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Today in College Basketball/DOJ/FBI Madness

Per Jeff Borzello

Brian Bowen Sr. testified today that he…

• Received $1,300 from then-Louisville assistant Kenny Johnson
• Received $8,000 from then-La Lumiere coach Shane Heirman
• Received $5,000 from Mean Streets director Tai Streets
• Received $1,500 from then-Mean Streets coach Tim Anderson

• Was asked if Oregon assistant Tony Stubblefield gave him $3,000 on an unofficial visit: “I don’t recall that.”
• Was asked if he was ever conveyed an offer from UCLA: “I don’t recall that.”
• Acknowledged monetary offers from OK State, Creighton

Just so the players are kept straight…

Kenny Johnson was formerly on Tom Crean’s staff at IU. Crean is not implicated in anything here and to my knowledge has always been viewed as being clean as a whistle.

Shane Heirman was La Lu’s head coach when Bowen, Jaren Jackson, Tyger Campbell, etc. won the Dick’s Sporting Goods mythical national championship. He is currently an assistant at DePaul…well, at least as of today, he is.

Tai Streets runs the Mean Streets AAU program, for which Bowen played his last year and for whom Romeo Weems played much (not all) of last season. He is a former University of Michigan WR. Again, no suggestion that Michigan has any involvement in this mess and to my knowledge, I don’t believe they’ve ever signed a Mean Streets kid (neither has MSU, I don’t think). Does he meet NCAA standards in being a Michigan “booster?” Believe it or not, he probably does. Should that create a problem for Michigan? Not in a sane world but, you know…

Tim Anderson is the world beating, bestest trainer in the world according to a few people who probably ought to know better. He is the former coach of Mean Streets and is currently an assistant at DePaul…again, as of today he is. He is also the man credited with reeling in Romeo Weems.

For anyone thinking MSU might have gotten in the muck re: Bowen

Per Adam Zagoria

Interesting quote from Steve Haney, attorney for Christian Dawkins: ‘Michigan State was one of the only schools that was NOT GOING to pay Brian Bowen to go there’ Haney listed MSU, Arizona, Oregon, Texas and Creighton as his final 5 before he picked Louisville in June 2017.

Now I’ll tell you that the worst way to analyze a court case is by relying upon tweets from sports reporters…but with that caveat out of the way, the sense I’m getting as to the essence of the defense’s case (in terms of Dawkins ) is this:

– Lots of Nike schools (Oregon, Arizona, etc…but NOT MSU) were willing to pay to get Bowen.

– He was set to go to Arizona…you know, because they were among those who were going to PAY.

– Louisville lost Donovan Mitchell to the draft and Rawle Alkins elected to return to Arizona. This opened the door for the Ville, an Adidas school. Bowen’s family made a “basketball” decision. I can see this argument re: why Ville and not Zona, based on the above. If everyone’s paying the same money, that’s the difference, right?

– The defendants acted in the best interest of Adidas, Adidas schools and the kid himself. Thus, no intent to defraud the Adidas schools. That is a fundamental element of the DOJ case and what they claim takes this beyond a simple NCAA violation and into the realm of being a federal crime.

I’ll also offer up this thought, one I know myself during and after the recruitment of Tugs…the idea of paying $100K for that kid is mind blowing to me. Good player, but not remotely worth that kind of action even if you are willing to break the rules and pay it, based on my understanding of the market. Anthony Davis reportedly went for $250K to Kentucky and he won them a title.

Tugs wasn’t winning anybody any national championships. Not even close.

Music bands selling out, late and early

In watching a few commercials over the weekend, two music background drops jumped out at me.

First of all, I think I heard a Rolling Stones song in a commercial for the first time, ever. It was a cover version of “Sympathy for the Devil” for what I think was a car commercial. (A heavy cover version of the song. Sounded pretty good, actually).

Made me think, “Well, I guess the Stones don’t have enough hundreds of millions of dollars individually, so might as well sell portions of their catalog for another few million.” 


There used to be a loss of street cred for artists who “sold out” and allowed their music to be used in commercials. But I don’t think it carries the same stigma that it used to. And it’s become an effective way for bands to get their music heard by the masses (google search interviews with John Mellencamp about this topic. After selling a song for a car commercial, he said, “it turns out that General Motors is a better record company than Columbia or MCA.”)

[He simply said he wanted people to be aware that he had a new song out, a new album, and he had no faith in the record company promoting his work, and no faith that his new songs would get airplay. He lamented that Tom Petty had released what John thought was a great album one year earlier, but no one knew anything about the album because old acts weren’t getting any airplay.]

