Patrick Marshall of Bluejay Basketball is the RTC Big 12 correspondent and an occasional contributor.
In the storied not so storied history of Nebraska basketball established in 1897, the program has never won an NCAA Tournament game. However, Nebraska coach Doc Sadler is doing almost anything he can to get players that might get them the opportunity, and it appears his tactics might be pushing closer and closer to a recruiting violation.
What’s Up, Doc?
The latest case is Jorge Diaz, a 7 foot prospect that played most recently on the Puerto Rico Junior National team. Diaz is still an oral commitment to Nebraska, but he has not been enrolled in school and did not sign a letter of intent. Apparently he has been cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse, but has not been able to enroll at Nebraska because he hasn’t met their enrollment standards. The thing holding things up is a checkmark in his application to Nebraska about English not being his first language and he didn’t take a required test to verify he was proficient in English. But as this gets more and more involved and school officials have started commenting on things, it gets about as close as it can to a recruiting violation. Check this timeline:
August 29 – the Omaha World Herald Newspaper has been aggressively printing stories on the recruitment of this player. They start out by mentioning that Diaz’s enrollment was held up because of his English proficiency and point out that “Husker coaches can’t comment on Diaz until he is enrolled.” He had until Tuesday, 9/2 to enroll at Nebraska
September 3 – The next day after the deadline, the Omaha World Herald published another article updating the Diaz situation, stating that he is still not enrolled at Nebraska yet but printed that AD Tom Osborne and Coach Doc Sadler said that they are “still actively recruiting Diaz.”
September 4 – the paper published even another article on the Diaz situation saying that Nebraska is re-recruiting Diaz since he was not able to enroll for this semester and the earliest he could enroll now at Nebraska would be after the first semester. However, the paper quotes Coach Sadler that he is “aggressively” trying to re-recruit the center and is also quoted, “Hopefully, Jorge will get what he has to get done to be admitted to school.” Tom Shatel from the OWH also wrote an editorial published that day on the Diaz situation.
The Lincoln Journal Star at the time had very few updates and articles on the Diaz situation, but it was mostly because they had their 360 degree football helmet on. However the articles in the LJS didn’t have the same quotes that were published by the Omaha World Herald. Couldn’t all of these public quotes about a recruit not yet enrolled in school potentially be a recruiting violation?
The status on Diaz—still an oral commit and might be able to enroll at Nebraska in December. However, Kentucky, Arkansas and other schools are knocking on his door.
This is the latest fiasco in Nebraska basketball recruiting, but let’s look at the rest of the situations that have occurred just in this year’s recruiting:
- Roburt Sallie—Roburt was originally recruited in 2006, but could not academically qualify to play for Nebraska, so instead went to juco and this year was re-recruited and committed to Nebraska. However, little did anyone know that in 2006, Roburt enrolled at Nebraska and was in class for a week. Unfortunately, Big 12 rule 6.2, which says that any student-athlete who enrolls at a conference institution, part or full time, must meet initial NCAA eligibility requirements. Sallie had not met those requirements when he was enrolled as a part-time student in August 2006. Whoops. Looks like someone dropped the ball there and Roburt was deemed ineligible to play for the Huskers. Roburt is now with Memphis. What a reward for John Calipari. He seems to get all the luck
- Christopher Niemann–Niemann, a 6-11 center and the other original from the 2-man recruiting class with Roburt Sallie is scheduled to arrive from Germany. He has been declared ineligible by the NCAA for his freshman season but can participate in practices. He’ll have three years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2009-10. Christopher participated on a German club team that had some professionals on its roster, even though he accepted no pay. The same thing happened last season to players from Iowa State and Washington State who were former teammates of Niemann. Slingblade for some reason thought he was going to get to play right away this season, but the history of Niemann’s teammates from last year should have said something.
- Teeng Akol—Teeng was supposed to make a visit to Nebraska and said, “I think I can help them. I’m not familiar with everything, but I know they’re in the Big 12.” He originally signed with South Florida over West Virginia, Oklahoma, Xavier, Southern Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky. Akol signed scholarship papers in June with South Florida. However, USF officials suddenly asked Akol to leave the school because of academic reasons, despite the fact he’d already been admitted and was taking summer classes. So it sounded like the Huskers were going to get a steal. However, Teeng visited Oklahoma State first and never looked back. He didn’t even make his visit to Nebraska.
- Eshaunte Jones—Eshaunte actually did get signed and sealed by Doc Sadler for this season. However he comes with baggage as well. He originally committed to Indiana in the fall of 2006. He instead went to Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia, where he played last season. He then signed with Oregon State but was released from his letter of intent when the school changed coaches. Boy the paperwork that must have been done on that one.
- Brandon Ubel—Brandon, from Overland Park, KS seems like the only normal one in the bunch accepting a scholarship offer for 2009-10, but of course it is still an oral commitment until later this fall when early signing occurs.
The loser in this whole situation—Paul Velander. The walk-on that has played significant minutes for Nebraska the past two seasons was originally slated to get the scholarship vacated when Roburt Sallie found out he couldn’t come to Nebraska, but even as the Diaz fiasco continues, poor Paul still doesn’t get a scholarship.