Tag:Jim Calhoun
Posted on: February 22, 2011 6:00 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2011 6:23 pm

Predictably, Calhoun got off easy

NCAA committee on infractions chair Dennis Thomas said it over and over again -- the head coach is responsible for everything that happens within his program. On behalf of college basketball writers from coast to coast, Mr. Thomas, let me tell you that we agree. But then why did Jim Calhoun only get a three-game suspension?

"We think the penalty is appropriate," Thomas said during Tuesday's teleconference to announce the sanctions levied against the Connecticut basketball program.

Rest assured, the committee members are among the only folks who feel that way.

To the rest of us, it's a joke but hardly unexpected.

Three games.

That's it?

Calhoun ran a program featuring a coaching staff that made thousands of impermissible phone calls/text messages and used an agent/booster to secure the enrollment of a prospect. He got caught. And the penalty, basically, is that he'll be forced to miss three games next season just like Kansas State guard Jacob Pullen was forced to miss three games this season … for accepting less than $300 in discounted clothing.

You see why this is crazy, don't you?

Three games?

Calhoun has missed more than that in recent years for exhaustion.

And don't bother pointing out how UConn will have to also endure recruiting restrictions and a reduction in scholarships, because that stuff just doesn't matter as much as the NCAA would like you to think. If Duke's Mike Krzyzewski can recruit from China while coaching Team USA and Ohio State's Thad Matta can start a season 24-0 using roughly seven players, I don't see how anybody can consider recruiting restrictions and scholarship reductions to be a huge deal in college basketball.

A postseason ban?

That hurts.

A television ban?

That stings.

But all Calhoun really got for cheating was a three-game suspension -- plus the contract extension he signed last May.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 22, 2011 10:37 am
Edited on: February 22, 2011 3:14 pm

Calhoun will be suspended for 3 games next season

The NCAA has suspended Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun for three games next season and banned him from making recruiting calls for a six-month period after its committee on infractions ruled that he failed to "promote an atmosphere of compliance" within his basketball program.

The details of the decision were announced during a Tuesday teleconference.

Click this link to read the NCAA's report.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: October 8, 2010 2:49 pm
Edited on: October 8, 2010 3:44 pm

That won't be enough, UConn

A reduction in scholarships and two years' probation?

I can't imagine that's enough.

I mean, who cares about probation these days? And I can't tell you how many programs operate with fewer than the 13 allowed scholarship players each season and compete just fine while doing it. So it's nice that Connecticut announced self-imposed penalties on Friday, a week before the school is scheduled to appear before the NCAA committee on infractions for major rules violations, most of which revolve around Nate Miles' connection with a former Huskies manager turned agent. But the self-imposed penalties lack teeth as much as this guy lacks teeth, and that's why I'll be surprised if UConn isn't eventually hit with more significant penalities, i.e., something that actually matters.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: October 8, 2010 12:21 pm
Edited on: October 8, 2010 12:22 pm

UConn responds to NCAA

Connecticut announced on Friday some reductions in the NCAA charges -- as well as some new self-imposed penalties -- against Jim Calhoun's basketball program in advance of next week's meeting with the committee on infractions.

According to a release, the NCAA and school have agreed that the time period for which UConn has been charged for failing to monitor its men's basketball program be reduced from four to two years. The enforcement staff has also cleared associate head coach George Blaney of all impermissible calls he had supposedly made. The release goes on to explain that Connecticut has self-imposed a two-year period of probabtion on its athletics program and reduced the number of scholarships for the men's basketball program from 13 to 12 for the 2010-11 and 2011-12 academic years. A reduction in the number of coaches allowed to make phone contacts with prospective student-athletes and "recruiting person days" have also been self-imposed. Furthermore, the release suggests Connecticut plans to argue that the available evidence does not support the enforcement staff's charge that Calhoun "failed to promote an atmosphere for compliance."

"I am deeply disappointed the university is in this position," said Connecticut president Philip E. Austin. "It is clear mistakes have been made. This is a serious matter and we have worked in full cooperation with the NCAA. We look forward to fully resolving these issues and restoring our men's basketball program to a level of unquestioned integrity."

