20 Offseason Events Every College Basketball Fan Should Know
Calhoun's retirement among key developments last few months
By: David Fox | 10/10/12, 7:00 AM EDT
Even after every recruit signed, after players were drafted, and after (nearly) every coaching change was made, college basketball news impacting the 2012-13 season continued to break through the late summer and early fall.
From Jim Calhoun’s retirement, to eligibility issues at UCLA and Kentucky, to NCAA concerns at Duke and North Carolina, we’re here to keep you up to date.
Here’s a rundown of 20 offseason news events impacting the upcoming basketball season:
A RETIRING LEGEND
1. Jim Calhoun retires. In the biggest college basketball news of the offseason, Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun retired after 873 carer wins and three national titles. The Huskies program is turned over to assistant and first-time head coach Kevin Ollie, who will try to piece together a season with a handful of challenges including a postseason ban, a one-year contract for Ollie, and a roster depleted by transfers and NBA Draft early entries. The lack of a long-term commitment to Ollie hasn’t harmed recruiting yet as Jabari Parker, one of the top prospects in the class of 2013, added UConn to his list of prospective schools after a visit with the new Huskies coach.
Related: What’s next for UConn without Calhoun?
2. Duke dodges an NCAA issue again. The possibility of an NCAA violation at Duke was raised when former player Lance Thomas, a starter on the 2010 title-winning team, was sued for not repaying a $68,000 loan to purchase jewelry in 2009-10. Thomas settled the lawsuit, meaning the NCAA will not have access to court records to determine if the loan would have impacted Thomas’ eligibility. The NCAA has begun an inquiry, but Thomas told The Washington Post he will “eventually” speak with the NCAA. As a former athlete, he is not required to do so.
Related: Duke team preview
3. North Carolina’s academic scandal. New details of the academic scandal at North Carolina seem to trickle out every day, though the spotlight has not focused on the basketball program specifically. What started as an investigation into fraud and no-show classes in the African and African-American Studies department also seeped into other academic programs. The Naval Weapons Systems course in the Department of Naval Science was found to have a disproportionate amount of athletes enrolled, including six basketball players in 2007. Although the NCAA initially stated it would not take action on academic issues at North Carolina, NCAA president Mark Emmert told CBSSports.com the organization is continuing to monitor the situation in Chapel Hill. Chancellor Holden Thorp already announced he will resign at the end of the 2012-13 school year. Meanwhile, Tami Hansbrough, the mother of former Tar Heels star Tyler Hansbrough, resigned from her role as a fundraiser when an audit revealed she and Matt Kupec, a North Carolina vice chancellor, billed the university for personal trips. Kupec also resigned. Tami Hansbrough was hired as the associate director of development in the dentistry school during her son’s senior year. Her move to a fundraising role and the personal trips occurred after Tyler Hansbrough left school.
4. Texas Southern feels NCAA’s wrath. From one end of the college basketball spectrum (Duke and North Carolina) to the other. The NCAA levied series sanctions on Texas Southern of the SWAC, stepping just short of the death penalty. Texas Southern allowed players across 13 sports over the course of seven years compete and receive financial aid while ineligible. The basketball program, which has played in the NCAA Tournament just once since 1995, was banned from the postseason and vacated all wins across all sports from 2006-10. The basketball coach to clean up the mess left by Tony Harvey, who resigned after he was accused of providing misleading information to investigators? Former UAB and Indiana coach Mike Davis.
5. Notre Dame. Before Jim Calhoun’s retirement, Notre Dame’s move to the ACC in all sports but football was the biggest news of the offseason. This is more of a football development, including four games per year between the Irish and ACC teams and a drift away from the Big Ten, but it has clear basketball implications as well. Mike Brey has rebuilt Notre Dame basketball into a consistent NCAA Tournament team which should contribute to the depth of a 15-team ACC. Without Notre Dame basketball, the Big East will remain a 17-team league when it expands in 2013-14.
Related: Notre Dame team preview
COACH HEALTH SCARES
6. Roy Williams’ cancer scare. The North Carolina coach had surgery in late September to remove a tumor from his right kidney but was relieved to find it was not cancerous. Williams was also scheduled to have a biopsy on a tumor on his left kidney, but doctors said in a news release it was unlikely for the other tumor to be cancerous.
Related: North Carolina team preview
7. Rick Majerus' departure. The Saint Louis coach has battled health concerns for much of his career, but the latest caused him to unexpectedly walk away from one of the Atlantic 10’s top teams. The school announced in late August that Majerus would miss the season while undergoing treatment and evaluations for a heart condition. Assistant Jim Crews, a former head coach at Army and Evansville, was promoted to interim coach. With one year left on his contract, this could be the final season for Majerus at Saint Louis and perhaps his career.
