Well, this will certainly roil the good feelings emanating out of Nevada about next season and put the Wolf Pack in a hole at the center position. Only 6-8 Matt LaGrone has the size to move over to the center spot unless and until Coach Mark Fox lands someone from the JC ranks.
This move is good for the other contending WAC teams but bad for the league overall as it can only lower the WAC RPI rating next season.
As for McGee, he needs another season in order to develop the mental aspect necessary to compete in the NBA, plus about 30-40 more pounds and much more technical efficiency with his footwork, etc. But the overarching question -- which nobody knows the answer -- is would he develop these various capacities faster in the pros or in college?
Good luck to JaVale -- may he succeed beyond his wildest expectations.
Pack basketball: McGee hires agent, will enter draft
Reno Gazette Journal
March 30, 2008
JaVale McGee has decided his NBA future is now.
The Nevada sophomore has hired an agent, nullifying his two remaining years of college eligibility, Nevada director of media services Rhonda Lundin confirmed Saturday evening.
The 7-footer showed glimpses of his immense talent throughout the season, averaging 14.1 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game. He was named to the All-Western Athletic Conference second team and the league's all-defensive team after leading the WAC in blocks with 92.
McGee's unique blend of size, length and athleticism, along with his professional pedigree, elicited praise from scouts. However, the 20-year-old is also considered a raw prospect physically, a player who is likely not yet ready to step into an NBA rotation.
McGee and Nevada coach Mark Fox did not immediately return calls to their cell phones, but McGee spoke with draftexpress.com, which first reported the player's decision.
McGee told the site he "wanted to get it off my mind and start working hard," when asked why he decided to enter the draft. The site reported his mother -- former WNBA player and USA Basketball Olympian Pam McGee -- was recently told by NBA general managers her son would be drafted from the "late lottery to 20" portion of the draft, which he said "sounds about right" and "can't get any better..." Go here for the remainder.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Well, this will certainly roil the good feelings emanating out of Nevada about next season and put the Wolf Pack in a hole at the center position. Only 6-8 Matt LaGrone has the size to move over to the center spot unless and until Coach Mark Fox lands someone from the JC ranks.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Sometimes you come across lines you wish you had thought of or written. Here's a prime example, despite our affection for Hawaii's Matt Gibson. The subject of the post is Jared Quayle, a new verbal commit to Utah State and Coach Stew Morrill:
Utah State Aggie SCOUT.com message board
# True Aggie
He's quick, very athletic, and has great ball handling skills. Obviously he can shoot. He's got the skills to be a Matt Gibson, without the annoying after taste.
Here's another newcomer, adding some firepower to Nevada:
Pack basketball: Shaw gives verbal commitment
Reno Gazette Journal
March 21, 2008
Joey Shaw sat in his living room Thursday and watched the opening day of the NCAA Tournament from the early-morning session through the late-night session.
Next year, he hopes to be playing in the tournament rather than watching it on television.
"That's the goal," said Shaw, who has verbally committed to play for the Nevada basketball team next season. "I knew I wanted to go somewhere where I could play in the (NCAA) Tournament and win a conference championship."
With the Wolf Pack adding another prized prospect to its nationally ranked recruiting class, those might not be far-fetched expectations.
Shaw, a 6-foot-6, 200-pound shooting guard, averaged 16.8 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game for the College of Southern Idaho this season. He shot 36 percent from 3-point land and 85 percent from the free throw line.
Southern Idaho assistant coach Steve Gosar said Nevada will get a dangerous and versatile offensive threat in Shaw.
"He's a great shooter, somebody who can really score in bunches," Gosar said. "He's really worked on putting the ball on the deck and getting to the hoop this season. He's always been able to shoot, but he's added the driving dimension to his game..." Go here for the remainder.
Ah, the long reach of the Academic Progress Rate (APR). There's no easy answers but a certainly appropriate question is why are Coach Steve Cleveland and the current Fresno State men's basketball players (as with other coaches, colleges and student athletes) effected by personnel decisions made by a previous coach and the academic woes of previous players? It's like inheriting an unpaid bill from a previous tenant and being forced to pay.
Part of the solution should be both looking at and weighing what has taken place academically since a new coach's arrived -- that should count heavily in any determination. If the academic failings of a former coach and set of players puts a basketball program into such a deep hole that it takes close to a decade to climb out then something is wrong with the system. Leeway should be the watch word of the day if genuine improvement has been made.
Bulldogs fear new hoops setback
Academic issues could lead to more lost scholarships
The Fresno Bee
The issue: The men's basketball team's history of low academic progress is a problem that takes years to correct.
At stake: Fresno State could face reduced scholarships and practice time, or the NCAA could cite progress and not penalize. Fresno State men's basketball faces possible penalties in the coming months as the NCAA evaluates the program's historically low academic progress rate.
The NCAA will release its annual APR report in early May, and Fresno State is expected to earn a four-year average under the minimum of 900. The score could place the program -- already on the NCAA's public warning list -- in danger of losing scholarships and practice time next season, as well as other penalties.
The NCAA has contacted Fresno State and requested academic-related information, coach Steve Cleveland confirmed Monday afternoon.
"At this point in time, we don't know what will happen," Cleveland said. "We're waiting for the NCAA to let us know. We'll find out in the coming weeks."
Fresno State already is expecting to lose one scholarship because Dominic McGuire departed early for the NBA in poor academic standing. Had he left eligible before he signed a professional basketball contract, he would not have hurt the team's academic standing.
Even if Fresno State's projected score for the 2006-07 year was a perfect 1,000 -- meaning every scholarship athlete ended the fall and spring semesters academically eligible, and returned to the university the following semester -- Fresno State still would fall below the minimum average score for the fourth consecutive school year... Go here for the remainder.
Here is what Boise is currently up to, with one returnee to the program returning from his LDS mission:
BSU men turn focus to future of program
Graham's contract and next year's roster are among the items the basketball team must address.
...RESHAPING THE ROSTER
The Broncos lose four senior starters - Matt Bauscher, Reggie Larry, Matt Nelson and Tyler Tiedeman. Eight players return, plus the Broncos will add transfer Ike Okoye and new signees Robert Arnold and La'Shard Anderson to the mix.
Tyler Young, who signed in 2006 and took a two-year church mission, also is expected to join the program. Graham isn't allowed to comment on Young because of NCAA rules.
That leaves the Broncos with one scholarship available. They are actively recruiting a power forward to help replace Larry, an All-WAC performer who ended his career ranked 13th on the school's all-time scoring list.
Graham likes how next season's squad is shaping up. The productivity, efficiency and leadership of the four seniors will be missed, but next year's group has potential, he said.
"Overall as a team, we'll be bigger," he said. "We can have a lot of different combinations. Everyone on our team will be a little different and offer something different..."
Here is yet another example of fandom crossing the line -- Agenda Fandom yet again. People with ulterior motives not concerned with the facts or getting the facts.
DISCLAIMER: Now we aren't anywhere near possessing angelic status nor do we claim such nor do we wish to continually occupy any sort of high horse while wagging our forefingers, so we're checking out of our room at The Holier Than Thou Hotel after this.
This week, a power forward from Chipola Junior College in Florida, Joey Cameron, decided to request his release from a letter-of-intent he had signed to attend Fresno State next season. Immediately, some sectors of Bulldog fandom went into overdrive, hailing this recusal as yet another sign that the Fresno State men's basketball program was in shambles. how a desperately needed big man must have been backing away because he saw disaster awaiting him, yadda, yadda, yadda.
Nobody, except for the parties involved, knew the facts surrounding Cameron's situation..
But that didn't matter -- for some.
Yes, some took it as just more red meat for blasting Fresno State men's basketball, as an opportunity too 'good' to pass up taking yet more swipes.
Unfortunately for them, here is beat reporter Gary Estwick on the matter:
Dogs ball, recruit parting ways
The Fresno Bee
March 18, 2008
Power forward Joey Cameron will receive his release from a Fresno State scholarship in the coming days, coach Steve Cleveland told me earlier today. For those of you wondering how this affect next season's incoming class...
It's actually good news for the Dogs... Cameron was a good pickup, but Fresno State is now in a position to contend for several players that offer a bigger impact.
Among others, Fresno State is recruiting Paul George, a former Pepperdine signee, JeJuan Brown, a former Vanderbilt forward, and point guard Rob Lowery, who hails from the same junior college as Bulldogs senior Eddie Miller.
Cameron was a defense/rebound kinda player. He hails from the same junior college as [current Bulldog] Shawn Taylor. He may develop into a solid Division I player, but it wasn't worth the risk for him to move out West... He will likely settle at a school much closer to his home in Atlanta. He's married, and has a wife out there... Fresno is a long way from the life he has become accustomed to.
Oops. The 'saviour' of the Fresno State men's basketball program had other more complicated reasons for making the request that he did. Besides what Estwick detailed, Cameron is also currently injured, hasn't played for a while and is concerned over his healing. His wife also owns a business in the Southeast.
Yes, facts do sometimes get in the way of the conclusions that are wished.
Another point: Cleveland has a weekly radio show where callers can pose questions to him on the air-- it's not like he isn't accessible if someone wishes to get a query answered.. It's worth a listen if one wishes to determine who will make the effort to get an answer about a question of interest and those who decide to remain solely frequenters of message boards.
But we already knew about that divide.
There actually has been some player movement already within the ranks of the WAC. So for those of you keeping score:
Luster given his release from NMSU basketball
Las Cruces Sun-News
LAS CRUCES — New Mexico State University freshman guard JayDee Luster received his release from the Aggies basketball team.
The release was requested by Luster following the season.
"He has been given his release to explore other college options," Aggies head coach Marvin Menzies said. "It's uncertain what his immediate plans are. I don't know if he is going to a smaller school or another Division I."
Menzies said Luster requested to be released on Tuesday. Luster's financial aide was not taken away. The release just allows other schools to contact Luster seeking his services...
Other players leaving?
Las Cruces Sun News blog
March 25, 2008
Alright, we have [JayDee] Luster. Who else could go?
Ya know, I was thinking that [Assistant Coach] Chris Pompey is a key piece to this whole thing. With him around, it increases the chances that Herb Pope and Jahmar Young will be with the team. But what if he left? I don't know if either player stays at that point.
Jahmar was a good freshman last year, at least on the court. He averaged double-digit points and that number is sure to go up. He's a scorer. He could easily average 15-17 points per game next season.
If Pope is in place, him and Troy Gillenwater could be a scary combination on the court.
I don't think you'll see DeAngelo Jones return. He played behind some great players this past year and didn't see the court at all. I think he's gone.
There were chemistry problems this past year. That could lead to change and was an indication that not everyone was happy with their roles. Luster left. And this is just the beginning of the offseason.
6-11 245 Shawn Oliverson has begun classes at Louisiana Tech this month. He played as a freshman at Cornell then went on a mission as part of his LDS faith. Originally from Idaho, he is a sophomore in eligibility. Oliverson is a project but won't need to play anytime soon because of the big men transfers Coach Kerry Rupp has available in the coming season.
Western Wyoming Community College star Jared Quayle has verballed to Utah State. Originally from Utah, the 6-2 Quayle is a sophomore currently averaging 25.3 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists a game. Outside shooting is one his fortes and he also possesses excellent jumping ability. Quayle nailed 63 3-pointers this season, shooting 52% from three-point range, and 53% overall and 78% from the foul line.
Sure, there are but 300 and some odd D-1 head coaching positions but we're always surprised when someone decides to tackle a complete rebuilding project and one that projects no visible odds in favor of success.
In particular, Don Verlin's move from being a longtime assistant to Stew Morrill to the head coaching spot at Idaho completely caught us by surprise. It seems that it boiled down almost a now-or-never sense for Verlin and we're just hoping he will have enough resources at his disposal to make the Vandals competitive -- a five-year contract will be a great help -- as the departed George Pfeifer was stuck with far less.
Idaho just doesn't have the population to be a so-called basketball state in terms of producing talent -- something that the state of Utah enjoys -- so Verlin is going to have to really do a sales job on the virtues of Moscow, Idaho, playing time, the opportunity to turn a program around, etc.
We struggle at ever seeing Idaho being fully competitive with most of the other programs in the WAC, but we've been wrong before. There are just so many disadvantages. But Verlin is a good first step
New University of Idaho basketball coach promises passion
March 25, 2008
Don Verlin drove from California to Colorado in the early 1990s to meet then-Colorado State men's basketball coach Stew Morrill and discuss a job opening for a graduate assistant.
