Tag:Matt Norlander
Posted on: August 18, 2011 10:14 am
Edited on: August 18, 2011 10:42 am

Georgetown now fighting teams in China

By Matt Norlander

We can now presume when the Hoyas met with Joe Biden in Beijing yesterday, they didn't talk about peace and diplomacy.

And I'm guessing, unlike the Biden photo-op, we won't be receiving a press release about this dust-up.

UPDATE: Statement from Georgetown is as follows, "Tonight, two great teams played a very competitive game that unfortunately ended after heated exchanges with both teams. We sincerely regret that this situation occurred."

Georgetown's team got pulled off the court in the fourth quarter of a game Friday (it's Friday over there) against Baiyi, when the score was 64-64, after players began fighting and "chairs were being thrown. Players and coaches had to dodge water bottles hurled from stands."

I can't quite make out the photo to the right, but it could very well be Hollis Thompson swinging limbs with a Baiyi player.

It never even gets this bad against Syracuse. Did someone say "your Mom's a Hoya!" in Mandarin? Is that what led to what looks like complete chaos in an overseas exhibition?

Well, via Ballin' is a Habit, this messageboard claims to have the rundown on what happened, as the poster was in attendance at the game. It is a messageboard, so we always tread carefully, but here's a lengthy, supposedly informed excerpt:

The whole thing came undone in the third. About two minutes in, the ridiculously lopsided foul calls continued and the first real shoving match kicked off over a loose ball. The players on the court separated each other pretty quickly, but then the craziest thing I've ever seen happened- one of the Bayi big men got in JT3's face and almost took a swing. He was so shocked he didn't know what to do. So that upped the ante a bit.

Then the foul calls truly took on a comical dimension. ... There were four or five intentional fouls called, giving them four shots each time down the court. JT3 was called for a technical for stepping over the line onto the court. ... A few exchanges got testy and at one point players had to restrain themselves again.

Two minutes into the fourth, they were pressing full court, trapped one of our guards (I forget who it was), and then must have pushed or punched him on the ground after he made the outlet pass, because then there was a shoving match and then a bit of a fight, and then the whole thing set off. He tried to get away as quickly as possible as the Chinese players sort of converged on him, and then benches cleared, and then people on the Chinese bench started picking up chairs. Everyone on the other side of the court started fighting as well. Brawl spread all over the court, and then off the court. After it kicked off it immediately became possible for the crowd to get involved, and then they did. As we tried to get the team off the court, bottles (plastic ones, thankfully) came out of the crowd at the team and everyone left. Security was there (sort of), but it was more equivalent to mall cop-quality security rather than actual security. The Georgetown staff wanted the security to get on the floor, but honestly these guys didn't have a clue what to do. They escorted the whole alumni contingent out fairly quickly after that.
To me, just looks like another example of some real team bonding on an overseas trip. Mission accomplished, really.

Photos via here
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: August 17, 2011 3:38 pm
Edited on: August 17, 2011 6:15 pm

Central Florida now under the NCAA's gun

By Matt Norlander

The state of Florida appears to be rotting due to NCAA allegations and infractions.

With little time to catch our breath after the Miami fiasco, ESPN.com has released a report stating the NCAA should be slipping an official notice of inquiry into the mail any minute now. That envelope will find its way to the campus of Central Florida once the United States Postal Service is through with it.

UPDATE: Here's a PDF of the letter.

The men's basketball program and the football program are embroiled in potential recruiting violations. This information isn't new -- the NCAA's action toward it is. The latest from ESPN.com's Mike Fish and Pat Forde.

In addition, NCAA investigators have already begun interviewing people connected to potential violations. Sources also said that they expect the investigation will lead to the NCAA bringing formal charges against the Conference USA member.

Allegations are believed to center around Ken Caldwell, a 42-year-old Chicago native and former AAU basketball coach, who has been tied to Central Florida's recruitment of several basketball players and at least one football player. Caldwell's son, Rodney, attended Central Florida through last spring and among the alleged violations is that recruits stayed at his apartment during visits to the Orlando school.

