Josh Selby

Loophole? Could Shabazz Muhammad play in the Legends Classic?

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(UPDATE: No, he can’t.)

When Josh Selby enrolled at Kansas, there were plenty of question marks about his eligibility and just how long it would take for him to don a Jayhawk uniform.

For those that don’t remember, it ultimately took the NCAA until November 19th for the NCAA to finally make a ruling, when they suspended him for the first nine games of the season.

And while the particulars of the case are different, the investigation into the amateur standing of Shabazz Muhammad has a similar feel to it. In other words, don’t be surprised if the Bruins are left in limbo in regards to their star recruit well into the start of the season.

But according to Andy Katz, there is a chance that Muhammad could start the season with his team thanks to a quirk in the NCAA’s rulebook:

The NCAA gives schools a 45-day window for players to practice during an initial eligibility process. The Bruins don’t start the fall quarter until later this month. The Bruins could conceivably wait to start Muhammad’s clock until practice starts on Oct. 12. That means Muhammad could practice for the first month of the season and play possibly in the opener while the NCAA deals with an amateurism/extra benefit issue with Muhammad.

Obviously, this would be good news for UCLA. Getting Muhammad on the court and getting him involved in learning UCLA’s system and how to play with his teammates in a true practice setting is a good thing. October practices are when the teaching is done and when the offensive and defensive schemes are implemented.

It would also be potentially good news for me and any other fellow east coasters that want to see Muhammad play. You see, the Legends Classic is at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. UCLA will be there and, if they make the finals, will meet up with the nation’s No. 1 team, Indiana. That’s scheduled to take place on November 19th and 20th, less than 45 days after October 12th.

It would be my only chance to see him play live before the NCAA tournament.

Hooray, loopholes?

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

Naadir Tharpe ‘didn’t do anything spectacular last year at all’

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One thing that the Bill Self’s Kansas program has proven is that if you’re willing to bide your time and accept a role on the bench, you’ll eventually end up reaping the benefits.

Sherron Collins went from seventh man to first-team all-american at the same time that Cole Aldrich went from “is that big guy a walk-on?” to “that big guy’s a lottery pick!” The Morrii were unimpressive their first season in Lawrence, but both went on to become first round picks. While they were making a name for themselves, Thomas Robinson was waiting for his chance to become a National Player of the Year candidate and the No. 5 pick.

Jeff Withey. Travis Releford. Even Tyshawn Taylor. It makes one wonder just what Self could have turned Josh Selby into if he had three years to work with.

And if Naadir Tharpe’s quotes to Rustin Dodd of Kansas.com are any indication, he may be the next Jayhawk to turn into a success story:

“You’re not just going to be able to come here and just think you’re going to be able to play,” Tharpe said. “You’re going to have to know the system.”

[…]

“I really didn’t do anything spectacular last year at all for anybody to see what I can do or not,” Tharpe said.

Tharpe is going to need to make some spectacular things happen next season. With Taylor graduating, he inherits the starting point guard job. There will be plenty of talent around him — Ben McLemore, Perry Ellis, Elijah Johnson to name a few — but Tharpe will be the glue that holds that team together.

History says that he should do just fine.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

Indictments made in alleged drug ring involving Kansas Jayhawks

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Indictments have been made in the alleged drug ring tied to the Kansas Jayhawks basketball team, now citing 35 people and 101 counts of wrongdoing.

According to the Associated Press, federal prosecutors allege that the ring supplied $17 million worth of drugs to people mostly residing in Kansas, which then goes on to make the connection to the KU basketball team.

Suppliers in the ring allegedly provided certain Jayhawk players with marijuana and one man, Samuel Villeareal III, was often spotted with players, even sitting behind the bench for Kansas basketball games.

The university would not comment to the Associated Press on the incident, maintains that a drug testing policy is in place to screen freshmen, transfer students, and playoff teams.

The alleged incident involves the 2010-11 Jayhawks, a team that finished 35-3 and featured players that include Josh Selby, Marcus and Markieff Morris, and Brady Morningstar.

According to a previous report from the Kansas City Star, a cell phone is the major link between the alleged ring and Kansas basketball.

““We know that because of the text messages we obtained from the iPhone and also from surveillance that was done throughout this investigation of Mr. Villeareal,” Morehead said, according to a transcript that was reported by the Star.

