It sure was good to see Drake rebound from their current problems by coming back strong with two wins and then taking league leading Indiana State to the brink. In case you didn’t know, four Bulldog players were made academically ineligible the second semester, not meeting Drake’s standards, although they did meet the NCAA standard of a 1.8 GPA. Then, starting guards Lamont Evans and Dontaie Smith sought an injunction to allow them to finish the season.
I was impressed with the way Coach Kanaskie handled the situation, not only in getting his shortened roster up for those games, but also in stating that he probably wouldn’t play Evans and Smith even if they did get an injunction. That’s class that you don’t often see in college basketball these days. Go Bulldogs!
I wasn’t surprised that the judge didn’t rule in their favor. The players simply didn’t have a case. There was no discrimination. They just didn’t do their job, which was to make a C average, which isn’t that hard, even at Drake. Hell, I made a C average my freshman year at Washburn without going to class (although I did learn to play Bridge at the Student Union).
Drake next plays Southern Illinois in Carbondale today and then hosts Evansville next Wednesday evening at the Knapp Center.
JOURNEY IN OVERSEAS BASKETBALL
Des Moines' own Dave Adkins has written a great book titled "Journey in Overseas Basketball", available for purchase from Amazon.com or from Dave's web site at www.overseasbasketball.com. A consultant who specializes in placing American players on foreign teams, Dave has coached and consulted overseas for over 20 years, handling many players from Iowa schools (e.g. Iowa's Steve Carfino, Indian Hills' C.J. Bruton, ISU's Chuck Harmison). The first player he placed overseas was Eric Brungaard, who, after his basketball career, became the head of Iowa Lutheran Hospital for several years.
Dave has coached in Mozambique, Australia, and several European countries. Basketball fans, particularly those from Iowa, will find his book an excellent read. I highly recommend it.
There are several very good players around that I wonder why KU didn’t land. Paul Shirley, who now starts in the post for Iowa State, is a Kansas boy from Meriden. He has developed into quite a player and is an outstanding student, fitting the KU basketball profile. However, I don’t recall that KU even gave him a look.
Brian Cook, the sophomore phenom at Illinois this year, is a son of former KU All-American Norm Cook who starred for the Jayhawks 1974-76. Although he grew up in Illinois, why didn’t KU have a good shot to land him? Other legacies that KU didn’t catch are the two sons of KU All-American Dave Robisch (1969-71), both of whom landed at Okie State. OSU has three more Kansans on its current roster, including 6’7 forward Andre Williams, a sophomore from Kansas City, Melvin Sanders, a 6’5 soph G/F from Liberal, and 5’10 soph guard Victor Williams from Kansas City.
Earl Watson, a starting point guard for UCLA hails from Kansas City, KS, as does Kelly Newton, a 6’2 guard at Oklahoma, and Maurice Evans, a 6’5 junior G/F at Texas is from Wichita. All three are quality players that left Kansas to play elsewhere.
SO JUST HOW GOOD IS KU THIS YEAR?
Several years ago fellow western Kansan Martin Manley proposed a Production Rating based on adding those positive things players do (scoring points, making rebounds, steals, assists and blocked shots), and then subtracting the negative things (missed shots, missed free throws, and turnovers), and dividing the result by the number of games played, to arrive at a measure of how effective a player (or team) was per game. This result could also be divided by the number of minutes played to devise an index of how effective a player was while on the floor.
From 1982 on, all these statistics have been counted, so provide a basis for comparison of players and teams since. Statistically speaking, the best KU team was the 1990 squad, which compiled a Game Index of 112.00 and a Minute Index of 0.560. That team, the second in Roy Williams’ tenure, compiled an overall record of 30-5, losing to UCLA 70-71 in the second round of the NCAA tourney. They were led by Mark Randall (the team leader with a Game Index of 16.23 and Minute Index of .630) and Kevin Pritchard (16.14, .579).
The great 35-4 team of 1998, headed by Raef LaFrentz (24.23; .802) and Paul Pierce (20.34; .669) is second on the list with a Game Index of 104.71 and a Minute Index of 0.522). Raef’s Minute Index is the highest on record, and as you might expect, Danny Manning had to greatest overall Game Index of 27.76 in 1988, although that National Championship team only scored a 90.21 Game Index.
Through the first 14 games this year, the current Jayhawk squad has compiled a Game Index of 105.79 and Minute Index of .529; both figures trail only the 1990 squad. Kenny Gregory has attained a Game Index of 20.64 with a Minute index of .701, both higher than Paul Pierce accomplished during his All-American year. Surprisingly, the player with the highest Minute Index this year is walk-on Chris Zerbe, who has achieved an astounding score of 1.375 in his 16 minutes of play.
It should be noted that the schedule gets tougher over the next several months, so the lofty production statistics of this squad will likely shrink. Nonetheless, let’s hope that this year’s team will fare better in the NCAA than either the 1990 or 1998 squads, both of which lost the second game of the tourney, regardless of their great statistics.
BITS & PIECES
I sure loved the end of the Iowa State-Nebraska game last Saturday, when Martin Rancik scored with 0.8 second left. The announcers and I were surprised to see Jamaal Tinsley take the ball out of bounds, as it was reasonable to think that he would be the preferred shooter in that situation. However, Coach Eustachy drew up a brilliant play, relying on All-American Tinsley to make the great pass to Rancik. ISU takes on Texas A&M in College Station Sunday afternoon and then travels to Boulder to fight the Buffaloes on Wednesday evening.
It was also good to see Iowa rebound for a win over Minnesota after two disappointing losses to Wisconsin and last place Michigan. If they are able to get by Indiana this afternoon, their schedule looks relatively easy for awhile, as they have home games against Minnesota and Ohio State and then go to Evanston for one against Northwestern. Reggie Evans continues to put up impressive numbers, recently achieving his 15th double-double for the season.
The Topeka Capitol-Journal recently ran a survey, asking the question “Suppose that a KU game is coming down to the wire, with the Jayhawks behind one point. Who should Roy Williams give the ball to for a last-second, game-winning shot?” Certainly my choice, and that of the majority of respondents (52%) said that Iowan Kirk Hinrich would be THE MAN. Sioux City native Hinrich has come on strong this year and is gaining considerable national attention, particularly with his 50%+ three point shooting and his high assists average.
It was reported recently that the Kentucky football team has been charged with recruiting violations. Hey, not to worry Wildcat fans. Your basketball team has given the school a lot of experience in dealing with such problems. At least once in each decade since the 40’s, Kentucky basketball has been charged with serious violations (player gambling, money to recruits, etc). Although they got the death penalty twice (having to give up basketball for two separate seasons), normally the NCAA just gives UK a slap on the wrist. Several years ago, upon hearing that Kentucky was being investigated again, then UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian said “yeah, they’ll look at Kentucky and then give Cleveland State three years probation”.
Former Jayhawk great Wilt Chamberlain lost two NBA records recently. Utah Jazz forward Karl Malone passed him on to move into second place as the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. Then, a couple of nights later, LA Laker center Shaquille O’Neal clanked 11 straight free throws, replacing ‘The Stilt’ as the NBA’s worst single game free thrower. Wilt went 0-for-10 against Detroit on Nov. 4, 1960.
The Jayhawks have a tough row to hoe in the near future, meeting K-State this afternoon, followed by a match with Missouri at Columbia Monday evening on ESPN at 8:00pm. After that, they take on upper division Texas and ISU in Lawrence.