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Monday, June 2, 2008

Unsubstantiated Speculation: NBA Draft Links June 2

Nothing about the NBA Draft makes any sense. GMs intentionally lie about who they want to confuse the rest of the league, agents pull players out of workouts to manipulate their value and the Milwaukee Bucks continue to pretend they are trying to win. Mock drafts are always way off, the rumored trades never go down and the ones that do are always out of left field. There is no rhyme. There is no reason. And that is exactly why it is so great. Sports fans love to speculate, and the NBA Draft is 90 percent speculatastic. So in an exercise of almost certain futility, I bring you Unsubstantiated Speculation, a column containing all the relevant, completely false draft news links from around the Intertubes. Look for this once or twice a week leading up to the draft. Believe nothing.

And if you are a blog that covers the draft and feel you deserve to be on the Links, click the e-mail link on the right sidebar.

Even with the Finals starting (as you might have heard, there are quite a few storylines with the match-up this year), there has been tons of draft links lately. Let's sift!

(I'm holding to my promise to myself of not getting into the OJ Mayo thing. All I will say is there some weird, completely nonsensical double-standard going on here where Beasley is somehow seen as equally or more of a character risk than OJ, whose bad character is overrated in its own right. I hate the media sometimes, hopefully GMs can see through the fog... riigggghhhht.)

Orlando Pre-Draft Camp
- I really can't say this enough, but DraftExpress has really pulled out all the stops this year. They have their usual scouting reports and interviews but this year have added video, player blogs, extensive team need evaluations and even ventured deep into the underground of the Interwebs with podcasts. On the down side, they are making this column mildly irrelevant. Rush the Court has also done a very nice job, albeit without the access.

- This draft notes column by Chad Ford was interesting for a couple reasons. One, Seattle is fending off rumors they will take Jerryd Bayless No. 4 and Phoenix is doing the same about Brandon Rush at No. 15 (which I had merely minutes after the draft order was set... toot toot). But the main reason this was interesting was to hear that Lester Hudson played his ass off in Orlando and could be rising up draft boards. I always liked Hudson because he can get to the rim and is a decent shooter. Kind of like a lower middle class man's Rodney Stuckey. One thing that concerns me: Here is Ford's recap of day 2 of the camp. Notice the common connection between all the players featured as "standouts:" Gary Forbes, Wayne Ellington, Malik Hairston, Josh Duncan. All of them are between positions for the NBA. I'd like to think that's a product of the small-ball trends in the NBA but it's probably more of a product of playing against a bunch of other mediocre, second-round tweeners.

- This might be your best Orlando recap, from one Chad Ford, Draftmaster. Some speculative tidbits: Chad Ford is getting sucked into the Anthony Randolph workout wonder thing, WHO CAN HE GUARD IN THE NBA, CHAD?; Michael Beasley made lots of threes, but may have picked his nose and ate it, devastating his stock; Russell Westbrook apparently looked good and yet for some reason Ford still thinks everyone wants him to be a point guard; Kevin Love might really be picked No. 3; Darrell Arthur looked great, which is no surprise, Memphis really should consider him at No. 5 (like I said); Joe Alexander is apparently LeBron James or something; Davon Jefferson, who I, like an idiot, said could be a lottery pick if he gets his shit together. Well, he didn't, and apparently got fat and stuff. Ford thinks he might be undrafted. Let me know when you are going to go on a donut binge Davon, before I say you are lottery material. Thanks.

- If you want to know everyone that played in Orlando and what it means for them and their respective college teams, Andy Katz obliges. And within this notes column by Katz, my suspicions that Kevin Love would be flying up draft boards due to a lack of girth was correct. And sadly for George Hill, Pride of Ooey Pooey, the dream is over. And finally, this feature by Katz on Jeremy Pargo was great. It's interesting that his brother Jannero, who was less talented than Jeremy coming out of college but is one of the better reserves in the NBA, has advised his brother to consider going back to school (he will oblige if he isn't a first-rounder apparently). I still think Pargo has a decent career.

- Apparently former Iowa State guard Mike Taylor played really well and could be the first D-League player to get drafted. Taylor instead of Rod Benson?! Boom tho?

- Posts like this from the Atlanta-Journal Constitution's Sekou Smith on new Hawks GM Rick Sund are proof that Atlanta should always have a first-round pick so this man has something to cover come draft time. He is a boss.

- Good mini-feature from Michael Lewis (go Blue Hens?) on Keith Brumbaugh, even though it doesn't explain his amazing, troubled story to those who don't know it. This helps, however. I still think he must be better than Ndubi Ebi. Speaking of washed up former HS stars (sorry Keith), whatever happened to Lenny Cooke? Seriously, that's a legitimate question. I would like to know.