Caldwell could not be reached for comment, though in the past he's adamantly denied he has broken any NCAA rules. His son declined comment.

Ken Caldwell has not looked good whatsoever from the start of this. He's the reason why Central Florida's in trouble. At first he was defiant, then he learned how to get tight-lipped in a hurry. Central Florida has been looking into its program and possible violations since late April. Did Caldwell help steer players from the Chicago area, getting them to suit up for Central Florida? That's what plenty are left to interpret right now.

But even if Caldwell won't talk, ESPN.com's story states that Brandon Bender, a former Louisville player in the early aughts, did speak with the NCAA last week. Bender was a right-hand man for Caldwell. Since Caldwell isn't employed by an NCAA institution, he's not mandated to speak with the NCAA.

This case has a long way to go, but the first official offensive from the NCAA looks ready to drop any day now.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: August 17, 2011 2:56 pm
Edited on: August 17, 2011 3:10 pm

Teddy Dupay shocked to discover he's alias-worthy

By Matt Norlander

To me, the most peculiar detail about the Yahoo! Sports blowtorch of a story on Miami athletics was that Teddy Dupay's name appeared in the piece.

Former Florida guard and easy target for opponents' fans -- that Teddy Dupay. The Teddy Dupay who left college earlier last decade due to gambling allegations. The Teddy Dupay who was accused of rape and kidnapping three years ago. Dupay never attended Miami, and until Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2011, had no public connection to The U. Apparently Ponzi schemer Nevin Shapiro considered himself enough of a Dupay doppelganger to use the alias when checking into hotels.

An unfortunate, but funny, minor wrinkle in the massive story.

How did Dupay feel about this? Well, a hearty applause to Jeff Eisenberg over at The Dagger, for he already tracked down the former Florida gunner and got his reaction.
"It was screwing up my Android I was getting so many text messages," Dupay said Wednesday by phone. "My first instinct was, 'Oh no, not again' because it attached my name to a very negative situation, but I've realized I can't control what people think. ... I've had my name pop up in much more bizarre spots than that article yesterday."
Miami report fallout
Eisenberg reports that Dupay is now an AAU girls basketball coach and promotes "others to focus on nutrition and health" in his spare and time is "in a very happy, very peaceful place."

Finding such a place after a turbulent college and post-college life isn't easy for a lot of athletes. Dupay seems headed the right way now, and that's uplifting.

"The situation yesterday, I'm going to find the good and find the positives," Dupay told Eisenberg. "Clearly it had nothing to do with me. Clearly there was nothing I could do to stop that from happening. But if I can share my message and get people excited about a good comeback story, then that's something good that can come out of this."

Photo: AP
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: August 17, 2011 1:20 pm

Georgetown meets Biden in Beijing

By Matt Norlander

"And that's when I told Barack, 'Mr. President, with all due respect, I really think we should go through with this and try to take bin Laden down on May 1.' It was all me, boys."

The Georgetown men's hoops team is in the midst of an 11-day tour of China. Coincidentally, vice president Joe Biden is also in the Far East. The Hoyas and their fellow D.C.-dwelling superior were both in Beijing Wednesday.

Georgetown defeated the Shanxi Brave Dragons of the Chinese Basketball Association 98-81 in front of Biden and some of his constituents. It was the team's first game in their overseas trip. Biden met the young Hoyas in the locker room before the game started, per Georgetown spokesman Mex Cary.

“I’m glad some of those things happened (the VP attending) because life in the Big East is one big distraction," John Thompson III said. "Being fortunate enough to play at Georgetown, we have many events like this. We were excited and honored to have the vice president, as he said, travel 24 hours to see us play, along with the many, countless Chinese politicians and delegates that came to watch their team play, as well as ours.”

As far as the game, Hoyas fans, know that freshman forward Otto Porter led the team with 16 point. The team shot 47 percent from the field.

“This group has to manage itself, and so whether we win big or lose big while we’re over here, the purpose of this trip is to establish habits and how we need to do things,” Thompson said. “We have a long ways to go.

