Jeff Eisenberg

  • Four takeaways from the newly released Big Ten schedule

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 3 days ago

    When the Big Ten released its schedule for next season on Thursday evening, it proved once again that not all league slates are created equally. Here's a look at which contenders caught breaks with the teams they'll see twice and which contenders drew the short straw.

    1. WHO DID BO RYAN MAKE MAD?: If Bo Ryan is going to extend his remarkable streak of finishing in the top four in the Big Ten every season he has been at Wisconsin, he might receive some national coach of the year consideration. Not only did the Badgers lose Frank Kaminsky, Sam Dekker and Josh Gasser from last year's national runner-ups, they also drew maybe the toughest conference schedule of any Big Ten team. The five Big Ten teams Wisconsin will face twice next season? Maryland, Michigan State, Indiana, Purdue and Illinois. That's the preseason league favorite, three other top contenders, a fifth NCAA tournament hopeful and none of the league's bottom-tier programs. Ouch. Other players will have to step up to support returning standouts Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig for the Badgers to survive that gauntlet. 

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  • Recruiting surge should buy Lorenzo Romar some patience

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 5 days ago

    Washington hasn't made the NCAA tournament in four years, dropped 10 of its last 12 games last season and returns only three scholarship players.

    Sounds pretty bleak, right? Not so fast. 

    While the returning trio of standout guard Andrew Andrews and role players Quevyn Winters and Donaven Dorsey won't scare anyone, the Huskies have a much-needed influx of talent set to arrive the next few years. Lorenzo Romar appears to have recaptured the recruiting magic he had during the Huskies' heyday, landing a heralded eight-man class that will debut this coming season and adding three more elite prospects the past few weeks.

    On August 5, Class of 2018 power forward Jontay Porter made a surprise early commitment to Washington, a decision that could help the Huskies in two ways. Not only is Porter a potential impact player himself, he's also the younger brother of Class of 2017 five-star recruit Michael Porter

    Those setbacks might diminish Washington's potential next season, however, the recruiting success should also buy Romar some patience.

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  • Hagen Danner evolves from Little League hero to top prospect

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Turnstile 5 days ago

    Immediately, a cascade of memories came rushing back.

    Four summers ago, Danner became a celebrity in his hometown of Huntington Beach, Calif., when he led his Ocean View team to a Little League World Series title. He delivered a 14-strikeout masterpiece to send his team to Williamsport, Pa., threw 8 1/3 scoreless innings in two Little League World Series starts and collected 11 hits in six games, the last of which was a game-tying home run against Japan in the championship game.

    "All those kids from that team are still my friends, still my best friends in fact," Danner said. "We still look back on it all the time. We'll all watch the Little League World Series together every year and we'll bring up when such-and-such hit a home run. I think it's still my favorite baseball memory."

    Starring in Williamsport often turns out to be the apex of a Little League World Series hero's baseball career, but Danner has an excellent chance to someday ascend much further in the sport.

    If the younger Danner someday takes the mound in a big-league game, he'd be in exclusive company among ex-Little League World Series players.

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  • Two Indiana players cited for underage possession of alcohol

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 7 days ago

    Either police in Bloomington are remarkably good at seeking out underage drinking, or Indiana basketball players are just incapable of being discreet.

    Sophomore forward Emmitt Holt and promising incoming freshman Thomas Bryant became the latest Hoosiers to fail to avoid detection when the Indiana excise police cited them for underage possession of alcohol on Friday. The university released a statement that said it is still "gathering information" about the incident and has yet to determine whether either Holt or Bryant will be punished.

    Underage drinking is too prevalent to be considered a serious offense elsewhere, but the pattern of drug and alcohol-related issues at Indiana cannot be ignored. Seven different players have run afoul in the past two years because of Marijuana or alcohol.

    Indiana coach Tom Crean dismissed torward Devin Davis and center Hanner Mosquera-Perea in May after Davis was cited for illegal possession of marijuana in an on-campus dorm. Mosquera-Perea, who previously had been cited for OWI in Feb. 2014, was in the room at the time.

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  • Louisville, Indiana agree to a three-year series beginning in 2016

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 10 days ago

    Two national powers separated by a mere 100 miles will renew their regional rivalry next year. 

    Indiana and Louisville jointly announced Friday that they've agreed to a three-year series that will begin with a neutral-court matchup on Dec. 31, 2016 at Banker's Life FIeldhouse in Indianapolis. The Cardinals and Hoosiers will also play on one-another's home floors the following two years, first on Dec. 9, 2017 in Louisville and then on Dec. 8, 2018 in Bloomington.

    The two schools also announced they'll begin a similar three-year football series in 2023 with the lone neutral-field game Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Indiana holds a 2-0 all-time lead in the football series and a 10-7 all-time edge in hoops.