(Click this link to read the full report.)
Posted on: September 16, 2010 8:14 pm
Edited on: September 16, 2010 8:15 pm

Izzo, Wright, Calhoun at NY clinic on Friday

Howard Garfinkel's third annual "Clinic to End All Clinics" is scheduled for Friday at Manhattan College with a first-class list of speakers -- among them Connecticut's Jim Calhoun, Villanova's Jay Wright and Michigan State's Tom Izzo. Former NBA coach Lawrence Frank and Rutgers' C. Vivian Stringer are also scheduled to speak.

The clinic runs from 9 a.m. to 4:20 p.m. at Draddy Gymnasium.

Registration is $150 and lunch will be catered by the Carnegie Deli -- where (and this has nothing to do with anything) I once sat a table with Garfinkel, Manhattan coach Barry "Slice" Rohrssen, and Hall of Famer Bob Knight, and I watched them order a plate of bacon for dessert. Seriously. Bacon for dessert. Seemed crazy, but maybe I'm missing something.

(I just ordered cheesecake.)

Anyway, for more information call Garfinkel at 212-246-3063 or 646-275-9818.

In all seriousness, this is a really nice basketball event.
Posted on: May 28, 2010 11:52 am
Edited on: May 28, 2010 12:00 pm

Failing to monitor is the key to success

The best part is that Jim Calhoun was hit with a "failure to monitor" charge.

That's exacty the point of my column.

The worst any head coach should ever endure is a "failure to monitor" charge because that translates roughly into a "you didn't pay close enough attention to your cheating assistants" charge, or a "you didn't pay close enough attention to realize your players were taking extra benefits from an agent" charge. Either way, you're good. Because, like I wrote in the column, the key at the highest level of college basketball is to stay far enough away from the bad stuff to survive if the bad stuff ever comes to light.

A failure to monitor is almost necessary.

Failing to monitor allows your assistants to do what needs to be done, allows your players to take what needs to be taken. Just cover your eyes and ears and cash the big paychecks. And if the you-know-what hits the fan, answer as many questions as possible with "I don't know" or "I don't recall," and the worst you get is a failure-to-monitor charge.

The NABC should offer a class on this approach.

Coaching 101: How failing to monitor can be your friend
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: May 7, 2010 11:44 am

Calhoun's new contract won't solve UConn's issues

It's nice that Jim Calhoun finally got a new contract from Connecticut.

Good for him.

Good for UConn.

But the truth is that Friday's announcement of a new five-year deal will do little to stabilize the program because Calhoun is still about to turn 68 years old, still set to answer for NCAA violations committed under his watch, still coming off a NIT season, still in possession of a roster that doesn't appear to be capable of being much better next season, and he's still the man who has missed games in recent years for health concerns.

Can Calhoun still coach?

Yes, absolutely, I believe that he can.

But the things that have made Calhoun's job increasingly difficult -- specifically his age, his health and the ongoing NCAA investigation -- didn't disappear at Friday's press conference, which means schools will continue to use those things against UConn on the recruiting trail. And it'll likely work.

Bottom line, the five-year deal doesn't mean Calhoun will be at UConn another four or five years.

It doesn't even ensure he'll be there next year.

All it does is show that the school is committed to Calhoun, but that's never really been in doubt because UConn athletic director Jeff Hathaway was never going to shove a Hall of Famer out the door before the start of next season. The only things that have been in doubt are whether the NCAA will severely punish the program, and whether Calhoun's body will allow him to coach into his 70s. And guess what? We still don't know the answers to those questions, and neither does Calhoun. So the contract extension is nice, I guess, but it's still mostly meaningless in terms of providing a map for the future of UConn basketball.
Posted on: March 12, 2010 12:07 am
Edited on: March 12, 2010 12:16 am

Friday Morning's Gettin' In

What's the only thing worse than bad point guard play in March?

A double-bye in the Big East tournament, obviously.

Here's Friday morning's Gettin' In.

Best game: I watched roughly 12 hours of basketball Thursday, which is more exhausting than you'd think. So I was tired by the end of the day, but not too tired to appreciate the brilliance of Da'Sean Butler, who made big plays on both ends of the court while leading West Virginia to a 54-51 win in the Big East quarterfinals. First, he applied pressure to Dion Dixon and caused the UC guard to dribble the ball off his own head and out of bounds. That's called a turnover. So the Mountaineers got the ball back with 3.1 seconds remaining and got it to Butler, who banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer to keep West Virginia in contention for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Double-bye blues: In between Syracuse losing to Georgetown in the Big East quarterfinals despite a double-bye and Pittsburgh losing to Notre Dame in the Big East quarterfinals despite a double-bye, Villanova lost to Marquette in the Big East quarterfinals despite a double-bye, and double-byes sure don't seem to be an advantage, do they? Three of the four schools that had them -- i.e., three of the Big East's top four seeds -- lost Thursday. The only one that didn't was West Virginia, which, again, won only because a UC player dribbled the ball off his own head in the final four seconds.

