”Yoni over at College Basketball wrote a little blurb a while back about the new contract that Coach Jimmy Collins got from Illinois-Chicago. There’s nothing too exciting about what Yoni wrote or the article he linked to. A good small-school coach got an extension.
To me though, it brought back an old memory.
[cue wavy memory lines here and Wayne’s World-style music – doodle-do, doodle-do, doodle-do]
As I alluded to in my What’s This? page, I went to college at Washington University in St. Louis. I lived in Virginia, but decided to spend most of my summers in St. Louis because my that’s where my girlfriend lived. I had a job on campus, so it made sense to just stay there instead of going back home. One summer, I think it was 1990, my girlfriend (now my wife) had a job as a campus tour guide. She’d give tours several days a week to prospective students and their families. One night a week, the tour guides hosted an open house on campus. There would be cookies and soft drinks and prospective students and their parents could meet all the tour guides and grill them. My girlfriend made me go to these things.
I didn’t really want to go. I didn’t know all the facts about the school, like when it was founded, who the first Dean was, or how many Nobel Laureates it had. I did know what fraternities threw the best parties and what bars were easy to sneak into, but no one ever asked me those things. So, mostly, I would hang out and eat cookies. Occasionally, a prospective engineering student would track me down and ask some questions. Somehow, it turned out that none of the gregarious tour guides were in the Engineering school. Go figure.
So, one night I’m there hanging out and stuffing myself on free cookies (for a college student, that’s like fancy dining) and one of the parents, a dad, came over to chat with me. Actually, I don’t think he really came over, but we both drifted out of the conversation clusters and found ourselves by the cookies. He was there with his wife and daughter and was about as interested in talking about Wash U as I was. So, we talked sports.
He and his family were from Champaign, Illinois. He told me this after I asked about his University of Illinois polo shirt. I believe he said that he worked for the school, but it may just be that he was a big fan.
Now, this summer, Illinois had been in the news a lot. The St. Louis papers always followed the Illini fairly closely. The school wasn’t too far away and it is a big rival of The University of Missouri. This summer though, the news wasn’t about Illini wins and losses; it was about the big recruiting scandal. Illinois basketball was in the midst of a good run of years, including a Final Four in 1989. They had some great players like Kendall Gill, Kenny Battle, Nick Anderson and Marcus Liberty. And Deon Thomas.
Deon Thomas. He was the one that the news was about that summer. Specifically, allegations were flying around that his recruitment had been tainted. The rumors were that Illinois had offered him a large sum of money, something like $50,000 and a car, a Chevy Blazer I think. The man at Illinois that was being blamed was assistant coach Jimmy Collins. Collins had been given credit for bringing most of the Illini talent, particularly players from Chicago. Deon Thomas was one of those Chicago players.
So back to that night – there was no way that summer to talk about Illinois sports and not bring up the scandal and the ongoing NCAA investigation. So, I asked this guy, we’ll call him Bob, about this. He smiled at me as if he’d been waiting for me to ask. “Oh yeah, I know all about it. Jimmy Collins is a good friend of mine,” Bob said. “We play racquetball a couple of times a week.” Bob was a fit-looking guy, a black guy if that matters, so this seemed reasonable.
Now I was curious. His mischievous grin told me that he had a story. “So,” I asked, “is it true?”
Bob barely let me finish the question before he blurted out, “Oh yeah. It’s all true, the 50 grand, the Blazer, all of that. In fact, they don’t know all of it. But they’ll never find anything. They won’t find any evidence. Jimmy’ll get off.” Bob was positively beaming with this news. He thought it was pretty damn funny. His boy was gonna pull the wool over the NCAA’s eyes.
Later that summer, Bob was proven right. The NCAA never did come up with a smoking gun in the Deon Thomas case. The closest they got was a phone conversation that Iowa assistant coach Bruce Pearl recorded with Deon Thomas. Thomas told Pearl that Illinois had offered him illegal benefits. Legal proceedings about the legality of the phone call tied the case up in court for a while. In typical NCAA fashion, they couldn’t find the big stuff, so they found a lot of little things instead. Eventually, the NCAA handed out their findings, finding Illinois guilty, but not hitting them hard. Illinois couldn’t play in the postseason for a year and they lost some recruiting privileges for a few years. Collins was placed under some sort of probation as well, but didn’t lose his job.