Michael Beasley is an enigma
- Actually, no he's not. But everyone in the media sure likes to write like he is. There is this, which contains a quote from Beasley that I was thrilled about.
"I just turned 19 years old in January," Beasley said. "How mature do you want me to be? I’m still a kid. I’m not 20 yet. I’m not legal. I can vote, but that’s about it. On the basketball side of things, I’m 30 years old. Off the court, I don’t know how old y’all want me to be. Do you want me to act 25? 30? 40?. I’m 19. I’m a kid. I’m going to live my life. I’m going to mess up. I don’t know as much as you do or him. I’m learning day by day. I hear a lot about character issues. But I’ve yet to hear what those character issues are. Until I hear somebody tell me, I don’t feel the need to change."

I still fail to see what he has done that is so horribly wrong. He went to many high schools and some coaches piggybacked his ability to better themselves. This happens to every single big-time basketball recruit. How is a teenager who knows he will be in the NBA in the near future supposed to just ignore all these people with power showing him how to get there? And how is Rose any different? Ugh. Hopefully the media treats him as the quirky, outspoken Gilbert Arenas-type rather than the Josh Howard-type who gets blasted whenever he's honest about something. He's probably somewhere in between (in both personality and ability). Oh and any Beasley item on the Internet must link to this article in the WashPost, as required by federal Intertubes laws.

- TrueHoop, which is also very outstanding, approached this fairly. Thank you Mr. Abbott.

- Linked in the TrueHoop item, this piece, which in true NBA Draft form, makes insane speculation that Beasley "is not Pat Riley's type of player." (the same guy writes the same thing in another piece here). Suddenly nothing can be written about this man without the words, "immature," "playful," "candid" and the like being bandied around. I think Chad Ford started all this. Seriously people, let's come up with something new....

- ... Not quite, but getting warmer...

- ... OK, this will have to do.

Things of Different Persuasion
- I was none too pleased to see Donte Greene hire an agent. The only logical explanation for this was that he got one of the 16 "physical only" invites to Orlando, which means he thinks he's like, a top 16 player. This is bad news for my Orange and could be worse news for Donte Greene. NBA GMs love tall shooters but the guy didn't show an ability to do much else in college. And I loved Donte Greene. But who can he guard? Who can he beat off the dribble? Who can he box out? Perhaps the more important question is: Who can he fool into taking him in the top 15?

- Every year Andy Katz is good for a few of those, "How is this college coach handling his players testing the draft waters?" features. This one is on Richard Hendrix and Ronald Steele at Alabama. (I wouldn't be losing sleep Coach Gottfried, Steele is already coming back.)

- I really love the Ball Don't Lie blog over at Yahoo!, even if they are a bit light on draft stuff. The incomparable Kelly Dwyer does well with this rant on mock drafts. Couldn't have put it better myself. (This may prompt another mock draft before draft day where I oblige Mr. Dwyer with his dream mock draft. Or something.)

- Gary Parrish, a true college basketball Internet writer, continues to churn out columns in this offseason. This one is a nice look at how batshit insane some North Carolina fans are. Oh and leave it up to Parrish to actually look at the Mayo thing will a tinge of rationality.

- Fran Frischilla speaks, a New York Post writer listens.

- Lang Whitaker over at Slam Online with an entertaining second-person perspective thingy on being John Paxson (not a working screenplay by Charlie Kauffman). I'm not so sure about the Doug Collins hiring but I still think it's better than Avery Johnson. He's just as likely to want Rose as Avery, but at least he won't try to turn him into Anthony Carter.

- Looks like Jamont Gordon is leaning toward staying in the draft, which I pleased about. He should be a late first-rounder as an impact reserve for a playoff contender.

- Way to strike when the iron is hot, Mike DeCourcy. Will your next column be about how great it is that the draft is two rounds now?

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Hooray For Links! NCAA Tournament Edition

I was never a big proponent of doing link dumps and the like on this site because, well, it didn't really make sense to me. Why would I simply reproduce things that are already out there? But as I did my own scouring of the Intertubes for college hoops content, I realized there was just too much quality (and, at times, utterly awful) stuff out there to simply leave untapped. So I give you Hooray For Links! which should appear at completely random intervals. Because without links, it's not really a blog, it's just a place to put thoughts I might not want to forget.

