The news of the morning has to be the NCAA formally charging Memphis University with “major violations” during the 2007-08 basketball season. According to AP reports and the Memphis Commercial Appeal, the NCAA charges the basketball program with “knowing fraudulence or misconduct” related to an SAT exam for a player who participated on the Final Four team in the spring of 2008. Based on the wording of the NCAA charges, folks have deduced that the SAT exam irregularity has to do with Derrick Rose. In what would be a minor violation when compared to the blockbuster allegation above, the university is also charged with providing $2,260 in the form of free travel to an associate of one of the players. This may or may not be the same player who had the SAT irregularity.
Remember, these are allegations at this point; the university and the NCAA super-sleuths still have work to do here. Nonetheless, media reports have already jumped ahead to the end of the story and have said that if proven, these charges would cause Memphis to forfeit its Final Four appearance back in 2008. Whoop – di – damned – doo!!
More interestingly to me is that John Calipari just left Memphis for the job at Kentucky and – once again leaping to the end of the story here – if Memphis has to forfeit its Final Four appearance, that will continue Calipari’s streak of never making it to the Final Four with a completely legit team/program. When he took UMass to the Final Four, there were sufficient shenanigans going on there that the school had to forfeit its games; that was back in the mid-90s. UMass never recovered from that situation in terms of on-court success.
Since I am on the subject of college basketball, – sort of – let me make a couple of observations about the upcoming NBA Draft. Just about everyone has assumed that the LA Clippers will use the first pick to select Blake Griffin; were I in their shoes, I would do that immediately. One downside for the Clippers could come from a situation where Griffin just does not want to play for such a sorry-assed franchise and “mails it in” for the balance of his initial contract looking to score a deal with a decent team after it has run its course. Or, if Blake Griffin is a student of history, he may choose to take matters into his own hands now.
In football, there are the two historical markers of John Elway and Eli Manning who were taken with the first pick in the draft and then forced the teams that took them to trade them elsewhere. Both players made it known that they were not going to sign with the team holding the overall #1 pick in the draft. Blake Griffin can look at how that turned out for those two QBs. And in addition, there is an NBA historical lesson for him…
Back in the early 1980s, the Dallas Mavericks were starting to put together their team. Kiki Vandeweghe came out of UCLA and the Mavs took him with their first round pick. Vandeweghe wanted no part of an expansion team and forced the Mavs to trade him to the Nuggets where he began an NBA career that took him to three or four different teams – - one of which was the Clippers but none of which was the Mavericks. If Blake Griffin wants to play in a more positive environment than the LA Clippers have provided for players in the past, maybe he should begin to let it be known that he isn’t going to be a happy camper in the Clippers’ family.
One other NBA Draft note if I may… Any NBA team looking for a point guard has to be salivating over the prospects here. Obviously, some of these young players will flame out along the way, but I can’t recall a draft with a larger selection of quality players whose natural position is point guard. Consider in alphabetical order – - and I may have missed a couple of others:
Stephen Curry – - and he can shoot a bit too.
Jonny Flynn – - good at dribble penetration.
Brandon Jennings – - playing in Europe at the pro level at age 19.
Ty Lawson – - fast enough for you?
Patty Mills – - dominant player at college level.
Ricky Rubio – - projected to go at #2 in the draft.
Willie Warren – - overshadowed by Blake Griffin.
To catch you up on a bit of NFL news, I will simply present a comment by Kevin Cusick of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press, which summarizes the situation quite well:
“New Orleans’ Jeremy Shockey was hospitalized Sunday afternoon after losing consciousness at a Las Vegas party. Saints officials claim the tight end was just ‘dehydrated’ and believe the incident won’t affect his ability to drop footballs.”
Over the years, I have had lots of opportunities to comment on Mike Tyson and his behaviors. For the most part, my comments have been anything but laudatory. However, Mike Tyson’s four-year-old daughter died this week after a freak accident at the Tyson home in Arizona. At this time, it behooves everyone to leave the Tyson family alone to work through the monstrous level of grief that must accompany a tragedy of this magnitude.
Rest in peace, young lady…
As a public service, allow me to remind you that today is the day set aside to recognize the return of the garden slugs from isle of Capistrano to the mainland where they will spend the rest of the summer leaving slime trails in gardens. In the spring, the swallows return to Capistrano – - cue the Glenn Miller Orchestra – - and in the spring, the garden slugs leave Capistrano. It is the rhythm of the cosmos…
Finally, here is an item from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times:
“Angered over encounters with walkers wearing nothing but boots and socks, citizens in the tiny Swiss Alps canton of Appenzell Inner Rhodes have voted to ban nude hiking.
“Hey, it was either that or bust the budget on ‘Beware of Bares’ signs.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports…