Posted on: April 4, 2011 12:24 am

Mizzou hires Frank Haith; Miami revels

HOUSTON -- In the most bizarre hire of this offseason, Missouri reportedly has hired Miami's Frank Haith -- a move that makes no sense, on any level, to anyone outside of Missouri AD Mike Alden's office.

The hire was confirmed by's Gary Parrish. I'm writing it because he's busy, and I'm not. Who cares who writes it? Point is, Missouri panicked after being turned down by Matt Painter and went for a guy who wouldn't turn the school down.

Frank Haith had that going for him.

But not much else.

In seven years at Miami -- in a down era for the ACC -- Haith was 43-69 in league play and 129-101 overall. He went to one NCAA tournament, in 2008, and has gone 60-41 since. Known as a great recruiter under Rick Barnes at Texas, Haith hasn't shown that skill at Miami. Making you wonder if maybe the great recruiter at Texas was, you know, Rick Barnes.

Whatever the case, Miami fans were rejoicing on the Internet Sunday night to be done with Haith, and preparing for the Hurricanes' inevitable pursuit of Kansas State's Frank Martin -- who got his start in coaching in the Miami high school system and who is a force on the South Florida recruiting circuit to this day.

With Jacob Pullen graduating at Kansas State, the time could be right for Martin to go home. We'll see.

Category: NCAAB
Tags: Miami, Missouri
Posted on: April 2, 2011 2:47 pm
Edited on: April 3, 2011 8:32 pm

Scott Drew called me. Hilarity did not ensue.

SAN ANTONIO -- So Baylor coach Scott Drew called me a couple days ago. He called uninvited, unannounced. He called at 11:30 p.m.

He called because he was upset at me.

Seems I'd written a tweet a month earlier that had finally filtered its way through the Baylor fan base -- or the coaching community or wherever these things filter -- and reached his eyes. Here it is. Money quote? Me writing in the Tweet, "Shaddup Scott Drew."

That's the first part of this story. Now, we need some background:

The NCAA is checking into Drew's program right now, checking into reports like this one from And so am I, frankly. I've called around, talked to two different people who have been interviewed by the NCAA about Drew, and they paint a picture of confusion. Mainly, the NCAA is confused by what Scott Drew knew about potential violations, when he knew it, and how long it took him to act on it. It's the Jim Tressel thing, in other words.

The crux of the confusion centers on something that's not all that big. One of Drew's assistant coaches, Mark Morefield, reportedly sent multiple text messages in June 2010 to coaches of Baylor recruit Hanner Perea -- text messages that were against NCAA rules for reasons of timing. One of my sources said he warned Drew that Morefield was breaking NCAA texting rules, and that Drew told him, "I'll take care of it."

Now, the question is, did he? Both sources told me the illegal contact from Morefield to Perea's coaches -- some texting, some calls -- continued in some shape or form for months, not stopping until the NCAA began looking into it that fall.

So the question has become -- the question the NCAA wants to answer -- is one of compliance: Did Scott Drew stop Morefield from breaking NCAA rules as soon as he learned of it, or did he wait several months before putting his foot down?

That's the background. Now then, back to Scott Drew's phone call to me a few days ago. He wanted to know why I would be so harsh as to tell him, in a Tweet, to "shaddup."

So I told him. I told him I was angry that his assistant coach -- the same one, Mark Morefield -- had threatened to have Perea deported if Perea didn't follow through on his oral commitment to Baylor. Perea, a native of Colombia, is going to Indiana.

Drew to me: Well, two things about that. One, it wasn't me. And the NCAA hasn't issued a finding on that yet.

Me to Drew: You didn't deny that it happened, Scott.

Drew: (Silence.)

Me: Let me ask you something. The second you heard that your assistant coach, representing Baylor and you, threatened to have a kid from Columbia deported, did you fire him on the spot?

Drew: Well, no.

Me: Is that guy still on your staff?

Drew : Well, yes.