Every time I read stories about Jimmy Collins now, especially when he complains about Bruce Pearl, I think about Bob. His boy got off and is now a head coach with a bright future. I think Bob

¨The other day, when word came out that Ohio State had abruptly fired head basketball coach Jim O’Brien, I said that there was more to the story than what had come out so far. The word at the time was that O’Brien had given some money to a desperate recruit, but that the recruit had never actually gone to Ohio State. Sounds bad, but not necessarily something you fire someone over immediately.
Well, there was more to the story.
It turns out the the story involves not only paying that player, Aleksandar Radojevic, over $6,000. It also includes allegations of payments to another player, Slobodan Savovic, forging schoolwork, changing grades and illegal contacts with agents. SI.com has a pretty good rundown of the sordid affair, as does espn.com.
As for the guy they paid, Radojevic, O’Brien’s attorney implied that he didn’t choose to attend Ohio State, so the money was really irrelevent. Well, that’s not exactly accurate. In fact, Radojevic signed with the Buckeyes, but was ruled inelgible by the NCAA for playing pro ball in Yugoslavia. I guess he was playing pro ball in the states too. Radojevic was no slouch, as he was later picked #12 in the NBA draft.
Some of the really interesting parts of the details are how much they tried to hide the money trail. An assistant coach, Paul Biancardi, arranged via some boosters, Dan and Kim Roslovic, to have Savovic taken care of (wink, wink) by a friend of theirs. The money flowed indirectly through the coach to Savovic via the third party, Kathleen Salyers, through different means, including a scheme where she’d write checks at a gas station for way more than the price of her tank and get cash back.
The only reason the whole affair was brought to light is that Salyers claims that the Roslovics didn’t repay her for much of what she spent on Savovic. Salyers sued the Roslovics and the depositions of the various parties included most of these claims.
Side note: my favorite part of the details is where booster Dan Roslovic comes down the stairs of his house to find his wife making out with 18-year-old Savovic. Man, what won’t the boosters do for their schools!
So, it’s a pretty seedy mess. And O’Brien was supposed to be one of the good guys in the sport! (thanks for the link, Yoni) With this and last summer’s Baylor scandal, also from a supposed “good guy,” it really makes you wonder. Who’s clean? Who’s dirty? It’s hard to say. One thing for certain though is that if any of these claims can be substantiated, Ohio State is going to take a beating from the NCAA.
ps. One of the allegations is that agent Marc Cornstein had very close access to the Ohio State team. Well, check out the website for Cornstein’s agency. He has about every player out there whose name ends in “ic.” And Scoonie Penn. Obviously Cornstein is tight with a lot of players from the former Yugoslavia. You may notice also that Ohio State has had quite a few players from that region in recent years. At least four of those players, Savovic, Pavlovic, Slobodan Ocokoljic and Velimir Radi

¨The other day, when word came out that Ohio State had abruptly fired head basketball coach Jim O’Brien, I said that there was more to the story than what had come out so far. The word at the time was that O’Brien had given some money to a desperate recruit, but that the recruit had never actually gone to Ohio State. Sounds bad, but not necessarily something you fire someone over immediately.
Well, there was more to the story.
It turns out the the story involves not only paying that player, Aleksandar Radojevic, over $6,000. It also includes allegations of payments to another player, Slobodan Savovic, forging schoolwork, changing grades and illegal contacts with agents. SI.com has a pretty good rundown of the sordid affair, as does espn.com.
As for the guy they paid, Radojevic, O’Brien’s attorney implied that he didn’t choose to attend Ohio State, so the money was really irrelevent. Well, that’s not exactly accurate. In fact, Radojevic signed with the Buckeyes, but was ruled inelgible by the NCAA for playing pro ball in Yugoslavia. I guess he was playing pro ball in the states too. Radojevic was no slouch, as he was later picked #12 in the NBA draft.
