The more roadblocks that get thrown in Jim Calhoun's way, the more I wonder how much of this is worth it for the 68-year-old coach. He could very easily be retired, living the good life on the water up in his native area of Boston and never having to deal with those inferior human beings: beat reporters.
But more trouble is appearing over the horizon. On Friday, the Hartford Courant's Mike Anthony scooped that underwhelming 23-year-old freshman Ater Majok was probably on his way out at Connecticut.
Ater Majok’s playing career at UConn has likely ended, multiple sources have told The Courant. Coach Jim Calhoun said that is a distinct possibility, but not a done deal.
“We’re talking to Ater about his future, yeah,” Calhoun said. “That’s all I can say. He hasn’t made any decision yet, but he could certainly go back and play in the Australian professional league. Nothing’s been determined yet, but there’s a chance that kind of thing could happen.”
If you look at Majok's Twitter profile, you'll see two indications of his impending move: the first being a tweet draped in vagueness from last Thursday; the second a re-tweet that mentions Australia — where he played professionally before enrolling at UConn. It's presumed that's where he'd return if he left Storrs.
The motive? Majok has a massive family in the Sudan. They are likely angst-ridden in waiting for Majok to help support them. The plans for Majok were to bolster his NBA cred by attending a pro-feeder of a program like UConn, which has put out as much NBA talent as almost any other school in the past 15 years.
Still, Majok's departure may not be nearly as damaging as the possibility of losing scholarships which, according to one recruit, is happening.
Angelo Chol responded to a question on Twitter (you see how much transparency this is bringing to collegiate athletics?), complete with a misspelling of the word "scholarships." Somehow it was fitting.
This is all coming to a head, as UConn is expected to formally announce on Friday its response to the allegations the NCAA put on the school in the wake of the Nate Miles controversy. With that around the corner, it's possible Chol's tweet is a sign of things to come, that UConn will wave the white flag and surrender multiple scholarships in 2011.
Whatever UConn's response is, it's likely Calhoun's twilight years with the program will be defined by that response.
If Majok goes, UConn probably won’t be too affected. He put up 2.3 points and three boards in less than 15 minutes per game last year. I saw UConn in person a few times, and he was the definition of an afterthought on both sides of the floor.
But losing scholarships now? With Calhoun creeping in on 70? That's not a problem, it's quicksand. When players are not necessarily taking you off of their lists so much as they are resigning to the fact there's no room for them, permeation in the recruiting circles could occur. As you'll see in the Dagger's Big East preview next month, UConn will have a lot of holes to fill from last season, even if the production was shaky at best. This may be too much for Calhoun to overcome at this stage of his coaching career.