The conversation ended shortly thereafter, but what I will say here on this blog is what I already said last month on Twitter: Shaddup, Scott Drew.

Category: NCAAB
Tags: Baylor
Posted on: March 31, 2011 5:41 am

Enough's enough -- N.C. State better than Mizzou

That's the million-dollar question of the moment: Which basketball job is the top one out there, Missouri or N.C. State?

Other than Oklahoma, those are the only major programs with an opening. And seeing how Oklahoma is a football school, well, like I said: Which basketball job is the top one out there, Missouri or N.C. State?

Here's another question:

How is this even a question?

Missouri has been to zero Final Fours. Ever. Apparently, like my man Michael Stipe of R.E.M. said, you can't get there from here. But you can get there from N.C. State, which has won two national titles.

If this were a math equation, it would be over. Two national titles is greater than zero Final Fours. No need for Euclid, folks.

But fine, it's a bit more complicated than that. There is the geography, what with N.C. State being a half-hour from Duke and North Carolina, while Missouri is the only BCS school in its state.

Which brings me back to that whole "zero Final Four" thing. It hasn't mattered for 60 years that Missouri was the only prime-time university in its state. So why will it start to matter now? Besides, Missouri has its own version of North Carolina or Duke: Kansas.

Both schools have an enormous bully (or two) located in the same neighborhood, and those bullies have a history of winning recruits, games, Final Four berths. One difference is, UNC's Roy Williams (61 in August) is approaching retirement age, and Duke's Mike Krzyzewski (64) is practically there already. They won't coach forever, whereas Kansas' Bill Self (48) might have another 15 years to go.

Another difference? N.C. State is in the heart of basketball country. North Carolina is a basketball state. The ACC is a basketball conference. Not so for Missouri as a state, or the Big 12 as a conference. That matters.

So too does the leadership. N.C. State has a new president and athletics director, both with deep ties and devotion to basketball. Missouri is still run by two of the guys -- Chancellor Brady Deaton, AD Mike Alden -- who fell in love with Quin Snyder and were the last to know it was time to get rid of him. Alden in particular would scare me as a boss, given the answer to this question: What's the biggest difference between Mike Alden and Mike Hamilton, the incompetent AD at Tennessee?

Hamilton never hired Quin Snyder over Bill Self.

Meanwhile, though, many in the media seem to think that it's a close call -- but that the Missouri job is better than N.C. State. Gary Parrish here at is on record as saying Missouri is a better job.

Some don't think it's even close. This guy from the St. Louis paper wrote Wednesday about Shaka Smart and opined that, "If it comes down to North Carolina State vs. Missouri, I'd put the odds on Mizzou because it's a much better job than NC State."


Based on what, exactly?

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 27, 2011 7:04 pm
Edited on: March 27, 2011 7:30 pm

Ref pushes Shaka; Gene Smith doesn't care

SAN ANTONIO -- That headline is a true story.

Smith, the Ohio State athletics director and also the head of the NCAA basketball committee, refused to make official Mike Eades available to the USBWA pool reporter at Sunday's Southwest Region final. The request was made by me, honestly, because I wanted to know why Eades put both hands on VCU coach Shaka Smart's chest and pushed him back toward the sideline after Smart ran onto the court and drew a technical foul.

No, Smith told the pool reporter. Eades doesn't have to answer to that. Furthermore, Smith said, referees commonly put their hands on a coach in that situation to keep the coach from going any farther onto the court.

Never seen it myself, but I can live with that explanation.

Plus it gives me an excuse to quote Smart, who was asked afterward about the technical:

"I try not to get technicals. It's the first technical foul I've gotten all year, and the second one I've gotten in two years, I was mad at myself after I got it. I kind of lost it a little bit ... I didn't even say anything, but I guess I charged out there and ran a little bit faster than I should have. Which is actually the reason I got the other technical last year, too. I've got to control my pace as I move toward the officials.

