Posted on: February 29, 2012 7:18 pm

NCAA looking into Shabazz Muhammad recruitment

By Jeff Goodman, Gary Parrish

Shabazz Muhammad is the top-ranked recruit in the nation.

Muhammad's recruitment, however, has drawn the attention of the NCAA - which has spoken to his father, Ron Holmes, about the family's relationship with a pair of financial advisors.

His list of finalists reads as follows: UCLA, Kentucky, Duke, UNLV, Kansas and USC.

You can read the exclusive story here:
Posted on: December 19, 2011 9:22 am
Edited on: December 19, 2011 9:33 am

Easy to confuse Pac-12 with a mid-major league

By Jeff Goodman

There's no East Coast bias here. The Pac-12 stinks. Plain and simple. 

"No excuses," one head coach in the league texted me. "You're right." 

There's truly no defense for what's gone on out west thus far. The league has been absolutely manhandled. 

Sunday was just another day in the park for the Pac-12, one that saw South Dakota State pummel Washington in Seattle and then watched Virginia go out to Oregon and take care of the Ducks. 

A day prior, there was no shame in Gonzaga working over Arizona in Seattle. But what about Northern Arizona - with a 70-year-old interim head coach -- knocking off Herb Sendek's Arizona State Sun Devils?  Or Georgia going west and beating USC at the Galen Center?

The league doesn't have a single victory against a Top 25 team. In fact, it's nearly impossible to find the most impressive win notched by anyone in the league. It's been so pitiful that a case can be made for Oregon State's come-from-behind win in New Jersey against a young Texas team as the flagship win for the Pac-12 thus far. 

This could be a two-bid league. Probably should be a two-bid league. 

We thought, entering the season, there were four teams that were capable of making a legitimate run to the NCAA tournament. Maybe even a handful - if you want to include an Oregon team that was thrown together due to desperation. 

UCLA appeared formidable on paper, but we quickly learned that one player can truly wreck a season (see: Reeves Nelson). Arizona isn't nearly as talented as some thought, especially with talented freshman Josiah Turner refusing to buy into Sean Miller's approach early in the season. 

Oregon's Dana Altman has already lost his top freshman, Jabari Brown, and is now reliant on a bunch of second-chance guys (i.e. Devoe Joseph, Tony Woods) and Washington, the most talented team in the league, earned its most impressive win against UC Santa Barbara. California was blasted by Missouri and also lost on the road to what everyone figured was a rebuilding San Diego State club. 

Stanford has been the most impressive team in the league thus far with a 9-1 record, but the Cardinal still hasn't notched a victory against an NCAA tourney team. The loss was impressive, against top-ranked Syracuse in New York, but the most significant wins have come against N.C. State and Oklahoma State - a pair of teams likely headed to the NIT. 

Don't even get me started on teams like Arizona State (4-6), Washington State (which lost to UC Riverside), USC (which already has seven losses), Colorado (which has lost to Wyoming and Colorado State) and a dismal Utah team. None will even be on the bubble for the CBI or CollegeInsider.com. 

Listen, I want to defend the Pac-12. I graduated from a school in the league. 

But I'd lose all credibility in doing so. 

The league is currently ranked ninth in the RPI, behind the A-10 and Missouri Valley and barely in front of the WCC and C-USA.  

However, if there's one positive spin I can put on the Pac-12's misery, it's the fact that this league is up for grabs, a complete toss-up right now. It's difficult to imagine a scenario in which the regular-season champ doesn't get an at -large bid to go dancing - and obviously, the tourney winner gets an automatic berth to the NCAA tournament. 

That means everyone in the league still has a shot. 

Well, maybe not quite everyone.

Posted on: November 29, 2011 1:24 pm
Edited on: November 29, 2011 1:28 pm

USC loses Dewayne Dedmon to a stress fracture

By Jeff Borzello

It’s been a long seven games for USC this season, as the Trojans have started 3-4, including an embarrassing 42-36 loss to Cal Poly.

One of the bright spots has been the flashes sophomore 7-footer Dewayne Dedmon has shown during his first year with the program. Just as he was heating up, though, the news came on Tuesday that he will be out 4-to-8 weeks with a stress fracture in his right foot.

According to Baxter Holmes of the Los Angeles Times, Dedmon began feeling pain last week and underwent an MRI on Monday. Stress fractures usually take at least six weeks to heal, a USC trainer told Holmes.

