Last season Southern Miss, which was being investigated by the NCAA for possible rules violations that occurred under Donnie Tyndall, took the step of self imposing a postseason ban. Of course Doc Sadler’s Golden Eagles, who finished the season with just nine wins, were unlikely to play in the postseason but such moves are made to placate the NCAA Committee on Infractions.
Sunday night Southern Miss announced just days before their regular season opener that they’ve decided to self-impose a postseason ban for the 2015-16 season as well.
“I am very disappointed for the current members of our men’s basketball team and coaching staff, none of whom were involved in any alleged violation of NCAA rules,” Southern Miss athletic director Bill McGillis said in the release. “While excruciating due to the impact on the young men in our program today, the decision to withhold our team from postseason competition following the 2015-16 season is appropriate given the findings of the recent university and NCAA review of our program.”
It goes without saying that this is an unfair situation for Sadler, who had nothing to do with the seven Level I rules violations (the most severe variety), his coaching staff and the players. None of those individuals had anything to do with those alleged violations, and in the case of the coaching staff none were there working for Tyndall before he moved on to Tennessee (where he was fired after just one season as a result of this investigation).
But given the way penalty structures are set up, it’s the coaches and players who are currently on campus who are made to pay for past transgressions. The timing of this is unfortunate to say the least, as the four seniors on the roster don’t have the opportunity to at the very least look into transferring to a school eligible for postseason play without penalty. While some may use that as a reason to criticize the NCAA, this is the best they can do and it’s a system that was set up by the member schools.
Tyndall spent just two seasons in Hattiesburg, winning 56 games and taking Southern Miss to the quarterfinals of the Postseason NIT in both years. But those on-court achievements have come at a significant cost, one that keeps Sadler and company from achieving some semblance of success themselves.
UTEP currently has just one scholarship point guard on its roster, resulting in head coach Tim Floyd and his staff actively pursuing another option in the Class of 2016. Thursday the Miners landed that recruit, as 5-foot-10 point guard Deon Barrett announced that he’ll be attending the Conference USA school. Barrett is UTEP’s first verbal commitment in the Class of 2016.
Barrett, who attends Lancaster HS in Lancaster, Texas (located in Dallas County), just recently received a scholarship offer from UTEP and it didn’t take him long to commit. Barrett, who won a Class 5A state title alongside Texas A&M freshman Elijah Thomas last season, will take his official visit to UTEP this weekend. Barrett averaged 15 points and seven assists per game as a junior, a year in which he showed himself to be a good perimeter shooter as well as a distributor.
As noted above UTEP was in need of additional depth and a possible answer for the future at the point guard position. At present time junior guard Dominic Artis is UTEP’s lone scholarship point guard, with the academic ineligibility of sophomore Omega Harris (he’ll miss at least the first semester) leaving the Miners without a player who could occasionally spell Artis at the point.
While Barrett obviously can’t help UTEP with that depth issue this season, he can upon his arrival on campus for the 2016-17 season.
A basketball player getting the opportunity to play for his father at the college level isn’t an opportunity that occurs all that often. Of course in recent years the tandem of Greg and Doug McDermott at Creighton immediately comes to mind, and earlier this year Avery Johnson Jr. transferred from Texas A&M to Alabama in order to play for his newly hired father.
Wednesday it was announced that another college basketball player has transferred in order to play for his father, as Hudson Price has officially joined the Charlotte program, where his father Mark was hired as head coach in the spring. Hudson, who played two seasons at TCU, will have to sit out the 2015-16 season per NCAA rules.
After playing just over 15 minutes per game as a freshman the 6-foot-6 Price’s minutes decreased some in 2014-15, as he averaged 9.4 mpg as a sophomore.
Hudson Price is one of two transfers from four-year schools who have joined the Charlotte program since his father took over the program with former Pitt big man Joseph Uchebo being the other. In total, Charlotte will have eight newcomers on its roster when the season begins.
The 49ers have one scholarship upperclassman at the shooting guard position in junior Ivan Benkovic, with sophomore Ridell Camidge and freshmen Jon Davis and Curran Scott being the other options.
Rice continues to add talent under head coach Mike Rhoades as three-star point guard Ako Adams committed in the Class of 2016. With three three-star prospects in 2015 and two talented commitments in 2016, the Owls are getting a fair amount of talent into the program and could be in very good shape if things go properly in a few years.
The 6-foot-2 Adams hails from Arlington, Virginia and attends Bishop O’Connell High School. Joining Adams in the Class of 2016 is four-star shooting guard Josh Hall. The 2015 class for Rice also has pledges from three-star prospects in guard Marcus Evans and shooting guard Connor Cashaw.
So the program has a lot of backcourt depth coming in the next two classes and it can help Rhoades use a number of lineups and backcourt combinations.
With four of their top five scorers from last season’s 20-win team having moved on, Western Kentucky enters in the 2015-16 season in need of options to step up alongside junior guard Chris Harrison-Docks. One possibility on the perimeter was guard Kristaps Gluditis, a native of the Czech Republic whose perimeter shooting ability was praised by head coach Ray Harper earlier this summer.
Unfortunately for the Hilltoppers, Gluditis will not be with the team this season according to the Bowling Green Daily News. The reason is that Gluditis, who is eligible to compete by NCAA standards, did not meet the school’s academic standards for international students. In regards to college basketball Gluditis has three options at this point according to the report: retake the exam in hopes of joining the team midyear, enroll at a junior college or enroll at another four-year school since he’s cleared by the NCAA.
Without Gluditis additions such as grad student Aaron Cosby, junior college transfer Fredrick Edmond and freshmen Chris McNeal and Marlon Hunter Jr. have an even greater opportunity to earn minutes than they did when it was assumed that Giuditis would be joining the WKU program. Each of those players will need to step forward to relieve some of the pressure due to be heaped upon Harrison-Docks.
Harrison-Docks, who led the Hilltoppers in minutes per game (33.6 mpg) and started 30 of the team’s 32 games, averaged 11.1 points per contest in 2014-15. After Harrison-Docks WKU’s most productive returnee is junior forward Ben Lawson, who averaged 3.8 points and 3.2 rebounds per game.
Just over a month ago forward Jacorey Williams was one of three Arkansas players (Anton Beard and Dustin Thomas being the others) arrested on charges of first degree suspicion of forgery in relation to their alleged use of counterfeit money. That case was Williams’ latest misstep away from the court, one that eventually led to Arkansas dismissing him from the program.
Thursday the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal reported that Williams has joined the Middle Tennessee State basketball program. This report comes a couple days after the move was first discussed by multiple outlets, with head coach Kermit Davis providing the paper with a comment on the additions of Williams and junior college transfer Aldonis Foote to the team.
“We trust our culture and structure will benefit both of these young men to be successful on and off the court,” Davis said. “We have done our due diligence in this process and look forward to Jacorey having a very productive red-shirt year.
“Jacorey loved his time at Arkansas, but is looking forward to playing closer to his home of Birmingham next season.”
The 6-foot-8 Williams will have one season of eligibility remaining after he sits out the 2015-16 campaign, and it should be noted that the legal case that led to his dismissal from the Arkansas program has yet to be resolved. The arrignment hearings for Williams, Beard and Thomas, which were originally scheduled for August 24, were postponed until September 2.
Williams averaged 4.8 points and 2.8 rebounds per game for the Razorbacks last season.