Posted on: July 31, 2008 5:24 pm

And so it comes full circle

About 10 years ago when I covered ACC basketball for the Charlotte Observer, I wrote about a big-time college basketball recruit who had a circus around him, including his ambitious brother. His recruitment was getting strange. Manipulated. Coaches were constantly trying to figure out who was in charge of the recruitment, but they knew one thing: It wasn't the player himself. He was a pawn. Whose pawn? I never quite figured that out.

The player's name? Dwon Clifton.

Yes, the same Dwon Clifton who just got hired on the staff at Baylor and whose arrival could spur the country's No. 1 recruit from the class of 2009, John Wall, to go to Baylor as well. Wall plays for Clifton and Clifton's still-ambitious brother, Brian, for D-One Sports.

I'm not calling any of this illegal. I'm not even calling it unethical. I happen to like Baylor coach Scott Drew very much. I'm just saying it's difficult to watch the circle of life without suppressing a giggle.


Category: NCAAB
Tags: Baylor
Posted on: July 14, 2008 11:25 am

You hated Billy Packer

And I understand. But I enjoyed him immensely, and so I'm going to miss him in the CBS booth. I'm guessing there are lots of people like me, hard-core hoops fans without a rooting interest in anything but the game itself. Those are the people Packer was always speaking to, and we appreciated him.

But everyone else hated him, and I understand that. If you had a rooting interest in either team in a game being worked by Billy Packer, he made you furious because he was so honest. Maybe you think honest equates to negative, and at times it does. But honest also equates to honest, and Packer was that, and most of the time, fans don't want to be told the truth. They want to be told things they like, and Packer wasn't about making people happy. He was about speaking his mind.

So I'm sad for me, personally, that Packer is gone. But I'm happy for most of you, and I'm happy for CBS. Because most of you disliked him, and that was a reflection on everyone else here at CBS.

Does this post sound cold? I don't mean it to be cold. I mean it to be exactly what Billy Packer always was, and is: brutally honest. Besides, karma will get me. I'm sure when I'm forced out, some wiseass will write the same thing about me.


Category: NCAAB
Tags: Billy Packer
Posted on: May 27, 2008 3:00 pm
Edited on: May 27, 2008 3:47 pm

Mike Jarvis? Tell me this is a joke

Maybe Florida Atlantic couldn't do better than Mike Jarvis.

Maybe FAU couldn't do better than a coach who ran St. John's so far underground, the sinkhole will eventually swallow the guy who replaced Jarvis, Norm Roberts.

Maybe FAU couldn't do better than a coach who was accused by one of his own players at St. John's, Abe Keita, of helping supply him with $300 a month for three years. The NCAA looked into that, but Jarvis and others refused to fully cooperate, and the NCAA was never able to make that charge stick to him. But still.

Maybe FAU couldn't do better than hire an insincere Northeast snob who hasn't coached in three years.

Maybe FAU really couldn't do better than Mike Jarvis.

How sad for FAU.

Category: NCAAB
Tags: Mike Jarvis
Posted on: May 11, 2008 7:52 pm

I hate to say I told you so, but ...

No, I don't. I fricking love it. Because I told you so. More than a year ago I wrote that the NCAA in general and Southern California in particular ought to be terrified that O.J. Mayo was being "advised" by Rodney Guillory.

USC coach Tim Floyd didn't want to hear about the Guillory connection. He never wants to hear about anything. Floyd is that ostrich who sticks his neck in the ground and then pleads plausible deniability. Tim Floyd didn't know nothing, you hear? He never does.

Meanwhile, the NCAA will have no choice but to take a good, long look not only at Mayo -- but also at the USC men's basketball program.

Stick around, NCAA. Make yourself at home in lovely Los Angeles. Take all the time you need.

We can wait.

And the ostrich can sweat.




Category: NCAAB
Posted on: May 10, 2008 4:18 pm

Bad start for Ray McCallum

You get only one chance to make a first impression, Ray McCallum. And you blew it.

McCallum, the new basketball coach at the University of Detroit, stole a player from his old school when he convinced freshman center Eli Holman to transfer from the Hoosiers to Detroit. It was an ethical no-no, but what does McCallum know about ethics? He has spent the last several years working for Kelvin Sampson.

