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Huskies line them up for the weekend

10/13/2011

Shooting 3s ...

Champs serious about this weekend

The Connecticut Huskies are greedy and that’s a good thing. Jim Calhoun, winner of last year’s national championship, wants more. This coming weekend, the Huskies are about to take their swings with a host of very elite underclassmen.

Omar Calhoun (Middle Village, N.Y./Christ The King) is the lone senior the Huskies are hosting, that is unless Amile Jefferson (Philadelphia, Pa./Friends Central) decides to make a trip. Calhoun’s duties are important because as a committed player, he is an ambassador. Sophomore Noah Vonleh (Havermill, Mass./New Hampton), freshman Jeremy Miller (Canton, Mass./New Hampton), junior Austin Colbert (Lakeville, Conn./Hotchkiss), junior Kyle Washington (Champlin, Minn./Hotchkiss) and junior Kuran Iverson (Windsor, Conn./NW Catholic) are all on unofficial visits. That’s a big time crew of talent.

Verhoeven’s a consummate Stanford big

Stanford is one of those programs that loves its big men. Really, it covets these guys. In an era of small ball with four-out-one-in, the Cardinal still like to go big. From Mark Madsen to Robert Little, to the Lopez Twins and now Grant Verhoeven (Visalia, Calif./Central Valley Christian).

Verhoeven picked Stanford over Cal (always a feather in the Cardinal cap when that happens), Fresno State and St. Mary’s. Verhoeven’s father played in the NBA and Grant is a tough customer. You come into his area, he’s going to challenge you. Being rated the No. 95 prospect in the country is nice, but the fit is what this commitment is about. Verhoeven did a nice job with his final list and clearly he wanted to stay local. Stanford’s got to be excited about a four-year guy with a reputation for playing exceptionally hard.

Talking to juniors during contact period

Last week, following Pete Thamel’s New York Times piece on unofficial visits, these said visits were discussed by some media outlets. On “Recruiting Nation” last week, we devoted six minutes to the topic but the conversation ended after that.

We need to keep discussing things like this to avoid becoming a basketball culture that accepts the notion, “since everyone is doing it, it must be OK.” Recruiting violations shouldn’t be accepted and ultimately, it’s incumbent upon the schools to police each other and turn each other in. Of course, that goes against the culture of the brotherhood between college coaches but to me, that’s a weak excuse. The playing field is almost even again among high-major recruitments only because of an atmosphere of compliance regarding the commission of violations. Coaches would rather commit a minor infraction to keep the playing field level than stick within the rules.

However, social media is acting like a watchdog. Follow a couple of high school players on Twitter or Facebook and their comments will interest you. For example, on a few occasions this fall, juniors commented about meeting and talking with college coaches. Folks, that’s a violation. The contact period is for seniors so coaches can do home visits and lay the groundwork with the Class of 2012. Juniors, sophomores and freshmen are prohibited from speaking with college coaches in person when a coach visits. Colleges are there to watch, not talk to underclassmen, at least that’s the theory.

These aren’t major violations but they are punishable and they speak to the overall atmosphere of the game. I’m hearing from a lot of coaches who are disappointed in the state of the game. The ones who follow the rules are at a disadvantage. If two schools come in and speak with a player, who by the way rarely knows the rules, he expects everyone to speak with him. When a coach comes in and follows the rules and doesn’t chat the player up, what’s the kid to think? Naturally he feels like the school that doesn’t speak to him isn’t as impressed or doesn’t have the same feeling for him. It puts the compliant school at a competitive disadvantage and that’s not right.

There is no quick fix to the ethics and issues in college basketball but in order to get the ball rolling, we’ve got to discuss the problems. College coaches aren’t snitches if they turn their brethren in; they’re doing their jobs and insuring fairness. Coaches want to complain about this kind of stuff all the time. They can do something about it by not accepting it from their peers when they see it. It’s time for the police to police their own.

I would be in favor of getting rid of the rule entirely. That way the high school coach doesn't get put in an awkward position and the college guy who traveled to see the kid can share a brief, cordial word with the player. If we can't police the rule, eliminate it.

And One ...

ESPNU 60 junior Brannen Greene (Monroe, Ga./Mary Parsons) trimmed up his early list to nine schools. Greene’s list is Connecticut (visited), Louisville (visited), Florida (visited), Kansas, Harvard (visited), Florida State (visited), Providence, Ohio State and Memphis. Greene is at Kansas this weekend for Late Night.