Unverified Voracity Is Waiting For The Package

Submitted by Brian on March 14th, 2018 at 1:51 PM


Oguine is excellent both ways

Montana scouted. Andrew Kahn interviews the Eastern Washington head coach a couple days after EWU went down in the Big Sky title game:

The Grizzlies won the league with a 16-2 record not just because they're well coached but because of their athleticism, according to Legans. Michael Oguine, a 6-foot-2 guard, was the Defensive Player of the Year in the conference. "He's quick, athletic, and can guard anybody on the perimeter." …

"If you can pull their bigs away from the basket a little bit, then you make them play small and beat them up inside. I see those problems occurring with this game because Michigan's size and skill could hurt them bad."

Oguine combines that DPOY status with excellent offensive efficiency and will be the main guy to watch for the Griz.

Final pre-tourney shot volume. Michigan finishes 13th amongst P5 teams, and coupled with Michigan's stellar transition D this rather validates the approach:

For example, you’ll hear during the tournament that Duke is a swaggering beast of offensive rebounding might, and, sure enough, the Blue Devils do fit that description perfectly. But did you know that, with all those spectacular offensive boards, Mike Krzyzewski is merely equaling what a certain Big Ten coach is already doing with his less eye-catching yet highly effective low-turnover ways?

                         TO%     OR%     SVI
12. Duke                18.3    36.4     98.0
13. Michigan            13.6    24.5     98.0

So, yes, this can be a nifty item at times.

Potential S16 opponent North Carolina, unfortunately, finishes first.

Find me a single-atom violin. Ted Valentine will not be theatrically incorrect on your television sets this weekend:

Well-known NCAA referee Ted Valentine, who officiated the Final Four last season, will not be working NCAA tournament games this year -- and he told ESPN it's because of fallout from the incident in which he turned his back on North Carolina's Joel Berry II during a game in January.

"This is not right, it's just not fair," Valentine told ESPN. "It hit me like a ton of bricks. I'm being punished unjustly."

It is absolutely right, and absolutely fair, for the NCAA to make an example of Valentine after he did the Joel Berry thing. That was the worst breach of ref impartiality I can remember, and it came from a guy who fills out the rest of the top ten personally.

He'll no doubt be back next year unless his repeated public bitching sours the powers-that-be permanently. Any coach who talked about Valentine like Valentine has twice talked about his employers would be fined. Here he is complaining that the Big Ten is not professional enough for Ted Valentine:

Valentine, who had considered retirement after the Berry incident, said he was pulled off a pair of Big Ten games earlier this year because of the episode. Valentine had officiated primarily Big Ten games for 34 years, but said he began doing more ACC games two years ago because he lives in South Carolina and the travel was easier as he approached his 60s.

"It had nothing to do with the Big Ten," Valentine said. "The ACC handled it in the utmost professional manner. It was overblown, and no big deal."

Fire that guy into the sun and never have him work a Big Ten game again.

When the FBI can inject sensibility into your enterprise… The divers alarums and excursions you've been hearing from the direction of NCAA boardrooms has finally resolved itself into that greatest of problem solvers: the Task Force. The Pac-12 put one together; it put together a 51-page PDF that's actually kind of interesting* in that it acknowledges the relative helplessness of the NCAA and then puts forth a collection of proposals that sort of acknowledge this. Large themes:

  • Restrictions on coach-prospect contact should be significantly loosened. This includes allowing prospects to take an additional five official visits as a junior and
  • Agents should be more tolerated. Hockey and baseball have allowed formal contractual relationships with agents recently; the report suggests basketball should do the same. This is vastly overdue for a thousand reasons.
  • Eligibility should be less fragile. The reports specifically reference baseball as a sport where players retain eligibility "after being drafted," and later directly calls for the NBA to adopt the baseball model where you can go pro immediately out of high school but if you don't you're in college for at least three years. Chance NBA adopts this: zero. Maybe draft and follow would be a compromise?

The report also calls for an NCAA enforcement arm separate from the NCAA, which sounds like rearranging deck chairs to me.

The Task Force doesn't go anywhere near something radical but it is a baby step.

*[A sports car races by. I am pelted in the head with a snowball. A bro in a white baseball cap screams "NEEEEEEEEERD" as the car peels out, careening wildly.]

