Mountain West Notebook
by Bob Thurman
Season Tips Off
What a feeling it is to actually watch the first few games of a new college basketball season! Yeah, reading all the previews and debating them with your friends is fun, but there’s nothing like the rush of actually seeing those first few games. This season especially started out well with some Top 25 teams going at each other. Unfortunately, only one team from the Mountain West actually played a meaningful game and that was Colorado State’s 80-62 win over IUPU-Fort Wayne in the Dell BCA Invitational. The Mastodons played the Rams tough, but junior Ronnie Clark had one of the best games of his career with 20 points and 7 rebounds. Senior Brian Greene, who has been routinely overlooked by the media, continued his excellent play from last season by adding 19 points. The Rams ended up winning the tournament after filing consecutive wins against Florida Atlantic and Cleveland State.
Early Signing Period is Here
The big news this past week was the early signing period for next season’s incoming freshman class. The MWC did pretty well, especially with some of the country’s top big men. Wyoming snagged a true center in 7-footer Jerrod Boswell. He could be one of the top centers in the league next season and should ease the pain of losing Uche Nsonwu-Amadi. Colorado State continues to load up on the big fellows by signing Stephen Verwers and Stuart Creason. UNLV picked up big man Chris Adams to replace Dalron Johnson, along with a solid guard in John Winston. San Diego State continues to reign in some top talent by signing up-n-coming forward Marcus Slaughter, who is a killer rebounder despite his lean frame. Utah may have snagged the top player so far in Stefan Zimmerman, assuming he follows through with his earlier verbal commitment to the Utes. If he signs, he could help fill the void that will be left by Britton Johnsen. Of course, I’m assuming he won’t transfer either, which isn’t a sure thing anymore in Salt Lake City.
Lighten Up, NCAA
This is a bit off topic, but I need to vent. The NCAA will soon be referred to as the No Compassion for Athletes Association if they continue to persecute players for doing nothing wrong. The latest outrage is Syracuse’s Billy Edelin, who sat out all last season after being suspended by the university after an alleged sexual misconduct case, which was later dropped. To keep himself in shape, Billy played in a bunch of recreational league games with a lot of old guys. The NCAA has decided that those constitute “real” games and suspended him for the first 12 games of this season. Edelin didn’t get paid and wasn’t even involved in a sanctioned sporting event, but he will still have to pay the same price as any of the foreign players who played for money in state-sanctioned competition overseas.
Why can the NCAA change rules at will, you ask? Simple. It’s because they simply are not accountable to anyone but themselves. They are a nice, little dictatorship that adheres to nobody. The only voices the players have are from the fans. Unfortunately, the NCAA could care less what the fans have to say, so you have to go to the source of their power…the media. ESPN, CBS, and Fox pay lots of cash to show their games. If you are upset by this injustice, let the networks know and encourage them to press for changes at the NCAA. I know it’s a long shot, but at least we can kick the chicken coup and see if they lighten up a bit.