2012 Naismith Trophy Midseason 30 Finalists
It’s essentially a tie.
With some ballots for the varying National Player of the Year awards due as early as next week -- more on this later -- Kentucky freshman forward Anthony Davis and Kansas junior forwardThomas Robinson are within three points of each other in the latest ESPN.com Player of the Year poll, taken every two weeks over the last couple months of the college basketball season.
In my four seasons doing this poll, this is by far the closest ballot I’ve ever had -- and the closest it has ever been this late in the season. Of the 59 ballots received by actual award voters, Davis received 32 first-place votes. Robinson received 26. Overall, Davis leads Robinson by three points, 146-143, based on our voting system that allows three points for a first-place vote, two for a second-place vote and one for a third-place vote.
It is for that reason why it would be unsurprising -- and at this point likely -- if Davis and Robinson either shared some honors or there was a split between the four major awards.
Here’s one reason: Each of the major awards has a different ballot due date. The USBWA ballot is due Sunday. The Naismith ballot is due March 9. The Associated Press ballot is due on Selection Sunday.
The Wooden Award, meanwhile, allows for postseason play to be taken into consideration with a later due date of March 19.
This means Davis, Robinson or even Michigan State senior Draymond Green, currently in third place, could make enough of a push to still change the race. A quick look at their numbers shows why:
• Davis: 14.3 ppg., 9.8 rpg., 65.8 FG pct; 4.8 blocks per game.
• Robinson: 17.8 ppg., 11.8 rpg., 53.1 FG pct; 36.4 3-point pct; 1.1 steals per game, 1.1 blocks per game.
• Green: 16.0 ppg.; 10.2 rpg., 45.6 FG pct; 40.7 3-point pct; 3.6 assists per game
Looking at tempo-free stats, courtesy of statsheet.com:
• Davis: 137.6 offensive rating; 65.8 eFG percentage; 11.8 offensive rebound percentage; 22.3 defensive rebound percentage; 5.5 assist percentage; 2.8 steal percentage; 14.6 block percentage.
• Robinson: 108.5 offensive rating; 53.6 eFG percentage; 10.7 offensive rebound percentage; 32.5 defensive rebound percentage; 12.7 assist percentage; 2.0 steal percentage; 3.8 block percentage.
• Green: 108.8 offensive rating; 51.4 eFG percentage; 8.3 offensive rebound percentage; 26.8 defensive rebound percentage; 22.8 assist percentage; 2.8 steal percentage; 3.2 block percentage.
ESPN Straw Poll
On Saturday morning I watched Anthony Davis score 28 points, grab 11 rebounds and block six shots in a win over Vanderbilt and was convinced he should win the Wooden Award.
Within hours, I had changed my mind.
In what was easily one of the most pressure-packed games in the history of Allen Fieldhouse, Kansas forwardThomas Robinson turned in a performance that should end any doubt that he is the player most deserving of this award. Robinson’s 28 points and 12 rebounds helped the Jayhawks rally from a 19-point deficit to beat then-No. 3 ranked Missouri in a win that clinched an eighth straight Big 12 title for the Jayhawks. Robinson converted a traditional three-point play to tie the score with 16 seconds remaining in regulation. Moments later he blocked a game-winning lay-up attempt by Tigers guardPhil Pressey to send the game into overtime. Big-time players make big-time plays in big-time games. Robinson did that Saturday -- just like he has all season.
1. Thomas Robinson, Kansas: The 6-foot-9 forward is averaging 17.8 points and 11.8 rebounds -- both team-highs -- in what will almost certainly be his final college season. His 28 points against Missouri were two shy of his season-high. Robinson’s numbers are even more impressive considering he consistently faces double and triple teams.
ESPN King's Wooden Award Ballot
Few expected the national player of the year race to unfold like this when Kentucky beat Kansas, 75-65, at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 15. Much of the preseason attention centered on the returning standouts who decided against turning pro, including Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger, North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes and Baylor’s Perry Jones III.