Dedmon had been inconsistent at times this season, but he was coming off a 15-point, eight-rebound, three-steal performance in a win over South Carolina on Saturday. He went for 16 points, eight rebounds and three blocks in the season opener as well, and reached double-figures one other time.

Through seven games, Dedmon led the team in blocks, was third in scoring and second in rebounding. He was averaging 7.7 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game.

For a Trojans team that needed all the help they could get, this doesn’t bode well for their Pac-12 chances. Maurice Jones and Aaron Fuller have been solid scoring the ball this season, but there’s not much in the way of replacements for Dedmon. Former Texas A&M transfer James Blasczyk is 7-foot-1 and provides minutes, but he’s not productive.

Photos: US Presswire

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: October 27, 2011 9:49 am
Edited on: October 27, 2011 10:07 am

This is a system problem, not a Beasley problem

By Gary Parrish

The text message came early Thursday from a longtime college basketball coach.

Here's what it said:

"We have kids going to college who don't want to go to college. If the NBA doesn't want them, then the D-League should be set up for them. But the sad fact is that these kids are getting paid more money to go to college for a year than to play in the D-League."

The text was an obvious reaction to the Washington Post's story on Michael Beasley's lawsuit against his former summer coach (Curtis Malone) and agent (Joel Bell) that has already muddied the reputations of the summer coach and agent and seems likely of vacating Beasley's one season at Kansas State. As my colleague Matt Norlander pointed out, Beasley and his mother have basically acknowledged receiving extra benefits throughout high school and college. Assuming the NCAA follows up, it's hard to imagine a scenario that doesn't involve the NBA veteran being ruled retroactively ineligible just like former Memphis star Derrick Rose was ruled retroactively ineligible and former USC star O.J. Mayo was ruled retroactively ineligible. In other words, the top three picks from the 2008 NBA Draft -- each of whom was a one-and-done prospect -- will eventually be wiped from the official record books. They are celebrated recruits turned permanent stains.

That, my friends, is a system problem.

And it should be noted that the NCAA didn't catch any of them.

The SAT security testing agency caught Rose cheating on his SAT, Yahoo! Sports exposed Mayo, and Beasley basically outed himself in a lawsuit that highlights the underbelly of high-major recruiting. The NCAA initially cleared them all to compete as freshmen, somebody else later discovered a problem, and now Memphis and USC have 2007-08 seasons that don't count, and Kansas State will join them in time. These are messy situations but hardly surprises because the system in place creates such issues.

Elite basketball prospects are commodities well before they're even recruitable student-athletes according to NCAA rules, meaning agents get their fingers in them long before college coaches. They are compromised early on and in many cases have no desire or real need to attend college. But the NBA's one-and-done rule essentially forces them to campus where they have to pretend to be amateurs, and, let's be honest, they're almost never amateurs by the NCAA's definition. Still, there's lots of pressure on college coaches to enroll the best prospects, and so they do even when they know it's risky. Then the coaches, agents, players and, some would say, the NCAA are all left to cross their fingers and hope nobody gets caught because part of the allure of college basketball is the idea that these are just college kids playing for the love of the school.

But it's all horsesh-t.

Complete and total horsesh-t.

The top three picks of the 2008 NBA Draft are proof.

We'll continue to add names to the list until the system is overhauled.

Posted on: October 20, 2011 12:48 pm
Edited on: October 20, 2011 1:50 pm

J.T. Terrell goes from Wake Forest to USC

By Jeff Borzello

USC has found an interesting pipeline for new players: Wake Forest.

First, it was former Demon Deacons forward Ari Stewart deciding to transfer to the Trojans. Now, it’s J.T. Terrell.

“4 everyone that wants 2 kno my nxt move…I’m now officially a USC Trojan!” Terrell tweeted on Wednesday night.

Terrell, a 6-foot-3 sophomore guard, averaged 11.1 points per game last season, starting 18 games and knocking down nearly 36 percent from 3-point land. He has tremendous range on his jumper, and will join an experienced Trojans team next season.

Wake Forest announced on September 5 that Terrell was leaving the school after being arrested for DWI.

“Due to circumstances surrounding his arrest, along with other recent indicators, it is obvious to J.T. and his family that J.T. suffers from a serious medical condition which requires immediate attention,” Mike Grace, Terrell’s attorney, said in a statement at the time.

