Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Pat Reusse is a Big Fat Idiot

As much as I hate to step on my Twins' draft posting since I really enjoyed writing it, I can't let Patrick Reusse's recent article slide, especially considering the conversations that have already taken place in the comments section similar to Reusse's piece.

It is entitled "Recruiting outweighs academics once again" and, as you could probably guess, bashes Tubby Smith and the U of M for recruiting and signing Royce White. PJS already hit this, but I could not just sit idly by without tossing in my two cents in a couple places.

"Academic mistake. Breaking rules. Gosh, what in the name of (the late) Jan Gangelhoff could that mean?"

Really? These two things aren't even related. The Gangelhoff thing was obviously a black mark on the school, but it was a different time, different coach, and different culture. It's like being afraid to go to Europe because of the plague, or being scared to travel west because of those damn uppity injuns. Old news. Let it go. Tubby is the coach now, with a squeeky clean reputation. Remember, Kentucky wasn't all that far removed from it's own recruiting-based collapse when he coached there. Sure, yes, Pitino was the one who started the return to glory, but the point is valid.

"We are nine years removed from Minnesota becoming the basketball program by which all others compare themselves when it comes to academic fraud."

Yep, nine years ago. Clearly, in Reusse's mind, this means we should only be recruiting A students. Why not become another Northwestern? Hell, why not just pack the athletic department in completely? Don't want to risk it by taking a chance on someone who made a mistake or two, so why not just eliminate revenue sports altogether? Plus, this way the Big Ten has just ten teams again, and everybody's happy. Nine years ago Michael Jordan was retiring for the second time. Nine years ago the Broncos won the Super Bowl the Vikings should have been in. Nine years ago Hugo Chavez was elected president of Venezuela. Nine years ago Napster debuted. Nine years ago was Eric Milton's no-hitter. It is a long time.

"There's no evidence that White's verbal commitment was greeted with hesitation by coach Tubby Smith, or his boss, athletic director Joel Maturi, or Maturi's bosses.

They can't comment on the qualities of recruits before they sign, but certainly it was in Smith's power to tell White, "Let's cool it here until next fall -- make sure you have your act together academically and elsewhere before you make an announcement."

And if Smith wasn't willing to take that stand on White, then Maturi should have ordered his coach to deliver this message: Tell the young man the offer is off the table until he proves himself somewhere other than the basketball court."

Ignoring the idiocy of the whole "He should have to be a top shelf student to come to the U" mentality, how do you know they didn't do something like this? PJS touched on this exact point, but it's really, really horrible journalism. He states there is no evidence they didn't hesitate to take his commitment, and then mentions they can't discuss recruits. All true. But the tone assumes there was no second thoughts, no discussions, no worries put into this. Just as Reusse asserts there is no evidence this happened, there is also no evidence it didn't. We can't know, because they can't comment on incoming recruits. Reusse, however, takes the stance that supports his shoddy article and treats it as fact. I'm actually a Reusse fan, but this is absolutely horrible journalism, and clearly looks agenda driven. I won't presume to know what that agenda would be, but it sure looks like it's there. Expect another, similar article if Rodney Williams signs on.

On White's decision to enroll at Hopkins:
"White could have gone on the rebound to ... how about Minneapolis South? Magnet school. Strong academics and mediocre basketball. If White enrolled there, we could say: "Hey, it's true. Royce wants the classroom and the court to be of equal importance in his senior year."

But Hopkins? He's there to play basketball -- win a state championship"

Well no shit he considers basketball more important than academics. I'd be willing to wager that a very high percentage of high school athletes put their sports ahead of the classroom, and they don't even have the goal of playing for a living someday. If White is guilty of this one, and I'm assuming that he is, he's guilty of no more than being a kid. Ridiculous.

"If White's one season there preps him as well for the Gophers as did the Hopkins experience for Kris Humphries and Dan Coleman, Tubby has a chance -- come the fall of 2009 -- to find himself with a combination of a ball hog featuring inconsistent effort."

