With the college basketball season starting in less than a week (!), an annual tradition unlike any other has reared its ugly head. It is, for a lack of a better phrase, suspension season.
Georgia Tech, Auburn, Duke (for an exhibition), and many other programs across the nation do what they all do best; protect theirs by way of a preemptive strike.
Unfortunately, this is something we touched on often this week. That universities, for mostly nefarious reasons, will suspend the free labor in an effort to avoid potential NCAA sanctions or troubles. While some of the suspensions are actually warranted, it remains hilarious that the majority of these are announced right before the season.
To the list!
Duke freshman Marvin Bagley dropped a rap single, because of course that is what he did.
It isn’t awful.
Speaking Of The Blue Devils
Duke says freshman point guard Trevon Duval is suspended the team’s final preseason game because he violated undisclosed team standards. Duke then came out, suspended two more kids, and said it was due to academic reasons.
Coach K really has a history of “dropping the hammer” against his players when nothing is at risk. Suspending players for an exhibition game … LOL.
Remember last season, when K “suspended” Grayson Allen indefinitely? Yeah … it was all of one game.
Texas A&M Suspends Three Players
Admon Gilder, D.J. Hogg and potential lottery pick Robert Williams will all sit out Texas A&M’s first two games. Don’t forget to factor in addition the suspension of J.J. Caldwell, who will miss the first four games of the regular season.
The Aggies should be good this season. And while that seems like a plethora of talent lost, it is only for less than a handful of games. The only true consequence of this MIGHT be it taking slightly longer for Texas A&M to gel this season. Still, probably not.
Georgia Tech Yellow Tattletales
Two Georgia Tech players have been suspended after the school self-reported they received impermissible benefits for a person who is “neither employed by Georgia Tech athletics nor a booster.” The grand total of loot that caused this suspension was less than $1,300.
As a response to this — though, it isn’t really a response since it is self-reported — the GT athletic department took a self-congratulatory victory lap.
“While we never want to learn that NCAA rules violations have occurred, I applaud coach (Josh) Pastner and our compliance staff for taking immediate action as soon as these violations came to light,” Georgia Tech director of athletics Todd Stansbury said in a statement. “I continue to be proud of the culture of compliance within our men’s basketball program and across the board here at Georgia Tech. As a department, we will use this as an opportunity to review our protocols and our educational efforts and will continue to prioritize compliance with NCAA rules.”
Here comes Pastner off the top rope:
“Nothing is more important to me than having an atmosphere of compliance,” Pastner said in a statement. “This isolated situation can and will be a learning opportunity for our entire program. We’re moving ahead and looking forward to having Tadric and Josh back in game action early this season.”
I can think of about a dozen things more important than an atmosphere of compliance for Pastner. That’s the problem when you go hyperbolic with those kinds of statements, though. It leaves zero wiggle room for nuance or to be measured with future comments.
Anyway, if “nothing is more important” to Pastner, condolences to his family for being slotted underneath NCAA compliance in the Josh Pastner Priority Poll Power Rankings.
Eastern Illinois > Illinois?
Illinois loss at Eastern Illinois on Friday night. It was only an exhibition game. But don’t let that stop first-year Illinois coach Brad Underwood to use this as a teaching moment:
“I take a lot of pride in our teams playing hard and we got totally outplayed and outhustled,” Underwood said to reporters, including Mark Tupper of the Pantagraph. “We never got on the floor for a loose ball.
“We played pretty, like a finesse team. And that’s not one thing I’m about. That’s on me. We’ll get that corrected. At halftime we had one rebound from two guys who have played in the Big Ten a lot (Leron Black and Michael Finke). That will tell you what our effort was about.”
Well, effort isn’t really a teachable moment, but at least Underwood took — kind of — accountability for the lack of it.
If you’re an Illinois fan, firstly, sorry. As for everything else, just relax. The program is in good hands (as long as the FBI doesn’t catch up to it) and it already looks like Underwood is ahead of schedule with bringing top-tier recruits to the program.
For real. Illinois should even be better than Eastern Illinois by the season’s end.