Speed Read: NCAA Bans Recruiting 8th Graders

Finally realizing that we might be headed for a day when future hoops stars are recruited out of the womb, the NCAA has passed legislation banning contact by coaches with players who have not yet reached high school. That means no more offering 13-year-olds a full ride, there, Billy Gillispie.

Billy Gillispie

(”Noooooooo! I already had the class of 2019 signed!”)

It also means that this Mr. Show skit, which was starting to look less far-fetched over time, won’t eventually reflect reality:

The WASHINGTON POST explains the new legislation:

Over the past few years, some college coaches have looked to gain recruiting advantages by working at basketball camps comprising elite seventh- and eighth-graders because there was no NCAA rule prohibiting it. But the NCAA will now designate boys’ basketball players as “prospects” beginning in the seventh grade, which will prevent college coaches from working at such camps.

This is bad news for seventh and eighth graders, who now have to do things like, you know, go to school and learn rather than worry about their college hoops prospects all the time.

Speaking of hoops, Luol Deng woke from his season-long slumber and led the Bulls to a 102-93 upset victory over the Cavs in Chicago, where it was approximately -293° last night. LeBron James made only eight of 28 shots and turned it over eight times for what he termed his worst performance of the season — but he also said he was sick.

Luol Deng

In New Jersey, yet another rookie had a breakout performance for the Trail Blazers, as Jerryd Bayless scored a career-high 23 in Portland’s 105-99 win over the Nets. Meanwhile, the Nets owners (remember when they were going to move to Brooklyn?) are exploring playing preseason games next year at the Devils’ new arena in Newark, but want the NHL franchise to guarantee regular-season-sized crowds to do it. How are the Devils responsible for that?

It’s official. The Dodgers paid Andruw Jones $12 million for each home run he hit, and he’s not going to be hitting any more in their uniform. After attempting to trade him, L.A. finally released Andruw after one insanely horrible season, and Jones agreed to accept the $22 million he’s owed over a period of six years. Which means your team will still be paying for him in 2014, Dodger fans. Two years ago, Jones looked like he had a chance to hit 700 home runs. Now, it looks like he might not get 700 more at-bats in his career.

So, as you read here yesterday, Mark Cuban confronted J.R. Smith on the court for allegedly throwing an elbow at a Dallas player during the Mavs-Nuggets game on Tuesday night. Cubes reported the incident to the league office and even sent back a pair of signed shoes Smith sent him as a peace offering, saying Smith needed to sell them to help pay for the fine that was coming.

Mark Cuban thinks he's awesome

Well, it appears the joke is on Cuban. The NBA has cleared Smith of any wrongdoing, and — and this is great — are now pursuing possible punishment against Cuban for going on the court. George Karl wasn’t amused with the owner’s antics on Tuesday:

“If you want to interact, interact with the league office and interact with your own players, but don’t mess with my players. There’s no room for it.

“If this was a normal fan, he would have been banned from the building and maybe not ever let back in the game,” Karl said. “When the game starts, he is a fan. After the game, he’s an owner, but during the game, he’s a fan.”

Ouch.

Mark Cuban mad

Barry Melrose told people he wanted the Lightning to lose every game this season after he got fired. Former Leafs coach Paul Maurice has upped the ante, saying he’d like to see his old club not win a game for 10 years, according to the TORONTO STAR.

• THE JOY OF SOX is giddy that the Red Sox have extended Kevin Youkilis‘ contract for a very reasonable price of $40 million for four years. It’s four more years of this, anyway:

Kevin Youkilis

• The Rangers have asked their Gold Glove-winning shortstop Michael Young to move to third base to make way for a rookie named Elvis. Young was not happy with this request, but now tells MLB.COM it’s all been worked out.

• There’s dismal, and then there’s Northwestern blowing a 14-point second-half lead at home to Purdue and losing its 1,452,918th Big 10 game of all time.

• Baseball finally fixed the rules to definitively say that a postseason game must be played to its completion regardless of weather, and also eliminated the coin flip as the way to determine who would host a one-game playoff. They’re doing this crazy thing now where the team that won the season series would host the game, rather than something completely freaking random (the Twins would’ve hosted the playoff against the White Sox last year, had this whole “merit” approach been in effect).

• PETA is doing this thing where they’re trying to get fish renamed “sea kittens” to make them seem cuter or something. Anyway, WPBF-TV says they sent a letter to Palm Beach Atlantic University asking the school to change its nickname from Sailfish to Sea Kittens. Which begs this question: Is Palm Beach Atlantic University the most high-profile school you can go after, PETA? I think they play in Division XIV.

PBAU Sailfish

• 90-year-old Atlanta sportswriter Furman Bisher somehow has managed to put together a blog. Bisher is so old that he once interviewed Shoeless Joe Jackson about the Black Sox scandal. At the bottom of this entry he pushes the bounds of taste about the new stampede of Japanese media coming to cover pitcher Kenshin Kawakami (ah, so? Really, Furman?)

• Yankees blogger Todd Drew passed away on Tuesday at the age of 41. Drew was a frequent contributor to BRONX BANTER, which memorialized him yesterday. Drew had his own blog called YANKEES FOR JUSTICE.

Drew Rosenhaus tells the DALLAS MORNING NEWS that he’s certain that Terrell Owens will still be with the Cowboys next year. And we all know what a great source Rosenhaus is about all things T.O.

• You think the A-Rod deal is out of control? EPL TALK is reporting that Manchester City (that’s soccer) is offering to pay £243 million (that’s more than $362 million) to acquire Brazilian midfielder Kaka from the Italian league’s AC Milan.

Should Mark Cuban be allowed to go on the court during games and interact with players?

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Bisher: ‘Oriental’ MLB Trip Harkens Pearl Harbor

We didn’t realize 89-year-old Furman Bisher was still penning columns for the ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION until today. We read him during our time at the University of Georgia and often saw him puttering around the press box at old Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta.

Furman Bisher

Bisher was born in 1918, so we’re guessing World War II had quite an impact on his life. Actually, no need to guess, just read his piece in the AJC today about MLB opening its season in Japan. We’re guessing the night desk editors squirmed before hitting “publish” on it. Read more…