110724-calhoun-hathawayJPG

If UConn buys out AD, what’s it mean for Calhoun?

Leave a comment

Here’s news that’ll fend off Jim Calhoun’s retirement for years.

Connecticut president Susan Herbt is working on a deal to buyout athletic director Jeff Hathaway, according to a report from theday.com of Connecticut. The process could take “a few weeks” or longer, but the site reports it’s unlikely Hathaway will still be the AD when school starts.

Calhoun, 69, signed a four-extension with UConn last year, but spoke openly about retirement after the Huskies won the NCAA title in March. (In fact, it’s been an ongoing drama most of the summer.) If there’s a way to encourage him to fulfill that contract, it’s by adding an AD he wants.

Because Calhoun isn’t a Hathaway fan. At all.

From an interesting column by Jeff Jacobs of the Hartford Courant:

Basketball coach Jim Calhoun has made little secret of his distaste for Hathaway. Many sets of ears have heard about that distaste. That’s one matter. This is another: Calhoun and his group of supporters, according to one highly placed source, have been angling for Hathaway’s ouster. More than that, the source told The Courant that he had been approached to give support to that group.

Is Calhoun’s camp the prime motivator? Don’t know. We do know he is a powerful force at UConn. There could be other forces at work. Herbst’s chief of staff, Rachel Rubin, for instance, once worked as associate athletic director for ethics and regulatory affairs. You have to figure Herbst will hear her view, and it might not be flattering.

Yet it comes down to this: If Hathaway is jettisoned, it will look to folks from coast to coast as if a coach who has just been penalized by the NCAA in the Nate Miles debacle won a power struggle against his athletic director. It will look to all as if a coach who just lost two scholarships and $187,500 out of his pocket for poor Academic Performance Rating schmoozed a new president into guillotining an AD who had put that APR language into his contract.

Not only that, Hathaway’s set to serve as the chair of the NCAA tournament committee next year. Buying out an AD who’s set to assume a high visible position for the NCAA’s most important event of the year probably won’t sit well with the NCAA brass.

Between that and the academic/compliance issues, it’s a risky move for the school to make.

But if keeping Calhoun on the sidelines for a few more seasons is the larger goal, well, it’ll almost certainly pan out.

UPDATE: Herbt released a statement on Sunday regarding the athletic department’s external review, but Hathaway isn’t named in the statement. That can’t be promising for the AD.

“Athletics is a vital part of UConn and there are many ways to evaluate the success of a collegiate athletic department — academic performance of student-athletes, NCAA compliance, fundraising and overall athletic success,” Herbst said in the statement. “We will be excellent stewards of public and private funds in all areas of the University. As a result, I will be reviewing all divisions of the University over time, but with great urgency, to make sure that we are serving this state in the best possible way. Accountability and excellence are our themes, going forward.

“The Division of Athletics is one of those areas of the university in which we have already begun this evaluation process,” Herbst added.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.

Seton Hall’s Derrick Gordon won’t pursue pro basketball to become a firefighter

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 12:  Derrick Gordon #32 of the Seton Hall Pirates celebrates after hitting a basket against the Villanova Wildcats during the Big East Basketball Tournament Championship at Madison Square Garden on March 12, 2016 in New York City. Seton Hall Pirates defeated Villanova Wildcats 69-67.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

After a successful career that included stops at Western Kentucky, UMass and Seton Hall, Derrick Gordon, Division I college basketball’s first openly gay player, will not pursue professional opportunities and will instead become a firefighter.

The 6-foot-3 Gordon averaged 8.0 points and 3.3 rebounds per game as a senior for the Pirates, helping the team reach the NCAA tournament during his graduate transfer year. By making the NCAA tournament with Seton Hall this past season, Gordon became the first college basketball player to reach the event with three different teams.

A tenacious perimeter defender who could have earned a pro contract if he stuck with basketball, Gordon will instead pursue a career as a firefighter in San Francisco.

“I’ve had an amazing basketball career and want to thank everybody who has always been there supporting me every step on the way,” Gordon said via his Instagram. “But I’m making a change in my career…I will now be working towards becoming a San Francisco Firefighter!! I’m excited about this and looking forward to having a long career!!”

