There is a cruel irony in Johnny Jones’ decision to make the jump from North Texas to LSU this year — the Mean Green could end up being better than his new team during the 2012-2013 season.
And that was before Jones watched Ralston Turner transfer to NC State.
Things got worse for the Tigers on Monday, as Calvin Godfrey was not allowed to enroll at LSU due to academic problems.
Godfrey was a kid with some potential, a top 100 level talent coming out of high school. But he burned through his first chance at the high major level, getting kicked off the team at Iowa State as a freshman. He spent last year at Howard College, but couldn’t do enough in the classroom to get himself eligible.
LSU will now be left with a roster that has just 10 scholarship players, one of whom is a 7-foot-2 walk-on who was a tuba player in the school’s marching band before being “discovered”.
But this is less about what happens with LSU as it is what happens to Calvin Godfrey. From ESPN.com:
He was a shot-blocking and rebounding terror. He was raw but certainly the kind of player who could develop into a defensive stopper for a Division I program. One night, I watched him block 10 shots (at least). You couldn’t maneuver around him. His long arms and leaping ability helped him put a lid on the rim. And he was so much stronger than the other kids on the floor.
But I had questions about Godfrey’s demeanor. He had a short fuse. He yelled at teammates. After Godfrey’s team had suffered a loss to local powerhouse Hopkins High School, fans from the winning team taunted him. Godfrey charged toward them with clenched fists. I thought he was going to throw a punch. Lucky for them, he didn’t.
Young players can mature. Sometimes, a troubled kid grows up. But those early red flags can also point to trouble.
I don’t know Calvin Godfrey. I can’t even definitively tell you what he can do on a basketball court. I watch as much college basketball as anyone, but keeping tabs on a kid that averaged 5.7 points and 5.4 boards for a team that went 3-13 in the Big 12 isn’t a high priority.
But what I do know is that every city has a story about their local basketball star that never made it.
Godfrey has now cost himself a chance at two high-major programs. How many more coaches are going to come calling?
Here’s to hoping that someone pays attention to Godfrey’s cautionary tale.
(Photo credit: Zimbio)
Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.