Gaddy Gets Mixed Reviews as USA U-18 Team Wins Gold

Jul 5, 2010, 4:32 PM | Updated: Apr 5, 2011, 11:20 am

Abdul Gaddy had a very poor game in the Gold Medal game of the FIBA Americas U-18 championship at San Antonio TX, but his USA team won in an 81-78 thriller over Brazil. For the Americans it was guard Kyrie Irving, who will play at Duke this fall that led the way with 21 points and 10 rebounds and uncommitted 2011 forward Quincy Miller with 11 points and 12 rebounds.

Uncommitted 2011 guard prospect Austin Rivers (who Husky Digest reports has interest in visiting UW) had 19 points and guard Vander Blue (who will play this fall for Marquette) had 13.

Abdul played a team low 4 minutes in the final game with 2 turnovers and Draft Express gave him a suitably mixed review for his performance.

It was a very poor effort for him, but UW fans should be hopeful that this embarrassment from the only player on the U-18 team with D1 experience should serve as a wake up call. I believe that Gaddy would have been better served to work on his individual skills than play in San Antonio. I said as much on the preview show back on June 16th for “Talkin’ Hoops”, where Ryan Appleby and I discuss all things basketball every Monday night at 8PM (PST).

In the show, hosted by former Rivals Washington site publisher Ryan Petitt and co-host Travis Loucks, Appleby and I came on and talked about the then breaking news that Abdul had made the U-18 team. I voiced the concern that Gaddy probably needed to work on his shooting and defensive drills more than the team skills that he would gain from the U-18 team experience. Ryan asserted that Gaddy could gain confidence from the experience.

Whether or not Ryan’s argument or mine prove to be right or whether neither applies is still up to debate, but confidence in not something that I would have to think that Gaddy gained from the tournament in which his USA team beat U.S. Virgin Islands, Mexico, Argentina, Canada and Brazil on consecutive nights from Saturday June 26th to Wednesday June 30th. The result that UW fans should hope comes from this for Abdul is a rededicated effort to those same drills that he needs to make real progress on this off-season.

If he can make that kind of commitment and still stay on track with his attendance at open gym and continuing to bond with his team mates over summer, this coming season should see some major breakthroughs for his game. Many basketball experts and analysts feel that Gaddy still has immense potential, but one comment that I’ve heard from more than one is that he needs to become that killer competitor, on top of the work on shooting and conditioning that he needs.

The tournament in San Antonio didn’t start out all that bad for Abdul, as he had a nice stat line in the blow out win over the Virgin Islands 131-63.

Gaddy scored 11 points on 4-7 from the field and 3-3 from the line. He led the USA team with 5 assists and grabbed 5 rebounds. He had a modest 2 turnovers and balanced those nicely with 2 steals, but it was against inferior competition. Against Mexico he had a decent game (in another blow out) dishing the ball with a team high tying 4 assists in only 12 minutes which was impressive, but his scoring dropped to only 2 points.

Meanwhile Austin Rivers was lighting it up and Kyrie Irving was performing a much more convincing role in running the show from the point guard position than Gaddy. Rivers ended up leading the USA team in scoring with 20 points per game on 60% from three point land on a team high 35 attempts. Irving led the U-18 team over the course of the tournament with 21 assists to 10 turnovers compared to Abdul’s 14 assists to 12 turnovers. Irving also averaged 14 points per game to Gaddy’s anemic 5.

The Mexico game was a 114-38 blow out win, so Abdul’s effort wasn’t cause for much concern at that point. In the next game, a closer 88-67 victory over Argentina, Abdul was again weak scoring only 4 points in 15 minutes, while making 4 turnovers against only 2 assists. Abdul was picked by most analysts as the #2 point guard in the class of 2009, but he had no rebounds against Argentina and looked uninspired against what was a higher level of competition. Class of 2011 forward Quincy Miller, on the other hand, played inspired ball scoring 22 points on 9-12 shooting.

Next in the Semifinals, Gaddy had a slightly better game in a 122-89 blow out win over Canada.

Abdul scored 8 points, with 2 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 turnovers, but did nothing to show that he had a year or two experience wise on all of his team mates. After his disappointing performance in the gold medal game, Gaddy ended up 2nd lowest on the USA team in minutes played, followed only by a player who missed a game.

The experience in San Antonio was not the break out confidence builder that UW fans might have hoped for from a player that should play at a higher level than these kids, many of whom are two school year classes below him. In a Q+A done by USA Basketball on the 1st day of the tournament Gaddy sounded upbeat, but afterwards his quotes were appropriate but perfunctory.

