—Jeff Goodman ranks Louisville men’s basketball as the second-biggest transfer portal loser from the 2021-22 preseason.
—Former U of L quality control coach Nic Cardwell is returning to coach the tight ends.
—Merl Code, one of the central figures in the FBI probe into college basketball, is telling all in his new book. Code claims, among many other things, Rick Pitino wanted adidas’ help with Brian Bowen, that Bill Self knows pretty much every shady thing happening with his program, and that the mother of Anthony Davis were paid 10K on the day of the “Wat Shot” game in Bloomington.
Beyond that particular fundraising effort, some competitors in the college basketball world did not like the way Nike catered to Kentucky. Code wrote that he couldn’t much blame them. He recalled one particularly angry call from then Florida coach Billy Donovan.
Code’s recollection of Donovan’s rant: “I’m sick and tired of this bulls---! You motherf----rs keep helping Kentucky! This shit is ridiculous. I’m gonna call [Nike cofounder] Phil Knight personally to talk about this s--- because it’s getting out of hand.”
Code wrote: “I stayed quiet while Billy vented, because I knew there was some truth in what he was saying. With John Calipari getting an overabundance of the top recruits in the country at the time, Florida and every other program were fighting for scraps. One of the worst-kept secrets in the business was Nike’s emphasis on helping Kentucky and Oregon, Phil Knight’s alma mater, with everyone else falling in line after.”
A truly stunning development.
—It’s time for the NCAA tournament selection process to emerge from the dark ages, writes John Gasaway.
—Former Miami head coach Al Golden is reportedly set to be named the new defensive coordinator at Notre Dame.
—Louisville is one of just four ACC football teams returning all but one of their stat leaders from last season.
Who’s returning in the ACC? A quick look at which of each team’s leaders in passing, rushing, receiving, sacks, tackles and PBUs is back for 2022… If you count Jurkovec as top passer, BC returns all six. Lville & Cuse 5 of 6. Atlantic is DEEP. pic.twitter.com/qPrp4SDUTM— ️♈️ (@ADavidHaleJoint) February 15, 2022
—Four-star class of 2023 RB Marquese Williams from Pennsylvania has picked up a Louisville offer.
—Good story here from The Athletic on how at this moment it’s understandable for Bengals fans to feel both pride in their team’s run and broken by the way it ended.
—Duke wanted to hire Tommy Amaker to replace Mike Krzyezewski, but Coach K nixed it because he thought he’d be able to maintain more control if the job went to Jon Scheyer.
Duke University wanted to hire Harvard basketball coach Tommy Amaker last spring to replace the retiring Mike Krzyzewski, even going so far as to offer him the job.
However, Coach K talked his former player and assistant out of taking it so he could ensure his preferred candidate would succeed him, according to a new book by New York Post sports columnist Ian O’Connor.
In “Coach K: The Rise and Reign of Mike Krzyzewski,” O’Connor reports that Duke offered the job to Amaker, the former Seton Hall and Michigan coach, before hiring Duke assistant Jon Scheyer to take over the decorated Blue Devils program after the 75-year-old Krzyzewski finishes the current season – his 42nd at the school.
In retirement, Coach K believed he would maintain more control over the program through the 34-year-old Scheyer than the 56-year-old Amaker, sources told O’Connor for the book. Scheyer has never coached anywhere else, while Amaker left Duke in 1997 for Seton Hall.
Post columnist Ian O’Connor’s book on Coach K comes out next week.
O’Connor reports that Krzyzewski held a Zoom call with Amaker last year and had what a source described as “a very difficult conversation” with him. Coach K explained to Amaker that if he left Harvard to join the Duke staff as a successor-in-waiting for the 2021-22 season, the move would force the demotion of a Blue Devils assistant and “create an awkward dynamic with Scheyer.” Realizing that he didn’t have his mentor’s blessing, Amaker left the call “heartbroken,” according to someone close to him.
