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November 13, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments




The Morning Dish – Thursday, November 13th

It Starts Tonight: The 2003-04 college basketball season officially tips off tonight with the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at Madison Square Garden. The event, which is sponsored by the National Association of Basketball Coaches, has raised almost $2.5 million for the American Cancer Society since it began in 1996. Tonight’s doubleheader includes No. 19 Wake Forest against Memphis, and No. 24 Marquette facing St. John’s. Tomorrow’s games include No. 22 Pittsburgh against Alabama, and No. 12 Gonzaga against No. 16 St. Joseph’s. The last two national champions started their season in this event, with Memphis defeating Syracuse last season, and Maryland participated in the 2001 showcase.

Warrick Lame?: Syracuse junior forward Hakim Warrick, a member of Hoopville’s first-team Preseason All-American squad, injured his ankle in Tuesday’s exhibition loss to the Harlem Globetrotters. Warrick collided with two Globetrotters right before halftime, and did not return for the second half. Syracuse trainers indicated that Warrick’s right ankle was injured, and teammate Billy Edelin said that Warrick told him he heard something pop. Syracuse starts the season November 26th against Charlotte.

Baylor Down Two: Due to the continuing investigation into the Baylor scandal (the Dave Bliss NCAA violations part), the Bears were again without Corey Herring and Harvey Thomas, leaving six scholarship players available for Scott Drew for their exhibition last night against the World HoopStars. As part of Baylor’s internal investigation, two players, Patrick Dennehy and another player, believed to be Herring, were told they were on scholarship when in fact their tuition payments were being arranged by Bliss. Thomas was originally implicated in the death of Dennehy, as he was mentioned to be someone that was intimidating him and teammate Carlton Dotson, who is now on trial for Dennehy’s murder. Thomas was cleared by Waco investigators of any involvement. This seemed more pressing prior to the game, which saw Baylor defeat the World HoopStars 104-38, with every Baylor player scoring in double-digits.

Going Pro?: NCAA President Myles Brand has announced that too many top collegiate programs are run like professional sports franchises, with winning and money the top priorities, not education. Tell us something we don’t know. Speaking at a symposium at Tulane, where the future of the BCS bowl system is also being discussed, Brand said, “We have seen the type of drift toward the professional model that in the long run will diminish the value of the program to the university.” Brand also stated that he believed that students are in college for degrees first, and that college sports were never meant to be anything other than an activity that enhances college life. While this accurately describes college athletics the first half of the century, walking through the current big money sports with blinders on is no way to preside over the cash cow that the NCAA itself has become, and displays shocking naivete at how the most popular college sports have existed for decades. While some critics suggest that athletes should be paid for their efforts, a middle ground will likely be reached in the future, providing subsidization of the “money” sports at each institution, which in turn provides for all of the other “non-revenue” sports for the legitimate student-athlete. Let’s hope Brand doesn’t do something stupid in the meantime.

No More Beer?: Meanwhile, the Center for Science in the Public Interest started a campaign to get colleges, conferences and the NCAA to stop taking money from alcohol sponsors. Assisting with the publicity is North Carolina coaching legend Dean Smith, as well as Nebraska congressman Tom Osborne, the former football coach for the Huskers. The move is to stop advertisers from targeting underage drinkers, a problem that many schools have encountered in recent years. According to the CSPI, nearly $60 million was spent by alcohol sponsors on college advertising in 2002. The Beer Institute, a trade association, countered that the majority of viewers of college athletics are of legal drinking age.

New Golden Eagles: Southern Mississippi head coach James Green announced yesterday the hiring of the final assistant to his staff. Former Southern Miss player Darrin Chancellor was named to the assistant coaching position that had been vacant. Chancellor averaged 15.6 points per game over a career that spanned fro 1987 to 1991, earning first-team All-Metro Conference honors his senior year, and later played professionally in Japan and the CBA. Green also announced the appointment of Jordan Dupuy as director of basketball operations.

Tiger Leaving: LSU head coach John Brady announced that sophomore forward Tim Bush has decided to leave the Tiger program. Bush, who did not play in LSU’s last exhibition game, stated that he plans to transfer, and that he has secured his release from the program. Bush had been out with a shoulder injury from four weeks ago, and along with the arrival of new recruits, Bush wouldn’t have seen much playing time. Bush averaged 0.7 points per game last season, with a one-game high of 6 points.

Tonight’s Menu:

• A hobbled No. 19 Wake Forest faces off against Memphis in the first game of the season, scheduled for 7:00pm Eastern. Skip Prosser’s team will be without starting point guard Taron Downey (appendicitis), reserve forward Chris Ellis (broken foot), and Vytas Danelius will play, but may be limited by a bad knee. Memphis will also be down a player, as guard Jeremy Hunt nurses a foot injury. Memphis prevailed in the two schools’ only previous meeting – in the second round of the 1982 NCAA Tournament.

• The second game in tonight’s Coaches vs. Cancer Classic features No. 24 Marquette facing St. John’s, with both teams without their dynamic floor leaders from a year ago, as both Dwyane Wade and Marcus Hatten are now playing at the next level. Forward Scott Merritt and point guard Travis Deiner will try to make up for Wade’s loss, while St. John’s head coach Mike Jarvis will look to sophomore point guard Elijah Ingram to fill Hatten’s shoes.

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