I think that Abdul can get his train rolling as soon as this year, but it is imperative that he clearly dedicates himself to the off-season drills that he needs to be prepared for what should be a very exciting season at Hec-Ed. UW has a lot of guards in Isaiah Thomas, Venoy Overton, Justin Holiday, Scott Suggs, C.J. Wilcox and Terrence Ross. Abdul Gaddy is a name that still commands a lot of respect in basketball circles, but if he doesn’t come right out of the shoot on fire, Husky fans should not be alarmed.

He has, in Lorenzo Romar, a very solid teacher for a young man that wants to play the point guard and learn to run a team. He also has available to him in Ryan Appleby a workout trainer that proved by his continued work with Quincy Pondexter that he can help players make solid improvements if they work hard on their individual skills. Gaddy should not feel discouraged by his back court mate from high school Avery Bradley’s much more accelerated climb to success.

Bradley is a great one, but Abdul can get there too and unlike Avery who really entered college ball as a player that could have gone to the NBA directly, Gaddy could put the pieces together at Washington (much like Pondexter and a number of others have) and end up being just as successful in the long run.

While the message boards clamor with arguments over Abdul’s poor performance and whether or not he has all of that potential that all of the experts think he does, another Husky quietly stepped up a huge notch in the NBA ladder. Jon Brockman was also the subject of many message board spats a few years ago. Posters would say that he was too short, that he couldn’t shoot and therefore he would not be able to make it in the NBA.

Jon just proved them wrong as the Sacramento Bee reported that, “The Kings have given a qualifying offer to restricted free agent Jon Brockman, meaning they can match any offer made to their 2009 second-round pick”.

According to Kings blogger SactownRoyalty.com the offer was for $937,195, according to Kings Head Coach Paul Westphal on a sports radio show in Sacramento.

Another former Dawg who never was given a chance to make the NBA by many, but has certainly been a success there is Nate Robinson. After his key performance in game 4, in which he was probably the difference in the ball game for the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals, Nate is in a very good position as a free agent. Nate appeared to be very happy as he did flips after a goal in a celebrity soccer match in NYC’s Chinatown.

Brockman and Robinson were players that were thought to be too small to play their projected positions in the NBA and have proven their critics to be wrong by pure heart and desire. Gaddy is a player that has the size and the natural instincts for his position, but must find the same drive that propelled both Jon and Nate to such unpredictable successes. Here’s hoping that he starts to put it together this year and that Husky fans will have patience if it takes a little longer like it did for Pondexter.

Husky Recruiting Corner

Will the Terrence Jones story ever end for UW fans? Maybe not, as Andy Katz uses the word “Maybe” to describe whether Jones will be at Kentucky next year.

Scout did a feature on Jones high school team mate Antoine Hosley, who accompanied Jones on his mysterious last minute visit to the Washington campus, the day before signing a financial aid agreement with Kentucky. The article reports that Hosley intends to walk-on at Washington this season.

How that gesture would be a good way to impress the UW staff for a potential walk-on is anyone’s guess. A Montana blogger reported in December of 2009 that Hosley had an offer from Montana and Sacramento State of the Big Sky and that Portland of the WCC and Portland State of the Big Sky were interested. Hosley is a six-foot-one 175 lb. combo guard, according to Scout. We are currently seeking comment from Antoine.

Rivals updated their class of 2011 rankings once again, in what seems like a monthly exercise this time of year. Scout also did the same on Monday. I will talk about all of the Washington recruits in terms of Rivals rankings out of convenience, but in order below the following players in Scouts rankings are considering UW, at least according to Scout:

#15 Jabari Brown, #16 Tony Wroten, #17 Kyle Wiltjer, #20 Quinn Cook, #33 Angelo Chol and #55 Norvel Pelle.

Rivals #3 prospect Austin Rivers may visit UW according to Husky Digest sources, but nothing has been said in any other media source to confirm that, so this report is still in need of much further confirmation. The Huskies were not mentioned still in Rivals by guard Josiah Turner, who climbed up to #12 in his class, though Husky Digest is reporting that Turner is looking seriously at Washington, though he is publicly very wide open.

The Dawgs were mentioned as a top favorite by guard Jabari Brown who weighed in at #13. Youtube just put out two impressive highlight reels on Jabari which show him to be not only and excellent shooter, but quite able to physically impose his will on the way to the hoop.

At #23 is guard Quinn Cook, who is considering Washington among many others.

UW recruit guard Tony Wroten Jr. dropped to #26 in Rivals. Wroten was the highest ranked 4-star. ESPN ranks Tony at #24, which squeaks him into that rarified 5-star territory and blogger Diamond Leung published a post about Wroten’s over hyped recruiting.

In the post Leung quoted Tony who’s recruiting Diamond stated, “Seems to have Terrence Jones saga written all over it”.