Some of the really interesting parts of the details are how much they tried to hide the money trail. An assistant coach, Paul Biancardi, arranged via some boosters, Dan and Kim Roslovic, to have Savovic taken care of (wink, wink) by a friend of theirs. The money flowed indirectly through the coach to Savovic via the third party, Kathleen Salyers, through different means, including a scheme where she’d write checks at a gas station for way more than the price of her tank and get cash back.
The only reason the whole affair was brought to light is that Salyers claims that the Roslovics didn’t repay her for much of what she spent on Savovic. Salyers sued the Roslovics and the depositions of the various parties included most of these claims.
Side note: my favorite part of the details is where booster Dan Roslovic comes down the stairs of his house to find his wife making out with 18-year-old Savovic. Man, what won’t the boosters do for their schools!
So, it’s a pretty seedy mess. And O’Brien was supposed to be one of the good guys in the sport! (thanks for the link, Yoni) With this and last summer’s Baylor scandal, also from a supposed “good guy,” it really makes you wonder. Who’s clean? Who’s dirty? It’s hard to say. One thing for certain though is that if any of these claims can be substantiated, Ohio State is going to take a beating from the NCAA.
ps. One of the allegations is that agent Marc Cornstein had very close access to the Ohio State team. Well, check out the website for Cornstein’s agency. He has about every player out there whose name ends in “ic.” And Scoonie Penn. Obviously Cornstein is tight with a lot of players from the former Yugoslavia. You may notice also that Ohio State has had quite a few players from that region in recent years. At least four of those players, Savovic, Pavlovic, Slobodan Ocokoljic and Velimir Radi

½I haven’t had any one topic in my head recently that’s worthy of its own entry, so I’m going the pot luck supper route. Little bit of everything here.
—————
I loved reading about JR Smith and how he used his performances in the high school All Star games as the ultimate sign that he was ready for the NBA. High school All Star games? You mean those ones where a bunch of guys who’ve never played together get out there and throw each other alley-oops? Those “no defense allowed” games? That’s some great thinking there, JR! In fact, I read yesterday that Frankie Munoz, fresh off his stellar performance in MTV’s Rock and Jock hoops game, has declared for the draft as well. He’s projected as a mid second round pick.
—————
So, Dick Vitale is “amazed” that no one has jumped to hire Matt Doherty yet. I can just see the interview – “Matt, we really like your hair, but we’re concerned about this last entry on your resume. Now, can you possibly explain how you managed to screw up one of the easiest, most powerful jobs in the business? Didn’t you have immediate access to the living rooms of every top prospect in the country? Didn’t you have immediate access to Dean Smith, one of the top minds in college basketball history? Weren’t you taking over a program that had just been to two Final Fours in the previous three years and still had enough talent to be ranked #1 in your first year? Didn’t you manage to piss off every single person in and around the basketball program, including Dean, the nicest man in America? Can you explain all of this?”
Yeah, I’m shocked too, Dick.
—————
So, this past weekend I go to take a leak. As I’m getting ready, I see something no one should ever see down there. A tick. Of all the places to find a blood-sucking parasite, that’s way down on the bottom of the list. I hope I don’t get Rocky Mountain Spotted Dick.
Incidentally, that’s only the second worst taking-a-leak discovery of mine. A few years ago, not long after moving into my new house, I was doing some yardwork – trimming shrubs, pulling weeds, etc. At some point, I went inside to take a leak. Well, nothing too bad happened then. Or so I thought. A few days later, I found out (the hard way) that my yard has poison ivy. Talk about the itch that you just can’t scratch.
—————
I still get tons of search hits to my site from people looking for news on the Mike Danton case. So, this update’s for you, my Google searchers.
About two weeks ago, Mike Danton called a reporter at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and read a two-page statement written on a yellow legal pad. Danton wouldn’t budge from the script of the statement and reread some passages twice to make sure the reporter got the words verbatim. Among other things, the statement praised David Frost, the controlling psychopath that Danton tried to have killed, and criticized Danton’s family. David Frost was sitting with Danton as he read the statement (and Danton’s attorney had no idea this was happening). Gee, that sounds perfectly normal, right? Is there even the slightest chance that David Frost didn’t write that statement himself?
