Has there been a more talked about player in college basketball this season who hasn’t stepped foot on the floor other than Chris Walker? Doubtful.
The saga of Walker’s eligibility at Florida continues to grow.
Walker wasn’t officially accepted into the school until mid-December. Yet, despite his enrollment, the NCAA has declared him ineligible to play.
ESPN’s Jay Bilas strongly disagrees with the NCAA’s stance.
“One, I don’t think it’s any of the NCAA’s business. But even if it is, it’s taken way too long. At some point you have to say, ‘You know what? We don’t have it. And until we do, the kid can play.’ They’ve got a clock ticking and the NCAA kind of tends to look at from their own perspective in that, we don’t want somebody else to run out the clock while we investigate. … At some point you’ve got to say, you know what the delay is unreasonable. It’s hurt the kid, it’s hurt the school and it’s just wrong.”
The crux of Bilas’ argument is that the NCAA doesn’t have a “case” against Walker. In the preceding quote, when Bilas exclaims, “We don’t have it,” it refers to the “case.”
Furthermore, there is no timetable for Walker’s return.
Bilas goes onto say: “I don’t think it should be the NCAA’s determination whether a kid is qualified to attend school. That’s the school’s decision. What that does is implies that there are schools out there whose admissions departments are committing fraud. I don’t believe that.”
Despite Walker’s ineligibility and the off-the-court distractions that accompany it, Billy Donovan has the Gators rolling at 16-2. They are undefeated in SEC play, and haven’t lost since Connecticut’s Shabazz Napier beat them at the buzzer.
When it comes to discussing some of the game of basketball’s best players, specifically those who went directly from high school to the NBA, a question that’s often asked is where said player would have attended college if forced (by rule) to do so. Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are among those who have been discussed in this manner, and in the case of LeBron he’s got connections to two programs within his home state of Ohio.
LeBron’s connected with the Ohio State program, which is outfitted by the Nike’s LeBron signature line, but there’s another program with an even closer connection. That would be Akron, which is led by head coach Keith Dambrot, and all he did was serve as LeBron’s high school coach at St. Vincent/St. Mary’s HS in Akron during the player’s freshman and sophomore years at the school. Also on those teams were two future Akron Zips in guard Dru Joyce and forward Romeo Travis.
Thursday the school announced that it would be honoring James, Joyce and Travis with bobble head dolls to be given out before Akron’s home games against Buffalo (February 16; Joyce’s bobble head), Bowling Green (February 26; Travis) and Ohio (March 1; James).
All three bobble head dolls are wearing Akron uniforms, which in the case of LeBron allows fans to think back and imagine what could have been. Season ticket holders guaranteed one bobble head per account (on each of the three giveaway days), with the first 750 fans in attendance to receive one as well.
The gang is back together again for another episode of the NBCSports.com College Basketball Talk Podcast, with Rob Dauster hosting and Raphielle Johnson and Scott Phillips joining him. Today’s episode touched on big wins picked up Thursday night by California and Indiana, discussing the performances of those teams and also touching on their prospects down the line.
Also discussed were the recent performances of Iowa State, Providence and Texas A&M (which are you more worried about?), and some of the top games on this weekend’s schedule headlined by Kansas visiting Oklahoma. And if you’re a fan of seafood, you may take umbrage with some of Rob’s comments at the beginning of the podcast.
As always, you can subscribe to the podcast on either iTunes or Stitcher, and there’s also a link to listen to this podcast below. Thanks for listening.