“Mike had to explain to Tommy why he couldn’t be the guy,” said one Duke source. “He can be Don Corleone when he needs to be.”
—Louisville’s two top 10 swim and dive teams are set for the ACC championships.
—He isn’t a candidate for the Louisville job (at least to my knowledge), but Wyoming’s Jeff Linder is an absolute coaching star in the making.
—Louisville got a late start here.
Less statistically rigorous, more fun - a peak at our next article, on the effectiveness of CBB teams with @Twitter!— CBB Analytics (@CBBAnalytics) February 15, 2022
The blue bloods of college basketball @DukeMBB (miles ahead), @IndianaMBB, @UNC_Basketball, @KUHoops and @KentuckyMBB leading the way in follower count. pic.twitter.com/h8I8D6p8C7
—The Horizon League has reversed course and will now allow UIC athletes to compete for league championships this winter/spring.
—Brian Bowen is on the USA Basketball roster for its February 2021 World Cup Qualifying Team.
—The Kentucky Humane Society is a fantastic organization. Help them out if you can.
SUPPLIES NEEDED! We are very low on blankets, large bath towels, food bowls, feliway spray, top loading pet carriers, puppy/kitten canned food, XL wire dog crates, pill pockets & puppy pads. Can you help us out? @Chewy List: https://t.co/MCrwmsKJ8Z Amazon: https://t.co/nuOCasuruc pic.twitter.com/f9jcVCl46j— KY Humane Society (@kyhumane) February 15, 2022
—The fields for next November’s Phil Knight Invitational and Legacy tournaments have been announced. Louisville will be spending that week playing in the Maui Invitational.
—My Morning Jacket is playing two shows in Louisville this June.
—Cardinal Authority projects the 2022 U of L baseball depth chart.
—Wake Forest AD John Currie knows other schools are going to be coming after Steve Forbes.
—Quintez Brown, a U of L student and prominent activist who drew headlines when he went missing for several days last summer, is the man who was arrested for attempting to shoot mayoral candidate Craig Greenberg yesterday morning.
—This Tennessee football story from The Athletic fully details just how much NIL has changed the game.
While it’s impossible to quantify the precise impact of money from an NIL package in a recruit’s mind, Tennessee signed seven of the nine Class of 2022 prospects Spyre Sports had significant conversations with during the recruiting process, according to Spyre.
“We realized being involved in recruiting was going to be a priority. Then we realized how much money we were going to need to be elite,” Baddour said. “And we’re shooting to be No. 1.”
But so is everyone else, and in college football especially, a brand new game is afoot, as that influence — and the money that provides it — only figures to increase in the Class of 2023.
Underneath the splashy headlines and mysterious deals is a budding economy on the recruiting trail where collectives across the sport such as Spyre are making players aware of their value and, once they arrive on campus, following through with money that reflects it.
“We’ve had so many different area businesses step up to be able to help us with this kind of package. Whether it’s apartments, condos, car dealerships, free places to eat. It can be as simple as tires. Car washes. We’ve done all kinds of stuff,” Clawson said.
Added Baddour: “All in all, it’s six-figure packages.”
Some are payable for multiple years, but packages like the ones Spyre helps arrange for players are routinely for more than six figures. In one recruiting class, that adds up.
“There will be an NIL collective for every Power 5 school by the end of 2022,” said Blake Lawrence, CEO of Opendorse, which helps businesses, collectives and athletes team up for endorsement deals. “And the top collectives will spend $10 million per year on NIL.”
—UCF, meanwhile, can’t seem to figure out how to use its money legally.
—Louisville Report’s Matt McGavic predicts that the Cardinal losing streak will extend to seven after tomorrow night’s home game against Miami.
—The Canes have never beaten the Cards in Louisville.
—There’s no question that Louisville football’s recruiting class of 2023 is off to a stellar start.
—And finally, the Mike Rutherford Show returns from 3-6 this afternoon on 1450/96.1 The Big X. You can stream the show here.