It Takes Two Tango But Only One To Really Cheat
Is it me but the furor over the Final Four just might not be as exhilarating as some think it to be between what’s deemed to be the marquee match-up between two prestigious programs in collegiate basketball. The Saturday evening prime time televised game between Jim Calhoun’s — U Conn Huskies against John Calipari’s — Kentucky Wildcats is deemed that the winner will be viewed as the presumptive favorite in the finals of NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship .
Slide show for your perusal .
On the opposite side of the draw in the Final Four we have VCU Rams playing the Butler Bull Dogs . The two teams here are if anything seen as the Cinderella stories of this tournament but given the fact that Brad Steven’s team is making their second consecutive Final Four appearance I’m inclined to believe that he will also make a repeat appearance in the Finals itself ! But that will however be predicated upon the defensive stealth of Shaka’ Smart’s — Rams over the course of this game.
In what is being widely reported that by Foxsports and now picked up by ESPN that Bilal Batley a former assistant to coach Calipari while he was a coach at Memphis and at Kentucky made impermissible phone calls to potential recruits of both teams . When broached on the subject of this matter by the convened press in the team’s public interview Calipari declined to comment but only wanted to talk about his team’s upcoming game against the Huskies . Given John Calipari’s track record of failing to comply with the rules as it concerns the appropriate recruitment of players as it relates to being formally in contact with prospective recruits this only further muddies the waters as to the relevance of this game. And given that Calhoun this season has come under close scrutiny by the NCAA and his multiple violations for the same problem how can anyone view this game as a competitive match-up of two really deserving teams ?
Courtesy of USA Today
By Tim Gardner , USA Today
Former Kentucky assistant coach Bilal Batley, who resigned from his post in 2009 after he was found to have violated NCAA rules by rebounding for a player during a workout, reportedly violated other NCAA rules as well.
According to a report published Friday by FoxSports.com, Batley also made numerous impermissible phone calls to recruits during his time at Memphis and Kentucky.
From the FoxSports.com report:
NCAA rules state that all telephone calls made to or received from a recruit, his parents, legal guardians or coaches must be made and received by a team’s head coach or three countable assistant coaches.
According to Memphis and Kentucky, Batley was not a countable coach at either school. NCAA spokesman Erik Christianson declined comment to FOXSports.com on the alleged violations.
But Cousins, a Sacramento Kings rookie forward who played for Kentucky as a freshman last season and then left for the NBA draft, said Batley played a “big role” in him committing first to Memphis. He then followed Calipari to Kentucky shortly after the coach’s hiring in April 2009.
Cousins was the first major recruit that Calipari landed at Kentucky and helped re-establish the Wildcats’ recruiting reputation among the nation’s elite. He said he and his mother, Monique Cousins, talked to Batley on the telephone while he was at Memphis and Kentucky.
“We stayed in contact with him frequently,” DeMarcus Cousins told FOXSports.com.
Kentucky coach John Calipari would not offer comment to FoxSports.com when he was approached after his news conference at the Final Four on Friday.
Click on link to read article in its entirety .
It seems that wherever Calipari has coached controversy always seems to follow and now on the cusp of what just might the most important of game his Wildcats’ career ugliness once again rears its head and the coach is again in the spotlight not for his team’s accomplishments but more for the coach’s actions and that of a member of his coaching staff . Now while it’s too early to say whether or not rules were violated with regard to recruits on this present Wildcats’ team .
One of the players the story says was a recipient of one of the calls made was former Wildcat DeMarcus Cousins who now plays in the NBA with the Sacramento Kings . What might be even more troubling is that current league MVP leading candidate Derrick Rose’s —- college career was closely questioned because it was suspected that he hadn’t met entrance requirements and it was suspected that his SAT’s were in fact taken by someone other than Rose. And though the NCAA conducted their own investigation , nothing came to light concerning the matter. But Rose has refused to address the matter publicly and John Calipari has taken the same stance. However what became clear over the course of the investigation was a close associate of Calipari , Bilal Battley had been in contact with Rose prior to his recruitment to Memphis . Make of it what you will but with there being no apparent paper trail then there’s nothing to be found we’re told . But one only has to look at the improprieties that have come to light over the course of Calipari’s collegiate coaching career ? Need one say anymore on the matter ? And oh by the way , if you’re now prepared to take that the stance you’re innocent until proven guilty try making that case given the evidence that has continually come to the fore with regard to Calipari. Unfortunately however , it appears that when the NCAA conducts an investigation they tend to show the ineptitude only seen in the silent movie era when the Keystone Cops were all the rage . What might be even more insidious concerning this matter and each time Calipari has come under a cloud of suspicion ESPN’s college basketball analyst Dick Vitale has steadfastly come to the support of Calipari but surprise , surprise Jim Calhoun as well . As the saying goes …………..” birds of a feather flock together ” .
