Rutgers

The latest on the disaster that is Rutgers’ athletic department

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Rutgers athletic department is a train wreck, and I’m not simply talking about the fact that every decision that they have made over the course of the last six month has been the wrong one.

It’s so ugly, yet I can’t look away. I keep waiting for the next bombshell.

If you need a refresher, buckle up:

In April, basketball coach Mike Rice was fired because a video surfaced of him abusing his players in practice by throwing balls at their head and by using gay slurs directed at them. A few weeks later, athletic director Tim Pernetti — who had done an unbelievable amount for the school’s sports programs, including getting them into the Big Ten — was fired in large part because he allowed Rice to work for five months after he saw the video. To replace Rice, Rutgers hired Eddie Jordan, who claimed to be a graduate of Rutgers but had never actually received a degree from the university.

The latest scandal involves the hiring of the new athletic director, Julie Hermann, who lost her job as the women’s volleyball head coach at Tennessee for doing basically the same thing that Rice was fired for: being a bully of a head coach.

Since that news leaked out over the weekend, it’s been one black eye after another: Hermann was involved in a sexual discrimination lawsuit at Louisville; she claims to not remember a letter that her team confronted her with at Tennessee; she claims to not remember being a bridesmaid in the wedding of a former assistant that accused her of mistreatment for getting pregnant.

The latest?

Rutgers paid $70,000 to run a background check on Hermann.

Seriously.

$70,000.

That means one of two things: Either Rutgers spent an unnecessary amount of money on a worthless background check despite the fact that two days before Hermann was hired, the Newark Star-Ledger tried to tip them off about her issues at Tennessee; or they knew about Hermann’s past and thought that it wouldn’t be that big of a deal to hire her despite the fact that reason her coaching career ended is the exact same reason that Rutgers is in this mess in the first place.

So, Rutgers, you’re either ignorant or incompetent.

It gets better.

Last night, ESPN.com ran with a report detailing emails that they had obtained from the 26-member search committee. (Yup, Rutgers had a 26-member search advisory committee decide to hire Hermann.) My favorite was this one, which came from the two co-chairs of that committee:

“As members of the Search Advisory Team, you all had the opportunity to examine Julie’s credentials, to spend some time with her when she was on campus, and to provide us with your thoughts regarding her candidacy as Rutgers’ next Director of Intercollegiate Athletics,” they said. “As you know, there was strong support for Julie, and for what she could bring to Rutgers.”

Translation: Y’all had a chance to complain, but like us, you didn’t have a clue. If we go down, we’re bringing all of you with us.

What a disaster.

But I can’t stop watching.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Florida State continues recruiting momentum with 2017 commitment

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Florida State has been active on the recruiting trail recently and the Seminoles continued that momentum on Wednesday with a commitment from in-state wing Wyatt Wilkes.

The 6-foot-7 Wilkes is considered a three-star prospect and ranked No. 113 in the Rivals 150 in the Class of 2017 as he gives Florida State its fourth commitment in the class.

A versatile and skilled forward who can knock down shots, Wilkes joins a Florida State Class of 2017 that includes wing Anthony Polite — who committed on Tuesday — forward Raiquan Gray and guard Bryan Trimble.

The last two recruiting classes, Florida State has done a nice job of focusing on its targets and landing them early. It’s hard to say if finishing the Class of 2016 early helped the Seminoles complete this group in a similar timely fashion, but it’s worth monitoring for the next class as well to see if this becomes some sort of trend.

Oregon lands Georgetown transfer Paul White

PORTLAND, OR - MARCH 19: Paul White #13 of the Georgetown Hoyas fights for position with Drew Brandon #22 of the Eastern Washington Eagles in the second half during the second round of the 2015 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Moda Center on March 19, 2015 in Portland, Oregon.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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Oregon pulled in a former highly-touted recruit via transfer on Wednesday as Paul White committed to the Ducks.

Spending his first two seasons at Georgetown, White battled injury problems as he only registered 67 total minutes last season during his sophomore year. As a freshman, the 6-foot-8 native of Chicago averaged 5.0 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game.