If Morrill had known Verlin was coming, he would have told him to save the gas money. Coaching jobs are too competitive to take the gamble.
But after the meeting - a former Morrill assistant arranged it - Morrill hired Verlin.
And that was the foundation for a 15-year partnership and life-lasting friendship that prepared Verlin for his new role, as the men's basketball coach at Idaho. Verlin, the associate coach at Utah State under Morrill, was formally introduced by the Vandals during a Monday night press conference in Moscow.
Verlin, 42, has a five-year contract. Financial details were not disclosed. He replaces George Pfeifer, who was fired last week after producing 12 wins in two seasons.
Morrill compares Verlin to Mike Montgomery, the former Montana, Stanford and Golden State Warriors head coach. Morrill worked for Montgomery at Montana.
"(Verlin) was out beating the bushes, and that says a lot about a guy," Morrill said. "I've always told people about Coach V that he reminded me of a young Mike Montgomery. There's similarities there in terms of a great feel for the game, a true understanding of college basketball, a way about him that people like. When he sat down with me, he charmed me and got the job."
Verlin said Monday that he still has that kind of passion.
"I absolutely still have that passion, and you will see it come out in our players and in our program,'' he said. "That will be the No. 1 thing we do here at the University of Idaho - work our tails off every day to be the best we can...'' Go here for the remainder.
Yes, I just may be suffering from an NCAA basketball-induced overdose but let's work through this possible Mark Fox to Cal scenario:
*** Cal is a member of the PAC-10 which -- hint, hint -- means there are but 10 head coaching spots available in one of the top basketball conferences in the nation -- nine and a half if I wish to be particularly snarky towards OSU
*** Fox's salary requirements should fall within the range of what Cal is expecting to pay for its next men's basketball coach
*** Fox has no center on his roster if center JaVale McGee heads to the Big Show. 6-8 Matt LaGrone is the tallest returning Wolf Packer.
*** Both Cal and Nevada are Adidas schools, something that could play a large factor
*** Fox has a rather minimal $250,000 buyout if he departs prior to July 2011
*** Fox has the necessary WAC championships and the NCAA appearances to win enough of the opening press conference for Cal
*** Fox is visibly passionate while coaching, as asset Cal fans, especially the students, will enjoy mimicking
*** What more can Fox accomplish at Nevada?
*** Cal basketball is not in any way, shape or form, similar to that of Nebraska hoops in potential (a school Fox conversed with prior to declining consideration in the past)
*** Why in the world would Fox depart Reno with the very solid makings he has in returning players and with Luke Babbitt (especially) and Mark McLaughlin coming in as freshmen? It makes no sense for him to leap now.
*** Could Mark Fox's temper somehow be held against him? His tango with a referee after a game in the 2006-2007 WAC tournament was obviously not his best monent nor was his bumping an official during a game against Utah State in Logan. In fairness, there were no similar incidents this season.
*** In simply may be our ignorance but we aren't aware of any Mark Fox connections -- often the primary component of any deal -- within the world of Cal AD Sandy Barbour.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
How would you like to be Greg Graham's agent right now? It's fascinating how the worm turns -- not only will the Boise administrators need to re-up Graham but with a nice raise -- not that, to be fair, such wasn't in the plans already. This despite a few hot air Bronco fans somehow believing a Coach K-alike is panting to come to Boise or that Dean Smith would come out of retirement to pursue the Bronco head coaching position. Greg Graham is one of the good guys in the profession and now he has the leverage.
Speaking of such, you have to pull for Matt Bauscher. A former walk-on who thoroughly understands his strengths and limitations plus his role on the team, he is one of those cerebral types we love to watch, seemingly always in the right place at the right time and such doesn't happen on its own. Opportunistic guys like him put themselves in the right position to favorably affect a game -- it's not happenstance.
You also have to love Matt Nelson's footwork and positioning -- he puts on a big man clinic.
We are so glad that Reggie Larry's airball freethrow ultimately didn't matter. The kid is a warrior and is amazingly effective among the trees for being just for 6-5.
In the Department-Of-Full-Disclosure, we have to admit we expected New Mexico State to win this one. Even after the game began and NMSU was down by double figures, we anticipated the Aggie athleticism and deeper bench would still prevail. Sometimes, it's difficult to factor in greater heart. That plus better shot selection. We can't quantify it but we have a sense -- it's just a feeling -- that New Mexico State may have actually been less effective than possible because of having too many players in the rotation -- too much talent -- leading to not necessarily looking to its seniors at crucial moments or for crucial shots. Our preference is the ball in the hands of Fred Peete or Justin Hawkins. However, maybe it was simply better free throw shooting overall that did the trick and nothing else.
Tri-umph! Broncos going to the Big Dance after a triple-overtime victory in WAC title game
Boise State breaks a school record for wins and an NCAA tourney drought in victory over NMSU
March 16, 2008
LAS CRUCES, N.M. - Need any more proof that this Boise State men's basketball team is the best in school history?
The Broncos won their school-record 25th game Saturday night in the toughest of settings with the highest of stakes on the line - an NCAA Tournament bid.
Boise State outlasted New Mexico State 107-102 in triple overtime on the Aggies' home court in front of 10,921 to win its first WAC Tournament title and the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
"I'm proud of our guys - they hung tough," BSU coach Greg Graham said. "At times people sold them short, but they wouldn't give up. We've hung in there and raised the bar forever at Boise State."
It is BSU's first appearance in the Big Dance since 1994, a span of 14 years. That's how long it seemed to take for the Broncos to finally sew up Saturday night's game.
"I feel like crying. I feel like puking. I don't know what to do," said forward Tyler Tiedeman, who scored 17 points and made five huge 3-pointers before fouling out in the third overtime. "We're going dancing, and that's all that matters..." Go here for the remainder.
Aggies lose triple-OT thriller
Las Cruces Sun-News
LAS CRUCES — The Aggies rode their seniors for two years, including 55 minutes of postseason basketball on Saturday at the Pan American Center.
Fourth-seeded Boise State outlasted No. 3 New Mexico State University 107-102 in three overtimes to win the school's first Western Athletic Conference Tournament in the highest scoring game in WAC Tournament history.
The Broncos secured their first NCAA Tournament berth since 1994, while the Aggies hope to land one of 32 berths in the Postseason NIT or the inaugural 16-team College Basketball Invitational.
"I'm not sure what the administration's views are," Aggies head coach Marvin Menzies said. "I think we got a pretty good record and we got to the conference final so I think we should get a bid."
The NIT selection occurs tonight at 5 p.m.
"I'm extremely honored and proud to coach these seniors into this final conference championship game," Menzies said.
In the third overtime with the game tied at 92, the Aggies went to the capable shoulders of senior center Hatila Passos for much of the period. Passos finished with 15 points and 15 rebounds... Go here for the remainder.
Broncos rule, and it's been a wild ride
LAS CRUCES, N.M. — New rule: ESPN is obligated to carry every Boise State athletic contest. ESPNU-Can't-Believe- It, sponsored by Maalox. The nation will watch.
New rule: Boise State fans must stop calling for Greg Graham to be fired. And instead drop a bottle of Tums and an apology in the mail for him.
New rule: Every child born in Boise between now and the Broncos' first NCAA Tournament game in 14 years must be named either Reggie or Larry. And every woman should pray for a labor shorter - and easier on the stomach - than the Broncos' triple-overtime classic in the WAC Tournament against host New Mexico State.
The Broncos don't make it easy on their fans or themselves, but as evidenced by some spastic postgame dancing (Michael Flatley need not worry), they are finally going to the biggest dance around:
The NCAA Tournament.
Reggie Larry sat on the Broncos' bench and cried tears of joy. Larry, the tournament MVP, scored a career-high 31 points, grabbed 16 rebounds and left exhausted by his 48-minute virtuoso performance Saturday night. I think Georgia played fewer minutes Saturday - and the Bulldogs won twice at the SEC Tournament.
"I told you I was going to do whatever I can to get this done, no matter what it is, no matter what it takes," Larry said, his body aching and tears trickling down his cheeks.
New rule: There is crying in basketball... Go here for the remainder.
Broncos, Aggies play a classic in title game
Las Cruces Sun-News
LAS CRUCES - What else would you expect but a triple overtime thriller in the Western Athletic Conference Tournament final?
The regular season featured a four-way tie for the regular season title between Boise State, New Mexico State, Utah State and Nevada, which all finished with a 12-4 mark.
The aforementioned teams consequently made the semifinals of the WAC Tournament. On Saturday night in the title game, Boise State got it done 107-102 in a game that certainly had all the beauty of what March Madness and college basketball is about.
The Aggies, who were hosting the tournament for the second straight year, looked like a beaten team early in the game when they got down 21-7. They still looked beaten with 7:46 left in the contest when Boise State went up 61-48 after a 3-pointer.
But NMSU is a team that has gone through a lot on and off the court this season and it wasn't going to get blown out in its own building.
The Aggies eventually went ahead 71-70 on a Jonathan Gibson 3-pointer. But Boise State's Reggie Larry forced the first overtime time with a free throw.
Then the game became a grind it out, emotion-packed affair.
Boise State somehow survived after losing starters Matt Nelson and Tyler Tiedeman to fouls. And how about Boise State guard Anthony Thomas and his clutch play in the third overtime? The sophomore guard foolishly fouled NMSU's Hatila Passos with 3.3 seconds left in the first overtime and Passos converted the three-point play to tied the game at 80 and force a second overtime. But in overtime three, Thomas scored seven points, including a huge three-point play with 42.6 seconds left to put the Broncos up 102-97.
The Thomas play was the final twist and turn of a game that had plenty. Saturday's game was one you didn't want to miss a play, because something big was sure to happen if you did... Go here for the remainder.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
We love it when a real unknown comes alive on one of the biggest stages:
Garner makes most of opportunity in big game
LAS CRUCES, N.M. - Aaron Garner had everyone inside the Pan American Center scrambling for a roster Friday night.
No. 12 for Boise State?
Who is this guy?
Even after his surprising effort helped the Broncos past top-seeded Utah State and into the WAC Tournament championship game, Garner's Q rating still needed help - the moderator of the postgame press conference was stumped by his name.
That's what happens when you spend an entire season buried on the bench. Garner, a junior college transfer, entered the game averaging 7.3 minutes and 1.5 points per game in his first year with the Broncos.
Not exactly the face of the program. More like the face on a milk carton.
Imagine the frustration for a player who was league MVP in high school and first-team all-conference in junior college.
"One of the toughest things I've ever had to do in my life," Garner said of his season on the bench.
But rather than complain and mope, Garner got his shots after practice and studied the floor during games. And waited.
"He stays and shoots and works and works and works," coach Greg Graham said. "That's hard to do when you're used to being a guy who's all-everything and playing a lot."
Graham had a hunch before the Utah State game.
A hunch that the guy who scored just 12 points in the last 10 games, that the guy with five made 3-pointers all season, that the guy who hadn't played more than 16 minutes in a game since Thanksgiving was going to play a major role in a loser-out game against a team that had beaten the Broncos twice this season... Go here for the remainder.
He gets the least amount of ink and praise as one of Coach Greg Graham's starers but boy did he come through big time yesterday:
Bauscher drops 23 on USU
Logan Herald Journal
March 15, 2008
LAS CRUCES, N.M. — Matt Bauscher gave props to Utah State star Jaycee Carroll.
“Jaycee Carroll’s the best shooter in the nation. Period,” the Boise State guard said. “There’s not a better shooter in the nation than Jaycee Carroll.”
That may be the case, but Bauscher can also shoot the ball pretty good. The Aggies found that out the hard way.
Bauscher scored 23 points as the Broncos beat top-seeded USU 88-78 in the semifinals of the Western Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament on Friday night at the Pan American Center.
Boise State plays New Mexico State in the championship game tonight at 7 o’clock. The game can be seen live on ESPN2.
Bauscher shot 8-for-10 from the field, including a stellar 5-for-6 mark from 3-point range.
“Our big guys were getting double-teamed and (Matt Nelson) made a couple great passes,” Bauscher said. “It seems like once you hit one, the hoop gets a little bigger. Once you hit two, it kind of gets a little bigger after that.”
Reggie Larry also scored 23 for the Broncos, while Carroll led the way for the Aggies with 20.