So the Stones, 50-plus years into their career, have “sold out.” Some would say they’ve been selling out, in more ways than one, for more than 40 years. Dabbling in disco probably disappointed their fanbase in the late ’70s. 

I don’t think “cred” is anything Mick Jagger and the guys are worried about at this point. And I guess I don’t care one way or another. 


On the other side of the coin, I’m sure some of you have heard of a new blues/hard rock band from Frankenmuth called Greta Van Fleet. They are young guys, early 20s, and they sound like early Led Zeppelin. Almost exactly like Led Zeppelin. 

This sound has given them an instant following with older rock fans who have precious, precious few new bands to listen to, because that genre of music has become an endangered species. So Greta Van Fleet is a wonderful breath of fresh air for tons of older fans, and I’m assuming that at least a few younger fans are appreciating them to.

So this past weekend, I noticed a commercial for sports apparel, and in the background is Greta Van Fleet’s song, “Highway tune.” 


So it struck me that here’s one band, the Rolling Stones, 50-plus years into their career, one of the top two most famous bands ever, and they are just now “selling out.” 

And here is the apparent torch bearer of blues/rock, brand new Greta Van Fleet, “selling out” with basically their first or second song. 

I thought it was interesting and ironic. 

Feel free to disagree or challenge anything that I posted, because I’m by no means an expert on music. I just call ’em as I see ’em.


I’m not one to take a ton from early indicators but…the annual individual photos of the players in their uniforms are starting to trickle out. So one thing you can see is physical development from their final year in HS.

It won’t ever be a huge factor for Loyer but he does look as if he’s gotten a little bigger (not taller). He’ll be fine.

Henry is ready to go. I think he’ll be physically capable from Day One in terms of what MSU asks of him. Not that he likely won’t go through some learning curve but he should be capable of handling the Big Ten grind from a physical perspective and it looks to me as if he’s tightened things up a little bit. Not surprising at all.

Kithier…I don’t think anything physical will hold him back. It’s more about shaking rust off. Also looks like he’s tightened it up a bit to my eyes, though not getting to see him in anything except street clothes on the Clarkston bench last year makes it tough to know for certain.

Brown and Bingham are/were the big ones, though, because both guys have high ceilings but needed serious physical development. To my eyes, Gabe’s made a little more progress than Marcus thus far. Neither has gone through the Jaren Jackson Jr. Miracle Grow offseason, but there’s positive development. Gabe’s also got a little easier row to hoe in a sense, because he’ll be playing on the perimeter.

Bingham has NBA potential, no question about it. However, I’m going to put it out there now that he’ll play less than many are probably hoping for, due in large part to the remaining work he has to do physically. It’s not an easy or automatic thing for guys to gain good weight. I can recall even a great player like Steve Smith and a good one like David Thomas struggling to do it while at MSU. I think he’ll likely have a rotation role this season due to his length, athletic ability and his shot but I don’t see anything close to Deyonta or Jaren type minutes. I look at the photos and imagine him trying to deal with Juwan Morgan or Tyler Cook on the blocks and…yeah, it’s going to take a minute.

If you told me now MSU could get 12-15 good minutes a night from Marcus I’d take it and run.

Valenti breaks the Michigan psyche (This your life now)


In M’s case, according to the expectations they’ve set for their own program, the ND game broke their season and sorta did exactly that. I guess technically it didn’t end the season, because if they win EVERY game from here they would make the playoffs…but that’s the problem. I feel as if some are measuring them by the standards they *should* be measured, which is essentially a 7-5 team over the last decade.

That’s not what THEY think they are, though. Better still, that’s not what they hired Harbaugh to be. In year four of his tenure, anything less than a division title can’t come remotely close to meeting expectations. The guy hasn’t finished higher than 3rd to date. Honestly, if we went back to the euphoria around the day he was hired, I think it would be virtually unanimous agreement among the Wolvie faithful that no playoff berth by the end of year four was unthinkable. This guy was supposed to be the best coach in football. Not the Big Ten East. Not the Big Ten. Not college football. FOOTBALL, period, at all levels. 

If that’s the standard, and that’s what Michigan and its fan and alum base has told us it is, they’ve already failed miserably. No way around that.

Where do you turn when your saviour fails, Michigan?

I remember posting that question here when they hired him, because at that point MSU and Ohio State were both rolling. It seemed reasonable to me that Harbaugh could even do a good job and not win the division very often. In the interim, Penn State has rejoined that conversation as well, so the job is even tougher than it appeared in late 2014.

