BYU’s Davies Reinstated


ESPN’s Diamond Leung is reporting that BYU will reinstate rising-junior forward Brandon Davies to the team in the 2011-2012 season. Davies’s controversy last season made national headlines when he was kicked off the team for violating the school’s honor code, which involved having a sexual relationship with his girlfriend. It was sad to see him go last year because he’s truly a promising basketball player. He was averaging over 11 points per game on a team where Jimmer Fredette took almost every shot. He added 6.2 rebounds per game as well and provided length defensively with his 6’9″ frame. The Jimmers Cougars were not the same team after he left.

BYU drew some criticism for their decision–mostly out of an inability for most people to understand how you can kick a 20-something year old kid off a team for something that 90% of kids his age are doing (no, not drugs). Still, I had to respect the decision. An honor code is an honor code. BYU would have to be considered one of the very few schools in America that doesn’t bend their own rules for athletes. Surely, the school didn’t want to do it, as a deeper run into the tournament means more revenue for the school, but you have to remember that sports is far from the end-all be-all at that school. Many star athletes will take a full two years off from their sport to go on a Mormon mission. It’s just different.

I respect even more the decision to reinstate Davies. I guess this was going to happen all along, but it’s nice to see. By all accounts, Davies is a great kid, and he served his punishment. I can’t imagine he is the only basketball or football player or any student at BYU to break that rule. He just got caught.

With Fredette gone to the NBA this season, a lot of offensive opportunities open up, and Davies should be in line to get the bulk of them. Look for him to turn some heads this season. And, remember, he is only a junior. He could be a very interesting player to watch over the rest of his career.

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Shaquille “Shactus” Cleare signs with the Terps

I guess this Turgeon guy can recruit. Shaquille Cleare (class of 2012), a 6’10 285 lb center out of Texas, has committed to the University of Maryland. Cleare, a four-star recruit ranked as the 12th best center in the country by, is a coup for the Terps. Turgeon began to recruit Cleare when he was still coaching at Texas A&M and it was assumed Cleare would stay in-state. Lucky for the Terps, he didn’t. This kid could be a game-changer for a program with only eight kids currently under scholarship. With a 2012 lineup (possibly) of Nick Faust, Terrel Stoglin, P’Shon Howard, and Shaquille Cleare, the Terps could again be a force in the ACC sooner rather than later.

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World War III? Who Cares?! Hoya Paranoia is Back!

It started with a text this morning from my cousin Joe: “Hoyas and Chinese National team. Bench Clearing brawl!”

I am currently at the the Outer Banks so I called my dad who was on the beach to tell him the news.

His response?

“We are back.”

Now I am not advocating brawls and understand that in these tense times, diplomacy is of the utmost importance. So I do not condone the actions of my beloved Hoyas. However, like many other Hoyas fans, I couldn’t help but be a little excited that these Hoyas have some toughness. Getting crushed by Ohio as a #3 seed in the NCAA tournament can do that to you. Or getting run over by Virginia Commonwealth.

Will this lead Georgetown to a National Championship or even a tourney birth? Ehh…doubt it.  But it is great to know that this team now has some heart. Somewhere Michael Graham, Reggie Williams, and Othella Harrington are smiling.

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1-on-1: UNC vs. Duke

—> Just like a game of pickup on the courts down at the park, we at EVERY MONTH MARCH will be playing a little 1-on-1 throughout the college basketball season.  Two of our writers will be squaring off in typical street-ball fashion on the ‘Debate Hardwood’ to discuss some of the most Hot-Button topics, schools and players throughout the NCAA. <—

So, over the next few weeks, we are going to begin some back-and-forth about recruiting battles that happen every day between rivals.

Where would you go if you were a top recruit? Why? Why not?

We see teams and coaches battle on the court, but the battle doesn’t end once the game is over. Coaches are at consistent odds with each other, competing for the best players to enlist into their program.

One recruit’s decision can significantly alter multiple programs at one time, and this can be lost on the casual college hoops fan. Let’s start with the biggest rivalry in college basketball: Duke/North Carolina.


Pitching Duke on its own could be done by a half-witted fourth-grader while on the short bus on the way to school.

Not. That. Difficult.

However, when it comes to pitching Duke over their archrival North Carolina, the task becomes a bit more murky. Duke and UNC battle over the top recruits every single year, so this exercise is a pertinent one.

Take Austin Rivers, for instance.

He is, by all accounts, a top two or top three recruit in the 2011 recruiting class. His decision came down to UNC and Duke, and he chose Duke. That is an absolute game changer for both programs.

So, let’s take this from Rivers’, or at least a Rivers’-esque type of recruit’s perspective.

The old pitch against Duke would have probably have been: Sure, Duke is a great program. But how many guys has Coach K gotten picked in the top five or ten picks of the NBA Draft in the past five years? How many has he even gotten picked in the lottery? Now, the response to that is just two words: Kyrie Irving.

Irving did more for Duke than just playing in 11 games and bolting for the draft...

Irving did more for Coach K’s program just by being picked first overall in the draft than he really contributed on the court. Irving showed that Krzyzewski will take a guy into his program that will likely leave after a season, and that he will allow a guy like that to shine enough to be in the position to become a high draft pick.

That’s big for a guy like Rivers, or any other top recruit, these days.

What else is there really to say at this point about Duke?

Do you want to play in one of the most historic stadiums in college basketball history for some of the most passionate fans in the country?

Cameron Indoor Stadium—check.

Do you want to play for one of the three greatest head coaches in college basketball history? A guy who could have 90% of NBA jobs with the snap of his fingers if he wanted? A guy who has coached a gold medal team in the Olympics? Continue reading


Filed under Draft Debates, General, Opinion, Recruiting

How Montgomery County Prevents the Terps from Being Great in Basketball

Before I begin, I just wanted to say that I graduated from the University of Maryland and that I do love the place. Please do not take this as Maryland bashing. Thank you for your understanding.

Kevin Durant, Ty Lawson, Jeff Green, Roy Hibbert, Carmelo Anthony, Kendall Marshall, Austin Freeman, Chris Wright, Josh Selby, Sam Young, Linas Kleiza, Rudy Gay, Scottie Reynolds, Dante Cunningham, Quinn Cook.

All players who played in the D.C. and Baltimore areas who chose to not attend the University of Maryland less than 20 miles away. Why not stay local?

Since the Terps won the championship in 2002, they have been mostly mired in mediocrity. Neverthless, most thought a big name coach would take over when Gary Williams retired this past spring. Yet the Terps were left with Mark Turgeon after bigger names such as Arizona’s Sean Miller spurned them. Why? The Terps have won a championship in the past decade, are in the ACC, and are surrounded by two areas known for producing incredible basketball talent. Why is this not a more prestigious job? Why aren’t the Terps annual contenders for an NCAA title?

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Mike Brey: Finally Something the NCAA Can Cheer About

The NCAA has had a pretty rough year.

Ohio State. North Carolina. LSU. Oregon. USC. Connecticut. Tennessee. We could keep going- the list goes on and on. All  these schools have either been hit with heavy NCAA violations or are currently being investigated for possible violations. Athletic Directors and head coaches are being exposed left and right. Every other day we would hear about a new program or coach under investigation. Even the “holier than thou” Coach K is being investigated! (Even if it is much ado about nothing).

But even ideas to spark beneficial changes in college athletics are being mocked. When SEC Commissioner Mike Slive suggested radical changes to improve the quality of student-athletes such as multi-year scholarships (athletes currently receive a series of one-year scholarships that can be revoked) or raising academic standards, South Carolina head football coach ripped the idea.

That’s a terrible idea, Commissioner. Do you sportswriters have a two-year contract, three or four-year contracts? … If you go bad, don’t show up to work, your butt will be out on the street. Everybody has to earn your way in life. That’s what I believe.

"Commissioner, Stephen has learned from this fifth suspension. I swear."

That’s right, Steve. Players have to earn their scholarships. But they don’t have to obey team rules if they happen to be your starting quarterback. Your boy Stephen Garcia has finally learned his lesson and changed. Fifth suspension’s a charm!

Coaches like Steve Spurrier and Jim Calhoun are all that are wrong with coaching in college athletics: it’s not about developing young men and women, it’s about exploiting them.

But there are some good guys in college athletics.

Which brings me to Notre Dame basketball coach Mike Brey.

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Coaches Facing Uphill Battles : Toughest Assignments for 2012

When ESPN and Sports Illustrated start handing out their Coach of the Year awards late in March or April, typically they are handed out to one of two types of coaches: a big name coach leading a powerhouse to an exceptional record or a coach on the rise leading a non-traditional power to new heights. The awards are great recognition for coaches who undoubtedly have done a tremendous job with their respective teams. But more often than not, they aren’t the coaches doing the best job coaching that season. The awards are earned from compiling a couple good years of recruiting together and developing players over time; not for just their successful records that year.

But if you want to really look for the best coaching jobs of the individual season, you need to start looking at the bottom of the barrel. Look at the squads who have almost no returning talent in the power conferences, where legendary coaches are on the opposing bench two to three times a week. Graduation, transfers, and early entrants to the NBA draft can leave coaches with rosters full of question marks. When expectations are at their lowest, that’s when a great coach can really make his mark and show his excellence in his craft. Finishing in with a .500 record might not mean a lot to the national audience, but the basketball junkies will recognize a job very well done.

With that said, let’s look at some coaches who will be trying to prove all those preseason prognosticators wrong.

Steve Donahue, Boston College 

Donahue will have to lead a young BC squad against the heavyweights of the ACC this year.

Here’s all you need to know about the daunting task Steve Donahue is facing this year: his top returning scorer is preferred walk-on Danny Rubin (4.1 PPG), who saw his playing time diminish in the middle of the ACC regular season. With Reggie Jackson’s early departure to the NBA and the graduation of six seniors, Donahue will realize how bare Al Skinner left the cupboard. Along with Rubin, guard Gabe Moton and junior Oregon-transfer Matt Humphrey will be the welcoming seven scholarship freshmen and a few other walk-ons. Although some of the freshmen will certainly be talented, Jeff Bzedlik learned last year how hard it is to compete in the ACC with a young, inexperienced Wake team. If Donahue can get this group to win more than five ACC games and show player development throughout the season, most Eagles fans will be thrilled.

Ed Cooley, Providence

A native of Providence, Cooley will try to resurrect the Friars and make them relevant in the Big East again. Losing first-round pick Marshon Brooks to graduation leaves quite a scoring gap for Ed Cooley’s young team and will be the reason most pundits are down on Providence. Throw in guard Duke Mondy being released from his scholarship and most will expect another bottom half finish for the Friars. But guards Gerald Coleman and Vincent Council have shown flashes of their talent and potential. But the Friars inability to consistently play team defense cost them in Big East play (8-28 Big East record previous two years) and ultimately Keno Davis his job. Cooley will be looking to build an identity that the Friar faithful can rally around and hopefully inject some life into the floundering program.

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A Second Chance: Coaches Getting Another Shot on the Bench

Most college coaches are given one real shot at making an impact and leaving a legacy. It’s a win or go home type career path, with tons of fame and fortune if you’re the former but endless disgust and resentment if you find yourself in the latter category.

Hopping Herb, could find himself on this list soon enough...

Sure, there’s plenty of bench bouncers and job jumpers, who seem to find their way from school to school, mid-major to mid-major or from Raleigh, NC to Arizona State (Hello, Herb Sendek and Lon Kruger). But, many college basketball coaches open and close their head coaching careers with one bad screw up.

The lucky are afforded another opportunity, or two, or five. But, how do they fare?
This year the likes of: Billy Gillispie, Mark Gottfried, and others were all given a second chance at life in the NCAA ranks. They’ve each enjoyed some success in their career but the questions still linger.

Will Gillispie prosper as he did in College Station or will he flounder like he did at Kentucky? Is Mark Gottfried the right man for N.C State, in the post Sidney Lowe era, or will his days of mediocrity in Tuscaloosa stick with him?

The queries will keep piling up amongst fans and foes alike. The unnerving “what if” scenarios will continue to fuel the fire if immediate gratification isn’t found in the form of wins and losses. And legacies will endure further criticism and scrutiny, as analysts and experts view the actions of each journeyman with a microscopic lens.

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Recruiting Pitches: Guessing What Coaches Say

Gary Parrish of CBS Sports recently sat down with UCLA coach Ben Howland and discussed the misleading negative pitches that opposing coaches use on recruits. Howland makes them play defense. His offense isn’t fun. He’s not easy to play for. Coaches trying to steer potential players away from Pauley Pavillion probably use any or all of these anti-UCLA pitches. Howland just points to the 9 former Bruins in the league and how they haven’t all been Top-10 recruits like Kevin Love who would make the league (see: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Ryan Hollins, Darren Collison).

