As if Reggiegate wasn’t bad enough, now one-and-done Trojan basketball star O.J. Mayo is accused of taking cash and gifts while at USC.
P.S. Pat Forde asks: “So you take the Bush allegations, add a side of Mayo and ask the question: Has there ever been a more textbook definition of ‘lack of institutional control’?” He goes on:
If all the allegations stand up, USC athletic director Mike Garrett and the Inspector Clouseaus who comprise his compliance staff must lose their jobs over these serial embarrassments, or the school has no credibility whatsoever. When USC’s two highest-profile sports both have star players allegedly on the brazen take from agents, somebody needs to answer for it. A lot of somebodies.
I would tend to agree with that. Fire Mike
I know that I have personally been guilty of being overly critical of some college athletes about their performance on the field of play. Someone’s not giving full effort, a step too slow, or otherwise just not putting it all out there on the floor for their team and their fans.
Here’s a story that should make everyone check that attitude for a minute.
Tennessee’s preseason All-America guard, Chris Lofton, started off the 2007-08 season in an absolute funk. He wasn’t scoring, his play seemed a bit lackluster, and couldn’t hit a three to save his life.
Well, the facts were really that he was battling to actually save his life.
Diagnosed with testicular cancer following a random NCAA drug screen after the 2006-07 season, he fought a private battle with the cancer, with only the closest of the close among his family and friends knowing what he was going through.
Meanwhile, local sports fans and commentators were critical to varying degrees about Lofton’s performance. There were calls for him to be benched along with wild speculation about what his problems on the floor were.
I just think that this is a good opportunity to remind everyone that college athletes are young kids, from divergent backgrounds, with any number of personal problems that can impact their play. So, before you take time to bash someone on a message board, call in to a talk show, or otherwise express an opinion without all the facts, slow down and take Chris Lofton’s situation to heart.
Remember Barack Obama’s pick-up game with the North Carolina Tar Heels? Well, technically speaking, it violated NCAA rules. But for once, the NCAA is taking a sensible line: “This was a unique situation and not an NCAA issue,” said a spokesman. “It certainly was a great opportunity for the student-athletes to interact with a presidential candidate.”
Barack Obama shot some hoops with the North Carolina Tar Heels yesterday. "You guys are leaving the next president of the United States wide
open," Roy Williams jokingly yelled at his players at one point.
No word on whether Williams was wearing a Hillary sticker at the time. ;)
Joe Lunardi has published his initial, ridiculously early, meaningless yet fun, pre-pre-season 2009 Bracketology projections. (Hat tip: BK.) His #1 seeds are North Carolina, Duke, Texas and Pittsburgh. 2007 finalists Kansas and Memphis drop to #2 and #3, respectively, and UCLA plummets to a #7. w00t! :)
More importantly, Notre Dame is a #2 seed (without Gene Cross? Hmm…), Gonzaga is a #5, and USC is a #9. Frankly, those all seem high to me, but maybe I’m just a pessimist about my own teams. (Although, if so, it didn’t prevent my irrational Zag-xuberance last year.)
Tennessee falls all the way to #9… where they’re matched up in a brutal first-round game against #8 Davidson. (Stephen Curry FTW!) This year’s mid-major superpower that almost beat UT, Butler, is on the bubble but out, as are the Washington Huskies. The UConn Huskies, though, are sitting pretty as a #2 seed. Oh, and the University of Hartford Hawks, after falling one game short in 2008, make their NCAA Tournament debut in 2009 as a #16 seed. Hurrah!
Yeah, so, we have a college football season to start — and finish — before I’ll get really excited about any of this, but it’s fun to look ahead. :)
Hillary Says Memphis National Champ Despite KU Having More Points: “Just because some team comes along in the last minute and scores more points than the other guy doesn’t mean they’re necessarily able to be National Champion on Day One.” (Hat tip: GT12.)