But the 6-foot-10, 220-pound Davis, who could be the top pick in June’s NBA draft, has led a star-studded and top-ranked Kentucky team to a near-perfect record — the lone loss coming on a buzzer-beater at Indiana on Dec. 10. The freshman ranks first nationally in blocked shots (4.8 per game) and is tied for eighth in field goal percentage (65.8 percent).
And Robinson, a Washington native, has collected 20 double-doubles during his junior season, leading a team with lukewarm preseason expectations to its eighth consecutive Big 12 title. The 6-10, 237-pound Robinson ranks second nationally in rebounds per game (11.9).
ESPN analyst Doug Gottlieb said on his radio show that the race boils down to “splitting hairs” between the better potential NBA player (Davis) and the player who is most valuable to his team (Robinson).
“My argument of why Thomas Robinson would be player of the year at this point is if you take him off of Kansas’s team, I’m not sure they make the NCAA tournament,” Gottlieb said. “If you take Davis off Kentucky, it’s still a good team, still a top-25 team, and now they have a chance to win the championship.”
With college basketball about to heat up in March, here’s a look at who’s been helping their NBA draft prospects, and who’s falling down teams' boards.
Stock check—who’s up?
Robinson has established himself as one of the top big-man prospects in this year’s draft, with impressive numbers—17.8 points and 11.8 rebounds. But one thing scouts really like about him is the way he elevates his game when his team needs him. In eight games against ranked teams this year, including Saturday’s overtime win against Missouri in which Robinson posted 28 points and 12 boards, he is averaging 19.8 points and 12.3 rebounds.
In promoting freshman Anthony Davis as national Player of the Year, Kentucky Coach John Calipari suggested that less should be considered more.
"I think there are some other worthy candidates, too," Calipari said Wednesday. "But, obviously, I'm going to be biased. At the end of the year, he's going to end up taking 200 less shots than all those guys they're considering. Two hundred less.
"Yet, (Davis) probably has as big an impact in any of these games."
Going into the Georgia game Thursday night, Davis has taken 240 shots (or an average of 8.3). The player considered his main rival for national awards, Thomas Robinson of Kansas, has taken 382 shots (or 12.7 per game).
"That's not taking anything away from anyone else," Calipari said of his less-is-more argument. "But he's had a special year. What he's done for us defensively. What he's done for us offensively. And he's done it in a way (that) he's not selfish in any way."
Calipari, who more than once has scoffed at the notion that any evaluation be based primarily on statistics, suggested that Davis' scoring average could be "five or six points" greater than his 14.3 if he looked more to shoot.
"He's like, 'The best thing for my team is for me to pass it more or get it less,' " Calipari said. "And he's fine with that."
The Jayhawk faithful considers Robinson one of their own not just because he’s a Kansas basketball player, but because they were struck by the tragic loss of his mother, grandmother and grandfather.
The outpouring of love and support that fans have given Robinson has been beautiful. The bond between the Kansas community and Robinson is stronger than a young Arnold Schwarzenegger. It’s inseparable, which will make it emotionally difficult for fans to see Robinson go.
You’d be hard pressed to find a Jayhawk basketball player, in recent memory, who has been more beloved than Robinson.
For a player to blossom into one of college basketball’s best players and be in strong consideration to win national player of the year honors after losing three of his closest family members is something to admire.
If you think you’re going through hard times because you’re struggling with class, you broke up with your partner, you’re struggling with your relationships with your family and friends or undergoing financial hardship, just take a good, hard look at what Robinson has endured.
Losing your mother and grandparents at 19 is something nobody should have to go through.
He has responded to his misfortune by committing himself, whether it’s by taking care of his younger sister Jayla, or being the best basketball player he can possibly be. He doesn’t want people to feel sorry for him. He is a symbol of hope, determination, strength and perseverance.
I know senior day is a day to honor the seniors, but Robinson should be honored as well. If you aren’t planning to attend Saturday’s game against Texas, I strongly urge you to go because it’s probably the last time you’ll see Robinson play at Allen Fieldhouse.
