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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Thursday / December 14.
  • Latavious Williams Weighing Options; Jayon James Taking Visits; Rutgers Wins Again

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    Latavious Williams says he’s still committed to Memphis, but the latest allegations against the program may cause him to end up elsewhere.

    “I’m still committed,” he said Friday by phone. “Right now they’re looking into that [allegations that someone else took the SAT for former point guard Derrick Rose]. I’m going to take my time and chill out.”

    Williams is set to graduate May 29 from Humble Christian Life Center in Houston, and he said he and his family were still discussing the latest news about the NCAA charging Memphis with “major violations”.

    “We are just talking about the situation and the violations,” he said. “We’re trying to see what ‘s gonna happen.”

    Memphis is scheduled to appear before the NCAA Committee on Infractions June 6.

    “Everybody is very concerned about the situation but [Memphis coach] Josh [Pastner] is a great guy and everybody really, really respects him and we want to  give him the benefit of the doubt and find out what went on and what the repercussions might be,” Humble coach Carlos Wilson said. “We want to find out what the best decision for Latavious would be.

    “We’re going to kind of wait and see what happens with the June 6 situation, which is right around the corner.”

    The 6-foot-8 Williams on Tuesday chose Memphis over Georgetown, Oklahoma, Kansas State and Florida International. He did not sign a Letter of Intent because his decision came after May 20, the NCAA late signing period deadline. He signed scholarship players that bind the University to him, but not vice versa.

    Williams said he isn’t considering any of those schools at this point, but a source with knowledge said “two high major assistants were contacted by him directly yesterday [Thursday].”

    Williams did say that Europe still remained a viable option if his grades were to get red-flagged by the NCAA.

    “If they red-flag then I’ll go,” he said.

    Williams made dramatic strides in his academics over a short period of time and said he got a 17 on the ACT. He needs a corresponding 2.5 GPA to become eligible.

    Wilson previously said Europe was a viable option as well.

    Several Americans have recently announced their plans to play in Europe, including 6-10 San Diego High junior Jeremy Tyler, Florida guard Nick Calathes and Clemson guard Terrence Oglesby.

    JAYON JAMES THINKING IVY

    Paterson (N.J.) Catholic junior point guard Jayon James could be the first basketball player from the Silk City to attend an Ivy League school.

    James is a 6-5 junior point guard who averaged 9 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists to help the Cougars win the Passaic (N.J.) County championship and notch independent wins over Brooklyn powers Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson.

    He will visit UPenn this weekend and Harvard, Brown and Princeton in the next two weeks, according to his father, John James.

    RUTGERS WINS AGAIN IN SPAIN

    Pat Jackson continues to be a pleasant surprise for the Rutgers basketball team on its trip to the Canary Islands.

    Jackson, a 6-5 wing from Brooklyn Boys & Girls who didn’t get much burn as a freshman, had 19 points and 14 boards in a 77-50 victory over the London Midnight Madness Thursday night. Jackson dropped 22 in the first game and Rutgers is now 2-0.

    “For the second game in a row we really played hard, but tonight some of the rust from the trip had worn off,” said head coach Fred Hill. “I thought we executed and shot the ball better. We were better defensively against a good London team that played very, very hard. They were not a great shooting team. We played zone and it really gave them trouble. We played much crisper, sharper basketball tonight. Patrick had an impact on the game for the second night in a row and really helped us on the offensive end.”

    Mike Rosario added 16 points, Hamady N’Diaye had 13 points and six blocks and Jonathan Mitchell grabbed 10 boards.

    Written by

    [email protected]

    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.

    • Why is it that the NCAA only punished those that have NOTHING TO DO with the problem. Calipari, his assistants and Rose have all left the program. Unless it’s proven that a Memphis booster (and not WWW) was behind the fraud, you can’t assign Memphis penalties going forward or at the very least they need to follow Calipari just like they followed Kelvin Sampson.

      • I agree that it would make sense to punish Calipari in some way, but it doesn’t sound like there will be any impact to the Memphis program going forward. Any punishment would likely be retroactive, such as vacating wins from the 07-08 season.

        • You might be right, but it seems that Williams has been told he might be looked into far more closely by the clearinghouse considering what is going on at Memphis. That seems to punish Memphis for something no one there had anything to do with.

    • The Memphis press has turned this into a vendetta against Calipari and now are stirring an empty pot to the point they’re running off their own recruits .

