Oct 22, 2013, 3:26 PM EST
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Spurred on by the Summer of Johnny Football and the ongoing lawsuit filed by Ed O’Bannon, the tide is seemingly beginning to turn against the NCAA as they remain a bastion of the fallacy of amateurism. A constant barrage of heavy media criticism will do that, and we’ve reached a point where the idea of student-athlete rights and proper compensation seems like a legitimate possibility.
But one area where many remain torn is on the idea of transfers. Now, I’m firmly against restricting the movements of unpaid amateurs and I believe that the idea of the transfer market becoming “college basketball free agency” is overblown, but I figured that we could all agree that graduate transfer rule is one that is worth keeping around. You know, because it allows a student-athlete to play immediately if he transfers to pursue a graduate degree with eligibility remaining.
Turns out that’s the wrong assumption to make.
“I positively believe a fifth-year guy should not be able to play right away,” Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan said over the summer. “All they’re doing is looking at curriculum, finding a program that a school doesn’t have. Are they really trying to get a master’s degree? … There’s a market out there for this. You take guys through summer school and give them every academic advantage and then they graduate and then they can just go to another school.”
And yes, there are players that take full advantage of this rule, graduating in three or four years and following that up by working towards their graduate degree at a place where they may be able to play a higher level of basketball. The gall of those student-athletes.
But it also works the other way, and eliminating the rule would eliminate opportunities for kids like Maurice Creek.
You should recognize that name. Creek was a star as a freshman at Indiana, averaging almost 17 points, and putting 31 on Kentucky, during the 2009-2010 season. But Creek’s career as a Hoosier was derailed by injury. There was the gruesome broken kneecap he suffered midway through his freshman year. There was the stress fracture he had in his other kneecap as a sophomore. That, too, required surgery. Then there was the Achilles’ tendon that he ruptured as a junior. All told, Creek’s four seasons at Indiana saw him rehab his way through three major surgeries.
“Sitting down’s pretty tough, because you want to be out there every day,” Creek told NBCSports.com after practice at George Washington last week. “Sometimes I think back to all the injuries and I’m like, ‘man, what did I get myself into? Do I want to keep doing this to myself?’”
Creek worked through all of the injuries, motivated by the words of encouragement from guys like Victor Oladipo and Christian Watford. “Just keep working hard,” they would say. “Your time will come.”
But it never did at Indiana. As a fourth-year junior with two surgically-repaired, Creek was no longer needed. Indiana had recruited over him. He had received a scholarship for four years. He had earned his degree. And now it was time for him to move on, and thanks to the graduate transfer rule, Creek would be able to transfer anywhere in the country to use his final season of eligibility.
Creek, who is from just outside D.C. in Oxon Hill, Md., found a landing spot at GW, and the fit couldn’t be more perfect. The Colonials are a young, but promising team. Redshirt senior Isaiah Armwood is back, and he’ll be joined up front by sophomores Kevin Larsen, a physical presence in the paint, and Patricio Garino, a long, athletic wing from Argentina. Toss in a back court that includes Joe McDonald and Kethan Savage, and the only thing GW was missing heading into the season was a veteran back court presence that would be able to knock down threes.
That sums up Creek’s game pretty perfectly.
“I really like how aggressive and athletic we are,” Creek, who wants to be a coach and will be pursuing his graduate degree in Human Leadership and Development, said. “My shooting abilities with that, that’s championship caliber.”
The fit was just that much more snug given the proximity of Creek’s family and friends to GW’s Foggy Bottom locale.
“Going to Indiana, my parents couldn’t catch many of the games,” he said, although their presence will add a different kind of pressure than he was used to back in Bloomington. “Being back home all my friends and family want to go to my games now, and it’s like [now I] have, I don’t want to say more pressure, but you want to be more successful because you’re back at home where really nobody is worrying about [the potential] we have.”
It’s a feel-good story and a great opportunity for Creek, one that was only made possibly by the graduate transfer rule.
But it belies the bigger point here.
“If the rule wasn’t in place, I still probably would have moved on,” Creek said.
That’s because Indiana didn’t have any scholarships left to give. It’s the same thing that happened to fan favorite and sharp-shooter Matt Roth last summer. Creek may have had eligibility left, but since he was leaving after four years with a degree in hand, Tom Crean could say that he fulfilled his commitment to Creek. He could part ways guilt-free, and while I actually don’t think that Crean did anything wrong in doing so, eliminating the graduate transfer rule would eliminate any possibility of Creek being able to finish his career, earn his graduate degree and, if he can stay healthy, have a chance to prove to professional scouts what he’s still capable of doing.
“They’ve given me a great opportunity,” Creek said, “and I can’t thank them enough.”
