NCAA Talk

The 'Sad State' of College Hoops Part 4: Easy Answers, Difficult Obstacles

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The 'Sad State' of College Hoops Part 4: Easy Answers, Difficult Obstacles

Jimmy Collins seemed to be building momentum when he first took over at UIC, with three NCAA tournament appearances his first seven years, but as he explained in our final segment this week, some eligibility rules tweaks opened the door for the competition to appeal to some of the recruits he targeted. It’s not an excuse. It’s just an adjustment the program wasn’t quick enough to adapt to. When he briefly encountered health problems in 2006 and 2007, of course other programs would use that against him. Fortunately, Jimmy’s a picture of health now in retirement. That’s something the programs we’ve focused on can aspire to. But how can the Flames, Ramblers, Wildcats, Blue Demons and Illini do that?

There’s long been the argument that some of the most successful Public League and area head coaches should be rewarded by these local colleges and be hired to those coaching staffs, opening a pipeline to local talent through familiarity. The attempt has been made in some cases, and in others, what’s offered hasn’t been enough to convince them to leave the prep level. I inadvertently left one of UIC’s assistants with local ties off a graphic in Part Two: Ron Coleman, who attended South Shore and coached on the staffs at Whitney Young and the AAU Mac Irvin Fire. They had a couple of local products also go down with injuries that could’ve helped them win more than the five they ended up with. But we do show you a couple of impressive kids Steve MCcClain’s program can build around, so there’s a foot in that door. Northwestern probably would’ve made its first NCAA tourney had Vic Law of St. Rita not missed the season with a shoulder injury and Alex Olah been healthy all year. John Groce appears to be “on the clock” despite the recent vote of confidence from his new athletic director. They’re bragging about a great recruiting class coming in, which includes former Illini Frank Johnson’s son. But none of the players are from the Chicago area.

There are other parts in our series we wish we could’ve included. David Kaplan says practice facilities play a bigger factor in kids’ decisions than we know. That’s where they spend the majority of their time. Kendall Gill is adamant that the high school state finals need to return to Champaign. That’s where every high schooler dreamed to end his season before 20 years ago. And no one wanted to go on the record to speak of how kids can be persuaded through illegal means. They say it still happens, but the NCAA has a much closer eye on things and social media can reveal much more than it could years ago. Yet if someone has an open hand, they can probably find someone to fill it, if they’re among the most heavily recruited kids.

My thanks to all the people we interviewed and the producers and editors who finished the product we brought to you this week. We hope you enjoyed it. Now try to enjoy the tournament, despite this topic.

Dave Leitao suspended 3 games, DePaul put on 3-year probation

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USA TODAY

Dave Leitao suspended 3 games, DePaul put on 3-year probation

The DePaul men's basketball team has been placed on three-year probation and head coach Dave Leitao has been suspended three games for the 2019-20 season, the NCAA announced on Tuesday.

The program was found guilty of "failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance while Leitao did not "prevent violations from occurring in his program."

A Division I Committee on Infractions panel concluded that a "former DePaul associate head coach violated NCAA ethical conduct rules when he knowingly directed the former assistant director of basketball operations to provide impermissible recruiting benefits to a recruit."

The NCAA found that three coaches knew about the situation but failed to report the infractions. DePaul will vacate all wins earned while the ineligible player competed and suffer recruiting restrictions. They were also fined $5,000 plus 1% of the men's basketball program budget.

In 2019, DePaul had their first winning season since 2007 by going 19-17. 

Jalen Rose: Fab Five beef squashed with Michigan hiring Juwan Howard

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USA TODAY

Jalen Rose: Fab Five beef squashed with Michigan hiring Juwan Howard

The Michigan Wolverines are hiring former Fab Five star Juwan Howard as the head coach of their basketball team. Aside from being a part of that prolific college basketball team, Howard is a two-time NBA champion with the LeBron James-led Miami Heat.

And he is a former local basketball hoops star at Chicago Vocational Career Academy, where we was named an All-American in 1991.

But the Fab Five have not been on the best of terms over the years, particularly current ESPN analyst Jalen Rose and Chris Webber. With Howard back in Ann Arbor, all beefs are officially over.

“It squashes any drama or any beef because we’re not going to bring that to Ann Arbor’s campus with Juwan Howard as our head coach," Rose told Mike Greenberg when asked about the beef Thursday morning on ESPN's Get Up. "The one thing that we both know is his success turning around the University of Michigan is first and foremost about him and about the players that he’s going to influence. Then it’s about us being there to support him, not being drama, not being splintered, not giving any indication of dysfunction.

"We’re going to move as a family and we’re going to do what we can to build on what John Beilein has established in Ann Arbor.”

Rose reiterated this point later in the day during a segment with fellow Michigan alum Adam Schefter.

Let's wait and see if Howard brings winning ways to Michigan to make this honeymoon period last, otherwise it could be back to business as usual.

Also, does Chris Webber feel the same way? Has Rose already talked to Webber to clear the air? Or is Rose just saying it's over on his side in the hopes Webber follows suit?

Both Webber and Rose made it clear that Howard was their preferred candidate, so they seem to be on the same page.

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