What the 'secret'? Only college teams know

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Most college basketball teams hold “secret” scrimmages to prepare for the season. Yes, it sounds like something out of the “Weekly World News,” but there’s a difference.

These things are real.

There was a massive list from Jeff Goodman last week on which schools were playing and where. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much else (stupid secrets!) until this story from Mark Zeigler at the San Diego Union Tribune. (Move over Bob Woodward!)

Here’s the rundown from the paper:

More prevalent and increasingly more popular, though, are the supersecret “practice scrimmages” between Division I teams that the public can’t watch and schools can’t list on their schedules and coaches can’t discuss.

“Only athletics department staff members and those individuals necessary to conduct the practice scrimmage may be present during the scrimmage,” NCAA guidelines state. “Further, the institution must ensure the scrimmage is free from public view and media are not in attendance.”

The rule book continues: “An official score and/or statistics for the practice scrimmage may not be kept. However, an institution may keep score and/or statistics for private use … An institution may not provide the score and/or any statistics to any type of media outlet.”

Or as SDSU coach Steve Fisher explains: “You can’t put a score on the scoreboard, but everybody knows what it is.”

The “secret” scrimmages arose from the NCAA putting an end to schools playing teams like Athletes in Action or Double Pump back in 2004. They used to be a staple of every team’s November schedule. So now schools gets any combination of two preseason games, either closed scrimmages or public exhibitions.

And coaches like it.

“It gives you a better barometer of where you are,” Toreros coach Bill Grier told the paper. “If you play a team that doesn’t have size or athleticism or something you’re not going to see during the season, I don’t know how much you get out of beating them by 30 points.”

Now if only the rest of us could watch!

Mike Miller’s also on Twitter @BeyndArcMMiller, usually talkin’ hoops. Click here for more.

A Beyond the Arc programming note

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Monday, Nov. 1 marks two things: The start of my paternity leave (until Dec. 1) and the reintroduction of Rob Dauster as Beyond the Arc blogger.

Rob’s been here before. His stuff during the 2010 NCAA tournament was invaluable and I’m pleased to have him back aboard, this time for an entire season. Hoopheads already know Rob’s work from his website, Ballin’ Is a Habit.

He’ll be the main man all month. In fact, he’s already done a post on Indiana’s newest prep recruit.

I’ll be posting infrequently in-between bottle feedings and diaper changes and back in time for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Maybe by then I’ll have finally finished “One Beautiful Season” …

Mike Miller’s also on Twitter @BeyndArcMMiller, usually talkin’ hoops. Click here for more.

Naismith's original rules may fetch $2 million

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When James Naismith write down the 13 original rules for basketball 119 years ago, “it wasn’t worth a dime,” as his grandson, Ian, told the N.Y. Times.

When the document is auctioned in Dec., it could fetch $2 million.

Who would’ve guessed two worn, typewritten pages could be so valuable? It could push Mark McGwire 70th home run ball ($3 million) as the most expensive auctioned sports item of all time.


For anyone without a sense of history, here’s why:

“This is like Athena bursting out of Naismith’s head, full-blown,” Selby Kiffer, the senior specialist for historic American manuscripts at Sotheby’s, told the Times. “There’s nothing like this in the history of sport — and it’s in two humble typewritten pages.”

There’s more to be found in this Richard Sandomir article, which details some of the rules and where they were kept through the years.

So why is the family selling the rules? Naismith’s family needs the money to replenish the Naismith International Basketball Foundation.

Well, at least the family name will still be on the rules.

Mike Miller’s also on Twitter @BeyndArcMMiller, usually talkin’ hoops. Click here for more.

'Don't be bringing that USC gear around here!'

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I’m forever grateful for Lester Speight‘s influence on American culture. Who’s Lester Speight? You may know him better as Terry Tate, office linebacker.

And he’s the impetus behind yet another funny video of people hitting other people as a means of motivation. This time it’s from Loyola-Marymount, which won’t tolerate student wearing gear from other schools. Watch.

The star is guard Vernon Teel, who opens the video by tackling a USC fan, screaming “C’mon! Tell me where you go to school! You go to LMU! Don’t be bringing that USC gear around here! Represent your school right!”

If Teel’s half as intimidating on defense, the Lions may actually have a chance in the WCC.

(H/T: Diamond Leung)

Mike Miller’s also on Twitter @BeyndArcMMiller, usually talkin’ hoops. Click here for more.

Pullen's beard rounding into form for season

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Love Jacob Pullen’s game. Love the defense, the shooting range, the drive and the intangibles. It’s all why the Kansas State senior’s among the national player of the year candidates.

But mostly? I love the beard.

I’m not alone in this regard. Jacob Pullen’s Beard has 1,225 Facebook fans. Fans wore beard replicas for the Texas game last season. At one point, you couldn’t avoid the phrase “Fear the Beard.”

Then … Pullen trimmed it this summer. He’s a brave man, that Pullen. Samson was never the same after his locks were shorn. Why mess with a good thing?

Well, there’s good news for K-State and Wildcats fans. Pullen’s rounding his game into shape for the season. Same for the beard. From the Kansas City Star:

Your beard was so popular last year, but you trimmed it for a while this summer and it’s short now. Were you surprised the way Manhattan melt down when you were seen around town without facial hair?
It’s growing back, so the town is going to be OK. It’s amazing. That’s why when people ask me if I ever get tired of signing autographs or taking pictures with fans I always say, ‘No.’ The morning you take it for granted is the morning you could wake up and it could all be gone. …

Did you shave the beard all the way off?
No, I just trimmed it a little bit. I got tired of it and needed a change. But it will be back. This is the beginnings of it. As the season goes deeper, it grows longer. As the games get tougher, it gets tougher. I feel like if I didn’t have it, people would be wasting signs and people would be mad at me. So I just feel like I can do it one more year for the fans.

So here’s Pullen’s plan for the season: Win the Big 12, reach the Final Four, cut down the nets and jump to the NBA clean shaven.

Mike Miller’s also on Twitter @BeyndArcMMiller, usually talkin’ hoops. Click here for more.

Pepperdine guard defies laws of physics


Pepperdine’s Keion Bell doesn’t care for Sir Isaac Newton. Gravity? Who needs it?

The guard stands just 6-foot-3, yet is known as one of college basketball high-flyers, capable of throwing down nasty dunks and jaw-dropping moves at any moment. (He also can play a little; Bell’s 18.5 points per game led the Waves last season.)

He dunked over five people at the school’s Midnight Madness event last year.

This year, he upped it to seven – and did it fairly cleanly (just a slight push off). There has to be a hidden trampoline, right?


I’m with the guys at Rush the Court. Next year Keion, try dunking over the entire student body. That’ll be a real challenge.  

Mike Miller’s also on Twitter @BeyndArcMMiller, usually talkin’ hoops. Click here for more.