"But what did I say to the team [after the technical]? We got in the huddle. First, I apologized to the team for getting a technical foul, because you never as a coach want to be part of giving the other team points. But I told our team something that I can't necessarily repeat verbatim here, but it was basically, 'Forget about the refs, forget Kansas. This is all about us and we've got to do what we've got to do.'"

Forget the refs and forget Kansas, huh? I think I can guess exactly what he said.

Category: NCAAB
Tags: VCU
Posted on: March 27, 2011 6:48 pm
Edited on: March 27, 2011 6:48 pm

Morris twins unsure about NBA

SAN ANTONIO -- The Southwest Region final was a strange game for the Morris twins, although it ended with their being absolved of being buttholes.

Hey, that's not my word. That comes from VCU senior Jamie Skeen, who uttered one of the more improbable quotes I've ever heard when he was asked after the game -- he had 26 points and 10 rebounds -- about Marcus and Markieff Morris.

"I'd like to start off by saying that both of those guys are really good," Skeen said. "They're NBA talent, as everybody already knows. I respect both of them. I came in the game thinking that they were not so cool on the court and I thought they were some buttholes on the court -- that's what everybody told me, at least -- but when I got on the court I found out they were really cool."

Glad that's cleared up. As for the Morris' future, that remains murky. Markieff was asked afterward if he and his brother would enter the 2011 NBA draft as juniors, and he didn't say no.

"I have to sit down and talk to my coaches and family about my future and my brother's future," Markieff said. "Whatever happens, it will be the best decision."

Sunday was a mixed bag for both brothers. They showed they can produce, combining for 33 points and 28 rebounds, but the VCU frontcourt is small. Skeen is the biggest regular, and he's not as big as his listed 6-foot-9. The most shocking statistic was the number eight: Marcus had that many offensive rebounds, and Markieff had that many turnovers.

Other than Tyshawn Taylor (14 points on nine shots, plus three assists), the twins were Kansas' most effective players by far. Starting guards Brady Morningstar and Tyrel Reed were a combined 2 of 16 from the floor, and 1 of 10 on 3-pointers. Thomas Robinson, the sixth man who had a brutish double-double in the Sweet 16 against Richmond, was scoreless in six foul-plagued minutes.

"Sometimes in sports the harder you try the worse you play," Self said. "Our guys tried hard. This is one of those games where I think they tried really hard and obviously care so much and it may have taken away from our performance because, you know, the [shots] didn't go in -- and the harder they tried to go get the rebound and put it up, it just didn't go in again."

Category: NCAAB
Tags: Kansas
Posted on: March 26, 2011 6:09 pm

Thomas Robinson: Freaking stud

SAN ANTONIO -- Kansas is loaded, so loaded that its best NBA prospect doesn't even start. Or play half the game.

This is just my opinion, and nobody ever accused me of being an NBA scout -- pretty sure I  advocated for Greg Oden ahead of Kevin Durant in the 2007 NBA draft -- but the player on the Kansas roster whose body, athleticism and skills scream NBA the loudest is Thomas Robinson.

The guy who plays 14.9 minutes per game.

For most schools Robinson would play double that, easily. He averages 7.8 points and 6.6 rebounds -- remarkable production in such limited time -- and he had 12 points and 14 rebounds Friday against Richmond.

But Robinson comes off the bench because that's how loaded Kansas is, loaded especially with Morris twins, Marcus and Markieff, who are two of the best big men in the country. They average a combined 30.7 points and 15.6 rebounds, they shoot with more range than Robinson and they handle the ball better, but they can't explode to the rim -- and keep going, well above it -- like Robinson. And that's what the NBA wants in a power forward. It wants the skill of the Morris twins, yes, but with transition buckets and defense at such a premium, the NBA wants a physical beast like Robinson even more.

