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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Most Scandalous Program: The SSS 2007-08 College Hoops Preview for Non-Psychics

By now the sweeping deluge of preseason awards/picks/rankings/All Whatever teams has subsided and given way to a far less exciting form of entertainment, actual live basketball. This pesky little distraction to what is really important - inane speculation plucked ripe from the collective media asshole - what with its final scores and concrete evidence, is not going to deny SSS the right to pillage our own sphincters for blind prognostications pawned off as heavily supported hypotheses. But with all of the standard preseason awards already put into the trusting hands of the media and coaches, SSS gives you its own brand of "alternative" preseason awards, to be distributed periodically over the duration of these fancy tip-off tournaments.

Today: Most Scandalous Program
Previously:
Least Obnoxious Coach: Tony Bennett, Washington State
Most Hated White Guy Award: Drew Neitzel, Michigan State
Most Annoying Announcer (Non Vitale Division): Jim Nantz, CBS

Continue...

Right now the honor is being held by Indiana and Kelvin Sampson, who is like the Godfather of shadiness right now. But it won't be long until someone tries to take him down to sit alone atop the mountain of lawless, maniacal, borderline dangerous desire for victory. As we've seen so far this season, just one recruiting class, or even one recruit, can change the course of a basketball program, which means it takes just one Hummer or illegally rented condo or sorority house orgy on a bed of cocaine and caviar to get back on the winning track. Now, there's little doubt that many programs engage in illegal activity but just don't get caught. That's not what I'm interested in. I'm looking for the program that will do whatever the hell they want without worrying about the consequences. The Omar Little of this college hoops shit.

And this year's friend with improper benefits is...

Kansas State
First, some background. The Wildcats sucked ass as a basketball program for a long time. Before last season, they hadn't even been to the NIT since 1999 and haven't been to the NCAAs since 1996. They haven't had a player drafted in the NBA since 1990. So when they needed to find a coach to turn the program around, rather than turn to an upcoming mid-major coach capable of steadily building the program through a winning culture and maximization of resources, they decided to hire Bob Huggins. Yes Huggins, he of the notoriously low graduation rate, asshole at the country club dress/demeanor and thrilling little DUI in 2004 where he got liquored up and yacked in his own car despite having met a recruit just hours earlier. Seriously, the guy is a real-life Nick Nolte.

So he goes out and recruits some studs like Bill Walker and Jason Bennett for the upcoming season where they win 23 games and Huggins goes from "grown man who pukes in his own whip" to "program savior." Then he uses this sudden turnaround to get a higher-paying gig at his alma mater, West Virginia. Yes, just three years after leaving a program in shambles and being unable to walk in a straight line, he has his dream job. Before he leaves though, he locks up Michael Beasley, the top player of 2007, who could've went to a school that you know, has made the fucking NCAA Tournament in the past decade, but instead chose a white, psychotic asshole who coaches in the middle of Kansas. Makes perfect sense.

And it makes even more sense when you consider Huggy's assistants. He decided to hire Dalonte Hill, who was 27 and had just three years of experience on UNC-Charlotte's staff. But he was Michael Beasley's AAU coach, which always helps (Beasley had even committed to Charlotte before changing his mind to KSU). He also hired Frank Martin, who was his assistant with the Bearcats but had just five years of college experience, all as an assistant and only seven as a high school head coach. So, in order to keep Beasley after Huggy left, they took less than 24 hours to immediately promote both his recruiters, Martin to head coach, Hill to top assistant,with only one other candidate being interviewed, Northern Iowa's Greg McDermott. Zero head coaching experience and just 10 assistant years between them and the program was all theirs. All three of Martin's commitments for '08 and '09 (two four-star guys) play for DC Assault, Beasley and Hill's former AAU team. And on top of all that, Martin is a complete fucking nutjob, and a crooked one at that.

When he was a head coach at Miami High, Martin left in as much disgrace as when Huggins left Cincinnati. After winning the 1998 state title, their second straight led by Udonis Haslem and Steve Blake, the Miami New Times found that many Miami players played for Martin illegally (for all the incredible dirt on the guy, click that link). It was also revealed that he illegally recruited players, had most of his players, including Blake and Haslem, live with unpaid "coaches" and boosters or list false addresses to meet school district qualifications and accepted gifts from Nike for choosing them as a sponsor. The New Times reporter went to some of the listed addresses and the people there had no idea who the players even were. He then tried to cover up the dirt, to no avail. They were forced to forfeit every game that season and Martin was fired. From a high school team. Nine years later, he's coaching a top 25 team with the best player in the country. Besides the AOL Fanhouse - so much for these "irresponsible" blogs, with their rap music and pantslessness - I couldn't find any mention of Martin's transgressions when he was hired. The KSU AD said he didn't even know about the investigation.

If that wasn't enough, he stalks the sidelines like a complete madman. He throws clipboards, curses out players, berates refs. Just because the guy is insane doesn't mean he should be investigated but someone who is that obsessive about winning AND has his background, can't be squeaky clean. Plus, they have sucked so far this season, getting crushed by George Mason and needing OT to beat Central Florida. If Martin feels his job security slipping, especially with Beasley leaving after this year, will some lucky recruits or AAU coaches suddenly find three naked gymnasts washing a brand new Benz with Cristal in their driveway? Wouldn't bet against it.

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