I haven't written all that much about the Tournament, except for some wildly outstanding previews; I prefer to just kinda enjoy it as a spectator and avoid consuming the enormous mass of regurgitated storylines and feature ideas. This year's March Madness has been tremendous, something I was worried about after the mediocrity that highlighted the regular season and the general lack of interesting match-ups. I thought this year would be an event that would bore for the first two rounds and then really shine in the regionals, after all the craptastic teams were eliminated. Well the second part of that has came true -- these games this weekend should be awesome -- without the boring part. So here are some links, many of which are preview items as the content produced about the actual Tournament is pretty boring.

Them links be after the jump.

- Given their first meeting and its outcome, watching the diverging paths of North Carolina and Duke in the NCAAs was fascinating. The Heels have been utterly dominant. Duke was awful, would've been the victim of the biggest upset in NCAA Tournament history if not for Gerald Henderson playing like a man, were destroyed in the second half against West Virginia and are home now. I'd like to think this moment, and this moment alone, was the turning point for both teams. Revel in its beauty.

- This CBS Sportsline column about Tyler Hansbrough from Mike Freeman was pretty bold, pretty controversial (read the comments) and difficult to argue with. I'm not going to go to deep into it; he basically feels there is a double standard perpetuated by the media regarding highly visible white players in college hoops. The giveaway line is : "America loves a tough, white guy." He is right in that regard but doesn't quite make a full argument or offer a lot to support the hypothesis. Freeman is a fellow University of Delaware alum so in interest of full disclosure, I'm probably an apologist for a fellow Blue Hen. But it's an interesting read.

- Dan Steinberg at the fabulous (heterosexually fabulous, that is) DC Sports Bog with a great first-hand account of storming the floor following American's Patriot League Championship (which seems like it happened year ago).

- Everyone was all fussy about the Selection Committee matching up mid-major with each other, including me, and no one has been better at chronicling the view from the little guys than ESPN.com contributor and Mid-Majority editor Kyle Whelliston, Lord of the Mid-Majors. After the field was announced he penned this great column on the traveshammockery that is Selection Sunday. In light of the runs made by mid-majors like Western Kentucky and Davidson, which has hopefully validated the many cries of foul directed toward the Committee for seemingly wanting the BCS schools to conduct their business without losing face, Whelliston has renamed his site The WKU-Majority. Rather than link all of Whelliston's great posts from the weekend -- it would require many hyperlinks and possible carpel tunnel -- just go to his site and read it all. After a year where the big boys reigned, the mid-majors are back and have found a place at the top. George Mason was no fluke, watch out world.

- Basketball Prospectus, in its first year on the job, offered this season's best tournament preview. And to follow it up, they have been outstanding in their tourney coverage. So go there, read it, love it, live a better life.

- For someone with the rare and unfortunate combination of being a basketball addict and former English major in college, this piece on how Ernest Hemingway would analyze some of the top NCAA contenders was absolutely fantastic.

- I enjoyed this column from Andy Katz on Kevin Love and OJ Mayo, even if it was approximately the 8 millionth of its kind and basically jinxed the hell out of USC. Hopefully we can put all those preconceived notions about the two and the completely false "antithesis" they represent.

- Alright so one more Kyle Whelliston item to pass along. Last one, I swear, but the guy is doing great work over there. With my brackets in complete shambles, as I predicted, I enjoyed this column asking readers to not fill out a bracket this year. I wish I could do this. Unfortunately my body and mind will not allow me to abstain from Bracketering; I must have a chemical imbalance. But with my picks basically ruined, I have enjoyed this year's tournament even without having any real live reason to root for a specific. I've become a liberated fan, something that the boys at FreeDarko talk a lot about; I am simply an enjoyer of good basketball. And this makes very much sense. The reason I love the NCAA Tournament is not because I love winning office pools, it's because I love basketball. A lot. So, as Whelliston argues, by filling out a bracket you are simply celebrating prognostication, right and wrongness. Not basketball, which is what this thing is all about. Just because there is no prospect of winning money off of them, doesn't mean you can't like a team or have interest in a game.

- There certainly are some curious trends the Selection Committee seems to be perpetuating, and Gary Parrish is there to point them out and call out the Committee. For someone who is unusually Freshman-centric, I also enjoyed this column he wrote on young bucks and their big tourney roles.

- This is why I enjoy Bill Raftery.

- This was in Sports Illustrated's March Madness preview issue, a great look from Grant Wahl at how size dictates tournament success, especially in regards to this year's field, which contains a lot of small-ball teams, which follows the trend recently seen in the NBA. Looking at the teams left, many of the remaining top seeds at least has respectable post players, but squads like Texas, Tennessee, West Virginia and Memphis will be operating without a great deal of size. Should be interesting to see how that dynamic plays out (especially with Texas vs. Stanford; the best Sweet 16 match-up this year).

