Dec. 8, 2005
It is a tough time for Kentucky's Randolph Morris, as well as the Wildcat basketball program.
Thursday's announcement of a one-year suspension by the NCAA means Morris will have to sit out the entire 2005-06 season, leaving his future up in the air. The NBA said he could sign as a free agent with any team since he went undrafted.
Kentucky plans to appeal the ruling, so it is still possible that Morris could be reinstated at some point down the line. For now, the big man is on the sidelines.
The bottom line is Morris did not take the advice from some of the people that cared about him, like Wildcats coach Tubby Smith. The young man should have known better, and rules are rules. He put himself in a bad position as the agency he was tied in with clearly set up workouts and there were expenses paid out.
Morris has to pay back $7,000 according to the NCAA.
I can't blame the NCAA at all for this decision. Hopefully this will serve as an example to others, who should get advice from the right people, ones who don't paint visions of grandeur in the heads of these kids; agents do that all the time.
A lot of kids are simply not ready for the transition to the next level and would be better off with another year of college. Some of them are told they are locks to go in the first round, but only 30 players get that guaranteed contract by going that early.
Look how many talented college basketball players went undrafted last season, and most of them are now basketball vagabonds. Kennedy Winston of Alabama would have probably been SEC Preseason Player of the Year. Instead he was cut by Memphis in the preseason. Kelenna Azuibuike was let go by Cleveland before the start of the season.
The ball is in Morris' court now. He could return to college, have two years of eligibility remaining and prove himself. He could try to make it to the NBA, or sign overseas.
Hopefully he will be able to do something positive and rectify the situation.
Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979. Send a question for Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.