Welcome to this week's Dean's List, where we're wrapping our presents in the Mitchell Report and stuffing our stockings with old pictures of Topanga.
•Levance Fields has got a huge pair of cojones. That's what you've got to have when your team is down by two points to Duke with 4.7 seconds left in overtime and you decide to jack up a three-pointer. Then you've got to have the skills to actually make the shot. The Pittsburgh guard has those, too. Thanks to his awesome performance in Pitt's 65-64 win over Duke at the Garden on Thursday, Fields is this week's Dean's List Player of the Week. He dropped 21 points on the Blue Devils, but none as exciting as the last three. And what's more impressive is that he did it minutes after his best friend and teammate, Mike Cook, basically snapped his left knee. Okay, to recap, Levance Fields has cajones, skills and composure.
•Alex Legion has trouble making decisions. The former high school standout committed two times to play basketball for Michigan and signed a letter of intent, but then backed out and decided he would go to Kentucky. A month into his freshman season as a Wildcat, the irresolute guard then decided to leave Kentucky. Then he reconsidered, before eventually choosing to transfer again. Well, the transfer process just forced young Alex to make another big decision. Where would he transfer? His mother said he'd end up at Notre Dame and the press said he was going to Michigan, but Bishop decided that he wanted to play for Illinois. Way to make a decision, young man.
•The Dean's List isn't so sure that we'd want Stephen Pamon officiating our sons' football games. At least according to his legal record, Pamon, a Big Ten football official since 1988, seems to maintain a rather lax moral and ethical code. In 1994, Pamon's former wife accused him of beating her and sexually assaulting her niece. Two years later, he was fired from the Chicago Police Department after two female officers accused him of sexual harassment. And he has also been convicted of a misdemeanor for beating his former girlfriend's sons with an electrical cord. But none of these incidents are what spurred the Big Ten to begin annual background checks on its football and basketball officials. No, the new background check policy was inspired by Pamon's murky financial past. The Big Ten crew chief and his wife filed for bankruptcy in 2002 and, get this, two of the creditors turned out to be casinos. Now, there's no evidence that he fixed any games, but Pamon's crew was suspended for the final regular season game after a Penn State-Purdue match up in which the clock mysteriously failed to stop late in the game and the Boilermakers lost.
•David Robinson, Alonzo Mourning, Tim Duncan, Pervis Ellison and Derrick Coleman are the only college basketball players to have done what Kyle Hines is about to do. The 6-foot-6 forward for UNC-Greensboro is about to become just the sixth player to score 2,000 points, grab 1,000 rebounds and block 300 shots in his college career. If Hines can just rack up 252 more points, 145 more rebounds and 17 more blocks this season he will join the elite 2000-1000-300 club. (Doesn't exactly have the same ring as 40-40 or mile-high.) With an 85 inch wingspan, Hines has already achieved his place in the UNCG record books as the school's all-time leading scorer and shot blocker and last season he was the Southern Conference Player of the Year. So how does Hines do it? Consistency. He's scored in double figures for a record 59 straight games, including a 25 point, 9 rebound performance in a season opening victory over Georgia Tech. And while Hines wields a shooter's touch, he also brandishes a deft pen, which you can witness on his well-kept blog.
•It's not easy being a hockey player at Harvard. You're the only ones on campus missing teeth. You're constantly ridiculed for being a "meathead." And you are not allowed to just run around destroying igloos. What's up with that? Last week, members of Harvard's men's hockey smashed the Eliot House Igloo, constructed by Harvard students outside the Eliot House residence on campus. As you can imagine, this created massive amounts of controversy in Cambridge. The igloo, which could fit eight comfortably, took 20 Harvard students over ten hours to construct and only a few minutes for a handful of rogue hockey players to demolish. Even though the captain of the hockey team apologized, Eliot House residents are still pissed off. "Apparently someone called [the Harvard police], and [the attackers] ran like the little pussies they are," Eliot House resident Robert L. Kulwin wrote, according to The Harvard Crimson. "Too bad that while [their] 1200 [SAT score] was good enough to get them in here it [isn't] good enough to get them a job after they leave." Now Mr. Kulwin, that's not very cordial of you. An igloo can easily be reconstructed, but a hockey player's self-confidence? That's irreplaceable.
•After bolting Morgantown for Ann Arbor, Rich Rodriguez is not the most popular man in West Virginia. Rodriguez has seen the people who used to worship the ground he stood on turn their backs on him. In Rodriguez's hometown of Grant Town, West Virginia, the mayor is even taking down two signs that proclaim Grant Town as the "Home of WVU Head Football Coach Rich Rodriguez." The mayor does not deny that Grant Town is still Rodriguez's hometown, but he's worried about vandalism. Last year, when there were rumors of Rodriguez leaving the Mountaineers to coach at Alabama, someone stole one of the signs. When Rodriguez stayed, the sign was returned with a note attached that read, "Since the coach is staying, here's your sign back." We guess that means that the mayor of Grant Town doesn't believe Rodriguez is coming back.
•How would you feel if you were a Georgia Tech wide receiver and your school just announced that former Navy football coach, Paul Johnson, had been hired to coach your team next year? You'd probably need a minute. After all, Johnson brings with him an option offense that relies heavily, if not exclusively on the running game. This season, Navy ranks last in the nation is passing. The Midshipman wide receivers are pretty much undersized blockers. So current Navy receivers coach and presumably future Georgia Tech assistant coach, Brian Bohannon, has made it a point to call and reassure the Yellow Jacket receivers that Johnson will not solely rely on the running game. But what's the big deal? It's not like Georgia Tech has a high-powered air attack. The Yellow Jackets finished 101 out of 119 FBS teams in passing offense.
•Even before Nevada lost 23-0 to New Mexico in the New Mexico Bowl, you got the feeling things weren't going to turn out well for the Wolfpack. One week before Nevada's last game of the season, the school had only sold 95 of its 6,000 allotted tickets. For all you English majors out there, that's 1.6 percent. And it's not like the plight of Boise State fans, who have to fly to Hawaii this year to see their team play in a bowl game. Wolfpack fans only had to travel the thousand miles from Reno to Albuquerque. Of course, distance isn't the only factor keeping Wolfpack fans away. Nevada's selection to the New Mexico Bowl wasn't announced until December 2nd, giving fans a mere three weeks to plan their trips. But the Dean's List also believes that Nevada's mediocre performance on the field this season -- the Wolfpack came in fourth in the WAC and came into the bowl game with a 6-6 record -- played a part in the team's low ticket sales. Maybe the fans could see their team's shutout loss coming from, oh say, a thousand miles away.