Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Miles starts anew at College of Southern Idaho
Nate Miles' career at Connecticut is over, but a new one begins Wednesday at the College of Southern Idaho.
Miles (whom Huskies coach Jim Calhoun called the best offensive player on the team before the 20-year old freshman was expelled from school earlier this month) arrived in Twin Falls, Idaho on Tuesday night, according to CSI coach Steve Gosar.
"We looked into Nate's situation and saw an opportunity for him to play for us in the second semester,'' Gosar said. "Nate really wants to play this year. He said if an opportunity was there for him to play, that's what he wanted. We have an open scholarship.''
Miles can begin practicing with the two-year school Wednesday but won't be eligible to play until mid-December. Gosar said CSI has plenty of late-admission classes for students, and Miles can take a 12-credit course load even this late into the semester.
Miles was expelled from UConn after he violated a restraining order filed by a 19-year-old woman by calling her within 20 minutes of the edict. A school administrative review expelled him after allegations emerged that he had abused the woman, who was a student from Manchester, Conn., according to the Hartford Courant.
On Oct. 6, the complaint against Miles was dismissed by Judge Holly Abery-Wetstone when no one showed up for the case.
Miles was arrested Sept. 22 by UConn police. According to the Courant, Miles faces a criminal charge of violating the restraining order. He has a court date Nov. 25 in Rockville, Conn., but could have the charge dropped if he was to comply with court-ordered counseling. Gosar was unaware that there were any pending legal issues with Miles that would pull him back to Connecticut.
Gosar had knowledge of the incident that got Miles expelled. He said that he didn't deal with anyone at Connecticut but strictly with Miles' "people" in Toledo, Ohio, where Miles went after he was expelled.
An appeal to get back in school was initially broached by a representative of Miles, but that now seems remote. While Connecticut coaches didn't want to discuss the possibility of Miles returning this season -- or next -- the Huskies' staff has clearly moved on.
A week ago, the talk centered on the return in mid-December of junior Stanley Robinson, who is working at Prime Materials in Willimantic, Conn., this semester (while he shows the coaching staff he can be responsible) and Ater Majok, an Australian who is supposed to be eligible in time to also join the team in mid-December.
In the interim, the Huskies are expected to go with a smaller, three-guard lineup of A.J. Price, Kemba Walker and Jerome Dyson with starting frontcourt players Jeff Adrien and Hasheem Thabeet.
CSI has been the home of second-chance players over the years. Former Georgetown and Fresno State guard Kenny Brunner found a home here. But CSI is more a factory for Division I players.
Gosar, an assistant the previous three years under Barret Peery, who left to be an assistant at Utah, said nine players from the team went Division I last season. The Golden Eagles have only three sophomores on this squad.
"That's junior college; a second chance for not just basketball players, but for everyone,'' Gosar said of opportunities for students and athletes to then go on to four-year schools.
Gosar said Miles could play two seasons at CSI if he so chose. But Miles may have been a one-and-done player at UConn, so it wouldn't be a reach to expect him to declare for the NBA draft in June.
Gosar was an assistant at Portland State and Wyoming before joining the CSI staff. CSI has been on a tear of late, going 85-19 the past three seasons, including two trips to the national tournament. Last season's team finished with a 30-2 record and was ranked No. 1 in the nation for the first time in 13 years.
The Coalition of Intercollegiate Athletics is taking on Kansas State assistant Dalonte Hill and his salary. Hill is the highest-paid assistant coach in the country with a salary over $400,000.
The COIA statement on the matter: "The growing drive of Division I-A schools to win at all costs replaces educational goals with the hope of profitable championships. For higher education, there is no way this can succeed."
The COIA continues to say: "We call on the leaders of our schools to join COIA in a clear expression of concern about:
• The alarming and unsustainable rise in the salary structure of athletics personnel, no longer limited to head coaches.
• The premium placed on recruiting top athletes regardless of commitment to academic success, rather than on developing sports programs that enhance the educational experience of student-athletes.
• The conscious blurring of the line between the amateur sports programs of universities and the professional athletics industry that is marketed as entertainment and has profit making as its primary goal.
Both ESPN's Jay Bilas and I have blogged about this issue.
I'm not sure anyone can do anything about how much a school pays an assistant coach. Remember, the NCAA paid a hefty price tag to the assistant coaches who were confined by the limited earnings position.