The Hoyas play again in Beijing Thursday, against the Bayi Rockets. They'll be playing in the Olympic Sports Center. Good to see that building still getting some use three years after the end of the XXIX Olympiad.

Photo via Georgetown athletics
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: August 17, 2011 11:51 am

Podcast: We got Bilas for you

By Matt Norlander

When a man's got nearly 150,000 followers on Twitter and works for a rival company, you never know what you're going to get when you ask him onto your podcast.

But Jay Bilas responded immediately and did the interview practically at the drop of a hat with me. Jay, you're the best, and thanks again for coming on. I am addressing Jay personally because I know he's narcissistic enough to have a Google Alert search for his own name, so I know he's reading this right now.

Today's podcast is the longest one to date, just over 40 minutes, but it's well worth it. If you've come to listen to Bilas go surgical on the NCAA, you won't be disappointed. But as I'm wont to do, I also implore the first-time guest to go back and tell us how he got to where he is. Bilas practiced law after giving up being an assistant coach. Why and how did he end up at ESPN? He goes into that, as well as explaining why he considers Rece Davis to be a felon.

I have to warn you: There's also some pretty egregious puffing up of Mike Krzyzewski. You may become nauseated. Apologies in advance.

And at the end of the podcast, the music talk comes, which means Young Jeezy is most certainly brought up. Bilas has been known to spit rhymes from the Jeez on Twitter from time to time. I stop short of asking him to bust a rap over the phone, but I do make sure he explains his affinity for a rapper that's young enough to be his son.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: August 17, 2011 10:40 am
Edited on: August 17, 2011 10:41 am

USC's Jio Fontan sprains knee in Brazil

By Matt Norlander

One of the key players for USC having a successful season is Jio Fontan.

Here's to hoping his latest injury isn't anything that will linger.

The senior point guard reportedly sprained his left knee in an exhibition game in Brazil Tuesday. The Trojans added insult to injury by losing by 11 to Mogi das Cruzes. According to ESPNLosAngeles.com, the X-ray on the knee came back negative, which is great, but the MRI results won't be known for a few days. Fontan will undergo an MRI in Brazil Wednesday, which also happens to be a travel day for the team, as it will leave from Sao Paulo and head to Rio de Janeiro for more exhibition games Friday.

From ESPNLosAngeles.com:

"I'm always worried about any injury," coach Kevin O'Neill said by phone from Sao Paulo late Tuesday. "But we won't know anything until tomorrow."

USC was up by six at the time Fontan went out of the game, but the Trojans quickly fell behind without their captain and senior leader. Forward Aaron Fuller also missed the game with an illness, so USC was forced to play walk-on Eric Strangis extensive minutes and work newcomers Greg Allen, Alexis Moore and Byron Wesley into the rotation.

Fontan, who played his first season with the Trojans last year after transferring from Fordham, had a 25.8 assist rate in 2010-11. That's pretty solid. He averaged 10.5 points and was a 38-percent shooter from 3-point range.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: August 16, 2011 8:10 pm
Edited on: August 16, 2011 8:58 pm

Frank Haith tied to massive Miami scandal

By Matt Norlander

In the midst of what is immediately very likely the biggest college sports story of 2011, current Missouri -- and former Miami -- head coach Frank Haith doesn't look too good right now.

A meticulously detailed investigative report by Yahoo! Sports' Charles Robinson really levels Miami football. Scorched earth doesn't even begin to cover it; this is already considered among the most outrageous cases of rule-breaking in the history of the sport. But there are basketball implications here as well, and they connect primarily to Haith, who was the coach at Miami from 2004 through this past season.

Whether it was foresight or not, Haith's departure to another (and better) basketball program a few months ago could raise as many eyebrows now as it did then, when many thought Missouri made an underwhelming choice.

