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College basketball commentary that won't make your ears bleed.

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

Reports: Kelvin Sampson To Be Fired/Suspended Friday... Swear to God This Time

OK, so I posted an erroneous report from The Big Lead last week about Kelvin Sampson getting fired last Friday, but it turns out TBL's source just had the wrong Friday. According to WTHR in Indianapolis, it's going down tomorrow and Indiana will "finish the basketball season without Kelvin Sampson." No word on whether it's a suspension until the May hearing Sampson has been promised or whether they will simply reach a buy out agreement and fire him. My brief thoughts on the dude are here.

UPDATE: As Fox Sports reports, it looks like this is a done deal. Not sure why they had him coach those last two if they were going to fire him outright, but whatever.

UPDATE*: Wait, he's not fired yet! Ahh this is insane!!! I can't take all the uncertainty!!! (kill me).


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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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Big Lead: Kelvin Sampson To Be Fired Friday

I'm pretty wary of any blog quoting its own anonymous source, but if The Big Lead is correct, Kelvin Sampson is going to be fired Friday. Here you go:
According to a media source, the buzz in college basketball circles is that Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson will be fired Friday for violating telephone restrictions and then lying to both the school and the NCAA. Our source says that the school is looking to act quickly with Sampson because if he were to guide the 13th-ranked Hoosiers to the Final Four - it’s entirely possible with talent like DJ White, Eric Gordon, and a cadre of role players - it would be much more difficult (nearly impossible) to fire him. If the school doesn’t cut the cord with Sampson Friday, it is possible that he could gain traction among fans via victories (the Hoosiers host Michigan State Saturday, and Purdue Tuesday) despite his misconduct.

I'm not sure I buy the logic behind this, I have never known an athletic department to make a preemptive move against winning, but I suppose a source is a source. This is curious because the stipulations of the allegations make it appear that Indiana is under no obligation to investigate or respond to the allegations until after the season and a hearing isn't scheduled until June. I think if this happened to a team with a less rabid fanbase than Indiana, the administrators would avoid causing any turmoil for the players until after the year. So I hope The Big Lead's source is credible (and a Chicago columnist seems to agree a firing is inevitable), so the whole "blogs are irresponsible and ruining the lives of America's children" thing won't crop up again.

As for Kelvin Sampson, he is an incredibly stupid person. Despite knowing exactly what he was not supposed to do, he allegedly went and did it anyway, and then lied about it (if you still don't know what happened, read this). All of the criticism the Hoosiers took for hiring him is justified, even if all this turns out to be untrue. Indiana needs a nice, quiet coach that wins basketball games. Kelvin Sampson is not that. That being said, Sampson is not an especially corrupt coach. He is merely an idiot. Things far worse than illegal phone calls are going on in college basketball recruiting and that is simply a fact. Hell, some of those "worse things" are actually legal. I wrote about the ridiculously questionable ethics surrounding Michael Beasley and Kansas State earlier in the year (Frank Martin was fired from a high school in 1998 for fabricating his players' addresses and upon hiring the guy as head coach simply for recruiting Beasley, K-State said they had no idea about the high school ordeal... just click on the link for all the details, it's nuts). That, to me, is not nearly as stupid as what Sampson did -- shrewd might be a better word -- but it's still way more unethical despite being legal. And that was the only program I took the time to research. If you really want to dig deep, there are probably dozens of schools across the country that are doing some shady things to get ahead. Now I'm not saying Sampson shouldn't be punished -- clearly he needs to be fired (and he shouldn't have been hired in the first place) -- but before we crucify this guy for being all that is wrong with the sport, we should probably ditch this idea that the sport was pure in the first place.

Now, if you want to crucify him for being a complete moron...

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