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Anthony DiLoreto to Utah State

August 26, 2009 3 comments

Being tall really does get you a chance, as stated earlier: Anthony DiLoreto, famous nationwide for participating in a botched bank robbery (and stealing a tank of gas for said robbery), has a scholarship from the Utah State University Aggies and Coach Stew Morrill.

If he’s good, we’re going to get those gauzy-toned ESPN specials with gentle piano/ organ music, a downplay of what the player did, and how he’s on the right track. I suppose everyone should get a second chance… but I do feel like there are some very hypocritical moralists out there who will say DiLoreto “paid his debt” or “deserves a second chance” or “will be better because he’s living with Mormons” just because he plays for Utah State. Armed robbery is much worse than:

  1. affairs
  2. cheating on one’s SAT’s
  3. and possibly, worse than stealing laptops, like AJ Price and Marcus Williams of U Conn.

Just so you know where I stand.

Official press release from Utah State; coverage from Deseret News.

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A Few Thoughts on John Calipari

August 21, 2009 1 comment

(Pico’s note: this is by Raycroft, the head and Reverend of the Church of Bracketology.)

What a strange couple of weeks in College Hoops have just passed. I am not even going to touch the Pitino story.  We will save that for another day.

But, I do have a serious gripe with the John Calipari/Memphis situation and as the Reverend of The First Church of Bracketology, it is hard for me to just sit back and be quiet. (And, thanks to The East Coast Bias for providing me the forum.)

All I hear from people, time and time again, is how John Calipari is dirty and it is ‘only a matter of time’ before it catches up to him. It’s a simple thought because in these times of steroids and hanging chads, there is a natural skepticism from anyone when someone the other side excels to the top.

John Calipari has coached two Final Four teams and both times they have been vacated.  That’s right, Memphis too.  See, it’s happening again.  But, what is he guilty of? What has he done wrong?  What rules has he broken?

…I’m still waiting.

Exactly.  According to the NCAA, absolutely nothing.

In the case of UMass, it was Marcus Camby who took money from an agent, forcing the NCAA to retroactively declare him ineligible thus vacating their Final Four and their wins. Honestly, anyone that knows college sports knows that coaches sometimes break the rules to recruit a player – which may involve money – but a coach is never going to suggest that his player break the rules freely on his own.  If Cal knew anything about the Camby taking money from an agent beforehand, it would be to advise him against it because he knows the repercussions.  And, if he knew about it after the fact, he certainly would not blow the whistle. The argument that Cal was behind that is ridiculous Roveian spin. I have argued this many times with the Barstool Pundits I have met over time.  It goes a little something like this:

BP: Well, you know he know he was paying Camby anyway.

Me: I don’t believe that.

BP: Come on, we all know that.

Me: Really, What evidence do you have?

BP: You just know it.

Wow, so simple. We have many lawyers who are members of the Church of Bracketology, and I’m sure that none of them would even think of walking into to a court room with that as his or her case (I like to believe that my friends are a little bit intelligent.)   I have not seen any evidence to make that case, so until then I do not believe that Cal was involved with Camby’s incident.  But, I will also admit that it is possible that Cal has some violated rules to get where is. I am not going to just ‘know that’ because he seems to be very very good at his job.  I think I am the only person who ever asked the question, “Could he just be that good?”

With Memphis going down this week, the Barstool Pundits have now made their case, so they think.  Seriously, that tells you something when the same coach has another Final Four vacated for playing an ineligible player.  However, once you dig into the case, unlike the UMass case, which was pretty straight forward, you find some major problems with how the NCAA handled it. First, the NCAA Clearinghouse ruled Derrek Rose eligible to play by NCAA rules. Calipari started him. Then the NCAA says his SAT scores were ruled invalid, thus making him ineligible.  When Memphis questioned the NCAA Infractions Committee because the NCAA Clearinghouse made the error, the Infractions Committee said the Clearinghouse couldn’t be trusted to be accurate.  Really??  They are the same people!  There is so much more to the Rose case too which screams of incompetence, it is amazing that this got as far as it did without a smoking gun.  But, that is another story.

Despite what the Barstool Pundits believe, in both the UMass and Memphis situations, the NCAA did not rule that John Calipari committed any infractions.  Therefore he is not punished, so the NCAA had each school’s Final Four vacated.

The question still stands – Is he that good?  There is no doubt that he is ‘that good’ of game coach, ‘that good’ of an ambassador to the community and the media.  But, is he ‘that good’ of a recruiter to land top players at little schools.  Or, is he just ‘that good’ at hiding it all; the Ronald Reagan of college hoops, which nothing sticks to?  Since my agenda is to enjoy college hoops and not rip people down without evidence because they ‘seem shady’, I will believe the first one.