Bauscher nailed three of his tri-fectas in the first half to help his team overcome a seven-point deficit and open a 42-37 lead at the break.
Bauscher hit a pair of 3s during a game-changing 16-4 run to end the opening half... Go here for the remainder.
If there was ever something called 'don't miss television' then this show is it. Do spread the word and thank you Paul Lieberman for this article:
There was 'Black Magic' before Kobe
The ESPN documentary chronicles great players in a tough game of race and basketball.
Los Angeles Times
March 15, 2008
NEW YORK -- In an era when posters of Kobe Bryant and LeBron James adorn the walls of young basketball fans across the country, it may surprise many Americans to learn that when the NBA was founded, in 1949, there were no black players. None.
There were the "Globies," of course -- the Harlem Globetrotters -- but they could be seen as the equivalent of the old black-faced minstrel shows, playing to buffoonish stereotypes, and some of the greatest black players, including Bill Russell, wanted no part of them. On the other hand, perhaps their act was calculated to seduce the enemy, a strategy of "make your enemy laugh," as Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. argues in the documentary "Black Magic," which airs on ESPN in two parts, Sunday and Monday night.
In the classic basketball movie "Hoosiers," Gene Hackman plays the wise Indiana high school coach who yanks a player from a game for violating his rule that the team patiently passes the ball at least four times before shooting. But in "Black Magic," that's the buffoonery, the plodding white guys passing around the rock, immediately contrasted with the shoot-in-8-seconds fastbreak, a style derided as "jungle ball" by certain whites but that may well be, the documentary argues, the way the inventor of basketball, James Naismith, intended it to be played.
"Black Magic" ostensibly is about basketball at all-black colleges in the days before major universities began their recruiting frenzy over the talent that would come to dominate the game. But the latest documentary by New York Dan Klores is just as much about such sensitive issues at the intersection of race and sports in America.
Klores' first documentary, 2003's "The Boys of 2nd Street Park," also began with basketball, but the sort he played in a Brooklyn playground with fellow Jewish baby boomers, whose lives he followed through the turbulent years of the Vietnam War and '70s drug culture. Though the film is not autobiographical, it does draw on the experiences of Klores, 58, as a student at the University of South Carolina, where he got into several fistfights after being called a "Jew bastard" and was reminded what it meant to be an outsider. Still, his experiences were trivial contrasted with those of blacks in the South, where he saw a group of whites celebrating after the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., chanting "One less . . . !" -- well, the epithet is all too familiar. "I was right there," Klores says.
If you're making a film today, you know that a lot of viewers would rather you didn't rub their noses in that ugly history. They'll tell you we're over all that. But it's much like Denzel Washington's recent "The Great Debaters ," in which a lynching provides the context for a peek into all-black colleges, which early on had to teach some students how to use knives and forks while nurturing others to doctoral degrees.
"Black Magic" shows a cross burning in its opening moments and later Alabama Gov. George Wallace's "Segregation forever!" speech, apt background for what happens to another Wallace -- Perry Wallace -- when he becomes the first African American to compete in the Southeastern Conference. When his Vanderbilt team went to play Mississippi State, they were greeted with a cheer, "Get the . . . ! Get the . . . ! Rah, rah, rah!"
Wallace, who is now a law professor at American University in Washington, says students today -- white and black alike -- find such episodes hard to believe. "I don't know whether they think I'm making it up or they just have no basis for understanding it," Wallace said this week.
Though ESPN has made an extraordinary commitment to the four-hour documentary, showing it without commercials, Klores and some of those featured admit that it is a daunting task to connect with younger viewers when, says Wallace, "they don't see Kobe, they don't see Allen Iverson." Instead, "they see all that black-and-white social history stuff that goes pretty far away from basketball."
There is, to be sure, much highlight-reel basketball, most notably of two players from Winston-Salem State in North Carolina: the well-known Earl "the Pearl" Monroe, a twirling, scoring machine who went on to win an NBA title with the New York Knicks and who is co-producer of the documentary, and an earlier student, the almost unknown Cleo Hill. Hill could make hook shots -- now the tool of a few big men, playing around the basket -- from out beyond today's three-point line. But when he got his chance at the NBA, according to the documentary, he was frozen out of the action by white teammates on the St. Louis Hawks, then he was blackballed by the rest of the league.
Though the official stats show that Hill played one year in the NBA and averaged just 5.5 points (and made only 35% of his shots), another central figure in "Black Magic," retired coach Ben Jobe, calls Hill "the best of them all," at least as an offensive player, on a list that places Bryant second and Michael Jordan fifth.
Jobe is part of a story that revolves around another coach, John McLendon, who learned the game from its founder, Naismith, then passed his knowledge to others, including Jobe, who in turn mentored Avery Johnson, the speedy guard who now coaches the Dallas Mavericks. But more significant than their up- tempo approach to the game is their bearing as patrician-preacher types, unabashed old-values voices in the hip-hop age.
We're told how McLendon used to teach the Four Ws, "Who are you? What are you? Why are you here on this Earth? Where are you going?" And to this day, Jobe, at 75, refuses to be paid for giving clinics ("Why would you charge for something you were given for free?") while warning about the dangers of teenage promiscuity and the insane worship of athletes and entertainers instead of, say, George Washington Carver, a onetime slave who became a great botanist.
When he finished making "Black Magic," Klores thought Jobe, the son of a sharecropper, would be its breakout character. But at a Washington screening sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus, another figure drew a standing ovation, Bob "Butterbean" Love, a Louisiana native who lighted up the nets at Southern University and the Chicago Bulls. What appeals to viewers is the disability he lived with: a stutter, a major reason he wound up, after his playing days, working as a busboy and dishwasher, pitied no doubt by those who had no idea what he was made of. Love comes across as a gentle soul ready with a hug for the world despite all he's been through. More important, he's someone for whom "We shall overcome" was a personal credo, in a way that brought the screening audience to its feet.
"They called my name and people yelled and clapped. I was shocked," Love recalled this week. "I loved it."
But he seems to have gotten equal pleasure out of something else, how people remembered how flat he shot the ball -- like a line-drive -- while twice averaging more than 25 points a game for the Bulls.
That "really surprised me," he said. "I never knew that people loved my jump shot."
We imagine ESPN will also want a chunk of this. However, we cannot imagine the various corporate shoe companies -- Nike, Adidas, Reebok -- will be sitting idly by if their respective interests aren't represented.
We really don't wish to be cynical because we solidly back anything that aids the development of youngsters as both persons and players but exactly what benefit will the mid-major and lower level NCAA teams get from this?
Our fear is them who have the gold, rule (yet again). Will the NCAA truly represent all of its members or just the elites?
NCAA, NBA forging youth hoops pact
Co-branded leagues, tournaments, training programs could be part of historic agreement
March 15 - 2008
Professional and collegiate basketball are on the brink of a landmark agreement that hoops insiders said will change the landscape of the sport in this country. Proponents say it would be good for basketball, but others say it's an attempt to further commercialize the sport.
The agreement between the NBA and the locally headquartered NCAA would be a major departure for both organizations, which have maintained separate agendas and have never had a formal business partnership. Neither organization has ever made a foray into youth basketball, which is a major subject of discussion between the two groups.
The desire to bring structure to youth basketball development and to field improved teams for international competition is the driving force behind the agreement. For two years, the parties have been discussing a pact to develop year-round training programs for high school players and academies for elite players; conduct sanctioned co-branded youth leagues, tournaments and development programs for coaches and officials; and explore corporate partnerships that could pay for such sweeping initiatives.
Sources with knowledge of the discussions said talks have intensified since NCAA President Myles Brand was a guest of the NBA at last month's All-Star weekend in New Orleans. The pact has not been finalized, and NCAA and NBA officials said no time line for an announcement has been set.
Minimizing contact between young players and the shoe companies and apparel makers that often stage summer basketball leagues and tournaments is a central goal of the deal, but there are some self-serving motives, industry experts said, especially on the part of the NBA... Go here for the remainder.
Here's Darrell Moody with yet another gem of a column -- the Vegas chorus is growing and getting louder. Not to be provincial or come off like a member of the aristocracy (my gosh, you wouldn't believe how often that happens) but try this comparison -- Vegas or Las Cruces (yes, we will get ready for further incoming ordance from our NMSU buddies), Salt Lake City, Sacramento, etc.? We have nothing further, your Honor.
As for getting on ESPN more than three times -- the West Coast Conference is showing up much more often than the WAC on the various stations run by the Bristol, CT sports conglomerate -- and that is just plain embarrassing. We don't wish to over-simplify a complex problem but Karl Benson needs to repeat this mantra, as provided by Darrell Moody: "One thing I know for sure is that the WAC needs ESPN more than ESPN needs the WAC."
The great debate rages on in the WAC
March 15, 2008
The debate goes on: Campus sites or neutral court?
It's a never-ending battle. The Western Athletic Conference men's coaches are in unanimous accord in wanting a neutral site for the men's basketball championships, while many of the conference presidents or athletic directors prefer the campus sites because their schools get more guaranteed money.
The coaches almost got what they wanted last spring, but Reno won the bid by a 5-4 vote over Salt Lake City to host for the next two seasons, mainly because of its tiered proposal, which guarantees more money the longer a team stays in the tournament.
Again, that nagging problem with money.
"If this is supposed to be our premiere event, it needs to be off-campus," said San Jose State athletic director Tom Bowen. "This will come back up again in May when we meet..." Go here for the remainder.
For those of you speculating that the purveyor of this column below might be a relation of Paris Hilton, a brother who has subtly changed one letter in his last name in an effort to hide his familial connections, we think not.
Hiltons don't slum in the newspaper world, well, at least not on the wrong end of the camera, pen, computer, etc.
For identification purposes, the Nevada Sagebrush is the student newspaper of the University of Nevada but you'll pick up on that soon enough.
Also, we apologize ahead of time for printing this entire column but it just deserves it.
The Inaugural Truth Awards
March 11, 2008
The Western Athletic Conference handed out it’s awards yesterday, but who cares about all that legitimate basketball-related crap? Here are the awards that matter:
The All-NBA Prospect Team
Marcelus Kemp, Sr., G, Nevada
Jaycee Carroll, Sr., G, Utah State
JaVale McGee, So., F, Nevada
Herb Pope, Fr., F, New Mexico State
Justin Hawkins, Sr., F, New Mexico State
Analysis: While Carroll deservedly won the WAC player of the year award, Kemp is a better player and better NBA prospect. Carroll is limited athletically and doesn’t offer much more than that sweet jumpshot. Kemp, on the other hand, has a decent body and scores from everywhere on the floor.
I still think Carroll can play in the NBA if he lands with the right team. Steve Kerr played an awfully long time, and Carroll is a good enough shooter to fill a similar roll.
The best prospects on the team, however, are McGee and Pope. McGee is one of the most naturally gifted players in the country and Pope has huge upside as well. Pope, though, also has the best chance of never actually reaching the league based on his immaturity and questionable past.
The Kicked Puppy Player of the Year Award
Hector Hernandez, F, Fresno State
Runner-up: JaVale McGee, F, Nevada
Analysis: Hernandez deserves some credit for his signature facial gestures. McGee’s also an emotional player who can bust out a pretty impressive I-think-I’m-going-to-cry face after getting called for fouls, but Hernandez pretty much constantly looks like he just got kicked in the groin. Plus, McGee showed at San Jose State that he’s capable of kicking back.
Reggie Larry, Boise State
Runner-up: Any player who has an area code tattooed anywhere
Analysis: Let’s put meaning aside and go straight off terrible appearance. Larry wins for the clip artish tat on his left arm that features two people holding hands in front of a basketball hoop. The area code fad has victimized shortsighted teens for years, but how can you beat a Hallmark card on the arm?
(OUR EDITORIAL NOTE: We just had to jump in here to promote the candidacy of Matt (Honolulu Ink) Gibson in this category -- he's our guy)
Mark Fox, Nevada
Analysis: The man is in a class of his own when it comes to rocking the suit.
(OUR EDITORIAL NOTE: We would love to know if this particular award was presented last year somewhere else because Coach Reggie would have demanded a recount if he lost to any other WAC coach, er, make that ANY coach period...actually make that ANY human being male or female)
The All-Arrest Team
Herp Pope, F, New Mexico State
Jahmar Young, G, New Mexico State
Chris Cole, G, New Mexico State
Tyrone Nelson, F, New Mexico State
Analysis: So what if there are only four players? With that sort of arrest record, this group doesn’t need to observe conventional rules.
