption and dedication of these men and women, corruption, immorality and deceit would be much more prevalent in our worlds, from sports to politics to business to schools and beyond.

Think about it: When you're an investigating a story that's got a taboo to it, no matter the subject, people are constantly dodging you, quite possibly lying to you. Cell phones suddenly don't work. E-mails get sent into the ether, sometimes never to get a reply. Getting folks on the record -- the ones who don't have an axe to grind -- is no easy task. Quite often, an investigative reporter parachutes themselves into a situation where they have little or no contacts. Their reputation precedes them, so most aren't exactly eager to have a Woodward clone show up at their door. Gathering information and culling it can take months before dividends start to pay off.

It is, very much, a slow boil.

ESPN.com saw its water turn to bubbles recently, as Mike Fish compiled a pretty significant series of stories, all of which were released this afternoon, spearheaded by its spotlight piece, "Basketball Ties That Bind." Fish sheds a lot of light on Indiana Elite, the AAU team that's recently been spoon feeding Indiana University with a slew of highly ranked recruits. It's because of this, most likely, that Hoosiers coach Tom Crean (right) still has a job. Crean has had to clean up Kelvin Sampson's mess, but he's still not doing a lot of winning; the fans are becoming increasingly itchy.

Fish's story details Indiana Elite and its coach, Mark Adams, who runs something known as A-HOPE, a program that mainly recruits African-born players to the United States with the intention of giving them a better life -- through basketball. A-HOPE is a registered non-profit organization with the IRS, something Adams claims he's put hundreds of thousands of dollars into. Fish's story, however, does a fantastic job of showing just how much time and effort is given to getting these players into high-level programs, most notably Indiana, and how there seem to be myriad perceptions of Adams, A-HOPE and Indiana Elite.  

There's been an increasing amount of suspicion among the college basketball community that Adams has been intentionally funneling players to colleges of his choice; Indiana is only the most recent target. The skeptics recently took on more gasoline for their fires when Adams' son, Drew, was hired in April of 2010 as a video coordinator with the Hoosiers.

Let it be clear: the story does not try to untangle Indiana's recruiting tactics or indict Crean in any way. This is about the practices of Adams and how he runs his teams. There are many coaches in the business who don't favor Adams because they've felt they've lost out on countless recruits due to Adams' influence.

His connections and motives, he says, are clear and pure. But others in the high school and collegiate basketball communities keep asking questions: What about Adams' ties to Indiana University basketball and about how his son got a job under coach Tom Crean with no prior college coaching experience? What about whether Adams stops communicating with African basketball players if they don't follow his advice when selecting a college? What about Indiana Elite, which has evolved into a pipeline for top players to IU, punctuated by future verbal commitments through 2014? What is going on with his nonprofit's donations and expenditures? And what about gifts bestowed upon Colombian-born forward Hanner Mosquera-Perea, a top IU commitment for the Class of 2012?

Adams will have none of it, saying ESPN.com is asking the questions only at the suggestion of rival coaches and that it is "manufacturing" a story. He declined multiple interview requests before agreeing to answer a set of questions in email, but he ultimately told ESPN.com not to contact him again.

As you can see, Adams doesn't come off as pure and completely moral. In one story by Fish, a player recruited to America by Adams, David Nyarsuk, no longer has contact and fears he'll be deported. As of now, there is no investigation being done by the NCAA into Indiana or Crean, but there is with Mosquera-Perea. The 2012 recruit's eligibility remains in question due to issues dating back to his time as a Baylor recruit, as referenced in the drop quote above.

Indiana seems OK -- for now. Crean is quoted in the story about how intense the microscope he's under now, and he has a point: Indiana would be one of the toughest places to cheat in recruiting, considering the smoldering crater Sampson left the program in after his text-messaging infractions killed off scholarships and sent IU basketball to the bottom of the Big Ten. If Adams and Crean (and anyone on Crean's staff) aren't working in concert to get recruits from Indiana Elite to the Hoosiers, then the Hoosiers should be in the clear.

Adams will remain to have his enemies and skeptics, even if he is bringing over impoverished, raw basketball players and trying to give them better lives.

There will never be enough time or manpower to fully investigate all the goings ons with this country's AAU scene. Piece by piece, we get a clearer picture, though. And it remains as unsettling, confusing, suspicious and unseemly as ever -- even without true proof. Fish's reporting, above all else, undresses Adams and force us to at least question his motives.

Photo: AP
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: May 22, 2011 12:22 pm

Indiana sophomore forward transfers

Posted by Matt Norlander

Indiana forward Bobby Capobianco, supposedy unhappy with his lack of playing time in his sophomore season, is transferring from the program. The school didn't release its official statement on its website, but a report by the Indianapolis Star sheds light on the release sent out by the program Friday afternoon.

"(Bobby) has indicated he would like the opportunity to find a program where he can get more playing time and continue his education," head coach Tom Crean said in the statement. "We will help him accomplish this move in any way we can and we all really want to see Bobby be successful."

The Hoosiers now have 12 players on scholarship for the 2011-12 season, one fewer than that total allowed. Capobianco was hardly a factor during last year's 12-20 season, though he was the team's second-most effective offensive rebounder when he did manage to see the floor, grabbing 10.6 percent of available caroms when he was on the floor. Otherwise, not much; Capobianco averge one point and 1.2 rebounds per game.

"I thoroughly enjoyed my time here at Indiana, but I want to look for an opportunity to further my basketball and academic career at another institution," Copabianco said in the statement. "I value the experience that I have had here and appreciate everything the coaches and basketball staff have done for me. I am looking forward to this new chapter, and will always have very strong feelings for my teammates, coaches and everyone associated with IU."

Capobianco won't make or break Indiana's upcoming season, which could be critical for Crean, but one less big body available is something the Hoosiers will need to adapt to early.

Photo: AP
Category: NCAAB
Tags: Indiana
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com