Nitt Picks Is Getting Out Of The Way

Loads of conference expansion news this morning, but first, some stuff a little closer to home.

Sporting News Preseason Awards

The Sporting News named Stefen Wisniewski a pre-season first team All-American, a nice accolade for a guy who's been playing positional musical chairs since he got to Happy Valley.

In addition, Evan Royster and Drew Astorino were named pre-season first team All-Big Ten, so congratulations to them as well.

Basket-Blahll

Now onto some kind of old basketball news that slipped through the cracks in the last couple of weeks...

As psume06 first reported, Trey Burke has re-opened his recruitment.  Burke is a 6'1" point guard out of Columbus who had committed to Penn State in the fall.  Why pull out?  Well, we stink apparently, or so reports David Jones.

It's another blow for a program already reeling from two transfer defections of onetime starters Chris Babb (who just committed to Iowa State) and Bill Edwards. This time, the reasons were clear and acknowledged. According to Mr. Burke, his son is neither sure Penn State can win nor that PSU head coach Ed DeChellis and the prime recruiter on Burke, assistant Lewis Preston, would be around when Burke was set to arrive in the fall of 2011:

...

Added Mr. Burke: "Of course, we want to win, play at a Big Ten level, and get a great education. Trey felt he had all but one of those at Penn State."

Ouch. 

Really not a whole lot of ways to shine this, and with reports that Butler has come back after him, you can't really dispute the fact that he has a better change to win on a high level in Indianapolis.

Moving on, some not-so-glowing reviews of new Lion Jonathan Graham are surfacing.  This David Jones report May 14 is especially damning.

The guy whose opinion I respect more than any other on Maryland kids is that of Tom Strickler, a longtime analyst along the mid-Atlantic. Strickler not only lives in Baltimore but his condo is across the street from Calvert Hall. He saw Graham, son of former Maryland Terrapin Ernest Graham (1978-81), 12-15 times by his own estimate last season. Further, Strickler is an unfailingly upbeat and optimistic guy.

And he has nothing but questions about Graham. So, do most others or Penn State wouldn't have been fighting with the likes of Duquesne to land him.

...

Strickler sees it this way: "Jonathan has decent hands and he can run. But he has to get much stronger and more active. If he can't bang down low, which he hasn't shown he can do much, he has to learn how to do some other things, maybe develop a jump shot out past 10 or 12 feet."

So far, the word then is the dreaded "soft," not something you wanna hear about a 6-8 guy. But that's how Strickler described Graham. And that's the last thing his dad was. Funny how that works.

After a few weeks of some luke-warm feelings, it's clear things still aren't much better in the basketball offices.  That said, let's not get too down on Graham yet.  He likely isn't going to see a whole lot of time this winter behind the senior forwards and Sasa Borovnjak.  Hopefully this will give him some time to grow and shed this "soft" label. 

Spanier

On the heels of his big extension, Graham Spanier whispers sweet nothings into the ear of the BCS.

"I think the BCS has been good for college football," Spanier said. "It does work, despite what some critics might say. I think it’s the best mechanism we have out there to match up the No. 1 and No. 2 teams at the end of the season. We have this very positive thing in the eyes of a lot of people, which is a game for the national championship.

"There is not going to be a playoff. It’s just not going to happen. The presidents of our universities are not going to go for it. We’re the ones that have the say.

"I’m not just talking about a few of us on the BCS board. I’m talking about so-called Division I-A major college football school presidents, 120 or so of us are not inclined to go in that direction."

Good to see the guy who was rumored to be a front runner to take over for Myles Brand as NCAA President is so in touch with the stability of a system that probably hasn't been less stable since it was instituted.

In Scores Of Other Games

  • Heath Johnson joins Ben Heath on his way into professional baseball after being selected by the New York Yankees in the 45th round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player draft yesterday. [gopsusports.com]
  • Jeremiah Masoli is a Duck no longer [Yahoo!]
  • USC Sanctions Coming down today?  ESPN says two year post-season ban, and a reduction of as many as 20 scholarships. 
  • Add our Facebook and Twitter pages today
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