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September 28, 2008

Basketball Bits, 9/28

Filed under: Basketball,Coaches,Dixon,Injury,Recruiting — Chas @ 10:35 am

Well, James Padgett decided to choose Maryland.

“It came down to Pitt and Maryland, and Pitt signed two big men in the Class of 2009 so Maryland was left,” Padgett said.

He made the right call for himself. Well, really the decision was made for him. He did have two top choices but hadn’t made a choice. After a point, Pitt wasn’t waiting and he couldn’t wait to see if something better than Maryland would come along. Or worse, if Maryland wouldn’t wait for him to decide.

It’s an illustrative item on recruiting. Programs and players have to make decisions how long to wait. How long to hold a scholarship. How long to wait and make a decision. Only the elite, blue-chippers can make a team wait and a team will wait. Those that aren’t — no matter what their potential might be — have to balance and measure.

Gary Parrish at CBS Sports applauds Dixon’s extension and that Pitt took the chance with Dixon.

“Everybody thought I was too young because I was only 37 and I’d be the youngest coach in the conference,” Dixon said by phone Thursday. “But I pointed out to the chancellor that the school had once named a 37-year-old the dean of the law school.”

Why was this relevant, you ask? Because that one-time 37-year-old dean of the law school had become the 55-year-old chancellor hiring the basketball coach. “The chancellor likes telling that story,” Dixon said with a laugh. And it’s a story worth retelling now because Nordenberg’s brilliant decision to take a chance on an unproven assistant was highlighted again Thursday when the school announced an extension of Dixon’s contract through the 2015-16 season.

There’s a slight revision, but at least there’s an acknowledgment that the first choice was the late Skip Prosser.

“They offered Skip the job first, and there’s a funny story about that,” Dixon recalled. “When I got the job my first recruiting trip was in Houston, and as soon as I walked in the gym the first person I saw was Skip Prosser and we just started laughing. I said ‘Skip, I owe you. I owe you.'”

Now, I hate to revisit the Mike Cook decision, but in light of Syracuse’s Eric Devendorf getting a medical redshirt some see a little unfairness.

Devendorf tore the ACL in his left knee in the tenth game of the season. Cook tore the ACL in his left knee in the 11th game of the season. Both sat out for the rest of the year.

So how can the Big East give one player an extra year of eligibility and send the other packing?

Well, apparently that one game makes a large difference. Taking into account that the NCAA does not count NCAA tournament games and only counts one conference tournament game, Devendorf played in 10 of his team’s 32 games, which is 31%. And Cook played in 11 of his team’s 32 games, which is 34%. (If we counted all Big East Tournament games, NIT games and NCAA Tournament games, Devendorf would’ve played in 28% of ‘Cuse’s games and Cook would’ve played in 29.7% of Pitt’s games.)

Of course, the way the NCAA counts games is all over the board, so I’m not actually sure. I don’t begrudge the Orange or Devendorf getting the extra year of eligibility. In fact, I’m happy. I like Paul Harris and Jonny Flynn. The Orange are so much easier to hate with Devendorf on the team.

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