McCants' story: That stings
Here's what basketball beat writer Marcus Jackson is thinking about today:
Calipari staying put
Since John Calipari took the job at Kentucky, the thought was that he would eventually take his act back to the NBA. Even as the Wildcats were taking the floor against UConn in the national championship game, reports surfaced that a deal with the Lakers for Calipari was pretty much done. It wasn’t and he’s remained at Kentucky. The new deal he signed makes it almost certain he’s not leaving the Commonwealth any time soon. Calipari’s new contract will pay him an average of $7.55 million per season through 2021. No coach in the NBA makes that much money annually. Slim chance the guy who has it rolling at one of college basketball’s blue bloods takes a pay cut to work more hours at a higher level. Get used to seeing the ‘Cats near the top of the polls for a long time to come.
Black eye for ‘05 Tar Heels
As if the images of Sean May barreling through the Illinois defense and the sound of the whistles blown against James Augustine in the 2005 national championship game weren’t enough to keep you up at night the last nine years, Rashad McCants has added to your nightmares, Illini fans. The former North Carolina star revealed to ESPN that he and some of his Tar Heels teammates rarely went to class that season, tutors wrote his papers and he took bogus classes designed to keep athletes eligible. And coach Roy Williams knew all about it. McCants didn’t name the other teammates, but it’s reasonable to think that had McCants not been eligible for the title game, the Illini would have hoisted the trophy. Not sure what McCants has to gain at this point by blowing the whistle, but it’s certain to elicit reaction from the fan base here. On one hand, you feel good believing your team played by the rules and came so close. On the other hand, you just feel cheated.
Terps get big transfer
It’s been a rough couple of months for Maryland coach Mark Turgeon, whose starting point guard and three other players left the program following the 2013-14 season. Turgeon took blame and vowed to do self evaluation to fix the problem. On Friday, he took a step in the right direction landing Georgia Tech transfer Robert Carter Jr. Illinois fans should be familiar with Carter, as he had 21 points and nine boards in the Yellow Jackets’ win against the Illini last season in Atlanta. You’ll be seeing more of him in the future, as the 6-foot-8, 250-pound forward has two seasons of eligibility remaining at the new Big Ten program starting with the 2015-16 season. The Terps could be a legitimate force in the league the next couple seasons with a highly regarded recruiting class entering this season and Carter joining them next year.