The Monday Melange 07.11.11: Lorenzo Charles, Jim Donnan, Willie Lyles

It is with sorrow this week that we note the passing of Lorenzo Charles.  He died on June 27 when a bus he was driving (he was the only passenger) crashed on I-40 west of Raleigh.

Those of you who remember Lorenzo Charles, probably remember him as the player who made the greatest shot in all of college basketball, slamming home a desperation halfcourt heave to give NC State the win in the NCAA championship game over Houston in 1983.  This was the Houston of “Phi Slama Jama” fame, the team that featured Akeem Olajuwan (no, I will not defer to the present-day fashion of calling him “Hakeem”).  This was the Houston team that had dominated its competition all the way up to the finals, and whom many thought would dominate an NC State team that looked pedestrian in beating Georgia in the semifinals.

But Lorenzo Charles was not just a one-trick pony.  Charles had an excellent career at NC State, dominating Houston with 23 points and 13 rebounds in a rematch the next season.  He also put in stellar performances at Clemson and Georgia Tech.

This was an era when the ACC was truly the ACC.  Some of Charles’s collegiate contemporaries:  Michael Jordan, Sam Perkins, Ralph Samson, Tommy Amaker, James Worthy, Len Bias, Muggsy Bogues, and Mark Price.

Charles went on to the NBA and was drafted by the Crocks, where he was simply the wrong player at the wrong time.  He played forward on a team already stacked with forwards (Dominique Wilkins and Kevin Willis, just to name a few).  He lasted one year and then was off to Europe, never to grace the NBA again.  Too bad.

Where did all that money go? "Don't ask me," says Jim Donnan.

Jim Donnan has filed for bankruptcy.  After leaving UGA in 2000, Donnan settled down in Athens where he headed up a chain of liquidation stores.  Seems these stores didn’t do too well:  Donnan wound up owing creditors $10 million, including $300,000 in back taxes.  Maybe he could get back into coaching.  Maybe ESPN could take him on.

Of course, if Harold Camping is right about the world is ending on October 21, then it’s kind of a moot point.

–Aloysius, our Executive Director of Sports Information here at Everyone’s Entitled to Joe’s Opinion, has made himself rather scarce lately here at the Everyone’s Entitled to Joe’s Opinion compound.  I’ve turned the place inside out looking for him, and can’t seem to find him anywhere.  And I think I know the reason why.

Aloysius is a huge fan of Pac-10 football (for the life of me I can’t understand why, but he is a bear with California ties and I am not, so I guess I’ll just have to let it go).  He loves to rag me about SEC football, especially when SEC programs are in trouble or SEC coaches and/or school administrators say and/or do stupid things.  Now the shoe is on the other foot.  Southern Cal got hammered by the NCAA last year, and now the Pac-10 faces the prospect of having two of its signature programs on NCAA probation in the not-too-distant future.  So I can understand Aloysius being a little reluctant to show his face these days.

Last week, this guy named Willie Lyles down in Houston told reporters at Yahoo Sports that a $25,000 fee he had received from Oregon for “scouting services” was actually more for his influence with Texas recruits.  (Maybe he was just offering geographic influence:  Oregon is all the way over on the other side of the country.  It can be a daunting challenge for people from our side of the country to find it.  If you’ve ever played Oregon Trail (kids:  Wikipedia), you know this.  If not, trust me.)

In an attempt to make this payment look legit, Oregon demanded that Lyles cook up ex post facto scouting reports.  In Lyles’ words:  “They said they just needed anything. They asked for last-minute [stuff]. So I gave them last-minute [stuff]…”  Lyles also turned over cellphone records which showed copious calls to Oregon coaches, including seven calls to head coach Chip Kelly.

But wait.  It gets better.

John Canzano, a columnist for the Portland Oregonian, says that Kelly lied to him about his relationship with Lyles.  He interviewed Chip Kelly back in March when this Lyles thing was starting to percolate.  Kelly said he didn’t know Lyles.  After the Yahoo report came out, Canzano called Kelly out on this.  Kelly responded that he was confused when Canzano asked about “Willie” Lyles, because “around here, we call him ‘Will’ “.

Aren't these the ugliest uniforms in all of college football?

He didn’t just say that, did he?  Oh snap, he did.

A guy named Willie sometimes goes by Will.  I can totally understand where that might cause people some confusion.

Of course, the NCAA is on the case.  This could spell big trouble for the Ducks.  But then, I never liked those uniforms.

Willie Lyles may be a scoundrel, but he’s an honest scoundrel.  He has stepped up and admitted publicly that he did things which were wrong, and everything he has said up to this point checks out.  That’s more than you can say for Chip Kelly.

Sorry, Aloysius.  I know you love to rag me about the SEC being a big-time football conference that plays fast and loose with the NCAA rules.  But for now, we don’t have anything on your beloved Pac-10.  What comes around goes around, so come on out and take it like a bear.

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