Pete DiPrimio, sports columnist and college beat writer for The News-Sentinel of Fort Wayne, Ind., takes his best shots on the world of Hoosier basketball.

Monday, October 1

Time To Let Mackey Go

Okay, there’s no way to sugarcoat this. Bud Mackey’s recent arrest in Kentucky on two felony drug charges for trafficking cocaine and for trafficking within 1,000 yards of a school is a big blow for Indiana recruiting.

Forget Mackey’s obvious skills as a player (he was the 2007 Kentucky state basketball tourney MVP after leading Scott County to the state title; he was expected to be a top contender for Mr. Basketball this season). This hurts the perception that the Hoosiers seek quality people as well as quality players.

And it will hurt their ability to land standout recruit Tyler Zeller.

That’s not fair, of course. Coach Kelvin Sampson is committed to having the nation’s top program in all areas -– basketball, academics, high-character people.

And by all accounts, this was a shock. Mackey, who verbally committed to IU a year ago, seemed personable and charming and mature as well as talented.

Maybe this was a good kid who made one bad mistake. Or maybe this is just the first time he got caught. Or, for those who believe in conspiracies, maybe this was a setup. That’s for the courts to decide.

But the Hoosiers can’t be involved with this. Yes, Sampson is big on helping kids who come from tough situations. In fact, that’s one of his strengths. It’s among the reasons why he’s such an outstanding recruiter and coach. His combination of discipline and compassion brings out the best in players.

But the risk here is too great and, in truth, there are too many outstanding players who would come to Indiana and who don’t get in trouble with the law.

Freshman Eric Gordon is an obvious example.

If Mackey is lucky, he’ll avoid career-destroying consequences (the penalties if convicted are five to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000). He’ll get a chance at college opportunity.

But it shouldn’t be at Indiana.


Anonymous M.M. said...

I agree that IU should move on from this one. But how does this really reflect poorly on the school at this point? It's his first offense -- at least, that we know of -- so there would have been no way for the school to know this would happen. If they were to let him stay, knowing his history, on the other hand, I could see it. Also, why would this affect Zeller's decision?

8:57 PM, October 02, 2007

Blogger Pete DiPrimio said...

As I mentioned in the blog, recruits want to play with good players and good guys. Somebody who is charged with breaking the law -- reports say he had crack cocaine in his shoe when arriving at school -- is a big negative. Recruiting can come down to little things, and this is someting that could cause him to skip IU in favor of a school whose incoming recruits don't break the law. Yes, it seems to be his first offense, but it's a big one. It reflects on IU because the school prides itself on doing things the right way and bringing in quality athletes and people. Any involvement with someone charged with this kind of offense does reflect on the schoo. He might get past this. He might because an outstanding player, student and citizen. But I think it should be at another school.

10:17 PM, October 02, 2007

Blogger Coach said...

Hell Pete, I'd think Mackey would fit right in Kelvin's group of criminals, and I think Kelvin would want to keep the scholarship offer open for him. After all, Holman bashed a ref's head, Ellis beat up his assistant coach, Holman again admitted to selling dope in California, Ratliff is a classroom failure ( I know, Mike Davis recruit) and two of the new players have multiple bastard children out of wedlock.

Kind of fits Sampson and his history of loving drug users and thugs while at Oklahoma.

6:27 PM, October 10, 2007


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