- Further proof that no matter how much Bill Simmons knows about the NBA (which is a whole lot), he should not write about college basketball.

- No No. 1 seed was really even tested in the first round this year, but there is really nothing better than when one gets scared. Here is a run-down of the closest calls in history.

- The world will never be the same. There is no God.

- Very good piece analyzing CBS' first weekend coverage of the NCAAs (even if it praises Seth Davis for non-comedic excellence). I thought it was pretty good coverage as well, except that Gus Johnson had all blowouts and Tim Brando was nearly comatose during that insane Friday in Tampa. Given all the tooting being done for Davis taking Davidson, I would like to point out that I said Belmont would give Duke all they could handle in the first round. I may be near last place in all my pools, but I will hold onto this for years.

- And here, an example of why local nightly news will not bring upon the end of civilization, contrary to popular belief:

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Friday, February 22, 2008

Hmm, This Could Get Ugly

According to the CBS Sportsline's Gary Parrish, this whole Kelvin Sampson business might go down in a hail of gunfire. Apparently he refused to resign last night, against AD Rick Greenspan's wishes. Then when Greenspan told the team he was going to fire Sampson, a few unnamed players (better not be Gordon) said they would quit. This should be a fun little way to spend a snowy Friday work day: Watch the most historic college basketball program in history go down in flames.

UPDATE: Here we go again. According to Andy Katz, Indiana has made a decision on Sampson but the coach still has not been informed what it is. And IU official said, "All those reports about it being made yesterday and of the players being told and of the team threatening not to play were not true. It's pure science fiction." The official then fired up his jetpack and went off to fight tentacled sky-demons.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Hooray For Links! February 21

I was never a big proponent of doing link dumps and the like on this site because, well, it didn't really make sense to me. Why would I simply reproduce things that are already out there? But as I did my own scouring of the Intertubes for college hoops content, I realized there was just too much quality (and, at times, utterly awful) stuff out there to simply leave untapped. So I give you Hooray For Links! which should appear at completely random intervals. Because without links, it's not really a blog, it's just a place to put thoughts I might not want to forget.

Them links be after the jump.

- Before we get into anything of substance, great Louisville blog Card Chronicle shares this video of a rapping UL fan, makes world worse place. Reminds me of a young Ghostface. I really should've dedicated a single post to this.

- I really enjoyed Grant Wahl's article in Sports Illustrated a couple weeks ago on the Dribble-Drive Motion Offense that everyone seems so excited about. Now, if you aren't a hardcore basketball person, this whole piece is a waste of your time. It's an in-depth look at how the philosophy was originated, how it works, who is using it and what personnel suits it best. If you enjoy dunks, cheerleaders and screaming at the TV, you probably shouldn't read this. Anyway, the DDM offense has been made most popular by John Calipari and Memphis, which is odd because the Tigers don't really have the ideal players (i.e. jumpshooters) for the offense. But they do have Derrick Rose and Chris Douglas-Roberts, who are both perfect for the penetration and kick offense. They also have Joey Dorsey, who is ideal for this offense because it requires no post scorer and puts a team's big man on the weak side of the ball for offensive rebounds and drive-and-dishes. Still, you wonder if the shooting will be Memphis' tragic flaw. The offense was created by Vance Walberg, who was a JuCo coach at the time, then got a job at Pepperdine and recently resigned/got fired (the one problem with the article is it makes little mention of Walberg's tenure and departure at Pepperdine). Over 300 teams across the country, at all levels of play, now use it and the article contains praise from Larry Brown and Bob Hurley. So if your retinas aren't singed from Bruce Pearl's suit (by the way, the Vols are perfect for DDM and they don't run it), look for that offense Saturday night.

- Kansas State Head Coach and Crazy Person, Frank Martin seems to be getting a lot of love for KSU's success this season and this feature by Chip Brown at the Dallas Morning News continues that trend. Martin, despite being a raging lunatic on the sidelines, actually does seem like he cares about his kids and knows the game. HOWEVA, he still has a very shady past and it seems like no one knows about it besides me and Robert Andrew Powell, the Miami New Times reporter who broke the 1998 story on Martin fabricating addresses for the state champion high school team he coached (which included Steve Blake and Udonis Haslem), an investigation that led to his resignation. Certainly people deserve second chances and performance speaks for itself, but read the 1998 story and then read Brown's feature and see if there aren't some serious contradictions in some of Martin's "do it the right way" quotes.