Nelson didn’t play this year after pleading no contest to robbing a Domino’s delivery man before last season. Still, he was allowed to play last season under the allegations and a hearing was actually pushed back so he could play in the WAC Tournament. The other three were arrested this season and were suspended one game combined.
(OUR EDITORIAL NOTE: Some of the 'fans' of this WAC web site, those apparently from The Land of Enchantment who haven't taken kindly to our re-posting of the extra-curricular activities of a few members of the Aggie men's basketball team, will now have a new official whipping boy. Glad to see Mr. Hylton stepping up ... so we'll take a step back)
New Mexico State dominated the boards against Nevada -- simply owning the Wolf Pack -- that being the primary difference in the Aggie victory. On the flip side of the semifinals, the Boise State Broncos keep proving us wrong.
Aggies blast past Pack, headed to finals
Las Cruces Sun-News
LAS CRUCES - They say it's hard to beat a team three times in a season.
That theory was proven true in each of Friday's Western Athletic Conference Tournament semifinals.
After watching Boise State break through against Utah State in the early game, No. 3 New Mexico State defeated No. 2 Nevada for the first time this season and the second time in WAC play, eliminating the Wolf Pack 83-75 at the Pan Am.
The Aggies look to repeat as WAC Tournament champions when they face Boise State tonight at 7 p.m.
"We are pretty familiar with them (Boise State)," said NMSU first-year coach Marvin Menzies, who improved to 22-10 in his first season as a Division I head coach. "I said coming in that I thought any of the top four seeds were capable of winning. Number one and two are gone, but three and four could have been one and two. Fortunately we came out on the right side of that."
Aggies freshman forward Herb Pope played through an 0-for-12 start to the WAC Tournament to finish with career highs with 18 points and 13 rebounds on Friday. He scored 10 straight points and blocked a Marcelus Kemp shot with 1:26 left to hold off the Wolf Pack.
"I didn't realize it was 10 points, I was just caught up in the moment," Pope said. "The whole game plan was to pound it into our big men and kick it out for 3-pointers..." Go here for the remainder.
WAC Tournament: Nevada bounced in semis; NCAA bid over
March 15, 2008
LAS CRUCES, N.M. -- Although it was an amazing comeback, the Nevada basketball team got buried in an avalanche of New Mexico State rebounds.
The Wolf Pack wiped out a 13-point second-half deficit to tie the game, but couldn't go any further, largely because it couldn't get rebounds when it badly needed them.
Justin Hawkins scored 23 points and Herb Pope had 18 to lead the Aggies to an 83-75 win over Nevada in a semifinal game of the Western Athletic Conference Tournament in front of 9,983 fans at the Pan American Center on Friday night.
After falling behind 57-44 with 8 minutes, 53 seconds left, Brandon Fields scored 10 points on a 17-4 run that enabled the Pack to tie the game at 61-61 with 4:22 left.
Pope broke a 61-61 tie with a tip-in at 3:18 as the Aggies outscored Nevada, 22-14 for the resmainder of the game. Although the Pack was able to mount a comeback, New Mexico State controlled the game on the boards, outrebounding Nevada, 52-25... Go here for the remainder.
BSU men will play for the WAC crown Saturday
March 15, 2008
LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The Boise State men's basketball team paid one debt Friday night and has a chance to pay another Saturday.
The Broncos dominated Utah State 88-78 in a WAC Tournament semifinal at the Pan American Center, avenging two regular-season losses in a game with so much at stake.
The victory advanced BSU to Saturday night's nationally televised championship game against New Mexico State - another team with two regular-season wins over BSU - and gives the Broncos a chance to go to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1994.
A loss means BSU will have to wait and see if one of the other postseason tournaments - the NIT or the inaugural College Basketball Invitational - come calling Sunday night.
"All of this means nothing if we don't win (Saturday)," BSU senior Matt Bauscher said. "It's the biggest game of our lives, and we'll see what happens."
New Mexico State beat Nevada 83-75 in Friday's other semifinal, outrebounding the Wolf Pack 52-25 and shooting twice as many free throws on their home floor as the Wolf Pack.
"They're probably the biggest and most athletic team in the conference, and that's where they create problems," BSU coach Greg Graham said.
The Broncos have witnessed those problems before.
BSU (24-8) was swept by NMSU (21-13) this season and has lost six in a row to the Aggies. NMSU won the last meeting 99-80 in Las Cruces and knocked the Broncos out of last year's conference tournament in this same building... Go here for the remainder.
BSU treys do in Ags
Logan Herald Journal
March 15, 2008
LAS CRUCES, N.M. — Reaching a conference tournament title game in men’s basketball has become almost a regular occurrence at Utah State.
The Aggies had played in the championship contest the last three years and seven of the previous eight seasons with an NCAA Tournament berth on the line. That will not happen this time around.
USU will have to fall back on its automatic berth to the NIT to reach the postseason for the ninth straight year. The Aggies got bucked by Boise State 88-78 Friday night at the Pan American Center in the semifinals of the Western Athletic Conference Tournament.
The Broncos will face tournament host New Mexico State tonight at 7 in the title tilt with an NCAA Tournament berth on the line. The southern Aggies beat Nevada in the second semifinal of the night, 83-75.
The top-seeded Aggies faced a much more determined Bronco bunch than they did a week ago. USU ruined BSU’s Senior Night, 88-69, and the Broncos had that on their minds going into the third meeting between these schools.
“It (last week’s loss to USU) was pretty much the worst basketball moment of my life on Senior Night,” said BSU senior guard Matt Bauscher, who had a game-best 23 points on 8-of-10 shooting, which included 5-of-6 from 3-point land. “They spoiled our Senior Night. ... As a team, we just came out and got after it.”
Boy, did they... Go here for the remainder.
Friday, March 14, 2008
Can anyone offer a reason not to hold the next available WAC tournament in Las Vegas? Mucho hotel rooms at affordable prices, easy to fly in to and out of, lots of other attractions...
WAC may look to neutral sites for future basketball tourneys
Honolulu Star Bulletin
LAS CRUCES, N.M. » The Western Athletic Conference may look off campus when the time to pick a site for the league's basketball tournament rolls around again.
The tournament has been held at on-campus arenas for all but three of its 25 years. After two years at New Mexico State's Pan American Center, it's headed for the Lawlor Events Center in Reno, Nev., for the next two. But holding the event outside of a WAC town could be in the tournament's future.
WAC commissioner Karl Benson said the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas contacted the WAC about possibly hosting the tournament and Salt Lake City was a close second behind Reno in the last vote. He said representatives in Sacramento, Calif., have also expressed interest.
"There's always going to be advantage-disadvantage in terms of the site," Benson said. "I think as we go into the next cycle we'll continue to seek a site that may be more neutral.
"I think we have some options, but we can't ignore the type of environment and atmosphere a campus community provides."
Benson said Hawaii submitted a bid to host the basketball tournament in the 1990s. But along with the financial burden, the logistics of getting teams back to the mainland for postseason tournaments work against UH if the school were to pursue the tournament. UH will host this year's WAC softball tournament and the volleyball tournament in the fall.
Benson said there are no current talks with ESPN regarding the league's television contract. The negotiation period begins in April 2009. He said there have been "discussions" about extending the contract that runs through the 2009-10 season the last two years, but the league and ESPN couldn't agree on the financial terms.
"I'm confident the WAC and ESPN will be partners for a long time," Benson said.
The Western Athletic Conference's basketball tournaments could be headed to Las Vegas, Salt Lake City or Sacramento if the league's coaches and athletic directors have their way.
But moving the conference tournament to a neutral site is not that easy, commissioner Karl Benson explained during his 30-minute meeting with the media at the WAC Tournament on Thursday.
"Unless there is a neutral site that can come to the table and narrow the financial gap" on-campus sites will likely continue to hold the tournament, Benson said.
Reno will host the conference tournament in 2009 and 2010. The city edged out Salt Lake City, a neutral site, because of a greater financial commitment.
The vote among the board of directors, however, was 5-4. Coaches and athletic directors supported moving the tournament to Las Vegas, another neutral site, but the league presidents opted for Reno.
Coaches, including Boise State's Greg Graham and Gordy Presnell, are in favor of moving the tournament to a neutral location.
Las Vegas, Salt Lake City and Sacramento have expressed interest in holding the 2011 and 2012 tournaments. The league will decide on a host for those events in 2010.
Actually all the games were fairly mundane with no upsets, so no real wackiness. Now we still think that some network (hint: Fox, ESPN) is simply blowing it by not televising the Nevada - New Mexico State game today. This one should really be a brawl.
Anyway, on to last night:
Aggies take apart Idaho; Prepare for Wolf Pack
Las Cruces Sun-News
LAS CRUCES - With less than five minutes left to play and with victory a forgone conclusion, New Mexico State University students started to chant.
"This is our house."
The sixth-seeded Aggies defeated No. 6 Idaho 73-53 in Thursday's Western Athletic Conference Tournament quarterfinal at the Pan American Center.
NMSU advanced to tonight's highly-anticipated semifinal against No. 2 Nevada at 8:30 p.m.
In his post game comments, Aggies head coach Marvin Menzies said that in tournament play, coaches don't have a lot of time to enjoy victories before preparing for the next game. In this case, the next game is Nevada.
"It's going to be a hard fought battle," said NMSU senior point guard Fred Peete, who had 12 points, six assists and five rebounds against Idaho. "Defensively, we just have to stay tough on them because they are going to knock down shots."
If there was one thing the Aggies did against Idaho, it was knock down shots. NMSU was 10-for-18 (55.6 percent) from behind the 3-point line. Senior forward Justin Hawkins scored 22 of his 26 points in the first half.
Hawkins was a rebound shy of a double-double in the first half, pulling down nine rebounds. The Aggies out rebounded Idaho 28-14 in the first half and 45-34 for the game... Go here for the remainder.
Boise State men overcome sluggish first half to beat Hawaii, advance to WAC semifinals
LAS CRUCES, N.M. - After a horrible first half in Thursday's WAC Tournament quarterfinal against Hawaii, Boise State sophomore point guard Anthony Thomas heard it from his coaches and some of his teammates.
So when Thomas returned to the floor for the second half, he looked in the stands at the Pan American Center and found his father, who had arrived just in time for the noon tipoff.
Thomas walked to the edge of the court and listened to his father's message.
"A family secret," John Thomas said when asked what he told his son. "But I should have talked to him before the first half."
The message worked.
Thomas, who was a first-half liability and a big reason why the BSU men's basketball team trailed by eight points, settled down in the second half. He began to steer the team's offense rather than try to create it, and the Broncos became ultra-efficient and rallied for an 80-74 win. The Broncos (23-8) advanced to a tournament semifinal Friday against Utah State (24-9), which defeated San Jose State 85-65 on Thursday.
Reggie Larry scored 26 points and pulled down nine rebounds to lead the Broncos, but the senior forward said extending the season would not have been possible without Thomas' transformation... Go here for the remainder.
Bulldogs show fight before falling to Nevada
The Fresno Bee
LAS CRUCES, N.M. -- Alex Blair jumped and stretched his arms high, too high for JaVale McGee to reach. He ended the play by hanging atop the rim, while McGee fell back to the Pan American Center court.
Blair scored again on Fresno State's next possession, and the senior forward was nearly halfway through his career-best performance.
McGee then vented his frustration on the Bulldogs, a continuing assault of dunks and jump shots that ended a season of disappointments and setbacks for No. 7 seed Fresno State with a 64-57 loss in the quarterfinals of the Western Athletic Conference tournament.
No. 2 seed Nevada advances to play No. 3 seed New Mexico State tonight in the WAC semifinals. By then, the Bulldogs will be back in Fresno, contemplating their final loss of the season, one last example of what happens when they fail to score points in crucial stretches.
"We had plenty of open looks, but you have to hit those shots," said coach Steve Cleveland, whose third season ended with a 13-19 record, his first losing mark in Fresno.
Fresno State shot 33.3% from the field.
Senior Kevin Bell became the school's all-time assists leader with four in the game, but he finished with 11 points on 4-of-16 shooting. Eddie Miller also ended his career with 11 points, as did Hector Hernandez, who scored nine.
