Charles Carmouche

Charles Carmouche’s fifth-year isn’t exactly the spirit of the rule

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Charles Carmouche only played seven games last season, but he could have played many more.

He was suspended after Memphis got back from their trip to Maui, missing seven games in total before he finally saw the court again. Carmouche apparently got a massage during the trip and charged it to his hotel room. When he refused to pay for it, the massage became an NCAA violation. Thus, Carmouche was suspended.

After returning for three games, Carmouche once again was forced to the bench with a knee injury. It was classified as tendinitis and by mid-January, he was cleared to return to action. But head coach Josh Pastner let Carmouche decide when he wanted to come back. Carmouche didn’t, and instead opted to sit out and appeal the NCAA for a medical waiver.

And, surprisingly enough, he won.

On Wednesday afternoon, Carmouche was granted a fifth-year of eligibility by the NCAA. He was rewarded despite the fact that he missed seven games as the result of a suspension stemming from an NCAA violation and the second half of the season due to a knee injury that wasn’t serious enough to keep him from being cleared to play.

Making matters all the more confusing is that Carmouche has now graduated — he spent his first two years at New Orleans and the last two with Memphis, where he was allowed to transfer without sitting out when the UNO program dropped their sports to Division III — meaning that, if he were to transfer, he would qualify for the graduate student waiver.

Think about it like this: Carmouche committed an NCAA violation that a) sent him to the bench for seven games early in the season, b) took him out of favor with Pastner and c) took him out of the Memphis rotation. Because of that mess, he decided to sit out the rest of the season, which resulted in the NCAA rewarding him with the ability to transfer anywhere in the country?

That’s not exactly the reason either of those rules were created.

I’m as strong of a proponent of giving NCAA athletes rights and taking away all of the connotations that come with being a “student-athlete”. Pay ’em! Let ’em transfer freely! Don’t sign an NLI! I’m with it.

But this? This just doesn’t feel right to me. Carmouche shouldn’t be rewarded for having a season ruined because he committed a violation. (For those that don’t know, you can only receive a medical redshirt if you play in fewer than 30% of your team’s games, which usually means the magic number is nine.) And in doing so, he’ll only give credence to the argument that advantages given to athletes will be abused.

Oh well.

Anyone on college basketball’s waiver wire looking to pick up a veteran guard?

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: