Aug 22, 2012, 6:37 PM EDT
We’ve got an update to the Nerlens Noel investigation, courtesy of the NCAA’s lead investigator, Pete Thamel of SI.com:
The NCAA has expanded its inquiry into Kentucky freshman Nerlens Noel, one of the nation’s top recruits in the class of 2012, as two NCAA enforcement officials traveled to Noel’s New Hampshire prep school for a three-hour meeting in early August. The NCAA’s questions focused on the cast of characters that surrounded Noel’s recruitment and how Noel paid for his unofficial visits, according to a person with knowledge of the NCAA inquiry.
This is the
second first* time that the NCAA has made their way up to Tilton Academy, and the third second* time they’ve been to a high school that Noel attended during their investigation. (He spent his first two seasons at Everett High in the Boston area.)
*(I misread Thamel’s article, apologies.)
What makes this investigation all the more interesting, however, is the fact that UK sent their chief compliance officer, Sandy Bell, to the meeting. From Thamel:
Bell didn’t ask many questions, according to the source, but did take notes and spoke up occasionally. The presence of two NCAA enforcement officials and Bell gives the appearance that this case has gone beyond the routine checking of top prospects, according to one former NCAA investigator.
The “routine checking of top prospects” line is the key here. The same former investigator said that it’s “not common” for a compliance officer to tag along on these visits, which was followed up by Thamel with a quote from a veteran compliance official calling the incident “unusual but not incredibly unusual”.
Hate to break it to you guys, but there is nothing common or usual about Noel’s recruitment. First and foremost, he’s the No. 1 recruit in the country, and while I’m not a math whiz or anything like that, I’m pretty sure that there are only one of those each year. Wouldn’t that classify him as an “unusual but not incredibly unusual” recruit? Throw in the fact that he a) transferred high schools b) reclassified to enroll in college a year early and c) had the biggest paper in the country publish a story (also written by Thamel) about the nefarious characters surrounding his recruitment, and there is plenty of reason for the NCAA to do their due diligence in regards to Noel’s eligibility.
As you might imagine, this investigation has UK fans in an uproar that certainly wasn’t helped by Dickie V insinuating that the only reason Noel is being investigated is due to the fact that he went to Kentucky. Frankly, that plays a role.
But given John Calipari’s success on the recruiting trail in recent years, wouldn’t it be more likely that the NCAA investigates a recruit in the event that Kentucky gets beaten out by one of the schools chasing them? Like, oh, I don’t know, Shabazz Muhammad? Is the NCAA paying any attention to him? He’s heading to China with UCLA because not going to Kentucky immediately gets him eligible, right?
What about Rodney Purvis? He’s academically eligible, but the NCAA still hasn’t cleared him, which makes it logical to guess that the issue is an amateurism one. Does he play for Kentucky? What about Ricardo Ledo? I was away last week and must have missed the news that he left Providence.
The difference is that the investigation involving Noel is front page news, and that’s because of the name that will be on the front of his jersey come November and the man that coaches that team.
Look, the bottom line is this: John Calipari is the Teflon Don. He’s the guy that has had two Final Fours vacated without having his name implicated in any of the wrong doing. He’s the guy whose program is associated with World Wide Wes. He’s the guy that has cornered the recruiting market for blue-chip recruits while managing to keep his name out of any and all reports — media, NCAA, and otherwise — that explicitly link him to NCAA violations. There’s an intrigue around the way the he runs his program, the way that he recruits and the people that he associates himself with.
He’s every investigative reporter’s white whale, but that’s because he’s the biggest name in college basketball. If it comes out that Ben Howland “cheated” to get Muhammad or Mark Gottfried cut a check to get Purvis or Ed Cooley was shipping Ledo weekly Ricky Roe duffle bags, how many people care? College basketball fans and … that’s about it, right?
If it turns out that John Calipari has been paying recruits all along, everyone cares. It will be talked about on First Take and Around The Horn for months. I’d bet that at least three issues of Sports Illustrated would have Cal on the cover. I’d be forced to write 1,500 words a day for an entire year about it.
He’s a celebrity running the highest profile program in the country.
Anything that involves Calipari, Kentucky and the NCAA is — and should be — headline news.
If you don’t want the paparazzi chasing after you, don’t become a movie star. If you don’t want the NCAA to investigate your program and news outlets to cover it, don’t hire John Calipari. It comes with the territory.
May 20, 2013, 9:45 PM EDT
With Marcus Smart making the decision to come back for his sophomore season, paired with other key players and a solid recruiting class, Oklahoma State is threatening to be one of the favorites for a Final Four berth next season. Memphis loses studs like Tarik Black and Adonis Thomas, but return Joe Jackson and bring…
May 20, 2013, 8:30 PM EDT
Looks like Juan Anderson had second thoughts about leaving Marquette, because he’s headed back to the Golden Eagles’ program. Anderson had announced he was leaving the program last week. The junior-to-be has played sparingly in his two seasons on campus, and originally wanted to transfer to be closer to home. Turns out he would rather…
May 20, 2013, 7:28 PM EDT
Mike Rice lost his job at Rutgers by repeatedly physically and mentally abusing his players. And it looks like he’s trying to get help with it. A report from ESPN.com’s Andy Katz said that Rice has spent the past two weeks with former NBA guard John Lucas at his rehabilitation center in Houston getting counseled…
May 20, 2013, 6:40 PM EDT
Bill Self might be challenging Rick Pitino for the title of “best college basketball offseason”. At least from a coaching perspective. Less than a week after top prep player Andrew Wiggins committed to the Jayhawks, Self got another big commitment, this one of a different one-year variety, as former Memphis forward Tarik Black has committed…
May 20, 2013, 6:15 PM EDT
Justin Tuoyo’s next stop is with a familiar face. The sophomore-to-be will be transferring to Chattanooga, where he will be reunited with Will Wade, who took over for with the Mocs after spending the past four seasons on Shaka Smart’s staff at VCU. The 6-9 Tuoyo averaged 1.1 points and 1.4 rebounds in his lone…
May 20, 2013, 5:35 PM EDT
Recently, the big trend has been to redesign a team’s home court with a cool graphic. Florida International recently pulled it off with a beach theme, Long Beach State did the same a few years ago. Oregon seemed to be one of the originators (as Oregon can be with this sort of stuff). Add George…
May 20, 2013, 4:50 PM EDT
A big announcement came today for Sacred Heart and Conference hoops as a whole as word came out that Dave Bike will retire as head coach after 35 years at the helm. His replacement has apparently already been found in assistant coach Anthony Latina. A news conference is expected sometime next week. Bike took over…
May 20, 2013, 4:15 PM EDT
There may not be a rivalry in all of college basketball more unique than the Battle of the Boulevard, which pits Belmont against Lipscomb, two schools that are located all of 2.7 miles apart on Belmont Boulevard in Nashville, TN. It dates back to 1953, and over the course of the last 60 years, the two…
May 20, 2013, 12:47 PM EDT
Dominic Woodson no longer plans to attend Baylor in the fall, according to multiple reports. Woodson was rated as the No. 80 recruit in the country, and the No. 9 center in the Class of 2013, by Rivals. But with Isaiah Austin and Cory Jefferson both opting to return to school, and with Rico Gathers…
May 20, 2013, 12:25 PM EDT
Frank Haith has added yet another transfer to his program, as former Baylor wing Deuce Bello will finish up his playing career at Missouri. The news was first reported by Gabe DeArmond of PowerMizzou.com. “I have decided to play for Mizzou,” Bello told DeArmond. “We played them three times while I was at Baylor. I…
May 20, 2013, 12:16 PM EDT
We’ve known that Long Beach State was heading towards some roster upheaval for a few weeks now, but the news will soon become official: five players from last year’s team will not be on the roster next season. The three biggest names: Keala King, Tony Freeland and Deng Deng. They’re 49er careers are caput. A…
May 20, 2013, 11:44 AM EDT
When Steve Alford was hired at UCLA almost two months ago, my initial reaction was one of optimism. Alford had turned New Mexico into the dominant program in a very good Mountain West. Regardless of the post season flameouts that he’s had — he hasn’t made it out of the first weekend of the NCAA…
May 20, 2013, 10:23 AM EDT
Last Tuesday, Andrew Wiggins ended one of the most intriguing recruitments that college hoops has ever seen. Let’s get past the fact that Wiggins is the kind of talent that can change the course of a team’s season. We’re talking about a guy that’s talented enough to do what Kevin Durant did for Texas in…
May 20, 2013, 9:17 AM EDT
It’s official now: Zay Jackson will be returning to the Murray State basketball team next season. That’s according to Andy Katz, who reported on Monday morning that Jackson had practiced with the Racers and earned a 2.75 GPA after spending 49 days in jail. If you’ve forgotten, Jackson was locked up for an incident in…
May 19, 2013, 10:06 PM EDT
Next October head coach Geno Auriemma and the UConn Huskies will begin their quest for a second consecutive (and ninth overall) national title. On Saturday the program continued a streak of sorts, as signee Saniya Chong was named Girls’ Basketball Player of the Year by Parade Magazine. Chong, who hails from Ossining, N.Y., is the…
May 19, 2013, 8:47 PM EDT
On May 8 it was reported by Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com that Marshall’s leading scorer, guard DeAndre Kane, would transfer to Pittsburgh for his senior season after graduating from Marshall. With an average of just over 15 points and seven assists per game last season, Kane would give the Panthers a needed perimeter scorer for…
May 19, 2013, 7:26 PM EDT
One byproduct of conference realignment has been the rebranding of some leagues, mainly to display the charting of a new path. That’s the case for the Sun Belt Conference, which will welcome multiple new members on July 1. The Sun Belt unveiled new primary and secondary logos on Sunday, as well as its new mantra…
May 19, 2013, 6:21 PM EDT
Following the departure of four seniors (not counting guard Jio Fontan) and the decision of center Dewayne Dedmon to enter the 2013 NBA Draft, it’s safe to say that first-year USC head coach Andy Enfield is in need of some front court depth. USC’s most experienced returnee next season will be 7-2 center Omar Oraby,…
May 19, 2013, 5:06 PM EDT
For all the accolades heaped upon Kansas signee Andrew Wiggins (and deservedly so), Parade Magazine went with another player for its 2012-13 Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year. Semi Ojeleye, a Duke signee from Ottawa, Kansas, averaged more than 38 points per game this season while also getting the job done in the classroom to…
Fellow student and fraternity brother charged with disorderly conduct in assault of Brown guard Joseph Sharkey
May 19, 2013, 3:04 PM EDT
The story continues to unfold on the assault of Joseph Sharkey, a sophomore guard on the Brown University baskstball team, who was found in critical condition in the early hours of Sunday morning (May 12th) with an injury to the head. According to the Providence Journal: Dillon J. Ingham, 22 of New York, was charged…
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