Keith Dambrot

Two Akron players suspended three games apiece due to clerical error

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There’s no ignoring the fact that folks have become more and more frustrated with the way in which the NCAA handles the enforcement of its rules, but a decision handed down on Friday may have taken the cake.

While most were focused on the NCAA’s decision to declare UCLA freshman Shabazz Muhammad ineligible, Akron learned that junior forwards Nick Harney and Demetrius Treadwell would be suspended for three games apiece due to a clerical error by the school’s compliance department.

According to a statement released by the school neither player received final amateur certification clearance before the start of the 2011-12 season, something that’s required according to NCAA bylaw

Prior to engaging in practice or competition, a student-athlete shall receive a final certification of amateur status based on activities that occur prior to his or her request for final certification or initial full-time enrollment at an NCAA Division I or II institution (whichever occurs earlier).

Akron appealed the decision, citing the fact that neither player was at fault for the violation, but the plea fell on deaf ears and the appeal was denied.

Harney and Treadwell had nothing to do with the paperwork needed to ensure their amateur status not being completed, yet the NCAA deemed it necessary to have them sit three games.

Not sure what’s worse here: the penalty itself or the fact that someone in charge decided that it made sense to punish Harney and Treadwell. And you wonder why people are growing even more disenchanted with the way things “work” with rules enforcement.

“I feel badly for Nick and Demetrius because this oversight happened as a result of no fault of their own,” head coach Keith Dambrot said in the statement. “They did everything that was asked of them by our Athletics department and coaching staff. We were in constant contact with our compliance department to make sure they fulfilled their obligations.

“Unfortunately, a clerical error occurred that led to this situation. We will continue to focus on winning these next three games and look forward to getting them back on the court next week.”

Unfortunately for the Zips they dropped their season opener 74-70 at Coastal Carolina on Friday night, and they could have used both Harney and Treadwell. Harney averaged 8.3 points and 2.9 rebounds per game last season, and Treadwell finished with averages of 7.2 points and 5.3 rebounds per contest.

Akron’s next two games are against John Carroll on Monday and Oklahoma State Thursday in the first round of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, meaning that Harney and Treadwell will be able to play in the team’s final two games in Puerto Rico.

Last week featured two Indiana players being suspended for a receipt of improper benefits that was triggered by the purchase of alumni bumper stickers by the wife of their legal guardian before either of them were born. And the week ended with two Akron players suspended due to a clerical error that wasn’t their fault.

Makes sense.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej. 

VIDEO: Kris Dunn wills Providence to win over No. 11 Arizona

Kris Dunn, Elliott Pitts
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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Kris Dunn spent the first 35 minutes of Friday night’s game against No. 11 Arizona in foul trouble, splitting his time between sitting on the bench and trying to avoid finding himself, again, on the wrong side the whistle.

With 11 minutes left in the game, and with Dunn yet to find a rhythm, the all-american point guard was whistled for his fourth foul as he battled for a rebound with Arizona’s Mark Tollefsen. Head coach Ed Cooley say his superstar beside his for six game minutes, time enough for Arizona to turn a 49-47 deficit into a 58-54 lead.

There were just over five minutes left when Dunn reentered the second semifinal of the Wooden Legacy, and he proceeded to show everyone in the country why he was named the Preseason Player of the Year. Providence had nine possessions after he reentered the game. Dunn scored 11 points and had a pair of assists on those eight possessions, and if Ben Bentil had stuck a wide-open three — that was setup by Dunn — the Friars would have scored on all nine.

In total, Dunn was responsible for all 15 Friar points in a game-changing, 15-7 run in the final 4:30. It was capped off by this Kobe-in-his-prime-esque game-winner:

The win for Providence is huge for a couple of reasons:

  • Dunn showed a killer instinct against a marquee opponent, something that we didn’t necessarily see out of him a season ago. He wasn’t going to let his team lose, and given that Providence doesn’t have anyone else that can consistently create good shots, they are going to need that from him a lot this year.
  • It makes a statement for the Friars. Arizona is overrated at No. 11 in the country, yes, but going out on national television against an elite program and getting this kind of performance from Dunn is a confidence-booster and a tone-setter. Providence hasn’t been accustomed to winning in recent years. This is a way to set a trend.
  • Ben Bentil continues to play like a star. Dunn had 19 points and eight assists on Friday, but Bentil followed up a 24-point performance in the win over Evansville with 21 critical points on Friday.

This win sets up a matchup between No. 3 Michigan State and Providence on Sunday night, which means that Denzel Valentine and Kris Dunn — the two best players in the country, sorry Ben Simmons — will be going head-to-head.

Oh. Hell. Yes.

No. 14 Cal goes 0-2 in Las Vegas Invitational

Jaylen Brown
AP Photo/Ben Margot
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After midnight on the east coast on Thanksgiving, No. 14 Cal blew a 15 point second half lead against San Diego State, allowing the Aztecs to use a 30-6 run to put away the game and advance to the final of the Las Vegas Invitational. That’s the same San Diego State team had scored 43 points in a loss to Arkansas-Little Rock last week.

Not 24 hours later, the Golden Bears were shredded defensively by the Richmond Spiders, losing 94-90 in the consolation game of a four-team tournament they were considered to be the heavy favorite in.

It’s a disappointing two-game stretch for Cal, who entered the season as a Pac-12 favorite and had looked the part for the first four games of the season.

And the issue appears to be on the defensive end of the floor.

Richmond is a good Atlantic 10 team. Terry Allen and Marshall Wood are high-major big men, Shawn’Dre Jones is a jitterbug at the point and Chris Mooney runs a Princeton-esque system that is very difficult to prepare for without a day in-between games. So it’s not really surprising that the Spiders gave Cal a fight.

But 94 points?

On the heels of giving up 44 points in the second half against the offensively-challenged Aztecs?

That’s a problem, one that I’m sure that Cuonzo Martin is going to address this week in practice. Martin has managed to put together a roster that is build for small-ball, with four talented perimeter players surrounding a first round pick in the post. But that’s not the style that he’s known for. Martin played his college ball at Purdue in the Gene Keady days. He cut his teeth as a head coach at Missouri State in the Missouri Valley. His team’s at Tennessee were known for being tough and physical defensively.

That’s how Martin coaches, which is part of the reason Cal had such hype entering the year.

The talents of Tyrone Wallace, Jaylen Brown, Ivan Rabb, Jabari Bird and Jordan Mathews on a team with a coach that gets teams to defend the way Martin does? It’s no surprise that pundits would be optimistic.

But as of now, they have some work to do defensively if they want to live up to that hype.