Wroten assured Seattle fans on KJR-AM that he was not going to do that, despite all of the soap opera that is way ahead of what Jones did at this same stage of the game.

“I’m not going to do UW dirty like that. Whenever I choose my school, I’m going to go with that decision. I ain’t going to put on the hat and then change the next day. I’m not like that.”

But when will Tony be satisfied that the fanfare about his recruiting is loud and long enough? Leung quoted Wroten from Zagsblog where he commented about how small an affair Harrison Barnes commitment to North Carolina was.

“When I do commit, it’s going to be the best commitment ever because I’m going to do it big. I’m going to have a big press conference. It’s going to be big.”

Tony needs to realize how stupid this sideshow appears to the outside world. Terrence Jones will likely not play at UW even if Kentucky falls from its perch because of possible violations that are currently being looked into by the NCAA according to TMZ.

Also in light of that piece of bad news for Kentucky fans that seem to be able to deny any wrong doing by John Calipari to the end, how is Tony still considering Kentucky so seriously? I guess we’ll just have to wait for the next update from this headline grabber, but the good news is that Tony is actually playing basketball and doing OK at it. On Friday in Hamburg Germany, the USA U-17 team, featuring Wroten beat Argentina 82-70.

Wroten had a weak showing with 6 points, but he made no assists but had 4 steals to counteract his 3 turnovers in 24 minutes (3rd highest PT on the team). On Saturday, as the USA team pounded Lithuania 102-66, Tony did a bit better with 9 points in 17 minutes and this time he logged 2 assists and 2 steals to only one TO.

Tony seems to be playing better in Hamburg (where nearly 50 years ago the Beatles got down to business and became a professional band by working night and day in clubs) than Abdul did in San Antonio. Tony looked to be more in the flow of things offensively than Gaddy, who just looked lost at times, especially in the gold medal game.

USABasketball.com did a nice Q+A feature on Wroten’s comeback from his knee injury sustained playing football.

In it Tony talks about his family being athletic and how it has helped him stay out of trouble.

“Yeah, my auntie (local legend Joyce Walker), my mom (went to UW), my dad (Husky Rose Bowl hero) and my cousin (Nate Robinson), they all were good athletes. (Coming from an athletic family) definitely helped keep me in sports, helped kept me out of the bad things being in the ghetto and things like that. My whole family playing sports has helped me a lot.”

Tony has had great support from his family, but now they should help him realize that all of this showboating in the media is not going to help him on the court. I sincerely hope that Tony, who is a local kid and has a great family tradition, does well in his pursuits, but letting his game or maybe the surreptitious positive piece like this one do the talking, rather than incessant Tweets would serve him well.

While Gaddy has been criticized for his performances by the mock draft sites who up until very recently were placing him in the 1st round of the 2011 draft, Wroten has gotten some decent notices from them.

Jonathan Givony of Draft Express tweeted:

“Tony Wroten, hyped as the best player on the West coast since the 8th grade. Combo guard with outstanding playmaking skills and a great feel”

Next on Rivals updated list with UW interest was #44 Norvel Pelle, followed immediately by #45 Nick Johnson. Both Pelle and Johnson are fairly wide open still, but have both shown varying degrees of interest in UW. Husky Digest reported on Monday that UW has cooled on Pelle according to a source with good contacts on the Texas and Gonzaga staffs.

Super athletic UW point guard recruit #49 Jahii Carson is the next with UW interest on the list. According to an update in the ASU Rivals site, “(besides ASU) Carson’s extensive list of suitors includes Alabama, Arizona, Boston College, Cal, Colorado, Indiana, Marquette, Memphis, St. John’s, Texas, UCLA, UNLV, Villanova, and Washington”. Carson also seemed to say that ASU and Arizona had a distinct advantage at this point, because of his family being able to see him more often.

“I’d say the schools in the Pac-10 have an advantage because they’re closer and my family can watch me play at least a couple times a year, or a lot more if I am in Arizona.”

Scout gave Carson another strong review, once again raving about his athleticism.

“After a productive week at NBA Camp, Carson was back at it again, showing off his incredible vertical leap and also mixing in his jumper to go along with the point guard skills. The lift he gets allows him to shoot over bigger players and his quickness makes him deadly in the open floor. Carson also showed well in passing drills and is able to make one-handed passes off-the-dribble with either hand.”

Though it really seems as if Jahii is looking to stay near home, our sources are telling us that Carson is seriously interested in Washington because of style of play.

If Husky Digest’s source is right and UW doesn’t get Pelle, then who is going to be the big man that is needed from the class of 2011 by the Dawgs to replace Matthew Bryan-Amaning?