Reverend M.J. Raycroft

The First Church of Bracketology

www.churchofbracketology.com

I highly suggest reading two stories:

1. Matt Vautour’s (UMass beat writer) article about vacating Final Fours:

http://gazettenet.com/2009/08/21/ncaa-vacating039-penalties-have

2. Mike Decourcy (College Hoops correspondent to Sporting News) article about how Memphis should not get penalized:

http://www.sportingnews.com/nba/article/2009-08-20/ncaa-let-rose-play-so-why-does-memphis-have-pay

Chandler leaving Rutgers basketball

August 18, 2009 Comments off

Adam Zagoria, the Newark Star Ledger, and the Courier Journal all report that Corey Chandler‘s time with the Rutgers Scarlet Knights basketball team is over. From the Courier Journal:

The mercurial 6-foot-2 guard, who was supposed to be the cornerstone recruit for Fred Hill’s Scarlet Knights, was dismissed from the program on Tuesday for violating team rules.

Sources close to the program said multiple missteps by Chandler led to the move.

Beset by disciplinary problems as a freshman and sophomore, Chandler appeared poised to transfer in March but changed his mind. Undoubtedly talented, with Big East-quality explosiveness, he had trouble finding a role on the court and struggled to take care of the basketball. His departure leaves the Scarlet Knights thinner and less talented at guard, but questions lingered as to where Chandler would play after junior college point guard James Beatty committed in July.

Well, that clears up the playing time issue at Rutgers, where JUCO James Beatty will likely start at the point guard and Mike Rosario will hold down the 2-guard position, with Mike Coburn backing up possibly both spots. Obviously Chandler wasn’t going to be happy with even less time; he was a heralded recruit when he signed with Fred Hill‘s team.

But the efficiency numbers he has posted… well, as I said in the blog’s early team-by-team preview, imagining Corey Chandler will become a superstar will leave you with unfulfilled fantasies.

Really, the Scarlet Knights might be better off without him. Last year he shot 26% on his three-pointers, and 36% on his shots inside the arc. For a solid athlete, that number inside screams “bad shot selection,” and watching him on television, he sometimes just jacked up shots. He took 28% of the team’s shots while he was on the floor, with an effective field goal percentage (field goal percentage weighted for three pointers) of 37.3%. On the positive side, Chandler dished out some assists, and stole the ball once a game… but he also gave the ball away on more than 26% of his possessions.

There is probably a good shooter in there, as he shot 72% from the free throw line. But he didn’t get to the line enough. A player is more than his shooting. But when a baller shoots that much, that kind of inefficiency further buries his or her team. Perhaps a change of scenery and coaching will help him; but as it stands, maybe the Rutgers staff should wipe the sweat from their brow and work in Pat Jackson and the walk-on Mike Kuhn at guard.

Rob Thomas on Outside the Lines on ESPN

August 11, 2009 4 comments

Coming next in the player review series will be Rob Thomas. But today – a photo set from St. John’s sports of an Outside the Lines piece ESPN will be airing on Rob, focusing on his past (it seems) being homeless at times Uptown.

I’ll be looking out for the airing on ESPN and will keep y’all updated.

Wrong place, wrong time, he’s still tall: on Anthony DiLoreto

July 28, 2009 3 comments

You may have seen that CBS’ Gary Parrish wrote that Anthony DiLoreto is out of jail, facing two felony charges… all while playing with an AAU team in a tournament in Las Vegas, and has a scholarship offer from the Rick Majerus and Saint Louis University.

Anthony DiLoretoYou may also know (possibly from this blog or others) that Anthony DiLoreto was the getaway driver in a bank robbery in Wisconsin, near to where DiLoreto lives in Minnesota. This was in the summer (2008) before the lanky center was to report to the Cal Poly campus. Way to party your summer away.

Now I’d like to say I’m all for second chances. But I think it’s suspect that athletes, at times, find themselves in the “wrong place, wrong time” like Tyreke Evans who happened to be the getaway driver after a fatal shooting but didn’t know what was going on. At least there is some deniability there. But in DiLoreto’s case… this is certainly less deniable, unless there are some facts we don’t know about.

And does it matter? His compass is obviously off, and not by a little; this is no hormonal aggressive teenager abusing a woman. This is no friend/ homeboy with a beef that erupts into a fight or even a shooting. Those things are wrong, those actions are illegal, but they happen enough that when crimes happen, a person can be allowed to come up with caveats, hike down from the moral high ground, and cheer on that player. Much, much respect to the people who don’t; but I understand the line of thinking.

But a bank robbery? Saying no one got hurt when one party had a sawed off shotgun (unloaded, supposedly), and a getaway car? The potential for real uninvolved innocents to get hurt while just going about their day – that’s real. That, honestly, is the kind of crime that should put a fear in people. The fact that no one got hurt should not mask the possibility of what could have happened. This is not a crime that is in the normal course of athletes being assholes.


The sliding scale of crime heinosity that a bank robbery is on can be debated; but the way college basketball is, if the kid can play, he will be considered if he is eligible (i.e., not in jail) to play. And that is the long and short of it. And the fact is, his profile has never been higher. He has a plea bargain scheduled

Anthony DiLoreto should never have told Parrish what school offered him a scholarship. I would think that kid like that would want to keep a low profile. He’s not obligated to answer questions. Moreover, I would bet cash money that he does not get in to St. Louis; the school’s students can muster up some Catholic moral high ground.

