Posts Tagged ‘ncaa’

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On April 11, 2011 at 4:00pm former Runnin’ Rebel player and Assistant Coach for UNLV and BYU Dave Rice was announced as the new Head Coach of UNLV replacing Lon Kruger.  It was an exciting day for the older Rebel faithful as well as the new Scarlet and Grey bloods in the Board Room at the Thomas and Mack Center.

Athletic Director Jim Livengood announced Rice as the “right fit at the right time, having an outstanding resume, excellent leadership abilities and passion both on and off the court.”

All local media was well represented as well as the Board of Regents, President Neal Smatresk, Coach Jerry Tarkanian, Brad Rothermel, all athletic department personnel, current as well as ex-players, ex-politicians, and a bevy of Rebel supporters from around the city.

Dave Rice said “it is a great day for UNLV, it’s family and that it’s all about the Runnin’ Rebels and not about myself.”  He stressed many times his appreciation for Tarkanian and all he learned from him as a player on two Final Four teams in 1990 and 1991, National Championship team in 1990, as well as his tutledge as an assistant when Tark approached him after graduation and told him, “I think you can become a great coach some day.”

Coach Rice quickly mentioned that Justin Hutson, assistant coach from San Diego St., has already been signed to a contract and was the one of the best recruiters in the Southern California areas.  He also served as the great defensive mind of the top 10 ranked Aztecs this year limiting opponents to 58.6 points per game and 39 percent shooting.

Also on his list of potential staff members is former UNLV great and current Denver Nuggets assistant Stacey Augmon.  He was called immediately but had a major concern of how soon he would have to be in Las Vegas as he wanted to stay with his team as they gear up for the NBA playoffs.

In his moderate in length yet humble speech Rice commented on his reasons for coaching instead of following the path of his master’s of business administration degree that he earned and he mentioned that he “loves the competition, but mainly I love the impact I can have in the young men’s lives as my coaches had in me.”

He felt that it was very key to build a strong, trusting relationship with the players now, that they are a great group of kids that have a ton of hard work ethics and effort and was very appreciative that they showed for the press conference.

Rice also expressed a deep need to “build upon the tradition that Coach Kruger had left behind” and then answered the question that thousands of Rebel fans alike have been asking: What will be the style of play?

His response: “We’re going to get out and run–everything will be up tempo.  It will be Runnin’ Rebel basketball.  We will defend as hard as we can on one end, then push as fast as we can to the other. But most importantly we want to be consistent.”

Again he modestly thanked the coaches he had been under at UNLV and that he was “humbled by all the people in the room and am very excited to be back at UNLV and in Las Vegas.”

Dave brings with him to Las Vegas his wife Mindy who graduated from UNLV and their two sons, Travis, 13 and Dylan, 8.

He closed his first oration as a head coach in Division I men’s basketball by stating that “it is our program, not mine, I am just a caretaker and honored to be a part of Runnin’ Rebel Basketball again.”

Afterwards he was asked a few “softball” type questions by the media then convened for some one-on-one interviews and an even larger fan-appreciation event held next door at the Cox Pavillion where around 300+ UNLV fans were introduced to their new head coach.

I personally feel that Dave Rice has an excellent chance to succeed here and brings a lot of game knowledge, experience, and zeal to a program that has been left full and ripe by the previous coach Lon Kruger.  There will not be much of a honeymoon period for Dave as this program has been in the Top 30 nationally for the last five to six years and returns a plethora of starters, talent and incumbent recruits.

The staff that he assembles will be critical to his prosperity and Rice has already taken a huge step in that direction with his first hire and those already contacted.

His temperament for bringing back the life-blood and roots of the very foundation that built this school into a national basketball powerhouse with the amoeba defense and fast break offense will not only excite the players and fans for years to come, but recreate the Runnin’ Rebels of lore and vault them to a higher level of distinction.

The Billions of dollars pouring into Collegiate Athletics has changed the face of sports forever. The rules that govern the Universities, athletes, coaches, media, boosters, fans and all other entities are antiquated. The organization that controls all these parts, with a tyrannical hand, needs to be disbanded.

In the Bible, the book of Revelation describes a “harlot riding a wild colored beast” and commits fornication with the “kings of the earth and the traveling merchants of the earth who became rich due to the power of her shameless luxury.”

Sound familiar?

College sports bring in an estimated $4 billion dollars annually, coaches get paid in the millions, sponsors PAY in the millions. Universities rake in the cash as well as the Head of everything, the NCAA. Who by the way gets $10billion for just college basketball.



The players see none of it.

Not now, not later, not while they’re playing, not after. While the NCAA continues to sell game footage to advertisers and commercials are filled with these “amateur” athletes,–video games are filled with the “likenesses” of these kids, now and from 20+ years ago–yet still never see a dime of it.

Meanwhile, BCS Bowl CEOs make $650,000+ for ONE GAME! The money funneled into these Bowls is being spent on assistants weddings, strip clubs, destination golfing trips and political fund raising events.

