UConn Men’s Basketball Being Investigated for Potential Recruiting Violations

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ESPN– The University of Connecticut is the target of an NCAA investigation into its men’s basketball program.

University President Susan Herbst said in a statement Friday that the school will cooperate in a “thorough and transparent manner reflective of the model athletic and academic institution we continually strive to be.”

The university didn’t specify the allegations and said it would have no further comment, but would “address and respond appropriately as the inquiry moves forward.”

Hearst Connecticut Media, which first reported the investigation, cited unidentified sources saying the inquiry was related to recruiting.

Letttt’sssssssssssss goooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!! I know I should react differently to my alma mater getting dragged into a potentially serious recruiting scandal, but I can’t help it. I guarantee this is just another case of a player taking a bunch of money. Oh no, not that! How can I possibly live with the moral implications of supporting a team that pays the players that produce millions of dollars of revenue for the school? I’d never recover.

Listen, theoretically, cheating is bad. I don’t really care, personally, and literally every single college basketball and football team that’s worth anything gives the top level recruits bags of unmarked bills, but hey, if you want to feel good about yourself you can say cheating is bad. You know what’s definitely bad? Being barely over .500 in the American Conference and, barring some miracle, missing the NCAA Tournament two out of the last three years. Kevin Ollie SUCKS. His “offense” is grade-school level at best. No UConn player has actually gotten better in their time in Storrs since Shabazz Napier, who, you know, wasn’t coached by Ollie until his senior season. His excuse for every loss is that the team isn’t “tough enough.” He never takes responsibility for his terrible game-planning and in-game “strategy,” despite the fact that he’s the coach and it’s his job to put the team in position to win, thus making virtually every loss his fault. And while I understand how many injuries there have been this season and the limitations being stuck in the AAC puts on the recruiting pool, but it’s also his fault the roster is trash. It’s literally 100% his fault UConn basketball sucks, which it never should. Which is why this potential scandal pumps me up. I’ve seen that the state of Connecticut doesn’t really want to pay his buyout and another coach at the same time. Well, virtually every big time university puts in some kind of “rules violation clause” that allows them to dump a coach caught up in something like this, so we just have to keep our fingers crossed that whatever happened happened under his watch. I don’t even care who the replacement coach is, because any organism capable of independent thought would be an upgrade. A scandal like this also gets UConn’s name back out there. The R.J. Barretts and Zion Williamsons of the world aren’t thinking about a mediocre team in a mediocre conference with a mediocre roster with a less than mediocre coach. But when it’s confirmed that you get paid to play there? Now we’re talking. Now there’s some intrigue. Now they’re thinking, “well, I used to question why I would spend my one year in college on a remote campus in the middle of Connecticut that’s surrounded by farmland and becomes a giant wind tunnel in the winter, but now that they’ve given me $100,000 and a new car, I’m sold!” One and done guys don’t care about getting caught, and nor should they. Once the penalties have run their course, this little scandal can only help UConn return to relevancy. So please, NCAA, do your worst.

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So Are People Still Upset Alabama Made the Playoff?

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Remember when people thought Alabama wasn’t one of the four best teams in the country? I do. I remember having to write about how foolish it was that there was a sizable percentage of the population that thought Ohio State should have made the playoff over Ohio State. I’m not usually one to say I told you so, but I told you so. Obviously Alabama was a top four team. 90% of the roster is going to the NFL and they have the best college coach since color TV was invented. Alabama destroying Clemson last night was the most obvious result in college football history. Oh, you’re going to question Alabama’s legitimacy and give Saban even more motivation to beat the team that beat them in last year’s championship game. I apologize if you weren’t smart enough to see a complete demolition coming. It must be hard not understanding how football works.