But whatever happens with that school, as long as he can avoid much of his jail time, we will hear a story about how he has gotten better, realized his mistake. We heard it with AJ Price and Marcus WIlliams. Those two Connecticut players were given gauzy screened, soft-music treatment by the sports media once their penalties were up. All DiLoreto has to do now is sign with a decent school, get on a CBS Saturday afternoon game, and watch the sympathetic stories come in…

It’s the way of college basketball.

Jamaicans, Moneyball, Sosa: Link Dump!

June 25, 2009 Comments off

Cat Deeley SYTYCDWho would believe you can get 56 stars tattooed on your head while you were asleep? No one is that fast, nor that gentle with a needle… In New York, is Bloomberg just delaying the budget deficit hit until after the elections, where he is running for an unprecedented third term… Meanwhile, California’s budget deficit will have them dealing out “IOUs”, because liabilities at interest is just what the Golden State needs… there may be water on the moon (a moon of Saturn).

And for fun, the top 10 recent male politician infidelity confessions to accompany you while you read Gov. Sanford’s emails to his lady friend in the Palermo neighborhood of Buenos Aires. Transformers 2 gets bad reviews, but apparently has a lot of Megan Fox bouncing in slow motion. That, I suppose, will sell, but I can’t stand to listen to her act. So instead of the gratuitous Megan Fox picture I should put up, here’s a gratuitous Cat Deeley photo, just because I can… and instead of arrows or bullets, I’ll use Toni Basil’s crazy eyes.

Too short for a Toni Basil: From a while ago on the NCAA’s blog: Do You Have What It Takes to be an Athletic Director?

toni basil icon Samardo Samuels (Louisville), Weyinmi Efejuku (Providence), and Mike Coburn (Rutgers) out of the Big East will be playing with the Jamaican men’s national team this summer.

Hopefully the squad will do well in the Caribbean Basketball Championship this coming week… and maybe make moves to be included in the 2012 Olympics. And with all the Jamaicans in London, they might find it a little like a homecoming. As long as there are no more Jamaican Me Crazy headlines. Please.

toni basil iconGood to hear about former Marlins, Red Sox and Cubs pitcher Matt Clement. Apparently he’s hung it up in baseball and is coaching his high school’s basketball team in Butler, Pennsylvania; he played baseball and basketball before graduating in 1993.

He was never quite the same after that horrific injury, taking a baseball off his head faster than he could react. Good luck to him, and his future career.

toni basil iconChances of ever seeing that Moneyball movie are pretty much dead now, after Sony stopped production, and no one wants to pick up the Steven Soderbergh/ Brad Pitt version of the Billy Beane-based book. Art Howe would have gotten to be himself! One-liners!

The “high budget and limited commercial appeal” sunk the project; apparently, “adult audiences”have not brought in the desired revenue.  Summer blockbusters for kids all year! And no more baseball movies, unless they are financed by Kevin Costner.

toni basil icon Ryne Sandberg thinks Sammy Sosa doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame. Well, does Sandberg belong? Just asking!

For me, I am not very surprised that Sammy was on some steroid junk… the whole throwing his back out sneezing seemed to me like something that happens in conjunction with overworking the body’s muscles. I don’t know, but I would have suspected then. But, so what? Players are always trying to get over. If he is determined to be the best of the players who took steroids, he still has to have been great player to be the superstar that he was.

Another too short for a Toni Basil: Was there match-fixing at Wimbledon? Certainly, anyone looking to throw a game knows to do it in the less-publicized, less watched contests… so that’s not out of the realm of reason.

toni basil icon Barack Obama will throw out the first pitch at the All-Star game in St. Louis this year. I hope they don’t boo him… the city, like the Cardinal uniforms, tends towards red. Speaking at Notre Dame and showing up at the midsummer classic? He really is trying to win everybody over with smiles and availability.

And he’ll probably wear a White Sox jersey.

toni basil iconNew York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority is selling the naming rights to my old train station at Atlantic and Flatbush in Brooklyn to Barclay’s Bank, since that is where the new Nets stadium – if it is ever built – will stand.

The new design for the Barclay’s Arena for the Nets (from the New York Press) really does look like an airplane hangar.

Nets Arena Brooklyn Barclay's

Michael Phelps Can Get Real Stoned

February 4, 2009 Comments off

Hat tip to Eben, who clued me in to this Slate Explainer article:

…fans are wondering whether Phelps’ abnormally large lung capacity means he can take monster bong rips. Can he?

He can. Total lung capacity refers to the volume of air contained in the lungs at the point of “maximal” inspiration—i.e., the biggest breath you can take. It’s measured in liters. The greater a smoker’s total lung capacity, the more he can inhale from a given joint, bowl, or bong. According to some estimates, Phelps’ lung capacity is twice that of the average human, or 12 liters rather than six. So if he puts his mind to it, he can take a hit that’s twice as big as that of the next partygoer.

Categories: funny, Olympics, player issues