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Big Ten Bad Boys

Improper behavior from players strikes Big Ten basketball hard

Date: 12/16/97
Author: Rufus Talladega
Rufus Talladega

    Look at your new college basketball issue of Sporting News. According to
    them, the Big Ten teams are back on top. Rating conference strength, Sporting
    News puts the Big Ten conference above everyone but the ACC.

    If not for the "Bad Boys" of the Big Ten and their after-hour activities
    (or lack of after-hour activities, like say, studying), I'm certain the Big
    Ten would have been No. 1 in the land according to everyone who had anything
    to say about college basketball. But the "Bad Boys" put huge scars in the
    Big Ten conference's look this season in a variety of places.

    Am I saying that the Big Ten is the only conference with this problem? Heck,
    no. I'm sure most conferences are having the same trouble. But the Big Ten
    is where I hang my hat and I can see a big difference between where the
    Big Ten is this coming season and where they should have been. And the "X"
    factor that transformed one situation into the other is these "Bad Boys" and
    their behavior.

    Am I implying that a "Bad Boy" is anybody who leaves their college program
    early ... for instance, Maurice Taylor of Michigan? No. That's a major
    life decision (or career decision, if you prefer), but that's not what I'm
    talking about. So perhaps I should define my image of a "Bad Boy" for you.

    Some "Bad Boys" just don't work or play well with others. There have been
    quite a few team chemistry problems in the Big Ten over the last year. Some
    of these "Bad Boys" have parted company with their teams. This isn't all the
    player's fault. It takes two people to have poor chemistry. But on the other
    side of the coin, you can't fully blame the coach or program either ...

    Some "Bad Boys" thought they were too "bad" to study. They should've spent
    more time hitting the books instead of the hardwood. Now they're Prop 48s or
    partial qualifiers, resigned to spending a year on campus minus playing
    basketball for the TV cameras. Or they left their college program altogether
    to play ball in the dim limelight of the JUCO world. Ultimately, when it
    comes to studies, the responsibility falls squarely on the student's
    shoulders. It's not the coach's fault if they don't pass.

    Some "Bad Boys" thought they were too "bad" to worry about the law. Or,
    worse, thought they were too "bad" to get caught - the certain tell-tale sign
    of a future convicted felon. As a result, some of these "Bad Boys" got
    into tussles with the local constabulary (not to mention their parents and
    coaches). The penalty? Worst case, prison time. Best case, a lot of grief.
    Common case, suspension or dismissal from a college basketball program.

    Don't be thinking I'm going to single out any Big Ten program either - almost
    all the Big Ten teams harbor some sort of "Bad Boy" behavior. Doubt me?
    Let's take a look at the Big Ten in alphabetical order and then talk some
    more about it.


    List of Bad Boys:

    Bryant Notree Wing Forward
    Halim Abdullah Point Guard
    Corey Bradford Point Guard
    Marcus Griffin Center
    Leighton Nash JUCO Power Forward

    Bryant Notree
    Bad Boy Trouble: Grades and Attitude

    Story: Head Coach Lon Kruger didn't feel Notree was getting the job done
    in his classes. He told Notree to take a red-shirt this season and work on
    his grades or else he'd be dismissed from the program. Notree was at first
    upset by this decision, but then seemed to fall into line. A few months
    later, he'd transferred out of Illinois (to the University of Illinois at
    Chicago, I believe).

    Result: Kruger is out an experienced forward but has an added scholarship slot.

    Consequences: Notree is playing outside the Big Ten and still has to wait a
    season to begin playing again.


    Halim Abdullah
    Bad Boy Trouble: The Law and Attitude

    Story: Halim was dismissed from the program by coach Kruger. I'm not sure
    of any official reason, if any were given, for the dismissal. At the time,
    I assumed it was a case of too much attitude and not enough hard work. A
    few months later, I hear Halim is facing legal charges involving drugs.

    Result: Illinois, already low on point guards, are looking anemic at that
    position. According to my information, it looks like Kevin Turner and Matt
    Heldman will have to play point this season.

    Consequences: Halim is possibly looking at a drug charge. Does anything else,
    including basketball, really matter at this time?


    Corey Bradford
    Bad Boy Trouble: Grades

    Story: Bradford didn't make the cut academically to play this year. However,
    he did partially qualify so he will be able to practice with the team.

    Result: Kruger gets to coach a great point guard during practices. A shame he
    can't use him in the tough games the Illini will be having this season.

    Consequences: Bradford is out a year of eligibility. If I were him, I'd double
    up on the course load and study hours and get ready for next year. Take care
    of business now so you can take care of business later.


    Marcus Griffin
    Bad Boy Trouble: Grades

    Story: Old story. Blue Chip Center doesn't make the entrance qualifications
    for college and has to go to junior college.

    Result: Kruger loses a very good center that his team could really use.

    Consequence: Griffin is out of Division I ball for probably two seasons. If
    he gets the classroom situation taken care of ... who knows?


    Leighton Nash
    Bad Boy Trouble: Grades

    Story: JUCO Transfer doesn't meet the college entrance requirements.

    Result: Nash transfers somewhere that does meet the requirements and bids
    Illinois good-bye. Kruger says good-bye to yet another big guy his team
    really needs.

    Consequence: Nash is out of a school that would have given him a lot of
    television exposure and a chance to make an impression with the NBA scouts.
    And Nash only has two years of eligibility left on his dance card.


    List of Bad Boys:

    Neil Reed Point Guard
    Brent Klassen Wing Forward
    Antwaan Randle El Point Guard
    Levron Williams Shooting Guard

    Neil Reed
    Bad Boy Trouble: Attitude

    Story: Coach Knight and his team agreed that Reed was a problem and Reed
    left. Regardless of which camp you side with (and I'm not going to get into
    this one), most people will agree that there was a team chemistry problem,
    if not an attitude problem, with the IU team last season. Knight and
    company feel Reed's departure will help fix the problem. Time will tell.

    Result: Coach Knight loses a point guard who, if I'm not mistaken, was a
    McDonalds All-American. The highly-stocked Hoosiers can't despair though. They
    still have a fairly well-known guy, A.J. Guyton, who's been known to handle
    point every now and then ...

    Consequences: Reed transferred to Southern Mississippi (USA Conference) where
    his father coaches. He'll have to sit out this year, though.


    Brent Klassen
    Bad Boy Trouble: Grades

    Story: Offered a scholarship by the Hoosiers this spring, he didn't make
    the grades. He's going to prep school this year, and then he's expected to
    come to IU on scholarship next fall.

    Result: Klassen wasn't expected to make an impact at IU this year anyway.
    But with Charlie Miller, Robbie Eggers, Richard Mandeville, and Andrae
    atterson all graduating this season, wouldn't it have been nice for Klassen
    to learn some tricks from them before they left?

    Consequences: Klassen gets to buckle down on his studies for a year before
    starting college. Not a bad thing, if Klassen is patient enough to wait for
    his turn to play.


    Antwaan Randle El
    Bad Boy Trouble: Grades

    Story: Only had the grades for a partial qualifier, meaning he can practice
    with his team but not play in any of the games.

    Result: Antwaan was only a walk-on for the basketball team, but he's a point
    guard. With Reed gone, Antwaan would have made a nice back-up. Antwaan is
    a scholarship player for the IU football team though. A Quarterback. Have
    you seen the IU football team lately? They could've used him ...

    Consequences: Antwaan gets the opportunity to learn and prove himself, both
    on the field and in the classroom. But he doesn't get to do anything but
    cheer from the bleachers during game time this year.


    Levron Williams
    Bad Boy Trouble: Grades

    Story: Levron wasn't even a partial qualifier. I lost track of him in the news.
    I'm not even certain he ended up attending IU.

    Result: Levron was only a walk-on for the basketball team. But he was on a
    football scholarship. Coach Cameron could have used him.

    Consequences: Levron may be out more than a scholarship. He might be out an
    an education.


    List of Bad Boys:

    Jeff Walker Shooting Guard

    Jeff Walker
    Bad Boy Trouble: Grades

    Story: The Top 25 prospect was ineligible last season (his freshman season)
    for activities I'm not going to get into. This season he was found
    ineligible academically.

