Odds and Ends

As I’m sure everyone saw earlier this week, Luol Deng declared himself eligible for the NBA draft. He said that he isn’t going to sign with an agent, but there’s no chance in hell that he’s coming back to Duke. None. Baring some disastrous event, he’ll be drafted in the top five. He knows it too, so I’m not really sure why he’s doing it this way. Maybe he felt it would assuage the feelings at Duke. If so, it didn’t work. Check the comments at the bottom of this article from Duke’s paper, The Chronicle.
In other Dukie-going-pro news, 6’7″ point guard Shaun Livingston has not yet announced his intentions. It sounds very much like he’ll be in Durham next year though. His father and grandfather really want him to go to Duke, and so does his high school coach. It’s hard to believe he would go against all of their wishes. I have to say, I’m very impressed with his dad. It sounds like this kid’s getting some good guidance, something that’s often lacking for top athletes.
The only other ACC player, or really ACC-to-be player, with NBA aspirations for next season is UNC recruit JR Smith. All signs have been pointing toward his entering the draft, but there has been no official word yet. Evidently, he has a press conference scheduled for Monday. The press conference will be held at his high school. Hmmm. Sounds like he won’t be wearing Carolina blue next year. I think he’s making a big mistake. Yeah, he played a couple of good All Star games, but scouts have already gotten over that. He’ll probably be a late first rounder. That’s certainly good money, but if he were to play at Carolina a couple of years, he might join the line of wing guard greats (Jordan, Stackhouse, Carter (and McCants?)) and go in the top five.
At UVA, a sad story is coming to a sad end. Pete Gillen decided not to offer a scholarship to Majestic Mapp for his last season. Mapp has already been at UVA five years, but because of his series of knee injuries, has only played three seasons. He has already graduated. Instead of moving on with the rest of his life, Mapp has decided to enroll at Division II State University of West Georgia next year and play out his last year of eligibility. I can’t decide if it’s great that he still wants to play or sad that he can’t move on. It’s definitely too bad that he won’t get to finish up at UVA, but then it probably wouldn’t have been too fun for him to ride the bench in his last year. UVA will have two good, young point guards next year and Mapp is just no longer an ACC-caliber guard. I hope Majestic has a great year and a great life. He really seems like a good kid who had a rough break.
In other UVA point guard news, TJ Bannister was arrested for his involvement in a fight on campus. The arrest continues a recent tradition for Virginia point guards.
The NCAA approved sweeping changes to their academic requirements. I already wrote about my thoughts on the changes. They actually addressed some of my concerns, including how transfers are counted. All in all, I think the changes are good. I’m concerned about the risk of fraud and the increased bureaucracy, but it’s a big step in the right direction. I like that the NCAA finally has their sights on cleaning up the academic side of things.
Lastly, I want to talk a little more about the bizarre Mike Danton case. Nothing that I’ve written about has brought nearly as many search hits as this Mike Danton case. Maybe I should switch the focus of this site from ACC sports to homicidal, closeted professional hockey players. To be fair though, it’s looking more and more like this isn’t as simple as a gay player trying to whack his lover before he rats him out. Instead, it looks like Danton was trying to kill David Frost, his agent and Svengali. From the sound of it, like I wrote before, Frost completely controlled Danton and likely abused him. It may well be that Frost sexually abused Danton when he was younger and then used that fear and power to control Danton over the years. Even if there wasn’t a sexual relationship, it’s clear that Frost is a dangerous man and that he used some powerful methods to control and intimidate the players on his teams. It’s no surprise that one of them felt the only way out was to kill Frost. It’s just like a battered wife shooting her dirtbag husband in his sleep. It’s too bad that Danton’s the only one facing federal charges.

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