Fortunately, the judge in the case had some common sense and ordered Frost to stay away from Danton. You just don’t need the guy who completely control’s Danton’s life, the guy who Danton decided he needed to have killed, in there meddling with Danton’s trial. Actually, a better idea would be to chuck Frost in the clink as well, and let him try his mind control techniques on Bubba, his cellmate.
A few days ago, a judge denied bail for Danton, meaning he must stay in jail until his trial. That’s a fairly unusual step, but in this case, the judge feared that Danton would flee or kill himself. It was probably a wise choice, although it sucks for Danton.
Some interesting stuff came out of the bail hearing, namely that in the 12 days that Danton was held in a jail in California after being arrested, he talked to Frost on the phone 79 times. 79 times!
That Frost is one scary dude. I like hearing the prosecutors in the case talk about possible Obstruction of Justice charges for him. He’s the real bad guy in this case, not Mike Danton.
—————
In this week’s Sports Illustrated, they had a little article about Duke’s women’s golf team. SI compared them to the best women’s teams of all time and determined that this year’s Duke team was the best women’s golf team ever.
Whoops.
This weekend, the best team ever came in third in the NCAA championships. That’s why you wait to write those articles until after a team actually accomplishes something.
I suppose in this week’s SI, we’ll find out that the ’92 UNLV team was the best college basketball team ever.
—————
Jay Bilas has a nice article up on espn.com (thanks Yoni!) about the myth that college basketball coaches can’t make it in the NBA. He does a good job describing thoughts I’ve had on the subject. His main points are that college coaches usually take over bad teams and that most NBA coaches “fail.” Teams wouldn’t be hiring new coaches if the last one had done a good job (well, unless it’s Detroit). And look at how many NBA coaches get fired every year. According to the standard that says that Lon Kruger, Rick Pitino and John Calipari are failures, so are Byron Scott, Lenny Wilkens (how many times has that guy been fired?), Dick Motta, Hubie Brown, and just about every NBA coach out there.
I’m not saying all college coaches are cut out for the NBA, but to say that the NBA is much harder than college is ludicrous. If anything, it’s easier, because they don’t have as many different styles to coach against and they don’t have to (well, maybe they should, but that’s a different story) spend time teaching individual skills.
—————
No ACC teams made the men’s lacrosse Final Four (but Virginia won the women’s title). Syracuse did make it though, for the 22nd time in a row. Even though there aren’t that

½I haven’t had any one topic in my head recently that’s worthy of its own entry, so I’m going the pot luck supper route. Little bit of everything here.
—————
I loved reading about JR Smith and how he used his performances in the high school All Star games as the ultimate sign that he was ready for the NBA. High school All Star games? You mean those ones where a bunch of guys who’ve never played together get out there and throw each other alley-oops? Those “no defense allowed” games? That’s some great thinking there, JR! In fact, I read yesterday that Frankie Munoz, fresh off his stellar performance in MTV’s Rock and Jock hoops game, has declared for the draft as well. He’s projected as a mid second round pick.
—————
So, Dick Vitale is “amazed” that no one has jumped to hire Matt Doherty yet. I can just see the interview – “Matt, we really like your hair, but we’re concerned about this last entry on your resume. Now, can you possibly explain how you managed to screw up one of the easiest, most powerful jobs in the business? Didn’t you have immediate access to the living rooms of every top prospect in the country? Didn’t you have immediate access to Dean Smith, one of the top minds in college basketball history? Weren’t you taking over a program that had just been to two Final Fours in the previous three years and still had enough talent to be ranked #1 in your first year? Didn’t you manage to piss off every single person in and around the basketball program, including Dean, the nicest man in America? Can you explain all of this?”
Yeah, I’m shocked too, Dick.
—————
So, this past weekend I go to take a leak. As I’m getting ready, I see something no one should ever see down there. A tick. Of all the places to find a blood-sucking parasite, that’s way down on the bottom of the list. I hope I don’t get Rocky Mountain Spotted Dick.