    Result: Dr. Tom loses a prized basketball talent. However, how useful is a
    basketball talent who never becomes eligible? It doesn't take a mystic for a
    college coach to answer that question ...

    Consequences: Walker transfers to a JUCO, where he might get another chance
    at Div. I in two years time.


    List of Bad Boys:

    Brandun Hughes Point Guard
    Dionte Harvey Recruit, I believe he was a guard
    Michigan Program As a whole

    Brandun Hughes
    Bad Boy Trouble: Attitude

    Story: Fisher dismissed the point guard this spring, citing his attitude.

    Result: Michigan already has a thin roster. Including new transfer point
    guard Robbie Reid, Michigan has three scholarship players in their backcourt
    (Bullock and Conlan). If the backcourt gets into foul trouble, Hughes is one
    less person who can help the Wolverines out.

    Consequences: Hughes, a JUCO with one year of eligibility left, is a play=
    er without a team (to my knowledge). No college diploma either ...


    Dionte Harvey
    Bad Boy Trouble: The Law

    Story: He was recruited and offered a scholarship by Michigan. Once it was
    discovered by the media that Harvey had a criminal record, Michigan took
    the scholarship back.

    Result: Michigan loses a player that they evidently wanted, if it wasn't
    for his criminal history.

    Consequences: To my knowledge, Hughes isn't in Div. I ball.


    Michigan Program
    Bad Boy Trouble: The Law (NCAA rules) and Attitude

    Story: The allegations are legion and spread back to before Fisher's head
    coach ascension in 1989. More and more evidence crops up from the media by
    the month. Suffice it to say that there have been violations (ruled upon
    by the NCAA and then admitted by Michigan). There's also reason to believe
    this barrage may not be over yet.

    Result: I'm tempted to say Steve Fisher's firing is a result of this. However,
    the Michigan administration has gone on record saying that the NCAA findings
    had nothing to do with it. Fisher seems to be of a different opinion. I'm
    not going to get into it ...

    One obvious result of all of this is a bad atmosphere for the Michigan program.
    The fans are unhappy. The administration is facing pressure from all sides.
    A head coach has yet to be found, as of Oct. 23rd, and games are starting
    pretty soon. Michigan star center Robert Traylor is so disgruntled and
    disappointed by the events this summer and fall that he was quoted as
    saying he wished he would've stayed in the NBA draft. I don't know about you,
    but I would find it difficult to keep my head on the game with all this
    all this turmoil going on around me.

    (NOTE: Michigan named assistant Ellerbe as interim head coach on October 24.)

    Consequences: For better or worse, the Michigan program has been changed.
    Major personnel have moved in and out. I'm not sure if formal Michigan policy
    has changed (or needs to be), but it seems like attitudes within the
    organization have done a "front and center" to tackle the issue. Now that
    Michigan has gained the NCAA's attention; they have even more reason to make
    certain everything is done according to the rules.

    Michigan State

    List of Bad Boys:

    None that I've heard of. My Michigan State sources aren't what they should
    be though.

    Story: Michigan State continues to impress me by staying out of the newspaper
    headlines. Sometimes, no press is a good thing ...


    List of Bad Boys:

    Charles Thomas Shooting Guard
    Kevin Loge Center
    Courtney James Power Forward

    Charles Thomas
    Bad Boy Trouble: Attitude???

    Story: Charles Thomas, certain to be a starter this year, transfers to Eastern
    Kentucky. I never did find a reason why in the news. Was he homesick? Was he
    tired of Minnesota? Didn't have faith in the program after Jackson and
    company left? I don't know. One thing I do know is that Thomas didn't do
    Minnesota any favors.

    Result: Coach Haskins loses one of his key bench players from last season,
    along with three of his starters.

    Consequences: Do you want to calculate the chances Eastern Kentucky will
    have to reach the Final Four while Thomas is there? Puzzling behavior aside,
    I really don't know if Thomas qualifies as a "Bad Boy" or not ... but I
    hope he finds whatever he left Minnesota for. He sure gave up a lot to get
    get it.


