Star NCAA Basketball Players (and Teams) in Limbo for 2013-14 Season
It's August and most college basketball coaches are spending this time trying to figure out how to mesh their rosters this season.
Imagine taking the biggest piece away, floating in TBA land.
That's the case right now for several college basketball programs. As the school year approaches, they are forced to wait on the NCAA to determine their 2013-14 fate.
Michael Dixon, Memphis
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Memphis doesn't need Michael Dixon. Josh Pastner already has plenty of depth in his backcourt. But this is what Dixon brings to the table:
- He's played on a team better than any Pastner has ever coached—the 2011-12 Missouri squad that went 30-5 and had the best offense in the country.
- Dixon is one of the quickest guards in the country and gives Memphis a second guard—joining Joe Jackson—who can create off the dribble.
Dixon's future is up to the NCAA. He was not allowed to play last season at Missouri because he was accused of sexual assault for the second time in his career—accusations that never turned into criminal charges.
A similar scenario played out with Dez Wells when he left Xavier and he was allowed to play right away at Maryland. Dixon's five-year clock ends after this year, so if he's not allowed to play this season, it would take a special exemption for him to play in 2014-15.
Trae Golden, Georgia Tech
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When Trae Golden left Tennessee in May, the reported reason by the Knoxville News Sentinel was "based on academics" and "repeated plagiarism."
The story that Georgia Tech and the Goldens are spinning is that Golden wants to be close to home because his father is "severely ill," which he told ESPN.com last month.
The NCAA will have to determine whether an ill family member was the true reason for Golden's transfer and reason to allow him to play. If eligible, he would definitely help Georgia Tech and Brian Gregory, who is entering his third year when expectations start to increase.
"I don't think it's any secret we struggled scoring the ball from the perimeter, and he's proven he can do that at a very, very high level," Gregory told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "So I think it's an opportunity where we're adding value to our team."
Isaac Hamilton, UTEP
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It's hard to imagine that incoming freshman Isaac Hamilton, a McDonald's All-American, will play next season at UTEP.
Hamilton tried to get UTEP to release him from his letter of intent to play closer to home because of his ill grandmother and Tim Floyd refused. According to the El Paso Times, Floyd has alleged that USC, where Hamilton would like to play, broke NCAA rules by tampering with a player who had already signed. So it's highly unlikely that Floyd is changing his stance.
To play next season elsewhere, Hamilton would need to appeal to the NCAA Letter of Intent Steering Committee. KVIA.com reported last week that Hamilton has not filed an appeal yet. Isaac's father, Greg Hamilton, told the El Paso Times that's the family's plan.
If he loses his appeal or is advised he has no chance to win, maybe Hamilton will consider staying put at UTEP so he can play next season.
That sounds unfathomable, right? But for a talent who should have NBA aspirations, the quicker he gets on a college court, the better. And the easiest way to get on the court next season is deciding to honor his commitment.
Angel Rodriguez, Miami
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Miami could be in major rebuilding mode or Jim Larranaga could have a team built around an experienced point guard that could compete for an NCAA berth.
This sounds a lot like the scenario for the Hurricanes when they were awaiting word from Shane Larkin on whether he'd turn pro or return to Coral Gables. Now the wait is to see whether former K-State guard Angel Rodriguez is allowed to play right away. The NCAA would need to grant Rodriguez a hardship
waiver because he transferred for family reasons.
With Rodriguez, Larranaga could once again have a ball-dominant point guard who is able to score and create for teammates off the dribble. Rodriguez does not have the speed or ability of Larkin, but he's a worthy replacement. He averaged 11.4 points and 5.2 assists last season on a K-State team that shared the Big 12 title with Kansas.
P.J. Hairston, North Carolina
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Obviously left on his own, P.J. Hairston is going to make stupid decision after stupid decision.
Well, it might be time for UNC to let those stupid decisions embarrass the player alone rather than the player and the program.
Hairston's eligibility is already up in the air. The NCAA still has to weigh in on whether the cars Hairston drove that were rented by convicted felon Haydn "Fats" Thomas were a special benefit. But even if Hairston is allowed to play by the NCAA that doesn't mean Roy Williams will allow it.
Hairston was already on thin ice and his latest run-in with the law—driving 93 mph in a 65 mph zone according to USA Today—might have finally been enough for Williams, who suspended Hairston indefinitely.
Hairston's scoring ability and outside shot make UNC a top 10 team. Without him, the Tar Heels are lacking a proven scorer on the wing. But they'd also be rid of a headache. You only get so many chances to be dumb.