KJ’s BB Newsletter January 17, 2001
PLAYERS LET KANASKIE, DRAKE AND FANS DOWN
Following rumors for several days, Drake University announced Tuesday that four players, including starting point guard Lamont Evans and leading scorer, Dontaie Smith, were declared academically ineligible for the second semester. Forward Alberto Jempierre, who has recently been getting increased playing time, and center Mike O’Neill also did not make grades, which, at Drake, is a 2.0 GPA, compared to the NCAA eligibility standard of 1.8 GPA.
It is the first time in Kanaskie’s five seasons at Drake that any of his players have been lost due to grades. Given that record, given that the proper support system is in place (it was woefully lacking in the Rudy Washington days), and given that all four players were accepted on the basis that they were predicted for academic success, there is no reason for these guys to fail, other than they just didn’t do the job …. letting everyone down. “These kids were admitted and were expected to do well and they didn’t,” Kanaskie said. “We’ve got to investigate the reasons why they didn’t achieve success.”
Aside from leaving the team with only seven players for the remainder of this season, these four have also made things tougher for Kanaskie in coming seasons. Competing teams will definitely use this against Drake on the recruiting trail. It’s too bad, too. Kanaskie has just done a masterful job in bringing Drake back from the pits left by Washington. The Dogs have been on track to end in the middle of the pack in the MVC, after being cellar dwellers for several years.
On the bright side, however, Drake took it to Illinois State Wednesday evening at the Knapp Center, winning 77 to 68. Aaron Thomas took over for Lamont Evans and had a career night, scoring 24 points. Forward Andre Sola had his first double-double for Drake, scoring 18 and pulling in 11 rebounds.
The Dogs are now even for the year at 7-7 and play Northern Iowa Saturday evening at the Knapp Center.
BITS AND PIECES
Former KU all-American Paul Pierce poured in 43 points for the Celtics Tuesday. Wouldn’t it be great if he had some help?
High-flying Iowa got a dose of reality from Wisconsin Tuesday evening. Boy, everything just caved in about midway in the second half. Expect them to pound Michigan this Saturday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Have you noticed that former KU All-American Raef LaFrentz has improved his game recently, after the whole team backed him for the negative way coach Dan Issel had been treating him?
I sure enjoyed the four-overtime thriller between ISU and Missouri last Saturday afternoon, although disappointed the Clones couldn’t pull it out at the Hearnes Center. The extra hour of basketball precluded my wife from being able to watch Martha Stewart! (There’s a silver lining in there somewhere).
Poor Nebraska! After getting creamed by KU Wednesday evening, they have to take on the Cyclones Saturday afternoon.