Monday, August 11, 2008

8/11 - Some Links, Some News

-About a week ago, we wrote (here) about how Baylor, in an attempt to better their chances of signing John Wall coaching staff, hired Dwon Clifton, Wall's AAU coach, as their director of player development. On paper, the reasons for hiring Clifton seem legit - he played at Clemson and then UNC Greensboro, with a short career in Portugal and was recruited and coached by Baylor assistant Matthew Driscoll when Driscoll was at Clemson. But then you read something like this:

As for his recruitment, Wall acknowledged Baylor's hiring of Dwon Clifton matters.

Big surprise, huh?

"It might give them a little edge because (Dwon has) helped me out a lot," Wall said. "He's my AAU coach. He talked me through a lot and worked me out and things like that. I feel like all the schools are the same. But (Dwon) gave (Baylor) a little bit of an edge."

So there you go, Baylor fans.

You have the edge.
I bet you thought that was it. Well, no actually. It gets worse. Brian Clifton, Dwon's brother and co-founder/co-head coach of D-One Sports (Wall's AAU team) was actually a licensed sports agent up until April. The rumor is that any coaches that are interested in recruiting Wall must contact one of the Cliftons rather than Wall or his mother directly, which means that the #1 recruit in the country is being controlled by two brothers, one of which was just hired by a school competing for Wall's services and the other who was a licensed sports agent as of April.

And that's not even the end of it. Remember Bill Duffy Associates? They were the agency that was affiliated with Ronald Guillory, the runner who was giving OJ Mayo all his money. According to Gary Parrish
Brian Clifton has helped Bill Duffy Associates sign players in the past. Yes, that's the same Bill Duffy Associates in the middle of the Mayo scandal. Small world, huh? But Clifton categorically denied the assertion and insisted he has never worked for or been a "runner" for BDA, though he did acknowledge assisting former N.C. State player Cameron Bennerman throughout the agent-selecting process.

Bennerman signed with BDA.
Would anyone really be surprised is Brian Clifton applies for reinstatement as an agent and winds up with Wall as a client?

-I know I'm a little late with this, but former Toledo player Sammy Villegas has finally been indicted in the point shaving scandal from the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons. For what its worth, his coach doesn't believe Villegas did anything wrong.

There are a few things that don't make sense in this case. First of all, there are people that actually bet on Toledo basketball games? How much money could possibly be made? The game mentioned in the indictment was the night of February 4th, when 11-9 Toledo were 15 point favorites against 3-17 Central Michigan. Toledo won by 16 (covering the spread) and Villegas was 1-1 from the field (hitting a three) with six boards and 6 assists, while missing both of his free throws. What?

Clearly, something was wrong with Villegas during his junior and senior seasons. Just look at the dramatic decline in his numbers (h/t Rush The Court):

Everything is down across the board. Why? Who can really say, but it is not often that you see someone who is a four-year player have their production drop off so dramatically without something else being involved. Maybe he was shaving points, maybe he owed a lot of money to the wrong people, or maybe he had some undisclosed injury or illness in the family which weighed on his mind. I don't know, but given reports that say he is cooperating with investigators, things aren't looking good for him.

-Arkansas, who just signed coach John Pelphrey to a bigger and longer contract, was dealt a huge blow to their hopes for the 2008-09 season when guard Patrick Beverly was ruled ineligible for the entire year due to academic issues. Apparently, the Arkansas coaching staff had been trying to get him more dedicated in the classroom for a while, and it still wasn't enough. Beverly, who was the only returning starter, was going to be counted on to shoulder a large load of the scoring.

-Winning the National Championship not only was great for Bill Self's career and legacy, it also has dome wonders for his bank account as Kansas signed Self to a 10-year, $30 million contract, making him the second highest paid coach in the country (to Billy Donovan's $3.5 million a year).

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