Over the summer, I woke up one Friday morning, poured myself bowl of cereal while I did my usual morning internet browsing before hopping in the shower and heading out the door to go to work at the place I bartend.
The only problem?
It was actually Saturday. I don’t work Saturdays. And I’m sure I’m not the only person who has done this — or something like this — before. It happens. And its why no one should be getting themselves riled up into a lather over the secondary violation Tom Crean committed. Crean had recruiting contact with Gary Harris, a borderline top ten recruit in the class of 2012, on October 6th, the day after the recruiting period ended. He says it was an honest mistake, I’ll believe him.
But lets assume, for a second, that this wasn’t an honest mistake. That this was a calculated move by Crean to try and garner favor with a kid from Indiana that isn’t favoring the Hoosiers. Is talking to a player a day after the period ends really going to make up the difference? Is that limited contact going to change kid’s mind on where he wants to go to school? Do you really believe that?
Think about everything that goes on in recruiting these days. There are six figure paydays for kids that are going to be spending less than a calender year on campus. There are coaches and boosters and AAU coaches paying for players to go jetsetting across the country to take “unofficial” visits to every school that sends them a recruiting questionnaire. Every step of the recruiting process, there is someone waiting with their hand out. From Dave Telep’s Insider recruiting blog at ESPN:
The reality of recruiting is this: there are bigger fish to fry and more pertinent topics to ruffle your feathers over. We’re in an era of blatant disregard for basic recruiting rules. Across the country, prospective student-athletes (that’s an NCAA word, not mine) are jumping on planes this weekend to take unofficial visits. Don’t think for one second all of them are paying their own way. While Indiana fills out its NCAA paperwork, another assistant from another school is illegally meeting with a player and his parents. He’s not going to report the contact or even turn in the receipt for the meal he bought them. There’s no way you’re going to catch him either because he used a non-school expensed phone to make the illegal call to set up the dinner. He dialed the cell phone of a player whose bill is being paid for by a third party AAU coach, runner or agent.
Tom Crean and his Indiana staff should be embarrassed about this violation, but that embarrassment should be more “I forgot to zip my fly after going to the bathroom” than “I got fired for getting caught lying about a barbecue I knew I wasn’t supposed to be hosting.”
Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.
The injury Stephen Zimmerman suffered on Saturday will keep the star UNLV freshman out for at least a week, a source told NBC Sports.
The injury is not thought to be serious, however. Zimmerman may be kept out for longer as a precaution, but that’s a result of the Runnin’ Rebels being in a situation where the rest of their regular season is relatively meaningless.
They’re not getting an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament regardless of how they finish out league play. With back-up center Ben Carter out with a torn ACL, it’s more important to make sure that Zimmerman, who is averaging 10.6 points and 9.1 boards this season, is totally healthy for the Mountain West tournament.
That tournament, mind you, will be played at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center.
So the Runnin’ Rebels, regardless of how poor they’ve played this season, will always have a chance to land an automatic bid.
Anyway, the more interesting aspect of this story is how Zimmerman injured the knee. It was a completely avoidable play that came after the whistle, but I’m not sure it was what you would call a “dirty play”. You tell me:
With a little more than three minutes left on Monday night, No. 24 Texas held a 57-51 lead on No. 3 Oklahoma in Norman as Jordan Woodard struggled again and Buddy Hield failed to find the rhythm that he had throughout the first three months of the season.
At that point in the game, Hield was 4-for-14 from the floor with 15 points and four turnovers. He had just missed a pair of wide-open threes
“I couldn’t make a shot,” Hield said after the game. But that changed down the stretch. First, Hield finally got a three to drop. On the next possession, he got all the way to the rim and scored. On the following two possessions, he was fouled on a drive to the rim and hit four free throws. And after missing a pull-up jumper, Hield did this:
“I told coach I wanted the ball,” Hield said, “I saw Lammert coming to bite, so I pulled up.”
“It’s all money.”
Hield is already the favorite to win National Player of the Year, and this performance is only going to help his cause further. Think about it like this: Buddy was not good on Monday night, at least according to his (admittedly lofty) standards. But he still finished with 27 points and shook off a cold shooting night just in time to take over down the stretch.
Now think about this: Hield’s head coach has enough confidence in him to hand him the keys in the final minutes despite the fact that he’s struggling and on a team that has two other players that Lon Kruger trusts on game-winning possessions. Think about it. When Oklahoma beat West Virginia at the buzzer, it was Jordan Woodard that the play was drawn up for. When they beat LSU, it was Isaiah Cousins that got the rock on the final possession while Hield was used as a decoy. .
Want to talk about coaching luxuries?
Kruger has three guards that can shoot, penetrate and score, and penetrate and kick, and one of them is the National Player of the Year that doesn’t mind being used as a decoy.