Tim Miles

Nebraska freshman Tai Webster still waiting to hear from NCAA Eligibility Center

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The summer months for incoming freshmen can be a tense period for some, especially if they’ve yet to hear from the NCAA Eligibility Center about their status for the upcoming season.

A ruling in the affirmative means (obviously) that they’re cleared and ready to take the floor for their new school, with the hope of making an immediate impact. But to be declared a partial (you can practice and receive a scholarship, but can’t play in games) or non-qualifier (you can’t receive a scholarship or join the program) means that their college career hits a speed bump for that freshman campaign.

Nebraska freshman guard Tai Webster has made the long voyage from his native New Zealand to Lincoln, with the expectation that he’ll begin taking summer school classes on Monday. Expected to be an impact newcomer for Tim Miles’ squad, Webster averaged 18.5 points and 4.4 assists per game for the Waikato Pistons last season.

But, Webster has yet to be cleared to play this season according to Lee Barfknecht of the Omaha World-Herald.

Neither [summer school] enrollment nor class attendance in college affects the NCAA certification process, which focuses on initial eligibility factors such as core high school courses and standardized test scores.

A denial of NCAA certification for 2013-14 would create the possibility of time at a prep school or delayed full-time college enrollment.

The Huskers don’t lack for experience in the backcourt, with senior Ray Gallegos (12.5 ppg, 3.1 rpg) and sophomores Benny Parker (2.7 ppg, 2.1 apg) and Shavon Shields (8.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg) all being members of the rotation last season.

But Nebraska does have to account for the loss of their leader in both scoring and assists, Dylan Talley (13.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.5 apg).

With Talley leading the way the Huskers ranked 30th nationally in turnover percentage, handing the ball over on just 17.2% of their possessions (16.1% in conference games, 2nd in the Big Ten), so this is a notable loss to say the least. The return of the aforementioned perimeter contributors certainly helps, and the 6-3 Webster is expected to figure prominently in the discussion as well.

It certainly helps Webster in regards to both his physical development and getting used to Miles’ system that he’s on campus now, but those positive words from the NCAA Eligibility Center can’t come soon enough.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Tom Izzo’s point is valid, but he’s wrong about the new fouling rules

Eron Harris, Tom Izzo
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong
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On Sunday night, after No. 3 Michigan State knocked off No. 23 Providence in the final of the Wooden Legacy, Spartans head coach Tom Izzo made sure to make his feelings known about the new college basketball officiating mandates.

He doesn’t like them.

At all.

“I just think we’re taking the flow of the game away,” Izzo said. “Maybe it’ll change. We’ll play by the same rules everybody else does. But I think I can voice my opinion to say that I don’t agree with it.”

Part of what frustrated Izzo was that, in a matchup between the two best players in college basketball, both Denzel Valentine and Kris Dunn were sent to the bench with foul trouble.

“I didn’t like it either way,” Izzo said. “I didn’t like having Denzel on the bench, and I didn’t even like watching Dunn on the bench.”

“Don’t tweet this now and leave out the officials,” he added, according to CBSSports.com. “It’s not their fault. Because that’s the way they’re mandated to call them. So I am really either blaming the rules committee, which ends up on the coaches somewhat. So I’m looking in the mirror and blaming myself because I should have argued it more maybe. I just don’t think it’s fun to have these guys sitting.”

This is nothing new for Izzo. This was calculated. He basically said the same thing after Michigan State, then No. 1 in the country, beat Oklahoma in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic two seasons ago, when the rules committee tried to implement these same rules. It was his pushback that started the campaign to get rid of the freedom of movement rules.

But here’s the thing: we all knew this was going to happen. We knew there was going to be an adjustment period, for coaches and players and referees alike. In the long run, freedom of movement is good for basketball. It’s part of the reason the NBA is so much fun to watch these days, as their emphasis on the freedom of movement got us out of the days where the Detroit Pistons were winning titles without scoring 80 points.

Physicality is ingrained in college basketball. Coaches teach defense a certain way. Players play defense a certain way. The guys in the NBA are stronger, but the style of play is much more physical in the college game than the pro game. That doesn’t change overnight.

It changes when those rules are enforced and those fouls are called, and, as a result, the players and coaches learn to adjust to them.

Kennesaw State blows eight-point lead in 16 seconds, loses to Elon

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Kennesaw State entered Monday night at 1-6 on the season, but with 19 seconds left, it looked like the Owls have their second of the season locked up. Kendrick Ray made a pair of free throws with 19 seconds left to put KSU up 89-81, and all they had to do was avoid a complete meltdown to get out with a win.

They couldn’t.

A Luke Eddy layup with 16 seconds left cut the lead to six, and after KSU’s Nigel Pruitt missed two free throws, Dainan Swoope his a three with seven seconds left to make the score 89-86.

On the ensuing inbounds, Kennesaw State threw the ball away … and then proceeded to foul Eddy when he was shooting a three. This is what that disaster looked like:

Eddy would hit all three threes before, shockingly, KSU turned the ball over again. Elon could not capitalize this time, sending the game to overtime, where the Phoenix outscored the Owls 14-4.

Elon won 104-94.

Here’s what the comeback looked like on the play-by-play:

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