Thursday, October 26, 2006

Thabeet's clearing, Other Big East notes

After he commended NCAA President Myles Brand and college athletics' governing body on its patient evaluation of each Clearinghouse case, Jim Calhoun turned his thoughts to a few anonymous Big East coaches who said in national stories that they thought Hasheem Thabeet's transcripts would eventually become an eligibility concern.
Those comments raised a few concerns on the other end, Calhoun said, causing further investigation into Thabeet’s case. Few names are attached to those comments now that the 7-foot-3 center from Tanzania is eligible.
Louisville and Cincinnati recruited Thabeet. Texas A&M and Georgia Tech were also on that list. UConn plays Louisville (twice) and Georgia Tech this season.
At Wednesday’s media day, Louisville coach Rick Pitino praised both Thabeet and the UConn program and took the extra step to applaud Calhoun as a top recruiter. Calls to Texas A&M, Georgia Tech and Cincinnati on Thursday were not immediately returned.
But when reached by phone in his office, Louisville assistant Marvin Menzies said the school did not stop recruiting Thabeet because the Cardinals' coaching staff had transcript concerns.
“If we thought he wouldn’t be eligible,” Menzies said, “we wouldn’t have brought him on campus for an official visit.”
Now, Cincinnati does have one foreign-born player on its roster. Adam Hrycaniuk is a 6-10 forward from Poland. Louisville has Juan Palacios, a preseason All-Big East selection who was born in Colombia but played three seasons at Our Savior Lutheran on Long Island after moving to New York in 2001. And Georgia Tech has sophomore forward Paco Diaw and Mouhammad Faye.
Both are from Senegal, but Faye ran into a transcript problem similar to Thabeet’s. He sat out the fall semester last season because of a delay in the translation of his academic transcripts. He was eligible for the spring.
The eligibility question will come up again at least three times this season.
The answer will probably be the same each time.

Once he is eligible to play, Louisville freshman forward Derrick Caracter will have an immediate impact for the Cardinals.
This is the problem. Caracter was suspended three games by the NCAA for accepting cash from a family friend who has ties to a sports agency. When asked about Caracter, Pitino knew his player was in the wrong.
“Derrick is a great kid, an absolute pleasure to be around. He’s going to be pretty good,” Pitino said. “But he’s got a problem. He doesn’t know how to say ‘no.’ People have said ‘yes’ to him his entire life. He has to learn how to say ‘no.’ A lot of kids like him are out there. He’ll learn.”

Georgetown forward Jeff Green, also a preseason all-Big East selection, started listing the toughest places to play in the Big East.
He then gave the short answer: Gampel.


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