Incidentally, that’s only the second worst taking-a-leak discovery of mine. A few years ago, not long after moving into my new house, I was doing some yardwork – trimming shrubs, pulling weeds, etc. At some point, I went inside to take a leak. Well, nothing too bad happened then. Or so I thought. A few days later, I found out (the hard way) that my yard has poison ivy. Talk about the itch that you just can’t scratch.
—————
I still get tons of search hits to my site from people looking for news on the Mike Danton case. So, this update’s for you, my Google searchers.
About two weeks ago, Mike Danton called a reporter at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and read a two-page statement written on a yellow legal pad. Danton wouldn’t budge from the script of the statement and reread some passages twice to make sure the reporter got the words verbatim. Among other things, the statement praised David Frost, the controlling psychopath that Danton tried to have killed, and criticized Danton’s family. David Frost was sitting with Danton as he read the statement (and Danton’s attorney had no idea this was happening). Gee, that sounds perfectly normal, right? Is there even the slightest chance that David Frost didn’t write that statement himself?
Fortunately, the judge in the case had some common sense and ordered Frost to stay away from Danton. You just don’t need the guy who completely control’s Danton’s life, the guy who Danton decided he needed to have killed, in there meddling with Danton’s trial. Actually, a better idea would be to chuck Frost in the clink as well, and let him try his mind control techniques on Bubba, his cellmate.
A few days ago, a judge denied bail for Danton, meaning he must stay in jail until his trial. That’s a fairly unusual step, but in this case, the judge feared that Danton would flee or kill himself. It was probably a wise choice, although it sucks for Danton.
Some interesting stuff came out of the bail hearing, namely that in the 12 days that Danton was held in a jail in California after being arrested, he talked to Frost on the phone 79 times. 79 times!
That Frost is one scary dude. I like hearing the prosecutors in the case talk about possible Obstruction of Justice charges for him. He’s the real bad guy in this case, not Mike Danton.
—————
In this week’s Sports Illustrated, they had a little article about Duke’s women’s golf team. SI compared them to the best women’s teams of all time and determined that this year’s Duke team was the best women’s golf team ever.
Whoops.
This weekend, the best team ever came in third in the NCAA championships. That’s why you wait to write those articles until after a team actually accomplishes something.
I suppose in this week’s SI, we’ll find out that the ’92 UNLV team was the best college basketball team ever.
—————
Jay Bilas has a nice article up on espn.com (thanks Yoni!) about the myth that college basketball coaches can’t make it in the NBA. He does a good job describing thoughts I’ve had on the subject. His main points are that college coaches usually take over bad teams and that most NBA coaches “fail.” Teams wouldn’t be hiring new coaches if the last one had done a good job (well, unless it’s Detroit). And look at how many NBA coaches get fired every year. According to the standard that says that Lon Kruger, Rick Pitino and John Calipari are failures, so are Byron Scott, Lenny Wilkens (how many times has that guy been fired?), Dick Motta, Hubie Brown, and just about every NBA coach out there.
I’m not saying all college coaches are cut out for the NBA, but to say that the NBA is much harder than college is ludicrous. If anything, it’s easier, because they don’t have as many different styles to coach against and they don’t have to (well, maybe they should, but that’s a different story) spend time teaching individual skills.
—————
No ACC teams made the men’s lacrosse Final Four (but Virginia won the women’s title). Syracuse did make it though, for the 22nd time in a row. Even though there aren’t that

½I haven’t had any one topic in my head recently that’s worthy of its own entry, so I’m going the pot luck supper route. Little bit of everything here.
—————
I loved reading about JR Smith and how he used his performances in the high school All Star games as the ultimate sign that he was ready for the NBA. High school All Star games? You mean those ones where a bunch of guys who’ve never played together get out there and throw each other alley-oops? Those “no defense allowed” games? That’s some great thinking there, JR! In fact, I read yesterday that Frankie Munoz, fresh off his stellar performance in MTV’s Rock and Jock hoops game, has declared for the draft as well. He’s projected as a mid second round pick.