For the full AP report, click here.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Alleged marijuana dealer reportedly supplied Kansas basketball players

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A Kansas City-area man charged in a large-scale drug ring allegedly supplied marijuana to some members of the 2010-11 Kansas Jayhawks men’s basketball team, according to a federal prosecutor.

The report from the Kansas City Star, published Friday, says that Samuel Villeareal III, 32, is one of 25 defendants charged in U.S. District Court with conspiring to sell marijuana, as much as 1,000 kilograms over a four-year period.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Terra Morehead, a seized cell phone is the link between Villeareal and the Kansas basketball team.

““We know that because of the text messages we obtained from the iPhone and also from surveillance that was done throughout this investigation of Mr. Villeareal,” Morehead said, according to a transcript that was reported by the Star.

Morehead said the phone became “a key component to this entire investigation.”

The investigation also hinges on observations of Villeareal’s actions made by agents investigating the case.

“At one occasion, law enforcement had Mr. Villeareal this basketball season at the Sprint Center sitting behind the KU basketball bench with a number of the players,” Morehead is quoted as saying. “So we know that he had probably not only a personal relationship with them but a professional relationship as well.”

The 2010-11 Jayhawks won the Big 12, finishing 35-3 and advancing to the Elite Eight, before losing to Virginia Commonwealth.

Featured on that team were Marcus and Markieff Morris, Josh Selby, Brady Morningstar, and Tyshawn Taylor.

To read the full report from the Star, click here.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Is John Calipari truly the villain against Bill Self?

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Over the coming two days, one of the story lines that will be the most intriguing to follow is that of John Calipari and his quest to win his first national title.

Calipari is a polarizing figure in the sense that Kentucky fans worship him while most everyone else, with or without a rooting interest, either hates him or is accused of hating him by those same Kentucky fans. And regardless of what percentage of the college basketball watching nation feels the same as Drew Sharp does about Calipari, the bottom-line is that Calipari is quite clearly the villain in this narrative.

It’s not difficult to see why. Two of his four trips to the Final Four have been vacated by the NCAA. All you have to do is spend an afternoon at a high-level AAU tournament and you’ll hear ten stories about Calipari on the same level as the one involving $200,000 that made its way into Anthony Davis’ pocket.

The irony in all of this?

The villain has a record that is just as clean as the good guy’s, Bill Self. Those two Final Fours that were vacated? One was because Marcus Camby was commiserating with an agent. The other was because Derrick Rose cheated on his SATs. It Calipari blameless? No, but he’s about as guilty as the parents of a teenager that is busted smoking pot.

In fact, I think there is an argument to make that there is just as much smoke around the Kansas program as there is around the Kentucky program. Think about it:

– Darrell Arthur may never have been eligible to play college basketball due to grade changes he may have received in high school. Nothing came out of the investigation, but the school did vacate a state title a year after Arthur left due to grade tampering.

– Arthur’s classmate Mario Chalmers came to Kansas as a package deal, as his father received a spot on the Jayhawk’s staff as the Director of Basketball Operations.

– Josh Selby was suspended for the first nine games of his freshman season due to improper benefits he received while he was in high school.

– Three members of this year’s recruiting class were ruled ineligible for the 2011-2012 season.

None of that has been put on Self, the same way that Calipari is still without a record, according to the NCAA.

More intriguing is the fact that the coach of last season’s national title team, Jim Calhoun, actually has gotten himself into trouble with the NCAA. He was, essentially, caught with knowledge of the fact that an alum and an NBA agent was supplying a recruit (Nate Miles) with illicit benefits. But the vitriol sent his way was more or less limited to this column from Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com.

The point here is not to defend Calipari. I’m not trying to drag Self or Calhoun through the mud, either. These are all facts, and it will be interesting to see how they are portrayed over the next 30 hours.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

Recruiting rundown: UNLV should be optimistic about Shabazz Muhammad or Anthony Bennett

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The two uncommitted national top-10 prospects in the 2012 class both play in Las Vegas, and while the nation’s top recruit, wing Shabazz Muhammad has had a well-documented recruitment, 6-7 power forward Anthony Bennett’s college preferences have been a mystery at best to those that following recruiting closely.

The powerful post prospect cut his list from ten to five over the weekend, naming Kentucky, UNLV, Florida, Oregon and Washington as his contenders. That list was put out by Bennett prior to his friend and fellow native of Canada, Khem Birch, declaring for UNLV, and that move likely puts the Running Rebels even more into the status of a serious player for landing his commitment.