Team whose dream remained alive: It's probably premature to call Georgia Tech a "lock," but the Yellow Jackets started Thursday in everybody's bracket, ended Thursday with a 62-58 win over North Carolina, and will spend Friday playing Maryland in the ACC quarterfinals. Best I can tell, they should lose to Maryland; thus, it shouldn't hurt them. So if the Yellow Jackets are in now, shouldn't they also be in on Selection Sunday barring a bunch of non-bubble teams making runs?

Team whose dream was crushed: Despite zero wins over other projected at-large teams and three losses outside of the top 150, Memphis entered the C-USA tournament as an at-large team in multiple brackets. So Thursday was a big day for the Tigers; all they had to do was beat a Houston team that finished 7-9 in the league to advance to the C-USA semifinals. But Elliot Williams and Doneal Mack combined to go 2-of-15 from the field, Aubrey Coleman sank a leaner with less than five seconds left, and Houston beat Memphis 66-65 to ensure the Tigers will miss the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2005.

Performance I hope you witnessed: New Mexico remained in play for a possible No. 2 seed thanks to a ridiculous effort from -- who else? -- MWC Player of the Year Darington Hobson. The junior college transfer got 28 points and 15 rebounds in Thursday's 75-69 win over Air Force. It was Hobson's third straight game with at least 20 points and 14 rebounds.

Performances I hope you missed: Oklahoma State's James Anderson won the Big 12 Player of the Year award on Sunday and responded by missing 10 of 14 3-point attempts in Thursday's 83-64 loss to Kansas State. He must be better in the NCAA tournament for the Cowboys to advance (and for the rims to survive).

Four random notes

1. Arizona's 75-69 loss to UCLA in the Pac-10 quarterfinals means the Wildcats' streak of 25 straight NCAA tournament appearances will end. Sean Miller's team is now 16-15 overall, 2-1 against UCLA. Yes, they swept the season series from the Bruins, then lost in the league tournament.

2. Ernie Kent coached his last game at Oregon on Thursday, barring a huge surprise. California beat the Ducks 90-74 in the Pac-10 quarterfinals and dropped their record to 16-16. Kent refused to address reports of his resignation/firing, but by all accounts he knows he's gone after 13 seasons, and it should become official in the next 48 hours.

3. Jimmer Fredette won Thursday's scoring title. The BYU guard hung 45 points on TCU in a 95-85 victory that launched the Cougars into the MWC semifinals. Fredette was only 10-of-23 from the field, but he sank 23 of 24 free throws to eclipse the 40-point barrier for the second time this season.

4. An MRI is expected to be performed on Arinze Onuaku's right knee Friday, and the selection committee will be among those interested in the results. If it becomes apparent that the Syracuse big man -- who injured his knee in Thursday's loss to Georgetown -- won't be available for the NCAA tournament, the committee could drop the Orange to something other than a No. 1 seed even though they clearly have the body of work of a No. 1 seed. My advice to Syracuse: Don't announce the results unless it's positive news. Keep it vague until the bracket is set because the committee probably won't penalize the Orange unless it knows Onuaku is out for sure.

Final thought: Jim Calhoun announced Thursday that he plans to coach UConn next season.

I hope he does.

But let's not forget that "plans" can change, and sometimes people have no control over them. I point this out not to be Debbie Downer, but to remind everybody that we're a long way from the start of next season. Calhoun has battled cancer three times and missed games each of the past two seasons for medical reasons. He's 67 years old. So while Calhoun's health concerns seem to be curbed at the moment, who knows where he'll be in eight months?

And that's the point.

Who knows?

Not me.

Not you.

And Calhoun couldn't possibly know either.

So, yes, I believe the Hall of Famer when he says he plans to coach next season.

I'm just not totally convinced he won't have to change his plans for reasons out of  his control.
Category: NCAAB
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