Sunday, July 18, 1999

BASKETBALL INSIDER


NCAA committee soon to release suggestions

BY MIKE DeCOURCY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Their work is nearly done. Duck.

        Monday and Tuesday, the NCAA's “working group” on basketball issues is scheduled to meet for the final time to complete deliberations on legislative changes to propose regarding men's collegiate basketball.

        The group has existed since last fall but became big news in late spring, when NCAA executive director Cedric Dempsey made a wild, public claim that the group stood a 50-50 chance of recommending freshmen in the sport be declared ineligible.

        That proposal is believed to have died quietly at the group's meeting last month, although no one would say so publicly.

        Instead, these are some of the recommendations that may be announced:

        • A proposal that would force incoming freshman basketball players to attend summer school classes so they presumably would be better prepared to do college work.

        • A change in the permissible start of the basketball season. Games were played last year on the first weekend in November. It's likely teams will be permitted to play no sooner than the weekend before Thanksgiving, if then.

        • A change to the July recruiting period, a 24-day stretch in which college coaches may evaluate prospects. Expect it to be cut to no more than two weeks.

        The committee was formed over concerns about a 41 percent graduation rate for players in the sport as well as over perceived abuses in the recruiting process.

        The group's proposals need not be adopted by the membership, although there will be some pressure to get new rules passed — so long as nothing presented is too radical. The membership is leery of any sport-specific legislation that could send the NCAA toward another losing court battle.

        READY, AIM: St.John's coach Mike Jarvis sent point guard Erick Barkley into the offseason with one warning, and Barkley was not pleased.

        He was told to be ready to shoot.

        “He said I should just shoot more and try to get a little more selfish,” Barkley said. “But, you know, I can't really do that.”

        Isn't that every player's nightmare? To be told to shoot more?

        Barkley is the consummate point guard: all substance, not a lot of style, plenty of victories. His teams at Christ The King High in New York, Maine Central Institute and, last season, St.John's, have been uniformly overpowering. He is largely responsible for their success. His coach at MCI, Max Good, uses him as the standard by which all point guards are measured.

        The 6-foot-1 Barkley is a slight figure. He has been working to add strength this offseason without picking up a lot of weight that would cost him quickness.

        With star forward Ron Artest gone, St.John's still has shooting guard Bootsy Thornton but will need an offensive threat to complement him. Barkley ranked third on the team in shots but was only 10 ahead of small forward Lavor Postell. Barkley hit .343 from three-point range.

        “Coach Jarvis pointed out some things about me and consistency, shooting the ball consistently,” Barkley said. “He's looking for me to come in next season and try to score a few more points.”

        ROCKETS LAND HERE: The Toledo coaching staff has a strong tie to the Cincinnati area in the person of assistant Monte Mathis — son of NBA official Mike Mathis.

        Although Monte has helped build Toledo into a Mid-American Conference contender and an NIT team last season, he has yet to pull a significant recruit out of this area. That could change as Toledo focuses on 6-6 forward Eric Daniels of Princeton High.

        Along with Miami and Navy, Toledo also is in the hunt for Josh Hardin of Walnut Hills. MAKING THE SCENE: Indiana coach Bob Knight is serious enough about the recruitment of 6-10 forward Jared Jeffries of Bloomington that he attended the Nike Peach Jam club tournament in Augusta, Ga.

        This is something that just does not happen in real life.

        Knight previously had not been to the Peach Jam, which has been in existence four years. He has made sporadic (but always brief) appearances at the Nike All-American Camp and adidas ABCD Camp in recent seasons.

        HIGH ON THE HILL: Virginia's Oak Hill Academy sent home top UC recruit Jerome Harper because he missed classes to attend the ABCD Camp but will instead have on its roster Luke Whitehead, a 6-7 forward from San Francisco who lists the Bearcats and Kentucky among the 15 schools he is considering.

        LOCKED UP: The early signing period is not until November, but several top prospects in the class of 2000 have decided where they'll play college basketball:

        • Glenn Worley, a 6-8 power forward from Iowa City, will stay at home and play for new Iowa coach Steve Alford. Iowa also landed 5-9 point guard Brody Boyd of Dugger, Ind., who led his state with a 31.4 scoring average last season.

        • Iowa State is not far behind, with a commitment from rugged, 6-1 guard Jake Sullivan of Oakdale, Minn., who averaged 28.2 points as a high school junior.

        • Marcus Toney-El, a 6-6 wing from East Orange, N.J., who attends Seton Hall Prep, will attend Seton Hall University and play for coach Tom Amaker. Toney-El is trying to convince his club teammate, 6-9 Eddie Griffin of Philadelphia, to join him at the Hall. Griffin may be the No.1 player in the class and is being recruited by UC, among others.

        • West Virginia, which rarely gets to enjoy in-state talent, will get 6-6 wing Jay Hewitt of Richwood, who may develop into a top three-point shooter.

        NOT DONE YET: With a couple months still to go before school starts, UNC Charlotte hasn't given up trying to improve its 1999-2000 roster.

        The 49ers added 6-11, 240-pound Australian Wade Helliwell, who signed an institutional letter of intent.

       



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