This Crow is Mighty Tasty

I have to admit that I was wrong about this Kentucky basketball team. I still hate the one and done rule and stand by everything I’ve said about it. It is bad for college basketball. I will admit, though that I was wrong about this group of one and doners.

I didn’t think they had the ability or desire to play as a team. I didn’t think they cared about winning at the college level. I thought they saw this as just an audition for the NBA and nothing else mattered to them. I never questioned that they were talented. I never questioned that they were good kids. I questioned their desire to play as a team and win at the college level. I was still wrong.

It took a while for it to all come together, but it has. They have become a team. They are showing desire to win. They are working very hard to move on in the tournament. I admit I was wrong about them and I’ve never been happier to so wrong.

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Paying Players and Graduating Coaches

I decided to would write out my thoughts on two stories in college basketball. The idea of paying players and the Masiello situation.

First, Masiello: I am not one of those UK people who have decided they hate Steve Masiello for whatever reason.  I never met Masiello, but I know people have the same dislike for Travis Ford for being a jerk at UK. I did have class with  Travis and found him to be a decent guy. I always assume these people are the ones who bothered the players while they were out and about on campus and decided they were jerks because they didn’t stop what they were doing to chat/sign autographs. I also have no problem with Masiello coaching at Louisville. It makes sense. He is a Pitino guy. Louisville was the right spot for him.  So, that said, on to the resume fiasco.

Was it wrong to say you graduated from UK when you really didn’t? Yes, it was. It was a stupid lie because it is easy to find out the truth. Masiello had been lucky that none of his other employers cared enough to check his graduation status. His luck finally ran out. Do I think the fact that he didn’t graduate makes him unqualified as a coach? No, I don’t. He is a very good coach and the team that gives him a second chance will be lucky to have him. I assume he will go back to finish the degree somewhere (most likely UL where he could be a graduate assistant) and then will get hire on somewhere and will win again. I’m a big believer in second chances and am tired of people hammering him for this. He did something wrong. He can fix it and learn from it. Move on.

Paying Players:

I’m so tired of hearing people talk about paying players. These players are getting a free college education. It will cost over $100,000 for my son to go to college.  I looked up the price to attend Duke. It is over $60,000 per year. That’s $240,000 over four years. If you are an athlete, you get this for free and I’m supposed to feel sorry for you? The problem is, many of them don’t see this as value because they don’t really won’t to be in college. They just want to play basketball for money. Free college education does not seem as good as cold hard cash. They want both. Free education and cash. I think the solution is simple. Get rid of the one and done rule and let players go pro immediately out of high school. If you want cash for play, skip college and go pro. Not good enough for the NBA but still want cash for play? Go to Europe or go play in the NBA D League. Good at basketball but still value a college education? Go to school and play basketball while taking advantage of the extremely valuable compensation of a free college education with the added bonus of a guaranteed job with a booster after your career is over. College sports is about student athletes. Let’s get back to that.

My Bracket Projections

Here are my predictions for the tournament:

Upset specials – Ole Miss over Wisconsin, Belmont over Arizona, Bucknell over Butler, Colorado over Illinois, South Dakota St over Michigan, Minnesota over UCLA, Northwestern St over Florida.

Surprise Sweet 16 teams: only one close is UNLV instead of Syracuse

Final Four: Louisville, New Mexico, Miami, Kansas

Louisville beats Miami in the championship game.

The Uncoachables

Now, in a bonus second post of the day I move on to a team on a downward spiral, my beloved Kentucky Wildcats. This down season is much easier to take coming off of a championship, but it is still frustrating to watch. The team as it is now with a an injured Nerlins Noel still has at least three players with NBA talent and yet they look very bad. After the most recent game, Coach Calipari said some of the players are uncoachable. He has since backed off of that statement, but it is clear that he is frustrated with the teams well. The fan reaction has lead to one player calling out the “fake fans” and others saying that the play on the court does not make them bad kids.

