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Orton’s trip to Chicago was quite revealing though, and not in a very good way for him. He measured in shorter than expected at 6′9.5 in shoes and was below average athletically with just a 24″ vertical leap. It’s Orton’s injury history that is most alarming though.
In his final two years of high school Orton had two separate and serious ligament issues in the same knee and also broke his wrist. It’s a little troublesome that the only time in the last three years he’s gone injury free is when he was playing just 13 minutes a night this past season. Orton’s a risky investment for a first-round pick due to being unproven and potentially unreliable.
3. How is this unlike the Rose case? Rose’s case dealt with one test score, and improper benefits given to his brother. Bledsoe’s case could deal with a number of grades, and the circumstances behind the rise in his GPA after he changed schools.
There is also the question of whether the Parker coach, Maurice Ford, was demanding money from college coaches in exchange for signing Bledsoe.
Eventually, we arrive at the point where John Calipari arrived Friday: With the serious scent of a possible NCAA investigation of Calipari’s program, this time at the University of Kentucky.
Teflon John has already survived two of these dustups — one at Massachusetts 14 years ago, another at Memphis, the job he left for UK in 2009. His name doesn’t show up in the first batch of reporting in this story, either. All he’s done is take a player with a high school academic transcript that is being questioned.
Well, it’s early June and that can only mean two things: John Calipari is relaxing at the beach in the wake of another stellar college basketball season — the most recent saw his team go 35-3, earn a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament and an elite eight appearance.
And the other rite of late spring? Trouble in his program. The New York Times reported that one of his star freshmen, Eric Bledsoe of Birmingham, is the subject of an NCAA investigation focused on academic fraud in high school. The report doesn’t implicate Calipari or Kentucky . But it could spell problems down the road.
That appears to indicate that a late-season collapse against the Southeastern Conference’s last-place team, Georgia, cost the Cats. UK, which had seemingly played itself into the conference tournament and NCAA Tournament in recent weeks with series wins over nationally ranked South Carolina and LSU (which won the national title last year and this week’s SEC Tournament), dropped two of three games at Georgia on the final week of the regular season, including a 20-0 loss.
And speaking of bankrupt souls, there’s another shadowy figure up ahead. It looks like, it could be . . . yes, it’s John Calipari. Wow. Knock me over with an apparition.
Still, in my experience, if the NCAA feels it has reason to investigate, it can step in immediately and advise the school that something is amiss. How do I know this? I’ve covered it.
The NCAA did some February investigating of University of Louisville senior Marvin Stone in 2003, approached him at U of L with questions on Feb. 14 of that year and soon after its enforcement committee sent U of L an advisory stating that it believed Stone to have committed NCAA violations by accepting impermissible benefits during his high school years. The saga dragged all the way through the first round of the Conference USA Tournament, with U of L voluntarily benching Stone until he was cleared of the charges before him. Even after he was cleared, the NCAA still advised U of L that it believed Stone was guilty of violations, but when it would not present evidence U of L decided to play him anyway.
Ochefu now claims offers from West Virginia, Virginia, Temple, James Madison and Rutgers.
“I like Georgetown and Kentucky a lot but I’m sure there will be more offers at the end of the summer,” Ochefu told ZAGSBLOG contributor Alex Kline.
Kevin Johnson ‘11, a 6-foot-8 center from Taft in California, is down to four schools. Johnson’s final four include, “USC, Kentucky, Illinois, and Boston College.” Johnson, one of the top 150 players in the country, according to Rivals.com, is, “going to take the process slow.” We will see if any other schools jump in as it is still quite early.
Calipari says his personal motto is “Refuse to Lose.” In reality, it appears to be “Plausible Deniability.” After all, how many times can Calipari not know what’s going on with his players and his recruits? At some point, doesn’t it become obvious that he simply doesn’t WANT to know what dirt might be out there?
But here in UofL’s Yum! Center is where he’s trying to shed both pounds and personal baggage to work his way back to the NBA. And he’s turned to Pitino, the college coach who helped him get there in the first place.
“I don’t know what tomorrow is going to bring,” the 6-foot-8 forward said. “I know I want to play basketball, so I know I’m going to apply myself. I know I’ve got one shot.”