Notre Dame’s men’s basketball assistant coach Gene Cross, credited by some with turning Mike Brey’s team around over the last two years, has been hired by Toledo as their new head coach. (Hat tip: Chris A.)
Whenever I’ve eaten crow and praised Brey — whose first name, for blog purposes, used to be "Fire" — over the last two years, Becky has countered that "he has an awesome assistant coach," choosing to credit Cross rather than Brey for the Irish’s improvement. I guess now we’ll find out who’s right.
(Well, maybe. There is, of course, a third person whose arrival between the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons was also rather a big deal: Luke Harangody.)
The bad news: O.J. Mayo is going pro. (I’m shocked, SHOCKED.)
The good news: LSU has hired Stanford’s Trent Johnson, which obviously means they won’t be hiring USC’s Tim Floyd.
Wrapping up the men’s NCAA Tournament Tuesday morning, Deadspin wrote: "Mostly: What a fun tournament. Even with all No. 1 seeds in the Final
Four, we had three legitimate glories: Western Kentucky’s last-second
win, Stephen Curry’s brilliance and Mario Chalmers’ massive shot.
That’s three more than last year. We’ll take it."
Along the same lines, yesterday morning College Hoops Journal posted the Top Ten games of the tourney, prefacing the list with the comment: "Who said it was a down year? Give me 10 games of the caliber listed below and IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be fine if the other 54 are snoozers."
And here's the UT student paper. It notes that Pat Summitt is two championships away from tying John Wooden's record. Hey, this could be my opening to root for the Lady Vols without being disloyal. :)
I'm at the UT bookstore on my lunch break, and the Lady Vols national championship t-shirts are out in force.
I’ve been looking all day for a scan of the Lawrence Journal-World’s front page, so I could do a compare & contrast with the front page of the Memphis Commercial Appeal. But the J-W wasn’t on Newseum when I checked earlier. Now it is, albeit with a strangely low-quality picture. Anyway, both front pages are after the jump. Heartbroken Memphis fans, you may not want to click the link below.
…does this mean there’s going to be a parade?? I love parades!!
UPDATE: Local news says there will be a celebration at Thompson-Boling Arena at 5:30 PM tomorrow, free and open to the general public, with doors opening at 5:00. No word yet on any parade plans.
P.S. My Facebook profile asks the question:
The Tennessee Lady Vols defeated two Indiana schools on their road to the Final Four, but their national championship means victory for at least one Hoosier: newly crowned Living Room Times women’s pool champion Jeff Freeze.
Freeze, a resident of Portage, Indiana and an alumnus of Indiana, Michigan State and Notre Dame — the latter having been one of Tennessee’s tournament victims, along with Purdue — jumped from eighth to first place tonight on account of the Lady Vols’ 64-48 win over Stanford tonight. He finishes with 381 out of a possible 477 points, good enough for a two-point win over Joseph Hiegel in the 11th annual Times women’s pool.
Like men’s pool winner Alex Whitfield, Freeze has been an Irish Trojan reader since Hurricane Katrina. (Hiegel, on the other hand, only discovered the site earlier this month, by Googling “NIT prediction pool.”)
Hiegel, of Greenfield, Wisconsin, finishes second with 379 points. F.X. McGahee of Aiken, South Carolina is third with 374 points, followed by Dan Port of Los Angeles, in fourth with 372. Port wins the prize for best two-tournament performance, as he finished second in the men’s pool.
Port is also one of just three contestants to correctly predict the national champions in both the men’s and women’s tournaments. The others are Chris Aemisegger (51st in the women’s pool, 27th in the men’s) and “Loyette” Loy (85th, 234th).
Ken Stern of Thomaston, Maine — who started the night in first place, but had no chance of winning because his national champion had already been eliminated and he was bound to be leapfrogged — finishes fifth with 362 points. Jeff Vaca, a Cal alum and Elk Grove, California resident who would have won the pool if Stanford had beaten Tennessee tonight, instead finishes sixth with 362 points.
Complete standings here and after the jump.