Packer axed from CBS

By   |   Monday, Jul. 14, 2008 - 11:37 AM   |   21 comments

The not-so-lovable buffoon from CBS, Billy Packer, is no longer from CBS.

The Miami Herald reported this morning that Packer’s contract will not be renewed.

Clark Kellogg, who for years has worked on the studio show, will replace Packer as CBS’ lead college basketball analyst.

There’s a sizable portion of people who will say this is the greatest day since V-Day. They have a point, since Packer has spent an inordinate amount of time being old and crabby in recent years. Saying that the UNC-Kansas Final Four game was over about 10 minutes in (when really, we were all saying that) might have been the last straw. He’s also railed against mid-majors, fought on-air with St. Joseph’s coach Phil Martelli, called Allen Iverson a “tough monkey” and wondered why Duke allowed women to check for his press pass.

I am going to go out on a limb here and say this — we’ve seen far worse. I will always take a Packer, who could be a know-it-all with firm convictions over a yutz who changes his mind every timeout. Here’s the thing — he did his job. He was working the Raleigh sub-regional this year, the same one I was at (as was Chris and Doug). Packer spent the first practice day courtside, watching all eight teams. He took notes, and he (I assume) evaluated what he saw. I know radio and TV broadcasters who spent the day in the room, or poolside, and print guys who barely watched the team they cover practice. Packer could have done the same thing, resting on his laurels and coasting through. But he did not, and that says a lot.

Packer had his convictions because he did his homework. He’s been around the college game so long he knew everybody and their mother. He’ll find a job, because there are too many networks out there for him to not. Maybe he’ll go over to ESPN, and join Dick Vitale in a studio. Or maybe he’ll half-retire and continue working for the regional broadcasts.

Either way, he made you think. And that, number one, is an analyst’s job.



Gordon injured, out of Summer League

By   |   Sunday, Jul. 13, 2008 - 6:11 PM   |   15 comments

Just saw this on ESPN.com:

The Los Angeles Clippers confirmed on Sunday that lottery pick Eric Gordon will miss the remainder of the NBA Summer League on the campus of UNLV with a strained left hamstring.

Gordon, who has shown some nice flashes in two games despite his struggles from perimeter, suffered the strain Saturday in a loss to the Charlotte Bobcats.



Recruits aware of Crean’s situation

By   |   Sunday, Jul. 13, 2008 - 3:15 PM   |   Comments Off

In today’s print edition, I detailed how the majority of recruits, when asked, said they were aware of the violations imposed on Tom Crean and his assistants this month.

Since not all (or most) of you are subscribers, here’s a little tease of what was on doorsteps this morning.

Still, the restrictions IU has placed on itself after the alleged NCAA violations Kelvin Sampson committed have put the Hoosier staff in a tough spot.

They must recruit the top-level talent, the kind of players necessary to rebuild a once-proud program, with fewer resources than other elite programs.

The key, Crean said, is honesty.

“I’m trying to be in as many places as we possibly can,” Crean said last week. “At the same time, bear with us because we’re going to get through this. We’re going to get through it hopefully in a short period of time.”

It does help that Crean has already racked up four verbal commitments for the class of 2009 — guards Jordan Hulls and Maurice Creek and forwards Bobby Capobianco and Derek Elston.

The security of having all but one scholarship filled for next year’s class has allowed IU to move on to the class of 2010 and 2011.

Even the rising high school freshmen are in the mix.

“You should know who they are,” Crean said of the class of 2012.

Some of the players that IU has been recruiting, and who are interested in joining the Hoosiers, said that Crean has been up-front with them about what is going on.

Stephan Van Treese could potentially be the last commitment for the class of 2009. He said that Crean told him to call as much as he would like.

Marquis Teague, a point guard out of Indianapolis Pike who is considered a top-10 player in the class of 2011, said he was aware of the situation.

“(Crean) explained all that to me,” Teague said. “He told me what he could do and can’t do.”

Ryan Taylor, a 2011 forward from Indianapolis Lawrence North, was just recently told that IU was interested in recruiting him. He said that he was aware of the restrictions, but couldn’t really pin-point any differences in terms of amount of contact.

South guard Spencer Turner said he has yet to notice a difference.

“I don’t know what his limitations are, how much he can do this or how much he can do that,” Turner said. “I don’t really pay much attention to it.

“But Crean is awesome. He’s an awesome guy.”

The real positive for Crean is that the younger players are not rushing to make a commitment. Teague said he will take his time, and Taylor is still early in his process.