With Stewart, Terrell and starting point guard Jio Fontan all sitting out the upcoming season, expect USC to make a move towards the top of the Pac-12 standings in 2012-13.

Photo:  US Presswire
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: October 13, 2011 1:36 pm

USC's Dedmon out short-term with fractured hand

By Matt Norlander

Southern Cal has taken on as much injury and roster depletion as anyone heading into the season.

Wednesday the school announced sophomore forward Dewayne Dedmon "suffered a non-displaced fracture of his right hand, second metacarpal neck (just above the knuckle of his index finder) during unofficial practice yesterday (Oct. 11)."

That means it was most likely broken during a team scrimmage or pickup game of sorts, since coaches cannot, by rule, oversee their players during practice until Friday, Oct. 14. Dedmon's expected to be out for at least two to three weeks, meaning USC will start its season without any clear vision on who is going to supply the offense. Jio Fontan's ACL injury two months ago was the biggest blow to the team this offseason.

"The treatment for Dedmon's injury will consist of immobilizing the finger for two to three weeks," the school said. "Dedmon will be fitted with a cast tomorrow which will allow him to practice defensive and non-contract drills without re-injury due to accidental contact."

Dedmon is a junior college transfer from Antelope Valley College who came to USC last winter.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: August 18, 2011 6:57 pm
Edited on: August 18, 2011 6:58 pm

Jio Fontan tears ACL, will miss entire season

By Jeff Borzello

After Jio Fontan became eligible last season following his transfer from Fordham, USC went 13-10 and made a run to the NCAA tournament. The Trojans had wins over Tennessee, UCLA, Arizona, Washington, sneaking into the Big Dance as a No. 11 seed.

Head coach Kevin O’Neill was looking forward to having a full season of the 6-foot- point guard from New Jersey.

Unfortunately, Fontan will miss the entire season after an MRI on his left knee revealed a torn ACL. Baxter Holmes of the Los Angeles Times said that Fontan will have surgery on the injured knee in the next couple of days.

Fontan suffered the injury during the first half of USC’s exhibition game against Mogi das Cruzes on Tuesday. Originally, X-rays were negative and USC called it a left knee sprain.

The matchup against Mogi das Cruzes was the third game of a 10-day trip to Brazil for the Trojans; Fontan had scored 57 points in the first two games. He was expected to anchor a young roster that included eight returnees. Fontan averaged 10.5 points and 3.9 assists last season, shooting nearly 38 percent from 3-point range.

In Fontan’s place, sophomore Maurice Jones will need to step up in the backcourt. Jones played well before Fontan became eligible last season, scoring double-figures six times, including a 29-point performance against Santa Clara. Junior college transfers Greg Allen and Alexis Moore will be counted on to make immediate impacts.

Photo: US Presswire

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: August 17, 2011 10:40 am
Edited on: August 17, 2011 10:41 am

USC's Jio Fontan sprains knee in Brazil

By Matt Norlander

One of the key players for USC having a successful season is Jio Fontan.

Here's to hoping his latest injury isn't anything that will linger.

The senior point guard reportedly sprained his left knee in an exhibition game in Brazil Tuesday. The Trojans added insult to injury by losing by 11 to Mogi das Cruzes. According to ESPNLosAngeles.com, the X-ray on the knee came back negative, which is great, but the MRI results won't be known for a few days. Fontan will undergo an MRI in Brazil Wednesday, which also happens to be a travel day for the team, as it will leave from Sao Paulo and head to Rio de Janeiro for more exhibition games Friday.

From ESPNLosAngeles.com:

"I'm always worried about any injury," coach Kevin O'Neill said by phone from Sao Paulo late Tuesday. "But we won't know anything until tomorrow."

USC was up by six at the time Fontan went out of the game, but the Trojans quickly fell behind without their captain and senior leader. Forward Aaron Fuller also missed the game with an illness, so USC was forced to play walk-on Eric Strangis extensive minutes and work newcomers Greg Allen, Alexis Moore and Byron Wesley into the rotation.

Fontan, who played his first season with the Trojans last year after transferring from Fordham, had a 25.8 assist rate in 2010-11. That's pretty solid. He averaged 10.5 points and was a 38-percent shooter from 3-point range.

Category: NCAAB
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