Bulldog Maroon & White

a Mississippi State sports blog

Posts Tagged ‘travis outlaw’

MSU Bulldog Basketball Recruiting Good News: A Shot of Shaunessy

Posted by Kyle Weidie on November 20, 2008

Following the bad recruiting news…..

In state product, Shaunessy Smith, has made good on his verbal commitment to Mississippi State and signed binding scholarship papers to play for the Bulldogs on Wednesday. Rick Stansbury’s recruiting prowess beat out the likes of Clemson, Baylor, and Southern Cal for the services of Smith.

Well….not so fast my friend. Former Bulldog basketballer, T.J. “Brown” Billups, is Shaunessy’s coach at Noxubee County. Former Bulldog great (coach and player), Greg Carter, already let Travis Outlaw get away to the NBA (Carter coached Outlaw at Starkville High). I would have had to let T.J. know if he let Shaunessy get away from playing at The Hump. Just kidding, T.J. and I go back from our college days. He was one of the nicest guys to ever pick up a basketball for the Bulldogs.

You can read more on Shaunessy in a previous Bulldog Maroon & White post, MSU Bulldog Basketball Gets A Commit From Shaunessy Smith.

Other Suggested Reading:

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Posted in basketball recruiting, Bulldog Basketball, mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa basketball, sec basketball, shaunessy smith, starkville | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Travis Outlaw, the almost Mississippi State Bulldog

Posted by Kyle Weidie on September 2, 2008

Bulldog fans can salivate forever about what would have been had Travis Outlaw suited up in Maroon and White…..or Jonathan Bender, or Monta Ellis.

However, he opted for the NBA, before the current one-year rule, and was taken 23rd overall by the Portland Trailblazers in the 2003 NBA Draft. Heading into the 2008-2009 NBA season, this makes Outlaw the longest tenured Blazer.

Travis had his best season in ’07-08, averaging career highs in multiple categories including points (13.3), rebounds (4.6), and minutes (26.7), while getting some recognition for the NBA’s 6th Man Award (Manu Ginobili ended up with the honors).

This year, Outlaw desires to come into his own even more. Jason Quick, of The Oregonian, recently traveled back to Starkville, Mississippi to do an extensive piece on Outlaw. The article discusses Outlaw’s roots, the house he recently built in Starkvegas, and his basketball aspirations. The reading is highly suggested.

Posted in bulldogs in nba, mississippi state bulldogs, nba, nba draft, starkville, travis outlaw | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Get Your Tape Recorders: Scotty Hopson Jumps Into Bruce Pearl’s Pocket

Posted by Kyle Weidie on April 7, 2008

You’re probably wondering what the hell that headline means. Let me explain.

Scotty Hopson, a top-10 ranked high school basketball player by Rivals.com (#1 SF overall) from the University Heights Academy in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, made a non-binding oral commitment to the Mississippi State Bulldogs on October 23, 2006 before the onset of his junior year. Seemingly great news for Rick Stansbury and the Mississippi State men’s basketball program. Along with Romero Osby and Dee Bost (who both subsequently signed with Mississippi State during the early signing period on November 16, 2007), Scotty Hopson would give the Bulldogs a potential top-10 recruiting class for 2008.

But then it gets typical…..of the recruitment of a high school basketball superstar.

Flashback to the late 80s: Iowa and Illinois were engaged in a heated battle for Deon Thomas, a hardwood blue-chipper from the City of Wind, Chicago my friend. Thomas ultimately chose to play for the Illini and would go on to become the school’s all-time leading scorer. However, Bruce Pearl, then an assistant in charge of recruiting at Iowa, wasn’t “down” with Thomas’ decision.

Pearl, who had already cultivated a recruiter-recruitee relationship with Deon Thomas, began contacting the high school kid in an attempt to extort information, and possibly change his mind. Suspicious of Illinois and intent on retribution, Pearl recorded subsequent conversations with Thomas. And in a moment where there would be a court room objection for leading the witness, Bruce Pearl essentially got Deon Thomas to admit to being offered cash and a whip (whip=vehicle=Chevy Blazer) by Jimmy Collins, an assistant with Illinois at the time. After multiple conversations, Pearl penned his TPS Report, threw it in an envelope along with the tapes, and shipped them off to the NCAA.

