The Morning Mix

Leave a comment

– UCLA is in the news, but for all the wrong reasons. In case you haven’t read it, here is George Dohrmann’s expose on the recent culture of UCLA basketball. Leadership starts at the top, and this “scandal” is a huge indictment of the lack of leadership in the UCLA athletic department. A culture change is needed, but that apparently means that athletic director Dan Guerrero isn’t going anywhere

– Mike DeCourcy doesn’t think that Ben Howland deserves the blame for the program’s drop-off. But there is just too much evidence that indicate that Howland is to blame for many of the problems. A handful of former players responded to this article, including Lorenzo Matta-Real, who had a bevy of opinions on the matter

– Howland believes that “If mistakes were made, they will get fixed”. If? IF? It’s pretty clear that mistakes were made. There are probably better ways to handle the fallout than by questioning the merits of the accusation. Going forward, Ben Howland is going to have to answer a lot of questions. Here is a list of some of the potential inquiries. Amid all the controversy, highly regarded recruit Kevin Anderson reaffirmed his commitment to the university

– Oh, and Reeves Nelson, the villain of the report, is claiming that every single accusation made was “categorically false”

The NCAA has warned schools interested in top-recruit Shabazz Muhammad about potential eligibility issues that may arise in the future.  According to the report, there may be dealings between financial advisers and Muhammad’s family that could compromise the star-prospect’s amateur status. Jeff Borzello provides a list of all the visits taken by Muhammad, and it’s staggering to say the least. This must put UCLA out of the running for his services, right? Myron Medcalf examines how the UCLA controversy will effect future recruiting

OK, we’re all done with UCLA for today. Back to your regularly scheduled programming:

– You really just hate to see a player like John Shurna go out like that on Senior Night

– Nicole Auerbach provides a breakdown of bubble winners and bubble losers from Wednesday night

– Bob Knight took another jab at John Calipari today by not referencing the No.1 team in the country among his list of the best teams in the country on Mike & Mike in the Morning. Gregg Doyel believes that Bob Knight needs to be held accountable for his actions

– A great-read on the different scenarios that could continue “The Border War”

– There was a point in time where it was unsure if Yancy Gates would be part of the Cincinnati program when Senior Day rolled around. But the oft-troubled big man was part of the festivities, and a big part of the Bearcats win over Marquette

– The last thing St. John’s needed right now is an injury to their Mo Harkless. Unfortunately for the Johnnies, the dynamic freshman suffered a right ankle injury last night and his status for the future is unsure

– The Atlantic-10 has a plethora of capable teams, and due to the “down year” in the Big East, the conference is more visible than usual. Did you see the St. Bonaventure’s/St. Joseph’s double overtime game last night? Yeah, the A-10 is legit

– O.D. Anosike, the top rebounder in the country, has had a tremendous season for Siena, but was he good enough to edge out Iona’s Scott Machado for MAAC Player of the Year?

– Your weekly update on the North Dakota nickname controversy: Fighting Sioux not welcomed in NCAA postseason

A listing of possible newspaper headlines for the SoCon Tournament Champions

A solid Q&A with St. Francis head coach Glen Braica

– The Big South couldn’t wait for March to start the madness. No. 2-seed Coastal Carolina and No.3-seed Campbell both go down in the quarterfinals

– EBay is awash of random Kentucky paraphernalia

– This is probably the only “All Walk-On” team you will see all year. From the America East no less!

Minnesota center to miss a month

ST. LOUIS, MO - MARCH 7: Reggie Lynch #22 of the Illinois State Redbirds and Fred VanVleet #23 of the Wichita State Shockers fight for control of a loose ball during the MVC Basketball Tournament Semifinals at the Scottrade Center on March 7, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

Minnesota’s projected starting center is sidelined, but is expected to be ready for the season opener.

Reggie Lynch, the Illinois State transfer, had surgery on his left knee, the program announced on Friday night. According to Marcus R. Fuller of the Star-Tribune, the Golden Gophers are anticipating that Lynch is available for the season opener on Nov. 11 against Louisiana-Lafayette.

The 6-foot-10 Lynch has been in the news this offseason prior to his impending debut with Minnesota. In May, he was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault. On August 1, the Hennepin County attorney’s office was announced he would not face charges, citing insufficient evidence.

Lynch spent two seasons at Illinois State, averaging 9.5 points and 5.4 rebounds per game for the Redbirds as a sophomore. He sat out the 2015-16 season due to NCAA transfer rules. Minnesota is coming off a second-to-last place finish in the Big Ten with an 8-23 (2-16 Big Ten) record.

Women’s hoops coaches boycotting recruiting events

DENVER, CO - MARCH 31:  Head coach Muffet McGraw of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish directs her team during practice prior to the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament Final Four at Pepsi Center on March 31, 2012 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Getty Images
2 Comments

For some high-major women’s basketball programs, the final evaluation period of 2016 is being used as a vacation from the recruiting trail.

According to a report from Lindsay Schnell of Sports Illustrated, are not attending events during this weekend’s recruiting period for a host of reasons.