As restrictions are lifted, and IU returns to “normal,” it can go full-force after the kids it wants, with a foundation already in place.

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Scouting the scouted

By   |   Saturday, Jul. 12, 2008 - 12:31 PM   |   14 comments

In a lot of ways, in ways that have been discussed repeatedly over the years, AAU basketball is deplorable. It values the individual over the team, the coaching can be suspect and it encourages bad (i.e. lack of fundamentals) basketball.

But it’s also a tremendous place to figure out who exactly is being recruited, and to what degree. Even though coaches can’t talk to players, they make their intentions well-noticed, by finding a prominent place to watch the kid’s game.

So, while at the Kentucky Hoopfest in Louisville earlier this week, I jotted down some notes on the future recruits that IU assistant Tim Buckley was watching.

2009

Stephan Van Treese (PF, Indiana Elite One): Few players in this class have been as scrutinized as much as Van Treese. Tom Crean and UCLA coach Ben Howland both watched him a week ago in Cincinnati, and sent assistants to scout Indiana Elite One’s games in Louisville.

He moves extremely well for a big man (6-foot-8, 220 pounds). At his best, he’s a bit of a finesse player, reacting off a guard’s movements and getting himself open. He let the game come to him in Louisville, and had a nice day (10 points, six rebounds, two steals off entry passes). It was a much different performance from Cincinnati, where he turned the ball over and shot poorly. The overriding thinking on Van Treese is that if he’s coached well, he can become a complete player at some point during his college career. He has not been offered by Indiana, as the new coaching staff decided to take some time to evaluate him.

2011

Marquis Teague (PG, Spiece Indy Heat): Every coach in the building was watching as Teague played against a pretty good opponent on Thursday. What they saw was a quick guard who can shoot and drive the lane, and was a decent passer for his age. There’s a playground aspect to his game — he said he likes to try to shake an opponent up. Maybe that fits in with Crean’s wide-open style of play, but it would certainly be a departure from the kind of player IU has typically brought in.

Teauge said afterwards that IU is on his list, with Cincinnati, Ohio State, Purdue and Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons stand out, because of geographical proximity, but his brother, Jeff, plays there. Jeff will have left the school by the time Marquis (pronounced Marcus) would be coming. Teague said he will take his time during this process, and not commit early.

Ryan Taylor (SF, Indy Fastbreak): It was difficult to get a read on Franklin. For one thing, he barely played because of foul trouble. When he did, the guard-driven pace of the game put the big man’s skills on the back burner. At 6-foot-6 and growing, Franklin should eventually become a very good power forward. He has obvious athleticism, and a nose for the ball. Franklin plays high school ball for Lawrence North, and said IU coaches have expressed an interest in him. Florida, Purdue, Ohio State and Cincinnati are also in the mix.

Spencer Turner (G, Indiana Elite One): A few minutes into Indiana Elite One’s first game Thursday, a parent started screaming that Turner’s defender needed to get out on him. Problem was, Turner just kept on stepping further away from the 3-point line. He made five 3-pointers in that game, scoring 21 overall. IU is tops on his list right now, with UNC, Purdue and Duke following. The South product is a tremendous shooter, and he is making strides with his defense.

Marshall Plumlee (C, Indiana Elite One): The youngest Plumlee brother, Marshall is a true low-post player and is already 6-foot-8. He’s also 175 pounds, so he needs (and will) fill out. For his size, he is quick and capable of keeping up with smaller opponents. It’d be interesting to see him in a game where he is the focus of the offense. He had to settle here for loose balls and rebounds. I didn’t get a chance to speak with him, but his recruitment is considered open.

Cody Zeller (F, Indiana Elite One): Like Plumlee, Zeller is the youngest of a group of basketball-playing brothers. He’s more of a power forward, and has some real skill. Like Tyler, he’s more of a finesse player than a bruiser. His recruitment is still very early, as he said he is collecting and filling out questionnaires from different schools. IU is among them.



Game of the day at Kentucky Hoopfest

By   |   Thursday, Jul. 10, 2008 - 5:08 PM   |   21 comments

Right now, Marquis Teague is playing for Spiece Indy Heat on the main floor at Hoops (an obviously too fancy for its own good basketball complex in the middle of a corporate park in the the middle of Louisville).

Who’s Teague, you ask? Well, he’s the first guy that Tom Crean saw fit to look at during his limited recruiting days this month. And he’s a sophomore. And exceptional.