Coaches are covering up illegal activities by their players when they full well know that these star athletes would be suspended for the season, hence ending a run for a BCS Title game and costing the team $16 million+ for that one game.

Poor kids raised in bad neighborhoods are being handed money in “money shakes” by the hundreds and bags full of money by the thousands. Yet how can you blame them? They can use any dollar they can get and are now being handed way more than they could dream of. Selling used equipment, memorabilia just to earn a few dollars for themselves or family members. Including the whoring out of young women to these men to bring them to their schools.

Please don’t tell me about how they get a free education either, they don’t want it! They are there for one thing and one thing only, to play their sport and achieve a professional status. College is the perfect farm system and training program for the NBA and NFL–are funded by commercialism and advertising–and everyone at the programs make millions except the MAIN employees; the players.

How can you blame these kids for taking the handouts? They are poor and needy. It’s not even greed on their part. Their just getting chump change from the people handing it to them.

All this stems from the flaws of the rules, regulations and the organization that makes them and enforces them. And the enforcement of these rules is suspect at best by not punishing the transgressors evenly and equally.  The hypocrisy abounds.  It needs to be destroyed and rebuilt.

The rules are broke, the system defunct, and big time schools and universities are going to get tired of being punished for breaking these rules and continuously punishing their staff and students for doing certain things that are just a normal part of life: being compensated for the work you do.

The NCAA turns a blind eye to some, and comes down with an iron fist on others. Inadequacies and inconsistencies are rampant.

When does the time come where the institutions being governed say “enough is enough?” Why should we continue to ruled by this Fascist regime with unlimited power and wealth yet takes zero responsibility for the corruption it empowers?

Oh sure in light of all these new allegations the NCAA and president Mark Emmert will run around and levy heavy fines, sanctions and suspensions upon most implicated. Just like the Queen of Hearts yelling “Off with their head, Off with their head.” What happened to that Queen again?

What usually happens to every dictator that spends it’s time and efforts suppressing, crushing and punishing all of its subjects? Eventual anarchy.

Yes the NCAA will contest that they are no part of the cheating and illegal activities–by their laws and guidelines–and distance themselves from the perpetrators stating they are “policing” these ones. Yet as the money grows so does the correlation with law-breaking, all this is happening under their watch.

When a specific company is found to be involved in illegal activities or scandals, who is the main one to fall? The head of that company. When a team fails to perform and live up to higher standards who get the axe? The coach or even higher, the general managers.

Yes as the issues and problems escalate to untold heights each and every year, it’s all happening under the watch-care of the NCAA.

Will it take the U.S. Government to intervene and uproot this dysfunctional committee? Its been done before with major corporations, but usually when illegal activities are have been brought before the Federal Court.

Most likely though it will be time for the educational institutions to band together and retake control of their own destinies and dissolve the worthlessness of the NCAA. To create new laws and regulations that allow student-athletes to be compensated based upon their performance–during their tenure at school and after.

“The traveling merchants of these things, who became rich from her, will stand at a distance because of [their] fear of her torment and will weep and mourn saying, ‘Too bad, too bad–the great city richly adorned with gold and scarlet…because in one hour such great riches have been devastated!”

The Bulldogs from Indiana have had a very solid history in NCAA college basketball.  Some high notes, some low.  Like the loss against Florida in 2000 at the buzzer by Mike Miller.

But now we have entered a new era, the Brad Stevens regime. 

He has elevated this program to an elite status only rivaled by the likes of Kentucky, Kansas, UCLA, Duke, UNLV, Florida and a small handful of others.

Going to back-to-back Final Fours is extremely difficult for any school or program and is usually done by only top national programs that recruit the BEST players in the country.  Then they are usually kids that stay around for their senior year.

Enter Brad Stevens taking the Butler Bulldogs back to the Final Four. 

Yes last year they lost by two to Duke in the National Title game.  Yes they lost their best player to the NBA.  Yes this team struggled during the middle of the season and looked like they were a one hit wonder.

But the young, jepoardy-looking “I’ll take Hoosier History for $400, Alex” Stevens has done the seemingly impossible.  Taking a mid-major school, mostly mid-level talent, and elevated them to the highest stages of college basketball.

Yes there are many great coaches that have done amazing things during specific times.  But they generally always come from the Big 6 conferences and/or are whisked away the next season by the big boys.

Not Stevens.  He has put his name in the hat with the likes of Calhoun, Coach K, Izzo, Calipari and others of our time.  With LESS talent!  The questions remain how long he can be this successful and where he continues his quest for championships.

But at this school, with these kids, Brad Stevens has done the greatest coaching job in two years ever, in the history of NCAA men’s college basketball.

It’s always an exciting week of events leading to yet another fantastic finish of a weekend in Conference Tournament action. From the Princeton/Washington buzzer beaters, to the history-making U Conn five day-five game winning stretch, to the San Diego St/Kentucky championship beat downs.

