Wow, it was a busy week for the rumor mill in College Park. First seniors Ekene Ibekwe and DJ Strawberry indicated that they will apply for the upcoming NBA draft but not hire agents, then there were rumors reported by the local cable sports station that junior James Gist had inquired about transferring to George Washington.
The Ibekwe and Strawberry rumor turned out to true as was confirmed by basketball coach Gary Williams in the Washington Post. At first glance this report seemed like some kind of late April Fools hoax but the only fools in this story are the two players and whoever is giving them the asinine advice that they are even close to NBA material. It is further evidence that there are too many sycophants and parasites hanging around college basketball players these days. Even mediocre players like Ibekwe and Strawberry have people telling them they could go in the first round of the draft. If they are invited to some of the pre-draft camps, which isn't a sure thing, they will find out what is already obvious to everyone who watched the pair this year. Neither is even an elite player in the ACC let alone a strong NBA prospect. Both need to quit wasting their time at draft camps and get in the weight room to bulk up and the gym to work on their jump shots. Regardless of the outcome you have to be concerned about their commitment to improving Maryland's fortunes next season.
The James Gist transfer rumor was reported by Comcast Sportsnet this week but was quickly denied by all sides by the time the late night sports cycle had finished. In my opinion it is another example of irresponsible reporting by a member of the media. There seems to be little credence to the story besides Gist telling the reporter "No Comment" when asked about the story. College athletes are routinely told to decline to respond to reporters who approach them outside of official interviews. Apparently that was enough for them to run with the story. The result is an already laughable and clownish operation at Comcast looks even more amateurish. Don't expect much access for Comcast reporters next season.
Around the ACC
Kansas was cited by the NCAA for the dreaded "lack of institutional control" for incidents under former coach Roy Williams. The violations included cash payments to players after they had graduated (approved by Williams himself). Kansas got nothing more than a slap on the wrist but this certainly tarnishes the reputation of Williams.
NC State is still without a coach as former recruits Chris Wright and Larry David have indicated they will reopen their recruitment. Current candidates include ESPN's Steve Lavin and West Virginia's John Beilein. Neither of those candidates is likely, especially Beilein. The spring recruiting period is well underway and NC State is killing their prospects for a talented 2007 class by the day.
Miami's Guillermo Diaz announced he will enter the NBA draft and hire an agent. Diaz's overdribbling and ballhogging style never helped Miami make the postseason but is more suited for the NBA.