- I don't like pointing out when I'm right -- actually, who am I kidding, of course I do -- but back at the end of January I had post on the four teams I thought were capable of winning a championship. I picked Kansas, UNC, UCLA... and Louisville. The CHN message board destroyed me for this at the time and much time-wasting vitriol ensued. Well we all know what Louisville has done since and in a recent post at the fabulous Basketball Prospectus the fabulous Ken Pomeroy (I'm not gay) pegged the Cardinals as his "No. 6" team behind the obvious top five of Memphis, Duke, UNC, Kansas and UCLA (this was posted on Feb. 13, so I figure Tennessee is now in there, moving Louisville to No. 7... but I was still right! /stares into distance).

- I've been following the bizarre story of Tim Parmeter, Eastern Arizona JuCo coach who, as originally reported by Gary Parrish, was coaching through the murder-suicide of his ex-wife and child but was recently fired amid allegations that he had a sexual relationship with a 16-year old while he was married. I'm not going to elaborate any further on it, and I've gotten some comments here that were both interesting and abhorrent, but if you haven't seen this bizarre story, here is a good follow up from the Arizona Republic.

- I'm really sick of the Kelvin Sampson thing and, besides posting on The Big Lead's anonymous source that said he was going to be fired last Friday which obviously turned out to be wrong, I'm going to ignore it on here. But this piece from Andy Katz served as a great one-stop source for all the nonsense surround Sampson.

- Against all odds, ESPN.com's college basketball coverage has been outstanding lately. In the beginning of the year they just seemed to regurgitate the same played-out storylines but there have been a number of really good, deep pieces lately. I'd like to think a big part of that is the addition of Philly's own Dana O'Neill, former Philly Daily News writer, who turned in a GREAT feature on Alcorn State and the unglamorous life of basketball in the SWAC. It's long but a great read for those sick of the power conference slobbering.

- Keeping with the ESPN theme, Chris Low takes a good look at the long, hard journey of Tennessee-Martin's Lester Hudson, who is one of the most talented players in the country. Hudson has overcome a rough childhood and academic problems to make it to Division I, and he is probably is good enough to play in the major conferences.

- And one more to throw at you, Heather Dinich's feature on Towson junior Tony Durant, who just happens to be the older brother of Kevin Durant. It's a great look at the odd emotional predicament Kevin's success has caused for Tony, who I somehow didn't even know about until I read this piece.

- Two posts from fellow Ravenous Shark Fightin' Blue Hen Dan Steinberg at the outstanding DC Sports Bog. First a great reaction to the idiot court storming from Syracuse fans when the Orange beat Georgetown at home last week. Second, an ever greater post, a report from last night's Virginia Tech-Maryland game where Dorenzo Hudson puked on the floor. If you are a sick, twisted freak here is the video.

- This Deadspin post has all sorts of Bob Knight goodness. Apparently current Nets coach and former Indiana manager was a bit of a douche back in the day, and may have taped Bob Knight giving a terrifying, profanity-laced tirade at halftime of a game, which has made its way onto the Intertubes. Within the post is the story on Frank and audio of Knight's shitstorm. And here is Terry Hutchens original story on the tape.

- Awful Announcing notices something that I too have noticed recently. Brent Musberger (pictured above) is careening toward senility (during a college game he blurts out that the Wizards want to trade Caron Butler!). Between this, his insistence on calling every player only by his first name ("What a rebound by Jamarcus") and his bonechilling ogling of Erin Andrews (I know, pot/kettle/black), I am worried Brett might poop himself during a conference championships game this year. And if only for the comment section, here is Deadspin's approval rating on Musberger. (Yes, I've also found the Brent Musberger Drinking Game, here's to binge drinking Brent!).

- This story has been written about 12 million times but in case you just can't get enough Duke-hating, some fella at MSN tries his hand at explaining why nobody likes the Blue Devils.

- From Scott Van Pelt Style, apparently former Duke forward and obnoxious towel waver Reggie Love is a bodyguard for our next President Barack Obama.

- From the motherland CHN, a nice column on Gonzaga, specifically the dichotomy between Josh Heytvelt and Jeff Pendergraft. Kinda follows a previous sentiment I had on the Zags that with all these All-Americans they have lost the scrappiness and chemistry that made those old Gonzaga teams so great.

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Thursday, February 7, 2008

Hooray For Links! February 7

I was never a big proponent of doing link dumps and the like on this site because, well, it didn't really make sense to me. Why would I simply reproduce things that are already out there? But as I did my own scouring of the Intertubes for college hoops content, I realized there was just too much quality (and, at times, utterly awful) stuff out there to simply leave untapped. So I give you Hooray For Links! which should appear weekly or something. Because without links, it's not really a blog, it's just a place to put thoughts I might not want to forget.

