Posted on: June 25, 2009 5:11 pm
Edited on: June 25, 2009 5:38 pm

"Closer to home" needs to be close to home

Duke transfer Elliot Williams plans to move "closer to home" and ask the NCAA for a waiver to play next season because his mother is battling cancer. He will reportedly choose between Memphis, Tennessee, Kentucky and Vanderbilt. But the problem with those two statements is that they don't seem to jibe, because there's no chance the Memphis native would get a waiver to play at Tennessee or Kentucky, and even Vanderbilt is a stretch.

At least that's what one Division I coach told CBSSports.com.

According to a Division I coach who has dealt with transfers, the NCAA has "tightened up" the criteria for waivers since allowing Tyler Smith to transfer from Iowa to Tennessee without penalty when Smith's father was battling cancer. Smith wanted to "be closer to home" because of his father's illness, so he picked Tennessee, which is 248 miles from his home in Pulaski, Tenn. The NCAA granted the waiver. But the source said the guidelines are now stricter (even if they aren't clearly defined).

"I know a player who transferred to a school 106 miles from his home, and the NCAA denied the waiver," the source said. "They wanted to know that the player was going to have 'day-to-day responsibilities' with the family member before granting the waiver, and they said that you can't have 'day-to-day responsibilities' if you're 106 miles away."

Assuming that ruling is consistent with the NCAA's current way of thinking, it appears unlikely that Williams could get a waiver to play at any of the schools he's considering except for Memphis. Consider:
  • Vanderbilt is 212 miles from Memphis.
  • Tennessee is 391 miles from Memphis.
  • Kentucky is 423 miles from Memphis.
In conclusion, best I can tell, unless Elliot Williams wants to sit out a year, he must transfer to Memphis.

And that's why it seems to be a near certainty that he'll play for the Tigers next season.
Posted on: June 25, 2009 12:05 pm

Report: Wall gets qualifying test score

Scout.com's Dave Telep is reporting that John Wall has achieved a qualifying standardized test score, meaning the star of Kentucky's top-ranked recruiting class is one step closer to being cleared to play as a freshman.

Is he in the clear yet?

No, not exactly.

Wall must still get through the NCAA's Clearing House. But most insiders have long believed the test score would be the biggest hurdle, and with that out of the way it now seems likely that the projected No. 1 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft will be running the point for John Calipari.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: June 15, 2009 11:56 am
Edited on: June 15, 2009 5:47 pm

Meeks not returning to Kentucky

Kentucky junior Jodie Meeks will remain in the NBA Draft.

"I want to thank the fans and the city of Lexington. They have been great and I will always be a Kentucky Wildcat," Meeks said in a released statement. "I feel comfortable with my decision and I’m confident in my ability. My family and I talked over the weekend and decided this was the best decision."

Sources told CBSSports.com that Meeks does not have a first-round guarantee, but he has decided to stay in the draft anyway, for better or worse. The 6-foot-4 guard averaged 23.7 points last season while shooting 40.6 percent from the 3-point line. He will almost certainly be picked somewhere late in the first round or early in the second.

This development is an obvious blow to John Calipari's first UK team.

With Meeks back, the Wildcats would've been most people's preseason No. 1 team. Now that honor will likely go to Kansas, although Kentucky should still be a favorite to make the Final Four thanks to a roster that is expected to include Patrick Patterson, John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins.

Posted on: June 11, 2009 10:26 am

Kentucky now down to the scholarship limit

Kevin Galloway and Matt Pilgrim will not return to Kentucky next season, a source close to the program confirmed for CBSSports.com on Thursday morning. Consequently, the Wildcats are now down to 12 scholarship players set to be on the team assuming all the recruits qualify, 13 scholarship players if all the recruits qualify and Jodie Meeks withdraws from the NBA Draft.

The NCAA limit is 13 scholarship players.

The following is UK's roster of scholarship players (if Meeks withdraws from the draft):
  • Jodie Meeks
  • Patrick Patterson
  • Perry Stevenson
  • Ramon Harris
  • Darius Miller
  • DeAndre Liggins
  • Josh Harrellson
  • John Wall
  • DeMarcus Cousins
  • Daniel Orton
  • Darnell Dodson
  • Jon Hood
  • Eric Bledsoe
On that roster is the likely No. 1 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft (Wall), two other probable lottery picks (Cousins and Patterson) and a totally separate player who is expected to be a consensus first-team All-American (Meeks). Combine that with what should arguably be the best bench in the country, and you can see why Kentucky should be the nation's preseason No. 1 team.
Posted on: May 28, 2009 12:11 am
Edited on: May 28, 2009 7:00 pm

Kentucky/Calipari release statement

Kentucky officials released a statement late Wednesday in response to allegations of NCAA rules violations at Memphis under John Calipari.

According to the school, Calipari "was forthcoming with the University of Kentucky during the hiring process about any issues under investigation at the University of Memphis." The statement also explained that Calipari has received a letter from the NCAA stating that he is not at risk of being charged with any violations in this case, and it closed by pointing out that this is a "University of Memphis issue and the University of Kentucky will not comment further."

"Even though I'm not at risk, I will fully cooperate with the NCAA hearing," Calipari said via the statement. "Beyond that, I concur with the statement from the University of Kentucky and will have no further comment."

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: May 27, 2009 8:50 pm
Edited on: May 28, 2009 7:00 pm

NCAA accuses Memphis of violations under Calipari

The NCAA has accused the Memphis basketball program of major violations during the 2007-08 Final Four season under John Calipari.

In a letter first obtained by The Commercial Appeal and dated Jan. 16, 2009, the NCAA alleges "knowing fraudulence or misconduct" on an SAT exam by a player on the 2008 Final Four team. The player is not named in the report. But the letter states that the student-athlete "competed for the men's basketball team through the 2007-08 season, which included his participation in the 2008 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship."

The lone Memphis player who only competed in the 2008 NCAA tournament -- as opposed to multiple NCAA tournaments -- is Derrick Rose, a one-and-done prospect who was the top pick in the 2008 NBA Draft and subsequent NBA Rookie of the Year for the Chicago Bulls. If the allegation is proven true, Memphis could be forced to forfeit its Final Four appearance, meaning both of Calipari's Final Fours -- 1996 at UMass and 2008 at Memphis -- would then be removed from the offical NCAA record book.

Memphis is also accused of providing $2,260 in free travel for an associate of a player.

Calipari is not named or directly implicated in the report.

He now coaches at Kentucky.

CBSSports.com's initial attempt to reach Calipari by cell phone Wednesday was unsuccessful.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: May 27, 2009 7:50 pm
Edited on: May 27, 2009 7:54 pm

A signed contract sure does make things simpler

In the end, this will be settled out of court.

I would bet $6 million on it.

But either way, I must tell you that it's difficult to watch Billy Gillispie file a lawsuit against the University of Kentucky and not wonder why he let it get to this point, why he didn't simply sign the contract to protect himself and ensure he'd be compensated appropriately. Obviously, Gillispie had his reasons, and I'm sure they made sense at the time. But those reasons have now put him in a position where he's having to sue to get the $6 million he believes he's owed, meaning the strategy has backfired in a potentially costly way.

Translation: Bad decision ... although Gillispie seems to have a decent gripe.

The Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) that Gillispie worked under clearly states that a "termination without cause by the University" will "require a payment of $1.5 million per year for the remainder of the term of the contract, provided the payment for termination without cause [does] not exceed 48 months." That's worth noting because there are examples in the 24-page lawsuit (that can be read by clicking this link ) where Kentucky officials prevented Gillispie from doing things (among them, accepting unauthorized endorsement money) because they were in violation of the MOU, which might make it difficult for the school to now act as if the MOU never mattered. Take that option off the table, and UK is left trying to prove it fired Gillispie with cause. And though the opportunity to replace him with John Calipari, John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins probably seems like sufficient cause to Kentucky fans, I'm not sure that rationale will hold up in a court of law.

In other words, Gillispie might be on the right side of this case.

But does he really want this to go to court?

Remember, Gillispie plans to get back into coaching, perhaps as soon as next year. And if he pushes this too far, UK will almost certainly focus on trying to show any and every way he didn't meet the terms of the MOU, real or otherwise, which could get ugly -- the type of ugly where Gillispie wins the lawsuit but in the process renders himself unhirable.

I think that's called winning the battle but losing the war.

So I guess what I'm saying is that Kentucky doesn't need this to go before a judge because it might lose, and Gillispie doesn't need this to go before a judge because he might damage his chances of getting another job. Thus, like I wrote at the top, I believe this will be settled out of court, eventually, and my guess is that Kentucky will pay more than it wants to pay, but Gillispie won't get as much as he wants to get.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: May 26, 2009 12:53 pm

Three players not returning to UK

John Calipari's scholarship problems at Kentucky are just about gone.

The school announced Tuesday that Jared Carter, A.J. Stewart and Donald Williams will not return to UK for the 2009-10 season. According to Kentucky, Carter will not seek a fifth year after missing most of his senior season with a shoulder injury while Stewart and Williams plan to transfer out of the program. That leaves Calipari with 14 scholarship players set for next season if Jodie Meeks withdraws from the NBA Draft. So there could still be more movement to come, although it's possible that one or more of the signees might fail to get admitted to school, at which point the problem takes care of itself.
Category: NCAAB
Tags: Kentucky
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com