    • Some of you really need to read the NCAA letter to Memphis. It wasnt a booster who did anything. Rose himself or his handlers did this without Memphis knowing. Memphis would have to forfeit the Final 4 and 38 wins due to an ineligible player. They wouldnt be penalized further. The $2,200 were travel fees that werent paid back. This person traveled other times with the team and did pay back. Either someone had an oversight and didnt send the bill or he just chose not to pay it. That really isnt any big deal and will get no sanctions for it once it paid back. Calipari will have nothing follow him to UK as he is not responsible for knowing any of those things happening. This letter to Memphis was more about the womens golf team and very little about the basketball team. ESPN took the little tidbit and ran with it. As you can see their coverage of it died down and well never really took off because its really not that much of a story to latch on to and they just let their talking heads ramble about it for a day and look stupid in doing so. Again this is not that big of a story and if it didnt involve UK and Calipari in the story it would barely be getting covered. UK gets ratings and thats what the media is using it for. Not that hard to figure out.

      • Media in Memphis broke the story, so the fact that Calipari is at Kentucky has nothing to do with the coverage it’s gotten. Remember, the team in question went to the national championship game. That’s a bigger deal than any implications to Kentucky, which are no more than a sidebar.

    • I’m not 100% sure on this but I was reading the “notice of allegation” letter the NCAA sent to the University of Memphis. The first paragraph says:

      “This inquiry was initiated in accordance with Bylaw 32.2 of the 2008-09 NCAA Division I manual…”

      I’m sure some contributor to this blog can clarify what Bylaw 32.2 is but I think Bylaw 32.2 pertains to “self-reporting of violations”.

      So it is possible that Memphis self-reported to the NCAA in the fall of 2008 and then the inquiry began in January of this year. True, Rose would already be gone but Calipari was still there. And yes, the NCAA can assign penalties against Memphis going forward. They did it to Kentucky without penalizing Sutton and they did it to UMass without penalizing Calipary.

      Meanwhile Maryland penalized because a coach gave a recruit a ride (can’t remember if he gave him a ride to a bus stop or a ride home). And the penalty was: couldn’t be on TV for a year, couldn’t participate in post season play. All for an effin ride?

      Also there were recruiting violations with the Memphis women’s golf team too LOL

      • The Women’s Golf information was SELF REPORTED.

        The basketball accusations were not.

        • Ahhh, thanks for that clarification. Much appreciated.

      • Actually Rose’s AAU coach notified the NCAA about 3 of his kids cheating on the SAT.

    • AZ,

      AD Johnson does not sound BELIEVABLE.
      He seems to be caught off guard and does not know how to respond.

      Case in point:

      For more than four months, the University of Memphis, athletic director R.C. Johnson … successfully kept secret a report alleging NCAA violations in the basketball program during the 2007-08 season

      “We hadn’t really talked about it honestly, we really hadn’t,” Johnson said.
      “Our main focus was to get ready for June 6, and we really hadn’t spent much time. In fact, I don’t know that we would have. If anything — and we really didn’t talk much about it — it would have been after the June 6 (hearing), probably.” NOT.

      “Pastner said he did not know major violations were on the table prior to becoming the head coach April 6, and Johnson acknowledged that Pastner may not have understood the scope”

      “I’m trying to remember. I don’t know. The only one I talked to at Kentucky was (Barnhart), and I don’t think that we talked about it,” Johnson said.

      LASTLY,
      Johnson, however, said, “Talking about it publicly, I don’t know that that really gains anything. We’re not trying to hide anything..”

      Johnson can not even remember what he said a few minutes prior.
      Conflicting statements.

      • Maybe it’s different at Memphis, but I think most fans expect their AD to communicate things like this.

      • USC.trojan

        It sounds like you have sour grapes against the Memphis program. Hmmm..I wonder why you feel threatened by an outsider C-USA program. Oh wait a sec…could it be because MEMPHIS OWNS USC when they play each other. lol, lol, lol, lol, lol

        Dec. 5 2007 Basketball (M) Memphis 62 USC 58
        Mar. 17 1995 Basketball (W) Memphis 74 USC 72
        Dec. 1 1984 Basketball (M) Memphis 61 USC 45
        Sep. 2 1991 Football Memphis 24 USC 10

        GUESS I WOULD BE BITTER TOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • NEWSFLASH: The “Major Violations are on the Women’s golf Team. The ALLEGATIONS that are for the Men’s basketball team are MINOR. The U of M will provide the information needed to be cleared on this.

      Since both sets of ALLEGATIONS were coupled in the same report, the overall ALLEGATIONS are categorized as Major. However, it is extremely important to recognize the distinction between the ALLEGATIONS for the Women’s golf program and the Men’s basketball program.

