Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The First Shot Fired - Pitino, Rick

As predicted by Kurly yesterday, Pitino didn't last the day.  To be fair he probably should have been gone long ago but he has been able to skate by, time and time again.   I'm waiting to see who goes next and I have no doubt there are names that are out there yet that will come out.
It will be good to see Bruce Pearl go.  He's as dirty as they come and I pray ESPN doesn't employ any of these guys as analysts.  Now, I'm not naive to believe this doesn't go on all over the place but obviously its so out of control the FBI has to step in.  The next week is going to change the landscape of the year.

On a more positive note I was just starting to prepare for the 2017-2018 preview but with these allegations out there I may wait to see who gets fired or declared ineligible.

What a shocker 6 weeks before the season starts!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Well, That Escalated

At about 8AM this morning, twitter blew up with an announcement about pending arrests of multiple NCAA assistant coaches and shoe company exceutives. The arrests were labeled as bribery and fraud. What made this a big deal is, this was the FBI. Unlike the NCAA, this means subpoena power, wiretaps, etc. The basic gist was, shoe execs, agents and coaches pushed kids affiliated with shoe companies to schools who were also affiliated and then the schools pushed the kids toward whatever agent was affiliated with the aforementioned.

The assistant coaches arrested were Arizona's Book Richardson, USC's Tony Bland, Auburn's Chuck Person and Oklahoma State's Lamont Evans. Richardson has been an assistant under Sean Miller going back to his Xavier days and we'll get back to him shortly. Evans is new at OSU and his indiscretions may have occured while he was an assistant at South Carolina.

Also arrested were Munish Sood, Christian Dawkins (former agent), Rashan Michel, Merl Code (affiliated with Adidas), Jonathan Brad Augustine, a AAU coach loosely affiliated with Adidas and Jim Gatto.

The FBI report can be found here:

The two clear schools in trouble are Louisville and Arizona. I texted Brian this morning when the news broke and told him, Pitino is done. I fully expect a forced retirement or dismissal as early as tomorrow. Though no Louisville assistant is named, nor is the school, its clear as you scroll through the FBI report, they have Louisville dead to rights. Brian Bowen was a five star, class of '18 recruit who seemingly randomly chose Louisville in June. Early projections had Creighton as a legit destination and the, finally Arizona. Remarkably, after little effort, he chose Louisville. As you read the report, a trail leads back to a payment of $100,000 being made to Bowen in return for him agreeing to go to Louisville. The Feds have it recorded. Pitino himself is quoted as saying it was the cheapest and luckiest recruiting win he could remember. The cheap remark meaning the school never paid for an official visit.

Arizona received a commitment from Jahvon Quinerly and according to the complaint, it appears Book Richardson funneled $15,000 his way to get that commitment this past June. Quinerly was highly sought after by schools such as Villanova and Virginia. Richardson has long been considered an elite recruiter for Sean Miller. This will not end well for Miller.

This is condensed from what I've followed along on twitter today. So much to be digested and so little truly known. These are some things I believe:

1. This is the tip of the iceberg. When the NCAA is involved, it's easy to keep quiet. With the FBI and potential jail time, some of these men will flip and name names. I wouldn't be laughing at anyone at the moment because we don't know what shoe drops next.

2. Louisville basketball is done as we know it. There will be tremendous pressure on the NCAA to drop the hammer and the hammer will drop after the Feds are finished. That means some time in limbo. Top recruits are not coming for the foreseeable future.

3. Rick Pitino will never coach again. I expect he'll be done as early as tomorrow.

4. Arizona will also come under heavy scrutiny and Sean Miller's days there are numbered. A pre-season favorite, I won't be surprised if things unravel quickly in the desert.

5. Bruce Pearl will be out at Auburn sooner than later and will never coach again.

6. USC is the mystery. They immediately hired Louis Freeh to investigate. That's a serious reaction and my hunch tells me Andy Enfield's days are numbered as well.

7. I'm not appalled at this. However, it has the chance to fix a lot of things wrong with eligibility questions regarding agents and the influence of shoe companies. It's no secret AAU teams sponsored by specific shoe companies often see kids from those teams attend schools affiliated with said shoe company. The NCAA has struggled with these issues to the point leagues have started to explore on their own what the rules should be, especially with regards to agents, according to SI's Andy Staples.