Sunday, April 12, 2009

Coaching Changes/Extensions and the NCAA Is At It Again

Things are always changing in the basketball universe.

In the world of mid major basketball, Anthony Grant left VCU for Alabama. So what do the Rams do? They pilfer another assistant from the University of Florida, Shaka Smart. Smart was an assistant at Florida last season. Prior to that, Smart was an assistant at Clemson for two seasons, and previously was an assistant at Akron for three seasons. Smart promises "the most exciting style of basketball in the CAA" and will continue the Rams style of pressure started by Grant.

Apparently VCU has a direct line with Florida Coach Billy Donovan. Rams' AD Norwood Teague said he frequently contacted Donovan during the process and Donovan highly recommended Smart. It's the second straight Florida assistant that VCU hired. Grant was previously Donovan's top assistant at Florida.

Smart wasted no time connecting with his players as noted by Rams' point guard Joey Rodriguez. Rodriguez stated "He told every kid on the team where he'd seen them play before." Apparently Smart is indeed that, smart. Hopefully he will be able to keep Larry Sanders there at VCU.

While some coaches change jobs, some get extensions. Hofstra coach Tom Pecora got an extension through the 2014 season. No financial terms were disclosed. Pecora has led the Pride to 2o wins in four of the last five seasons. In fact, Pecora and assistant coach Michael Kelly authored an article "Attacking Pressure Defense", that was recently publised in FIBA's magazine. No truth to the rumor that the article stated basically " Just Give the Ball to Charles Jenkins." :-)

Actually, when Pecora last had his guard trifecta of Carlos Rivera, Loren Stokes and Antoine Agudio together in the 2006-07 season , they did an excellent job in breaking VCU's press ( and yes, that's the VCU that beat Duke in the first round of the NCAA tourney) I was at that game and it was proof that given good guards, Pecora's style can break pressure defenses quite well.

Dell Curry said that his son Stephen should be making his decision on whether to declare for the NBA draft or return to Davidson for his senior season this week. Here's hoping for the latter. He needs one more season of getting stronger and working on his D.

Meanwhile the NCAA again shows why their initials stand for "No Clue At All". Now Facebook fan groups are now considered "recruiting sites". A NC state student puts up a Facebook group site called "John Wall PLEASE come to NC STATE!!". Over 700 people signed up for the group, which has all the recruiting power of a gnat. Then the NCAA forces NC State's compliance director to send a "cease and desist letter" to Taylor Moseley, the student who put up the site. Moseley had to comply, otherwise he would face "further action".

What further action would that be? CM Newton coming to his dorm room to discuss how to seed a NIT bracket? NO, NO, NOT THAT!! By the way, did anyone notice what happened to San Diego State once they were on a neutal site in the NIT? A fourteen point loss by Baylor. Still can't get over them getting a one seed over St Mary's despite a neutral site loss to the Gaels earlier in the season. If you don't think the Cox Center was the difference in that game vs. St Mary's in the quarters, you weren't watching.

Sorry to digress. Back to point. So say if a recruit gets a free cup of lemonade from a kid's lemonade stand and the little kid says "Come to Hofstra", is that stand now a recruiting site? Would that mean a Hofstra compliance officer would deliver "a cease and desist" letter to a five year old? Based on the No Clue At All, the answer to both questions is yes!

Another example why the NCAA is a joke. A bad joke. The NCAA needs to be spending more time getting its athletes to graduate than spending time overseeing Facebook groups.

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