Tag:Matt Norlander
Posted on: August 2, 2011 11:05 am

Podcast: Digging deeper into the Salinas story

By Matt Norlander

In an attempt to keep an important story (the David Salinas one) on the surface in this somewhat-slow offseason, I concluded I had no choice but to bring on Pablo Torre as a guest. The Sports Illustrated writer has done equally important and newsbreaking work, in regard to Salinas' suicide and his illicit money movements, as anything you've seen here at CBSSports.com.

So if you'd like to know more about how this kind of story gets reported and slowly blooms, treat yourself to the 28-minute listen. It's breezy, informative and goes by pretty quickly. You're bound to learn a thing or two you didn't know before, and again, this is a story unlike anything we've seen before in college basketball. It's pretty consequential. Precedent-setting and rule-establishing, too.

We sandwich all the serious Salinas speak in between talk about amazing Tumblr sites and a breakdown of Harvard basketball. What I'm saying is, this is the best early-August college basketball podcast you could possibly ask for.

A reminder: subscribe to the podcast in iTunes, or if you have a Zune, we've got you covered there as well. And for the XML-savvy, here's a permalink.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: August 1, 2011 5:18 pm

Salinas' assets ordered frozen by authorities

By Matt Norlander

The David Salinas story takes its next turn.

Monday, according to the Associated Press, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), filed a lawsuit in Houston that ordered all of Salinas' assets to be frozen. It was an expected move, one that's come, thankfully, pretty quickly in the wake of this tragedy; Salinas killed himself just over two weeks ago.
The Texas State Securities Board says the suit targeting the estate of David Salinas was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Houston. It says the suit also asks for the appointment of a temporary receiver to oversee the estate and several related companies. ... The Texas agency also says it's seeking to revoke the license of a related money manager.

A number of coaches who were affected by Salinas' Ponzi scheme have met with lawyers, and the process of figuring out how much -- if any -- of their money can be retrieved is just beginning. For now, Salinas' collectible/retrievable income, assets included, will be overtaken by the government. Where it goes from there, I have no clue; this is about as lawyer-unfriendly of a college hoops blog as you're going to find.

The question that now hangs: Is this move by the SEC good for the coaches? I think one thing might have little to do with the other. And now Brian Bjork, a right-hand man for Salinas who was identified in a recent Sports Illustrated story, seems will become the central target. He was heavily affiliated with the fraudulent company in question, J. David Financial, which subpoenaed by the SEC.

Salinas killed himself last month, and the effects of that have been felt through sadness, guilt, shame and regret within the college basketball coaches community ever since. They remain confused and conflicted over the tragedy, which few saw coming until it was too late.


Category: NCAAB
Posted on: August 1, 2011 3:15 pm
Edited on: August 1, 2011 3:27 pm

UConn treads light in non-conference play

By Matt Norlander

Are the Huskies anticipating a championship hangover?

If so, no blame from me. Heck, I still can't believe that team won it all last March.

Without Kemba Walker -- and, hey, look at that: it's August and Jim Calhoun still hasn't publicly announced he's returning -- I can't fault the program for going lighter in the non-conference slate. There are a lot of variables in play with this year's team. Chief among them: a fairly young collective assemblance of talent.

Jeremy Lamb (right) is not going to be the on-my-shoulders kind of player Walker was. He'll be good, a possible NBA lottery pick, but not an alpha on the court or on the locker room; expect that role from Alex Oriakhi, who will be solid, but not a Big East First Team kind of guy. Shabazz Napier, hopefully, will improve, and then there's the athletic freak that is Ryan Boatright, and incoming elite freshman recruit who has a lot of ability but just as many question marks.

Remember last season, at the start, when UConn wasn't considered all that solid? We can expect that kind of thinking again, right or wrong. What we do know: Kemba's gone, and so who is going to make this team go?

Taking all these things into consideration, would you fault the program for going lighter than normal in its out-of-conference schedule? Again, I wouldn't. These things seems practical, pragmatic, even, in the hot days of summer, when coaches sweat out filling out schedules. Come late February, though, when a team's amassed a 19-11 record, it doesn't seem like the way to go. It's always easier to take the paycheck and schedule a Patriot League school in the middle of July.

So what exactly are we looking at for UConn's OOC? The school released it today. Here it is:
  • Nov. 2 (exh.) AIC
  • Nov. 6 (exh.) CW Post
  • Nov. 11 Columbia
  • Nov. 14 Wagner
  • Nov. 17 Maine
  • Nov. 20 Coppin State
  • Nov. 24-26 Battle 4 Atlantis (Bahamas) UConn, Harvard, Florida State, Utah, Massachusetts, Central Florida, College of Charleston, UNC-Asheville
  • Dec. 3 Arkansas (BIG EAST/SEC Challenge)
  • Dec. 7 Harvard
  • Dec. 18 Holy Cross
  • Dec. 22 Fairfield
  • Jan. 21 at Tennessee
It's not going to be the most offensive OOC slate among BCS teams. I do wonder if it's one of the weaker ones in the past decade for a defending national champion, though.