    Kevin Loge
    Bad Boy Trouble: Attitude???

    Story: Kevin Loge, a red-shirt freshman center, decides to transfer to a
    smaller school because he didn't feel comfortable with a big program like
    Minnesota. At least I believe that's the way the media phrased his words ...

    Result: Coach Haskins loses a top choice for a starter this season and loses
    all the time and effort he spent on Loge last year to prepare him for the
    Big Ten. Now Haskins is looking at a red-shirt freshman, who may be injured
    this season, and a true freshman for the closest people he has to a center.
    The next choice is either Miles Tarver or Quincy Lewis for center. And if
    you're not wincing from that image, then you must not follow Minnesota
    basketball much ...

    Consequences: Depending on the scholarship rules, Loge may lose a year of
    eligibility and not play one game of college ball until he's a junior in


    Courtney James
    Bad Boy Trouble: The Law

    Story: Courtney James is found guilty of assault (with intent to cause fear
    only) in a court case involving himself, a female acquaintance of his (or
    girlfriend, depending on whose account you listen to) and a telephone book
    (or address book, depending on whose account you listen to). After the
    finding, the University of Minnesota suspended Courtney James indefinitely,
    pending an internal investigation into the matter. Some weeks later,
    Courtney James decided to leave the program.

    Result: Haskins is out a starter. Again.

    Consequences: James is out of college, last I heard, without a diploma. I
    believe he intends to see what the CBA or the European BB teams have in
    store for him ...


    List of Bad Boys:

    Carvell Ammons Power Forward
    Geno Carlisle Shooting Guard

    Carvell Ammons
    Bad Boy Trouble: Attitude

    Story: My Northwestern sources aren't the best either. But I believe Ammons
    was more than disappointed that the Northwestern administration fired
    former coach Ricky Byrdsong. Rather than give Kevin O'Neill a chance, he
    left. I believe this is a case of irreconcilable differences between Ammons
    and the Northwestern administration.

    Result: Northwestern loses a good starter. Barring losing Evan Eschmeyer
    or being put on probation by the NCAA, this is about as bad as it could get
    for Northwestern.

    Consequences: Ammons transferred to Illinois, where he will walk-on. So, =
    Ammons gets to stay in the Big Ten. But he doesn't get to play this seaso=
    n and he loses the benefits of a scholarship. For Ammons, this was the mo=
    st acceptable avenue after Byrdsong was fired.


    Geno Carlisle
    Bad Boy Trouble: Attitude

    Story: There was friction between Carlisle and Byrdsong (or Northwestern
    in general) at the beginning of last season. Carlisle was suspended for a
    few weeks (I believe). Carlisle decided to transfer.

    Result: Northwestern lost an All-Big Ten selection, which crippled their
    chances at building something last season. That might have been the last
    nail in Byrdsong's coffin. And his firing may have been a direct cause for
    Carvell Ammons leaving. See where this is going? Northwestern was building
    momentum, but in the wrong direction.

    Consequences: Carlisle had to sit out last year, but now he's ready to play
    this year at California. He may still have a shot for the NBA ... but he's
    running out of time to remind the scouts that he's still in the game.

    Ohio State

    List of Bad Boys:

    Ed Jenkins JUCO Center
    Ken Johnson Center
    Damon Stringer Combo Guard
    Trent Jackson Shooting Guard
    Shaun Stonerook Power Forward/ Point Guard
    Jon Sanderson Forward

    Ed Jenkins
    Bad Boy Trouble: Grades

    Story: As a JUCO junior, Jenkins didn't make the grades to be fully eligible
    to play last season. He didn't make the grades for this season either. So he
    left Ohio State. He never played a second in any Ohio State game.

    Result: Ayers needed a presence inside. Jenkins might have provided it had he
    worked and gotten the grades where they needed to be.

    Consequences: Ohio State gets no productivity out of Jenkins. Jenkins gets
    no productivity out of Ohio State. Hardly a match made in heaven ...


