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MSU Hoopster Zeidaks Ruled Ineligible For Entire Season

Two years ago it was Renardo Sidney.  This season it will be Kristers Zeidaks. 

The NCAA has today ruled Zeidaks ineligible for Missisippi State’s 2011-12 season and the first 11 games of the following season.  That announcement came as a surprise to the folks in Starkville.  MSU’s compliance director said in July that Zeidaks’ case was “not an overly complicated case.” 

The player had already been academically cleared by the NCAA.

The 21-year-old forward played with professional players in Latvia before coming to Mississippi State.  Brandon Marcello of The Jackson Clarion-Ledger says “it’s not believed Zeidaks received compensation during his stint.”  In other words, this isn’t an Enes Kanter situation.

State is appealing the decision, but it’s unlikely to be overturned.

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MSU Inks Latvian Hoopster

Rick Stansbury is bringing in reinforcements via the transfer route.  Kristers Zeidaks — a 6-8 small forward from Latvia — has been academically cleared by the NCAA and will have three years of eligibility with Mississippi State’s basketball team.

It’s expected that Zeidaks will have to sit out the first few games this season due to questions regarding his amateur status.  The 21-year-old played with professional hoopsters in Latvia, but he was not a pro.

“It’s not an overly complicated case,” MSU’s compliance director told The Jackson Clarion-Ledger.”

(Hush.  Listen closely.  You can hear the faint screams of “What about Enes Kanter!” rising from the state of Kentucky.)

Zeidaks fills the roster spot left open when John Riek of Sudan left the Bulldog team earlier this month.  Consider this State’s international exchange program.

Our only question?  Is Zeidaks Latvian Orthodox?

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Now 5 SEC’ers Projected In NBA 1st Round

Tonight, tonight.  It’s coming tonight!  Tonight, tonight, tonight.  Hot damn, tonight! 

(Click the above link for a little Christmas in June.)

The NBA Draft takes place this evening and the draft stock for several ex-SEC’ers is rising.  Just a few weeks ago — despite a number of SEC stars departing (many early) — the conference was projected to have just three first-round picks.  And one of those was Enes Kanter who went to Kentucky but never played for Kentucky.

Now the folks at are predicting five ex-SEC players will be nabbed in the first 30 picks:

3.  Enes Kanter, C, Kentucky to the Utah Jazz
5.  Brandon Knight, PG, Kentucky to the Toronto Raptors
22.  Tobias Harris, SF/PF, Tennessee to the Denver Nuggets
27.  Chandler Parsons, SF, Florida to the New Jersey Nets
30.  Travis Leslie, SF, Georgia to the Chicago Bulls

The site also sees the following players being picked in Round Two:

42.  Trey Thompkins, PF, Georgia to the Indiana Pacers
57.  Scotty Hopson, SG/SF, Tennessee to the Dallas Mavericks

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SEC Headlines – 6/20/11 Part One

1.  How dead is the college sports scene right now?  Well, everyone’s pumping out easy-to-do lists and the latest from The Gainesville Sun deals with the “top mascots in college football.”

2.  Florida’s Scottie Wilbekin was cut, but teammate Patric Young is still vying for a spot on Team USA’s U19 squad.

3.  The Cleveland Cavaliers have their eyes on ex-Kentucky Wildcats Brandon Knight and Enes Kanter.

4.  Did we say something about lists?  ESPN has posted its lists ranking the best defensive lines in the SEC…

5.  And the best defensive ends in the SEC.

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Kanter Hurts Watching UK Play

The chances of Enes Kanter being cleared to play college basketball were slim.  That’s why the vast majority of colleges — and even prep schools — didn’t try to ink the big man from Turkey.

But John Calipari did try.  And he succeeded in getting him signed.  But he couldn’t get him cleared.

Kanter told Yahoo! Sports yesterday that not playing hurts him.

“I cry when I watch the game.  When I watch them play, I’m sad because I cannot help my teammates.  When I see them losing, it’s frustrating.”

As for the NCAA’s ruling, Kanter voices his displeasure with class.  “They’re just trying to do their job, but I think they’re wrong.  I didn’t want to be a professional.  That’s why I came here.”

“(International players) should come over here because basketball, education and everything is two times better.  But after they heard about me, they’re going to be scared and say, ‘Enes could not play so maybe we can’t play.”

Three quick points:

1.  As we’ve said before, we would have liked for the NCAA to have given Kanter’s family a chance to pay back the money they made from a European club team… thus allowing Kanter to play college ball.

2.  When he’s snapped up in the NBA draft this year, he’ll be able to dry his tears with hundred dollar bills.

3.  Does it make us xenophobic to say that in the long run, the college game might be better off by not bringing in even more one-and-doners — in this case — one-and-doners from overseas?

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Tyler’s Take: Year Of The NCAA Paper Tiger

Wrapping up the college football season by placing a pretty orange and blue bow atop it, 2010 for many was unquestionably the year of the Tiger. For me, it will be remembered as the year of the NCAA Paper Tiger. (A misguided one with extremely poor judgment, too.) Incompetent, confused, ambiguous and inarticulate in nearly every major decision and preceding explanation made since August, NCAA President Mark Emmert and his NCAA rules committee cronies should be embarrassed by their baffling behavior.

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Calipari Still Upset By Kanter Ruling

NCAA president Mark Emmert has said that no one should be surprised that Kentucky signee Enes Kanter was ruled ineligible.