I don’t want to be confused with a mouth breathing Alabama homer, though. I don’t particularly like them, I just recognize their inherent greatness. The Sugar Bowl was a terrible game for the most part, made even worse by the amazing Rose Bowl that preceded it (I think the Rose Bowl has the highest amazing game percentage of any annual sporting event. Literally every game is a classic). And Alabama predictably making the championship game doesn’t necessarily prove that the playoff works perfectly in its current state. How easy would it be to give this exact same take if Ohio State made it over Alabama and beat Clemson? The only thing it would prove is that both teams are better than Clemson (I don’t think people outside the northeast truly realize how bad that loss to Syracuse really is). And it’s great that we wound up with a championship game that has two of the three best teams in the country (R.I.P. Baker Mayfield), but the same team beat both of these teams, and that team turned around and lost to a team that finished 13-0 and outscored its opponents by roughly 50 points a game. It’s so easy to do this after the season when we’ve seen the results of bowl games where half the teams don’t care, by why the hell wasn’t UCF more involved in playoff talks? If you watched them for one second this year you would have known they were legit. They beat one of the best teams from the big, bad SEC, but they’re still not good enough? Huh? Because they didn’t play anybody? First of all, as the only American Conference homer on the net, back off, and second, it’s really not their fault everyone they play stinks. Alabama player Mercer and the SEC was bad this year. Did you see any SEC bowl games? Nine SEC teams made bowl games and only two besides Georgia and Alabama won. They stink. The SEC is dead. But playing Vanderbilt is really more impressive than playing Temple? Why? If the selection process was purely concerned with picking the best teams with the most talent, that’s understandable. But then there never should have been a debate about Alabama in the first place. And the committee always said it was a combination of talent and resume. Well UCF beat everyone in front of them, and most of the time by a pretty wide margin. Why are they less worthy than a team that lost to Iowa, or two teams that lost to Auburn, a good team that didn’t win their conference, or a team that lost to Washington State? Either expand the playoff or make up your mind on the kind of language you want to use as an excuse to pick the blue bloods over upstart teams. If you want to make the playoff the four teams with the most future NFL players on it, I’m fine with that. Just say that’s what you’re doing. Don’t say it’s inclusive and all about resume and then ignore the team with the best resume. Don’t piss on my head and tell me it’s raining.

With all that said, Alabama will clearly win the title. Georgia doesn’t win national championships. They’re close enough to qualify as an Atlanta team, they don’t have a chance. Especially playing in Atlanta. Too much history, too many expectations. All it means is that Alabama wins again and we have proof that the playoff doesn’t need to be changed since the underdog four seed won so anything can happen. Oh, well. At least it’s almost my birthday.

Are People Actually Upset That Ohio State Didn’t Make the Playoff?

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So the College Football Playoff foursome was announced yesterday, and, even though I’m sure you’ve heard every possible take about it, but I just had to throw my two cents out because, well, I’m very narcissistic and think you care about my opinion. Anyway, Clemson, Oklahoma, Georgia, and Alabama all made it, putting an end to the weeklong “Alabama or Ohio State?” debate that saw the good people of America be held hostage by two of the three worst college football fanbases (if only Penn State was in the mix, then it could have been the unholy trinity). Most reaction I’ve seen has been pretty measured and reasonable, but I’ve seen a couple thinkpieces that make me want to bang my head against the wall until I think like a retired NFL player. It’s baffling to me that anyone thinks Ohio State should have been in.