Just another example of how poor this article is. I seriously wonder if he wrote this in about five minutes and no editor even glanced at it. Yes, Humphries and Coleman went to Hopkins. And? Humphries clearly had an agenda from the beginning, and Monson lacked the strong coaching to reign him in. Coleman had some serious talent as an incoming freshman, but lacked the heart and desire and didn't get the coaching needed to get the most out of his game. I'd say the two results are more the result of Dan Monson than Hopkins high, but then again, I'm not a professional journalist.

"There is a recent precedent for the White situation when it comes to Gophers basketball. Minneapolis Henry's Brandon Smith already had signed with the Gophers when he was thrown off the team by coach Larry McKenzie in December 2004.

Dan Monson stuck with Smith and he enrolled as a freshman in the fall of 2005. He was academically ineligible for the second semester. He was suspended by Jim Molinari, Monson's interim replacement, as a sophomore. And then Tubby threw Brandon off the team, once and for all, last fall."

One final example of Reusse making spurious links between events, and another one I just can't let go. I fail to see what this has to do with Royce White, in any capacity. Dan Monson recruited him, Tubby Smith tossed him. Thus, Tubby will kick players off for the team due to their academic failures. This is good. Furthermore, Monson took a chance on a kid with poor academics, it didn't work out and he got booted, and yet the program still stands. It was not a huge scandal. There were no sanctions. This is something that happens at many schools, and, while unfortunate, is not a black eye. There is no need to make it one based on an isolated event under a different regime nine years ago.

I generally like Reusse's articles, but this was one of the most poorly written pieces of crap I've read in a long time. His point was academics need to be more important when recruiting, and he them rambled on without making a single supporting argument to back up his opinion. Sadly, I have no doubt a healthy contingent of fans will read this and find themselves agreeing, without seeing how empty it really is. Hopefully, those idiots will stay away from the Barn, and let real fans enjoy a vastly improved product.

I have no problem with fans believing academics should be very important in recruiting. I don't agree with it, but I respect it. I can't respect this kind of article.


Bear said...

And I thought minnemike was a pseudonym for Mark Rosen or Don Shelby.

Go StarTribune!

P.S. Did Kubel "slap" another homerun?

High School Hoops Guy said...

Let me start by stating Ruesse is a complete tit. But do you really think he is an idiot because he thinks people should take a longer look at this kid? Some people look at college as more than a basketball factory...I know that might seem appalling. The more you hear about about this kid the more he comes off as a complete prick who thinks he can walk on water because he can bounce a ball. The kid's mistakes seem more like "hey I am Royce White, I can do what I want because I am really good at basketball." Thank god DLS had the balls to do the right thing and put this kid in his place.

Please save us all from the "Tubby knows more about these players character." Tubby could careless about these kids character. He cares that they can play ball, get into school and stay eligible. That is the only character he cares about and that is all he should care about. Tubby should get the best players possible. The U of MN is the one who tells them if they can attend school or not.

WWWWWW said...

No, I don't think he is an idiot because he thinks people should take a longer look at this kid. I think he's an idiot because that was one of the most poorly written articles in history.

I would like to hear more about why royce sounds like a complete prick. It sounds to me like he made a couple of mistakes, but is overall a pretty good guy. I don't really know, I don't have much information and certainly haven't met him or anything.

Also, Tubby strikes me as the type that puts at least a little thought into what type of person a potential recruit is. I'd put him above a Huggins or a Calipari.

The Sidler said...

There's nothing wrong with a "let's take a closer look at this kid" article. But the supporting evidence to blast this kid is flimsy at best and wreckless and pointless at worst.

Sadly, Reusse is by far the best of the sad lot of columnists for the STrib. Check out KC's Joe Posnanski to see what a quality columnist can do.

Reusse's column is the kind of crap I expect to find on shitty blogs, not a major market paper.

This and any Sid column are great examples of why people are turning to non-shitty blogs for sports coverage.

High School Hoops Guy said...

Didn't he get suspended earlier in the year for knocking a teachers laptop onto the floor? Mistake??? He also received several technicals during the season for slamming balls on the floor and acting like a baby when things weren't going well. I have also heard several stories about his treatment of his less talented teammates but will not post them because they maybe just that, stories. I am not saying get rid of the kid, but give up the "he made a couple mistake" routine. Hopefully the kid is bright enough to understand that all eyes are on every move he makes.