      Rose will most likely be cleared as well because these allegations will be very hard to prove and Rose has denied them. When he is cleared, the U of M will likely not have to forfeit any wins and they will only have to deal with penalties in Women’s Golf. The women’s Golf coach was fired before the NCAA sent the papers in January.

      After having the NCAA snoop around for a year, the Memphis program, outside of Women’s golf, has proven to be very clean.

      If you were to go to another high level program, you would likely find a great deal more skeletons in the closet.

      Although Memphis is taking a PR hit right now, in the end we will be cleared. Tiger fans need to be diligent in spreading the truth on this.

      As alumni, I can tell you, The University of Memphis is a great institution and all people who support it should continue to with their words and resources.

      • Vacating a final four is major. Between the grade changing and the SAT it’s hard to imagine Rose not being declared ineligible.

        • I agree it’s major if the final 4 is vacated. However, the accusations do not seem to have any bearing on future scholarships or anything like a postseason ban.

          If it’s found out that Memphis did not know about Rose’s grades/SATs and followed the usual clearing process for athletes then nothing will happen. It would be like Kansas’ Darrel Arthur situation.

          • It is similar except that 1) The Arthur story was proven false when investigated further and 2) Arthur’s grades were supposedly changed before he had signed a LOI to play in college.

            So we don’t really know what would have come out of that if it had been true and if he would have been a signed athlete when the cheating occured.

            Also it probably matters that it was both grades and standard test scores being forged. That would probably factor in- Rose clearly wasn’t even close to qualifying.

            Many media guys have said that Memphis may offer to give back the FF banner in exchange for that being the end of the penalties. Not sure if they’re getting that from a source at Memphis or just speculating, but it’s certainly not unheard of in these ridiculous NCAA proceedings.

          • It is also interesting that University of Illinois fans, through their online forums, had said for months that there was no way Rose would qualify to play in college. This is when they were supposedly right there with Memphis to get Rose’s LOI. So it seems everyone besides Calipari knew that Rose’s eligibility was pretty unlikely.

          • When was the Arthur story proven false? I think the NCAA just didn’t really look into it.

            http://www.nicksloan.com/2009/02/confirmed-darrell-arthurs-grades-were.html

          • I believe that is one of the twists the story took (with the final answer being that Arthur was eligible- I believe with or without the grade change). Not sure if linking to a UM blog talking about a KU player is a good way to get to the bottom of things…

          • Had I linked to a UM (I assume you mean Memphis) blog i would have agreed. I did not. Reading comprehension is important.

            From the blog: “My name is Nick Sloan and I have been blogging for about four years now. I blog about Kansas City; sports; national politics and politics around Kansas City and both Kansas and Missouri.”

            The blog quotes a 3rd party (though obviously the writer could have falsified this quote): “The WFAA-TV report out of Dallas that linked former Kansas forward Darrell Arthur to grade changing at South Oak Cliff High last May has been confirmed by the Dallas Independent School District through an external review”

          • UM= Missouri which is Kansas’s biggest rival.

            The story went back and forth quite a few times and this was one of the times. I believe the final answer was Arthur was cleared. Either way though the NCAA wasn’t involved in any way and the grade change occured before he was a signed athlete so it’s pretty different from the Memphis situation.

    • Even IF the ALLEGATIONS were somehow proven that Rose cheated, it is still unlikely that the penalty would be the most severe possible, which is vacating victories.

      However, either way, it will not effect the present or the future of Memphis basketball.

      Below is a link to provide you with further support for these findings:

      http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?entryID=3641023&name=katz_andy

    • It will be interesting to learn what information the NCAA Committee on Infractions received/gathered between January and the end of this process. Because when they notified Memphis in January they didn’t have enough info to substantiate that a violation occured.

    • Rose was declared elegible by the NCAA and was played accordingly by the Memphis staff …..there will be no sanctions against Memphis… they played a guy who was declared elegible by the governing body …where is the violation?

      • The violation exists if it’s proven that the information sent to the NCAA Clearinghouse, upon which they determined eligbility, was fradulent.

    • NCAA “allegations” are as close to convictions as you can get. That body is so testicularly challenged that it doesn’t even print it’s case before it has the facts nicely presented. If they ‘allege’ Rose cheated, he most certainly did.

      That said, the forfeiture of games is a pretty severe penalty of Memphis can argue that they knew nothing beyond what the clearinghouse told them. That the players involved in SATgate are all WWW jocks may make it hard to argue that though, unless you can claim WWW wasn’t a booster.