Blair scored a career-best 14 points with eight rebounds against Nevada 7-footers McGee and David Ellis and Demarshay Johnson at 6-9. But not even Blair could defend McGee, who six days earlier ruined Senior Night at the Save Mart Center with a 23-point performance... Go here for the remainder.
WAC Tournament: Pack pushes into semis
March 14, 2008
LAS CRUCES, N.M. -- Tournament host New Mexico State now stands in the path that could lead to Nevada's fifth straight NCAA Tournament berth.
To reach the semifinal game, the Pack had to get past a slippery spot on that path, beating No. 7 Fresno State, 64-57, in a difficult quarterfinal game in the Western Athletic Conference Tournament on Thursday at the Pan American Center.
JaVale McGee helped keep the Pack's season alive, with his 22 points and 10 rebounds. Nevada, the No. 2 seed after sharing the regular-season title with Utah State, New Mexico State and Boise State, opened a 13-point lead early in the second half. But there were anxious moments as the Bulldogs sliced the lead to three points at various points in the second.
"It's a hard-fought victory for us," coach Mark Fox said. "We played very well in the first half to establish a lead. Fresno was much more aggressive in the first 10 minutes of the second half. They whittled a lead down, like a good team will. We were fortunate to hang on and show some poise late again."
Nevada ran its overall record to 21-10 as it prepares to face No. 3-seeded New Mexico State in a semifinal at 7:30 p.m. tonight on KAME 21, after No. 1 Utah State plays No. 4 Boise State in the evening's first game. The Pack won both regular season games against New Mexico State, including an 87-78 victory at the Pan American Center on Jan. 24... Go here for the remainder.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
The play-in game is a done deal but not without its share of excitement. Here's what we wrote about it for another site:
Oh my, if you didn't have a heart condition before this game, you probably do now.
San Jose State led 64-62 with 21.8 seconds remaining after Justin Graham hit just one of two free throws. The Bulldogs brought the ball down but couldn't get a good look and the Spartans fouled with 5.2 seconds on the clock. It was an intentional foul in the sense that SJSU still had fouls to give before LTU would enter the bonus.
Tech then called timeout and on the in-bounds play, Dwayne Lathen missed inside and a Bulldog tip also was errant. San Jose rebounded and that was it. SJSU played zone almost the entire game but went man-to-man at the very end.
DaShawn Wright led with 17 points (8-11 shooting) and six rebounds, followed by Tim Pierce with 16. C.J. Webster added 13 and Chris Oakes 11.
The score was 54-54 at the 6:51 mark. The Techsters jumped ahead by four, 54-50, but San Jose State scored the next eight points. LTU then fought back and went ahead but a Webster bucket made it 60-60 with 2:55 remaining.
A Wright 12-footer in the lane gave the Spartan a 62-60 lead but Drew Washington's layup tied the score yet again.
Pierce made one of two free throws and JC Clark missed on a scoop shot leading to the aforementioned foul that put Justin Graham on the foul line with 21.8 ticks left.
The first half ended with the Spartans ahead by four points, 31-27. Tim Pierce led all scorers after 20 minutes with 13 points. Shooting-wise, SJSU went 12-29 overall, 1-5 on treys and 6-8 from the foul line. The Bulldogs numbers: 10-25 from the floor, 4-12 from long distance and 3-3 on free throws. San Jose State grabbed 19 rebounds, seven offensively, to 14 for LA TECH. LTU committed eight turnovers, the Spartans six.
For the game, San Jose State out-rebounded the Techsters 38-25. Pierce grabbed nine while Webster and Oakes nabbed seven apiece.
Clark was the en fuego Bulldog from long distance tonight, nailing 5-7 three-point attempts leading to his 17 points -- this from a player shooting 31% on treys coming into the game. As a team, LTU was shooting 32% from three-point range coming into tonight's game but concluded this one 12-26, taking close to half its 55 shots from long range. LA TECH's season leading scorer Kyle Gibson had 14, a couple below his average and dramatic improvement over the 25 and 28 point totals he had managed against SJSU earlier this season. Both Gibson and Clark played the entire 40 minutes.
Last Saturday, the Bulldogs went 23-31 from the foul line, getting dribble-drive penetration far too often. Tonight they went 4-4. Yes, you read that correctly.
Overall, San Jose State went 26-55 from the floor, 11-15 from the foul line and 1-9 on threes.
Unfortunately, no All--Freshman team was selected -- that would have been very interesting and probably would have created many arguments.
These selections are per the league coaches:
2007-08 WAC Men's Basketball Postseason Award Winners
Reggie Larry, Boise State, F, 6-6, 222, Sr.
Kevin Bell, Fresno State, G, 5-10, 165, Sr.
Marcelus Kemp, Nevada, G, 6-5, 210, Sr.
Justin Hawkins, New Mexico State, F, 6-7, 205 Sr.
Jaycee Carroll, Utah State, G, 6-2, 175, Sr.
(OUR EDITORIAL: No argument here, these are the top five WAC players and producers game-in and game-out)
Matt Nelson, Boise State, F, 6-9, 233, Sr.
Matt Gibson, Hawai`i, G, 6-5, 180, Sr.
Jordan Brooks, Idaho, F, 6-3, 195, Jr.
JaVale McGee, Nevada, F, 6-11, 235, So.
Gary Wilkinson, Utah State, F, 6-9, 240, Jr.
(OUR EDITORIAL: Even this second quintet is hard to rebut. The selection of Matt Gibson is probably the only one to challenge -- at least to a degree -- but he did have a marvelous season. LT's Kyle Gibson and Boise's Tyler Tiedeman would be his closest competitors)
Player of the Year: Jaycee Carroll, Utah State
(OUR EDITORIAL) No argument here. He produced every game and opposing coaches had to devise defensive plans around him)
Freshman of the Year: Armon Johnson, Nevada, G, 6-3, 190, Reno, Nev. (Hug HS)
(OUR EDITORIAL) His stats and production are unbeatable. 61 assists to 31 turnovers as Nevada's nominal point AND as a freshman is tremendous. Add 11.4 ppg. and 4.1 rpg. and he simply had the best season of any of the frosh)
Don Haskins Coach of the Year: Greg Graham, Boise State
(OUR EDITORIAL: If this competition was between Stew Morrill, Mark Fox, Marvin Menzies and Graham, then it's clearcut in our minds that Graham was the correct choice -- he got the most out of his set of players)
Jordan Brooks, Idaho, F, 6-3, 195, Jr.
Armon Johnson, Nevada, G, 6-3, 190, Fr.
Herb Pope, New Mexico State, F, 6-8, 235, Fr.
C.J. Webster, San Jose State, C, 6-8, 255, So.
Gary Wilkinson, Utah State, F, 6-9, 240, Jr.
(OUR EDITORIAL: Herb Pope is a major talent and will have his shot in the NBA but he averaged 23.7 minutes in 12 conference games, scoring 10.3 ppg. on .437% shooting. He also nabbed 6.5 rpg. and notched 24 assists. But as weird as it sounds, Wendell McKines may deserve a spot on this team, even in place of Pope. McKines scoring and rebounding were less -- 5.9 ppg. and 5.2 rpg. respectively but he outshot Pope from the floor, .611% to .422%. Pope played 23.7 mpg. to 16.6 for McKines. At the very least, it's an interesting argument but realistically it looks like the coaches were correct. But do keep in mind that SJSU's Justin Graham averaged 10.9 ppg. while shooting .519% from the floor but missed some games due to injury)
Matt Bauscher, Boise State, G, 6-3, 205, Sr., Caldwell, Idaho (Spokane CC)
Matt Gibson, Hawai`i, G, 6-5, 180, Sr., Oklahoma City, Okla. (Three Rivers CC)
Lyndale Burelson, Nevada, G, 6-3, 190, Jr., Seattle, Wash. (Franklin HS)
JaVale McGee, Nevada, F, 6-11, 235, So., Flint, Mich. (Hales Franciscan HS)
Fred Peete, New Mexico State, G, 6-4, 200, Sr., Memphis, Tenn. (Kansas State)
(No argument here but it's interesting that no forwards made the team)
Sunday, March 9, 2008
Courtesy of the official WAC site:
The seeds are set in the 2008 WAC Men's Basketball Tournament. Despite a historic four-way tie for first place on the men's, Utah State claimed tWhe top seed in the tournament, followed by second-seeded Nevada. Host New Mexico State is the third seed with Boise State earning the fourth seed. On the women's side, Fresno State earned its first ever No. 1 seed. Co-regular season champion Boise State is the second seed. The WAC Tournament will begin with two games on Tuesday, March 11.
For the first-time ever, there was a four-way tie for the regular season crown between Utah State, Nevada, New Mexico State and Boise State. Utah State won the tiebreaker and earned its first ever No. 1 seed in a WAC Tournament. Last season's top seed Nevada is the second seed and will take on seventh-seeded Fresno State. Host and defending WAC Tournament Champion New Mexico State will be the third seed and will take on sixth-seeded Idaho.
Fourth-seeded Boise State will face fifth-seeded Hawai‘i. To start the tournament, eighth-seeded San Jose State will face ninth-seeded Louisiana Tech. The Bulldogs won their final two regular season games.
There has never been a four-way tie for the regular season title. During the 1982-83 and 1985-86 seasons there was a three-way tie for first place. This is the first share of the WAC title for Boise State, New Mexico State and Utah State.
MEN'S BASKETBALL GAMES (All times Mountain)
Tuesday, March 11 (First Round)
Game 1- #8 San Jose State vs. #9 Louisiana Tech, 7:30
Thursday, March 13 (Quarterfinals)
Game 2- #4 Boise State vs. #5 Hawai‘i , 12:00
Game 3- #1 Utah State vs. Winner Game 1, 2:30
Game 4- #2 Nevada vs. #7 Fresno State, 6:00
Game 5- #3 New Mexico State vs. #6 Idaho, 8:30
Friday, March 14 (Semifinals)
Game 6-Winner Game 2 vs. Winner Game 3, 6:00
Game 7-Winner Game 4 vs. Winner Game 5, 8:30
Saturday, March 15 (Championship)
Game 8-Winner Game 6 vs. Winner Game 7, 7:00
Wow, what a crowd it is at the top:
Pack basketball: WAC title is fit for four
March 9, 2008
FRESNO, Calif. -- The Nevada Wolf Pack was the last team to move into the Western Athletic Conference penthouse, but did it with in style behind Marcelus Kemp's 25 points and a powerful performance by JaVale McGee.
McGee had a double-double with 23 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Wolf Pack to a regular-season ending 76-63 victory over Fresno State and a piece of the four-way WAC title tie with Utah State, New Mexico State and Boise State on Saturday night. It is Nevada's fifth straight regular-season title -- either outright or shared.
"We have not dominated everybody," Nevada coach Mark Fox said. "We have not cracked national rankings like we had done in previous years, but they're going to send us a trophy. I'm extremely proud of these kids for that."
The Pack ran its record to 20-10 overall and 12-4 in the WAC to force the first four-way tie for in conference history.
"This is the fifth year in a row Nevada has won a championship. It's a tradition," the Pack's Brandon Fields said. "That was our goal before the season started. We did it."
It was a low-key celebration for the Pack that included several high fives and a couple of pats on backs... Go here for the remainder.
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Nevada tandem takes it to 'Dogs
Fresno State will see McGee, Kemp as tourney's No. 7 seed.
The Fresno Bee
Freshman Nedeljko Golubovic gave Fresno State a glimpse into its future on Saturday, scoring early over Nevada's JaVale McGee, his 7-feet nemesis of the night.
Then McGee showed why Nevada clinched at least a share of its fifth consecutive Western Athletic Conference regular season title, and is a favorite to win next week's conference tournament.
McGee recovered from a shaky defensive start against Golubovic and gave the Wolf Pack enough offensive momentum to ruin Senior Night for six Bulldogs with a 76-63 win at the Save Mart Center.
"He hit shots from everywhere," Fresno State coach Steve Cleveland said.
McGee scored 23 points and keyed a surge early in the second half with consecutive baskets in the post and on the perimeter, stretching a five-point halftime advantage to as much as 20 in the final minutes.
"We knew we had to play harder in the second half," McGee said. "Everything offensively fell into place."
Nevada (20-10 overall, 12-4 WAC) ends the regular season in a four-way tie with Utah State, New Mexico State and Boise State, and will enter the Pan American Center on Thursday as a No. 2 seed.
Their opponent? Fresno State, which dropped to the No. 7 seed.