Shea in limbo. Shea Patterson's lawyer is also spearheading five other applications for immediately eligibility and tells CBS that Ole Miss is being rather petulant about all this:

Ole Miss actually received that [waiver-request] package as a courtesy from Michigan. Because it didn't officially come from the NCAA, the 10-day clock did not start ticking.

"So, from a technical rules perspective, despite having all the information for the past two weeks, Old Miss could continue to keep its position on the Shea Patterson waiver request to itself for at least another two weeks," Mars said.

"In the meantime, as everyone knows, the process is at a standstill."

For whatever reason the NCAA has not sent the package to Ole Miss, so it will be at least another two weeks before a determination is made, and probably longer than that.

This is not a Dave Brandon story. Toys R Us is going to liquidate. Whenever there's a Toys R Us story several people send it to me. Please stop doing this. I am aware of goings on at Toys R Us that reach the media. The thing about Toys R Us is that it's not a story about one man's over-arching incompetence setting everything on fire. It's a story about a patsy being installed at a doomed company so he can leech millions of dollars out of it for doing nothing:

In 2005, the Toys R Us board of directors sold the company for $6.6 billion to the private equity firms Bain Capital and KKR and the real estate investment firm Vornado. The firms put up about 20 percent of the total and borrowed the rest.

Toys R Us became a private company with more than $5 billion in debt. And then things went off the rails.

“The beginning of the problems for Toys was that Amazon.com exploded,” said Charlie O’Shea, lead retail analyst at Moody’s.

During the next five years, sales at Amazon quadrupled to $34 billion.

“Amazon went into the toy sector in a big way,” O’Shea said, and it “added one more big competitor for Toys R Us.”

To compete, Toys R Us would have had to invest significantly in its website and stores. But the retailer was using most of its available cash to pay back its debt. …

The private equity firms’ investors haven’t made money off this deal. But the firms themselves have. It’s unclear where Vornado ended up. But after collecting fees from Toys R Us, Bain and KKR each took home at least $15 million.

Brandon, the chump installed on this sinking ship in 2015, was compensated ridiculously:

Toys ‘R’ Us is seeking bankruptcy court permission to pay Dave Brandon, the company’s chief executive officer since 2015, a cash bonus of as much as $12 million for 2017, on top of a $2.8 million “retention” bonus he received just before the company filed for bankruptcy in September, according to court filings.

Moreover, Mr. Brandon would be entitled to receive 40% of that bonus, or $4.8 million, within the first quarter of 2018.

A Toys “R” Us spokeswoman said that the company’s plan to pay millions of dollars to Mr. Brandon is in line with common practice in restructurings. “This type of plan is standard practice for a company involved in a restructuring and in this case rewards team members at all levels of the company,” she said.

You know this guy is an idiot, and it is crystal clear that nothing he did at a doomed company helped it an iota. But because he's bros with Mitt Romney he gets an eight-digit payday. That is one of many reasons income inequality has skyrocketed. Because it doesn't matter if you'd lose a spelling contest to a mop once you've got cronies high up.

Etc.: Fergus Connolly makes an entrance, also an exit. Shooting talent and FTs. The story of how the FBI got on the trail of college basketball is a typically bizarre one. Daily profiles Cooper Marody. Scrimmage observations.



March 14th, 2018 at 2:18 PM ^

a zone at some point as any team with slow bigs, decent length and limited time to prepare for Michigan should.

Just need to not do what we did against Northwestern - miss a ton of threes, not get OREBs, and lose the TO batte - and we'll be fine.


March 14th, 2018 at 5:50 PM ^

how we aren't playing Teske and Wagner together, a post with which I agreed 100%, you suggest this and I actually think this is a game in which we could get a away with it.

If (probably more like when) they go zone, we aren't running pick and rolls so that takes away some of the advantage of having Wagner at the five.  And against a team that plays two true bigs that aren't threats from outside or off the dribble, we could get away with Wagner at the 4.

However, there's still no reason to do it, even if we could possibly survive it on defense.

Playing Teske isn't the best way to get a shooter in Matthews spot. Playing Livers and Robinson together is a better way to do that, because then you have five shooters on the floor.  I wouldn't be surprised to see that lineup in the frontcourt.