Just my opinion, and I'm not trying to hurry Robinson out of school. He's only a sophomore, and he barely played last season and doesn't play all that much this season. For him to have the best possible NBA career -- and for him to earn the most possible millions over the course of that career -- he ought to return to school for at least one more season and develop his ball skills. Right now Robinson can dunk and block shots, but he's a 51-percent shooter from the foul line and he has never made a 3-point shot in college. Never even tried one.

If he comes back to school and adds that to his game, he's a lottery pick some day. My opinion. Don't try this at home.

Category: NCAAB
Tags: Kansas
Posted on: March 25, 2011 9:40 pm

Kansas wasn't good. Kansas was great.

SAN ANTONIO -- My position for more than a month has been this: At its best, Ohio State beats anybody. That was my position because I hadn't seen a team that could play with the Buckeyes, if the Buckeyes were on their game.

I saw that team Friday night.

Kansas is really, really freaking good.

Now, I'm not back-tracking on the Buckeyes. They're still, to me, the best team in the country. But the gap isn't what I thought it was. And the gap might not exist at all. Maybe I'm biased toward the Buckeyes, familiarity breeding appreciation since I've followed Ohio State all season from my home a few miles down the road. Maybe, given my blind spot for Buckeyes basketball, Kansas is Ohio State's equal.

Anyone wanting to make that argument picked a damn good day to do it.

Kansas defanged a really prickly Richmond team 77-57. The Spiders play a weird offense, they play a weird defense, and they play really hard. They did all of those things against Kansas on Friday -- and it mattered not even a little bit.

Kansas hit 3-pointers, Kansas grabbed rebounds, Kansas protected the ball and Kansas defended the perimeter. Those are not easy things to do, any of them, but Kansas did them all on Friday.

And this wasn't even Kansas at its best.

Marcus Morris, Kansas' All-American, had 13 points and seven rebounds. Markieff Morris (five points, six rebounds), Kansas' second-best player, played just five minutes in the first half because of foul trouble. When he left the game, Kansas led 10-7.

Kansas then went on a 27-7 run.

See what I'm saying?

Kansas manhandled a slippery Richmond team, and did it without either Morris twin playing his normal game. Brady Morningstar (18 points, four assists) was awesome. Thomas Robinson (12 points, 14 rebounds) was even better. Everyone else in a Kansas uniform, though, was merely decent. And still, this was a blowout.

What happens if Kansas plays better than this -- and it's obvious, Kansas can play better than this -- against Ohio State? I'd pay good money to watch that one. Or I'll watch for free and thank my lucky stars I have such a cool job.

And also be thankful that Kansas fans are so willing to forgive, um, this story here. Yeesh.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 10, 2011 4:02 pm

Georgetown, No. 12 in the RPI, to the NIT?

Nah. It won't happen.

But it should.

You heard me. I'm saying Georgetown -- with 21 victories overall, 10 victories in the Big East, No. 1 strength-of-schedule nationally and No. 12 RPI -- should be left out of the NCAA tournament.

At the very least, selection committee members have to consider it. Don't they? Georgetown racked up all of those impressive numbers -- the wins, the RPI -- with Chris Wright as its point guard. But Chris Wright isn't the point guard any more. Georgetown says Wright could play in the NCAA tournament, which is a bunch of crap. The only way Wright plays in the NCAA tournament on that hand he broke Feb. 23 would be if the Hoyas reach the Sweet 16.

Which means Chris Wright isn't playing in the NCAA tournament.

Because the Hoyas aren't beating two good teams without him. Hell, they're not beating anybody without him.

With Wright, Georgetown was 21-6 and looking at a No. 2 or No. 3 seed.

Without Wright, Georgetown is 0-4. All four losses were to NCAA tournament teams, but the Hoyas weren't even competitive -- they lost those four games by an average of 14.5 points -- and guess who Georgetown will see in the NCAA tournament? More NCAA tournament teams.

What I'm getting at is this: Since Georgetown can't compete with NCAA tournament competition without Wright, why should the Hoyas get invited to the NCAA tournament?

You have to admit -- that's a great question.

Category: NCAAB
Tags: Georgetown
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