It's distressing news for the Bulldogs (13-18, 5-11), which have struggled against Nevada during two regular season games. The reason is simple: McGee teamed up with guard Marceleus Kemp, a WAC Player of the Year candidate who on Saturday scored a game-high 25 points. McGee and Kemp were the lone double digit scorers for Nevada, but it was all the Wolf Pack needed... Go here for the remainder.
Utah State wraps up WAC title, top seed
Logan Herald Journal
March 8, 2008
MOSCOW, Idaho — Utah State finished the job Saturday night.
The Aggies jumped on the Vandals early and never really let the hosts get back into the game, rolling to a 78-58 victory Saturday night at the Cowan Spectrum in the Kibbie Dome. With the win, the USU men’s basketball team climbed atop the standings in the Western Athletic Conference as the regular season came to a close.
The Aggies (23-9, 12-4) will share the regular season title with Boise State, Nevada and New Mexico State, but will enter the conference tournament as the top seed because they hold the tiebreaker.
“I told the kids they can say WAC champs and feel good about it,” USU head coach Stew Morrill said. “They had to go out and earn it on the road.”
Saturday night’s win in front of 1,383 fans was the fifth straight for USU and completed a two-game road sweep. It was just the sixth win away from the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum this season for the Aggies.
“It’s our first road sweep and it was timed just right,” Morrill said. “We’re guaranteed postseason with this win. We’ve won 23 for nine years in a row and guaranteed postseason for nine years in row, so that is pretty dang positive.”
By earning the top seed for the upcoming WAC Tournament, USU is guaranteed of at least a bid to the NIT. However, the Aggies are hoping to continue to keep up the momentum when they head to Las Cruces, N.M., and go dancing. USU opens the conference tournament on Thursday at 2:30 p.m., playing the winner of the play-in game between San Jose State and Louisiana Tech.
“We are the No. 1 seed in the tournament and we are going to the postseason,” said USU guard Jaycee Carroll, who scored a game-best 23 points on 7-of-12 shooting. “I’m as happy as can be. It was real team effort tonight.”
The Aggies shot 63.6 percent from the field for the game and made 19-of-22 free throws. USU outrebounded Idaho (8-20, 5-11) 34-19. The Vandals shot 37.7 percent from the field... Go here for the remainder.
Aggies earn co-championship, will be No. 3 seed in WAC Tourney
Las Cruces Sun-News
LAS CRUCES — Justin Hawkins showed why this senior class will be remembered for helping restore a winning tradition at New Mexico State University.
In his last regular season game at the Pan American Center, Hawkins poured in a career high 37 points in a 106-71 victory over Hawaii on Saturday.
Their senior night victory ensured the Aggies of a piece of their first regular season Western Athletic Conference championship. The last time the Aggies won a regular season conference championship was in 2001-02 when they tied for the Sun Belt West division title.
"These five men represent the backbone of our success," said NMSU head coach Marvin Menzies to the 7,296 in attendance following the game.
The WAC regular season ended on Saturday with four teams, NMSU, Boise State, Utah State and Nevada, tied atop the standings at 12-4 in conference play. After league tiebreaking procedures, the Aggies are No. 3 and will play No. 6 Idaho at 8:30 p.m. on Thursday in the last of four quarterfinals. The opponent doesn't seem to matter to the Aggies, who enter the WAC Tournament winners of nine of their last 11. NMSU finished the season 7-1 at the Pan Am.
"It doesn't matter, we're at home," said senior point guard Fred Peete, who flirted with a triple double on Saturday with 16 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. "We have shown this season that we are a team to be reckoned with when it comes to protecting home turf..." Go here for the remainder.
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N.M. St. rolls by Hawaii, 106-71
March 8, 2008
LAS CRUCES, N.M. -- It was like cramming minutes before for a final exam.
The University of Hawai'i men's basketball team arrived in town less than five hours before tip-off, then tried to take on one of the biggest teams in the Western Athletic Conference without any practice time.
Predictably, the Rainbow Warriors failed their latest road test, this one a 106-71 rout by New Mexico State.
"We're not going to use travel as an excuse, but it was a factor to show up four hours before you play a game and then have to come out and play one of the best teams in the conference," Hawai'i head coach Bob Nash said.
Due to flight problems, the 'Bows were stranded in Dallas on Friday and did not get a chance to practice. They arrived in Las Cruces around 2:15 p.m. (Mountain time) yesterday. The game started at 7:05 p.m.
"Rough," senior point guard Matt Gibson said. "I don't like to make excuses, but if there's a good time for one ... "
Once in the Pan American Center, Hawai'i's lag jet or otherwise was apparent.
The Aggies dominated every phase of the game to avenge a 23-point loss to the 'Bows on Jan. 31 in Honolulu... Go here for the remainder.
From the official WAC site:
Louisiana Tech 87, San Jose State 83
RUSTON, La. - A career-high 28 points from Kyle Gibson and double-digit efforts from four other players gave Louisiana Tech its second consecutive victory, an 87-83 Senior Night victory over San Jose State at the Thomas Assembly Center on Saturday night.
"Our whole thing was about finishing strong," Tech head coach Kerry Rupp said. "We've always talked about having three seasons. The third season is the WAC Tournament where everybody starts 0-0. Again, I'm proud that our guys never gave up. We got the lead in the first half and they came right back on us. But we had to dig in, fight and battle and find a way to gut it out and win the ball game. We had to put bodies on people and step up, take charges and make them take tough shots."
Gibson, the only underclassman among the top 10 scorers in the Western Athletic Conference, played all 40 minutes and burned the nets with his 28 points on 9-of-15 shooting, including a 4-for-7 effort from three-point range. It was the 18th time this season that Gibson led the Bulldogs in scoring. Jonathan "JC" Clark added 16 points and James Loe had 15, while Dwayne Lathan and Orren Tims added 11 apiece off the bench.
J.J. Marshall, the lone senior for Louisiana Tech (6-23, 3-13 WAC), got his first career start and played six minutes, dishing out a career-best three assists.
San Jose State (12-18, 4-12 WAC) was led by C.J. Webster, who had a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds on the night. Jamon Hill took top honors for the Spartans with 19 points, while Tim Pierce, Chris Oakes and DeVonte Thomas had 18, 13 and 12, respectively.
The Bulldogs won the game despite being more than doubled up in the rebounding department; the Spartans pulled down 46 boards to Tech's 21. But 51.9-percent shooting - including an amazing 9-of-13 effort from three-point range in the first half - carried the Bulldogs to the victory.
Things couldn't have gone much better for Tech in the first half. Clark and Gibson combined to knock down five 3-pointers, helping the Bulldogs jump out to a lead as big as 13 points with under two minutes to play. A pair of layups wrapped around a Tech free throw would shrink the lead to 10 at the half.
San Jose would come out of the locker room on fire, though. The Spartans would open the second half on a 20-8 run, taking a two-point lead at the 13:46 mark. Almost all of their points during that stretch came on second-chance attempts as the Bulldogs did not pull down a rebound - this one offensive - until the 13:03 mark. By that time, San Jose had a four-point lead.
From that point on, the lead would change hands seven times and there would be six ties as the teams traded baskets over the next eight-plus minutes. A driving layup from Loe with just over four minutes to play would give Tech a 73-71 lead.
Free throws down the stretch would be pivotal as Loe, Lathan and Clark would hit eight of 10 shots in the final 2:30 to preserve the victory.
Tonight's game turned out to be a preview of the opening round of the 2008 WAC Tournament, which begins Tuesday in Las Cruces, N.M. Louisiana Tech and San Jose State will meet for the third time this season on Tuesday night to kick off postseason play.
"You have to bring your best game," Rupp said about the WAC Tournament. "We want to keep moving forward as a team. As long as we have games to play, we can keep moving forward. I think we've made tremendous strides. Everybody has to stay focused and give great energy and enthusiasm."
No this isn't an effort to prove we aren't one-sided, just an acknowledgment of fact:
Since McKinley Boston has taken over as AD at New Mexico State University, the academic progress of the NMSU student-athletes has greatly improved. That is great news and a feather in the respective caps of Boston, the NMSU coaches and the players.
Friday, March 7, 2008
We are getting too old to climb on to our high horse that often plus any effect is lost by repeatedly doing so but we just have to mount up yet again after the latest we came across from Dr. McKinley Boston, the Athletics Director for New Mexico State.
His latest actually was the final straw for us, resulting in the lengthy post just prior to this one.
As with that post, we want to stress that nowhere have we claimed that he is guilty of any wrongdoing or infraction. No, it's his laissez faire attitude and delayed-if-any reaction/response to the wrongdoing or charges of such towards others under his command. It's his inertia, his responses.
Now he's entitled to act the way he has, it's a choice -- just as anyone has the right to applaud, ignore or take to task such behavior of someone at an institution of higher learning.
Boston's modus operandi of non-interference -- make that a profound arms-length jurisdiction -- in the affairs of his employees and student-athletes with reference to individual conduct is not worthy of the office and title he holds. In the following, he displays such behavior yet again, with his mealy-mouthed offering regarding a New Mexico State student-athlete charged with separate offenses:
"All of the players have acclimated to the community and each other on the basketball team," New Mexico State Athletics Director McKinley Boston said. "Like most young people, if you give them enough time, things tend to work out."
Yes, all is just Shangri-la down in Las Cruces -- except maybe for the pizza deliverer who was hit and then robbed by one of Boston's former basketball players. A hoops star who entered a not guilty plea, who proclaimed his innocence for a year and who eventually admitted his guilt to avoid the possibility of jail time. A hoops star who Boston went to court with after the guilty plea and stated to the judge that it was in the best interests of his student-athlete to be allowed to continue to play basketball at NMSU. A hoops star who was allowed to continue playing during the season in which he was charged because it would have been 'unlike him to break the law' even though after the initial robbery charge, he was also affixed with a bribery offense -- offering money and drugs -- after attempting to get a neighbor to take the fall for him.
Oh yes, and except maybe for the young lady who was the alleged recipient of another of Boston's basketballers untowards behavior.
Young's court dates delayed
Las Cruces Sun-News
LAS CRUCES - New Mexico State University freshman guard Jahmar Young had a pair of court dates in Doña Ana County Magistrate Court pushed back.
Young is facing misdemenor charges of indecent exposure and resisting arrest. Both were scheduled for a pre-trial hearing today. The resisting arrest charge was rescheduled for a pre-trial conference on April 3. The indecent exposure case had yet to be rescheduled as of Wednesday.
Young was charged with resisting arrest on Jan. 8 when he turned himself in for a warrant issued after failing to appear for a indecent exposure that allegedly occurred on campus in September 2007.
Young was with the Aggies as the team arrived in Nevada on Wednesday for tonight's Western Athletic Conference game against the Wolfpack. NMSU head coach Marvin Menzies declined to comment as the Aggies prepare for tonight's 8 p.m. game.
"All of the players have acclimated to the community and each other on the basketball team," New Mexico State Athletics Director McKinley Boston said. "Like most young people, if you give them enough time, things tend to work out."
Young has appeared in 14 games for the Aggies this season, starting five. He is one of six NMSU players averaging in double figures with 10.3 points per game. He scored 33 points in a 76-73 victory at Boise State on Jan. 10.
Young missed the first 12 games of the season waiting for academic clearance by the NCAA. His first game was against the University of New Mexico on Dec. 19. He was suspended for one game, the Aggies' 94-71 loss at Hawaii on Jan. 31, after leaving the bench during the Aggies' 100-70 victory over Utah State on Jan. 26.
We have hesitated for some time to present the following, primarily because it is too easy to go after people nowadays but ultimately it seemed appropriate to blog the following:
To paraphrase Robert MacNeil, formerly an anchor on the PBS show "The News Hour" -- "The easiest thing to create is heat. The hardest thing is light."
Our desire here is to do the latter.
We come not to bury New Mexico State Athletics Director Dr. McKinley Boston, nor to praise him -- simply to present moments of his decision-making through the years while he has been employed in various positions in higher education. And yes, we absolutely understand and accept that we don't even register on any scale of any magnitude with any authority of any sorts but we still feel compelled to present the following information.
We do wish to stress that our compilation is not meant to even hint at character assassination of Mr. Boston -- it is simply a laying out of factual information. The genesis for this is the pattern that has formed involving the legal infractions connected with a number of NMSU student-athletes the past two years. Upon doing some background investigation, this template extends to another university that employed Mr. Boston in the 1990s.