    The announcement from Indiana and Louisville comes about three years after the Hoosiers' annual series with Kentucky fell apart because neither side could agree on the proper venue. Indiana wanted to continue it as a home-and-home series, while Kentucky preferred to play it every year on a neutral court such as Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

    Credit Indiana and Louisville for finding a palatable solution the way the Hoosiers and the Wildcats could not.

  • Boise State guard dismissed after felony drive-by shooting arrest

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 10 days ago

    Boise State announced Thursday afternoon that it had dismissed junior guard Dezmyn Trent as a result of an "incident in his hometown of Tacoma, Wash."

    Turns out the use of the word incident was quite an understatement.

    Trent was arrested and booked by the Lakewood, Wash. police early Thursday morning in relation to a felony drive-by shooting, according to the Pierce County Corrections website

    A Lakewood spokesman told the Idaho Statesman that Trent was one of four men arrested after two shootings Wednesday night that police believe to be gang-related. A total of almost 30 shots were fired in the two alleged incidents, but nobody was injured.

    Boise State coach Leon Rice did not immediately return a message seeking comment Friday morning. He released a statement Thursday explaining the decision to dismiss Trent.

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  • Chris Webber's slavery analogy takes a fair argument too far

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 12 days ago

    Throw a camera in front of someone's face at frenzied Los Angeles International Airport. Pepper him or her with random questions they're often ill-prepared to answer.

    TMZ has a proven formula for coaxing headline-worthy soundbites out of unsuspecting celebrities, and Chris Webber became the latest victim Tuesday.

    Asked about the National Labor Relations Board's ruling that the Northwestern football team did not have the right to unionize, Webber told TMZ he vehemently disagreed with the decision. While explaining himself, he also made a regrettable analogy, citing another player who compared the plight of modern-day college athletes to slavery.

    "I definitely think student-athletes have the right to make sure they can take care of each other," Webber told TMZ. "Bill Russell told me any system that gets free labor is slavery, so I'm sure they have a right to unionize. I'm going to be interested in following college kids (and what they do after this decision).

    The other problem is that Webber is simply the wrong guy to be delivering this message.

  • Ranking the 12 best games in next year's Tip-Off Marathon

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 13 days ago

    Instead of sprinkling the most intriguing games throughout its 24-hour Tip-Off Marathon, ESPN jammed the three best into the same four-hour window.

    The primetime time slot of the marathon will feature three of the best non-conference matchups of the season: the revival of the Maryland-Georgetown rivalry and the Champions Classic pitting Duke against Kentucky and Kansas against Michigan State.

    Those are by far the three most high-profile games of the Tip-Off Marathon, but there are a handful of other games worth watching. Here's a look at which games are worth chugging energy drinks or espressos to watch and which are nap-worthy:

    4. Baylor at Oregon (Nov. 16, 11:30 p.m. EST): One of the nation's most underrated teams may be Oregon, which has the firepower to replace high-scoring Joseph Young if freshman Tyler Dorsey and returning star Dillon Brooks meet expectations. The perimeter-oriented Ducks are an intriguing matchup for a mammoth Baylor team with a frontcourt highlighted by rebounding machine Rico Gathers.

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  • Auburn and Alabama add five-star prospects on back-to-back days

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 14 days ago

    Even though the rivalry between Auburn and Alabama will forever be associated with football, the annual hoops showdowns between the two programs may not be an afterthought much longer.

    The Tigers and Crimson Tide both landed five-star recruits in the last 48 hours, further raising hopes that both may emerge as contenders in the SEC before too long.

    On Sunday, Auburn received a commitment from Waterbury, Conn. resident Mustapha Heron, a big, strong, physical 6-foot-5 wing ranked's No. 19 prospect in the Class of 2016. On Monday, Alabama answered back with a pledge from Texas native Terrance Ferguson, an elite 6-foot-6 shooting guard rated's No. 11 prospect in the class of 2016.

    The recruiting coups further validate the investments Auburn and Alabama made on splashy coaching hires the past two springs.

    By any measure, Pearl's first 18 months at Auburn have been a success.

    @C_Chellle thanks mom. Love you!!! Really needed that at the moment

  • Discovery of new evidence to delay North Carolina's response to NCAA

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 17 days ago

    Only days before North Carolina had been slated to respond to the Notice of Allegations sent by the NCAA earlier this summer, the school revealed it has uncovered new evidence that threatens to substantially delay the process.

    North Carolina announced on Friday it has notified the NCAA that it has found "additional examples of possible instances of improper academic assistance provided to a few former women’s basketball players." The Tar Heels also discovered "potential recruiting violations in the men’s soccer program that allegedly occurred over the past two years."

    The new findings give North Carolina reason to delay submitting its response to the Notice of Allegations, which had been due by next Tuesday. It's unclear what the new timetable will be, but the statement North Carolina released indicated both school officials and the NCAA are confident the review of the new data can be concluded within 60 days.

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