In one move, McCallum brands himself as a guy to be watched closely, and not for good reasons. And he did it for nothing, because Eli Holman is a first-rate head case who -- mark my words -- will ultimately bring more bad than good to McCallum's program at Detroit. Holman is the idiot, you'll recall, who threw a potted plant while trying to tell new Indiana coach Tom Crean he wanted to transfer, getting so angry that school police had to be called.

That wasn't the first time Holman had been physically violent at Indiana, either. I hear Holman went after Sampson last year and had to be kicked out of practice.

Sampson being the disciplinarian he is, he didn't do anything else to punish Holman.

McCallum being the low-rent guy he is, he stole Holman.

Good riddance for Indiana. Bad move for Detroit.

Nice start, Ray McCallum.

Category: NCAAB
Tags: Ray McCallum
Posted on: May 2, 2008 3:12 pm
Edited on: May 2, 2008 3:14 pm

You paying attention, Les Miles?

On the same day I was disgusted into writing about LSU football coach Les Miles, who finally saw fit to expel his best player, I'm moved to write in support of Indiana basketball coach Tom Crean ... who booted off his only players.

Crean inherited an awful situation at Indiana, one infected by the kinds of players Kelvin Sampson not only had recruited -- but then had allowed to run amok. Interim coach Dan Dakich was the first person to bring discipline to the program by kicking Armon Bassett and Jamarcus Ellis off the team shortly after the season ended.

Crean came in, and immediately it sounded as if he was going to succumb to the same sort of crap that Les Miles succumbed to all those times he put up with Ryan Perrilloux: But my team needs these guys ...

But after sitting on it and thinking on it and presumably meeting with the carcinogenic players himself, Crean decided Friday not to let them back onto the team. Even better, he also kicked off DeAndre Thomas, whose rotten attitude could be smelled from a mile away.

Crean has no players left. No good ones, anyway. He's going to get his butt kicked for a year or two at Indiana because of it, but I'm more proud of the man than I've ever been.

And I'm more disappointed in Miles than ever.


Category: NCAAB
Posted on: April 25, 2008 4:24 pm

I love me some Hansbrough

By the time he's finished at North Carolina -- a process that will take all four years, we have now learned -- Tyler Hansbrough will go down as the most decorated player in college basketball history. Beats the hell out of being picked 29th overall in the 2008 NBA draft, doesn't it?

There has never been a player earn a spot on the first-team Associated Press All-American team for four straight years, but Hansbrough will accomplish that goal in about 11 months when he does it for a fourth time. He also will become the ACC's career scoring leader, passing J.J. Redick, and will have a shot at reaching 3,000 career points.

Good for you, Tyler Hansbrough.

As for you, Wayne Ellington, get your scrawny butt back to school. You're no Joseph Forte -- who, if you didn't know, was no NBA player.

Ellington's midrange game would work wonders in the NBA if he were 6-foot-8. But he's 6-4, and he's not a point guard, which means he has no shot of being an impact NBA player now. And maybe not ever. So get back to school.

And tell Tywon Lawson to join you. Lawson, like Ellington, was a great high school player who has become a very good college player who is a marginal pro at best. So follow the lead of Hansbrough and stay in school, fool.

Posted on: April 7, 2008 4:27 pm

Vitale, in the HoF?!? There goes the neighborhood

Dick Vitale is in the Basketball Hall of Fame, which I suppose means I'm about to kick the bucket. Because at this time last year I wrote something along the lines of, "Dick Vitale will make the Hall of Fame over my dead body."

Well, shoot. If someone can pry that rifle from Charleton Heston's dead cold hands, I guess someone can pry Vitale's neck from my teeth and let him into the Hall. But I don't get it. I understand he's famous. I understand he's popular. I understand he loves basketball. The same can be said for Jack Nicholson. Is he going into the Basketball Hall of Fame next?

Nicholson has his own Hall of Fame. It's called the Academy Awards. But if I'm Nicholson, I'm looking at Vitale's entry into the same shrine that houses Bill Russell, Oscar Robertson and Larry Bird, and I'm wondering what's next:

An Oscar for Bugs Bunny?




Category: NCAAB
Tags: Dick Vitale
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