Rose Calipari Memphis

Derrick Rose settles to avoid lawsuit from Memphis boosters

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A few Memphis boosters were ticked. Really ticked. And they would not quit.

So they threatened a lawsuit naming former Memphis player Derrick Rose, former Memphis coach John Calipari, and Memphis athletic director R.C. Johnson after the team got put on sanctions, all surrounding Rose not taking his own SATs (allegedly).

Be clear, if Calipari and Rose had fought this legal threat they would have won. Easily. But not until some ugly PR about them had come public. Not until old wounds had been re-opened. So they decided to settle, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal (via Eye on Basketball).

You got the bonus back. All $232,000 after-tax dollars. Paid to the Memphis scholarship fund. I wouldn’t have believed it if I didn’t read the confidential settlement agreement with my own eyes.

“Mr. Calipari agrees to donate the bonus he received,” it said…

Former Memphis star Derrick Rose agreed to make “a suitable donation” to the university. Memphis athletic director R.C. Johnson agreed to give back the $105,875 bonus ($71,306.81 after taxes) that most of us didn’t even know he had received.

First off, nicely done Memphis boosters. You love the winning and a should have been as shocked to see recruiting violations as Captain Renault was to see gambling in Rick’s Café. What’s more, if I’m an elite recruit now and I read how you go after former players there if you’re unhappy, I cross you off the list of potential schools.

What’s more, Rose could have been a great ambassador for the university. Now you think he wants to do that?

College recruiting is as dirty a game as you’re going to find. It’s ugly. And if those Memphis boosters want to do something useful start working for ways to clean it up nationally. This was stupid and vengeful.

PBT Extra bold prediction previews: Don’t expect more wins in Toronto

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After winning the Atlantic Division then getting thumped in the playoff two years running, the powers that be in Toronto decided it was time for a change.

The added DeMarre Carroll and made shifts to make this a more defensive-minded team, all because of dreams of playoff success (which for the Raptors would be making the second round). What this changeover is not going to mean is an improvement off the 49 regular season wins the Raptors had last season — they sacrificed some scoring to get this defense, and there is a trade-off.

That said, I still expect the Raptors to win the Atlantic. Maybe they make the second round of the playoffs (way too early to make that call).

How many regular season wins they get — and if they win a postseason series — for me is going to come down to if Jonas Valanciunas takes a step forward. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan will be strong, Carroll is an upgrade, but the big man in the middle will be the hinge for everything.

Mike Budenholzer smirks at lawyer calling Thabo Sefolosha ‘NBA superstar’

Mike Budenholzer, Thabo Sefolosha
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The funny part, via Robert Silverman:

The substantive part:

NEW YORK (AP) — NBA player Thabo Sefolosha, who was arrested outside a New York City nightclub in April following a confrontation with police officer, has a character “of the highest order,” his head coach, Mike Budenholzer, testified Thursday.

Taking the stand as the final defense witness in Sefolosha’s trial, Budenholzer described the Atlanta Hawks guard-forward as “highly intelligent” and a “hard worker.”

When asked by defense attorney Alex Spiro to describe his character, he said it was, “of the highest order.”

“Thabo is of the highest character,” he said during brief testimony in Manhattan Criminal Court.

The Swiss national is charged with misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges stemming from a confrontation with officers outside a trendy Manhattan nightclub early in the morning on April 8. He has pleaded not guilty.

Officers testified this week that Sefolosha and former teammate Pero Antic repeatedly disobeyed their orders to move off the block and away from a crime scene that had been established following the earlier stabbing of another NBA player, Chris Copeland, and two women.

One of the officers also said Sefolosha lunged at an officer with his arm extended but was intercepted before making contact, eventually taken to the ground and arrested.

Sefolosha has testified that he was complying with orders and moving up the block as a particularly aggressive officer screamed profanities at him.

His attorney has argued that his client was singled out by the officer, who is white, because Sefolosha is black.

Sefolosha testified Thursday that he was trying to give money to a panhandler before entering an awaiting car when he was grabbed by police. He said his leg was kicked in the scuffle and he was taken to the ground, handcuffed and hauled to a police precinct. He suffered a fractured right leg, which forced him to miss the playoffs.

The case is the second one involving high-profile athletes accusing New York Police Department officers of wrongdoing this year. On Wednesday, the city agency charged with investigating police misconduct substantiated claims by former tennis star James Blake that an officer used excessive force when he took him to the ground last month after mistkaing Blake for a fraud suspect.