Listen, it’s obviously an imperfect system. Even though the playoff had been gathering momentum for years, when they introduced it three years ago it kind of felt rushed. Well, now that we’ve seen it works it’s time to do some tinkering. I’m not the first and won’t be the last to say expanding to 8 teams is necessary. The Power 5 conference champions then three at large teams, including any undefeated mid-major team. If this year’s playoff was Clemson-Oklahoma-Georgia-Alabama-Ohio State-USC-UCF-Wisconsin I think everyone would be happy. But only four teams make it, and it should be the four best teams. Period. Alabama is better than Ohio State. They just are. Yes, Ohio State is hot. But they also lost by 15 to Oklahoma, not the worst result ever, and by 31 to Iowa. 31!!!!! TO IOWA!!!! Iowa is terrible. They won one game after beating Ohio State. Outside Clemson’s bizarre loss to Syracuse it might be the single worst loss of the season by any team. Iowa has, what, five or six guys that’ll play in the NFL? Ohio State has five or six first round picks! They should have destroyed Iowa. They should have destroyed Wisconsin, but stopped trying after they went up 14-0. How can you look at this team and say “yeah, they’re definitely one of the best four. Have been all season?” Alabama was literally ranked ahead of them every single week. Alabama has more talent than everyone but Clemson. Did they struggle down the stretch? Sure. Did they have a brutal schedule? You betcha. Do they always get the benefit of the doubt? Yes, and for good reason. Would you be surprised if Alabama won the title? I wouldn’t. Honestly whoever wins the Sugar Bowl is winning the championship. Remember when Ohio State played Clemson last year? Clemson won 31-0. The B1G stinks. Ohio State played a soft-ass schedule and somehow lost two games. Alabama played a gauntlet of a schedule and only lost once. Pretty cut and dry, if you ask me. Yeah, Alabama didn’t make their conference championship game, but why should that really matter? Not playing that extra game didn’t turn them from the second best team in the country into the fifth. That’s asinine. They’re there because the deserve it, end of story. Now expand it to eight so we can debate who the ninth best team in the country is.

Also, for what it’s worth, USC is better than Ohio State and should have been getting the hype Ohio State got.

I Would Like to Wish Everyone a Merry Hawaiian Christmas!

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Mele Kalikimaka, everybody! What a beautiful day to celebrate one of the most important days on the calendar. Hawaiian Christmas. What’s that? You’ve never heard of it? That’s a shame. It’s a truly wonderful holiday. A joyous occasion where we, the faithful public, celebrate the birth of the White Kahuna. The one sent from above to dazzle us with pinpoint accuracy and a mastery of the Run and Shoot offense. Today, we celebrate the birth of the greatest college football player of all time, Colt Brennan.

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Now, a short trip down Google Lane will tell you that his true birthday is August 16th. Well, what holiday worth it’s salt takes place in the middle of the week? That’s why Hawaiian Christmas takes place on the closest Friday to August 16th, so you’ll always have a long weekend spent living on Island Time, to go with the quiet midweek vigil you hold for the true date. And if the 16th falls on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or Monday? Well, that’s grounds to take the whole week off, friend. Hawaiian Christmas is a time for leisure, merriment, and goodwill towards men. Your boss will understand.

The most important question facing a Hawaiian Christmas neophyte is, of course, how to celebrate. It’s quite simple really. The first step is to put on your finest Hawaiian linens. The more complex the pattern, the more bold the color scheme, the better. I’m partial to tropical flowers, birds of paradise, sea turtles, and perhaps fruit, myself, but Hawaiian Christmas is not a time for criticism. Wear what you will, as long as it’s in the spirit of things. Grab yourself a mai tai or two (more on that later), and settle in on your most relaxing beach chair for the most important part of any Hawaiian Christmas, watching a ton of Colt Brennan highlights. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen first.

You might need to take a cold shower if you get too deep into the rabbit hole, but hopefully you have access to a beach and can take a quick dip in the water. While his highlight videos are undoubtedly mesmerizing, don’t get so engrossed you lose track of time. Hawaiian Christmas dinner takes a while to cook when done right, and you certainly don’t want to lose track of time. While our savior typically feasted on helpless WAC opponents, cannibalism is unfortunately frowned upon during Hawaiian Christmas. So, instead, prepare a traditional Kalua pig. You’ll need a full pig and a pretty big pit and a bunch of hot stones, and you’ll need to learn a difficult and very specific cooking method that you’ll probably never use in any other scenario, but it’s worth it to impress your friends. Gather your family and any neighbors too lazy to cook their own pig and sit around the fire pit telling tales of gridiron glory. Traditionally, this is also where you engage in the ceremonial Hair Bleaching, so you too can look like the Heisman Finalist himself.tumblr_lmkx4zlahb1qapl86o1_500

Most pigs are probably going to be about 260 pounds, so when you add in all the tropical-themed side dishes, you’ll have plenty of leftovers! The White Kahuna isn’t an advocate for moderation.