Some articles below are presented in their entirety, an elemental no-no when quoting other sources. However, many of the article are from some time ago and needed a complete presentation in order to fully shed light so our apology is issued to these sources beforehand.
So let us begin in Minnesota in the 1990s.
Report Says Haskins Knew Of Academic Misconduct
New York Times
November 20, 1999
Clem Haskins, the former Minnesota coach, lied to investigators about ''widespread academic misconduct'' in his men's basketball program and also told his players to lie, a report concluded today.
Two of the university's top athletics officials resigned hours before the release of the report, which sharply criticized the athletic department, academic counseling supervisors and faculty members for failing to detect the improper assistance to players.
The scandal began in March when Jan Gangelhoff, a former tutor, said that she had done more than 400 papers for as many as 20 basketball players from 1993 to 1998. The report, prepared for the university by an outside law firm, substantiated most of Gangelhoff's claims.
As the report was released, Mark Yudof, the university president, announced the resignations of McKinley Boston, vice president for student development and athletics, and Mark Dienhart, the men's athletic director...
...While Yudof said he felt Boston and Dienhart were good men who simply managed badly, he had sharp words when asked about Haskins.
''I am angry,'' Yudof said. ''I feel I was lied to to my face, and that the problem was much deeper, and that this program was corrupt in almost any way one can think about it...''
...The 1,000-page report, with 1,500 more pages of supporting exhibits, was compiled by outside investigators hired by the university...
...Assignments, papers and exams were routinely written for at least 18 players, and academic policies were manipulated to keep players eligible. For five seasons starting in 1994-95, the team played with at least one player who was ineligible because of improper help, the report said.
''We conclude that between 1993 and 1998 there was systematic, widespread academic misconduct in the men's basketball program,'' the report said.
Yudof said, ''While nothing in the report demonstrates either Dr. Boston or Dr. Dienhart knew of the cheating, the facts showed they had strong reason to be suspicious'' of the academic counseling program. He added, ''Plenty of warning signs were sent.''
Here is some background to Boston's employment at Minnesota:
Alumnus Gets Post
New York Times
December 18, 1991
McKinley Boston, a University of Minnesota defensive tackle on the Gophers' last Big Ten football champion in 1967, returned to the university yesterday when he was named men's athletic director. He served as athletic director for the last three years at the University of Rhode Island. The Minnesota Board of Regents voted by 12-0 to approve Boston, who becomes the first black athletic director in the Big Ten. He received a five-year contract.
Here is a later entry on Boston's employment history:
After four years as Minnesota AD, [McKinley Boston] became vice president for student development and athletics. Oversees programs that deal with social, recreational, physical and mental needs of students. Before coming to Minnesota, was AD at Rhode Island since 1988. Before that, was AD at Kean College in New Jersey for two years and director of students and assistant head football coach at Montclair State. Played two years with the New York Giants and two in the CFL before retiring in 1971.
Adding to the smoke and fire, one of Boston's hiring decisions while at Minnesota resulted in this article:
Boston created job, hired an ex-colleague
Residence hall employee already had NCAA violations
September 24, 1999
St. Paul Pioneer Press
University of Minnesota vice president McKinley Boston created a special position in a residence hall last year and gave it to a former University of Wisconsin NCAA compliance director who resigned after breaking the rules he was supposed to help enforce.
Anthony Adams, who was among the more than a dozen Badgers officials who broke NCAA rules by improperly spending booster-club funds, was hired last October to a 10-month position that paid $35,000. He was given use of an apartment in Wilkins Hall, which houses some of the school's most prominent athletes.
The explanations given for Adams' hiring and his responsibilities while on the job are unclear.
In his first response to written questions submitted by the Pioneer Press, Boston said Adams, who left Wisconsin in 1997, was hired to help him gain "better understanding of the living/learning environment for student-athletes in the residence halls, especially students at risk (academically)."
In answering a second set of written questions, Boston stated that Adams' hiring was prompted by "instances of social misconduct in Wilkins Hall by student-athletes and non student-athletes."
University records indicate that the number of alleged rules violations, ranging from disorderly conduct to smoking, recorded by Wilkins Hall staff and known as "incident reports," more than tripled while Adams lived in the dorm, from 27 the year before he arrived, to 92.
Unlike many other residence halls, where an increase in incidents over the last five years is being blamed partly on the presence of more first-year students, Wilkins Hall, the smallest residential structure on campus, is reserved for juniors, seniors, and graduate students. It houses 126 students, half of whom are athletes, in one- and two-bedroom apartments.
Asked about the increase this week, Boston responded: "I have not attempted to measure or benchmark Mr. Adams' effectiveness based upon an evaluation of incident results."
Boston stated that he has known Adams for 11 years but did not know he had committed two secondary NCAA violations at Wisconsin as part of a scandal that resulted in the Badgers being placed on two years' probation last March for hundreds of booster-club spending violations, including cash payments to coaches.
Boston defended hiring Adams, saying secondary violations are like "parking tickets" and that he couldn't imagine anyone "who would have worked in college athletics for a period of time" not having committed a secondary violation.
Adams' violations consisted of twice using booster-club money to pay for golf outings, at a total cost of $100. Although the violations are considered secondary, the NCAA's Committee on Infractions stated the school received lessened penalties because it had already accepted Adams' resignation.
As compliance director at Wisconsin, Adams was responsible for ensuring that Badgers athletes and employees understood and were acting within the NCAA and Big Ten rules and that proper paperwork was filed. But the NCAA report stated that "there was a failure to monitor the athletics program" and that Wisconsin "either did not maintain or could not locate annual certification of compliance forms."
When Adams came to Minnesota, according to Boston, he reported to the academic counseling and student services director, and the department of housing and residential life. He was often seen with students in the Bierman athletic complex, and one employee in Boston's office said he thought Adams worked for the athletic department. His salary came out of the academic counseling budget.
But Adams, reached at Wilkins Hall before his position ended Aug. 31, said he never worked for academic counseling, where he occasionally attended staff meetings, or the men's or women's athletic departments. When asked to give his job title, he said: "I'm sitting at this desk. That's it." He did not return phone messages following that conversation.
Boston did not answer why Adams was paid $35,000 while live-in hall advisers hired for the 1999-2000 school year are paid no more than $30,000. Boston also did not answer a question about whether Adams had the advanced degree in counseling required of hall advisers this year.
In an earlier response, Boston said Adams' job description included these duties:
Encourage student-athlete involvement in campus and residence hall activities.
Encourage student-athletes in their academic and social transition to the resident halls.
Assist with and help Housing and Residential Life's diversity agenda initiatives.
Serve as a point of contact for student-athlete-related misconduct issues as they arise with hall security monitors.
Adams was also required to assist with special projects or complete other duties assigned to him by his superiors, who included Boston. Boston said Adams' input from his 10-month employment would be part of a report "on how to increase the effectiveness of student development programs."
Boston worked with Adams while the two were at the University of Rhode Island a decade ago. Boston, the Rams' athletic director from 1988-91, said "it was that familiarity and his availability that made him an attractive candidate for the position. Thus, I recruited him." Adams' title was "associate program director, student-athlete welfare," Boston said.
Adams' job at Minnesota was not posted to other candidates and no one else was interviewed for the position, Boston said. He added that university guidelines allow individuals to be hired without a search for a limited appointment period.
"I have known Anthony Adams for 11 years, and I have been an active mentor to him during this time," Boston wrote in one of his responses.
"I view mentoring as a professional obligation to get more people of color involved in athletic management and in higher education."
Boston has been under fire since the Pioneer Press in March reported allegations of alleged academic fraud by the men's basketball team. The Gophers face NCAA sanctions after preliminary findings from an internal investigation found "numerous, maybe even massive" amounts of academic fraud, according to President Mark Yudof.
Boston has maintained he was not aware of any wrongdoing...
Another perplexing Boston hiring decision also didn't work out so well:
Shocking commentary from McKinley Boston
Minneapolis Star Tribune
November 06, 1999
McKinley Boston's office is in Morrill Hall, which is in the middle of the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis campus. On a daily basis, then, Boston surely must see hundreds of people rushing about, conducting the business of a major university. So how is it that the university's vice president for student development and athletics can be so isolated from reality?
On Thursday, Boston came out of whatever mist he's been in and appeared before a University of Minnesota faculty committee, which has recommended sweeping leadership changes for the Minnesota athletic department. In addressing the faculty report, which would strip from him control of athletics, Boston read from a seven-page statement. A couple of sentences in one paragraph of the statement revealed how out of touch Boston is.
"Professionally, I'm at a point where I do not view this recommendation as a turf issue for me," Boston said. "But I can assure you the nature of the beast is that wherever it resides there will be three or four issues a year that will become significant and possibly embarrassing to the university. There are roughly 700 men and women student-athletes, over 70 coaches and hundreds of staff whose standard of conduct by working in athletics is held higher by the media than their peers or colleagues. . . ."
Here comes the jaw-dropping part:
"I'll offer you an example. When was the last time you saw a person who was arrested for solicitation on the front page of a major newspaper?" Boston asked, referring to the Star Tribune's coverage of athletic official Rufus Simmons' June arrest on charges of soliciting a prostitute. "That incident and other related stories, reflected the 'lightning rod' that is associated with major college athletics. . . ."
People who know him say Boston is a charming and capable man. Former Gov. Arne Carlson thought so much of Boston that when it appeared in 1995 that Boston, who was Minnesota's athletic director at the time, was going to take a job at Florida State University, Carlson pushed for the creation of the new vice presidential post, which called for a salary of $225,000.
But go back to those incredible comments Thursday. Remember, they were read from a statement, meaning Boston had taken time to contemplate what he was saying.
The story the Star Tribune ran on its front page on Aug. 20 wasn't about just any john. Simmons was cited on June 15 for soliciting a prostitute in Minneapolis. It turned out that Simmons previously had been cited for the same thing in 1991, and it also turned out that Simmons was the the subject of a sexual harassment claim against the university that was settled in 1988.
Did Simmons make the front page simply because he was an employee of the athletic department and therefore a lightning rod, as Boston said?
Until he retired on July 31, Simmons was an associate men's athletic director charged with running the Center for Student-Athlete Development. Boston, who came to the university as men's athletic director in 1991, put Simmons in charge of the center in 1993.
Among other things, Simmons was supposed to see to it that the athletes were sensitive to issues of sexual harassment and sexual violence. But Star Tribune reports showed that beyond his sexual problem, Simmons often was uncooperative in working with the organizations that were supposed to give athletes sensitivity training.
Remember, too, the university has been embarrassed and people have been hurt in the past dozen years by athletes who have been charged with rape and other forms of sexual violence.
How many assaults or instances of boorish behavior might have been prevented if Boston hadn't taken the attitude that stuff happens because the athletic department is big and it's in the public eye?
While the faculty committee was calling for massive athletic department change Thursday, the Student Judicial Affairs panel was calling for the university to hire an investigator independent of its police department to look into allegations of sexual violence, domestic violence and the cozy relationship between police and athletic department coaches and officials.
There was a third report, independent of the other two, that was issued amid less fanfare Thursday. The Minnesota Public Interest Research Group issued a study, "Sexual Harassment and Violence on Campus." We have almost become numb to the sort of numbers that filled the report: One in three women will be a victim of some sort of sexual assault, ranging from an unwanted pinch to rape. About 40 percent of the male students believe that people who complain about sexual harassment are simply overreacting to "expressions of normal sexual attraction."
The study makes it clear that students today are far more likely to know there are protective policies on campus than students 10 years ago were. But it's less clear if behaviors have substantially changed.
All in all, the study shows that colleges must spend more time teaching incoming students about sensitivity and law surrounding sexual behavior.
The depressing numbers in the report also show that the university needs vice presidents who act like leaders, not $225,000-a-year victims.
For those of you wishing to read a timeline of the NCAA violations and the resulting investigation involving Minnesota, here goes. Note that the St. Paul Pioneer Press won a Pulitzer Prize in 2000 for its reporting. From that newspaper:
March 28, 1999
ANALYZING THE POSITIONS
Vice president for Athletics and Student Development
Concern: Internal memos indicate Boston approved decision that made basketball’s Alonzo Newby the only academic counselor who reported directly to the athletic department. Former academic counseling director Elayne Donahue also says he ignored warnings of a potential problem.