This got me to thinking – If those are the attacks that Howland has to defend, what negative pitches do other coaches have to deal with and what are their counter-pitches?

John Calipari, Kentucky

What they say: “Coach Cal will be looking for your replacement before you arrive on campus and will be booting you off campus before the tournament ends. He’ll act like he’s your best friend and really cares about you, but he only cares about one person: John Calipari. He’s put two schools on probation and had their Final Fours vacated before he sneaked out-of-town. You’ll be lucky if he’s there when you arrive on campus. P.S. – he’s never won the big game.”

Please come to Kentucky now...I may have to leave by 2012.

What he fires back : “I win. Period. Everywhere I have gone, I have resurrected floundering programs. But enough about me. Let’s talk about you. What’s been your dream since you were in middle school? Play in the NBA? That’s what I thought. I can make your dream a reality. Derrick Rose, John Wall, Tyreke Evans, Marcus Camby…I can go on. I’ve had five players drafted in the first round in one individual draft. FIVE. You want to get paid to play? Play for me…I mean the NBA obviously.”

Mike Krzyzewski, Duke

What they say: “How many of Coach K’s players get drafted in the lottery? How many become stars in the NBA? Sure there’s a few, but not all that many. Coach K is worried about his legacy and his program–not your future. He’ll make you do it his way or you won’t play. Plus, it’s Duke–a small private school known for smart kids. How much fun are you going to have there?”

He fires back: “Ask any player I’ve ever coached whether they regret playing at Duke. Whether they were one of the few to leave after their first season or two (William Avery, Elton Brand, Kyrie Irving, etc.), whether they were a star on a championship team, or whether they rode the bench. I guarantee you they will look back on their experience here as some of the best years of their lives. Duke is a family, and once you’re part of the family, you’ll always be part of it. And if you’re good enough to go pro, I will support you every step of the way. Just ask Kyrie Irving. And, by the way, basketball players are gods here. Trust me, there is no better place to play.”

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Ranking the Early-Season Tournaments

The advent of early-season tournaments and invitationals over the past decade or so has really done a lot to get college basketball jump started in the month of November. Sure, it is the thick of football season, both college and pro, but these tournaments give basketball fans something to pay attention to, as they often produce some great early season match ups and give a sneak peak on what to expect from teams going forward. Last year, UConn would have remained a relatively unknown entity had they not made an impressive run in the Maui Invitational. Similar stories can be told almost every year.

More and more of these tournaments seem to be popping up every year, so I thought I’d take a look at what we have to look forward to this coming season.


1. Maui Invitational, Nov. 21-23, Maui, HI 

Participants: Chaminade, Duke, Georgetown, Kansas, Memphis, Michigan, Tennessee, UCLA

Analysis:The Maui Invitational often boasts an impressive field, and this year is no different. Duke and Kansas obviously headline this group from a prestige-perspective, but watch out for Memphis, Michigan, and possibly even UCLA to make quite a bit of noise this year. Georgetown and Tennessee won’t be as strong as they have been in previous years, but if those are two of your bottom three tournament teams, you know you have a good field.

Excited to see Austin Rivers suit up in a Duke uniform...

I like Michigan as a sleeper here, but am just as excited to see what Memphis has in store with a young but extremely talented roster coming into this season.

 2. CBE Classic, Nov. 13-17 and 21-22, Kansas City, MO

Participants: *California, *Georgia, *Missouri, *Notre Dame; Rest of field TBA (* – automatically advance to championship round)

Analysis: The Kansas City location isn’t necessarily glamorous, but this tournament will be quite competitive this year. This is one of those tournaments where most of the field will participate in play-in games at different sites to see who makes it to KC, but the teams slated to automatically advance are a solid group. California should be the favorites.

3. Coaches vs. Cancer, Nov. 7-11 and 17-18, New York, NY

Participants: *Arizona, *Mississippi State, *St. John’s, *Texas A&M; Rest of field TBA (* – automatically advance to championship round)

Analysis: Coaches vs. Cancer is always a popular tournament, especially since it is played in Madison Square Garden and always is televised in prime time on ESPN. The field this year features teams with a lot to prove after losing key guys off of their squads from last season. Arizona has an exciting young class coming in, and St. John’s will certainly be a hometown favorite. Texas A&M may have the most talent, but will be adjusting to a new coach. Wouldn’t be surprised to see a team from the play-in field make a run here.

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