Every game, shot and dribble of the basketball determining the post-season fates of these athletically gifted young men. As hopes and dreams are elevated or deflated based upon the success of a single shot or the inability to close out their opponent.

The goal?

A chance to play in the Big Dance. A chance to put your name in the hat with the best of the best and actually have a playoff to decide on the court, who is the number one team in the country. Some earned that right, others fell in backwards while yet some hopes were dashed by a 10 member committee where “everyone in the room has a different emphasis on different criteria. So when we go to vote, everyone selects the criteria they think is important to them and they ultimately vote.”

Says Gene Smith tourney committee president. What?! Are you kidding me?! This isn’t the Oscars where voting is subjective. It’s not a restaurant review where everyone’s taste is different.

It’s essentially black and white numbers, right in front you on the infamous blind resume. Loaded up with statistical information of wins, losses, strength of schedules, road games, conference games, RPI index ratings. It really is not that difficult. Sure when you get to the bottom of the 68 teams there might be a team or two that can be switched. That argument will never cease, even when there are 96 teams to choose from.

But get this: 13 teams with at least 11 losses, most since 1985.  7 teams with at least 13 losses, never been more than 3, and 5 teams with at least 14 losses and there was a total of SIX in the last 25 years.

What I find more appalling though is the seeding throughout the selected teams. By far the worst job I’ve ever seen!  Teams like a Kansas St. and Vanderbilt who had mediocre seasons at best wind up at #5 seeds.  The Wildcats lost 3 times to Colorado and the Buffaloes are not even in! The Commodore’s have an RPI ranking of 27 and in mid-20’s in the polls losing four of the last 7 games yet seeded as a TOP 20 team.

Then the Huskies of Connecticut that finished 9th in their conference, string together five consecutive wins, take the Big East crown, and are rewarded with a #3 seed meaning TOP 12 in the country. The Kentucky Wildcats follow a similar pattern by winning the SEC title yet are dropped to a #4 seed and the team they beat in Florida are rewarded a higher #2 seed.

The list seemingly goes on and on but the MOST egregious of all was Utah St. being ranked in the TOP 20 for quite a stretch and win their conference tournament with a record of 30-3 and are seeded 12th?! That’s an absolute joke!  That means had they lost that last game they wouldn’t even be IN the NCAA Tournament.  Just sickening, as were the players when we saw their faces when announced on CBS late Sunday afternoon.

Oh and by the way Clemson has ZERO wins against the TOP 50 teams, and they’re dancing.
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The HBO special that aired on Saturday evening about the Runnin’ Rebels of UNLV found a special chord of emotion in my heart.  Growing up in Las Vegas from the 70’s onward and having a wonderful father who introduced me to sports and college basketball made me a diehard Rebel fan.

My memories of the grand opening of the Thomas and Mack Arena with Danny Tarkanian, Freddie Banks, Armon Gilliam lighting up the scoreboard in “The Shark Tank” are still vivid in my mind. As are the rolling out of the red carpet during player introductions and a dazzling display of fireworks and pyrotechnics INSIDE of the arena.

And never forgetting the ominous sound of the Jaws theme pulsating throughout the building and all 18,000+ fans opening and closing their arms in a gigantic great white shark CHOMP leading up to the tipoff.  I remember being hoarse from screaming before the game even started.

I can never forgot the eventual accumulation of the hard work and perseverance by Jerry Tarkanian and his fantastic coaching teams that took Greg Anthony, Larry Johnson, Stacey Augmon, Anderson Hunt and Moses Scurry to winning the most fulfilling accomplishment in college basketball–the National Title.

The city of Las Vegas erupted in a cataclysmic chorus from one end of the Strip to the other.  People running down the street, yelling and screaming.  Cars honking and screeching with “National Champions, UNLV, Rebels” written in shoe polish across the windows.

Yes there is the dark side to all this success as handed out by the massive amounts of suspensions and scrutinizing from the NCAA infractions committee that surrounded the Shark like pilot fish his entire tenure in Vegas. Not saying everything Coach Tark did was all roses but the segment also showed how UCLA was filled with its own bevy of indiscretions with “Papa Sam” Gilbert who seemingly supplied players with any goods and services they needed as they drove in the most expensive cars.

Of course the NCAA and John Wooden never saw any such things happening.

The overall most depressing time was the historic tragic loss to Duke the following season after beating them by a record 30 points the previous year. Even Tark knew they were in trouble that day when he held an early morning-same day practice before the game and said, “we are gonna lose, they are not focused.”

Of course the bogus charge call near the end of the game against the team’s leader and quarterback Greg Anthony was a HUGE momentum swing in the game and caused his dismissal from it by incurring his 5th foul.

Ultimately I will always remember those days with extreme fondness and watery eyes, through the highs of the wins and the lows of the tournament losses.