First, many are fed up with the price of tournament packets, booklets of rosters that college coaches receive upon paying their entry fee. Packets are supposed to be chock-full of contact information for the prospects, but sometimes aren’t accurate or up-to-date. (This has become a well-documented issue on the men’s side of college hoops. CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish wrote on it this summer.) Furthermore, there are so many events now that college coaches are often forced to pay obscene amounts of money to watch just one player at a single event, and play recruiting hopscotch around the country, criss-crossing the nation to see so many events and spend thousands of dollars. One Power Five coach said her staff crunched the numbers, and found that in just two years, they’ve spent more than $4,000 more than they did in 2014 on packets alone. Another coach told a story of sending an assistant across the country for one day, to one event, to watch one team. When the assistant arrived, the team had left early for its next event. No refund was available for the college that had paid what turned out to be a useless entry fee. The head coach called it “exasperating.”

Jeff Borzello of ESPN, who spoke to Notre Dame head coach and eventual Hall of Famer Muffet McGraw for his report, estimated that the cost for one of the coaches packets — the ones that include player contact information, rosters, etc. — can cost each school an average of $600 per event.

This era of grassroots basketball has taken off in recent years with Nike, Under Armour and adidas all creating their own sponsored leagues. All three run exceptional events from the staff to the facilities, all the way to the three, free meals a day for coaches. Organizers of these events will argue that there’s a cost to running such high-end events. These packets, some of which are so in-depth they include players’ GPAs, help fund these tournaments (events, paying a staff, etc.).

Coaches, mostly mid to low-major coaches, will argue that these packets aren’t worth the cost, considering that every coach (head and assistant) must purchase them in order to gain entrance. And you will find packets where the information inside is either inaccurate, or missing or both. For elite programs, this isn’t an issue. You show up, you’re seen, you leave, you go to the next event, repeat. For mid to low-major coaches, this really puts a dent in their budget, especially when they have to travel to multiple events (buying packets at each one) because you have to land that “steal,” you have to find that player who is overlooked.

This protest, or boycott (or whatever you want to call it) will hurt those these events are intended to help the most: the players. If coaches continue to avoid these tournaments, that late-bloomer may miss out on a scholarship, or that player with mid-major offers won’t get the chance to play in front of high-major coaches.

According to Schnell, there is a proposal, voted on in April, to eliminate a live recruiting period in April and September. But many coaches in women’s basketball have made it clear this weekend how they feel about the issue.

USC lands commitment from three-star center

Leave a comment

USC added to its 2017 recruiting class with a commitment from a 7-foot big man.

Andy Enfield and the Trojans beat out Florida, Vanderbilt and Tennessee for the services of Calvary Christian Academy (Florida) center Victor Uyaelunmo. He announced his college decision on Friday afternoon.

“It was the best fit for me academically and athletically,” Uyaelunmo said according to David Furones of the Sun Sentinel. “The basketball coaches really wanted me to come, and I thought it was the best place for me.

“They told me how they were going to use me, and they have a couple of guys leaving this year, so I just fit in right.”

Uyaelunmo is regarded as a three-star prospect by Rivals, however, ESPN rates him a four-star recruit. He joins a two-man class which includes four-star forward Jordan Usher.

The departure of Nikola Jovanovic, the Trojans’ leading rebounder during the 2015-16, was a surprising one, and one that left USC with a hole in the middle. While Uyaelunmo still has one more year before arriving on the Los Angeles campus, the Trojans have a promising piece in the paint for the future; a long, athletic big man who has the potential, in time, to become one of the nation’s top shot blockers.

Uyaelunmo played for Nike South Beach in the EYBL this spring and summer. In 12 appearances, he averaged 5.0 points. 5.9 rebounds and 1.0 block in 17.6 minutes per game.

VIDEO: Rupp Arena’s new video board arrives

ukathletics.com
ukathletics.com
Leave a comment

Rupp Arena is getting a makeover. Take a peak as the new video board arrives and is put together:

Five-star freshman ruled ineligible to play for Villanova this season

Jay Wright
(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Leave a comment

Omari Spellman will not be eligible to play for Villanova this season, the school announced on Friday morning.

“We are extremely disappointed for Omari,” stated Villanova head coach Jay Wright. “While we don’t agree with the NCAA’s decision, we are members of the association and respect it. We understand why the NCAA felt it had to rule this way.”

“We will make a positive out of this for Omari. He will concentrate on his academics and individual development this season. In the long run Omari will be a better student and player for this experience.”

Spellman is a top 20 recruit that played for St. Thomas More this past season. At 6-foot-9, 260 pounds, Spellman was going to be counted on to play a major role in replacing Daniel Ochefu, the 6-foot-11 center that graduated this past spring. Without Spellman, Villanova will have to rely on inconsistent senior Darryl Reynolds to man their front line.

It is worth noting, however, that Reynolds did average 9.0 points and 10.6 boards in three games Ochefu missed last year. That was the first time in his career that he was given consistent minutes.

Spellman will be allowed to continue to practice with Villanova as he takes an academic redshirt.