More Famous than last time

Westchester Community College coach Tyrone Mushatt has stated in an interview that Stan Heath traveled to New York for a meeting with Jarrid Famous this past Sunday evening. After the meeting (a “great sitdown”), Heath claimed that Famous will definitely play for the Bulls.

However, Westchester Community College assistant Mickey Carey told the Tampa Tribune via text message earlier Sunday before the meeting that Famous already told Carey he wanted out. “Jarrid had said he already [told] Stan he wanted out. So the meeting wasn’t all that important to him,” Carey wrote.

And of course, Famous himself is still not speaking to reporters, (the elder Famous is claiming his son is “not feeling well” – but apparently was well enough to meet with Stan Heath and Tyrone Mushatt?) but of course, the elder Famous is happy to sit in front of the media cameras and proclaim his son will report to USF on 6/25.

So, the speculation circus continues – who do we believe?

Stan Heath, who withheld information to his star recruit in order to get him to sign? Obviously he gains if Famous stays at USF.

Jerome Famous, who has been pushing for his son to attend USF, after the first attempt to steer him to Seton Hall failed? What is he gaining from all of this? He’s meddling too much for it to just be considered “parent protectiveness”.

Mickey Carey, whose comments might certainly land him in the unemployment line? He could be fired from his current post for his comments, so is he really gaining anything by lying?

Or Jarrid himself, who hasn’t said a word publicly? The silence is deafening – he’s not refuting the claims by Carey, and he’s not supporting the claims by his father or by coach Heath.

Where does the truth actually lay?

The Final Word on Tremayne Johnson

Tremayne Johnson, who gave a verbal commitment to the Arizona Wildcats during the huge coaching mess, has signed with Eastern Washington. Johnson was the lone commitment to the Arizona in-flux coaching staff until Sean Miller arrived. Other news outlets have listed Johnson as a “signee” of the Wildcats – that is incorrect information. Johnson never signed a LOI or scholarship offer with the Wildcats, he only had given a verbal commitment.

Miller, having never seen Johnson during the recruiting process prior to his hiring, decided against offering a scholarship to Johnson based on his play at the HAX Unsigned Senior/JUCO Showcase in late April. Johnson, of course, was also recruited by former assistant, under Lute Olson, Reggie Geary, and Geary was let go once Miller was hired.

Johnson in his career has never been an offensive machine, but has the tools defensively to be a stopper and above-average rebounder in a mid-Major conference. For Miller, I feel he believed that Johnson’s skillset would not fit in the Arizona scheme, especially against other PF’s in a major conference such as the Pac-10.

Johnson’s only other offer was from the University of San Francisco.

Thus ends the recruitment saga of Tremayne Johnson at Arizona. Given the conference Eastern Washington plays in (Big Sky), it’s almost a certainty we will never see him play against the Wildcats.

Jarrid’s Famous Letter of Intent

So, the thinking is – if a player signs a letter of intent, he’s bound to that school and off limits to all other schools. A letter of intent pretty much is binding for the freshman year of college.

Great, in theory. In practice, it’s a nightmare.

For one, if you sign a LOI and then are released from it, you cannot sign another one. That means, if you decide to choose another school, you can STILL get those phone calls and scholarship offers up until the point you register for classes. Yikes!

For another, if you sign and want to be released, you actually don’t HAVE to be released. The coach and the athletic director can both deny your release.

That doesn’t mean that you still have to attend that school – you can certainly go anywhere else you want. However, it DOES mean that 1) you can’t play for another school for your first year, and 2) you have to pay your own way – no athletic scholarships are allowed, though if you receive a national or federal academic scholarship, you can certainly use that for whatever school you attend.

So coaches/ADs have a trump card to really force kids into sticking with their commitments, right?

Not so fast – see, coaches and ADs can jump ship really whenever they feel like it (ie. more money elsewhere), so what’s to keep them from honoring THEIR commitments to the student-athletes?

Well, the public, actually. When a school changes coaches or ADs and incoming kids don’t want to play for the new coach or his coaching staff, they usually request their release from their LOI. Coaches and ADs know that forcing the kids to honor that LOI runs the risk of a huge negative publicity backlash – the school already has some negativity associated with it BECAUSE of the coaching change, so there’s absolutely no reason to heap more on top by forcing kids who don’t want to play there to stay there – or worse, go elsewhere and have to pay their own way AND sit out a year.

And therein lies the problem Stan Heath is facing at South Florida with Jarrid Famous.

See, Famous was recruited by two coaches who have subsequently been let go from the USF staff – and that took place a week before Famous signed his now inFamous LOI. (Though, I believe Famous Sr – Jerome Famous – had more to do with the signing than anything else, but I digress.) Heath has stated that he’s not going to let Famous out of his LOI, so Famous has to appeal to the AD.