I am also aware most people took a peak at other students tests during school. That doesn't make it right. I am guessing he did a bit more than take a quick peak at a test to get himself kicked out of school. The other thing that upsets people is the U of MN accepting him to the school after getting expelled for cheating. Do you think they would enroll you in school if you had been expelled from high school? I think that is why a lot of people are a bit upset this.

Clem use to strike people as that type of coach also. Not comparing the two but just saying.

snacks said...

"Do you think they would enroll you in school if you had been expelled from high school? I think that is why a lot of people are a bit upset this."

This is, without a doubt, the stupidest argument that people consistently give in this type of situation.

Let's put aside the fact of how asinine it is to suggest that a person who has been expelled from a high school could never be accepted to a public university. That might be one of the dumbest things I've ever heard.

The fact of the matter is that I am not Royce White and I would not expect to be given the same opportunities as him.

Royce White has the type of talent that can make millions of dollars for the University - money that will not only aid the basketball program, but also non-revenue sports and the student body and academic programs in general. Let's face it, college athletics are big business, the money they provide are vital to the success and development of colleges. All of you who piss and moan about how college athletics are really about student athletes and they need to focus more on academics need to get off your damn high horse and face reality. A college's job in this situation is to weigh the risk of accepting someone with a checkered past against the reward of accepting the person.

Obviously, the University has decided at this point - barring any more problems - that the benefits that Royce can bring to the university outweigh the risks of accepting him. (Which, noted above like the Brandon Smith situation, aren't much.)

I wouldn't begin to presume or suggest that I should be given the same degree of deference if I came to a school with a ton of baggage and nothing to offer, and it is ridiculous to think it should be otherwise. It is the way the world works. Guess what? Students with high ACT and SAT scores get offered scholarships and other opportunities that less intelligent students aren't offered as well. Is that wrong too? Get real.

zzzzzzzzz said...

well snacks at least that wasnt the LONGGGGESSSTTT post of all time. zzzz...zzzzzzzz...zzzzz

WWWWWW said...

A whole lot of excellent points in that long post. I realize reading is difficult for many of you, but maybe you can find a friend or your local librarian to read it to you so you can get through it.

minnemike said...

You really have got some nice debate going on this issue. I'm glad to see that there are fans, alum, students, who are willing to look at the other side of this Royce White signing.

I think that snacks brings up some good points. I think there is a fine line between a great basketball program and a program that has it's legitimacy questioned by everybody in the Big 10, I just hope that the Royce singing isn't the start a disturbing trend.

I hope in the end Royce will prove all of his critics wrong and that he will help lead the Gophers to the top of the Big 10.

Go Gophers & Twins!

PS - The Twins won this afternoon. This Blackburn kid looks like he could be the ace of the staff in no time.

WWWWWW said...

We have a pretty good community here, welcome aboard.

PS - Sidler, do a post breaking down Blackburn and tell me if he's really this good or not.

Snake said...

WWWWWWW, Have you talked to Dawg about renting your/his home "when" Blackburn wins his 15th game or do plan on just handing him the keys and walking to the homeless shelter?

Snacks, You are getting a little carried away with the importance of athletes at the D1 level. "the money they provide are vital to the success and development of colleges?" You don't really believe that do you? The top colleges in the country and this state have terrible athletic programs and actually cost those schools money. The goal of every athletic department is to fund its sports. When was the last time you ever heard of a project at the U being completed because of money raised from the basketball team?

Snake said...

Bear can we get a Kubel update from this afternoons game? Wha-wha-whaaaaaaa!

High School Hoops Guy said...

I know I am new to this blog, but Snacks are you really that big of a jock sniffer? Who said a person that has been expelled from school should never get accepted to a public university? The point is most people would usually have to do some addition work to get into school, not be allowed in two months after the fact. Chances are also slim that a top public institution would take them.