The answer could be the next player on the Rivals rankings list with UW interest in #51 Angelo Chol. If the source is correct then UW’s cooling on Pelle could mean that Chol is their guy, but it is probably a little too soon to say and again for all of the recruiting fans out there, it’s only one solid source’s report and could turn out to be a false alarm. Angelo participated in the Amar’e Stoudemire Skills Academy and got a very nice review from ESPN.

“He was impressive on Day 3 in drills and live action. He seemed to be focused and locked in to every word from the coaches. This long and lean lefty has an excellent jump hook over his right shoulder, which is his go-to move. The Skills Academy should help him add to his back-to-the-basket scoring arsenal, which will increase his offensive production. Chol is a raw, but mobile and explosive athlete with terrific reaction time to the ball. His shooting form is not bad, and he could develop into a good elbow jump shooter from the short corner, if he applies what he has learned over the last three days and repeats the drills when working out on his own. Chol has great upside and is one to watch.”

The UW recruit after Chol on the list is #70 Tyler Harris, a forward from NYC who surprisingly is mentioning Washington prominently in various updates around the net. ESPN also confirmed Harris’ interest in the Dawgs, stating that, “The lefty has a healthy list of schools, including North Carolina, Duke, West Virginia, South Florida, Wisconsin, Washington, Syracuse, Rutgers, Virginia Tech, NC State, Iowa, Siena, Tennessee, Boston College and Seton Hall”.

They also reported that Harris “Is one of the most improved high school players over the last 12 months” and added that “He is now a legitimate 6-7”.

According to Scout, Harris also has interest from UW and is six-foot-eight.

Tyler is the younger brother of 2010 Tennessee signee Tobias Harris, who is highly thought of. Tobias is rated as a 5-star by Rivals (#7 overall), ESPN (#6 overall) and Scout (#4 overall).

Tyler told Rivals that his list of offers and suitors include, “Wisconsin, Washington, Syracuse, UCLA, Boston College, Seton Hall, Siena, Virginia Tech, South Florida, Uconn, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Maryland, NC State, Tennessee, West Virginia and LSU”. Obviously he has some eliminating to do before UW fans will get a better feel as to whether their team has a chance to get him to cross the country to play ball.

Next on Rivals updated list is #87 Cezar Guerrero, who Rivals doesn’t list as having Washington interest, but Husky Digest is reporting that according to sources Cezar is very much on their radar.

Next stop on the list for guys with UW interest is #124 Jordan Williams of Texas. Williams has mentioned UW as a school that is interested, but appears to have a very long list. He plays on the same AAU team as A.J. Price, a guard that did not make the Rivals 150 who we recently did an interview with about his interest in the Dawgs.

According to Rivals Jordan said that, “Arizona State, Oklahoma State, SMU, Fresno State, Missouri State (???), Kansas State, and Baylor have offered” and that “Texas, Texas A&M, Colorado, Washington, UTEP, Arizona, and Georgia are showing interest”. This is another kid that appears to be pretty much wide open going into the high season of summer recruiting and he confirmed that by telling Rivals that he was, “Still open to new schools” in an update on June 15th.

2011 UW post recruit Shaquille Wilson is getting interest from all over. According to an update on Wilson in Rivals, “Pepperdine, Fresno State, California, Washington, Arkansas and Arkansas State, Arizona, and ASU” are watching him. Rivals also added that “Wilson said that Oregon has also begun to show interest”. Wilson is listed as six-foot-nine and 220 lbs. and is known as a shot blocker.

2011 Husky guard recruit Spencer Dinwiddie did not make Rivals 150 list, but according to ESPN he was involved with the “Highlights of the Day” at the UCLA Elite Skills Camp.

“Between 5-8 point guard Jordan Daniels (Etiwanda, Calif./Etiwanda) and 6-4 point guard Spencer Dinwiddie (Woodland Hills, Calif./ Taft) there were a number of highlight-reel passes. Whether they we’re threading the needle in transition or setting up their teammates on the offensive end, their respective play was high-level.”

Another player mentioned prominently in the article was Compton CA’s Victor Robbins, a 2012 shooting guard that really raised the roof at the event. ESPN’s Joel Francisco gave Robbins a great review.

“He is climbing up the recruiting charts at an alarming rate. The big-time scorer can knock it down from deep or nail the mid-range, pull-up jumper. Robbins’ shot is feathery to the stripe and he has a terrific pull-up going left to right near the elbow. If his savvy and skill development continue to improve, there is no question that he’ll be a top-25 national prospect sooner rather than later.”

Though ESPN, Rivals nor Scout have information as to what schools he is interested in, because he is from Lorenzo Romar’s old neighborhood of Compton, you can almost bet that Victor will be on UW’s list.

