Commitments show Isiah's potential
• When Isiah Thomas got the Florida International job, the easy comparison was to throw up the failed Clyde Drexler experience at Houston. But it's not even close.
Drexler hadn't coached. Thomas has. Drexler wasn't tied into the AAU scene. Thomas is. Thomas has told me on a number of occasions that drafting high school players helped him keep up contacts in the AAU scene. He said that since he's a product of AAU ball, he understands the networking of the summer scene -- even if it was 30 years ago.
Still, Thomas' relationships have helped him recruit well through the early stages of the 2010 class. Constructive criticism as to whether or not he stays at Florida International long term is fair. But questioning if he would be able to land recruits -- even at FIU -- now seems to be moot. Thomas landed a commitment from ESPNU No. 8 forward Dominique Ferguson out of Thomas' adopted home state of Indiana (he played and coached there).
He already got verbal commitments from Phil Taylor (Georgia) in the Class of 2010, center Chris Coleman in 2011 (Mount Zion Christian Academy, N.C.) and a JC transfer in DeJuan Wright (Detroit but currently at Gillette College in Wyoming).
• West Virginia sophomore guard Darryl Bryant is still suspended from all basketball-related activities but not from basketball activities, according to a West Virginia spokesperson. Bryant, who filled in for then-injured and now suspended point guard Joe Mazzulla last season, was suspended for a violation of team rules.
Bryant is on an all-star team called the East Coast All Stars on a nine-day tour of Eastern Europe. Kansas State's Jacob Pullen and Dominique Sutton are also on the team. Bryant was cut by the USA Basketball Under 19 team in June in Colorado Springs, Colo. The team ultimately won the world championships gold medal in New Zealand. Allowing Bryant to play on this all-star squad might be an indicator that he will eventually come back to the Mountaineers. West Virginia desperately needs Bryant if it's going to contend for a Big East title.
• Cincinnati was informed by the NCAA that Lance Stephenson shouldn't conduct interviews during an investigation into his amateur status, according to the Bearcats staff.
• Don't expect the NCAA to relent on tying access for coaches to summer school in 2010 and beyond. If the college coaches want to get access to players in the summer, there will be a summer school component. Some coaches have balked, but don't expect any letdown if this is going to get passed through the NCAA's board of directors.
• Long Beach State is a Big West title contender. The 49ers, like most Big West teams, aren't likely to earn an at-large NCAA tournament berth. But the 49ers are positioning themselves for a quality power rating and a possible better seed if they were to earn a bid.
Long Beach State plays West Virginia in the 76 Classic in Anaheim, Calif., facing Clemson or Texas A&M in Round 2. Long Beach State is also playing true road games at Texas, Kentucky and Duke. I'm not sure another conference title contender from another lower or mid-major conference is taking on that type of schedule.
• The facility arms race continues. Virginia Tech is opening a new practice facility Monday.