While Gordon likely would have never made the NBA on talent alone, his defensive prowess would have likely given him a shot overseas or in the D League. It’s hard to say why Gordon is making this decision, but given what we saw with all of the attention surrounding Michael Sam when he tried to play in the NFL, Gordon was probably going to face a lot of scrutiny wherever he decided to play.

Hopefully Gordon finds his calling as a firefighter and brings the same energy and leadership that he brought on the floor to helping other people outside of basketball.

Washington guard Markelle Fultz pulls off sick spin and dunk at FIBA U18 Americas

Kelly Kline/Under Armour
Kelly Kline/Under Armour
Leave a comment

Washington incoming freshman guard Markelle Fultz is going to be one of the premier players in the country next season as his unique game is going to be fascinating to watch.

The 6-foot-5 Fultz is currently playing with the USA U18 team in Chile for the FIBA U18 Americas as he’s second on the team in scoring and first in assists as the Americans play Canada for the title on Saturday.

Against the host country, Fultz had an electric spin move in the paint and finished with an easy dunk. If you’re not willing to stay up late to watch this dude play this year, then set your DVRs, because Fultz is going to have some fun moments during the season.

(H/t: Jonathan Wasserman, Bleacher Report)

POSTERIZED: Class of 2016 forward Chris Seeley has a massive dunk on defender

seeley
Leave a comment

The Las Vegas AAU events are all going on this week and it’s the final event for rising seniors.

At the Las Vegas Fab 48, forward Chris Seeley of the Splash City 17U team put down one of the best poster dunks of the summer as he skied over a defender for an emphatic finish.

The Class of 2016 forward attends Central High School in Fresno, California as he’s receiving plenty of buzz for his recent play.

 

 

 

Five-star forward Jarred Vanderbilt cuts list to nine

Adidas Nations Houston
1 Comment

LAS VEGAS, NV — Five-star Class of 2017 forward Jarred Vanderbilt has been one of the most sought-after recruits in the country since he was a freshman in high school.

The 6-foot-8 native of Houston is beginning to wind things down in the recruiting process as he cut his list to nine schools on Friday. Vanderbilt’s list includes some of the most storied programs in college basketball and plenty of schools from his home state of Texas.

“I just followed my heart. Went with the schools I liked the most and who I have the best relationships with. Thear were the schools I could see myself playing for,” Vanderbilt told NBCSports.com.

Regarded as the No. 13 overall prospect in the Rivals.com national rankings, Vanderbilt is currently recovering from a broken fifth metatarsal in his left foot.

Vanderbilt will see a doctor in three-to-four weeks as he’s currently in a boot to help his foot heal.

Report: Michigan State and Penn State will play at the Palestra

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 10: Head coach Patrick Chambers of the Penn State Nittany Lions looks on against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the second round of the Big Ten Basketball Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 10, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo has previously expressed a desire to coach a game at the legendary Palestra in Philadelphia and it appears he’ll get his chance in a Big Ten game this season.

According to a report from Brendan F. Quinn of MLive, Penn State will use the Palestra as its home gym for the Jan. 7, 2017 Big Ten game against Michigan State. It is the only time the two teams are scheduled to play during Big Ten season and Penn’s home gym will offer a unique setting for the game.

Since the capacity of the Palestra is 8,722, it should make for a fun atmosphere for both programs since this will be a game both fan bases will likely want to attend.

With Nittany Lions head coach Pat Chambers making Philadelphia a major recruiting priority for his program, a game like this in Philadelphia makes sense while Michigan State has always been open to playing games in unique settings such as aircraft carriers.

The Palestra has been a college basketball mainstay since it was built in 1927 as it hosts all Penn home games and, in the past, hosted a lot of Big 5 Philadelphia college games between La Salle, Penn, Saint Joseph’s, Temple and Villanova.

Overall, a fun idea that should make for an interesting experience for both programs. It’s not often that a team will change its home venue for a conference game, but it could be the start of something we see other schools look to do.