Why shouldn't you and Royce be given the same opportunities in college? It is that kind of arguments that lets guys like Pac Man Jones continue to get chances in life. Are you telling me he should continue to get chances because he runs fast and makes money for people? That type of thinking is also the reason many D1 athletes struggle in school and end up greeting you at walmart once they wash out in basketball or other sports. They never had to accomplish anything because guys like snacks look at them as gods and give them free passes. The only opportunity Royce or any other top flight athlete should be given in college is his free education, the perks that come with being a college athlete and the resources they receive getting their school work done.

A previous poster pointed out who ridiculous your claims of Royce making millions for the school was so I will leave that alone. Just remember to not confuse school and athletic department.

Your ACT/SAT argument is a bit confusing only because it has nothing to do with anything stated earlier in the blog. A student with high ACT/SAT scores deserves his scholarship just like a player with high athletic ability. I would even say high ACT/SAT score deserves it more since we are talking about college here.

Snacks, One last hint from a new person to this blog. Don't make it sound like you have all of the answers when write. You sound like the person who yells real loud when they don't know what they are talking about, but figures if they continue yelling people will believe them. We aren't solving Math problems so there really is no right or wrong answer. You understand that right?

WWWWWW said...

Are you guys saying sports don't make a tremendous amount of money for a University? Obviously not all sports, and not all money, but the revenue sports of football and basketball make a huge amount of money. College Sports is a business, plain and simple. That is why athletes will continue to get breaks regular students don't.

Additionally, I don't see anything in Royce White's past that worries me. And rest assured if he screws up this second (third?) chance, he'll be out almost as fast as Brandon Smith, and the U will be no worse off.

But the more important point here that I think we can all agree on is that Pat Reusse is a big fat idiot.

snacks said...

1) Noone has said that Royce won't have to do additional work to get in. In fact, most people are assuming that Tubby has told him he better straighten his act out.

2) Whether or not people like Royce and Pacman Jones deserve second (and in Pacman's case third, fourth, fifth, etc.) chances, the fact is they do make money for people so they will get those chances. As much as you might not think it is right, it is the way things work in the world and it isn't going to change.

3) Umm....you two couldn't be more wrong about big time college basketball programs not making money. The top programs make millions of dollars, much of which goes back to the athletic department as a whole as well as the school. Also don't forget that programs that draw a lot of fans generate a lot of money for local businesses. If you don't believe me check this article out: http://www.forbes.com/2007/12/27/college-basketball-valuations-biz-sports_cz_js_0102basketball.html. Of course, the Gophers probably aren't on that level, but there's nothing to say they couldn't be.

Finally, you don't know anything about me or the type of person I am. I certainly don't need any life advice from you. If you want to debate, why don't you stick to the facts and issues and leave the personal attacks on my character out of this?

Bear said...

Really Snake, that's what you're going with? High School Sports Guy, really? Weak, and just slightly transparent. Scratch that. Sad is more fitting.

Snake said...

Beary-poo! Hello! I have signed my name to every post on this topic. Honestly man, there is no conspirasy taking place so you can take the aluminum foil of your head and quit stocking spam and bottled water in your cellar.

Snacks, I am not arguing that big time athletics don't make money. I understand that. What I am saying is they do not make a college or university great. Big time programs usually just fund the rest of the athletic departments. Which we agree on. Your origonal rant made it sound like big time programs are building medical facilities and chemistry labs.

High School Hoops Guy, Pac Man and Royce???? That's like comparing Magglio to Kubel!

Bear said...

You've signed your name to every post, well you showed me, I guess it couldn't possibly be you.

What happened to The Todd? Does he hibernate in the spring when the Gopher hockey season ends.

Snake said...

I guess it could be me? Or it could be the ultimate conspirasy and it could be you posting under that name and trying to throw us all for loop? I'm going to get my foil now!

It is spring time. The todd is hiding in a bush by lakes watching co-eds jog by.

High School Hoops Guy said...

Sorry to disappoint but this is really me, not Bear, Snake or anyone else. Or is it? I am just kidding.

Snacks, I didn't intend to take a personal attack at you earlier today. When you call my post the most idiotic, stupid or asinine because our opinion differs on a topic you should expect some type of retort. No hard feelings and I look forward to continued debates on this blog. One thing we can agree on is supporting Gopher hoops and the U of M in general!