We won't see Wagner+Teske unless there's an injury or foul trouble or something crazy at the 4 spot. 


March 14th, 2018 at 2:30 PM ^

Sometimes bumbling idiots stumble into a bunch of money. It's a waste of time to complain about it or be envious.  Not all leaders at large companies are great people or even great leaders. Companies led by great innovators stick around, while companies led by duds crumble eventually. Cronyism happens at all levels by the way, not just at the top of the earning spectrum. Happens between politicians and CEOs, plumbers and electricians, teachers and administrators, realtors and bankers, etc. 


March 14th, 2018 at 3:20 PM ^

The problem is that most CEO's make almost zero difference to the bottom line of the company, yet get compensated by tens, if not hundreds of millions. Even worse, they all think they earned those paydays. Until this system changes, inequalities are only going to get wworse.


March 14th, 2018 at 3:28 PM ^

I love all the corporation bashing here. Do you think investors would be okay with a CEO who makes "no difference" in a company's bottom line earning that kind of payday and draining their own investments? That's called the free market. If people want to invest their own money in a company that is careless with their finances that is their business and they have every right to do that. It's not like the CEOs are earning their paycheck by murdering homeless people.

Indy Pete - Go Blue

March 14th, 2018 at 4:20 PM ^

It is a free market, and that company has crashed.  Brandon's reputation takes a hit.  yes, he unfairly makes big bucks in the process.  Whine and moan about corporate greed all you want, but this is the cost of capitalism.  There a lots of advantages to capitalism - if one cannot see them, I question his or her intellect.


March 14th, 2018 at 4:58 PM ^

1) I do NOT agree that rampant cronyism is a "cost of capitalism". It's unethical AT BEST, and in no way, shape or form in keeping with Adam Smith.

2) While I discourage of anything meaningful ever being done about it, readily accepting it as normal and OK only calls YOUR intellect into question!

Game, Set & Match! Good day, sir!

Jack Be Nimble

March 14th, 2018 at 4:25 PM ^

I once had to write a research paper on executive compensation for a Labor Economics class. There is actually pretty solid evidence that, as a result of certain inefficiencies in the ability of shareholders to exert control over managers, the market for CEO's is badly distorted.

Labor economists differ though over how large a role this has actually played in the ballooning gap between the salaries of executives and low-level employees.

Autocracy Now

March 15th, 2018 at 5:16 AM ^

Of course it's their right to do that.

But it's kinda weird that CEOs used to make just a few times more than their average employee and now Free Market decided that it was super efficient for CEOs to make hundreds of times as much. Guess Ivy League education has really improved.

Another funny thing is that Free Market decided the craziest ratio should only apply to US CEO compensation. 


March 15th, 2018 at 9:41 AM ^

Rather naive to think individual shareholders have the power to change executive compensation.  Most public companies are effectively controlled by large investor-class shareholders, hedge-funds, pension funds, mutual funds, etc.  These groups supply many of the directors of the companies that they own and there is a revolving door back and forth between the investors and the companies.  The other source for directors is CEOs of other large publically held companies. So its like a big club at that level and there is no incentive among the directors to pay their buddies less because they will likely at some time have been or want to be a CEO or a CFO so you go along to get along.  It's a club and you take care of your fellow club members at the expense of the shareholders and public at large. At least that was my observation from being an exec at a large publically-held company


March 15th, 2018 at 11:44 AM ^

While Brutus et als entire point is muddle-headed & based on flawed assumptions about the "logic" of corporate greed, it is the factual error of painting TRU as shareholder controlled that can be most easily fixed. It is (or was before bankruptcy) private equity controlled.

The ONLY people who got a voice in how TRU was run after the takeover were the upper management, who liquidated assets, drained cash reserves, paid themselves and then declared bankruptcy, stiffing creditors & putting ppl out of work.

Is THAT really what "Capitalism" means? Is that the great system you praise?

I say to you NO, it is not what was intended, nor what SHOULD BE!


March 14th, 2018 at 4:10 PM ^

Income inequality is a major concern, but the fix should come both at the top and the bottom. A good CEO should be fairly compensated, but so should a floor manager. Dave Brandon at Toys is a bad example, but I'd be fine paying a CEO good money if her company is doing well as long as that also applies to other employees in some reasonable fashion.


