Tuesday, January 13, 2009

the numbers don't add up

First, a number that adds up real nice: Sylven Landesberg's fifth Rookie of the Week award. No truth to the rumor that this is going to be renamed the Landesberg Trophy at the end of the year. It's too early to call Sylven a lock for ACC Rookie of the Year, but the guy who took that honor in the preseason, Wake's Al-Farouq Aminu, is doing well but overshadowed by Jeff Teague. Teague happens to be shooting 54% from three-land, which is like stupid good, so needless to say Aminu is not Wake's featured scoring option.

Now for the new math. The RTD's Jeff White did some arithmetic and doesn't like what he sees. I don't either. The short version is that we have too many scholarship players. White counts 66 of 'em, and that's not including Rico Bell, who is transferring, and Patrick Slebonick and Jason Fuller, who were not asked back. There are 23 verbal commits for this year - do the math and that means 89 scholarships. The obvious catch is that pesky limit of 85.

So how do we get down to 85? Some things may happen. The university might get some very timely "additional information" available in the Rashawn Jackson burglary case. Tyree Watkins might decommit. Someone in the '09 class might become academically ineligible - White says there's one member of the class who "has yet to meet NCAA eligibility standards" and I am shamed to say I don't know who that is, although I have an edjimacated guess: Javanti Sparrow had to retake the SAT. And then, we still have absolutely zero idea what's going on with Sean Gottschalk.

That would drop us to 85 right there, if all four of those players drop out of the picture, but that's also assuming no more '09 commitments. And then, what if Sparrow gets his SAT results back and he dominated that mother? And what if Gottschalk gets healthy, or Watkins goes home from his official visit this weekend and liked it so much he sets up an altar to Thomas Jefferson? Looking into my ridiculously foggy crystal ball, I'm guessing that we have four DE's in this class because Gottschalk won't be playing any more, and that Jackson will be gone too. But the really skeezy uncomfortable part about this is that, even if there's no shadeballing going on behind the scenes or sudden runs on academic stringency, the staff is placed in the really awkward position of rooting for attrition so they don't have to force kids out.

It's a really tough dance that coaching staffs have to do every year - you want all 85 spots filled for depth and competitiveness purposes, but you're always going to have attrition and you can't very easily predict it. But we're going to get to 85 no matter what, which means, brace for some departures over the spring and summer. And honestly I'd rather have 83 or 84 scholarship players one year than have our coaches in the position where they might be forced to do wrong by a player because they overshot their mark.

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