Them links be after the jump.

- I still can't really decide what to make of OJ Mayo. Not whether he's a "thug" or "ballhog" or "antichrist" or whatever -- I know he is not -- but whether or not his style of play really helps USC win. Or perhaps more importantly, which of his styles of play help USC win. So this article from Andy Glockner at ESPN pandered to my curiosity. The results? Well, they were still inconclusive. Basically when Mayo shoots a lot they lose and when he uses possessions more efficiently they win. And lately he has been choosing the latter option. Also, included in the article is the testimonial from his coach and opposing coaches which say he is extremely talented, a great defender and a coachable guy, all of which aren't too obvious. Now part of that, which is the uninformed public/media opinion of him as the aforementioned thug/ballhog/antichrist (and I'll throw in "lazy" for good measure), brings me to the next link.

- Free Darko is the best source of basketball writing on the Web. This much is true. I will not explain any further, just go read it. It may surprise you to know that I probably enjoy the NBA more than college hoops (yes, my soul is that black) and I also consider myself to not be that stupid, so the site works for me. But today I read an excellent essay on the changing landscape of NBA prospect-dom in college hoops due to the new age-minimum written by the editor at Truth in a Bullet Fedora. He argues that because of the age-rule it is impossible for prospects to hide their limitations as previous high schoolers were able to, but that it also leads to players that show a less-defined brand of talent (i.e. Jeff Green and Corey Brewer) being valued over more proven but limited players (i.e. Joakim Noah) because NBA GMs are now in the mindset to look for franchise saviors (i.e. Durant/Oden) rather than just valuable, but limited players with a better chance to help the team. He uses Mayo as a player that would've been a No. 1 pick based on his "untapped talent" out of high school but because of USC's system he is seen as utilitarian and will probably be out of the Top5... Just read it, trust me, it's good.

- And in that article, I also saw a backlink to an October piece on OJ Mayo by the same author. And I found a brilliant (and refreshingly familiar, I only wish mine had came first) take on the dichotomy between Mayo's style of play, his off-court demeanor and how the media have lumped an uninformed stance on both into one big, incorrect persona. Because he is a shoot-first PG, the author argues, and has a considerable amount of flash to his off-court persona, he is labeled as a young black punk, although, in reality, his game isn't younger, blacker or punkier than say, Derrick Rose, who is given considerable leeway because he has a lower profile and is a pass-first PG. Just read it, trust me, it's good.

- I liked Gary Parrish's take on Greg Paulus today, which took on a similar topic to my Paulus (now known as Pimp G) piece the other day. Except, of course, his is better written and doesn't resort to calling Paulus "The Eli Manning of Basketball."

- Dana O'Neill used to write for my city's very own Philadelphia Daily News, doing a great job on the Nova beat, but that was before the hulking arm of Godzilla, ESPN, snatched her up (and doubled her salary, Godzilla can do that). She turned in a great piece the other day on UNC's junior varsity team. And no, Quentin Thomas cannot be sent down to that team.

- Jokes + Dick Vitale + blogs= Gold, Jerry, Gold! (Awful Announcing)

- Luke Winn at SI.com, who is usually great but hasn't written anything at all of note this season, writes an excellent feature on Kansas' Darnell Jackson and how he has overcome some serious adversity to become a major contributor for the title-contending team he almost left a year earlier.

- Why yes, I do find Erin Andrews to be extremely attractive and would appreciate the results of some ogling photographer that shares the same sentiment. Thank you. (Rush the Court)

- Also from Rush the Court, a great first-hand recap of that Gonzaga-St. Mary's game I was so excited about.

- Against all odds, a student paper -- in this case The Diamondback at Maryland -- turns in a great feature. This one on poofy-haired Terp Bambale Osby.

- The NCAA let a bunch of sports writers try their hand at the Selection Sunday process. They did it last year too, and it's a great idea. At the Double A Zone, the NCAA's official blog, here is the live blog of Day One and Day Two (each day included a different group of sportswriters but the same process so there might be some redundancy) and also Mike DeCourcy's piece on it.

- I was at the Syracuse-Villanova game, cheering for Cuse of course, and thoroughly enjoyed this expected, drunken squabbles between rival fans. It was about 50-50 Cuse/Nova if you exclude the student section. (Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician)

- BTW, I did all the Bob Knight stuff after that broke. That's why it's not in here. It was important however.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Tim Parmeter Story Takes Odd Turn

I don't post all that much on here, so when I do get a hold of a story, I feel obligated to follow it through with updates. It's kinda weird because I've found myself following these strange stories, while ignoring others for no good reason. But I suppose that's what blogs are for. Anyway, a couple weeks ago I told you about Gary Parrish's great story on Tim Parmeter, coach of Eastern Arizona junior college. He was using coaching to cope with a horrible family tragedy where his ex-wife killed herself and their son and blamed the whole thing on him. Then I told you about Parrish's update on the story that Paremeter had been fired on allegations he had a relationship with a student. Well, as a reader passed along, the Eastern Arizona Courier has some more details on the investigation into the ordeal and, well, they aren't pretty.