At the end of the day sports at the collegiate level has become more about greed and what not only the players are prepared to do but now it appears also the coaches and members of their coaching staffs. This isn’t meant to be a damning indictment of this tournament or in fact all programs but what we appear to be seeing are that some of the more marquee programs will now prepared to do when there’s a great deal at stake in terms of the financial windfall that comes with winning .
As I alluded to earlier this game between two of the more storied programs within D1 college basketball . There are budding future NBA stars on both teams but the one player I believe that everyone feels will be a unanimous first round potential number one pick in the upcoming NBA Draft has to be Kember Walker ! He’s been the marquee player of this tournament without a doubt . And though this team is littered with stars and their play throughout the season has been impressive to say the very least with there being an all round contribution from all members of this roster. And though Walker wasn’t lauded with the College Player of the Year Award with the accolade going to Jimmer Fredette of the Cougars I’m not so sure that beyond that choice there’s any justification to try and state that Fredette can be considered the best player in the nation at the college level.
What we do know is that John Calipari is a very good coach albeit that we will continue to question his methods as it relates to recruiting players and his distinct wish to hide behind what he believes are his right to privacy and to my mind self incrimination. In the cold light of day what I’d like to know is when the NCAA will actually have the courage to diligently investigate an allegation of impropriety by Calipari and a member of staff given the fact that repeatedly over the course of his career questions have arisen about his conduct in the recruitment of players either by himself or his subordinates. If the NCAA can’t be trusted to do what’s right when we have a case of a coach who over the course of his collegiate coaching career has brought two college programs UMass and Memphis placed under NCAA mandated academic suspensions for violation of recruitment rules and now quite possibly a third. What that says about how naive the NCAA has been and the fact that John Calipari remains unscathed by any of these allegations leads me to believe that the NCAA doesn’t either know how to conduct an investigation or they are complete buffoons !
Picture gallery for your perusal .
Tonight’s scheduled games held at Reliant Stadium in Houston , Texas where we’ll see the duo of games for the two remaining berths for the national championship . I for one hope that both games are thoroughly entertaining and competitive . As to who the two finalists will be that remains to be seen but one thing we know for sure is that a fairy new champion will be crowned at the culmination of what has been one of the better tournaments in recent years. What thoughts if any do you have on the NCAA Tournament and your own thoughts as to the latest allegations associated with John Calipari and a former assistant of his ? Do you believe that the coach knew of these allegations and that Batley acted on his orders ? And which teams do you feel will prevail in the end between the quartet of teams remaining ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts on the topics raised within this piece .
Alan aka tophatal ……………………..
Picture and slide show details below .
(1) Jamie Skeen (21) of the Virginia Commonwealth Rams goes to the hoop against Matt Howard (54) of the Butler Bulldogs during the National Semifinal game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship at Reliant Stadium on April 2, 2011 in Houston, Texas. Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images ………
(2) Darius Theus #10 of the Virginia Commonwealth Rams draws contact against Matt Howard #54 of the Butler Bulldogs during the National Semifinal game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship at Reliant Stadium on April 2, 2011 in Houston, Texas. Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images ….
(3) Head coach Brad Stevens of the Butler Bulldogs shouts from the sidelines against the Virginia Commonwealth Rams during the National Semifinal game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship at Reliant Stadium on April 2, 2011 in Houston, Texas. Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images ……
(4) Head coach Shaka Smart of the Virginia Commonwealth Rams gestures from the sidelines against the Butler Bulldogs during the National Semifinal game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship at Reliant Stadium on April 2, 2011 in Houston, Texas. Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images ….
(5) Connecticut head coach Jim Calhoun reacts during a practice for a men’s NCAA Final Four semifinal college basketball game Friday, April 1, 2011, in Houston. UConn plays Kentucky on Saturday.
(6) Kemba Walker (15) of the Connecticut Huskies points during practice prior to the 2011 Final Four of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament at Reliant Stadium on April 1, 2011 in Houston, Texas. Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images …..
(7) Head coach John Calipari of the Kentucky Wildcats addresses the media after practice prior to the 2011 Final Four of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament at Reliant Stadium on April 1, 2011 in Houston, Texas. Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images ……….
(8) This picture from 2009 shows Memphis coaching staff (left to right) John Robic – Assistant Coach, Josh Pastner – Assistant Coach, Bilal Batley (background) – Asst. Director of Operations/Mgr., John Calipari – Head Coach, Orlando Antigua – Assistant Coach, and Rod Strickland – Director of Basketball Operations on the bench against SMU at the FedExForum. Photo by Mark Weber ……………
(9) Bilal Batley a former assistant to John Calipari while he was a coach at Memphis and then at Kentucky before leaving the program . It has been Batley’s actions that have now come into question raising questions also once again about coach Calipari and his coaching staff and the lengths they’re prepared to go to in order to recruit a potential player for the Wildcats’ program. AP Photo / Mark Sanders …….
Burning Spear ……………. ” Marcus Garvey ” ====================================================================