Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Fresno Bee's Matt James on FSU men's basketball

Matt James pulls no punches in his blog entries and here's his latest take on Fresno State men's basketball and what has recently transpired:

Matt James
Fresno Bee
July 16, 2008

Bulldog basketball blues

I am still not exactly sure what goes on in college basketball recruiting. I think that people who do college basketball recruiting don't even know what goes on in college basketball recruiting. I suspect that it is very, very slimy. You know when you accidentally hold on to the release button on your fishing pole for too long and the hook goes slamming straight down into the edge of the river and you drag it out along with 17 pounds of seaweed? Pretty sure that's still big-time college basketball recruiting. Except with extra sludge and maybe a piranha on the hook that flies out and bites you on the eyeball.

I am referring, at least in part, to the case of Reggie Moore, the point guard from Seattle who notified the Fresno State coaching staff just before June 1 that he wanted out of his letter of intent to play for the Bulldogs. Moore was the supposed prize of a four-player freshmen recruiting class for Fresno State. He was rated the 34th-best point guard in the nation for the class of 2008 by someone who is probably never seen Reggie Moore in person. My column about the ordeal ran in Wednesday's paper, where I lamented about how this was the last thing Steve Cleveland's program needed right now. It's already dealing with unfair NCAA sanctions* and Dwight O'Neil's domestic disagreement** and Bryan Harvey's unsure status and the fact that if Harvey doesn't make next year's squad, that leaves exactly one senior (O'Neil) and one junior (Sylvester Seay) on scholarship. That could change if Cleveland signs a junior college transfer with one of his two remaining scholarships, but you get the point. It is not good to enter a season where your entire roster has exactly 60 starts*** at any level of college basketball. (Three asterisks in one paragraph could be a new world record. Let's get to them.)

*I could go on for many days about the stupidity of NCAA rules and penalties, but this example is perfect. Fresno State is losing four hours of practice time per week and one scholarship next season because it's APR (Academic Progress Rate) score wasn't high enough for the '06-'07 season. But the NCAA takes that scholarship away from the average number of scholarships a program has used over the last four seasons, as to equally penalize universities who don't fund the same number of scholarships. In other words, reducing a school's total number of available scholarships from 13 to 12, doesn't hurt much if it only funds 10 anyway. But since Fresno State had been penalized so much in the past for various other transgressions, it had only averaged 11 scholarships the last four seasons, so it's total number of scholarships for next season was reduced from 11 to 10, even though it had planned to finally have the full allotment of 13. You could of course argue that if it had stayed out of trouble in the first place, Fresno State wouldn't be in this situation. Sure. But you absolutely, positively, without a doubt, have to see that the Bulldogs were double-penalized for old violations. That's just wrong. So Fresno State appealed and lost. The NCAA couldn't see past a technicality, apparently. The excruciating part is that the team might not have gotten penalized at all had the APR score simply been an improvement on the year before. (The NCAA gives a reprieve for APR improvement, even if it's still a sub-standard score. Just ask the Fresno State softball team.) So if the '05-'06 Fresno State men's basketball APR score had simply been a little worse, Fresno State might have 13 scholarships. Instead, it has 10. Go figure that one out and try not to put your head through a double-pane window. On a bright note, though, the Bulldogs don't have to practice as much...

Go here for the remainder.

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