The alleged victim first met Parmeter at the EAC gym and was invited to Parmeter's office along with a friend, according to police reports. Parmeter said he was going to give them a T-shirt.

The friend eventually headed back to the gym, leaving Parmeter and the victim alone in his office.

He kissed the girl on the mouth before she left the office, and that incident quickly escalated into a sexual relationship which was frequent in nature.

The girl, now 18 years old and a full-time student at EAC, was 16 years old when the sexual relationship began.

Parmeter and the girl started meeting several times a week and had sexual intercourse at his house and in his office.

Parmeter has denied the allegations. There were explicit e-mails found that were sent from Parmeter to the girl but he claims she gained access to his e-mail and sent them herself.

Jesus. Obviously the guy must be going through hell after what happened to his family, but if this is true it's completely indefensible. Sad story all around and even though Parrish's original piece was outstanding, it is certainly marred by these events. I guess this means the Lute Olson method of taking time off to deal with your personal issues may be the right strategy. Hope Parmeter gets his life together.

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Monday, January 21, 2008

The Drake Still Loved, Pope Plays, Parmeter Story Not As Good Feely As Before

There were some interesting developments in a few stories I recently posted on, so let's update.

First, I continue to Loooooveee The Drake as the Bulldogs won the Valley battle of the unbeatens Saturday, topping Illinois State 79-73 at home. The Drake has first place all to themselves now. They won this one without Valley leading score Josh Young again, and were led by Adam Emmenecker, he of the buzzer-beater against Bradley and mid-major poster boy story (former walk-on, white, named Emmenecker). The real test for The Drake comes tomorrow night though, as they travel to Creighton, a team I found to be mighty impressive when it won at Northern Iowa on ESPN last week.

Second, in a sign that the hoops gods are certainly looking down upon this humble, albeit shallow, sports blog, the day I posted the first Drake item (linked above), they actually played The Drake episode of Seinfeld on FOX that night. The Drake, team of destiny.

My boy Herb Pope finally played Saturday after being involved in all sorts of craziness. Haven't seen highlights because, you know, he plays for New Mexico State, but he had five points and nine rebounds in 23 minutes, getting off nine shots in the process. In a sign of just how versatile the 6-8 forward's floor game is, he also had four assists and six turnovers [REDACTED]. My obsession with Pope is well-documented and I suppose it has more to do with his flaws than his game, but in all seriousness, it's good to see this kid actually get on the court. There have been many players before him who have been through shit half as bad and screwed up half as much and let it completely derail their careers. Let's hope basketball will phase all the other crap out for Pope. And this weekend, hoops fan will get their first, and maybe only, look at Pope as the Aggies play Utah State Saturday, 6 p.m. on ESPN2. It will also be a battle of the top two teams in the WAC right now, for those of you more interested in that hotly-contested race.

And finally, a weird update to Gary Parrish's outstanding story on Eastern Arizona head coach Tim Parmeter, which I posted on last week. Parmeter was coaching through an awful tragedy where his ex-wife committed a murder-suicide with his infant child. Well, he's not coaching anymore and it has nothing to do with grief. Parrish posted an update this morning, writing that Parmeter had been fired after being accused of having a relationship with a student at the junior college and that she might not have been of consenting age when the relationship began. There's an investigation into the case and everyone, including Parmeter, did that thing where they say they want to comment, even though they don't, but they can't because of legal issues. Not sure what to make of this and it's obviously all accusations right now, but if you've read Parrish's original story, this is certainly tough to see.

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Three College Hoops Stories That Everyone Should Read

Rarely do I do link dumps but this past week I've read three of the better college basketball stories that I ever had and felt the need to pass them along. One is from Gary Parrish at CBS Sportsline, one from Wright Thompson at ESPN.com and the other from Gary Smith at Sports Illustrated, who is, for my money the best sports writer in the world. Thompson and Smith's are really long just so you know that going in.

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First, outstanding piece from the venerable Gary Parrish, who seems to "get" college basketball and its many untold stories better than anyone else out there, on Eastern Arizona JuCo coach Tim Parmeter, who is coaching through an unbelievably awful tragedy. In late December '06, in the midst of an ugly divorce from his estranged wife and after a particularly vicious argument, he came home to find her and their two-year-old son Ryan dead in his in the garage of a murder-suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning.