      Live by the sword, die by the sword.

    • I don’t see how a coach recruiting a high profile kid like Derrick Rose isn’t aware of what his acadmic situation is…. There’s absolutely no way… With the Darrell Arthur situation at KU, the grades thing happened his junior year and didn’t affect his SAT/ACT scoring, which, who knows, the kid’s grades may have very well been changed – they let troubled kids fight each other in a cage at the same school – anything’s possible…

      I don’t buy for one minute that Calipari wasn’t aware of what was going on with Rose… Knowing whether a kid will qualify is a big part of recruiting, or maybe I’m old fashioned… Either way, there’s more than meets the eye here on the part of Memphis and Calipari, but I don’t think the NCAA is going to delve too deep for fear of what it could do to Memphis and Calipari, and lets face it, the NCAA is a business, and with the economy the way it is right now, you can’t hurt two valuable schools which would in turn harm your game, take away from basketball and it would get endless play on ESPN until football season started…. The NCAA does not want that – no way…

      Like the saying goes – If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying.

      • IT IS MUCH WORSE THAN JUST ROSE .. 2 Universities are involved!

        The Chicago Newspapers are over this story. They are not saying if Rose did the Grade Change. They are flat out saying that he was involved.

        And now the newspapers have said that they know who actually who took the SATs. I find that a little hard to believe.

        BUT… this is a summary of what has been reported in the Tribune and Sun papers.

        This is bigger than Memphis and Rose.

        Rose and 3 of his high school team mates worked together to cheat on SATs and to change their grades via a computer system so that the NCAA would get the wrong information so that 3 of the kids could play college basketball.

        There are 2 colleges and the NCAA that are involved. It appears that neither the NCAA that clears the kids to play nor either school nor staff new about this.

        • USC.trojan

          It sounds like you have sour grapes against the Memphis program. Hmmm..I wonder why you feel threatened by an outsider C-USA program. Oh wait a sec…could it be because MEMPHIS OWNS USC when they play each other. lol, lol, lol, lol, lol

          Dec. 5 2007 Basketball (M) Memphis 62 USC 58
          Mar. 17 1995 Basketball (W) Memphis 74 USC 72
          Dec. 1 1984 Basketball (M) Memphis 61 USC 45
          Sep. 2 1991 Football Memphis 24 USC 10

          GUESS I WOULD BE BITTER TOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Well played staylor066 lol. Well played indeed.

    • Th enews from Memphis is that LW and Coleman are stating. And that T-gart said tha the is staying, too.

      T. Evan talked with a reporter and indicated that the players are very upset that their record of wins may not stand.

      Here is my diatrible of the situation

      Hopefully this is the last time I post it. I’m so tired of folk saying stuff that is hurting the Tigers.

      I did not spell check this.

      Ok.. Mr posst about the Tigers person.

      The Rose situation hit two, yes 2, colleges!!! Got that?

      Rose and 3 HS team mates (got someone) to login to a secure school system computer and change ALL 4 of the kids grades. The school then sent the transcripts to the colleges and NCAA. Then someone changed back the grades in hopes of not getting caught.

      Got that.

      Rose and 2 of his team mates (claimed by their AAU coach).. cheated on the SAT. 1 player took Rose’s and another kid’s test. The AAU coached told the NCAA of this. This is how the investigation started.

      GOT that.

      All 4 kids. All 4 sent their SAT scores to the NCAA.
      Yes, the NCAA clearing house. Why? because it is the NCAA (NOT Memphis) that says if the kids are qulified.

      Got that.

      Rose went to Memphis. The other 2 went to Univ at wisc some place…

      Got thiat?

      Why are folk saying Cal and Memphis were behind this.

      Let’s see this means that … CAL talked to all 4 kids. Stole the computer password amd got a key to get to the Chicago School District computer. Then told the kids how to cheat on the SAT.

      That sounds reasonable.

      GOT That.

      It is all very clearly laid out in the Chicago Sun-Times Newspaper and many othe rChicago outlets.

      GOT That.

      Rose and his friends ran a scam on 2 schools, the Chicago School System, the SAT and the NCAA.

      • T. Evans wins would certainly stand…

      • It’s the world wide wes connection to the fraud that would bring Memphis down (more so than simply having to forfeit the wins Rose secured). If Rose was ineligible the NCAA doesn’t even have to prove Memphis knew about it.

        • The way they explain it, the clearinghouse is there to protect your opponents from you having an ineligible player. The school is still 100% liable for the eligibility of a player regardless of the clearinghouse.