“The vast majority of people in collegiate basketball knew that this was an issue with Enes Kanter,” Emmert told  “Kentucky knew it.  Everybody who talked with him knew it.”

True.  Only a handful of schools chose to even roll the dice and go after Kanter.  Some American prep schools even turned away from the European big man because they felt he was “unclearable.”

(Interestingly, Washington was one of the few schools to pursue Kanter.  Emmert was UW’s president before taking over at NCAA headquarters.)

While others might have considered Kanter a longshot, that doesn’t mean John Calipari likes the ruling or the aftermath. “You made your decision, why keep commenting?” UK’s coach asked the press about Emmert.

The coach says that Kanter will now probably put his name in the NBA draft lottery… against his wishes.  “He did not want to put his name in the draft.  Had no desire to at all.  Now I don’t think he has a whole lot of choices, but that’s not what he wanted to do.”

Here’s a bit more on Kanter, his options and his plans.

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SEC Headlines – 1/10/11

1.  Dee Bost isn’t worried that Mississippi State is 0-1 since his return to action.

2.  Rick Stansbury is hoping his team turns things around soon.

3.  This writer says State needs a heart transplant.

4.  Andy Kennedy saw some positives in Ole Miss’ loss at Florida on Saturday.

5.  Erving Walker went over the 1,000-point mark for the Gators this weekend.  (That would be for his career, not this season, obviously.)

6.  Charlie Weis was reportedly stripped of his play-calling duties before Kansas City’s playoff loss yesterday.  (But there’s no bad blood between him and Todd Haley.  Nope, none at all.)

7.  Following Saturday’s upset of Kentucky, Georgia is ranked for the first time in eight years… at #24.

8.  NCAA president Mark Emmert says everyone knew — including Kentucky — that Enes Kanter faced long odds in gaining his eligibility.

9.  John Calipari says he’s not worried about Kentucky basketball, but Kanter himself.

10.  Brian Williams believes John Fields is about to replace him as Tennessee’s starting center.

11.  Folks are already talking spring football in Knoxville.

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UK Fans Spew Venom At NY Times Writer

It seems Tennessee fans aren’t the only ones making news in connection with “hate” today.  According to John Clay of The Lexington Herald-Leader, some Kentucky fans went over the line in their reaction to the NCAA’s final ruling in the Enes Kanter case. 

For those who haven’t heard, the European big man was ruled permanently ineligible on Friday.  So he won’t be joining UK’s 2011 title chase.

Pete Thamel of The New York Times has been covering the story from the beginning and several Cat fans took to Twitter this weekend to let him know they blame him for Kanter’s ineligibility.

“I hope your children are born paralyzed and they have to slither around like snakes in the grass like their (expletive) daddy.”

Nice.  And here’s what another Troglodye wrote:

“Congrats on Kanter, scumbag!  Hope you don’t step in front of a taxi.”

When’s Jeff Goodman called on UK fans to stop their Twitter attack on Thamel, he too was blasted by angry Big Blue backers.

Clay — like most people today — has the shooting in Arizona on his mind.  Some would rather just say, “lone nut” and move along, but Clay believes it’s time to check our online vitriol.

We at agree.  When a kook goes from ranting on the internet to shooting innocent people, there’s nothing wrong with asking, “What motivated the kook to go from A to B?”

Especially when so many people these days are ranting on the internet.  Over politics, over religion, and over sports.

For most people, it’s a huge leap from anonymous threat-maker to effigy-shooter to actual violent criminal.  But not for all.  As the deranged son of a bitch in Arizona showed us this weekend, some nuts go from YouTube quack to murderer with ease. 

With that in mind, it’s time we start paying more attention to the vile garbage being tossed around over basketball losses and departing football coaches.  It’s also time for all of us to tone the junk down.

As Clay writes, “It’s just a game, folks.  A game.”

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SEC Headlines 1/8/2011

1. Report: NCAA interview two men about whether they  delivered money to Cam Newton’s father.

2. Newton senior backup Neil Caudle may stay at Auburn as a grad assistant.

3. Auburn linebacker Josh Bynes: “To this day, we’re still not a great team. We’re very good, but not a great team”

4. The offensive tempos of both Auburn and Oregon present challenges for TV production crews.

5. Jon Solomon: “Saban has bumped himself into another bump-rule controversy.”

6. Saban on three of his players departing early for the pro ranks: “The labor situation in the NFL right now is something that each one of these guys has to sort of evaluate as a reality of how it could affect their development.”

7. The Mississippi State Bulldogs basketball team opens SEC play today and gets guard Dee Bost back in the lineup.

8. The Ole Miss basketball team heads to Gainesville to face the Gators.

9. How Arkansas can win the SEC West.

10. The East is the Beast in SEC hoops this year.

11. Georgia tackle Trinton Sturdivant will stay for his senior season.

12. UCF coach George O’Leary blames Georgia for starting the after-game Liberty Bowl scuffle

13. The Georgia basketball team opens SEC play at home with Kentucky today.

14. Patience, Florida football fans, patience.

15. A new routine for the Vols - game days without Bruce Pearl.

16. The Tennessee football welcomes a Notre Dame transfer while Luke Stocker joins two other SEC tight ends at the Senior Bowl.

17. The Kentucky basketball program is disappointed in the Enes Kanter ruling.

18. The Vandy basketball team doesn’t fear the road.

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