Larry Brown cut four players at SMU, and the problem is … ?

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As he has a tendency to do when he gets in the right mood, Gregg Doyel of CBSSports.com took a hatchet to SMU’s decision to hire Larry Brown over the weekend.

Doyel’s biggest issue is that Brown set foot on campus and immediately started thinning out the Mustang’s roster. Three rising-sophomore forwards were told that their scholarships were not going to be renewed. The same thing happened to Jeremiah Samarrippas, a rising junior that not only started at the point during his first two seasons with the Mustangs but was also a team captain.

As an isolated incident, I don’t have a problem with this decision.

Simply put, these four players got cut. It happens, in every sport and at every level once you get past the age where everyone is required to play the same amount. As sports get more competitive at a higher level, fewer people are going to be able to play. If you’re not good enough, you get cut.

It sucks. I know. I’ve been there. I’m sure a lot of you have as well. But this is Division I basketball, and Jeremiah Samirrippas and his three former teammates are big boys. They’ll be able to deal with the disappointment and continue his basketball career somewhere else. If you can earn a scholarship to SMU, you’ll be able to go to college for free at a lower level as well. And it’s not like this is going to derail an NBA career; Samarrippas was the best of the group and he averaged 6.9 points and 4.2 assists for a 13-19 team.

Honestly, I don’t think that Brown did anything that wrong. When a coach takes over a program, he wants to coach players that he believes will excel in his system. Those four didn’t fit into that vision. Again, it sucks but it happens. And if you want to argue the academics angle, well, Doyel said it best himself: “as if college basketball players go to school to major in something other than basketball.”

No, the injustice here isn’t the fact that Brown told a third of his roster to pack their bags.

The injustice is that he is allowed to while, at the same time, being able to a) leave SMU whenever he decides he is done coaching the Mustangs and b) tell any player that decides they don’t want to play for Brown where they can and cannot transfer to.

Brown’s not alone, either. Any coach in the country can tell any player on his roster that their scholarship won’t be renewed the next season. Much has been made about the record number of transfers at the Division I level the past couple of years, but have you ever stopped to think about just how many of them were the result of a coach cutting ties?

That’s why so many people have made such a fuss about the actions of Bo Ryan and Phil Martelli and why the AD’s at Tulsa and FIU have come under such fire.

It’s unfair that a player’s former school has such influence in determining where that kid (and yes, they are still kids) will continue his career.

But it’s downright egregious that they have that much influence while simultaneously being able to kick the kid to the curb if he doesn’t perform and take off for a better job when it comes along.

If coaches were forced to give players four- or five-year scholarships — if they couldn’t kick a player out of the program on a whim — would we be as upset about head coaches restricting transfer releases?

Memphis lands commitment from 2018 center Connor Vanover

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Memphis picked up its first commitment in the Class of 2018 on Wednesday night as unique center prospect Connor Vanover announced his decision on Twitter.

At 7-foot-2, Vanover brings elite size to the interior for the Tigers and he’s also skilled enough that he was a 43 percent three-point shooter during his stint playing with Pro Skills in the Nike EYBL this spring. Although Vanover needs to add strength and athleticism to adapt to the college level, he simply has size that you can’t teach. Pair that size with an intriguing perimeter jumper and it’ll be interesting to see how head coach Tubby Smith is able to develop Vanover the next few years.

A three-star prospect according to Rivals, Vanover averaged 9.1 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game during the spring. Originally from Arkansas, Vanover is spending his senior season of high school ball at prep school powerhouse Findlay Prep.

Bill Self unsure of how long he will continue to coach

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Kansas head coach Bill Self is one of the most decorated college basketball coaches of all time.

Recently inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame earlier this month, Self has won a record 13 consecutive Big 12 regular-season championships while also claiming a national title for the Jayhawks during his storied career.

But while most legendary coaches in contemporary college basketball have stayed around to coach well into their late 60s or early 70s, the 54-year-old Self doesn’t necessarily see his career playing out that way.

Speaking with ESPN.com reporter Myron Medcalf on Wednesday, Self acknowledged that he’s thinking about potentially retiring once his next contract ends after the 2021-22 season. With five more years left on his current deal, that would mean that Self would be retiring before he would even turn 60.

“I’ve said all along that if I could go to my late 50s, that’d be good for me,” Self said to Medcalf. “Now that I’m getting close to my late 50s, I’m like, ‘Well…’ but my contract runs until I’m 59, so I’ve got five more years left. I definitely want to do that. Then whatever happens after that I’d be happy with whatever. But I don’t want to [coach too late].”

While Hall of Fame coaches like Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim (72 years old), Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski (70 years old) and North Carolina’s Roy Williams (67 years old) are showing no signs of slowing down, Self acknowledged to Medcalf that coach, and specifically recruiting, has started to take its toll on him.

“With recruiting the way that it is, it just wears you down,” Self said to Medcalf.

With Kansas pursuing so many potential one-and-done prospects over the past few seasons, it means that Self usually has to recruit sizable recruiting classes

Self is certainly entitled to do what he wants with his career and his life but it would be a shame to see one of the game’s greats hang it up at that point in his career. Potentially retiring at that age means that Self won’t chase 1,000 wins or any additional longevity records

Ohio State lands second pledge in two days with 2018 guard Duane Washington

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Ohio State stayed hot on the recruiting trail on Wednesday as the Buckeyes landed a commitment from Class of 2018 guard Duane Washington.

The 6-foot-3 Washington is the second commitment for Ohio State and new head coach Chris Holtmann in the last two days after four-star forward Jaedon LeDee pledged to the Buckeyes on Tuesday.

One of the better shooters in the Class of 2018, Washington averaged 14.9 points per game on tremendous shooting splits (48% FG, 87% FT, 45% 3PT) playing with The Family in the Nike EYBL this spring. A Michigan native who now resides in California, Washington gives Ohio State a much-needed guard commitment in the Class of 2018.

With the Buckeyes needing to fill a lot of scholarships due to roster turnover, Washington is a solid start to their perimeter class. While Washington isn’t likely to play point guard, he can play multiple perimeter spots and should be a solid addition to the Buckeye rotation.

Syracuse walk-on accused of sexual assault

Syracuse Post-Standard
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Dominick Parker, an 18-year old freshman who was added to the Syracuse roster as a walk-on just 12 days ago, was arrested last Friday and charged with sexual abuse in the first degree, reports Syracuse.com.

Parker is accused of having sexual contact with an 18-year old female student while she was incapable of giving consent. His name and picture have been removed from the Syracuse athletics website.

“Sexual and relationship violence is not tolerated at Syracuse University,” the school said in a statement. “We are now doing all that we can to support and provide assistance to those affected by the alleged incident. As this is an ongoing investigation, Syracuse University will not be providing further comment.”

Wichita State to sell beer at Koch Arena

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As if it wasn’t already hard enough to win games at Koch Arena.

Starting this season, Wichita State fans will be able to buy beer during games at their home arena, a fact that should ensure that the raucous home environs that have made the Shockers so difficult to beat in Wichita remains the same.

That’s not a bad thing to add to a home court advantage while making the move into a new conference, the American, for the 2017-18 season.

Once a rarity, beer at college sporting events in a growing trend. Minnesota, Florida and Texas, among a number of others have added alcohol sales in recent years. Given the money that would seem likely to be generated, it’s a trend that will probably become even more pervasive in college athletics.

Let’s just make sure that everyone partakes in moderation.