Visit http://trobpoy.com/ Use hashtag #trobpoy.com on twitter
VOTE for TROB for NPOY on dickvitaleonline.com
5. Kansas: For the eighth straight season, the Jayhawks have won at least a share of the Big 12 title. It's truly one of the more remarkable feats in college sports. Wooden Award candidate Thomas Robinson receives most of the credit, and rightfully so. But has any guard in the country had a better conference season than Tyshawn Taylor, who is averaging a team-high 18.4 points while shooting 50.4 percent from the field against Big 12 opponents?
YouTube Redux: Jack Harry preseason prediction: KU will be lucky to finish in the top 5 of the Big 12
Grantland: Kansas, Mizzou End Border War
Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said his school and Kansas will play again “when common sense takes over emotion.”
Pinkel has been a strident supporter of keeping the KU-Missouri series alive as the Tigers head to the SEC. The argument between the two sides over the century-old rivalry has, if anything, increased after Saturday’s basketball game in Lawrence. KU’s overtime win may be the last meeting of the two schools in a major sport. Kansas has said it has no interest in playing Missouri since it is leaving the Big 12.
“It will be a great continued rivalry and it could happen this year if we really wanted it to happen,” Pinkel said. “It’s all choices. We’re ready to do it anytime.”
The war of words between the two camps isn’t going to end anytime soon. At the end of interview on other subjects Wednesday in his office, Pinkel reacted to a quote from Bill Self after Saturday’s hoops games.
“It’s not the same,” Self said of the rivalry continuing. “Missouri has got to market their future. We’re their past.”
Pinkel said he is convinced that the schools will play again in football and basketball. The rivals have played since 1892 in football and 1907 in basketball.
“There will come a time when, without question, that in Kansas City at the beginning of the football season, hopefully Missouri and Kansas will play,” he said. “That will happen sometime, when common sense takes over emotion. There is sometime when, in Kansas City, Mo., KU and Mizzou will play basketball too.”
VOTE for the Kansas Jayhawks student section (Voting ended, winner TBA Friday)
Coaches vs Cancer: Help Coach Self raise $ for ACA with his 3-point Attack
NBA.com series on Wilt's 100 point game, more (Videos, pics, stories)
There wasn’t much of a Senior Night celebration for Aishah Sutherland. In fact the Jayhawks players and Sutherland mostly displayed blank stares on their faces because they understood the magnitude of this loss.
With the 66-63 defeat to Oklahoma State on Wednesday night, Kansas’’ hopes for an NCAA Tournament bid are now in jeopardy.
An attorney for a Kansas University basketball player who is fighting a minor in possession of alcohol citation has mentioned an entrapment defense.
Ben McLemore, 19, faces a misdemeanor charge after he received a ticket Nov. 4 from a state Alcoholic Beverage Control officer. The officer alleged McLemore was found with a Red Bull and vodka at Abe and Jake’s Landing, 8 E. Sixth St.
Lawrence attorney Al Lopes filed the Feb. 17 motion asking District Judge Peggy Kittel to order prosecutors to disclose to the defense the identities of ABC officers and “decoys” and other information about the alleged events or to dismiss the case.
“The identity of all ABC agents and decoys is material to his defense of entrapment,” Lopes wrote.
Lopes gave this version of events in the motion:
A Kansas City, Kan. man, who asked not to be identified, says he was at the Cave early Sunday morning when a large fight broke out.
"People started throwing punches and then everybody was getting into it because it was the basketball players," he said. "So, all of a sudden you have random people pushing random people; it turned into a huge melee."
He says the fight appeared to be over who was going to pay for a bar tab. There was plenty of chaos, but he says he saw a small bouncer get hit in the face. And he says the man who struck the victim was not Marcus Morris.
But the former KU basketball player, now Houston Rockets player, was cited for battery in the incident. He was one of two people who received tickets.
"Then the cops came up and there were more people punching, pushing, trying to get the players in the car without getting hurt," the witness said. "The Morris' never, that I saw, did anything to instigate any of it."
