NCAA Basketball Tournament - Harvard v Vanderbilt

Catching up with Kyle Casey, Brandyn Curry during year away from Harvard

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Kyle Casey was supposed to be the best player for Harvard this season, which was going to be the year that the Crimson finally peaked under Tommy Amaker while sending Casey off into the sunset as a program-changer at the school.

Unfortunately, that’s not even close to how the season has played out.

Not only is Casey not on the team, he’s not even enrolled at the school. He got caught up in a cheating scandal at the school, one that involved up to 125 people and could have resulted in a one-year suspension that would have ended the collegiate eligibility of Casey, and fellow senior Brandyn Curry, had they not withdrawn.

The New York Times caught up with Casey, and while he may not be playing for Crimson, it certainly doesn’t mean that he’s become a detriment to society. Casey’s spent the time working with the 3PointFoundation, a nonprofit organization started by Andrew Mirken, a local high school coach, and Neil Jacobs, a lawyer for the Celtics, to help local kids. From the NYT:

The foundation conducts a free after-school program that is designed to help boys improve their skills in the classroom and on the basketball court in an attempt to point them toward a path to college.

“We have kids in our program that have been shot at, have brothers that have been shot and killed, their dads are incarcerated,” Mirken said. “When you give them an African-American role model, a young male, who is at an Ivy League school, he’s obviously going to change what these kids’ lives are.”

“I think being in his program has really rejuvenated me,” Casey said. “It’s given me that spirit again and the energy to wake up every morning with a passion and a purpose to make a difference in someone’s life, if not my life.”

Curry isn’t spending his time sitting around and killing time, waiting for next year, either. He’s working as an insurance salesman.

Everyone makes mistakes, especially when they are in college. It’s not the mistake that defines who you are, it’s how you react and whether or not you learn from it. The year away from the game is tough, but Casey and Curry seem to be handling it the right way.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Details of Gregg Marshall’s Wichita State contract released

Gregg Marshall (AP Photo)
Gregg Marshall (AP Photo)
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Back in the spring, back before Alabama had hired Avery Johnson and Texas had decided upon bringing in Shaka Smart, Gregg Marshall was the hottest name on the coaching carousel. He had turned Wichita State into a top 15 program, one that had reached a Final Four and won 35 straight games in the previous three seasons.

There was speculation that the Longhorns would make a run at him, but it was Alabama that tried first, reportedly offering Marshall a blank check, telling him to tell them what he was going to get paid.

Marshall turned it down, accepting a deal to remain at Wichita State that was reported to be worth $3.3 million annually for the next seven years.

This week, the Wichita Eagle obtained a copy of Marshall’s contract. The details:

  • Marshall will be getting paid $3 million annually until 2018, when that number jumps up to $3.5 million. He’s under contract through 2022.
  • He has performance bonuses that could reach more than $450,000.
  • Not that Marshall would ever be fired by Wichita State, but his buyout is massive: $15 million until he’s owed less than $15 million on his contract, at which point the Shockers would have to pay him the remainder of his salary.
  • But if Marshall decides to leave, he only has to pay the school $500,000.

So if you were wondering why Marshall decided not to leave Wichita, it’s because he’s making more than Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan and slightly less than Indiana head coach Tom Crean this season.

Arkansas returns to underdog role after offseason arrests

Mike Anderson
Mike Anderson (AP Photo)
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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) Arkansas coach Mike Anderson says he was “blindsided” by a tumultuous offseason for the Razorbacks, one that included the arrests of three players on allegations of using counterfeit money.

Still, entering his fifth season at Arkansas – his 22nd overall at the school, including 17 as an assistant – Anderson remains optimistic the program can build on last year’s second-place finish in the Southeastern Conference.

Led by SEC Player of the Year Bobby Portis, the Razorbacks finished 27-9 last season and reached their NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2008.

The excitement-filled season was the culmination of four years of rebuilding for Anderson, though the school took a step back afterward following the early departures for the NBA of Portis and second-leading scorer Michael Qualls.

That was only the first step in a difficult offseason for the Razorbacks.

Starting point guard Anton Beard, forward Jacorey Williams and transfer Dustin Thomas were arrested by Fayetteville police in July, accused of using counterfeit $20 bills and exchanging counterfeit $50 bills for $100 bills.

Williams was dismissed in August, while Beard and Thomas have been suspended from the team and remain enrolled in school awaiting trial.

“I think if you’re in it long enough, you’re going to have some of those things take place,” Anderson said. “I was kind of blindsided by some of it, I’ll say that. … When it happens, I think the measure of, not only the person but the program, is how you deal with it. And I think we’re dealing with it in the right way.”

With Portis and Qualls’ departures, as well as the graduation of Ky Madden and Alandise Harris, Arkansas enters this season without four of its top five scorers from a year ago.

The lone returner in that mix is senior shooting guard Anthlon Bell, who averaged 7.9 points per game last season while shooting 35.1 percent on 3-pointers.

Bell’s outside ability is something the Razorbacks expect to use often this season without the interior scoring touch of Portis, and because the revamped roster features several top shooters – including Texas Tech transfer Dusty Hannahs and heralded freshman guard Jimmy Whitt.

Anderson said they’re also likely to run more this season in order to try and manufacture easy offense through defensive pressure.

“We’re still going to play Hog basketball, 40 minutes of Hell,” Bell said.

Anderson wouldn’t comment in detail on the arrests of Beard or Thomas, but he did say he talks with the two while they’re on suspension. He also said they are continuing to work out on their own, with the hope of being reinstated after the legal process plays out.

In the meantime, Anderson is embracing a return to the underdog role after last season’s breakout – calling the reversal a “challenge” and insisting “We’re not going backward.”

“It’s unfortunate that we had some individuals that, No. 1, they (did) some things that hurt the team,” Anderson said. “But at the end of the day, let’s see how these other guys respond.”