    Ken Johnson
    Bad Boy Trouble: Grades

    Story: Don't know him? Maybe that's because he was a Prop 48 last season
    at Ohio State. Last I heard, though, he did make the grades for this season.

    Result: Ayers lost the use of another center he needed badly. Johnson might
    ht have provided the little extra push Ohio State needed last year to get
    over the hump, and, possibly, keep Ayers as Ohio State head coach. But that
    didn't happen.

    Consequences: Johnson lost a year of eligibility and now plays for a coach
    that didn't recruit him. Hardly the best of situations ...


    Damon Stringer
    Bad Boy Trouble: The Law

    Story: Damon Stringer and Trent Jackson were in an altercation with police
    officials outside a drinking establishment one night. Charges put against
    them were disorderly conduct and resisting a police officer.

    Result: New OSU coach O'Brien had a talk with Stringer and stripped him of
    team captain status for this coming season. That honor now belongs to guard
    NeShaun Coleman.

    Consequences: Stringer probably got scared a little, both from the police
    and his new coach. And he lost his captain status. But he still gets to play.


    Trent Jackson
    Bad Boy Trouble: The Law

    Story: Evidently, Trent Jackson's participation in the altercation was a
    little more severe. O'Brien kicked Jackson off the team.

    Result: O'Brien is out a back-up guard.

    Consequences: Jackson may be off the team permanently, or just for this season.
    I don't know if he's remained on campus or not.


    Shaun Stonerook
    Bad Boy Trouble: Grades

    Story: Old story. He didn't make the grades and is ineligible to play this

    Result: O'Brien loses one of his team's most productive players.

    Consequences: Stonerook loses a year of eligibility and he has to hit the
    books if he wants to qualify for next year. I assume he's stayed on campus
    and wants to be a part of O'Brien's team. I could be wrong about that.


    Jon Sanderson
    Bad Boy Trouble: The Law

    Story: This OSU forward recruit visited the University of Dayton campus and
    got into a tussle with some cops, near a drinking establishment. Sanderson
    was charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and assaulting a
    police officer. Sanderson's lawyer told the press that Sanderson's "attack"
    was more of a stumble that the policeman misinterpreted. Ahem ...

    Result: O'Brien had a talk with Sanderson but to my knowledge he was not
    suspended or penalized by OSU. O'Brien went on record saying that Sanderson
    was aware of how disappointed he had made O'Brien and OSU in general.

    Consequences: Sanderson starts out his relationship with his new college
    coach in one of the worst ways possible. There may also be legal repercussions
    to what happened.

    Penn State

    List of Bad Boys:

    Ryan Bailey Point Guard

    Ryan Bailey
    Bad Boy Trouble: Attitude

    Story: I doubt I have the whole story. Bailey played a lot of guard time
    last year. But now Penn State has Titus Ivory, a red-shirt freshman guard,
    and the now-healthy senior point guard, Danny Earl. Add two more freshman
    guards, Joe Crispin and Greg Grays, and I guess Bailey didn't like what it
    added up to. He decided to transfer.

    Result: Penn State still has a great backcourt but after Dan Earl and Pete
    Lisicky, the guards get very lean on college game experience. Bailey also
    averaged 4.2 apg last season for Penn State, which is almost (not quite)
    the total assist output for the rest of the team last season. Of course,
    Dan Earl didn't play last season due to injury.

    Consequences: Bailey has transferred to UCLA; where he can be with his older
    brother, Toby Bailey, for Toby's last year. I believe Ryan will walk-on;
    so he'll lose his scholarship advantages.


    List of Bad Boys:

    Mike Robinson Small Forward
    Gary McQuay Power Forward
    Cameron Stephens Wing Forward
    Jamaal Davis Power Forward

    Mike Robinson
    Bad Boy Trouble: The Law

    Story: Robinson and McQuay shoplifted a few CDs last fall. They atoned by
    paying for the merchandise, doing community service, being suspended for a
    few games, and getting a hellish work-out- compliments of the displeased
    Keady. Keady also assured the two of them that if they ever committed a
    wrong of this magnitude again, they would be out of his program forever.
    Oh, and Robinson also lost his starting position on the team for about two
    weeks (McQuay was never a regular starter).

    Just when the dust settled this spring, Robinson was discovered having an
    illegally obtained university parking sticker. Robinson didn't steal it
    (it was given to him), but he knew that freshmen weren't allowed to have
    them. Robinson paid for this minor transgression with more community service.

    Result: Keady's got a long memory and he doesn't have much tolerance for
    kids who do stupid things. It's not in his nature. But young kids DO make
    mistakes and they deserve a second chance. I'm not sure Keady's philosophy
    agrees with third chances though.

    Consequences: Robinson's on thin ice. If he doesn't mature and straighten
    up, he may force Keady to live up to his promise.


    Gary McQuay
    Bad Boy Trouble: The Law

    Story: The shoplifting incident mentioned up there in Mike Robinson's story.
    Since last fall, McQuay seems to have done a nice job following the laws
    and regulations of both the Purdue program and the codes of West Lafayette.

    Result: See the section for Mike Robinson.

    Consequences: McQuay's been out of the doghouse for awhile. I think Gary's
    working hard to make sure he doesn't end up there again. It's dark and
    scary in there ...


    Cameron Stephens
    Bad Boy Trouble: Grades

    Story: Didn't make the academic requirements to play basketball and became
    Prop 48. He is an enrolled Purdue student. A combined request was made by
    Purdue and Stephen's high school to the NCAA to reconsider his situation.
    Stephens was close to making the minimum score needed to be at least
    partially-qualified. However, a few high school courses Stephens took were
    not accepted by the NCAA as core classes (which they should have been).
    Upon reconsideration, the NCAA agreed and Stephens' scores were raised,
    but they still weren't quite enough. Purdue filed a special circumstance
    plea with the NCAA over Stephens' entrance scores. See, Stephens' grand-
    parents (whom Stephens lived with) both died over a month's period during
    Stephens' last semester in school. His grades dropped over that time, for
    obvious reasons. Purdue argued that had Stephens' scores followed the course
    they would have had Stephens' grandparents not passed away, that Stephens'
    scores would be high enough to allow him to play. After consideration,
    the NCAA refused the request. Stephens remains a Prop 48.

    Result: Keady loses the opportunity to have a Top 50 recruit practice, let
    alone play, with his team. With Brad Miller, Brian Cardinal and Mike
    Robinson, Purdue doesn't have any holes to fill in their frontcourt. But Purdue
    is seriously lacking depth in the frontcourt. If one of Purdue's frontcourt
    players are injured or unable to play, Purdue has few options open to them.

    Consequences: Stephens can't play college basketball this year. He loses
    a year of eligibility. And he has to hit the books hard this year if he wants
    to be eligible to play for Purdue next year.


    Jamaal Davis
    Bad Boy Trouble: The Law and Grades

    Story: Davis didn't have the grades to be eligible to play. Furthermore,
    he was in a car accident on an interstate that injured both himself and
    another driver. Both Davis and the man recovered from their injuries, but
    Davis is still facing legal charges as a result of the accident, including
    a felony charge of criminal recklessness. The other driver is also suing
    Davis for the money to pay his hospital bills. Davis is enrolled at Purdue
    as a Prop 48.

    Result: Keady loses another Top 100 recruit that can play on his team this
    season. Davis was another person that could be seriously needed on the
    Purdue team if something happens to Purdue's frontcourt this season. But
    it's not an option open to Keady now.

    Consequences: Davis can't play college basketball this year. He loses a
    year of eligibility. He still has that court case waiting for him this
    winter. Davis has to hit the books hard if he, like his friend Stephens,
    wants to be eligible to play for Purdue next year. But, unlike Stephens,
    Davis also has the obstacle of overcoming his injuries. Though Davis is
    fortunate to be alive after his car accident, let alone to play basketball;
    Davis is far from being in basketball shape. Since his accident, he has
    lost 30 pounds on his 6-10 frame.