Speaking of moderation, the most controversial part of the holiday comes at night. Here at the Brian’s Den, we would never dream of condoning drinking and driving. It’s a reckless, dangerous, and foolhardy decision. But, as with all great heroes, Colt Brennan is a flawed man. His DUI arrest is a dark mark on his otherwise spotless record. To walk in his path is to admit your own weaknesses and faults, which is the first step to personal growth. A true celebrator of Hawaiian Christmas knows how to honor the White Kahuna and keep the non believers safe, so find an abandoned patch of beach, woods, field, anywhere where you won’t have any company. Get a golf cart and your closest friends, and just drive around. If you’ve been observing Hawaiian Christmas customs all day, you should be sufficiently impaired. It’s a great time that I officially condemn, but it’s better than driving your actual car. Feel free to engage in golf-cart centric shenanigans into the wee hours of the morning, just make sure to be wearing your Hawaiian Christmas garb, so any passing law enforcement officers will know you’re merely recognizing the significance of the day.

The last part of any good Hawaiian Christmas comes the next morning. All you need to do is fail to make the NFL. Easy enough on paper, but you’d be surprised how many people mess it up. Now, go out there and have the best Hawaiian Christmas you’ve ever had. Mele Kalikimaka, indeed.

Marvin Bagley Reclassifies and Will Attend Duke Next Season, Celtics to Win 2018-19 NBA Championship

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Huge news day for college basketball yesterday. Not only did Jim Calhoun throw his name back out there, but 2018 top recruit Marvin Bagley III decided to reclassify and attend Duke this upcoming season. Duke now enters the season as the clear number one team and is probably going to win the championship, unless they wind up choking again in the tournament/Coach K decides he needs another surgery and takes a few months off, ruining team chemistry but preserving his record. Oh, well. If Duke didn’t win every once in a while, they wouldn’t be Duke anymore. They’re not really Duke, anymore, anyway. All these fancy one and done guys even though Coach K has always preached against one and dones and praised four year guys. Funny how his legendary morals seem to change whenever he finds a way to benefit from something new. Odd how that works out.

Anyway, Bagley’s a stud. The ultimate modern day big man, he’s being called the best prospect since Anthony Davis. He’s a freak athlete, he can shoot, he can handle the ball, and he’s 6’11”. Seems like a decent combination of skills to have. If only there was an NBA team that was one guy away from winning the next five championships. Oh, wait, there is! And, as fortune should have it, the Celtics could theoretically end up with the first two picks in the draft next year, barring unexpected leaps in performance from the Nets and Lakers. I was already gearing up for the Celtics to get previous top prospect Michael Porter, Jr., but now they’ll get Porter and Bagley? Whooooo, baby. Now that LeBron and Kyrie have both feet out the door in Cleveland, I can’t see a realistic scenario where the Celtics don’t at least make the Finals in perpetuity. What a time to be a Celtics fan. Think of everything they’ve got going for them. Top pick Markelle Fultz The NBA’s best guard defender Avery Bradley A great coach and a million young guys that all play the same position. Can’t beat that. Hope Marvin likes green.

Jim Calhoun Hints He Might Want Back In

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source– Former UConn men’s basketball coach Jim Calhoun, a Hall of Famer, may be coming out of retirement.

He would not say where, but multiple sources said he has had serious discussions with the University of St. Joseph in West Hartford about its new men’s basketball program and has been offered the job.

“I’ve got a couple of other things in the works, one involving basketball, which I’m intrigued by,” Calhoun said. “It’s coaching.”