The dropquote below is the bombshell part, as far as Haith is concerned. It could absolutely get him fired from Missouri, should more information get uncovered. It relates to the central character of this scandal, Nevin Shapiro, who was a booster for the school tied to Ponzi money. Shapiro provided players with everything from cash to food to lodging to yacht rides to prostitutes and more. The worst of it all: Shapiro and other sources in the Yahoo! story implicate football and basketball coaches with knowing -- and active participation! -- this wrongdoing was going on.
Shapiro said he violated NCAA rules with the knowledge or direct participation of at least six coaches – Clint Hurtt, Jeff Stoutland and Aubrey Hill on the football staff, and Frank Haith, Jake Morton and Jorge Fernandez on the basketball staff. Multiple sources told Yahoo! Sports Shapiro also violated NCAA rules with football assistant Joe Pannunzio, although the booster refused to answer any questions about that relationship. Shapiro also named assistant football equipment manager Sean Allen as someone who engaged in rulebreaking, and equipment managers Ralph Nogueras and Joey Corey as witnesses to some of his impropriety.
Morton is now an assistant at Western Kentucky; Fernandez is currently an assistant at Marshall. Here's where Haith and Morton are implicated in a bad, bad way: the payment of recruits. One recruit, specifically. More from Robinson's report:
The booster said his role went one step farther with the basketball program, when he paid $10,000 to help secure the commitment of recruit DeQuan Jones. Shapiro said the transaction was set up by assistant coach Jake Morton in 2007 who acted as the conduit for the funds, and was later acknowledged by head coach Frank Haith in a one-on-one conversation.

Shapiro also entertained then-prominent AAU basketball coach Moe Hicks in October of 2008, with a nightclub visit that was attended by both Morton and Fernandez.

The photo of that nightclub trip is to the right, via the Yahoo! Sports story.

Tonight, in a statement released by Missouri, Haith said he will be happy to talk to NCAA about Shapiro and that the reports about his interaction with Shapiro "are not an accurate portrayal of my character."

In fact, here's Haith's statement in full:

"In response to a recent news article, I can confirm that the NCAA has asked to speak with me regarding the time I spent at the University of Miami. I am more than happy to cooperate with the national office on this issue and look forward to a quick resolution. The NCAA has instructed me not to comment further at this time in order to protect the integrity of their review, so I appreciate your understanding in this matter. The reports questioning my personal interactions with Mr. Shapiro are not an accurate portrayal of my character and per the above I am unable to comment further."

That's certainly better than a "no comment."

There are more details in the story that tie Haith to Shapiro, like the former Miami coach attending strip clubs with Shapiro (not illegal, but doesn't look good on the surface) and the fact Shapiro donated 50 grand to the men's basketball program as recently as 2008. That money was all fraudulent, all Ponzi money Shapiro admits in the Yahoo! story.

Miami athletics was arguably already the most notorious department in college sports before this; now it's been solidified. And while football will rightfully receive most of the attention, there are serious allegations and crimes tied to its former men's basketball staff, too, and those alleged wrongdoings won't be overlooked by the NCAA as this investigation begins to curdle.

Photo: AP
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: August 16, 2011 4:56 pm

You fail, Northwestern

By Matt Norlander

It had a chance to be over the top, egregious, ugly and borderline offensive. Certainly inappropriate for anyone with a sense of hardwood fashion taste.

And it made the wrong choice.

Northwestern announced Tuesday that it would not be going with the mostly purple look for its new floor, instead opting for the design you see above. Plain, average, acceptable, forgettable. Just like its basketball team. Yep, I'm that let down that I'm going to be that acidic.

This could've been the Wildcats' chance to be known for something. Anything. Anything aside from never making an NCAA tournament. Instead, we see tamer minds prevail and Chicago's Big Ten Team will now have a court that's perfectly suitable for your standard HD TV. And the thing about this was, Northwestern fans chose this design above all others via Facebook. Friggin' Midwestern elitists, too afraid to get crazy with the paint and go outside the box.

It's the middle of August and I'm lamenting a school's choice of basketball-court design. Get me to Midnight Madness.
Category: NCAAB
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