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Kansas 2012-13 Schedule
Big 12/College News
After Billy Gillispie's resignation Thursday night, a number of coaches with Texas Tech and Big 12 ties told ESPN.com the Red Raiders are facing a two-to-three-year setback in recruiting and even lengthier rebuilding period than they were already facing.
"This isn't UCLA or Indiana or Arizona, where you can bounce right back," said a coach with Texas ties who didn't want to use his name. "It's going to be extremely tough to do at a place like Texas Tech that is now at the bottom of the Big 12."
That's why athletic director Kirby Hocutt is facing one of the most important decisions of his career.
…The latter is at Kansas these days. Doc Sadler succeeded his good friend Gillispie at UTEP before landing a head-coaching job at Nebraska, where he was let go this spring. KU coach Bill Self, another friend of Gillispie's, added Sadler to his staff as the director of basketball operations.
Sadler could come in to a league that he knows extremely well after coaching in the Big 12 at Nebraska. He also understands West Texas as a longtime junior college coach who mined the area and had to recruit it again at UTEP.
No, they are not hackers turned security consultants. But they are college basketball coaches turned NCAA investigators and two people who are, at least loosely, following the same career path as Mitnick. They both spent years as college assistants -- Smith at places like Dayton and Clemson; Huber at places like Gardner-Webb and Wright State -- before jumping to the so-called other side. They're the only two men on what used to be known as the NCAA's Basketball Focus Group. They're now essentially charged with using their previous career experiences to catch cheating college basketball programs and, in some cases, folks Smith and Huber used to call colleagues and still call friends.
And that got me wondering.
Was it a difficult career choice?
Has the move cost them friendships?
Is catching cheaters as hard as recruiting against cheaters?
I spent some time talking with Smith and Huber about these things this week. Their answers to those three questions (in order) were basically not at all, not really and, man, you don't even know.
"[This job] is a difficult task and an uphill battle," Huber said. "When I was a coach, I don't think I realized how difficult of a job it is. ... I don't want to say all coaches cheat or try to break the rules, but I do think most coaches try to go as far as they can into the gray area without crossing over a line. They are trying to find ways, and I think the common fan would be surprised at some of the ways coaches are trying to get around rules."
Some of those coaches happen to be friends.
Huber and Smith acknowledged as much without naming names.
And while they're both expected to recuse themselves from an investigation if it involves someone who or something that could constitute a perceived or real conflict of interest, they each said they're able to separate their current profession from their former lives and simply do their job without judging targets on a personal level. In fact, they said that's pretty much a requirement.
"In this profession there are going to be people who you come across and build relationships with who have not always done the right things," Smith said. "I kind of liken that to I love my brother to death, but he hasn't always done the right thing. But I still love my brother. You have to deal with that. But my job is to do what's best for college basketball, and I think I'd be doing the job a disservice if I didn't approach the job that way. And if you're not doing anything wrong, there's nothing to worry about anyway."
But coaches still worry.
At least a high percentage of them do.
They're constantly working angles, searching for loopholes and trying to create a competitive advantage by either bending or straight-up breaking the rules. Why? Because most of them believe their competitors are doing it and that they must also, to some degree, just to keep up. That's a common rationalization. Even the so-called clean guys at the high-major level are sometimes put in a position where they must, at the very least, turn their heads, cover their ears and cling to plausible deniability. But they still worry. What happened to Bruce Pearl makes them worry. What's happening to Billy Gillispie makes them worry. What could happen to almost anybody at any time makes them worry, and it is partly the job of Smith and Huber to make the rule-breakers worry more than they might've in years past.
CBS: Ex-coaches now NCAA investigators
ESPN Tip-Off Marathon schedule
2012-13 Early Season Events List
KU coach Self on Wednesday visited the home of James Young, a 6-foot-6 senior guard/forward from Rochester (Mich.) High. Young, who is ranked No. 8 in the Class of 2013 by Rivals.com, is considering KU, Kentucky, Arizona, Louisville, Michigan State and Syracuse,
“Coach Self is unbelievably impressed with his athleticism,” Young’s godfather, Sean Malone, told JayhawkSlant.com. “Coach Self is impressed with his ability to shoot the ball from the perimeter as well as get to the basket. They (coaching staff) said his ability to provide scoring, both inside and out, and what James can do on the break with his athleticism, they are very excited about, not only his first year, but his upside long-term.”
Malone said the family will “sit down and try to narrow it down this week in terms of are we going to visit everybody ... or are we only going to see a few. One of the things we don’t want to do is let this process drag too far out, because out of respect and courtesy to those other programs, we want to respect the recruiting process and give them an opportunity to move on,” he added.
…No. 27-rated Demetrius Jackson, a 6-1 senior point guard from Marian High in Mishawaka Ind., who has been a top recruit of Notre Dame for four years, today makes his official recruiting trip to the South Bend, Ind., campus. He’ll attend Saturday’s Michigan-ND football game. Jackson is said to be deciding between Notre Dame and Illinois with KU attempting to schedule a campus visit. Michigan State, Louisville and Xavier are also on his list.
Tom Noie of the South Bend Tribune writes: “Jackson, who has been to Notre Dame almost too many times to count, still plans to have a final decision before the start of his senior season with the Knights.”
Simeon Career Academy forward Jabari Parker, the nation's No. 1-ranked senior, has added Connecticut to the list of schools he's considering, his father said on Thursday.
…Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie, who recently replaced longtime coach Jim Calhoun, will visit Parker's home in Chicago next week, said Parker's father, Sonny Parker.
"It was Jabari's decision," Sonny Parker said. "He's picking all the schools for the home visits. He's talked to Coach Calhoun previously before. That's one of the schools that showed some interest to him. He's had conversations with them previously. Of course, coach Kevin Ollie came in, and (Jabari) wanted them for a home visit."
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo will make his in-home visit Thursday, and Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski will come Friday. Next week, Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins, North Carolina coach Roy Williams and Ollie are scheduled to make visits. Williams' visit was originally scheduled for this week but had to be postponed because Williams had surgery on Wednesday to remove a tumor from his right kidney.
BYU, DePaul, Florida and Kansas have already made in-home visits, and no other schools are expected to come in for visits.
Sonny said he expects his son to narrow his list to five schools in the near future and then set up official visits.
Simeon senior guard Kendrick Nunn may not be the savior of the Illinois basketball program, but he may just attract that player.
The Illini hope Class of 2013 recruits such as shooting guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes and point guard Demetrius Jackson will be attracted to the program even more because of Nunn’s commitment.
Nunn said Wednesday he has spoken to both players and is hopeful they will join him at Illinois.
“Hopefully bring Illinois back to that team where there was Deron Williams, Dee Brown and three guards,” Nunn said. “I hope people open their eyes about Illinois. I think I’m a good teammate. I’ll push you and get better. I’m someone who people like to play with. I’ve been pretty successful.
“My goal is hopefully we can start to make history, make it to the Final Four and hopefully win a national championship.”
There’s a thought that Nunn could also improve the Illini’s stock with Class of 2014 Chicago big men Jahlil Okafor, who is ranked No.3, and Cliff Alexander, who is ranked No. 10.
Okafor’s dad, Chukwudi Okafor, said he didn’t necessarily believe Nunn’s commitment would influence his son.
“Kendrick is a good kid,” Chukwudi said. “I love him as a player and watching him this year. It doesn’t really have an impact on Jahlil’s decision. It doesn’t help or hinder. … The only kid I know Jahlil said he’d like to play with is Tyus (Jones). I’d be surprised if they didn’t end up at the same school together.”
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