Rivals spoke highly of Robbins on June 27th.

“Robbins is a sharp shooting athletic wing who can hit jumpers from distance and get to the hoop with quick aggressive moves. He recently transferred to Compton High (from Carson) and his coach told BruinBlitz.com that Robbins will be his best player this season. Robbins is just becoming known to college coaches but will be one of the highly recruited players locally in the 2012 class after his junior year at Compton.”

On Monday Rivals updated their class of 2012 rankings and listed Robbins at #50.

The top ranked kid with interest in UW according to Rivals is #4 Shabazz Muhammad, a wing from Las Vegas NV. I’ve heard good things before about Shabazz’ interest in UW, but he is still very open and looking at a lot of schools.

Another 2012 UW recruit who made the list at #5 is Brandon Ashley, but according to the same piece from Bruinblitz.com (the UCLA Rivals site), “Cal is the early leader, but UCLA is right there along with Stanford and Arizona”. These reports are very often wrong at this stage, but there it is anyway.

One more 2012 UW recruit that was mentioned in the Bruinblitz piece is Rosco Allen, who was ranked at #17. They both gave him a good review and all but eliminated the Dawgs all in one paragraph.

“Allen has been a major revelation this spring. He is not an exceptional athlete, but his skill level is exceptional. He is an amazing shooter from behind the stripe, has outstanding passing skills and can dribble like a point guard. This is another kid who looks better and better every time you see him. Allen had an amazing spring and is poised to make a major impression on the national scene. He is an excellent student and with a little more strength, could be a Top 25 level recruit. UCLA has been recruiting him hard and is one of the early leaders along with Stanford, SC, Arizona and hometown, UNLV. ”

It is very early to gauge which way most of these 2012 kids are going to go, but at least according to a Bruin site, Washington is not doing so well with some of the top west coast guys for 2012. I would tend to doubt that any of that is too solidly confirmed at this point.

2012 UW post recruit Grant Jerrett, who was ranked at #10 by Rivals, did mention Washington to the Arizona Rivals site, stating that, “UCLA, USC, Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon State, Washington, UNLV, Fresno State and Gonzaga” are recruiting him.

Rivals chose 2012 guard recruit Kevin Farrell at #22, who they list as having UW interest and a UW offer. I’ve spoken to Farrell, but not recently and his interest in UW was somewhat tempered by concerns over distance, but that may have changed. We will contact him and attempt to clarify.

At #39 on Rivals list is Seattle’s Franklin High School’s Anrio Adams a guard who is listed with a UW offer. Early on Adams told me that UW was not “Showing the love” and he spoke more about his interest in WSU. Since he has gotten quite a bit more interest from schools around the country and seems to be attempting to attract interest from coast to coast. We will be speaking to “Rio” and will attempt get the latest scoop.

Akachi Okugo is a 2012 guard that really wants to attract attention from UW and according to a trusted source in his home town of Sacramento Okugo is a tremendous player. According to Akachi, “Kinda in order Portland, Stanford, Notre Dame, UCSB, Fresno State and American” are recruiting him the hardest, but Okugo would like the Washington coaches to take notice.

A 2012 UW recruit that the Dawgs have been watching closely for quite some time is wing Jordan Tebbutt who is ranked by Rivals at #41. According to Rivals, Tebbutt is moving to Southern California for the summer to be closer to Pump and Run, his traveling AAU team.

“We have a big schedule coming up for the month of July so I am gonna be leaving for California and practicing with the team everyday. Once we get together and just gel a bit well then I think we can be unstoppable.”

In light of the scandal involving the Pump Bros. who oversee Pump and Run I have two questions. Why is Tebbutt, who Rivals Oregon Preps site says “has rewritten the way we think about basketball in Oregon”, moving to LA to play with a summer team when there are so many great squads in the NW? Also, how long before the scandal involving the Pumps makes them change the name of all of their AAU teams, who coincidentally all wear the adidas logo prominently?

Is Jordan the next Kevin Love, an elite player from the home of Nike who has to go to LA to be on an elite adidas sponsored team? I’d hate to think that Tebbutt is already allowing shoe companies to guide his career. We’ll see if there are some answers for these questions or if we’re going to get the same phony baloney double talk that we now come to expect from Terrence Jones who may as well wear a Nike swoosh on his forehead.

At #58 on Rivals rankings is 2012 UW guard recruit Jaylen Beckham out of John Calipari’s back yard of Lexington KY. Beckham has a UW offer, according to Rivals and will transfer to St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark, N.J.

At #70 is Portland OR center Landen Lucas, who lists UW as one of many favorites and also has a Husky offer, according to Rivals.