The NCAA investigated and found no wrong-doing when it came to Illinois and Deon Thomas. Pearl’s taped conversations with Thomas were questionable at best, omitting the scent of being edited to the detriment of Illinois. Deon Thomas even took, and passed a lie detector test.

However, upon combing through records, NCAA investigators found a rack of other illegal transgressions by the Illinois. “Lack of institutional control,” as they call it, led to a 1-year post-season ban among other penalties. If you have time, go ahead a give yourself a full dose of the Bruce Pearl/Deon Thomas incident run-down.

As a result, Bruce Pearl would go on to serve several years in college basketball coaching purgatory.


B
ruce’s TPS Report (okay, really his memo to the NCAA) is definitely an interesting read if you have the chance to skim it. It’s a cross between Blue Chips and He Got Game. Funny thing is, I believe Pearl’s memo….but that doesn’t make him any less of a rat. Whistle-blowers walk a fine line, don’t they?

Deon Thomas went so far as to call Pearl a “snake” in Chicago papers — if you’re going with the greater of two evils, it’s recording someone when they are unaware. Let’s be honest: big time college D1 athletic programs at times do things to “get by” — We live in a capitalistic society where it’s only natural for someone to get compensated for an added value, whatever value that may be. The value some college athletes bring to the table, in most cases, exceeds the value of a free education. [Wow? Did I just type that?….sad state of affairs. For the record: I’m for increasing academic oversight of college athletic academics and I’m in favor of increasing the NBA age limit by one year] Essentially, it’s no secret that the NCAA and it’s member programs make a lot of money from athletics and the players are left with little.

In my opinion, there might be two major college basketball programs in the whole country which can get by without succumbing to “money ball”: North Carolina and Duke – my apologies to Kentucky, Kansas and UCLA. I believe I’m digressing….another greater of two evils: hypocrisy. Watch out Bruce Pearl, the account of Scotty Hopson’s recruitment reads eerily similar to your late-80s memo….if only we were privy to the words exchanged between college coaches and player entourages (including the player himself, friends, family, shady uncles, AAU coaches, high school coaches, and any other hanger-ons, etc.). Look, I know this is a borderline accusatory blog entry of Bruce Pearl — that isn’t my intention. Being self-aware of his own past, I’m sure Bruce is playing by the book, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t selling something to Hopson. You don’t always have to break the rules to be a shyster, you just have to bend them.

Flash forward to today where Mississippi State’s loss of Scotty Hopson is Tennessee’s gain. Am I bitter that Hopson recently chose to commit to Tennessee instead of honoring his original commitment to the Bulldogs? Perhaps….especially since Rick Stansbury has lost McDonald’s All-American commits such as Jonathan Bender, Travis Outlaw, and Monta Ellis to the NBA.  But what goes around, comes around….and in a world where Alabama faithful feel that Rick Stansbury “stole” Mario Austin (the only McDonald’s All-American who has played for Stansbury during his head coaching tenure at MSU), Timmy Bowers and Derrick Zimmerman from them, I suppose something like this was coming.

On a positive note, no one can question the exuberance and energy conveyed by Bruce Pearl. His passion has a direct influence on making his kids better players, and men. And that type of attitude is more than welcome in the SEC, much less the entire college basketball landscape.

But just in case, does anyone have Scotty Hopson’s phone number and a tape recorder?

The Recruitment of Scotty Hopson: A Timeline

Link Info:

BTW…if you’re a Bulldog fan and want the lack of Scotty to really hurt, then watch this YouTube of his highlights.

Are you interested in high school photos of Bruce Pearl? What about seeing Bruce in a dress? I didn’t think so….but just in case, you can go to TheDirty.com.

In his initial season in Knoxville, only two players on the Tennessee men’s basketball team could out-lift Bruce Pearl in the weight room. Perhaps Adam Sandler will give Pearl a shot-out in his next Hanukkah Song. [Pearl Has Converted The Faithful in Tennessee – Sally Jenkins, Washington Post]

Posted in basketball recruiting, bruce pearl, mississippi state bulldogs, rick stansbury, scotty hopson, sec basketball, tennessee volunteers | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »