As if things weren’t bad enough for Chris Mack and the Xavier Musketeers, the future of his program took a hit over the weekend.
Chris Thomas, who is one of the most talented wings in the Class of 2013, decommitted from the Musketeers on Sunday, according to Jeff Borzello of CBSSports.com. The report says that a desire to be recruited along with the issues at Xavier — Dez Wells was expelled, two recruits were ruled ineligible this year, Mark Lyons left the program with a year of eligibility remaining, and the black eye from a brawl with Cincinnati still remains — all played a role in Thomas’ decision.
But there’s more to it than that.
Anyone that has followed his recruitment shouldn’t be surprised by this decision, however. Thomas hasn’t exactly inspired with his reliability. Borzello explains:
He started out in his hometown of Denver at Montbello (Colo.) but never played a game there. After that, Thomas attended Princeton Day Academy (Md.) and then planned to enroll at Westwind Prep (Ariz.). After deciding not to attend Westwind, he ended his high school career with a couple of months at South Kent Prep (Conn.) – before enrolling at Chipola Junior College in Florida, where he took classes but didn’t play last season. Thomas reportedly obtained his GED at Chipola and is expected to begin taking classes this year.
Thomas is a five-star talent, but the fact that he’s not being pursued by the elite programs should give you an idea of just how many red flags he has. He can’t stay with one team or one program for an extended period of time. He has academic issues that need to be worked out — part of the reason he decided to spend a year and a half at a JuCo was because his high school transcript was a mess. He’s already reclassified once.
Who knows where Thomas ends up now, but it will be interesting to see how long he lasts there.
Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.
LOS ANGELES (AP) University of Southern California athletic director Pat Haden says he will retire on June 30.
USC President Max Nikias made the announcement Friday.
Haden has run the athletic department for 5 1/2 years, leading the Trojans through a multiyear stretch of NCAA sanctions against its vaunted football program. He created a large NCAA compliance program and improved graduation rates and grade point averages across the athletic department.
The former USC quarterback also received criticism for the football program’s relative underachievement and for his handling of coach Steve Sarkisian, who has sued the school over his termination last year.
Nikias says Haden’s department also raised over $400 million during his tenure.
Nikias says Haden will start a one-year job guiding the renovation of the Coliseum after he retires.
GAME OF THE NIGHT: Columbia at Yale, 5:00 p.m.
The two best teams in the Ivy League, with matching 4-0 league records, meet for the first time this season. The Lions were close to suffering their first loss last weekend, but an Alex Rosenberg jumper as time expired gave the Lions the win at reigning champion Harvard. Rosenberg’s one of four players averaging at least 12.2 points per game for Kyle Smith’s team, with senior guard Maodo Lo leading the way at 15.8 per contest.
They’ll face a Yale rotation led offensively by point guard Makai Mason (15.7 ppg, 4.1 apg), and the front court tandem of Justin Sears and Brandon Sherrod has been outstanding. The winner get a leg up in the Ivy race, with the rematch scheduled for March 5 in New York City (regular season finale).
THIS ONE’S GOOD TOO: Central Michigan at Akron, 8:00 p.m.
Two of the top teams in the Mid-American Conference meet at the JAR, as Akron looks to extend its win streak to six straight. The Zips’ balanced offensive attack has been led by forward Isaiah Johnson (12.5 ppg, 7.6 rpg), who currently leads the team in both scoring and rebounding. As for the visiting Chippewas, guards Braylon Rayson and Chris Fowler combine to average 32.7 points per game, with Fowler also responsible for a MAC-best 6.3 assists per contest. CMU’s had some struggles on the defensive glass in league play, ranking 11th in that category, but they’ve done a better job defensively than they did in non-conference play.
OTHER NOTABLE GAMES
- MAAC leader Monmouth is back in action, as they host a Fairfield team led by one of the conference’s best players in senior forward Marcus Gilbert. The Hawks have a deep lineup led by junior guard Justin Robinson, who at this point in time is the likely frontrunner for MAAC Player of the Year honors.
- Looking to catch Monmouth is Iona, which is a game behind the Hawks at 9-3. A.J. English and the Gaels visit Canisius in a matchup that should not lack for offense. Iona’s more inclined to run, but Canisius doesn’t lack scorers either with guard Malcolm McMillan leading four players averaging double figures.
- Given the fact that they’re 1-3 in Ivy League play, Harvard’s essentially in the spoiler role unless some chaos breaks out at the top end of the standings. The Crimson can help in that regard with a win at Princeton, with the Tigers (2-1) a game behind Columbia and Yale in the loss column. Princeton’s been the better offensive team this season, thanks in large part to junior forward Henry Caruso who leads the team in both scoring and rebounding.