New lessons will need to be learned for this team, and many coaches would much prefer easier opponents to deal with while teaching those lessons. With the Big East sending 11 to the Dance last season, the Huskies are going to have enough challenge within the conference (they finished ninth in 2010-11, remember), so keep that in mind as well.

What seems rational: a ninth-place Big East finish in 2012, with this non-con menu, probably isn't going to cut it.

Photo: AP
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: August 1, 2011 10:04 am

NBA scouts banned from college practices

By Matt Norlander

The NBA lockout is going to have ripple effects of the college basketball season. Some good, some bad, some inconsequential.

This particular effect, though, is pretty asinine. While the NBA's owners and players hash out some legitimate money issues, issues that will most likely delay the start of the NBA season in November, team scouts are going to be fidgety. They'll want to get as much intel on college players as possible. Makes sense -- and at no other time have teams have the ability to scout so thoroughly. It's a blessing in disguise.

If only the NBA weren't so hellbent on keeping the shackles around teams' ankles. The Charlotte Observer's Rick Bonnell passed along this head-shaking piece of news over the weekend. If scouts want to attend games, they still can. Same as it ever was. But if they're thinking about showing up at practices -- something that's common, too -- and seeing how players play, act, behave, respond when the big crowds aren't around? It's not going to be happening.

Why? I'll let Bonnell's blog post do the talking.
College scouting would seemingly be one of the few aspects of basketball operations not affected by the lockout. However, I'm told NBA scouts have been barred from attending practices, on the off chance they'd run into current NBA players back at their alma maters.

Essentially, teams have been told they can scout only events open to the general public (as in games, not practices). The scouts I know find practices important in evaluating players' work habits and how they interact with coaches.

One scout I spoke with said it's absurd the NBA doesn't trust its player-personnel folk to practice common sense in these situations. As he put it, "So Mark Cuban can appear on the ESPYs with his players, but I can't do my job on college campuses?''

The man makes a point.

On the off chance a scout sees a player just hanging at Illinois' or Georgia's practice, they can't attend? What a lousy, fraidy-cat rule. A rule I don't doubt some scouts will brazenly break, to be honest. The NBA won't be manning these practices. This sounds tough on the surface, but as the season moves along, I wouldn't be shocked if some teams had the fortitude to go ahead and get a leg up on scouting any possible way they could.

Without hardened evidence, who's going to report them? Not the college coaches, and should any scout also be in the building at the time, that's not going to turn into a tattletale situation.

There are already enough hindrances around the college game. We don't need the NBA coming in and bringing more hoops to jump through.

Photo: AP

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: July 29, 2011 4:05 pm

The disturbing case of the missing player

By Matt Norlander

A different kind of Salinas news to report, but it's just as somber and uncertain. It has to do with Salinas, Calif., and a basketball player from there who's been missing for nearly a week now.

His name is Preston Dee Anderson. He plays for Harntell, a two-year community college. He's been out of sight since last Saturday. (If you want a real comedown to start your weekend, check that link. It's all missing persons, and many of them are young. Harrowing. A blog doing good work, but tough to look at.)

There are certain facts and clues out there -- he used an ATM shortly after leaving home on a motorcyle -- but not many other leads right now. He won't be tough to spot; Anderson is 6-9 and most likely traveling on two wheels.
He was last seen leaving his house at 5 a.m. on his black 2009 Yamaha 1100 custom motorcycle. His motorcycle has the Utah license plate A71WB.Since he went missing four days ago, Anderson has not answered his cell phone or shown up for work at his job at Lids, a hat store at the Northridge Mall.

"It's not like him to be missing his work," Anderson's father told the Salinas Californian. "He's always been very responsible. He's always prided himself of that."
This isn't much to do with this blog, but he is a basketball player, even if at a low level, and any word that can be spread is good. What's concerning is the out-of-character move. That's what those who know him are claiming this disappearance to be.

Details on this case should be forwarded to the Salinas Police Department at 831-758-7090.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: July 29, 2011 1:08 pm

Toledo freshman's career abruptly ends

By Matt Norlander

You're not hurt, not sore, not visibly in pain.

But your career is over.

That's the reality for incoming Toledo freshman Justin Moss, who was recently diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. That essentially means his heart is heavier than a normal person's, and he's at risk of sudden cardiac failure, should he engage in high-level cardiovascular activities.

We've seen way too many athletes unexpectedly, unknowingly die from this. It's tragic precisely because of that -- the diagnosis that was never made. Praise to the doctors who identified Moss' problem early enough and prevented another possible tragedy on the court. The Toledo Blade has more:

"It is with mixed emotions that we are announcing that Justin Moss can no longer play competitive basketball," UT coach Tod Kowalczyk said Thursday. "I'm deeply saddened for Justin and his family that he has to give up his love and passion, but at the same time, I'm relieved and excited that Justin can live a happy, normal and healthy life."

Moss failed a routine physical at the end of June, and UT medical personnel had a suspicion he may have the potentially deadly heart condition known as HCM.

Moss, accompanied by UT assistant athletic director for sports medicine Brian Jones, flew to Boston to meet with Dr. Martin Maron, a leading expert in HCM who diagnosed Moss with the disease and recommended he never play competitive sports again.

It's such a tough decision to make, again, because of the lack of real pain or prohibitive measures within one's body. But it's necessary. We've blogged about this before, if you'd like more background on why this is a concern within all of college sports. It's necessary that all programs give physicals and check heart conditions of their athletes -- every year. The mortality rates for college athletes, in terms of heart-related afflictions, has risen in recent years.

The lesser of the unfortunates here is that Moss was expected to be an impact player for the Rockets this season. Toledo won a combined eight games the past two seasons and hasn't been above .500 in five. The Rockets now have just nine scholarship players for 2011-12 due to lopped off scholarships after the program had sub-par Academic Progress Rate scores.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: July 29, 2011 11:41 am

MVC POY shrugs off BCS suitors, stays loyal

By Matt Norlander

It's a small yet satisfying story of devotion.

My friend Jeff Eisenberg, he of Yahoo! Sports' The Dagger, brought it to my attention this week.

So you've got Kyle Weems at Missouri State. He was the Missouri Valley Player of the Year last season. Sprite, able forward who boosted the Bears to a 26-9 record and a regular-season MVC title. A fantastic mid-major player, for sure.

He's going to graduate this summer, before the season starts. What's it mean? It means if Weems wanted to, he could transfer anywhere else in his fifth and final season of eligibility. You couldn't blame him for doing so; few would notice the transfer, to be honest, and with a year's worth of house money, so to speak, why not give it a go at a major program? After all, Weems just lost his head coach, Cuonzo Martin, who took the Tennessee job in April. It would be his last and only chance to earn playing time on that kind of level, with that kind of exposure.

Kansas, Oregon, Kansas State, California -- they all expressed interest in Weems joining for a season. But Weems isn't going anywhere. He'll ride out his college career in Springfield, Mo., putting on his shoulders the effort to reach the NCAA tournament, the first for the program since Weems arrived.
"Deep down in my heart I knew I wanted to be an MSU Bear for my whole career," Weems said. "This has been my home for the past four years. I want to leave a legacy here. I want people to remember me for always having a smile on my face, for playing hard and for being a winner. I think I've done a pretty good job of that, but I felt like there's more work to do, especially an NCAA tournament bid. That's why I wasn't ready to leave."

There's more detailed reporting from Eisenberg, like how Weems' parents have remained loyal at their jobs and been dedicated to their communities since he was born. There are principles with his parents that he wants to emulate. It includes this rational level of thinking which, frankly, is a little startling to hear from a college basketball player with options to go bigger and "better."

"That's dedication," Weems said. "If they can work a 9-to-5 job like that, then I feel I can be loyal to a university, which has done nothing but great things for me."
How about that. Hey, good on Weems. The Missouri Valley should be fairly interesting this year (isn't it always?), but this will be one storyline to follow. And even if the Bears can't manage an NCAA berth, if they're successful and competitive, it's doubtful Weems will have any regrets.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: July 28, 2011 4:35 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2011 4:39 pm

Snoop, Warren G and a Bonnies guard team up

By Matt Norlander

Just hit the east side of the E-N-G
On a mission trying to pass to Mr. Warren G
Seein' a court full a pros ain't no need to tweak
Alla you ballers know what's up with E-N-G

E-N-G: That's short for England. And in case ya hadn't heard, fool, now ya heard. I clumsily use the acronym reference for Old Blighty because this way-too-long video features rappers Snoop Dogg and Warren G, as well as former St. Bonaventure guard Ogo Adegboye, who now plays for England's national team. (Adegboye is from London.)

What we've got here is an Adidas ad that doesn't make a lot of sense, but it's Snoop and G, so who gives a whip? Watch and pine for something like this instead.

Good on Adegboye for making the most of his career after averaging 9.1 points and 3.2 assists per game the past two seasons. This recent article gives more light to Adegboye's new embark in his homeland.

As for the video, I have to embarrassingly close with this:

One, two, three and to the fo'
Snoopy Doggy Dogg and Adegboye is on the flo'
Ready to make a jump shot so back on up
'Cause you know they 'bout to light s--- up

Give 'em the basketball first, so they can bust like a bubble
St. Bonaventure and England together? Now you know you in trouble

Ain't nothin' but a tea (and crumpets) thang, baby
Two locked-out rappers, so they're crazay
Great Britain is the land that pays him
Unfadable, so please don't try to fade him

(H/T, CBB Nation)
Category: NCAAB
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com