March 14th, 2018 at 4:38 PM ^

Look, you have to realize that what you'd "be fine" with doesn't mean shite to these people, right?!

Brandon and his ilk are not gonna ever stop handing each other ridiculously lucrative package deals until there's actually something done about it.

What that is - if there even is anything left that can be done - I grow more cynical about by the day. Vote, I guess? Stay informed, sure. But whatever law some forward thinking legislator could dream up, a Koch sponsored group of legislators can block, stymie or just weaken until it's mere window dressing.


March 15th, 2018 at 11:13 PM ^

I guess I can see a CEO taking a huge % of compensation (as compared to employees) if he started the company himself and/or owned a big piece of the firm. So if they went kaput, he'd stand to lose heavy. Dave Brandon (as is true for the vast majority of CEOs) took very little risk related to his compensation.
Also, if he got a modest salary, but executed a turn around due to his ability to re-organize or re-energize - and got a sizeable bonus or big raise because of it.
But to just preside over a firm on the fail? That's just stupid.
Would I advocate a law to prevent it? No.
Bankruptcy law reforms? Perhaps. Should maybe treat him similar to a creditor and make him and the board present justification for his bonus and huge salary in open proceedings. Probably a bunch of reasons why I'm wrong about this, but it'd be interesting to watch them fumble through that!
It's really frustrating to watch.


March 14th, 2018 at 2:30 PM ^

I wrote this in another thread today, but I think it bears repeating.

The basketball draft-eligibilty rule is essentially an NBA rule.  It goes back to Larry Bird, who refused to sign after he was drafted sixth overall in '78 by the Celtics.  (As I understand it, there were interested teams higher on the board, but they passed due to signability concerns).  As an underclassman, he was eligible to return to school, so he did; he played the season, ended up in the Magic vs. Bird title game, and then threatened to declare for the '79 draft.

The moment the draft started, the Celtics would have lost his rights.  They ended up signing him in the period leading up to the draft, bascially at Bird's terms.

This is basically the way the MLB system works today, BTW, with draft-eligible HS seniors and college juniors.  The difference is that if you fail to sign a pick, you get a compensatory pick at the same spot the next year.  The NBA had no such rule.

Naturally, the NBA retaliated, and they decided that teams would no longer be able to sign players who had remaining college eligibiltiy.  So, an underclassman who goes into the draft is forced to forego his eligibility by NBA rule, because otherwise the player might have leverage, and the draft is specifically in place to make sure the players have zero leverage.


March 14th, 2018 at 3:16 PM ^

I mean, that's fine.  But you'd still have to convince the NBA people that this was in their best interest.  Maybe it is -- the real reason for the one-and-done rule was that GMs felt pressured into taking flyers on 18-year-olds that they didn't think were ready because they were afraid someone else would.  But I still see GMs afraid of losing their jobs because they draft a college freshman who decides to stay in school instead of coming to make the NBA team competitive.  I don't see a huge upside for the NBA to adopting this proposal.


March 14th, 2018 at 2:34 PM ^

The hardest thing to learn in business for decent people is that your product and success don't really matter.  It's getting the connection, the resume fodder/story, and the pay days.  Success is great and everyone wants to be associated with a hit, but you can spin failure just fine.


March 14th, 2018 at 4:13 PM ^

"your product and success don't really matter" is totally and completely false.  If your product is great and you run your business well, you'll be successful.  That's how it works for most people.

BUT there are other paths to financial success.  Cronyism and nepotism are paths as well.  A small but larger than most people realize subset of "successful" people do it that way. Problem is, those paths aren't available to most people so best path is just to work hard and do things the right way.


March 14th, 2018 at 4:55 PM ^

This is true for any human organization in the history of the world. Anyone who has spent any time in government, non-profits, athletics, whatever has seen this. I worked in the Federal Government for ten years, and guess what mattered? Your connections, your resume story, and you power over others (which is a form of psycic pay day).  Join the FBI, CIA, Foreign Service, a congressional staff, really any high-profile government job and you will learn that your "product and success" don't really matter there, either.