Later, suicide notes were found and in one addressed to Parmeter, he was blamed for the entire ordeal:
Don't ever try to convince yourself otherwise -- this event is absolutely, completely your fault. You created it. You could have prevented it. You encouraged it. You found our pain funny. ... If I have the opportunity to haunt you, I will. ... I pray you will see our faces in your mind's eye and wonder what Ryan could have been and what we could have had if you had only chosen love.
I won't go into much further detail, I highly suggest reading the whole thing for yourself. Very well written, very well told and very powerful. Back when Lute Olson took a leave of absence to deal with his divorce I said the story put the game in a proper perspective. Not to trivialize Olson's situation, but this blows that out of the water. Although for Parmeter, who only took a week off in '06 after the events, coaching the game was therapeutic. He even held practice this year at the exact same time he found his dead ex-wife and child, 11:12 AM December 30, so he'd have something to distract him.

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Next up, I came across ESPN.com's story of former Washington State star Tony Harris' November death in Brazil. It's written by Wright Thompson, one of the better feature writers in the US, in my opinion, and while it's long, it's well worth it (the lengthiness might explain why it was only ESPN.com's lead story for a few hours yesterday, despite nothing newsworthy happening, I guess articles about the NBA All Star Game, a mere six weeks away, are more interesting).

Anyway, it's an amazingly written narrative, which is fitting because it reads more like fiction than fact. Harris, who led Kelvin Sampson's 1994 Washington State Cougars to the NCAA Tournament and was playing professionally in Brazil was experiencing some serious mental problems, specifically paranoia, resulting from a troubled adult life. The story profiles his madness, with a Heart of Darkness metaphor that is harrowing, Harris' plan to escape some unknown danger, his disappearance and the subsequent investigation by an international detective. It's a real life mystery and it's reality makes it all the more powerful. The death still hasn't yet been deemed a suicide or homicide. Like with Parrish's story on Parmeter, I'll leave it at that, but if you can handle some sadness today, it's an unbelievable read.

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Finally, Gary Smith's story on San Diego freshman Rob Jones. This story was done a month or so ago by Connelly at ESPN as a TV piece and was very well done but this article is just incredible. Jones, who is a starter and third leading scorer for San Diego, is also the grandson of notorious cult leader Jim Jones, who led the People's Temple and was responsible for a mass suicide of over 900 people. Jones' adopted son, Jim Jr. is Rob's father and avoided the mass suicide that occurred in the cult's plantation in Jonestown, Guyana because he and some other members of the Temple were playing basketball in a nearby city. Jim Jr. went through serious depression and guilt, which is ultimately being erased by Rob's interest in basketball, the game that, as Smith puts it, both ruined and saved Jim Jr.'s life.

Smith is known for his long narratives and rarely fails to deliver the goods. Even though I knew this story beforehand, to read it in his words adds a whole other dimension.

So if you've got a half hour to kill, instead of playing Solitaire, do yourself a favor and add some culture to your college hoops fandom. There will be plenty of Duke-hating, face-painting and AP poll-bashing to come.

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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Gary Parrish Is A Boss

I don't do link dumps on this blog and rarely will post about articles I've read because I started this as a place to write my own thoughts and ramblings on college basketball. But sometimes other people(read: professionals) come along and articulate an opinion better than you could ever hope to. Gary Parrish's column on Derrick Rose and OJ Mayo today at CBS Sportsline is terrific, maybe the best college hoops piece I've read this year and comes from a guy who is, in my opinion, the best college hoops writer on the Web. Obviously those two face off tonight in what could be a poor man's Bird v. Magic in 1979, the first meeting of a rivalry that will hopefully still be playing out 15 years from now (well second, as Parrish points out, they faced off in some summer game a couple years ago with Mayo converting a four-point play to win by one... seriously). And while what happens on the court will be breathtaking, what has happened off the court to produce this match-up should inspire apathy, not awe.

I'm not going to go over the whole column because everyone should really read the whole thing, but just be skeptical of what you hear about the two tonight. They are both ridiculously great players but, as I wrote today at CHN in my Freshman 10 column, don't think for a second that the "Memphis" or "USC" on the front of the jersey is more important than the "Mayo" or "Rose" on the back. And it appears that as we usher in the era of the one-and-done super-duper-star college players and the crazy recruiting protocol that comes with them, the name on the back must be more important. I don't think Rose and Mayo are conceited but these two freshmen are already bigger than the game and -- for better or worse -- they know it.

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