Tuesday, May 19, 2009

It's in the baggage: Kentucky gets Wall, "advisor"

Finally this kid announced what has been known for a couple of weeks now. John Wall will play of John Calipari at Kentucky next season. Part of me wishes that he had landed at Duke. Mark my words, John Wall is an NCAA violation waiting to happen. Though, admittedly, these issues seem to fall by the wayside wherever big stars are concerned, such a blemish on Duke University would have been a nice card to have in our hand. Questions surrounding the likes of O.J. Mayo, Reggie Bush and, most recently, Nate Miles have been suffieciently swept under the rug after a week or so of initial media hype in each case.

But Brian Clifton, the "advisor" to Wall is a storm on the horizon, the way I see it, for the NCAA. Google "Brian Clifton D-One coach" and you won't find a single picture of the man himself, but you'll get plenty of John Wall. Now, I'm not stupid. I know these kids have their guys. The benefits of being a college athlete abound, and the better you are, the more lucrative, and invincible, those benefits seem to be. It happens everywhere, from North Carolina to North Dakota. But, until now, it is rarely advertised. Clifton is trouble for this kid, and everyone knows it. John Wall wanted to play for Calipari all along, and was said by a source close to the situation to have decided on Kentucky weeks ago, after severing ties from Memphis when Calipari departed. Yet, as late as last week, there are reports that Wall went as far as making an informal commitment to Miami. It has been reported that if Clifton got his way, Wall would be a Blue Devil. North Carolina was rumored to show interest and schools that didn't even make any sense, like N.C. State and Baylor, were also part of the equation.

If anyone understands the distaste between Duke and North Carolina, it's me - and probably any of you who are reading this. But to let that get in the way of a decision as big as this one - especially when that decision isn't even yours to make? Clifton was quoted by N&O as follows: "I have no desire to talk to, to be involved with, to visit, to contemplate in any shape, form or fashion John Wall going to play for Roy Williams. Zero."

He told 850 The Buzz: “I don’t have any respect for Roy Williams. I encourage [my players] to play for guys that will inspire them to be good people. If you’re not a good person, you can’t make someone a good person.”

Memphis' graduation rate, had Wall gone there, was 55 percent.

Kentucky, where Wall is headed, pumps out graduates at a whopping rate of 38 percent.

North Carolina? Eighty-six percent.

The last time I checked, education is a pretty good gauge as to which programs promote character and integrity in this country. But it's not like John Wall will ever graduate anyway. From the outside looking in, Clifton's way of doing seems to parallel that of an agent. A really stupid agent. So the more the NCAA allows soap operas like this one to play out, the more the NCAA will parallel that of the NBA. Is he in it for the good of his "client?"

"Good people" certainly wouldn't be in it for the pay day, would they? And I am willing to bet that Brian Clifton is not as involved with his other players' college decisions as is with the kid that just so happens to be the next big thing.

You be the judge, since the NCAA, it appears, will not be.

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