At #87 is Anthony January, another kid like Robbins from Compton. Though he does not list Washington as a favorite on any site, Romar’s contacts in that notorious neighborhood made famous by the John Singleton film “Boyz in the ‘Hood” in the early 90’s and a long line of gangster rappers that claim it as home bear keeping an eye on him for Husky fans.

Cougar Corner

Kevin Noreen picked West Virginia over WSU, Northwestern, Providence and others.

That’s the bad news for Coug fans that could have used a scoring machine like Noreen. The good news is that Noreen was not all that athletic and would require a certain kind of system to be productive in college. Though the Cougs could have possibly been a good fit for Kevin, 2011 WSU recruit Ross Travis from Noreen’s home town of Minneapolis MN could be a better fit for the Pac-10 as he is much more athletic. Ross was very already interested in making a visit out to Pullman when we spoke to him a few weeks ago.

It seems obvious by the way Travis talked in an update in Rivals that the Cougs are interested in him as well.

“Washington State told me that there is room on their roster for me. They are going to come out and watch me this July along with a lot of other high-major programs. I just need to go out there and perform. They did say that I am their top recruit right now so depending on how I play this summer, hopefully I will remain in that spot.”

This confirms what Travis said to us recently that WSU feels that he is their top guy for 2011. Travis has been shown the most interest by “Wisconsin, Minnesota, Washington State, Iowa, Georgetown and Oregon State” according to Rivals.

The Cougs received their 1st verbal commitment from a 2011 player in Tacoma guard Davonte Lacy who averaged 19.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game in his junior year at Curtis High School.

WSU star wing Klay Thompson was chosen by Rivals as one of the “10 most explosive players in the nation heading into next season”.

Rivals got it wrong though as they tried to say that Thompson who literally shot them out of a number of Pac-10 games down the stretch was not part of the reason that WSU had such a rough 2nd half to their season.

“Washington State was a disappointment last season, but you certainly can’t blame the Cougars’ mediocre play on Thompson. He averaged 19.6 points and had three 30-point games, including a high of 43 against San Diego. Thompson faded down the stretch, perhaps tired from having to do too much on offense. But he has a nice stroke and knows how to get to the foul line.”

If Faisal Aiden can produce points like some feel he can, Reggie Moore keeps getting better, DeAngelo Casto finds another post player or two that can compliment his fiery game in the paint and Klay gets his mojo back, the Cougs could get back to the NCAA tournament very easily.

Pac-10 Round Up

Cal transfers Omandi Amoke and D.J. Seeley will continue their careers in the Big West at Cal State Fullerton. They will be joined by another talented player who made headlines in the Bay Area this past season at San Francisco in guard Kwame Vaughn.

Fullerton could have a very good team if all of this talent comes to fruition. Perhaps the Titans can bring back the memories of those great mid-80’s teams with Cedric Ceballos.

Oregon lost highly talented and coveted 2009 recruit Jamil Wilson to transfer. Wilson will go to Marquette.

This is not good news for Duck fans, who have lost a lot of their team’s talent to transfer with the coaching change and especially because of how long it took to hire someone. The good news is that Oregon has a lot of talent left on hand. A bigger problem will be how the old players adapt to the new coach. Most 1st year coaches will adapt a lot of what the old coach did to ease the transition. It will be interesting to see how the Ducks take to Dana Altman’s style.

It is very hard to recruit for next fall at this point, despite the open spots that still exist on the Oregon roster. Chip Armelin, a very productive guard from Louisiana was reported to have visited Oregon on Tuesday, but no word has come out about him committing. Armelin was skipped over by hoops programs because it was thought that he would pursue football.

Altman also hired Tony Stubblefield, who has had a noteworthy career as an assistant at New Mexico State and Cincinnati. Stubblefield replaced Kenny Payne who left to take a job with John Calipari at Kentucky.

Oregon still has Armstead and veteran junior Garrett Sim at the point, with senior LeKendric Longmire, junior Teondre Williams and sophomore E.J. Singler on the wing and Joevan Catron back for another year because of a successful appeal for a medical hardship and juniors Michael Dunigan and Jeremy Jacob up front. That is an eight man rotation that on paper rivals much of the Pac-10 in experience and talent.

The Colorado Buffs hope to join the Pac-10 for all sports after this season, according to the AP.

Utah is already talking, no doubt to recruits, about the advantages of playing in the Pac-10.

That’s no joke as many insiders felt that C.J. Wilcox came very close to being a Ute and perhaps if he had known that they would have been in the Pac-10 he may have stayed home. That could have been a major loss for the Huskies as Husky Digest reported on Monday that scouts from the pros and other D1 programs are of the opinion that Wilcox’ shooting stroke is NBA caliber. The article also mentions Cal 2010 signee Allen Crabbe who is also deadly from distance and decided on Cal over Utah because it was in the Pac-10, according to Utah coach Jim Boylen.

