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September 29, 2006

Thoughts on the grad rate debacle

"All our young people are on pace to graduate." -- Jim Harrick, Sr.

Ouch. UGA's graduation rate for men's hoops players enrolling from '96-'99 was a blistering nine percent. That's 1 out of 11 kids graduating in 4 recruiting classes. Only Badi Oliver graduated. Each class was given 6 years to graduate. Obviously, this was near rock bottom nationally.

Football's grad rate was 41%. That's down from our high in football around 65% a few years back. The football stats don't totally bother me because of the timing and our track record had improved dramatically in this area for several years. Look at those recruiting classes from '96-'99, and you will see a bunch of kids that went pro early or transferred during the coaching transition between Donnan and Richt because of playing time, attitude or discipline.

It's the basketball numbers that are the real problem. Why? Well...who's kidding who isn't like the NBA was scooping up our kids left and right. Only Jumaine Jones went pro out of those 11 kids (DA Layne left early, but he was on pace to graduate and doesn't count towards the 11 non-graduates).

Sadly. The hoops stats aren't a shocker:
Only 1 of 11 kids enrolling in the 4 years between '96-'99 graduated. Those recruiting classes included 1 Tubby Smith class, 2 Ron Jirsa classes and 1 Harrick class.

Coaching transitions cause some turnover. It's only natural. 3 coaches in 4 years causes tremendous turnover. However, the realities of Jim Harrick's involvement in the academic development of all four classes pretty much doomed them.

Harrick appears to have completely disregarded a kid's transcript in the recruiting process, and his complete inability to manage eligibility and progress towards graduation made all of this unavoidable. When you hire a guy that doesn't give a damn about academics. This is what happens.

The really sad news
The stats in hoops won't get any better any time soon. Harrick's four recruiting classes that enrolled from '99-'02 included only two high school freshmen that made it through 4 years of college at Georgia -- Chris Daniels and Rashad Wright.

That's right. Two high schoolers in four years.

Based on Harrick's comments at the Senior Awards Dinner days before his departure, it seems unlikely that Steve Thomas left in good academic standing. If he did, then he wouldn't count towards the stats in a positive or negative light as he enrolled at MTSU. If he didn't have good grades, then he definitely counts.

Jarvis Hayes went pro early, and I'm not sure if he graduated. Given that he was an inbound transfer, I'm not sure that he counts either way.

Jonas graduated, but as an inbound transfer I'm not sure if he or Damien Wilkins, who graduated, count in the stats.

No other Harrick player graduated that was recruited during that period from '99-'02. No Moses White. No Shon Coleman. No Anthony Evans. No Nick Temen. No Wayne Arnold. No Tony Cole.

Even Harrick's famed recruits that didn't enroll at UGA, are unlikely to graduate from college. Julius Lamptey, Kenny Brunner, John Toombs, Larry Turner and Alexander. None of them look to graduate.

We likely won't see graduation rate stats in basketball that aren't embarrassing until around 2012. At best. That's assuming the next coaching transition doesn't clobber 2-3 more classes.

What a bummer.


PS -- the infamous PE Course that Harrick Jr taught didn't help any of the three kids graduate. It was just an elective to fill time. So that's not even part of the issue here.


Anonymous said...

What next coaching transition? C'mon Paul, you know as well as I do that that DF is going to retire from UGA with five SEC and two NCAA championships. We agree on that, right PWD? Hello?

Well, anyway, things appear to be better now. Felton talks about this stuff a lot, and there seem to be results to match. From today's AJC:

Felton said the emphasis on academics is manifested in his current team. Seniors Steve Newman and Levi Stukes will graduate in May, he said. Corey Gibbs, who had to give up basketball two seasons ago because of a career-ending knee injury, remained at UGA and will also complete degree requirements this year, according to Felton. Junior center David Bliss, who is in UGA's honors program, could graduate in three years if he so chooses.

Felton said his entire team is either on track or ahead of pace to graduate.

Anonymous said...

HA!!!! This is Michael Adams' guy. After all the trouble we've had getting in Grant, Johnson, Chaney, etc. Great job....will you leave already?!?!?!?!?!?

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