March 14th, 2018 at 8:22 PM ^

I will vouch for this, having spent many years in both business and government.  

It's the same phnomenon.

And of course, we know it happens in academics, sports (Jim Delaney says Hi!), etc. etc.

It happens any time you have a concentration of power without working checks and balances.

It's human nature, not just the nature of CEOs.

There are lots of places where your product and success do matter most (MGoBlog says Hi!) but they tend to be in highly competitive areas where customers / constituents have other readily available choices to keep you honest.




March 14th, 2018 at 2:39 PM ^

His friends at Bain (he knew them during the Dominos days) put him in at Toys knowing full well the company couldn’t survive, something Brandon surely knew as well. For his troubles he gets $15-20mllion over less than two years then on to the next deal with Bain. When it comes to making money Brandon is no chump


March 14th, 2018 at 2:48 PM ^

is that Brian is right--everyone knew Toys was in big trouble.  But why are Brandon and other top Toys R Us execs pulling down multi-million dollar bonuses while the company is falling apart?  In what world of rewarding success does that make any sense? 


They are just stealing all the remaining money out of a failing company for themselves before closing it down. 


March 14th, 2018 at 3:01 PM ^

The job is to close it down in an orderly fashion by saving as much money for 'stockholders' as possible.  That means keeping it out of the hands of creditors.  Bain and KKR make a business of liquidating assets, and they even brazenly brought along a real estate firm in the deal to acquire TRU.  Brandon's job was to shut it all down while making it look legit.  He's actually done a pretty good job of that.  The bonus money is based on money he's keeping out of creditors pockets, moreso than a return on investment.  Bain and KKR didn't 'invest' in TRU to run it as a business, they threw some money at it to make more by shutting it down.

Bankruptcy proceedings is Brandon's calling card, and he's pretty good at it.  He's not very good at running an Athletic Dept.


March 14th, 2018 at 5:08 PM ^

keeping the money out of the hands of creditors.  Brandon probably doesn't make a difference there.  Bain can bring in those teams themselves.  But yeah, Brandon is there to "make it look legit" i.e. be the figurehead/PR guy. 

So he's literally being hired because he's been a CEO in the past (to the market/employees/anyone concerned with it looking legit). More as a signal than anything based on merit.

And the crazy thing is, he is probably worth it for that reason alone.  No less frustrating for the masses that there are people that get hired almost solely for how their past experience appears to the market.


March 14th, 2018 at 4:19 PM ^

for plenty of people, taking a big check such that your creditors and shareholders get less is within the definition of success. They knew the risks and elected the board that hired me, says Brandon!

And I'm not sure I would turn it down if offered...just need to find me some crony's!


March 15th, 2018 at 11:35 PM ^

Brandon is useful to Bain. They need someone who can be a dick in public, and either not care (because $$$ are more important to him than self respect), or be so completely self-unaware that he doesn't realize he's a public phallus and thinks he's really running a company properly and worth the money.
*Someone* has to sell the facade that there's real company running stuff intended to happen. Otherwise, Bain's system can't perpetuate itself.
I tend to believe the majority of where these guys come from is just time, place, opportunity. He's still got to sell himself to the right people at the time, but most of us will never be there at the time or have the opportunity.
The success of the non-Brandons - the guys and gals who had a real original idea and sweated, suffered, and risked all to see it through is still there, but is the minority.


March 14th, 2018 at 3:28 PM ^

I, for one, have no problem with Valentine turning his back on a whiny player.  That should be the standard reaction of all refs whenever a player begs for a call.


March 14th, 2018 at 4:40 PM ^

I'm a guy who's big on having respect for authority.

What Teddy V did was waaaaay cheap. He wasn't having a conversation with a rude player that he eventually finished; he made a bad call, the player approached him in a non-demonstrative way, and Teddy disrespectfully and demonstratively showed him up. 

And Valentine's reaction to getting left out of the tournament confirms, for me, a lot more about him than his on-court behavior. He could have said, "I'm saddened by this, and it might be a bit harsh, but I understand why they're doing it. I messed up." Instead, he's whining about injustice. 

Turn it around: If a player treated a ref like that, he'd at least get T'd up, and maybe ejected. Valentine deserves this.