Wednesday, March 30, 2011

UConn does this and Calhoun gets 3 game suspension?

SLAM Magazine has an article on Nate Miles that further implicates UConn coach Jim Calhoun in this whole mess. I'm posting some excerpts but you really need to read it in full. I'd hate to be a UConn fan because they got lucky with Calhoun getting a 3 game suspension.
Lost in the hype, though, is that Walker wasn’t even the most coveted recruit in his freshman dorm room. That honor would belong to his roommate, Nate Miles, whose highly-publicized expulsion from UConn and ostracism from the big-time college basketball world is keeping him in the same place he started: Toledo, Ohio.

Connecticut head basketball coach Jim Calhoun said that Miles had “as much basketball ability” as any recruit he’d brought to UConn, a tall statement for a program that has won two national titles and produced the likes of Ray Allen, Richard Hamilton and Rudy Gay.[...]

But whereas scoring on the court was easy for Miles, scoring points on tests was a totally different matter. Miles’ poor grades forced his legal guardian to move him—he attended five schools in four states, to be exact—so that he could stay eligible to earn a D-I offer. In short, it worked. While playing for Texas Cornerstone in 2006, Miles lit up a Chicago tournament with a 40-point performance and a half-court buzzer-beater that earned him the undivided attention of Connecticut assistant coach Tom Moore.

Moore introduced Miles to a man named Josh Nochimson. As a former UConn team manager who was Richard Hamilton’s business manager as well as Luol Deng’s agent, Nochimson being anywhere near Miles was an NCAA violation.

“Right after the game, Tom Moore introduced me to (Nochimson) and got me on the phone with him. Ever since that day, we were just connected,” Miles said.

Eight days after first speaking with Nochimson, Miles committed to UConn.

“Coach Calhoun told me that I had a chance to be a great player,” Miles said, “all I had to do was listen to him.”

Unfortunately for Miles, he took Calhoun’s advice.[...]

One of the journalists who started digging was Dan Wetzel, author of Sole Influence and Yahoo! Sports columnist.

“Rip was willing to do a story about (Nochimson) because he thought a lot of guys were getting ripped off, for lack of a better term. We wanted to know where his money went,” Wetzel said. “Well, we heard he was taking Rip Hamilton’s money and using it as feed money to get his agency going by paying college kids.

“We were going to do a story on what a weird business (it was), stealing from your one client to get the younger kid. Probably, his most dedicated client was Nate Miles.”

Along with Adrian Wojnarowski, Wetzel unearthed all the incriminating evidence involved with the situation. Phone records showed that Nochimson, an illegal recruiter by every NCAA standard, was regularly in contact with Miles and the UConn coaching staff.

“You had UConn, (which) knew about them having the relationship, then you have phone records where they were clearly in contact—they were averaging, like, three calls a day between some member of the staff and Nochimson—there’s no way you’re talking to somebody three times a day for three years and not know what’s going on,” Wetzel said.

UConn released a bizarre press release acknowledging the situation, referring to Miles only as “the student-athlete mentioned in the article” and saying Miles “departed” from the school before playing a game.[...]

“They knew—Coach Calhoun and everybody on that staff and everybody at the University of Connecticut knew—that the story was going to break with Josh, so they railroaded me out of there,” Miles said. “Coach Calhoun, no disrespect to him, he’s a good guy, he showed he cared about me while I was there, but they expelled me because—this is how I feel—because they knew that story was going to drop with Josh.”

Even after the NCAA investigation, the Connecticut brass hardly suffered. Calhoun was ordered to serve a pathetic three-game suspension, but he gets to serve it next year after UConn’s money-making games in the Big East Tournament and the NCAA Tournament. Tom Moore, who not only looked the other way, but initiated Miles’ relationship with Nochimson, actually made money in the long run. He took the head coaching job at Quinnipiac and suffered no consequences. He coached the Bobcats to a second-place finish in the Northeast Conference this past season.[...]

“I was doing what (UConn) was telling me to do. Calhoun and everybody on that staff knew Josh was doing that stuff for me. Everybody knew,” Miles said. “They were talking to Josh as much as I was talking to Josh, but at the end of the day, the only ones who lose are me and Josh.”

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