First of all, this shouldn’t come as a surprise.
The NCAA shot down UConn’s request for a waiver in February, so it’s par the course that the school’s final appeal for postseason eligibility was also rejected.
UConn has one way of qualifying for next year’s NCAA and Big East postseason: The NCAA needs to use APR figures from 2010-11 and 2011-12 instead of 2009-10 and 2010-11. And chances are that isn’t happening.
“While the (Committee on Academic Performance) may further examine policy issues later this year, no changes are anticipated at this time,” NCAA spokesperson Erik Christianson said Thursday.
Truthfully, Thursday’s news doesn’t change much. Jim Calhoun, Andre Drummond and Jeremy Lamb — the three biggest question marks in UConn’s program — were likely already operating on the assumption that this appeal would be turned down.
Let’s take a brief look at all three scenarios:
*Jim Calhoun: Andy Katz of ESPN seems to think Calhoun will return. In a recent column, he wrote “A number of sources close to Calhoun said he will not retire. Actually, this latest setback will likely embolden him even more to stay and get the Huskies through this hurdle, instead of him quitting on the program when it needs leadership most. Calhoun, who has survived two bouts of cancer, eight broken ribs and recent back surgery, is considered one of the toughest coaches in the country.”
I’ve heard different things, none of which are concrete. Calhoun spoke with ESPN on Friday morning and sounded as if he was staying. He didn’t give an official indication, though.
*Jeremy Lamb: A few weeks ago, a source close to Lamb said “he probably won’t make (a decision) until very close to the April 10th deadline. He is weighing all his options, he has to talk with his parents, coaches. Right now he is about 50/50. I know that he is taking Rudy Gay’s words very seriously.” (Gay encouraged players to stay until their junior year).
At this point, it seems probable that Lamb will leave. He’s ready for the NBA, and Thursday’s news of the appeal being rejected probably sways his decision a bit.
*Andre Drummond: Ah, the true wildcard. Drummond has a lot to gain by going pro ($$$), but also could use another year to polish up on his skillset. Let’s face it: If Drummond bolts, he’s not playing more than 15 minutes per game next year. Offensively, he’s just not there yet. Jim Calhoun has long been known to prepare his players for their second NBA contract, not necessarily their first. It would be in Drummond’s best interest to return for another year.