I take exception to the idea that someone must be a fake fan if they have the nerve to complain about the product on the floor. Fake fans are the ones who not only complain about the product on the floor, but also, quit watching the games and possibly start rooting for a new team. These types of fans are common. The ones that only want to back a winner and will go away as soon as you start losing. I think the UK faithful have shown that we stick around even when the going gets tough. It doesn’t mean will will suffer quietly, but we will suffer through with them.

I also agree that underachieving does not make the players on the team bad kids. They are struggling at doing their job on the court and I want nothing more for them to get better and be successful. Unfortunately, for this to happen they need to be willing to listen to their coach and based on recent comments it sounds like that is not happening. If this doesn’t change, I hope they move on to the NBA or a team and coach willing to deal with people who won’t listen. Does this make them bad people? No. It does make them people I don’t want on my team. I think we’ve all had coworkers we loved as people, but who we wished would move on because we didn’t love them as coworkers. I think this is the same type of situation. Sometimes, the job and/ or team is just not the right fit and it is in the best interest for both parties to part ways.

Protected Species Watch – Zebras

The Syracuse/UNC Asheville game yesterday highlighted what is a growing problem in college basketball: terrible officiating. Officials seem to be getting worse every year with missed calls, excessive foul calls, excessive technicals, not knowing the difference between a block and a charge  or just hamming it up for the cameras.  The worst part of the whole mess is that everyone wants to protect them.

In game, officials can issue a bench warning as soon as a coach complains and then assess a technical whenever he feels the complaining is excessive.  The NCAA will fine a coach if he complains about the officiating after a game. Today, I listened to the Mike and Mike show and they spent a big chunk of time defending the officials and complaining about the UNCA coach insinuating after the game that the officials cost them the game.

There is a supervisor of officials and there are rare occurrences of then actually doing something, but it is very rare. I would like to think that the officials from the Syracuse game would be sent home for the rest of the tournament, but they will most likely be out there again today with no repercussions from a bad job yesterday.

NCAA Strikes Again

The NCAA took a break from allowing Auburn to pay football players to play and continuing to “investigate” former Duke player Corey Maggette to stick it to UK one more time.

 

On Monday, August 15 John Calipari will coach the Dominican National team in an exhibition against a group of former UK/current NBA players in Rupp Arena. The UK legends teams was to be coached by Joe B Hall. They were planning to invite any and all former players to return to be honored during the game and hoped to find a TV and radio deal.

 

The NCAA has decided that this game is OK, but only if there is no affiliation with UK at all. So according to the NCAA:

 

Joe B Hall can’t coach the legends team

The legends team can’t be called the UK Legends or mention UK at all

The game can’t be on TV or radio

Former UK players can’t be honored as part of the game

 

Way to go NCAA. I’m sure all of those 16 year old recruits out there would have been unfairly swayed to play for UK if they were able to watch an 82 year old man coach an exhibition game.

Hypocrisy and the NCAA Take 2

A while back I wrote on the NCAA in regards to Eric Bledsoe, Derrick Rose and the mysteriously never closed case of Corey Maggette.  It turned out that Eric Bledsoe was cleared, Derrick Rose is still a cheater and apparently the NCAA is still “investigating” the Maggette case.

The latest issue with the NCAA is another UK basketball case. Enes Kanter has been declared permanently ineligible because the Turkish club team paid in $30,000 in excess of what was allowed by the NCAA. The majority of this money went to pay for his education.  From all that I read, the Kanter’s did everything they could to maintain his amateur status, but did not realize that adding education into necessary expenses would be a problem.  They offered to repay the money, but the NCAA said no.

Josh Selby of Kansas also received impermissible benefits for playing basketball. Not nearly as much, but about $5000. He was suspended 9 games ans was allowed to pay the money back to a charity of his choice.

Cam Newton’s dad has admitted to demanding between $100,000 and $180,000 for his son to transfer to Mississippi State.  Newton ended up at Auburn.  The NCAA just recently declared hm immediately eligible because he did not know what his dad was doing.

Each case shows how there is no consistency in the NCAA rules. Selby is suspended, repays the money but can play at some point. Newton misses no games and can play immediately(and one would assume be responsible for the title being vacated once it is shown Auburn paid him to transfer there). Kanter is declared permanently ineligible to play in the NCAA.

Can someone explain this to me?