ESPN Wisconsin Blogs - Drew Olson
By DREW OLSON
Brewers centerfielder Carlos Gomez always seems to be in the center of the action.
Sometimes, that's a good thing.
This episode from Sunday afternoon at PNC Park could lead to a suspension for Gomez and possibly one of his teammates.
The Milwaukee Panthers won't be making a return trip to the NCAA Tournament next year, thanks to academic troubles. (David Bernacchi)
By DREW OLSON
The MIlwaukee Panthers' run to the Horizon League tournament title and ensuing NCAA tournament trip to Syracuse, N.Y., thrilled area basketball fans and energized the East Side campus last month.
Wednesday afternoon, the heartwarming story took a sharp, unexpected turn.
University offiicals announced that the school will not return to the Big Dance next year due to academic issues. Here is the official release:
Appeal Of Milwaukee Men's Basketball Postseason Ban Denied
April 9, 2014
MILWAUKEE - The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has been informed by the NCAA's Committee on Academic Performance that it was denied the final appeal of a postseason ban of its men's basketball team for 2014-15 because of past cumulative Academic Performance Rate (APR) scores.
The decision means that Milwaukee is not eligible for the Horizon League Tournament or any other postseason competition following the regular season next year.
"The academic success of our student-athletes will always be the top priority in the Milwaukee athletic department," UWM Athletic Director Amanda Braun said. "We are aware that problems did occur in the past, but we have faced them and made changes and are accepting the consequences from the NCAA. Well before we even started the appeals process, we began implementing new processes to help all of our student-athletes have more success in the classroom."
Numerous changes have been set in place by the administration of the athletic department, highlighted by the following:
*Academic support staff was limited in the past, with just one advisor on staff prior to 2011. An additional staff position was created then and a third advisor was added to the staff in 2013.
*A class for incoming student-athletes that helps them transition to college life is now available and was put in place two years ago.
*Beginning in the Fall of 2013, student-athletes have been screened for learning needs to identify anyone that may need additional academic support.
The men's basketball score for the current four-year 2012-13 cycle was 908, falling below the mandated minimum, prompting the NCAA to issue the penalty. The decision is not a sanction based on any type of violation of NCAA rules, but rather a penalty handed out because of the APR score.
"This year our men's basketball program has done extraordinarily well and we have a lot to be proud of both on and off the court," Braun said. "We are fully confident we have addressed the issues when it comes to the academic performance of our student-athletes."
In addition to being barred from any type of postseason contests, Milwaukee will have to replace four hours of practice each week with four hours of academic activities. In addition, basketball-related activities will be limited to five days instead of six.
The NCAA recently changed its policies in regards to APR performance. It moved to a higher four-year APR score of 930 in order to participate in the postseason the following campaign, with this year being the first time Milwaukee needed to be at that higher level with its four-year average scores.
"I am very proud of the steps that we have taken in regards to the APR score," UWM head coach Rob Jeter said. "The quality of the student-athletes in our program cannot be stressed enough and we are fully committed to supporting them."
What is Milwaukee ineligible for?
The penalty involves postseason play only. The team is still eligible for the 2014-15 regular-season Horizon League championship.
What is APR?
The APR is a measure used by the NCAA to determine whether or not players from any particular team are in good academic standing.
How is it calculated each season?
The APR score is calculated using a combination of retention of student-athletes and their academic eligibility each season.
What is the highest score possible?
A perfect APR score would be 1,000.
Is this related to one particular season?
No. The APR scores cover a rolling four-year window. The penalty today would cover the team's academic performance from 2009-10 through 2012-13.
How do you lose points?
Teams lose points for two reasons. If a scholarship player leaves at the end of a semester and is not in good academic standing or if a scholarship player is not academically eligible at the end of a semester.
What is the improvement plan now in place at UWM?
The changes that were made include the following:
1. Prior to 2011, the UWM Athletic Department had one full-time academic advisor on staff. A second position was added at that time and a third was added in 2013.
2. A class for incoming student-athletes that helps them transition to college life is now available and was put in place two years ago.
3. Beginning in the Fall of 2013, student-athletes have been screened for learning needs to identify anyone that may need additional academic support.
Will this impact other sports at UWM?
No. Each team has its own APR score and no other programs are affected by this.
When will the length of the penalty be over?
The penalty is for one year, the 2014-15 season. It affects no other year as long as the APR score is back over the minimum threshold. All signs point to this being the case.
Chris Carrawell (right) will join Steve Wojciechowski's staff at Marquette University.
By DREW OLSON
Marquette University men's basketball coach Steve Wojciechowski added former teammate Chris Carrawell as an assistant on the Golden Eagles' staff.
Here is the official release:
Chris Carrawell Named Assistant Coach at Marquette
Former Duke Standout Owns Experience at Collegiate, Professional Levels
Milwaukee – First-year head men’s basketball coach Steve Wojciechowski has announced the hiring of Chris Carrawell as an assistant coach with the Marquette University men’s basketball program.
