Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Did DJ Newbill do Southern Miss dirty?

From the outside, you'd think that the Southern Mississippi fan base and administration would be mad at DJ Newbill.

Newbill had a terrific freshman campaign, averaging 9.2 ppg and 6.2 rpg for the Golden Eagles as a 6'4", 205 lb guard. Newbill, who was without a scholarship as late as mid-July in 2010, started all 32 games and played over 30 mpg. Not bad for a late-addition to your program.

But Newbill will not be finishing his career at Southern Mississippi. He announced earlier this week that he would be transferring to Penn State and new head coach Pat Chambers to finish out his career, sitting out the 2011-2012 season per transfer rules.

"D.J. will make an immediate impact on our program with his toughness, basketball IQ and work ethic," Chambers said in a statement. "It's great to get a Philadelphia kid that is passionate about Penn State basketball and wants to be here. We are very confident he will show that a Philadelphia player can have great success and an outstanding career at Penn State."

Like I said, its easy for USM to be mad at Newbill. Here's a kid that was given a chance by Larry Eustachy that jumped ship to a bigger program after one successful season and just 32 games with the Golden Eagles. From the surface, it looks like Newbill is ungrateful, that he's just another spoiled, selfish athlete out to get his.

Saying that ignores the reason that Newbill was forced to go to Southern Miss in the first place.

Back in March of 2010, Newbill -- a Philly native -- signed with Marquette. He called it his dream school. But three months later, when a former top 100 recruit and Wisconsin native named Jamil Wilson decided he wanted to return home to finished out his collegiate career, Buzz Williams needed a scholarship. Newbill, who had signed a Letter of Intent, was the one on the chopping block. Marquette used some cover story about Newbill's academics and cut ties.

Now, as I explained in detail in this post from a year ago, I don't necessarily have a problem with Newbill being cut. It happens. What I do have a problem with is the LOI system that locks a player into a school but allows the school to drop the player when someone better comes along.

Newbill got screwed by the system.

For a Philly native that had chosen to go to college in the state of Wisconsin, I think its safe to say that attending college in Hattiesburg, MS, was not exactly his first choice. But at the time, he didn't exactly have many options. Eustachy offered him a lifeline, if you will; an opportunity to continue his education while playing a high-level of collegiate basketball.

Newbill took advantage of that opportunity, but with a chance to return to his native Pennsylvania, play for a guy that cut his teeth in Philly in Chambers, and get the exposure that the Big Ten brings, it only makes sense Newbill made the jump.

Did Southern Miss get screwed? Probably. Did they get taken advantage of? I'm sure some can make that argument, and I wouldn't necessarily disagree.

But can you really be mad at Newbill? If it wasn't for the hypocrisy of the LOI program, he never would have been in that position.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

He did treat Southern Miss dirty. We gave him a chance after Marquette cut him. He had a good year and we were really counting on him for this coming season. His departure left a big hole in our team. You would think after what Marquette did to him he would have the integrity not to do the same thing to someone else.