If the AD denies Famous’ appeal and refuses to release him, Famous will go somewhere else anyway, sit out his year, and still have two years of eligibility. However, the recruiting backlash would be horrendous for a USF team that already sits at the bottom of the Big East. Coaches recruiting the same recruits as USF would easily be able to use that against the USF recruiters, saying “look what happened to Jarrid Famous – lied to by the USF staff, then wasn’t released from his LOI. What else could they be lying to you about? You could be stuck there.”

No, it’s very likely that the USF AD will be releasing Famous – assuming Famous doesn’t change his mind again (or have it changed for him – the elder Famous is still lurking around somewhere).

Most pundits around the country list Arizona as the most likely landing place for Famous if he leaves USF. Seton Hall has an outside chance, but Missouri is out of the running because of their glut at PF.

Word to the wise – coaches if you’re out there, never, ever fire an assistant if you haven’t signed his recruits yet. And if you do, at least tell your recruit why. Better to be up front than to have this kind of mess thrust upon you.

Jarrid Famous and South Florida

Boy, oh boy, if ever there was a time when a guy KNEW he made the wrong decision, it’s now, and the guy is Jarrid Famous.

The USF coach Stan Heath has been feeding Famous so much misinformation, it’s akin to that famous Republican phrase “no new taxes”. He’s repeatedly not returned Famous’ calls, he’s skipped or delayed meetings with Famous, and right now, he is missing half his coaching staff – one of whom he fired a week before Famous signed, the same coach who had RECRUITED Famous to USF. Since Heath is not communicating with Famous, other than a notable “[I’m] determined not to release” Famous quote, Famous has taken his case to USF Athletic Director Doug Woolard to procure his release.

Now, Famous has to sign on the dotted line, yes, so really this is his responsibility, but I see part of the problem is coming from a meddling father who is holding media interviews without his son ABOUT his son. Famous wants out of his Letter of Intent with USF, but the father is saying Famous is still headed to USF. This begs the question – what is the father getting out of Famous going to USF? Remember, Famous had narrowed his choices to Arizona and USF, and the father steered Famous to USF. Is Famous’ father looking at a “job” in the USF athletic department this year?

Notably, Arizona is saying absolutely nothing on this issue. The reason why is simple – saying anything will level a charge of tampering by USF against Arizona. Coach Miller knows that if Famous is serious about being released from his LOI, and actually _is_ released by Woolard, Arizona would be a top destination for the #1 JC power forward – although reports also have Missouri and Seton Hall as competitors.

But really, if Famous’ father is the one behind his signing at USF even after all the crap going down over there, will Famous really listen to his father again – the same person who also pushed for Seton Hall to be a destination? And since Missouri just signed two power forwards at the beginning of May (Jonathan Underwood, 3-star rated Tyler Stone), and already had another PF signed in the Fall 2008 signing period (Keith Dewitt), it would seem highly unlikely that Famous would consider Missouri given this glut of PF’s.

No, realistically, Famous’ best shot at a premiere school with national aspirations and a tough, yet smart coach who will give him immediate playing time is at Arizona.

Now the wait begins.

USC in a Bind

The Floyd scandal could cost USC any hope of postseason berths following the 09-10 season for basketball. USC football is already in trouble with the Reggie Bush payments (don’t they still owe his agent money?) and could be looking at a postseason problem for the football team, which would really hurt the Pac-10 in general when it comes to the lucrative BCS games.

But Arizona, having dodged a bullet in not hiring Floyd, is starting to smell like roses – at least in basketball. Football, I’ll take a Holiday berth for sure, but if USC is on probation this coming season, the Pac-10 championship could be wide open. Arizona should improve on last season’s success and make themselves into a contender for the upper echelon of the conference.

Basketball, well, Arizona is already leaps and bounds over half the conference already, and with USC headed downhill fast, the 26th straight NCAA Tourney berth is more and more a reality – remember that historically the Pac-10 gets at least 4 teams in every year. Being in the top 4 of the Pac-10 this year should not be a stretch for Miller and company.

But what of Floyd and USC?

Safe bet is that the IRS, the Justice Department, and the NCAA come calling and slap USC and Floyd’s program silly. $1000 to a “handler” that ended up making 250x that for “delivering” Mayo to the Bill Duffy Sports Agency pre-draft seems kinda silly in retrospect, doesn’t it?

Floyd’s well-known as a good recruiter, not so much as a coach. But then with all this coming to light, how “good” of a recruiter is he actually? LSU, do you really want Tim Floyd now?