Posted on: July 29, 2010 2:45 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2010 2:47 pm
We've unveiled No. 3 on the CBSSports.com list of the nation's best combined football/basketball schools.
It is ... drum roll, please ... Ohio State.
Click this link to read my column about the basketball program.
No. 2 will be unveiled Monday.
No. 1 comes next Thursday.
Posted on: June 23, 2010 2:35 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2010 9:36 am
The most intriguing debate heading into Thursday's NBA Draft is the debate about DeMarcus Cousins.
Will he be the Rookie of the Year?
Will he be a headache?
Truth is, it won't surprise me if Cousins turns out to be both. The guy is an awesome talent and uneven personality whose reputation is well earned. My guess is that he'll put 18 points and 17 rebounds on somebody in the first month of his NBA career and cause general managers who passed on him to cry, then two months later be caught on camera arguing with an assistant coach, at which point those same general managers will be thankful they passed.
And that's probably how Cousins' career will go.
Lots of nice moments surrounded by lots of shake-your-head moments.
So the question the Nets (picking third) and Timberwolves (picking fourth) must ask themselves is whether they'd rather have Cousins and his issues, or Derrick Favors, Wes Johnson or Greg Monroe, because it's not close in terms of talent. On talent alone, Cousins should probably be the second pick (behind only Kentucky teammate John Wall) and perhaps the No. 1 overall pick. As much as I've criticized Cousins' demeanor, I've never questioned his ability. He's big and strong and skilled, and he was the most dominant force in college basketball last season. I love his potential, but I'm scared he'll never be able to get out of his own way. That's the dilemma. That's always been the dilemma.
And yet I still wonder how much it should matter.
I still really do wonder if we care too much about character.
I mean, I just watched the Lakers win an NBA title with a player who has been accused of rape (Kobe Bryant), a player who ran into the stands to punch a fan (Ron Artest), a player who once demanded a trade from the team that drafted him (Pau Gasol), and a player who married the worst Kardashian just weeks after meeting her (Lamar Odom). Again, those are our world champions. Meantime, the Indianapolis Police Department believes Zach Randolph could be a drug kingpin, and he's an All-Star. Dwyane Wade has gone through some kind of crazy divorce and may or may not be a terrible father, but he's a pretty successful basketball player. Carmelo Anthony once told criminals not to snitch on other criminals, but I'd take him on my team. Tyreke Evans was the driver of a car that carried a murderer away to safety, but he was also the Rookie of the Year.
I could do this forever, but you get the point.
Character matters, sure.
But nothing matters in the NBA more than talent.
You don't win or lose with good people and bad people.
You win or lose with talented players and untalented players.
So I'd take Wall ahead of Cousins and I might -- let me stress might -- take Turner and Favors ahead of him, too. But there's absolutely no way Cousins -- a 6-foot-11, 280-pound forward who averaged 15.1 points and 9.8 rebounds in 23.5 minutes per game as a freshman -- should go any lower than fourth in this draft, absolutely no way Cousins should be selected behind Johnson, Monroe or anybody else not named Wall, Turner or Favors because you don't pass on a potential All-Star unless you're getting a potential All-Star in his place.
There are only four prospects in this draft who project as potential All-Stars.
Posted on: April 22, 2010 7:16 am
You guys sure do like to defend former Ohio State coach Jim O'Brien.
If nothing else, I've learned that.
I knew Wednesday's column would create a reaction, and I knew some wouldn't like what I wrote. But I honestly didn't expect the column to create the type of reaction it created or generate the kind of emails it's generated, and I never knew so many of you have a soft place in your heart for a man who -- try to follow me here -- once violated NCAA rules by giving a prospect $6,000.
Seriously, has the world gone crazy?
Some of the same emailers who routinely kill Tim Floyd and John Calipari took the time to defend O'Brien. And please stop with the "at least he admitted it" and "at least he told the truth" stuff because O'Brien didn't "admit" what he did any more than Tiger Woods admitted to affairs.
Yes, they both eventually admitted their shortcomings.
But do you know when that happened?
After they were caught!
Woods admitted he was a serial cheater when it was unavoidable, which is to say right after the world learned he was a serial cheater. O'Brien's moment of full disclosure is similar. Remember, he gave the prospect $6,000 in 1998 and didn't "admit it" until 2004, and he only admitted it in 2004 because he knew it was about to be made public in a pending lawsuit. So I don't understand why O'Brien gets credit for admitting anything. At best, he owned up to a blatant violation of NCAA rules after he was caught.
And it was a blatant violation.
I can't stress that enough.
As you probably know, coaches aren't allowed to pay prospects or players, even ones whose families are struggling. Do you know what would happen if Thad Matta came out tomorrow and admitted he gave some kid $6,000 because the kid's mother was battling cancer and they needed cash to put food on the table? He'd be fired, that's what would happen (although Ohio State would probably be a little more careful about how it went about the firing, lest the athletic department end up in another wrongful termination lawsuit).
So that's that.
And, no, it doesn't mean Jim O'Brien is the dirtiest coach ever.
I honestly don't think he'd make the top 25.
I never said he would.