Carrawell, who was a teammate of Wojciechowski’s at Duke, owns a wealth of coaching experience at both the collegiate and professional levels.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Chris and couldn’t be more excited about him joining the Marquette family,” Wojciechowski said. “I have obviously had the chance to play and coach with him and have remained in constant contact and followed his career after his departure from Duke.
“Chris has a great understanding of the game of basketball and his personality will allow him to develop great relationships with our players,” Wojciechowski added. “We are going to focus on player skill development at Marquette and Chris’ coaching and playing experience make him a valuable addition to the staff and a vital piece to our on-court instruction.”
The St. Louis, Mo., native arrives in Milwaukee after serving the past three years as an assistant coach with the Springfield Armor, an affiliate of the Brooklyn Nets, of the NBA Development League. He worked under Bob MacKinnon the first two seasons before Doug Overton took over the squad in 2013-14. Carrawell had the opportunity to work with former Marquette standout Darius Johnson-Odom while he was with the Armor this past campaign and also coached the Nets’ summer league roster.
Prior to working with the Armor, Carrawell served in a variety of rolls at his alma mater.
Carrawell was the Assistant Video Coordinator/Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach in 2010-11 and Graduate Assistant/Head Team Manager from 2008-10, after being hired in 2007-08 as the Duke Athletics Outreach Coordinator. He also briefly worked with the women’s team before his departure from the university.
The 2000 ACC Player of the Year and a first team All-America selection, Carrawell was a member of the Duke men’s basketball program from 1996-2000. He was also a two-time All-ACC selection in his career with the Blue Devils. He is tied for 30th on the all-time scoring list at Duke with 1,455 career points and also ranks 15th in school history with 0.8 blocks per game and tied for eighth with 116 overall wins.
Carrawell helped the Blue Devils dominate the ACC during his tenure finishing his career with 66 conference victories, second most all-time by a Duke player.
A second round draft pick by the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs, Carrawell played overseas after graduating from Duke. He last played in Holland in 2007 where his team finished second after losing in the championship finals.
Carrawell and his wife, Keisha, have two sons: Caleb and Christian.
Bucks center Larry Sanders (center) is suspended five games after testing positive for marijuana.
By DREW OLSON
The Bucks released the following statement in the wake of Larry Sanders' five-game suspension for violating the NBA substance policy:
STATEMENTS ON LARRY SANDERS SUSPENSION
The Milwaukee Bucks issued the following statement:
“Larry Sanders has a responsibility to every person in our organization and our fans. We are all disappointed by the news of his suspension.”
Larry Sanders issued the following statement:
“I apologize to the entire Bucks organization and our fans for being suspended five games for using marijuana in violation of the NBA Anti-Drug Program. I take full responsibility for my actions.”
By DREW OLSON
A number of my friends think that "Hank the Dog," the unofficial Brewers mascot, has used up 14 of his "15 minutes of fame."
Others can't get enough.
For the latter group, here is a bit from Jimmy Fallon's monologue on "The Tonight Show."
By DREW OLSON
In case you missed the Twitter firestorm on Monday afternoon, Brewers rightfielder Ryan Braun -- as depicted in the video above -- received a standing ovation from fans before his first at-bat in Milwaukee's season-opening 2-0 victory over Atlanta at Miller Park.
A number of national pundits -- and fans from afar -- were surprised and somewhat upset by this development.
I don't claim to be Nate Silver when it comes to predicting things, but this was hardly a surprise. Braun played two exhibition games over the weekend at Miller Park, was greeted warmly and hit a double and a homer in his first two -- albeit meaningless -- at-bats at Miller Park since his 65-game suspension for PED use last July.
Were the fans "saving" their vitriol for games that count?
Fans have a soft spot for "their guys." Sammy Sosa was cheered in Chicago after corking his bat. Barry Bonds was always cheered in San Francisco. Pete Rose was cheered in Cincinnati. Tony La Russa -- hated in most other cities -- was beloved in St. Louis duirng his run with the Cardinals.
Milwaukee fans, who are just thrilled to see green grass after one of the more brutal Wisconsin winters in memory, have come to terms with the fact that Braun is the Brewers' best player and one of the best players in the National League. (My pal Bob Nightengale from USA Today has tabbed him as a favorite to win the NL MVP Award this year).
The only way Braun is going to be booed by a large group in Milwaukee is if the infamous "collector" from his ordeal, Dino Laurenzi, Jr., writes a best-selling book called "Ryan Braun Ruined My Life" and details his downward spiral into depression, bankruptcy and failed stints at rehab with Dr. Drew.
That doesn't seem likely.
Laurenzi, who has been silent throughout Braun's ordeal, had the rightfielder over to his house for dinner before Thanksgiving. He's moved on. Brewers fans have as well. The rest of the baseball world will, too, eventually.