8. Billy Gillispie’s resignation. Texas Tech’s season was bad enough on the court in Gillispie’s first season. Turns out things were worse behind the scenes for the former Kentucky and Texas A&M coach. A report from CBS Sports detailed mistreatment of players and support staff in addition to difficulties with current and potential assistants and staffers. The report indicated practices of eight hours in a day and in excess of the NCAA-mandated 20-hour limit in addition to Gillsipie forcing players to practice while injured. On Aug. 31, Gillispie was hospitalized for six days and was later treated for kidney problems and abnormal headaches. He resigned citing health concerns, turning the program over to interim coach Chris Walker.
9. Shabazz Muhammad and Kyle Anderson, UCLA. Neither of the Bruins’ two freshman centerpieces have been cleared by the NCAA. Muhammad’s delay is due to alleged impermissible benefits from the brother of an assistant coach at his high school and a financial planner related to his AAU team. The investigation forced UCLA to leave Muhammad home during an exhibition trip to China. The NCAA is investigating Anderson’s relationship with an agent though Anderson did participate in the China trip.
Related: Arrival of top freshmen leads UCLA makeover
10. Nerlens Noel, Kentucky. After delaying his enrollment when he reclassified from the class of 2012 to 2013, Noel became the subject of an NCAA inquiry related to how he paid for unofficial visits during the recruiting process, according to SI.com. Kentucky coach John Calipari recently said he’s confident Noel will be cleared after the inquiry.
11. Rodney Purvis, NC State. The Wolfpack’s star freshman guard was cleared to play after the NCAA examined his high school transcript. Purvis did not join NC State on an exhibition trip to Spain.
Related: NC State team preview
12. Ricky Ledo, Providence. The full Ed Cooley-rebuilding project will be on hold for a year as a his freshman guard sits outs as a partial qualifier. Ledo can practice but cannot play in any games this season. Highly touted point guard Kris Dunn also joined Ledo in Cooley's recruiting class, but Dunn is nursing a shoulder injury to give the Friars a shorthanded roster early in the season.
13. Notre Dame Prep. Maryland’s Sam Cassell Jr. and Xavier’s Myles Davis, both freshmen, were ruled ineligible related to coursework at Notre Dame Prep, a program whose classes the NCAA had been monitoring. Adding to the confusion, eight other teammates who took similar classes were cleared, drawing harsh criticism from Cassell's father, former NBA player Sam Cassell.
14. Dez Wells, Xavier to Maryland. Wells did not transfer per se, but he did change schools. The former Xavier starter was expelled after he was accused of sexual assault, but prosecutors declined to pursue the case and publicly disputed the actions of Xavier’s conduct board. After considering Kentucky, Memphis and Oregon, Wells chose Maryland. An NCAA waiver to make him eligible this season has been requested.
15. Arsalan Kazemi, Rice to Oregon. One of the best players in Conference USA but languishing at Rice transferred to Oregon, where a hardship waiver may allow him to play this season.
16. Reggie Moore, Washington State. The Cougars dismissed their senior guard and third-leading scorer for a violation of team rules, putting more pressure on unheralded center Brock Motum.
17. Kyle Casey and Brandyn Curry, Harvard. The Crimson’s hopes to return to the NCAA Tournament received a major blow when its co-captains were accused of being part of a cheating scandal including both athletes and non-athletes. Both were expected to withdraw from school, leaving Harvard with only one returning starter.
18. Chrishawn Hopkins, Butler. Brad Stevens dismissed his third-leading scorer for the dreaded undisclosed violation of team rules.
19. LIU Brooklyn. LIU Brooklyn’s top three scorers, including NEC Player of the Year Julian Boyd, were among four arrested on third-degree assault charges stemming from a fight at an on-campus party. All four, including Athlon All-NEC forward Jamal Olaswere, were suspended for the first two games and placed on school probation.
AND FOR 2013-14...
20. Kentucky’s recruiting (t)wins. Guards Andrew and Aaron Harrison, twins from Richmond (Texas), continued to make John Calipari look unbeatable on the recruiting trail when the two top-five prospects in the 2013 class committed to Kentucky. The decision was considered to be a close one between Kentucky and Maryland. A major factor in Maryland being in the mix was reported to be Under Armour’s sponsorship of the Harrisons’ AAU team, coached by the twins’ father. Under Armour also has a partnership with Maryland. But again, Kentucky walks away a winner.
Athlon College Basketball 2012-13 Preseason Countdown So Far:
19. Notre Dame
15. San Diego State
14. North Carolina
11. NC State
10. Michigan State
8. Ohio State
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