But an argument of "there are dirtier coaches coaching right now" isn't much of an argument unless you'd listen to some imprisoned burglar tell you how there are worse burglars running the streets right now. I mean, obviously that's true. There are burglars running the streets, murderers, too. But the ones who get caught go to prison and pay a price, and Jim O'Brien is a man who was caught -- one more time, just to let it sink in -- paying a prospect in what amounted to a pretty reckless and clear violation of what is commonly viewed as the most significant NCAA rule.
You can't pay a player.
Or at least you can't get caught paying a player.
But Jim O'Brien got caught paying a player; that's the truth. And anything beside that central point is mostly irrelevant to my central point, that a Big East program like Rutgers scrapping for respect shouldn't consider hiring a man with that kind of baggage on his resume.
Posted on: April 9, 2010 12:49 pm
Edited on: April 9, 2010 12:51 pm
Charlotte hired Ohio State assistant Alan Major to fill its coaching vacancy, a source confirmed Friday to CBSSports.com.
An official announcement is expected later Friday afternoon.
Major spent nine seasons as an assistant under Thad Matta -- first at Xavier, then at Ohio State. The Indianapolis native and Purdue graduate replaces Bobby Lutz, who was fired last month.
Posted on: April 7, 2010 2:05 pm
Ohio State star Evan Turner will announce Wednesday that he's entering the NBA Draft, a source has told CBSSports.com.
A press conference is tentatively scheduled for 4 p.m. ET.
Turner was named the CBSSports.com National Player of the Year after leading the Ohio State to a share of the Big Ten title. The 6-foot-7 combo guard averaged 20.4 points, 9.2 rebounds and 6.0 assists this season despite missing six games because of broken bones in his back. He's expected to be among the top three picks and could challenge Kentucky's John Wall for the top overall spot.
Posted on: March 22, 2010 9:15 am
The United States Basketball Writers Association on Monday named Ohio State's Evan Turner as the winner of the Oscar Robertson Trophy, which is annually presented to the nation's best player. Turner was voted first in all nine of the USBWA's geographical districts.
"I think he's very deserving," OSU coach Thad Matta said in a release. "I am very proud of what he's done, the work he's done to put himself in position to win the award is something that's truly amazing. He's one of the most multi-dimensional players in the country. He has an ability to score the basketball, drive it, get to the foul line, and shoot threes. His passing makes everyone on the floor that much better."
Turner was named the CBSSports.com National Player of the Year earlier this month.
He's expected to win most POY honors.
OSU plays Tennessee on Friday in the Sweet 16.
Posted on: March 12, 2010 3:53 pm
Edited on: March 12, 2010 3:59 pm
Michigan had five players on the court.
One. Two. Three. Four. Five.
And yet John Beilein didn't use any of them to A) guard the inbound guy, or B) deny Evan Turner the ball. So guess what happened? In a span of 2.2 seconds, Turner -- otherwise known as the CBSSports.com National Player of the Year -- looped around without interruption, caught a clean pass, took two dribbles and launched a 37-footer that swished and gave Ohio State a 69-68 win in Friday's Big Ten quarterfinals.
If I live to be 99 -- and I hope I do -- I'll never understand why coaches don't put somebody on the inbound guy. Cincinnati didn't do it Thursday night, which allowed Da'Sean Butler to catch a clean pass and hit a game-winner. I watched that, went to bed, woke up, turned the TV back on, and watched Michigan use and fail with the same strategy
And how do you even let Turner touch the ball?
He's the one person on the court you absolutely don't watch touching it if you're Michigan. But the Wolverines let him catch the ball and fly up the court with no resistance, and they paid the price they deserved to pay for not learning from Rick Pitino's greatest coaching mishap.
Remember the Christian Laettner shot in the 1992 East Regional?
It happened, at least in part, because Pitino put nobody on the inbound guy.
This was similar in that it made no sense.
And now Michigan is responsible for enhancing the legend of an Ohio State star.
Unless you're Michigan.
Posted on: March 3, 2010 2:52 pm
Evan Turner appears headed toward National Player of the Year honors.
The Ohio State junior received 41 of 49 first-place votes in the final AnnArbor.com National Player of the Year poll to take a commanding lead over Kentucky's John Wall. Syracuse's Wesley Johnson, Villanova's Scottie Reynolds and Duke's Jon Scheyer rounded out the top five. Turner was the lone player to appear on all 49 ballots. He was first or second on 48 of them.
My ballot looked like this:
It was the right thing to do.
Here's a recap of Turner's season: Changed positions, posted insane numbers, broke bones in his back, missed six games, returned to the court, posted more ridiculous numbers and led Ohio State to a Big Ten title and Top 10 ranking. He's averaging 19.5 points, 9.4 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game. So while I still believe Wall is devastating, the country's best NBA prospect, and somebody who could get hot and overwhelm opponents while leading Kentucky to a national championship, Turner is the correct pick for Player of the Year at this moment.
Remember, Derrick Rose wasn't the Player of the Year in 2008.
He wasn't even a serious candidate for that award.
But Rose was ultimately heralded as college basketball's best guard after the nation watched him tear through Drew Neitzel, D.J. Augustin and Darren Collison in consecutive NCAA tournament games. This could be similar. But there's no denying Turner has had the better season to date, and he deserves every first-place vote he got, plus whatever other honors come his way.