Where he stands: Initial comments suggested he was distancing himself from Jan Gangelhoff’s allegations, saying that only Newby should have known who was tutoring the players. Has been quiet since.
What’s at stake: Even if he keeps his job, the allegations and investigation will be an embarrassing bump in a long career in athletics...
CHAIN OF EVENTS
A timeline of the investigation into allegations of academic fraud by its men’s basketball players.
Feb. 27: Jan Gangelhoff turns over to a Pioneer Press reporter almost 300 documents from her tenure as an office manager in the academic counseling unit and as a tutor. The documents, which she says contain course work she did for players, are downloaded from her computer and discs at a Danbury, Wis., cafe.
March 1: Russ Archambault becomes the first former player to confirm that Gangelhoff did course work for him.
March 6: After an analysis of the documents revealed at least 225 examples of purported course work that Gangelhoff said she did for players, the Pioneer Press finds evidence of duplication among papers allegedly turned in by different players, including identical typographical errors.
March 8: The Pioneer Press asks the university’s sports information office to set up a meeting with Vice President for athletics and student development McKinley Boston, athletics Director Mark Dienhart, basketball coach Clem Haskins, basketball academic counselor Alonzo Newby and NCAA compliance director Chris Schoemann. Reporters also attempt to contact all former players and coaches implicated by Gangelhoff. That evening, Newby calls Gangelhoff, demanding an explanation for her decision to go public, and telling her Haskins has learned of the story and is livid.
March 9: The team’s traveling party leaves for Seattle, the site of its NCAA tournament game, without speaking to the Pioneer Press. The allegations are detailed to university President Mark Yudof, who says the school has called in legal counsel. By the end of the night, Haskins and Boston speak to the Pioneer Press.
March 10: Gangelhoff’s allegations are published, including claims that Haskins paid her $3,000 to tutor in spring 1998. Gov. Jesse Ventura and hundreds of angry callers accuse the paper of timing the publication to maximize publicity and hurt the team’s NCAA chances.
March 11: After meeting with the four current players implicated by Gangelhoff, the university suspends them from the game as Boston acknowledges "prima facie evidence’’ of NCAA violations. The Gophers lose to Gonzaga.
March 12: The Pioneer Press reports former academic counselor Rick Marsden stated in an affidavit as part of his sexual harassment lawsuit against the school that in 1986 a basketball coach asked him to do course work for players. He said the coach was Haskins.
March 14: The Pioneer Press reports that six years ago a faculty committee urged the school to crack down on athletic department officials’ intrusion into academic counseling and tutoring for athletes. The report was ignored.
March 19: Gangelhoff says the $3,000 came from Haskins through an intermediary, later identified as Newby.
March 19: The university hires Bond, Schoeneck & King of Overland, Kan., and a Minneapolis law firm to handle the investigation, which will take at least six months.
March 21: The Pioneer Press reports that Haskins once signed a glowing letter of recommendation for Gangelhoff, praising her ability to perform "above what is required of her.’’
March 22: Haskins issues a denial described by his attorney as "all-inclusive.’’
March 23: Gangelhoff says Haskins knew she was doing course work for players and advised her about how to make it appear authentic.
March 24: The Pioneer Press reports a graduate student’s allegation that she wrote a class paper in 1995 for player Courtney James during her first tutoring session. She said when she told Newby and Haskins that she would not do it again, Newby said she would not be offered a contract to continue tutoring.
April 1: Gangelhoff supplies the Pioneer Press with 54 additional examples of alleged course work she said she did for eight of the players implicated earlier.
April 4: The Pioneer Press reports Newby requested and was granted disability leave from his job as the team's academic counselor.
April 8: A computer analysis by the Pioneer Press reveals that the Gophers had the worst basketball graduation rate in the Big Ten, 23 percent, for players recruited between 1983-91.
April 9: Gangelhoff meets with investigators and clears one player, Jermaine Stanford, of cheating, but not of possible NCAA violations. She brings more than 350 examples of course work she said she did, having found 90 more earlier in the week.
April 14: A 20-page report by former academic counseling director Elayne Donahue obtained by the Pioneer Press alleges that the program intervened with faculty members on behalf of several Gophers players, some of whom needed help to remain eligible.
April 16: The Pioneer Press reports Haskins' contract allows for a broad interpretation of his responsibility and would make it difficult for him to be fired without receiving a substantial payment.
April 28: The Pioneer Press reports that the university failed to report to the NCAA a cheating incident involving former player Kevin Loge, even though Loge and Gangelhoff said they told Chris Schoemann, the university's director of NCAA compliance, about the incident.
An extensive analysis of documents obtained by the Pioneer Press finds that star former player Bobby Jackson was awarded credits for a course earlier than school rules allow, was never enrolled in basic courses he needed to graduate, such as math and a foreign language, and once received an "A'' in a directed study course in which the only assignment was to type the word "basketball'' into a database and list the articles that appeared. The paper also reports that a member of the Golden Dunkers has been charged with running a bookmaking operation.
May 25: Minneapolis black leaders say they believe media coverage of the scandal is racially biased and cite a Pioneer Press editorial cartoon titled "The Plantation'' as an example of prejudice. Editors of both newspapers deny the charge.
May 27: Newby's lawyer, Ron Rosenbaum, announces his client will not talk to investigators looking into the allegations of academic fraud.
June 10: The Pioneer Press reports not only that a week earlier the U began negotiations with Haskins' lawyer, ostensibly to seek a settlement that would remove him as coach, but also that the Board of Regents would meet that morning to discuss terms of a potential buy-out.
June 11: The Pioneer Press reports that Haskins, using a personal check, paid for Gangelhoff to go to Hawaii, where the team was playing in a tournament.
June 15: Rosenbaum says Newby may be willing to talk to investigators in return for money or a severance package.
June 25: Haskins leaves the university, agreeing to a $1.5 million parting of the ways. In a series of tough and revealing comments, University of Minnesota President Mark Yudof left no doubt about why Haskins' 13-year tenure as Gopher men's basketball coach had come to an abrupt end: Convincing evidence exists of "numerous, numerous, maybe even massive incidents of academic misconduct'' in the men's basketball program, the president says.
July 25: Dan Monson, formerly of Gonzaga University in Washington, is hired to a seven-year, nearly $500,000-per-year contract as the Gophers top men's basketball coach.
Oct. 26: University of Minnesota President Mark Yudof announces a one-year ban on postseason play and puts the team on probation for an undetermined amount of time. He also says to expect more sanctions.
Oct. 27: The Pioneer Press reports that all 11 Gophers head coaches delivered a letter to Yudof in support of Dienhart and other department officials, but not Boston.
Oct. 29: Former academic counselor Alonzo Newby, in his first public statement, admits he did not "play by the rules'' and "allowed himself to give in to an administration's desire to win at any cost.''
Nov. 5: A special student and faculty subcommittee recommends eliminating the position of vice president of student affairs and athletics, the job currently held by Boston. The committee also recommends that academic counseling and student services report to a provost who reports directly to Yudof and that the athletic director report to a special assistant to the president.
Nov. 11: Athletic director Mark Dienhart faults Haskins publicly for the first time, telling the full student and faculty Senate committee that Haskins was a "power coach'' who only "answered to God.'' Also, the committee recommends the earlier subcommittee recommendations calling for major changes in the administration of the athletic department, to further separate it from academics.
Nov. 16: State Sen. Cal Larson, R-Fergus Falls, calls for Boston and Dienhart to step down. He also sends a letter to the NCAA, in which he calls Yudof's actions so far "inadequate and misguided.''
Nov. 19: The university releases a 1,000-page report and 1,500 pages of supporting documents from the university's investigation. Yudof also announces his "action plan'' for dealing with the crisis.
Here is a link to even more of this material:
Here is Minnesota President Mark Yudof as part of his remarks during a news conference after the scandal broke and the investigations investigated: "...While nothing in the report demonstrates that either Dr. Boston or Dr. Dienhart knew of the cheating, the facts show that they had strong reason to be suspicious of the operation of the basketball counseling program. Plenty of warning signals were sent. Despite signals of irregularities, no adequate investigation was ever launched. Although the circumstances may have been difficult, given the power-coach culture surrounding Clem Haskins, I believe both Dr. Dienhart and Dr. Boston missed opportunities to act aggressively, particularly after I became president in July 1997..."
To be fair, Yudof also offered praise to Boston and Dienhart along with delineating the missed opportunities to explore concerns further.
Switching locations and ignoring the recent legal entanglements of several current members of the New Mexico State men's basketball team, there was Boston's Orwellian double-talk (how else can it be described?) surrounding the sordid matter of Tyrone Nelson and his doofus-like robbery of a pizza deliverer.
Nelson dismissed after no contest plea in robbery charges
July 31, 2007
LAS CRUCES, N.M. -- Senior forward Tyrone Nelson was dismissed from the New Mexico State basketball team Tuesday after he pleaded no contest to charges stemming from an August 2006 robbery of a pizza delivery man.
Nelson, 21, was set to be tried this week on charges of robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery and bribery. Under a plea deal with prosecutors, he avoided a trial and possible jail time.
"I have made some bad decisions that I am saddened that I have to live with," Nelson told state District Judge Stephen Bridgforth as he entered his plea. "I'm asking for a chance to further my career as a student at New Mexico State."
Bridgforth ordered Nelson to serve four years' probation and perform 100 hours of community service. Nelson would have faced more than seven years in prison had he been tried and found guilty of the charges.
Nelson was arrested days after a Domino's Pizza delivery man was struck on the side of the head and robbed of a pizza and hot wings on Aug. 22, 2006, at an apartment complex near campus.
Athletics director McKinley Boston testified Tuesday as a character witness on Nelson's behalf, but the court decided not to accept a proposal for Nelson's conditional discharge, which would have allowed him to participate on the team under a behavior contract.
Disappointed with the decision, Boston said he believes basketball would have provided the motivation for Nelson to complete the academic credits he needs to graduate.
School officials said Nelson was dismissed from the team because he violated the student-athlete code of conduct, which calls for permanent dismissal from the team following a conviction, a guilty plea or a no contest plea to a violent felony or serious drug offense.
"Tyrone's no contest plea was not an admission of guilt but it does identify him as a convicted felon and as athletic department policy states he will not be a member of the New Mexico State University basketball team," Boston said.
Boston gives Nelson a run for his money -- er, pizza in this case -- in utter nonsense. Nelson lied to Boston and lied to then Coach Reggie Theus when asked early on about his involvement in the robbery yet Boston chants about Nelson good character and pleads that Nelson needs to remain representing New Mexico State in athletics in order to have the motivation to finish his degree. As Dr. Phil sometimes offers when a guest offers a version of something not even remotely connected to reality: "Do I have stupid written on my forehead?"
After Nelson was initially charged, a charge of bribery was later added when it was determined by the police that Nelson offered a neighbor drugs and money to take the fall for him. There was no word if the neighbor was anywhere close to 6-9 in height nor his nationality. But here's a Boston quote about the added-on bribery charge, encapsulating his approach to the entire matter: "We hope all of our student-athletes are model citizens, but that's not reality. I'm disappointed and coach (Reggie Theus) is disappointed," Boston said. "But at this point, we'll just let the legal system play itself out."
Then there was this group and the work they performed soon after the initial robbery and conspiracy charges. They apparently never got back together when the bribery charge was added later:
The Associated Press
August 30, 2006
LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) -New Mexico State forward Tyrone Nelson was reinstated to the basketball team Tuesday, just days after he he had been suspended pending an investigation into allegations that he robbed a pizza delivery man.
A committee that looks into allegations of student-athlete misconduct met Monday and recommended that athletic director McKinley Boston reinstate Nelson immediately.
"On a review of the reports, the committee felt that there was no evidence that Tyrone (Nelson) was involved in the crimes committed and thus recommended to Dr. Boston that Nelson be reinstated to the men's basketball program," said the committee's chairman, Charley Johnson...
Now it's not clear what reports this committee was provided with or what the reports contained but why was one simple yet incriminating fact overlooked or ignored? That being the pizza deliverer was at a Las Cruces shopping mall in the days after the robbery and noticed someone in the vicinity who he thought looked a lot like the person who robbed him. The pizza deliverer then used his cell phone to dial up the phone number (apparently he had saved it) provided by the individual who originally ordered the food.
Guess what happened next?
Tyrone Nelson -- the individual standing near the pizza deliverer at the mall -- then answered his cell phone.