“From what he told us, a big reason for his decision was because Cal plays in the Pac-10.”

According to ESPN, “UCLA’s injury-filled off-season continued when the school announced Friday that guards Jerime Anderson and Tyler Lamb recently underwent surgeries”. Sophomore forward to be Brendan Lane and junior guard to be Malcolm Lee also are recovering after surgery.

NCAA Investigates Corruption

According to a report on TMZ.com, “The NCAA is taking an aggressive look at University of Kentucky basketball players — past and current — and their possible involvement with professional agents”.

The piece which sites a source that met with the NCAA goes on to state that, “at least four players — two current and two who were just drafted by NBA teams” were the subject of the probe

One thing that the TMZ article brought up that seemed interesting sounded a lot like the case of Demarcus Cousins and Seattle based agent John Greig, who we reported on a few months back.

“In the case of one former Wildcat, we’re told the NCAA wants to know about his relationship with his current agent. We’re told the investigator asked about multiple meetings the agent allegedly had with the player … dating back to the player’s senior year in high school.”

It is encouraging to hear that the NCAA is taking as aggressive stance with Calipari’s program at Kentucky. This is sorely needed and very good news for college basketball in my opinion.

Yahoo did a blog post where they attempted to minimize TMZ’s credibility, while ESPN hasn’t even mention it, despite the fact that I spoke over the phone with a writer there about it on Friday when it broke.

TMZ is no light weight organization when it comes to reputable news, regardless to its content. They have been on top of a number of important stories, including some of the biggest in the sports and entertainment world in Tiger Woods affair and Michael Jackson’s tragic death. College hoops fans remember the Tiny Gallon story that they ran which has led to investigations at Oklahoma. TMZ deserves to be lauded for their efforts here and I’m particularly encouraged by the NCAA for this action and the severity of the sanctions against USC’s football program.

Whatever you think about the fairness of the judgment that the NCAA handed down to USC, at least you cannot say that they appear toothless or unwilling to go after the big cash cows of college sports. This is an exciting topic that will continue to brew over the summer. There are a lot of cheaters out there, but none as bold and lacking of respect for the NCAA in my opinion than Calipari. I’m rooting for the NCAA to put enough pressure on him to move on once again in the wake of violations, whether or not any ever get “pinned” on him.

He’s done it twice before at UMass and Memphis and I’m hoping that if it happens again at Kentucky it will be three strikes and you’re out. Another report by blogger sportsbybrooks.com states that the agent/player relationship discussed in the TMZ report could very well be that of John Wall and Brian Clifton.

That would not surprise me, as this is likely a pattern. Agents make deal with young players after shoe companies assemble and evaluate them through the AAU system which they fund. At these camps they become available to runners like William “Worldwide Wes” Wesley and many others on down the chain who approach them and attempt to buy their way in through their parents or other responsible adults.

Boosters acting with the knowledge of but with no paper trail to Calipari and others that I believe cheat provide cash and other things of value in my opinion as an incentive to go to their school. Players negotiate these deals through their agent in secret. Agent gets money from shoe companies and boosters in exchange for future allegiances. Player’s family gets money, property, cars, vacations and other perks now. This story probably has a lot of different ways to play itself out, but you get the general drift.

In the meantime Calipari gets the top recruits by “Magic” and everyone marvels and says naively, ‘How does he do it?’ But what does he do with them? In his first year he had five NBA 1st round draft picks and made as far as the Elite-8, losing to West Virginia, who had just eliminated Washington in about the same fashion. It is hard to win it all in the NCAA Tournament with freshmen, but it isn’t hard to make money with high profile “one and dones”.

Those high profile freshmen sell tickets. They helped UK win the SEC, which has been in a down cycle and win over 30 games overall. That sells tickets too. Everyone makes big money. Tickets go for big money at Kentucky’s 20,000 seat arena, which is the top entertainment event in the state next to the Kentucky Derby. All the ladies get excited, the hotels are full, the restaurants packed and everyone loves “Coach Cal”. So what if he doesn’t get to the Final-4?

Not so fast, as Dan Issel doesn’t like it. Issel was the Kentucky star center in the early 70’s that went on to great success in the ABA, NBA and as a professional coach. On the night of the NBA draft Calipari said to ESPN that, “I’d like to say it is the biggest day in the history of Kentucky’s program”, but Dan said that “Coach Cal’s” statement was “The dumbest thing I’ve ever heard”.