Dec 20, 2013, 2:35 AM EST
NEW YORK — UCLA will be worth the watch every time they take the floor this season. That’s just what happens when you have as much talent as the Bruins do. Kyle Anderson and Jordan Adams are both going to find themselves in the conversation for being all-americans and first round draft picks by the…
Dec 20, 2013, 1:44 AM EST
GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 8 Duke 80, UCLA 63 Jabari Parker finished with 23 points, 10 boards and five assists to lead the Blue Devils to a win over UCLA at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night. As good as Parker was, however, the real star of the game of Rasheed Sulaimon, who shook…
Dec 20, 2013, 1:09 AM EST
After winning its season opener against Hawaii Pacific, Long Beach State lost nine straight games in a variety of ways. There were blowouts, and there were also close defeats like their one-point loss to Loyola Marymount on November 14. Dan Monson’s team has traditionally played a brutal non-conference schedule, with the goal being to enter…
Dec 20, 2013, 12:30 AM EST
In recent years there have been many examples of servicemen and women surprising family members at sporting events, with their loved ones unaware of the fact that they’ve returned home from active duty. Master Sergeant Chris Campbell, who’s stationed in Tucson at Davis Monthan Air Force base, surprised his wife and two children during a…
Dec 19, 2013, 11:27 PM EST
Top-ranked Arizona remained undefeated on Thursday night, pulling away in the second half and beating reigning SWAC tournament champion Southern by a 69-43 final score. With starting center Kaleb Tarczewski out after spraining his ankle in the Wildcats’ win at Michigan on Saturday freshman Rondae Hollis-Jefferson moved into the starting lineup, meaning that Arizona needed…
Dec 19, 2013, 9:24 PM EST
NEW YORK — There was nothing memorable about the shot. It was one of six threes that No. 8 Duke made and one of 18 that they hoisted up in the first half of their 80-63 win over UCLA on Thursday night in Madison Square Garden. It was the kind of play that gets taught…
Dec 19, 2013, 8:18 PM EST
Over the years music has been used as a way for teams and their fans to discuss their excellence in a way that is far removed from the standard media interviews or, in the case of fans, a sign brought to a game or a few moments of screaming in the background of a television…
Dec 19, 2013, 6:55 PM EST
Just days before the start of the season, 6-foot-6 junior wing Andrew Smeathers announced his decision to leave Butler at the end of the fall semester. Having played an average of just four minutes per game in two seasons at the school, Smeathers made the decision based upon his desire for more playing time. On…
Dec 19, 2013, 5:20 PM EST
Last season interior play was an issue for Nevada, as they lacked the pieces needed to supplement what Deonte Burton, Jerry Evans Jr. and Malik Story provided on the perimeter. As a result the Wolf Pack struggled in their Mountain West debut, winning just three conference games and finishing with an overall record of 12-19.…
Dec 19, 2013, 4:08 PM EST
Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid, Julius Randle, Jabari Parker. Those are the names that pique the interest of NBA fans and GMs alike. They are part of the reason that ‘tanking’ and ‘freshmen’ have dominated the talk about basketball throughout the fall. But they aren’t alone. There is Marcus Smart. And Aaron Gordon. And Noah Vonleh.…
Dec 19, 2013, 3:42 PM EST
GAME OF THE DAY: No. 8 Duke vs. UCLA, 7:30 p.m. at Madison Square Garden Two blue blood programs squaring off in the world’s most famous arena? Yes, please. By now, we know what we’re getting from Duke. They are a team with a loaded perimeter attack that can beat anyone when and if they…
Dec 19, 2013, 2:33 PM EST
Assembly Hall has a new name. Thanks to a $40 million donation from Cindy Simon Skjodt, the place where the Indiana Hoosiers play their home games will now be called … Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. Cindy has donated millions to Indiana over the years, and the money will be used to refurbish and improve Indiana’s athletic facilities,…
Dec 19, 2013, 2:21 PM EST
In a new series here on College Basketball Talk, every Thursday we’re going to have a discussion about some of the hot topics in college basketball. Today’s installment? The 12 teams still left undefeated. Who is the first to lose? Can anyone actually make it to February without a loss? Will we ever see another…
Dec 19, 2013, 1:40 PM EST
Michigan State isn’t the only team in the state that’s currently banged up. Michigan is as well. Star center Mitch McGary is not yet healthy, according to John Beilein. He missed the entire preseason and the first two games of the season a back injury. He’s had a thigh contusion. He’s tweaked his ankle a…
Dec 19, 2013, 12:57 PM EST
On Tuesday night, with two minutes left in Michigan State’s blowout win over North Florida, Tom Izzo got on the microphone and honored longtime referee Ed Hightower. It was a great moment, and another reason to love Izzo. But it wasn’t his idea. He stole it from Tom Crean! Check it out: I’m mostly kidding.…
Dec 19, 2013, 12:27 PM EST
New Mexico will be without starting guard Hugh Greenwood against Marquette on Saturday in Las Vegas. Greenwood has been battling a wrist injury for a couple weeks. He initially injured in when the Lobos took on New Mexico State in their first matchup on December 4th. It’s his right wrist, his shooting wrist. Greenwood took…
Dec 19, 2013, 10:30 AM EST
It wasn’t quite a buzzer-beater, but LIU-Brooklyn’s Gerrell Martin buried a three to break a 79-all tie and given the Blackbirds a win over Lamar.
Dec 19, 2013, 9:15 AM EST
Saint Louis seems like a fun team to play on. I want to know how many times they had to try that before they finally got it right.
Dec 19, 2013, 2:53 AM EST
GAME OF THE NIGHT: Texas 86, No. 14 North Carolina 83 The Tar Heels remain the toughest team in college basketball to figure out. After knocking off Kentucky to pick up their third win over a preseason top three team, the Heels were once again atrocious from the charity stripe, losing to Rick Barnes and…
- UCLA has a lot to learn if they are going to be a contender in the Pac-12 0
- Rasheed Sulaimon climbs out of the doghouse in No. 8 Duke’s 80-63 win 0
- CBT Weekly Roundtable: Who will be the next undefeated team to lose? 2
- Texas hangs on to beat No. 14 North Carolina in Chapel Hill 4
- The Chase for 180: Nic Moore’s hot start 0
- Report: Former North Carolina guard Will Graves arrested on drug charges at home owned by head coach Roy Williams (20)
- Kentucky is a flawed team, but does that mean they can’t contend? (12)
- WATCH: Southern Illinois coach Barry Hinson unloads in press conference (9)
- Leslie McDonald has been cleared, while reports say P.J. Hairston unlikely to play this season (7)
- Weekend Preview: Iowa-Iowa State highlights a rivalry-heavy weekend slate (5)