Kentucky will be a huge presence in Bennett’s recruitment until the end, but UNLV fans have to like their position with both Bennett and Muhammad. The longer the season progresses and the more success that UNLV has on the hardwood figures to be to their benefit in both recruitments against the blue bloods of college basketball.

Florida was a finalist for Birch, so not getting him isn’t promising, especially for team that looks to need interior help in the near term. Oregon has some track record with Canadians on their current roster, and also has signed one of Bennett’s teammates, point guard Dominic Artis. Still, from the outside looking in, this could be a Kentucky/UNLV race.

Bennett’s recruitment has been deliberate and on his own time table so far, and that is expected to continue. He’ll have five official visits to take before he trims his list and makes a final decision.

Seton Hall lands a crime stopper and show stopper
It’s not too often that a high school junior has reached almost urban legend status in the basketball community, but 5-6 point guard Aquille Carr of Patterson (Md.) has done just that. After getting the upper hand on current professional Josh Selby in a game in the Baltimore area as a freshman, Carr has only increased his rep as a dynamic prospect, extending from the Northeast to internationally.

Amidst reports of an Italian team offering him a six-figure contract, and the legend that crime decreases in his Baltimore neighborhood when Patterson plays, Carr is arguably the most exciting player watch nationally in the 2013 class, and is known by his nickname, the “Crime Stopper.” Though his size is a clear and obvious limitation, that hasn’t stopped high-major colleges from sending scholarship offers his way. Late last week, Carr ended his recruitment early, declaring the Seton Hall.

Carr is oftentimes a blur on the floor, and has earned his distinction as a top-50 player in the class. He’s an above the rim player that attracts crowds wherever and whenever he plays. He is quick and explosive, with the penchant for making a difficult play look easy. On the other hand, with that goes his prowess for turning the ball over unnecessarily, struggles at times in the half-court set, and the occasional defensive mismatch.

At Seton Hall, Carr will have an outstanding tutor in associate coach Shaheen Holloway, who has already taken Carr’s projected path, as he had a solid career as a diminutive point guard in the Big East at Seton Hall. Also, coach Kevin Willard is a rising star in the coaching profession, and also plied his trade as a Big East point guard at Pittsburgh.

Gaining Carr’s commitment, the Pirates first in the 2013 recruiting class, does not come with a downside, though. Seton Hall was believed to be a serious contender for Gill St. Bernard (N.J.) point guard Jaren Sina, who was formerly committed to Alabama, and the son of a former Seton Hall player in Mergin Sina, his coach. Sina is a fundamentally sound lead guard that would have been a nice addition, as well. That seems extremely unlikely now.

At a minimum, when the Pirates’ staff determines that he’s ready to play, Carr’s flair and style of play will attract attention to the Seton Hall program. In terms of credibility and positive press, adding Carr is huge for Seton Hall, as well.

St. John’s gains one, loses one
Earlier in the week, shooting guard commit Darrick Wood of Bridgton Academy (Maine) was the sole remaining member of the St. John’s recruiting class for 2012. National top-50 power forward Ricardo Gathers is entertaining other offers after his decommitment, and former point guard pledge Jevon Thomas signed with Dayton during the early signing period.

Wood re-opened his recruitment though, with the nebulous statement that the Johnnies still lead for his college services. Still, the track record of such players ultimately signing with a school that they decommit from is sketchy at best. With only a half-dozen recruited scholarship players on the current roster, St. John’s needed some good news in the worst way.

That pick me up came in the form of Jamal Branch, who was formerly known as a backup freshman point guard early on this season at Texas A&M. Branch didn’t get much of a shot for the Aggies, but immediately becomes a key member of the St. John’s plans for next year. He’s a pass-first, defensive minded point guard, and both of those skills are currently is nowhere to be found currently at St. John’s.

Branch is a native of the Lone Star State, like current freshman D’Angelo Harrison, and the two Texans could form a dandy duo. While coach Steve Lavin has his health as a priority, the program’s long-term success will rely on adding five or more players for next season, in order to start the season with a fair shot and a near full boat of scholarship players. If Branch becomes eligible at mid-season, as expected, he’s a quality addition and a welcome break from a recent streak of bad news.

Kellon Hassenstab runs Hoopniks.com. Follow him on Twitter @hoopniks.