Tag Archives: David Laury

WKU, McDonald need to be wary of “red flag” cases

Today’s (extremely late) signing of Jamal Crook for the 2009-10 season really got my wheels turning on what kind of program head coach Ken McDonald is turning WKU into. In his one season so far, he took a duct-taped together roster of little-used veterans, Juco transfers and international players and was 0.9 seconds away from taking the Toppers to their second consecutive Sweet 16. This in turn, grants him some lee-way with his job and proves that the man can flat out motivate and coach.

But now, he’s starting to raise an eyebrow with his recruiting prowess.

It starts with the Spring 2009 class, with two of the originally signed three already gone in David Laury and Terrence Boyd and the third, junior-college transfer Cliff Dixon, still around.

From the beginning I had my worries about Boyd and Laury based on their backgrounds. Boyd hadn’t played high school basketball in two seasons and had the legitimacy of his SAT test score questioned and Laury’s “high school” was housed in an old hotel with a set up much like the Boys To Men Academy. A prep school in Chicago that the NCAA shut down a year ago after it was discovered that it catered to mainly area basketball recruits with dwindling academic standings.

The rumblings about Dixon were that he was also a little on the controversial side in junior college, sitting out a number of games last season at Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College due to attitude issues and team rules violations. So he’s also one to watch.

I applaude head coach Ken McDonald for getting rid of these “red flag” cases before they really became problems. At first I was weary of the signings but now it looks like McDonald has these kids on a short leash after the quick axes given to these two players. While I see the method to McDonald’s madness, it’s still a slippery slope to go down.

And he doesn’t seem to be slowing down with the signing of Crook, who spent last season at a fifth-year prep school in Maine to work on his academics and had to wait this long to both be cleared by the NCAA and await word on eligibility for a scholarship. Factor in the addition in of Oklahoma transfer Juan Patillo to the squad –his third school in four years after spending two seasons at the College of Southern Idaho–and my thoughts are that McDonald and his staff may be giving too many at-risk kids chances when they don’t deserve them. Patillo was dismissed from the Sooners squad for repeated violations of the team’s policy.

It’s a case seen with a coach like West Virginia’s Bob Huggins. While at Cincinnati, Huggins repeatedly gave high-risk recruits and transfers chances to join the Bearcats and reform and more often than not, that blew up in his face. Huggins began to look like a glutton for talented players that lacked character, but was really just too nice to say no to a kid that wanted a chance. I’ve met Huggins and so have others I know and the guy is a classic act off the court who would do anything for someone he thought was deserving, whether they actually were or not.

This was his downfall as a coach then, it’s a path that is starting to look similar with McDonald.

He’s taken chances on five questionable recruits in the past six months and already had two backfire on him. He has good intentions, but everyone knows the cliche about what the path to hell is paved with.

It’s not an issue so much now, and McDonald is handling it way better in his year-and-a-half as head coach than Huggins ever did by taking swift, decisive action against players that are already on thin ice. I support and agree with that, but after a while, they may not be enough.

Only time will tell whether any of the rest of the spring/summer 2009 recruiting class will turn out like Boyd and Laury, but it’s nothing like I’ve ever seen in college basketball and hopefully McDonald won’t let it go on for his entire tenure.

-David Harten

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More on Boyd and Laury

Just six months ago, I blogged about how a top recruit named Terrence Boyd was in the stands at the Florida International game in February. Fans were chanting his name as he acknowledged with enthusiasm. I said that it was a long shot to sign Boyd, but just getting him here was a great accomplishment for coach Ken McDonald.

A few months later, I ate my words when Boyd signed, but maintained my reservation that Boyd was a red-flag case.

Today, that turned out to be true. I’ve heard rumblings from team managers and other people around the team that Boyd was defiant in some ways, but overall, it was just not a good fit.

This does not bode well in terms of depth of talent for the season. Laury and Boyd both gone presents a problem up front. The Toppers lacked forwards going in to the season and now, besides getting JuCo transfer Cliff Dixon (hoping he doesn’t leave and completely wipe out the spring signing class), WKU is essentially back to square one in the post.

Character-wise, this might be the best thing for all parties involved. There had been questions about Laury’s character and the legitimacy of his prep school (found that it’s housed in an old hotel when GoogleMapped) and there had also been questions about Boyd’s SAT scores. Fans I had talked to around the community applauded the signing, with the reservation that the recruits may be bringing potential NCAA violations.

Now we’ll never know, but at the end of the day, it might be best that we don’t.

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Laury dismissed from men’s basketball team

Freshman forward David Laury was dismissed from the WKU basketball team today by the coaching staff for undisclosed reasons.

“We have granted David his release,” said coach Ken McDonald in a press release.¬† “It is disappointing that he is not interested in living up to the championship standards of our basketball program, and more importantly our university.¬† We wish him all the best with his future.”

This adds yet another twist to the saga of the spring signing period class of 2009 for McDonald and the Toppers. There had been questions about the high school Laury graduated from, Alif Muhammad Nia Prep School, along with questions about the eligiblity of freshman Terrence Boyd and the character of junior college transfer Cliff Dixon.

There’s been no official word as to the reason for Laury’s dismissal, but some close to the team have questioned Laury’s work ethic and desire to play.

As far as where this leaves WKU: Laury was supposed to help fill the void left by the transfer of center D.J. Magley to Tulsa, but thanks to the addition of Dixon this spring, Laury’s departure won’t hurt as much, though it will affect the depth in the post.

This all may turn out to be a blessing in disguise for McDonald and the Topper staff, as this is one character issue that they have dealt with swiftly and assertively. Considering that Laury was dismissed less than a month after arriving on campus says that maybe the coaching staff made a wrong choice on Laury, but only time will tell on the rest of the class.

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