A skilled wing forward who can handle the ball a bit, White is a good passer from the elbows and also isn’t afraid to help a bit on the glass. Offensively, White will have to figure out his calling as a scorer, but he’s versatile enough of an offensive players to get others involved while he’s on the floor.

Formerly the No. 50 overall recruit in the Class of 2014, White will have to sit out this season due to NCAA transfer rules.

Oregon has had a lot of success with transfers under head coach Dana Altman, but it will be interesting to see how White looks when he’s able to play. With basically two full seasons off between competitive games, we’ll have to see how White looks, or if he’s added to his game, when he’s able to take the floor in 2017-18.

VIDEO: Dennis Smith Jr. dunks on N.C. State students

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Last week, it was North Carolina freshman Seventh Woods dunking on a crowd of his classmates late at night.

This week, it’s Dennis Smith Jr., the uber-athletic redshirt freshman for N.C. State.

Rutgers’ twitter ‘gaffe’ is a pretty standard recruiting technique

Stony Brook coach Steve Pikiell  congratulates guard Roland Nyama (24) after a play during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Vanderbilt on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
AP Photo/Mark Humphrey
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Rutgers has been the butt of quite a few jokes on social media the last 24 hours, as the school’s official men’s basketball twitter account posted the following picture late on Tuesday night:

That’s an image of six UConn grads and two Pitt grads with the title “$1.1 billion earned”, which, on the surface, doesn’t really make any sense, right? Those eight guys — names like Shabazz Napier and Ray Allen and Steven Adams and Rip Hamilton — have no connection to the Scarlet Knights beyond the occasional beating back when they were still in college.

It’s the Rutgers coaching staff that has a connection to them.

New head coach Steve Pikiell, who was hired from Stony Brook less than six months ago, used to be on the UConn staff. Karl Hobbs, who was an assistant at UConn for both Jim Calhoun and Kevin Ollie, joined Pikiell. Another assistant coach, Brandin Knight, a former star player at Pitt, was on Jamie Dixon’s staff with the Panthers last season.

None of those guys have coached a single Rutgers player yet.

And they won’t for another month, when practice finally starts.

So what do they have to pitch to recruits? How can they market the Rutgers program? How do they make it appealing to the loads of talent playing basketball in New Jersey high schools? By selling kids on what these coaches were able to accomplish with the players they actually have worked with, the stars from their former schools. If you don’t think that is what Rutgers’ new staff — or any new staff, for that matter — is using as a recruiting pitch then you don’t know a damn thing about recruiting.

Or Rutgers.

The program has no basketball history worth mentioning. None. But neither did SMU when Larry Brown took over, and he turned the Mustangs into a program perennially in or around the top 25 that literally beat out Kentucky for a recruit (Emmanuel Mudiay).

Do you think that Brown was selling players on SMU’s past or his past? Did he say “Come hoop at a football school in a football state” or did he brag about coaching Allen Iverson and the rings he won with Kansas in 1988 and Detroit in 2004?

The bottom line is this: The tweet missed its mark, highlighting player earnings over professional success, and the responses to it have been pretty hilarious.

But I also find it funny that people are up in arms about Rutgers promoting the players their brand new coaching staff has worked with, because if you don’t think that Jim Fox uses Steph Curry to recruit to Appalachian State or Rick Barnes references Kevin Durant in his pitches to Tennessee targets, I have a bridge in Brooklyn you can buy.

VIDEO: Western Michigan walk-on gets scholarship atop Eiffel Tower

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Yesterday, we brought you a video of South Dakota’s Logan Power, a walk-on heading into his third season in the program, receiving his scholarship while on the team’s trip to Spain.

Today, we have video of Western Michigan walk-on Ryan Wade getting a scholarship … at the top of the Eiffel Tower?

In a really cool moment, Steve Hawkins, WMU’s head coach, asks two players to try and read a piece of paper in French. He then has Wade read the translation of what the players were saying and … well … just watch:

What a cool moment.

If only there was a camera on the French people watching the crazy Americans sing and jump around a thousand feet in the air …