That moment has officially arrived tonight, I think. What direction can that program and fanbase turn to when the “messiah” is false? It’s a classic example of “be careful what you wish for” because they got the guy they dreamed about and most never believed they could get…and it’s been an abject failure by their own self imposed standards.


1. Receivers – As good as advertised. How many tough catches did they make tonight. Tremendous concentration, hands and *strength*

2. Lewerke in the clutch – Certainly not his best game but I have the same feeling with him in tight situations I had with Cook…just feel like he’s going to make the plays you need to win the game if it’s close. Those two options, both the one that scored and the one that was called back, were run to perfection.

3. Bachie – The deflection AND the pick to seal it. Again, you just kind of come to expect it from that guy.

4. Kickoffs – Pretty nice, especially considering that we were hearing about some concerns on that front in the spring and fall.

5. Heyward – Not huge numbers but man, does he run tough and decisively. I think he looks to pretty clearly give MSU a really nice #2 option at TB.

6. Willekes – Really the only semi-consistent pressure MSU got all night was from him.

Lots and lots of things to work on and improve, no question. OLine really struggled but I need to see Chewins before I start to get really worried. Penalties were a disaster. Always tough to judge pass defense against a team that plays this style but it didn’t seem to me we were anywhere near where it needs to be.

NCAA Clears MSU Athletics of Any Wrong-Doing in Nassar Scandal

The ESPN headline (and it is on the front page link) is nice, but the article takes shots by offering quotes from the ESPN OTL sources indicating that they were either not contacted by the NCAA for the investigation or that they complained to MSU and the NCAA and didn’t receive feedback.

It puts forth the NCAA conclusion and then offers quotes to discount the conclusion.

If we are being honest though, I think the NCAA hurdle, in terms of clearing an investigation, is much lower than the other investigations (OCR, DOE, MI AG, etc.) because it’s dealing with something very different…merely the violation or lack thereof of NCAA rules. That’s not was at work in the Nassar case which has now been settled…those are legal standards in play, and wrt the other investigations we’re talking about statutory issues, not NCAA regs.

I read the ESPN piece. It’s not surprising to me that they didn’t talk to the people they apparently opted to omit. As for Allswede…well, we know where she’s at, has been at, and will be at. So again, no surprise.

I’ll also add this…everyone’s least favorite BOT member responded to the question way, way back about the NCAA getting involved as laughable, and he was pilloried for it.

Looks like he had that just about right.

Michigan loses again in Spain

This time to Jovenut, a team playing in the highest rung of the Spanish professional league, 85-79.

Good experience for them. I expect M to be the consensus pick for #2 in the conference behind Michigan State.

Tough to draw many conclusions from what they did over there. They faced some good competition without Beilein. Didn’t play well offensively at all, which (to the probable surprise of many) was something of a rerun of last season…that was not a great offensive team. Yet, they were facing professionals. From what I can gather, the opposition they played was a tick below what MSU faced in Italy three years ago, when they played the national teams from Russia and Georgia along with a second tier Italian team.

If you’re looking for positives, the Canadian freshman forward was right at the top of their scoring chart. Matthews seemed to put up good numbers. Negatives would be that they got nothing from any of the other freshmen (and they’re going to need Johns at least, and probably more than just him, to step up next season in a big way) and Simpson didn’t show signs of any real improvement offensively.



News and Notes from 08.23.18

01. Michigan continues to struggle in its Euro tour…loses to Serb team Mega Bemax 81-73. For reference, that same Mega Bemax team was beaten by Kentucky about 2 weeks ago by 36.

Interestingly, Brandon Johns apparently played sparingly and David DeJulius not at all.

This is all semi-interesting fodder for discussion right now but I am expecting M to once again get out of the gate slowly as John Beilein is going to have to blend in a lot of new faces and guys in new roles. Really, only Matthews and Simpson will be doing anything close to what they were asked to last year. I still expect them to be a Big Ten title contender but I won’t be surprised at all if their season looks something like the last two have, at least in terms of a slow start and improvement as the season progresses.

02. Big news…RPI is finally dead. Is that good or bad?

NCAA eliminates RPI, develops new metric for tournament selection

Whether this is good news or bad news (or “new boss, same as the old boss”) depends largely upon what systems the NCAA is using for all of those measurements. For example is “efficiency” going to be measured in the way that say Ken Pomeroy measures it? If so, I’d feel pretty good about that. I also like the idea of capping the impact of scoring margin at 10 points per game…means you gain nothing from scheduling weak sisters except for playing time for your deep reserves.

So, we’ll see how it all plays out but my guess is that on balance, this is a positive step.


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