Prairie View A&M v UCLA

Tony Parker’s homesick tweets say more about UCLA than about Parker


There may be nothing less surprising in college basketball right now than finding out that a player on the UCLA roster is not enjoying his time in Westwood.

Over the last couple of years, you wouldn’t be alone if you wondered whether the talent that has left Ben Howland’s program could beat the players that are still on his roster. Drew Gordon, Mike Moser, Chace Stanback, Matt Carlino, Tyler Lamb, Josh Smith, Reeves Nelson. If only Kendell Williams had actually enrolled, that team could probably have won the Pac-12 last season.

There always seems to be something going on with the Bruins, and the latest concern seems to be a couple of cryptic that were sent out by freshman center Tony Parker this week:

Now, this is nothing out of the ordinary when it comes to freshmen that aren’t playing a lot of minutes during the holidays. If you were a college athlete and your season wasn’t going anywhere near as well as you had hoped and you were forced to spend Christmas on the opposite coast away from your family, I’m sure you would probably be down.

But since UCLA is dealing with those transfer issues, those tweets became a story that had to be reported. Jeff Eisenberg did the leg work:

Reached by phone Thursday afternoon, Miller Grove High School coach Sherman White acknowledged Parker is “not happy about not playing” but described that as a healthy response and insisted the freshman doesn’t intend to transfer. Ben Howland said on a teleconference with reporters Wednesday afternoon that Parker has asked for more playing time, but the UCLA coach told him only to “keep working hard” and “keep competing.”

“He’s just behind the guys that are playing ahead of him right now, which are the two Wear twins and Kyle Anderson who’s playing more and more minutes at the four,” Howland said. “But he’s going to play in every game, and he’s actually had two good practices in a row.”

This is when you know things are getting bad for UCLA. A kid tweets about being homesick on Christmas and the interwebs have to track down whether or not that means he’s really considering transferring.

I doubt that’s a position a college coach wants to find themselves in.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

POSTERIZED: Monmouth bench mob goes insane after huge dunk

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Monmouth has arguably been the most entertaining team in college basketball through the season’s first three weeks.

Let’s start with the obvious: They’re a mid-major outfit with a 5-foot-8 point guard that headlines a talented back court, one good enough to have notched upsets at UCLA and, this week, over No. 17 Notre Dame and USC at the Advocare Invitational in Orlando.

It’s pretty incredible, to be honest. They’ve managed to amass one of college basketball’s best resume despite being a MAAC program with a grand total of four NCAA appearances in their luxurious history.

But what makes this team so much fun isn’t just that they can’t seem to stop beating high-major competition, it’s that, in the process, their bench mob has become one of college basketball’s best.

Want some proof? Watch what happens after this Deon Jones poster dunk:

And here’s the wild part: that wasn’t even close to the best thing the bench did this week.

This was:


But there’s so much more.

Like, for example, the three arrows:

The touchdown pass:

The bench poster:

The heart attack:

They … caught a fish?

And, finally, the ‘OH SHHHHHHHHHHHH’:

Wichita State’s 0-3 week makes chances for at-large bid small

Fred VanVleet
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

We’ve reached the nightmare scenario for Wichita State.

Having entered the season as the overwhelming favorite in the Missouri Valley, a top 15 team and a legitimate threat to reach a Final Four, after two weeks, the Shockers are in serious danger of missing out on the NCAA tournament altogether.

That’s not hyperbole, either.

Wichita State fell to 2-4 on the year after getting mollywhopped by Iowa in the 7th-place game of the Advocare Invitational. They ended up in the 7th-place game because they lost to USC and Alabama in the opening two rounds. The Hawkeyes look like the might be able to eke out an at-large berth if things fall the right way for them, but USC and Alabama are projected to finish at or near the bottom of their respective conferences. Even Iowa would do well to finish in the top half of the Big Ten.

Individually, none of those three losses are particularly terrible, and that’s before you factor in that all-american point guard Fred VanVleet sat out the trip to Orlando with a bad hamstring. They were also without back up point guard Landry Shamet in the tournament and it’s unknown when they’ll actually get Anton Grady back to full stretch. That matters to the NCAA tournament selection committee. They’ll factor it in when they determine where the Shockers will be seeded, or if they will even get an invite.

But throw in the loss at Tulsa from the first week of the season, and the Shockers are now 2-4 on the season.

And unlike the rest of the preseason top 25 — unlike the rest of the nation’s high-major programs — Wichita State won’t have a chance to load up on quality wins during league play. The Valley is better than we probably realized (more on that in a second), but it’s not like there are going to be a myriad of top 50 wins for the taking.

Look at Georgetown, for example. They Hoyas went 1-3 in the first week of the season, a stretch that included a home loss to Radford. But they also play in a conference where they’ll get home-and-homes against the likes of Villanova, Butler and Xavier.

The Shockers need to do their damage during the non-conference. They need to get the bulk of their resume put together before Valley play starts. Assuming they do win the rest of their non-league games, we’re not exactly looking at a daunting profile, either. The Shockers still have to visit Saint Louis and Seton Hall and host UNLV, Utah, Nevada and New Mexico State. UNLV and Utah should look like quality wins on Selection Sunday, but the rest of them?

Wichita State is putting themselves in a position where they may end up needing to win the Missouri Valley tournament just to get into the Big Dance, and the problem is that the Valley looks like it is really going to be tough this season. Northern Iowa notched a win over North Carolina already this year. Illinois State gave Maryland a fight and entered the season as a favorite to upset the Shockers. Evansville has two of the league’s five best players in D.J. Balentine and Egidijus Mockevicius.

They’re not waltzing through that conference by any stretch of the imagination.

That’s not exactly what VanVleet and Ron Baker had in mind when they decided to return to Wichita for one final season.