Another dubious blog post


The UConn Blog has taken exception with my posting on why Ater Majok may suddenly be leaving.  I actually don’t have an issue with that; it wasn’t my theory to begin with.  But it makes about as much sense to me Majok suddenly needing to leave to play professionally to support his family, when that has been an issue all along.  There’s just something here that I’m missing.

For the record, I didn’t say that UConn was “Creating an elaborate scenario under which he appears to leave on his own…” The story of Majok possibly leaving was attributed to “multiple sources” and I suspect that Jim Calhoun’s quotes were in response to questions that he probably would have preferred to answer after the September 3rd response to the NCAA.  If I wasn’t clear, in the scenario that I described, UConn  would be kicking Majok out because of his involvement in the recruiting issues as part of the response to the NCAA, not kicking him out and pretending that he’s leaving on his own.  That would make no sense at all.

I didn’t understand Jim Calhoun’s comments about Majok, any more that I’ve understood previous comments suggesting that all of issues would be explained.

As far as Majok is concerned, nothing in his tenure at UConn has made any sense:

  • Why it took the NCAA so long to clear him in the first place
  • Why he declared for the NBA draft before ever playing for the Huskies (although in hindsight, he probably had a better chance of being drafted then than he does not)
  • Why he has repeatedly said he would stay at UConn, then seems to be leaving a week before school starts
  • Why, if family is the real issue, he put one very cryptic post on Twitter then hasn’t clarified
  • How he was ever ranked as the 12th or 13th best recruit in the first place

I disagree on how UConn would respond to any issues with Majok.  Compared to the alleged issues with Nate Miles, I believe that anything involved with Majok would be minor.  But I will believe what UConn will do in their response to the NCAA is prove that they are taking decisive action to fix any issues in the program.  They have already canned two assistant coaches, and brought in a very experienced, former head coach to deal with compliance, in place of a very inexperienced assistant.  I’m betting they will volunteer to give up two scholarships, and it’s not clear to me that it’s only for one year.  I can believe that Majok would be pushed out for even minor violations, to prove that the Huskies are taking a firm hand.

What has changed since the NCAA Notice of Allegations came out?  The USC football program got hammered by the NCAA, after not taking appropriate action after allegations were presented.  That’s a big time program that was punished severely, not typical for the NCAA, and I believe that the Huskies may be erring on the side of caution.

Where I am in nearly complete agreement with the The UConn Blog is on the issue of Angelo Chol.  As I posted yesterday, it makes no sense that he would have heard from the UConn staff about a loss of scholarships, and in fact there should be scholarships available whether UConn loses some or not.  Where I do have some issue is how UConn needs to use these scholarships.  If UConn has only two available for 2011, they probably need to use them in the back court to replace Walker and Beverly, not in the front court on Chol.

I’ve not seen the Angelo Chol story picked up on any of the recruiting websites, which makes me wonder if it’s even true.  Has it even been confirmed that the post came from Chol?

For the record, when I reread my ‘dubious post’ I discovered that I’d written but never actually posted my first comments about Majok possibly leaving — I referred to them in the next posting, probably to the confusion of many.  Here they are:

According to the Hartford Courant Ajou Deng Ater Majok is likely leaving UConn (according to the dreaded “multiple sources”) to play professionally and support his family.  However, according to the Courant, Jim Calhoun says it’s a possibility, not a done deal.

I don’t begrudge the need to support his family, but it seems like an odd time to make the decision, well after the end of the 2009-2010 season, and just before the start of school.

If he leaves, he will have a career record of 2.3 points and 3 rebounds per game in 26 games.  It’s hard for me to believe that he will make a big impact professionally — I think another year or two of playing college ball is his best path to improvement — but then there’s that old adage, “You can’t teach height.”  Someone will want him, if only for his height.

It’s difficult to say if the Huskies would really miss him — certainly not, if he posted similar numbers to last season.  The upside is that the Huskies are a bit front court heavy, and this might enable them to land Andre Drummond and still be able to balance the roster by adding to the backcourt.  They’d be in much worse shape if one of the guards had decided to leave.

What I’d really hate to see is for UConn to bring in a last minute ‘fringe player’ just to fill out the roster.  For some reason, the Huskies seem to feel the need to do this, and they load up with guys that will never play significant minutes (e.g., Jamaal Trice, Rob Garrison) or will play but probably shouldn’t play (Donnell Beverly).  Fortunately, there are probably no uncommitted players left at this point.

The Courant story appears here:

http://www.courant.com/sports/uconn-men/hc-ater-majok-0827,0,6574436.story

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