July 14, 2008

Welcome to this week's Dean's List, where we're still trying to figure out why Alex Rodriguez would ever fall for Madonna. She's a forty-nine-year-old married mother of three who once dated Vanilla Ice. Alex, buddy, Like a Virgin is so 1984. Take a tip from Derek Jeter and stick to hot, single actresses.

• Maybe college basketball isn't all about the individual player. Maybe it really is about the team. Maybe it's about loyalty. Maybe Doneal Mack is a sign of the times. The University of Memphis guard, whose father announced last month that he'd be transferring in search of more playing time, has decided to return to the Tigers. Last season he averaged 6.9 ppg and 1.6 rpg coming off the bench on a team that came within a Mario Chalmers' desperation-three of winning a national championship. But Mack, a highly-touted recruit out of high school, wasn't happy as a back up. He enrolled in summer school classes at the University of New Orleans but then had a change of heart and withdrew after only a week. Were classes too hard or has Mack realized that, in due time, loyalty is rewarded? We'll give him the benefit of the doubt and go with the latter if for no other reason than summer school classes are never really that hard.

• Fourteen years after its last football game, Colorado State University-Pueblo is returning to the field. CSU-Pueblo, then known as the University of Southern Colorado, cut the team after the 1984 season despite making its only NAIA playoff appearance one season prior. But last year, administrators decided to bring back the team, and fast. Normally it takes a school at least three years to get its program rolling, but the ThunderWolves wanted their football fix sooner than that. They're giving coach John Wristen, a former all-conference quarterback at Southern Colorado, one year to revive the long dormant team, which will compete in Division-II. Think about how hard that is to do. Coach Wristen has to hire a staff, recruit over one hundred players, buy a lot of equipment and move into a new field house, all in 365 days. Ex-Kansas City Chiefs running back and CSU-Pueblo alum Herman Heard would be proud.

Doc Rivers has got to be riding high right about now. After never coaching a team past the first round of the NBA playoffs, he guides the Boston Celtics to their first championship in 22 years. But winning a national championship may have come at the expense of his fatherly advice. In the last few months, his oldest son, Jeremiah, decided to transfer from Georgetown to Indiana and his other son, Austin (who just completed ninth grade) committed to play at Florida. To recap: One son willingly left a successful basketball team in order to sit out a year and play at a program mired in scandal and the other son committed to a college before his voice even dropped. It doesn't seem like a world champion coach is giving these kids advice. What's up, Doc?

• Ohio State has a new ticket lottery for its football games, and old people aren't happy. Previously, seniority determined who got the tickets. But after a plethora of complaints from recent Buckeye grads, the alumni association changed things so any association member, regardless of seniority, has an equal chance of scoring tickets. Now, the longtime ticket buyers are upset because instead of watching a Big Ten showdown (as is their God-given reward for being old) they might be forced to watch a Youngstown State-drubbing. Even with padded seats and glove warmers, that's no fun.

Lute Olson swears he won't recruit players who are only going to play in Tucson for one season. After the loss of stud-recruit Brandon Jennings to the European leagues and freshman point guard Jerryd Bayless to the NBA, the legendary silver-haired Arizona basketball coach will adopt a new recruiting strategy that rewards players who don't jump-ship after a single season. While Olson's plan sounds honorable, it's nothing more than a pipe dream if the Wildcats are going to maintain their championship-caliber program. A coach can't force a kid to stay in school and would be insane to pass on a player like Bayless simply because there's a chance he'll go pro after one season.

• They say you can take the kid out of college, but you can't take the college out of the kid. The recent actions of certain professional athletes at their former institutes of higher education lends credence to the above statement. First, there was Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah, who was arrested last May in his old college town of Gainesville, Fla., for drinking cognac in public and carrying what grown-ups call a "marijuana cigarette." Now, Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Matt Jones has been arrested in Fayetteville, Ark., his old college town, for cutting up cocaine inside a car. (His father says it wasn't his, but the cops think otherwise.) Here are two athletes who never got arrested when they were in college. It was only after they'd turned pro and returned to their old stomping grounds that they ran afoul of the law. I don't get it. How does money make people so stupid?

• When I was sixteen I attended Howard Garfinkel's Five-Star Basketball Camp in Pennsylvania. Every morning, the camp's best players put on exhibitions to show us, the underachieving sleepy-eyed masses, that if we worked hard we too could play college ball. I vividly remember one exhibition where we all sat around while a skinny white kid who had committed to Florida drained threes for thirty minutes straight. Here was Teddy Dupay, Billy Donovan's first prized recruit and a role model for kids everywhere. Well, maybe not so much of role model after all. Dupay went on to an inglorious three-year career at Florida that ended when he was kicked off the team for gambling after his junior season. Recently, he reasserted himself as an prime example for kids when he was charged with beating and raping his girlfriend at a Utah ski resort. Dupay admitted that the sex was "a little rough" -- the victim suffered two broken ribs and estimated that Dupay hit and kicked her 150 times -- but he denied the charges. "How can you rape someone you love?" he told investigators. Good question, Teddy.

• I think it's safe to say that Max Joyner has an alcohol problem and an anger management issue and both of them are negatively affecting his life. East Carolina's former freshman linebacker has a grand total of eight misdemeanor charges pending against him. Just last Wednesday, he was arrested for inflicting serious injury on another human being. Joyner basically beat the crap out of a dude, smashed his face in, and left the guy bleeding in the street. Seven months before that, the 6-foot-2, 195 lbs. defensive standout was arrested for assaulting an Alcohol Law Enforcement agent. On the whole, Joyner's public record includes not one, but two assaults on a government official, two charges of resisting a public officer, one charge for consuming alcohol underage, one for simple assault and one for being intoxicated and disruptive. Fortunately for Joyner, he is the son of a Greenville city councilman. Unfortunately for Joyner, even daddy can't get the North Carolina court system to drop the charges.

Got issues with the Dean's List? Contact Jacob E. Osterhout at Jacob.Osterhout@gmail.com.

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