2:30 PM Former Mississippi State athletic director Wade Walker, who defied a state law & allowed the Bulldogs to play an integrated Loyola-Chicago basketball team in 1963, died Thursday at the age of 90.
New Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin wasted no time getting in trouble on the recruiting trail, alienating other SEC coaches and earning claims of recruiting violations for simulated press conferences, let alone the claims he made against other SEC programs. Well, now he and his staff have decided to work outside the box by getting, well, weird. According to a report from the ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, Kiffin’s staff tried to impress a crop of junior recruits last week by ripping off their shirts, Superman style. Crazier yet, the move may have actually worked.
(Can you imagine what they would have done if Layla Kiffin ripped off her shirt?)
Here’s how one recruit described the crazy scene:
“By now, three or four coaches had their shirts ripped off.” top defensive line prospect Garrison Smith said of a presentation by assistant coaches. Then, around 10 Tennessee players, including All-America defensive back Eric Berry of Atlanta and quarterback Jonathan Crompton, ran down from behind the recruits to meet the coaches on the floor. “Eric and the rest of the players were chanting ‘U-T, wild boys … U-T, wild boys … U-T wild boys.’”
Considering the fact that a full 100 top prospects were in attendance at the event, the ridiculous gamut may have actually been a stroke of brilliance from legendary recruiter turned Tennessee assisstant Ed Orgeron.
Steve Clarkson is known as a quarterback king maker. He started the hype machine that led to Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen being called “one of the greatest high school recruits ever”. He helped launch the careers of Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Leinart, J.P. Losman (maybe not such an endorsement) and Gino Toretta. Now he’s in the early stages of launching a primo career for David Sills, a Delaware native who just so happens to be 12 years old.
(Meet the future of the quarterback position, aged 12.)
That’s right folks, a 12 year-old is running through passing drills and prepping himself for college recruitment. He reportedly received a questionnaire from UCLA a year ago, and he’s not alone. According to this piece from CBSSPORTSLINE, Clarkson is tutoring no fewer than four middle school quarterbacks across the country, teaching them advanced formations and schematics as if they were seniors in high school.
Finally realizing that we might be headed for a day when future hoops stars are recruited out of the womb, the NCAA has passed legislation banning contact by coaches with players who have not yet reached high school. That means no more offering 13-year-olds a full ride, there, Billy Gillispie.
(”Noooooooo! I already had the class of 2019 signed!”)
It also means that this Mr. Show skit, which was starting to look less far-fetched over time, won’t eventually reflect reality:
Over the past few years, some college coaches have looked to gain recruiting advantages by working at basketball camps comprising elite seventh- and eighth-graders because there was no NCAA rule prohibiting it. But the NCAA will now designate boys’ basketball players as “prospects” beginning in the seventh grade, which will prevent college coaches from working at such camps.
This is bad news for seventh and eighth graders, who now have to do things like, you know, go to school and learn rather than worry about their college hoops prospects all the time.
Speaking of hoops, Luol Deng woke from his season-long slumber and led the Bulls to a 102-93 upset victory over the Cavs in Chicago, where it was approximately -293° last night. LeBron James made only eight of 28 shots and turned it over eight times for what he termed his worst performance of the season — but he also said he was sick.
It’s official. The Dodgers paid Andruw Jones $12 million for each home run he hit, and he’s not going to be hitting any more in their uniform. After attempting to trade him, L.A. finally released Andruw after one insanely horrible season, and Jones agreed to accept the $22 million he’s owed over a period of six years. Which means your team will still be paying for him in 2014, Dodger fans. Two years ago, Jones looked like he had a chance to hit 700 home runs. Now, it looks like he might not get 700 more at-bats in his career.
So, as you read here yesterday, Mark Cuban confronted J.R. Smith on the court for allegedly throwing an elbow at a Dallas player during the Mavs-Nuggets game on Tuesday night. Cubes reported the incident to the league office and even sent back a pair of signed shoes Smith sent him as a peace offering, saying Smith needed to sell them to help pay for the fine that was coming.
Well, it appears the joke is on Cuban. The NBA has cleared Smith of any wrongdoing, and — and this is great — are now pursuing possible punishment against Cuban for going on the court. George Karl wasn’t amused with the owner’s antics on Tuesday:
“If you want to interact, interact with the league office and interact with your own players, but don’t mess with my players. There’s no room for it.
“If this was a normal fan, he would have been banned from the building and maybe not ever let back in the game,” Karl said. “When the game starts, he is a fan. After the game, he’s an owner, but during the game, he’s a fan.”
• THE JOY OF SOX is giddy that the Red Sox have extended Kevin Youkilis‘ contract for a very reasonable price of $40 million for four years. It’s four more years of this, anyway:
• The Rangers have asked their Gold Glove-winning shortstop Michael Young to move to third base to make way for a rookie named Elvis. Young was not happy with this request, but now tells MLB.COM it’s all been worked out.
• Baseball finally fixed the rules to definitively say that a postseason game must be played to its completion regardless of weather, and also eliminated the coin flip as the way to determine who would host a one-game playoff. They’re doing this crazy thing now where the team that won the season series would host the game, rather than something completely freaking random (the Twins would’ve hosted the playoff against the White Sox last year, had this whole “merit” approach been in effect).
• 90-year-old Atlanta sportswriter Furman Bisher somehow has managed to put together a blog. Bisher is so old that he once interviewed Shoeless Joe Jackson about the Black Sox scandal. At the bottom of this entry he pushes the bounds of taste about the new stampede of Japanese media coming to cover pitcher Kenshin Kawakami (ah, so? Really, Furman?)