But this appears to be serious. St. Joseph is starting a Division III men’s basketball program, to begin play in 2018, and posted an opening for a head coach in late June. Calhoun would only say that the school was local, but sources confirmed it is St. Joseph. A decision could come within a week.

I realize this might be more relevant to people in my neck of the woods, but anytime Jim Calhoun is trying to get back in the mix, I’ve got to give my two cents. As a notable UConn graduate (they’ve yet to update the Wikipedia page yet), Jim Calhoun is my guy. I loved the old UConn basketball teams (they were pretty much the reason I went there), he was still the coach my freshman year when they won the title, and he built the team that won my senior year. So, yeah, I have Jim to thank for a lot of happy memories. I still remember how he walked to the bench before home games. The locker room tunnel was on the opposite corner, so he had to walk all the way around the court to get to his seat. The whole time, he’d just walk and wave to the students. He walked like if you put a frog on it’s hind legs, which made it better. And you could always hear him scream at the players no matter how loud the crowd was, which was a nice touch. I fully support any school that wants to get Jim back out there.

If he really is going to this DIII school, all I’ve got to say is that I never actually played athletics. Hard to believe, I know, but I’ve got all four years of eligibility left. I think I could average 8-10 points per game in DIII. Add in like 5 dimes and 6 boards. I’d get to the line a lot and wouldn’t be afraid to commit hard fouls to send a message. What I’m trying to say is that I should probably be getting recruited by University of St. Joseph right now. I’d be a pretty easy get. I’m not swimming in offers right now. As long as I get a sweet illegal benefits package I’m in. No one investigates DIII, so just throw a bunch of money and cars at DII talent and watch the wins pile up. Knowing Jim, He’ll have USJ up to DI in like, five years. By then, a crop of his old players’ offspring might be ripe for recruiting. Get Ray Allen’s kid, Rip Hamilton’s kid, Cliff Robinson’s kid, Donyell Marshall’s kid, hopefully he lasts long enough to get Charlie Villanueva’s kid, too. We could be looking at a new college basketball power in the making. Or just a way for a retired legend to spend his weekends. One or the other.

6’4″, 286lb “8th Grader” Gets Football Scholarship Offers from Alabama, Ole Miss, Has Yet to Produce Birth Certificate

source– Some college football programs will make offers to middle school prospects to gain attention on a national level.

It appears to be much more than that in the case of 6-foot-4, 286-pound Jaheim Oatis.

According to a tweet posted Friday by Oatis, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Alabama have made scholarship offers to the soon-to-be eighth-grader from Columbia, Mississippi.

Alright, I think we can drop the charade, here. We’re in a Safe Space for Free Thinking, so we don’t really have to play along with this. This kid isn’t in 8th grade. He just isn’t. He might technically be in 8th grade, but this kid isn’t 14:

No matter what forged birth certificate or altered class photos or anything they trot out, I’m not going to be fooled. You’ve got to get up pretty early in the morning to get an age scandal past me, and sorry folks, but this one didn’t work. Not 14.

Now that we’ve gotten past the obvious, I have to commend Alabama here. This is why they’ll always stay on top. Having 28-year-old grown men as freshmen gives them that extra advantage they need to dominate the SEC. Giving someone who should be in the prime of his NFL career another four years of eligibility is an ingenious move. Don’t know why everyone doesn’t just do this. Instead of filling the locker room with scrawny 19-year-olds, just put together a whole team of Danny Almontes. Seems like a foolproof strategy. Just find all the best prospects in the country, bring them down to backwoods Alabama, feed them steroids some good Southern cooking, and have them train at some “middle school”/football lab and bam, you’ve magically discovered the newest “8th grade” phenom who’s ready to play for you when he turns 25. I don’t see any flaws there. As long as all the food and facilities are paid for by an “independent” third party, it’s surely 100% legal, too. And only Alabama has the stones to pull it off. Makes me sad for the state of college football. Now you’ve got to start asking if Alabama Football is bad for the game.