Big 12/College News
Big 12 Schedule & Results
ESPN: Big 12 end of year awards ballot
ESPN Experts picks for POY, COY (TRob, Coach Self overall winners)
A few things I believe to be true about the NCAA tournament: Point guards matter, and it's more important to have a steady one than a flashy one. Games get played even more in half-court settings, deflating the number of possessions. Because it's a single-elimination setting, the significance of every possession is amplified. A handful of sloppy possessions can bring an early end to a good team's season. Turnovers matter.
With Selection Sunday 11 days away, now seems like a good time to discuss point guards and turnovers. I'm not here to tell you that the team with the point guard who commits the fewest turnovers is going to win the NCAA tournament. It's not that easy. What I will say is that studying the way a point guard commits turnovers can tell you something about him, and perhaps affect your perception of him heading into March. Do you believe he'll thrive in tournament conditions, that he's cutting down on mistakes, or that what he's doing is correctable?
North Carolina's Kendall Marshall, Kansas' Tyshawn Taylor, Wisconsin's Jordan Taylor and Kentucky's Marquis Teague are four very different point guards who will matter in this NCAA tournament. As an experiment -- inspired by Hickory High's discussion of Jeremy Lin's turnover rate -- I charted film of every turnover that quartet has committed this season, logging the situation (half-court or transition), type of turnover (bad pass, travel, ball stolen, etc.), type of play (pick and roll, isolation, fastbreak, etc.) and floor location (lane, top of key, right wing, etc.). In each player's case, all but a few turnovers were available in Synergy Sports Technology's archives.
Before getting into the turnover data, though, the point guards' contrasting roles need to be put in context. The adjoining charts below look at their assists and turnovers per 100 possessions played (on the left), and their pace-adjusted possessions and assists per game (on the right). You'll see that Marshall's assist-turnover ratio is incredible, but that he plays a minuscule role in UNC's scoring; that Tyshawn Taylor commits a ton of turnovers but has to co-carry KU's offense; and that Jordan Taylor manages to take on a huge offensive role while protecting the ball. Teague falls somewhere in the middle.
SI Luke Winn
The Big 12 continues to close on the Big Ten, and the Missouri Valley Conference moved up two spots in ESPN Stats and Information’s weekly college basketball rankings.
The Big 12 has been gaining on the Big Ten and is now less than five points behind the top conference in the rankings. The Big 12 is the only conference with three teams in the top 10 of each human poll. Kansas and Missouri have been ranked in the top 10 for each of the past eight weeks, while Baylor returned to the top 10 after a one-week absence.
The Big Ten continues to have five teams ranked in the Top 25 but only one in the top nine. After reaching the number three spot in each poll during the week of Feb. 6, Ohio State is now 10th in the AP poll and 11th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll. The Buckeyes have lost three of their last five games and two of their last three at home.
ESPN Sportingnation polls for Big 12 POY, COY (Coach Self needs your votes!)
"We won't write a check for $12.4 million," said Tim Hickman, the MU associate athletics director heading Mizzou's transition to the SEC. "In essence, they just won't send us (that) money this year.
"So that will put our operating budget into a deficit this year. And then we'll just over the next few years build that back up and pay that back out of our operating costs."
Mizzou says all the money ultimately will be paid through athletics. But as it chips away at the deficit, MU athletics will be somewhat beholden to the university itself.
"I wouldn't call it an internal loan, but the university's a $2 billion operation, so for bond ratings and things like that, they always have fund balances ...," Hickman said. "So it will just kind of be absorbed as we move forward and we'll carry a deficit in the athletic department on our books, so to speak. And then we'll just pay that back over time."
He added: "Think of it as there's this big giant company that's the University of Missouri. ... And while we as a department may run a deficit, the institution doesn't. So there's a fund balance there that's always in the checking account. ...
"It's not like KOMU-TV or the chemistry department has to chip in a little to pay for it. It's like the university is the big operation and always has a fund balance to cover debts, service and things like that.