Issel went on to say that, “If the goal is to be a feeder team for the NBA, maybe that was the greatest day”, but added that “I thought the goal was to win a national championship”. A number of other former Kentucky players and coaches sounded off similarly including Joe B. Hall, Cotton Nash, Kyle Macy, Kevin Grevey and Dwane Casey

ESPN characterized the backlash as “Minor” and pointed out that all of those former UK players and coaches were happy about what happened in the draft.

My feeling is at least someone has the heart to take exception to Calipari’s way of doing business at Kentucky. If the NCAA continues to fill in the blanks in Calipari’s bigger picture, that group should grow exponentially.

Jeff Goodman attempted to minimize “Worldwide Wes” though, who’s involvement according to numerous sources has been key number of Kentucky’s recruiting trail “Victories”.

One interesting fact that Goodman does bring to light is that Duke’s living coaching legend Mike Krzyzewski has even been known to deal with the behind the scenes power broker. According to a Goodman a source said that, “Coach K needed Wes” and added the reasoning that “He wanted to make USA Basketball cool again and he knew that Wes could help with some of the guys – including LeBron”.

I believe that Wes is a large player in a system of corruption in which Calipari is actually a subordinate. The fact that “Coach K” would be willing to go to Wesley I believe is emblematic of the severity of this problem in the game. Getting “Worldwide Wes” out of the college game may be very hard, but at least a concerted attempt by the NCAA to make those like Calipari feel as if they need to watch their back much better than they thought is something to be proud of on this 4th of July Weekend.

That said, there’s Goodman attempting to minimize the severity and accept the presence of Wesley, so the battle has really just begun. To Goodman’s credit though, he reported on his blog that one of his sources stated that Kanter’s eligibility was the one of targets of NCAA investigators, while at least acknowledging the TMZ report.

The other guy in Kentucky is Louisville’s Rick Pitino. From everything I hear, he is not much better than Calipari, just less successful at the moment. Pitino was coach in Lexington and had a great run of on court success there from 1989-1997. Louisville just signed Roburt Sallie, the former UW recruit who ended up with Calipari in Memphis according to USA Today. Sallie is a good player that should help Louisville and Seattle’s Franklin High Schools own Peyton Siva, who will inherit a lot of minutes this coming season after the departure of guards Edgar Sosa and Jerry Smith.

Andy Katz at ESPN tweeted though that it’s not quite a done deal.

“U of L signee Roburt Sallie has to grad Mem 1st, then appeal to play next season on basis that Mem didn’t have grad program that Lou does.”

Perhaps Sallie will graduate and then find a post graduate study to follow at Louisville or maybe that has already been determined to be the case and all that is needed is for dates to arrive that finalize everything for official announcements. I guess only time will tell.

So why didn’t Washington in retrospect hire a smooth talkin’ ganster lookin’ dude with slicked back hair to coach them instead of old honest to a fault Romar. They almost did in former Mercer Island and Duke point guard Quin Snyder. Snyder was one of the 1st choices when Bob Bender was fired in 2002. He was the glamour boy that all of the old guard wanted for the Dawgs coach first and foremost. Romar was the 4th choice, bolstered somewhat by the support of Marv Harshman, the last memory of hoop success at Hec-Ed.

I can’t say that cheaters never win and winners never cheat, but it didn’t work for Quin, who once said in private that he would have gone to Washington had Marv Harshman not been forced out that year for no good reason other than his age. Snyder had achieved success at Missouri and turned down the prospect of having to lead a young rag tag group of Dawgs that didn’t know how to win games which included Bender recruits Brandon Roy, scheduled football walk-on Nate Robinson, Will Conroy and Mike Jensen.

Snyder went on to be cited for 17 major violations by the NCAA in 2004 and for UW, those players and Lorenzo, the rest was history. Whether or not much maligned Washington AD at the time Barbara Hedges made a good choice or just got lucky by hiring Lorenzo is open to debate, but everything turned out great for Washington who by March 2005 was a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament while everything fell apart for Quin Snyder at Mizzoo.

Snyder, who like Bender was a former star guard at Duke, has since been able to carve out a career in the NBA. Both Bender and Snyder worked for the Philadelphia 76ers and Quin after coaching in the NBDL for a number of years will now coach former Dawg Spencer Hawes and current Dawg Justin’s brother Jrue Holiday as an assistant on Doug Collins staff. Small world isn’t it?

Speaking of that #1 seed that Washington received in 2005, that would mean just a little more this March as the NCAA decided to increase the field officially from 65 teams to 68. instead on one rather uninteresting play-in game there will now be 4 with the winners moving on to the field of 64.

Personally I thought that eliminating the NIT was the best idea, raising the number of teams to 96 and making all but the top-32 seeds play in a play-in game. We’ll see how long this format sticks.

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