    List of Bad Boys:

    Mosezell Peterson Forward
    Sam Okey Small Forward

    Mosezell Peterson
    Bad Boy Trouble: Attitude

    Story: Mosezell Peterson transferred. I don't know if any official reason
    was given. One Wisconsin fan I talked to thought it was possibly because
    Mosezell didn't believe he'd get much playing time with all the new forward
    recruits coming in. Both of them might be right.

    Result: Bennett loses an experienced forward. But Bennett just recruited
    four other forwards. Surely, he can find someone in the crowd to replace

    Consequences: Peterson transfers to Louisville and is forced to sit out a
    season. If he gets more playing time at Louisville, perhaps he made the
    right decision for himself.


    Sam Okey
    Bad Boy Trouble: Attitude

    Story: Coach Bennett announced the week of October 19th that Sam Okey would
    be suspended from two weeks of practice and the first four Badger games
    (two are exhibition games) of the season for an unnamed transgression
    gainst team policy. Although the media has attempted to find the reason for
    or the suspension (one paper claimed Okey smoked marijuana), Bennett has
    assured the media that nothing Okey did broke any laws or NCAA rules - that
    it was merely something he wouldn't announce to the public. Bennett, the
    Wisconsin AD, and the other two Badger captains are all telling the same
    story. So I side with Bennett's version over the media's (big surprise...).
    Evidently, whatever Okey did was an attitude problem.

    Result: Bennett loses his star player against Illinois State (which some
    say is a Top 25 team this year). The Missouri Valley conference just ain't
    what she used to be ...

    Consequences: Okey loses the opportunity to play in some games. But if he
    gets his head screwed on tight, it'll probably be worth it for him in the
    long run.


    Okay. Take a deep breath ...

    Now forget the stories or reasons for what happened. That was just to feed
    you some information you might want and to show you I'm not making this
    stuff up.

    I've talked about 30 players from around the Big Ten conference. 24 of these
    players are unable to officially play for their Big Ten team this season.
    28 of these 30 were scholarship players. Keeping in mind that a college team
    is only allowed 13 scholarships - that's more scholarships than any two
    Big Ten teams can have, total. That's about 20% of all available Big Ten

    That's a LOT of "Bad Boys".

    Now consider that half of these 28 scholarship players (that's 14, in case
    you're reading this early in the morning) transferred out of, or quit,
    the Big Ten conference.

    What may surprise more of you is that grades don't seem to be the major
    problem. Only 10 of the 30 players were forced off a team because of grades.
    And to my knowledge, 6 of those 10 players fully intend to stay on campus
    and become eligible for next year.

    The big problem with this turnover seems to be attitude. Either the player's
    attitude with his coach, with his basketball team, or his attitude off
    the court (particularly when it deals with respecting the law). And most of
    of these "bad" players have left the Big Ten.

    There's not much a coach or a Big Ten program can do to change a player's
    attitude. Advice, persuasion, and reprimands rarely work on a player who's
    decided not to listen. Unfortunately, it seems like the "Bad Boys" are the
    the ones who pay most for their attitude. They end up out of a program, cutting
    themselves off both from a possible avenue into the NBA and a valuable college
    education from a Big Ten institution.

    All we Big Ten Basketball fans lose are some opportunities to see some
    great athletic achievements. And maybe our favorite Big Ten club loses some
    potential to excel even further in their game.

    But I think it's obvious that it's the "Bad Boys" who really lose out in this
    deal, in every possible way.

    So I still say that the Big Ten would have been the best basketball
    conference in the country this season if only these "Bad Boys" hadn't been
    quite so bad. I'll even go out on a limb and say, from top to bottom, this
    could have been the best year of Big Ten Basketball we've seen in many, many

    But the Big Ten conference will never reach its full potential in basketball
    until the "Bad Boys" wise up. They need to spend less time being "bad",
    and working up their attitude. They need to spend more time doing their
    classwork and working to excel, as a team, on the basketball court.

    They shouldn't do it for the Big Ten fans. They sure shouldn't do it for me.
    I don't even exist ...

    They should do it for themselves.


    That's all I have to say. This is just my opinion. I could be wrong. It HAS
    happened before. If you have comments or questions, you know where to find


    Rufus Talladega

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