"We're just kind of floating on that for a little bit. Nothing is taking away from anything. We're just using existing fund balances from the university to get through the next year. And over the next five years they will pay that balance back to the university."
St Louis PD
Nice of Kimmie English to give the Jayhawks a shout out during his senior speech.
So he's got this going for him. Which is nice.
"We lost in Phog Allen but I just want you all to know it was quiet as church in there for about 34 minutes, we didn't have to hear that god-awful Rock Chalk/"
Youtube (5:50 Mark)
For 10 days starting Thursday, Facebook's sports action will go way beyond snippets of T-ball and coed after-work softball. In a move to be formally announced today, it will carry live ESPN TV coverage of 225 men's and women's college basketball games from conference tournaments.
The idea is to give ESPN's ESPN3 broadband service, which annually streams 4,000 sports events, another outlet for games it carries. As ESPN3 vice president Damon Phillips says, "(It's) another front door to our content."
As far as ESPN's Phillips is aware, this will be the first live sports, outside of some martial arts action, available via Facebook. And, says Phillips, who played linebacker for Stanford in the 1990s, it likely won't be ESPN's last Facebook outing: "We see this as a big opportunity. You fish where the fish are."
ESPN3, which itself has multiple channels, certainly has tonnage to offer up: Saturday, for example, it will carry 195 live hours from 94 sports events.
What's the highest seed you think UNC can get in the tourney?
At this point, UNC is a No. 2 seed and is weighed down by its 2-4 record against teams in the top 25 of the RPI (I get my numbers from CollegeRPI.com). Others vying for a No. 1 seed have four or five (Michigan State has six) wins against top-25 teams. That said, the Tar Heels are close.
But a lot can happen between now and Selection Sunday. UNC needs to beat Duke this weekend and win the ACC tournament to move up to No. 1. And it needs other potential No. 1 seeds, such as Kansas and Michigan State, to lose early in their league tourneys.
Sports Illustrated's provocative piece on the decline of UCLA basketball has sent the Bruins administration into a frenzy, with conference calls this afternoon with chancellor Gene Block, athletic director Dan Guerrero and coach Ben Howland.
Guerrero refused to give an unqualified statement that Howland would return next year.
"At this point in time, we're assessing all the issues that have come into play," Guerrero said. "Ben's got to coach his team this week, and obviously in the post-season, and we'll address this entire matter at the end of the year."
Guerrero voiced support for Howland and said it was quite possible the Bruins could return to the glory they knew when Howland led them to three straight Final Fours, and that he likes the path they are on internally. But he stopped short of saying the veteran coach would return in 2012-13.
"We just read the article today," Guerrero said. ""There are some issues evident in there that have to be discussed. We're talking less than 12 hours from the release of that article. We still have to do some due diligence in that regard. I don't want to go out in front of anything in that regard."
There have been times this boys basketball season when 6-foot-10 Landen Lucas surprisingly disappeared in Westview’s offense.
No longer. The Class 6A state playoffs are here, and Lucas doesn’t plan to meekly end his season. The Kansas-bound senior forward scored 32 points and grabbed 18 rebounds to lead the Wildcats to a 66-47 win over Newberg in an OSAA first-round playoff game Tuesday night at Westview High School.
The combination of Lucas, who punished Newberg by hitting 14 of 22 shots, and a defensive performance that caused the Tigers to miss 19 consecutive shots during a 12-minute stretch, helped Westview advance to the second round.
“I didn’t always show myself during the season, Sometimes I was passive. But we’re in the playoffs, and this is no time to play passive,” Lucas said. “You have to demand the ball and want it.
“This is how it’s going to be the rest of the playoffs for me.”
Despite his numbers, Lucas didn’t own the game early on. Newberg had some success guarding Lucas, particularly with 6-7 freshman Matt Springer. Used to quick double teams throughout the season, Lucas said it took some time to adjust to Newberg’s defensive style, where he sometimes was guarded one-on-one.
“It kind of threw me off, because they were late a lot of times with the double team,” Lucas said.
But not for long. Lucas scored 17 points during the first half, and 15 more after halftime before departing midway through the fourth quarter.
Lucas wouldn’t mind to see similar defensive tactics used when Westview plays David Douglas in a second-round game Saturday.
“If David Douglas goes one-on-one, I’ll go for 40,” Lucas said.
…The win moved Westview within one win of the state tournament, where the Wildcats have reached the 6A final the past two years, losing both times to Jesuit.
The Oregonian (Video at the link)
In another down-to-the-wire thriller between VIC rivals Blue Ridge and Miller, the No. 4 Barons rallied to outlast the visiting No. 5 Mavericks in double overtime, 78-77 on Wednesday night in the VISAA Division I quarterfinals.
…Andrew White played what turned out to be his final contest in a Miller uniform, finishing with a game-high 28 points.
…Willard touched on how hard it will be to replace a guy like the future Kansas Jayhawk White.
“Obviously, we’ve seen [White] grow to become a high-major player, he’s a high-major leader, he’s shown all of our guys what work ethic is like, and he’s going to be special in the future. We’re going to be fans watching him on TV.”
Anrio Adams playoff schedule (Rainier Beach)
If you’re a Kansas basketball fan and you’re not thinking about next year just yet, don’t worry. Sports Illustrated is doing it for you.
Sports Illustrated chose Kansas’ 2012 signee Perry Ellis as one of the “Faces in the Crowd” in Wednesday’s issue. The section, which highlights some of the top high school athletes for accomplishments in the classroom and on the court, has run in the magazine every week since 1956.
Kyle Anderson (Fairview, N.J./St. Anthony) is one of two seniors who signed with the Bruins last fall. Anderson, who hasn’t lost a high school games in two seasons, is competing for the prestigious Tournament of Champions title in New Jersey. On Wednesday, his father commented on the article.
“I knew it was coming out and we were aware of it,” Kyle Anderson, Sr., said of the article. “(UCLA) told us the article is coming out. They said they didn’t know what it was but it was coming out. They didn’t elaborate and to be honest, I wasn’t interested. Both Kyle and myself know what we’re looking for and what we wanted and didn’t want. The article doesn’t sway our opinion at all. We still feel as strong about UCLA as we did on Sept. 19.”
Anderson committed to the Bruins last September over Florida, Georgetown and Seton Hall.
With UCLA’s top signee firmly on board and unchanged -- after all, Anderson did sign a binding national letter of intent –- a bigger question remains: Will the article have an effect on future recruits? Namely ESPN’s No. 2 senior, Shabazz Muhammad (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman)?
“It’s been hectic with the visits, but I needed to take it to the next step, to see where I want to go,” Muhammad told Sporting News. “I knew that once my season was over, this is what I’d need to focus on. I need to pick the coaches’ heads about what I can do to affect their program next year. (Kansas) coach (Bill) Self is such a good coach, and the environment there was really nice. Once you’re there, the adrenaline’s definitely there. I can see myself playing there. It is such a higher level in college. I can’t wait to embrace that.”
Duke is up next, and with it possibly being his last visit, there has been speculation that this will end up being his final choice. He quickly debunked that.
“I think everybody is going to start rumors all the time, and people can always think that,” Muhammad said. “I really like them as a program. Talking to all the coaches at all the schools, I’m just ready to make the right decision because I won’t get it back. That’s why I did the late signing period.”
The NCAA has contacted each school recruiting the nation's top-ranked high school basketball prospect, Shabazz Muhammad, and made them aware of financial dealings that could compromise Muhammad's amateur status, multiple sources have told CBSSports.com.
The sources told CBSSports.com that the NCAA is specifically interested in connections between Muhammad's family and financial advisers Benjamin Lincoln and Ken Kavanagh. Lincoln is a North Carolina-based financial planner whose brother, Geoff Lincoln, is an assistant coach for Muhammad's high school team in Las Vegas. Kavanagh is a New York-based financial planner.
Muhammad's father, Ron Holmes, acknowledged to CBSSports.com in multiple phone calls this week that he knows both men and has been questioned by an NCAA investigator about the relationships. Sources told CBSSports.com Lincoln paid for at least two of Muhammad's unofficial visits to college campuses and that Kavanagh has helped fund Muhammad's summer team, the Las Vegas-based Dream Vision Foundation. Holmes, who has hired legal counsel to assist with getting the NCAA inquiry resolved, confirmed both statements as true to CBSSports.com.
Holmes said he has been in the real estate business since 1986 and met Benjamin Lincoln in 2007 through Muhammad's high school coach at Las Vegas' Bishop Gorman, Grant Rice.
"We hit it off immediately and became very close friends," Holmes told CBSSports.com in an exclusive interview. "When Benjamin and I met in 2007, my son Shabazz was in the seventh grade. Back in 2007, none of us knew that Shabazz would be able to play college ball, let alone be as good as he is now. In fact, I don't remember any colleges contacting us until Shabazz was in the ninth or 10th grade.
"By 2010, Shabazz was getting a lot of interest from high major colleges, including North Carolina and Duke," he said. "We had an opportunity to take unofficial visits to both schools in North Carolina. Benjamin offered to pay for our plane tickets and hotel room. When we went on the visits, we filled out the NCAA compliance forms and fully disclosed that our family friend, Benjamin Lincoln, had paid for the trips.
"When we were approached by the NCAA, we cooperated naturally," he continued. "We had told the truth from the beginning and had disclosed everything. It is frustrating that we have been honest and above board from the start and now there are those who are questioning what we did. ... I don't think we've done anything wrong."
Reached by phone, Lincoln told CBSSports.com that he did indeed fund at least two of Muhammad's unofficial visits but insisted he believes his involvement is within NCAA rules.
…Another interesting twist to Muhammad's recruitment is the perceived role of Adidas.
Industry sources have claimed for more than a year that Muhammad would almost certainly land at UCLA because Adidas is heavily invested in Muhammad through its sponsorship of Dream Vision, and because the Bruins are one of the shoe company's flagship programs. Some have even suggested Holmes is on payroll with Adidas, but he emphatically denied that to CBSSports.com. But Holmes did acknowledge that his daughter, Asia Muhammad, has a contract with Adidas. She's a professional tennis player ranked 386th in the world.
"Now you can quote me on this," Holmes said. "What I have to say is that [Adidas] has never once come at me about 'Bazz going to an Adidas school. They'll say if he goes to an Adidas school like UCLA or Kansas that means they'll get to see him more because [they] go and watch those games. But they've never come at me like that. Adidas has never done anything they weren't supposed to do."
This marks the first time in the 35-year history of the McDonald's game that the same city will host in back-to-back years. Chicago was chosen to host for the second year in a row because the game drew a record crowd of 23,000 to the United Center last year. And McDonald's headquarters is based in the Chicago area. But it won't three-peat in 2013.
Gibbons has questioned the politics of the selection process for the McDonald's All-America game for many years.
"The selection process is flawed. There are too many people on the committee. Some people don't see all the players," he said.
The selection process consumes six weeks, from an original list of 100 candidates to 50 to 40, then the final 24.
The selection committee, which also includes longtime recruiting analyst Van Coleman of Top100Hoops.com, usually picks about 22 of the players. Then Morgan Wootten, head of the selection committee, and the McDonald's sponsors or game administrators, including founder Bob Geoghan, have some leeway to choose one or two players based on position or local interest. But they normally rank among the top 30-40 players.
"Some changes have been made to help the game but most have been to appease friends or coaches or to help ticket sales," one committee member said. "That's how occasionally a player rated in the 50 to 75 range is selected."
At a recent meeting, the conversation got heated at times when some members of the selection committee pointed to problems with the process and the fact that too many people on the committee don't see all of the players, thus skewing the voting.
In fact, the issues among committee members became so heated among certain factions that Wootten announced he was going to resign, then was talked into remaining as head of the committee.