—————
So, Dick Vitale is “amazed” that no one has jumped to hire Matt Doherty yet. I can just see the interview – “Matt, we really like your hair, but we’re concerned about this last entry on your resume. Now, can you possibly explain how you managed to screw up one of the easiest, most powerful jobs in the business? Didn’t you have immediate access to the living rooms of every top prospect in the country? Didn’t you have immediate access to Dean Smith, one of the top minds in college basketball history? Weren’t you taking over a program that had just been to two Final Fours in the previous three years and still had enough talent to be ranked #1 in your first year? Didn’t you manage to piss off every single person in and around the basketball program, including Dean, the nicest man in America? Can you explain all of this?”
Yeah, I’m shocked too, Dick.
—————
So, this past weekend I go to take a leak. As I’m getting ready, I see something no one should ever see down there. A tick. Of all the places to find a blood-sucking parasite, that’s way down on the bottom of the list. I hope I don’t get Rocky Mountain Spotted Dick.
Incidentally, that’s only the second worst taking-a-leak discovery of mine. A few years ago, not long after moving into my new house, I was doing some yardwork – trimming shrubs, pulling weeds, etc. At some point, I went inside to take a leak. Well, nothing too bad happened then. Or so I thought. A few days later, I found out (the hard way) that my yard has poison ivy. Talk about the itch that you just can’t scratch.
—————
I still get tons of search hits to my site from people looking for news on the Mike Danton case. So, this update’s for you, my Google searchers.
About two weeks ago, Mike Danton called a reporter at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and read a two-page statement written on a yellow legal pad. Danton wouldn’t budge from the script of the statement and reread some passages twice to make sure the reporter got the words verbatim. Among other things, the statement praised David Frost, the controlling psychopath that Danton tried to have killed, and criticized Danton’s family. David Frost was sitting with Danton as he read the statement (and Danton’s attorney had no idea this was happening). Gee, that sounds perfectly normal, right? Is there even the slightest chance that David Frost didn’t write that statement himself?
Fortunately, the judge in the case had some common sense and ordered Frost to stay away from Danton. You just don’t need the guy who completely control’s Danton’s life, the guy who Danton decided he needed to have killed, in there meddling with Danton’s trial. Actually, a better idea would be to chuck Frost in the clink as well, and let him try his mind control techniques on Bubba, his cellmate.
A few days ago, a judge denied bail for Danton, meaning he must stay in jail until his trial. That’s a fairly unusual step, but in this case, the judge feared that Danton would flee or kill himself. It was probably a wise choice, although it sucks for Danton.
Some interesting stuff came out of the bail hearing, namely that in the 12 days that Danton was held in a jail in California after being arrested, he talked to Frost on the phone 79 times. 79 times!
That Frost is one scary dude. I like hearing the prosecutors in the case talk about possible Obstruction of Justice charges for him. He’s the real bad guy in this case, not Mike Danton.
—————
In this week’s Sports Illustrated, they had a little article about Duke’s women’s golf team. SI compared them to the best women’s teams of all time and determined that this year’s Duke team was the best women’s golf team ever.
Whoops.
This weekend, the best team ever came in third in the NCAA championships. That’s why you wait to write those articles until after a team actually accomplishes something.
I suppose in this week’s SI, we’ll find out that the ’92 UNLV team was the best college basketball team ever.
—————
Jay Bilas has a nice article up on espn.com (thanks Yoni!) about the myth that college basketball coaches can’t make it in the NBA. He does a good job describing thoughts I’ve had on the subject. His main points are that college coaches usually take over bad teams and that most NBA coaches “fail.” Teams wouldn’t be hiring new coaches if the last one had done a good job (well, unless it’s Detroit). And look at how many NBA coaches get fired every year. According to the standard that says that Lon Kruger, Rick Pitino and John Calipari are failures, so are Byron Scott, Lenny Wilkens (how many times has that guy been fired?), Dick Motta, Hubie Brown, and just about every NBA coach out there.
I’m not saying all college coaches are cut out for the NBA, but to say that the NBA is much harder than college is ludicrous. If anything, it’s easier, because they don’t have as many different styles to coach against and they don’t have to (well, maybe they should, but that’s a different story) spend time teaching individual skills.
—————
No ACC teams made the men’s lacrosse Final Four (but Virginia won the women’s title). Syracuse did make it though, for the 22nd time in a row. Even though there aren’t that