Teague, the little brother of Wake Forest starter Jeff, is a point guard in the truest sense of the world. He also has a little razzle dazzle (he shook up his defender a few minutes ago with a quick fake-crossover, then drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key).

IU assistant Tim Buckley is here, as are all the usual suspects from throughout today (Iowa, Purdue, Ohio State, Butler, Louisville and Kentucky).

There’s a rumor going around, apparently, that Stephan VanTreese was hurt earlier today. Well, I saw him play a couple of hours ago and he was fine. Actually, the best I’ve ever seen him, since he didn’t force things and let the game come to him. Buckley was there for the first half, and an UCLA assistant was present for the second.



IU gets commitment from highly recruited Columbus East receiver

By   |   Thursday, Jul. 10, 2008 - 4:55 PM   |   15 comments

7:15 p.m. update: Duwyce Wilson just gave us a call after completing an early evening workout. The wideout from Columbus said he picked IU over the other schools that made scholarship offers because of its location close to home, his relationship with Hoosier coaches and the school’s academics.

“It just seemed that IU was the perfect place for me,” Wilson said.

When asked about his strengths as a player, he mentioned his “ability to go up and get the jump balls” and to make defenders miss after he makes the catch.

He’s been reported at 6-2 1/2 in some reports, but said he’s 6-4 and 190 pounds. Besides being a junior all-state pick in football the county player of the year in basketball, he also long jumped 22-6 and high jumped 6-4 in track this year.

Before making his trip to Bloomington today, he already knew that he was going to commit to play at IU. He just wanted to deliver the news to IU’s coaches in person.

“I was just glad finally to be a Hoosier,” he said.

Wilson had 49 catches for 961 yards and 12 TDs last season as a junior.

————–

Columbus East wide receiver Duwyce Wilson has given a verbal commitment to play college football at Indiana, according to his coach Bob Gaddis.

Gaddis said he got a call this afternoon from excited IU assistant coach Billy Lynch saying that Wilson had committed to IU on a visit to campus today.

With scholarship offers from Wisconsin, Purdue, Iowa, Kentucky and Cincinnati, the 6-2 and 1/2 Wilson is considered one of the Midwest’s top players in next year’s senior class. He was also one of IU’s top targets for its 2009 recruiting class.

Gaddis said Wilson combines all of the things you want from an outstanding receiver – size, speed, toughness and good hands.

“When the ball is up, he’ll go get it,” Gaddis said. “He’s pretty fun to watch.”

Wilson is also a standout in basketball and track. In basketball, he was the county player of the year last season. In track, he appeared to be headed toward the state meet in the long jump and high jump before suffering a slight hamstring injury.

Gaddis said IU’s coaches did a good job in selling Wilson on IU by emphasizing not only football, but also the school’s academic programs and the close-knit group on Indiana’s team.”Besides being a very gifted athlete, personally he’s a real nice young man,” Gaddis said. “He’s pretty quiet.”

We hope to provide another update tonight after talking with Wilson.



Hawley not coming to IU after all

By   |   Thursday, Jul. 10, 2008 - 4:32 PM   |   1 comment

Chad Hawley will not be Indiana’s new compliance director.

So it looks like it’s back to the drawing board for the IU athletic department in re-shaping the office that’s responsible for ensuring compliance with NCAA rules.

IU announced on June 3 that Hawley, 31, had been hired as associate athletic director for compliance services, which is an upgraded position over that held by previous compliance director Jennifer Brinegar. At the same time, IU announced that Brinegar was being moved to a new position that would report to Hawley, senior assistant athletic director for recruiting and enrollment services.

After a source told the H-T today that Hawley will not be coming to IU after all, that news was confirmed by IU athletics spokesman J.D. Campbell and by Big Ten spokesman Scott Chipman. Chipman said Hawley will stay in his current position as the Big Ten Conference’s assistant director for compliance.

Hawley is on vacation this week, Chipman said, so he isn’t available for comment.

Neither Campbell nor Chipman provided any further information about why Hawley isn’t coming to IU. Campbell said he’s seeking further information from athletic department officials about what’s next in selecting a leader for its compliance department.

In IU’s June 3 news release – which came three weeks before the resignation of athletic director Rick Greenspan – Hawley said he was very excited about coming to Bloomington.

“It’s a great feeling to be joining the athletic staff at a university where a culture of compliance and a philosophy of ‘winning the right way’ is well established,’” Hawley said. “I have a lot of confidence in Rick Greenspan and the institutional leadership at IU, and look forward to working with them in the future.”





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