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Jerome Harper & Fairness

Jeremy Tiers has a long article up on Bob Gibbons' All-Star Report about
the McDonald's Game Selection process
. This is, we think, the 3rd article
criticizing the process, which leads us to ask an important question: who gives
a damn about a high school All-Star game? Quick, name 10 guys from last year's
team. Uh-huh, thought so.

It's an honor, and a nice one, but no one put Tim Duncan on there, and no one
saw Kenny Dennard in his day, and the list of guys who didn't play in that event
goes on and on, including one Chris Carrawell, currently a contender for
national player of the year honors, so it's really a meaningless honor.
But what surprises us a bit is the nature of some of the criticism.

Tiers repeats the earlier criticisms posted on their site, specifically about
players not being academically qualified, and also points out that Jerome Harper
was arrested on Monday, the same day the team was announced.

We'd just like to repeat a couple of points we made earlier.

Jeremy says that "a good majority" of this year's team is not
qualified. But of course in Bob Gibbon's own ACC-SEC event last spring, Jason
Parker and Tony Bobbitt were both welcomed to play - in fact Bob said that those
decisions "stuck in the craw" of the selection committee. Maybe
so. But neither of those guys qualified for college as high school
seniors, and Bobbitt is likely to miss again this year. Parker is still
supposedly up in the air. Given the recent criticisms of non-qualifiers, may we
assume the ACC-SEC Challenge will henceforth be free of such blemishes? And
further, since Tiers brings up Oak Hill's lack of representation on the
McDonald's team, should we assume he would argue against prep school players,
who went to prep schools specifically to become eligible for college, being on
the McDonald's team - or the ACC-SEC team?

The second point: Jerome Harper's arrest. Yes, he was arrested, but a) he
claims he defended himself against attack, and the police ruled it was a
mutual assault, and b) the man who pressed the charges now apparently wants to
drop them. In fact, the guy said this:
"I just wanted Jerome to be hurt, like I felt when he hurt my
eye. Instead of hitting him back, I knew I would go to the media and the police to get back at him.

"When I saw him on television in a Richland County jail uniform, I knew I had accomplished my mission."

None of that information is on the All-Star Report, though they certainly
know a fair amount, because Bob Gibbons said this to The State
in an article about the charges being dropped

"For Cincinnati to drop Harper gives me reason to think no other college will consider taking
him. Cincinnati dropped Harper without hesitation, and Cincinnati is known as one of the more liberal schools in terms of admission."

He went on to say this:
"You can't improve your GPA if you don't have one. I've been told he has no mathematical chance of qualifying and that he's not willing to go somewhere and sit it out."

He clearly is familiar with the situation. Does he realize - or does Tiers -
that charges are being dropped? Does that factor into how Harper is being
treated and discussed?

It should. We're the last people who would support people not taking school
seriously - we're the radicals who argued that Elton, Maggette, and Avery were
getting rich but impoverishing themselves in the exchange, remember - but to us,
fairness dictates that the facts around Harper's arrest be

So again: he says he defended himself against attack. His accuser is dropping
the charges and apparently taking some pleasure, publicly, in screwing the
kid over. Cincinnati dumped him at the first sign of trouble in spite of several
legal charges against their players the last several years, claiming to be
concerned about the "integrity of the program.".

If we had a chance to speak to them, or if we posted on their bulletin board
( we don't) we would, with the greatest politeness and all due respect, ask Bob
Gibbons, Jeremy Tiers, and Rob Matera, if they would please report all the facts
around Jerome Harper. The kid has a couple of strikes against his
reputation already, and from where we sit, what happened to him this week, all
the way around, seems terribly unfair. He may not be a competent student,
but he is still a human being, and still not a grown man, and he deserves to
have the entire story told. You would want your kid to be given that
minimum level of fairness, and you should want this kid to have it, too. We feel certain that Gibbons, et. al, would concur.

Ok, on to the quotes. Like Quotin' Bob, and Rob Matera before
him, Jeremy seems to find "emphasis punctuation"
seductive. He differs, though, in that he tends to pick a few phrases and repeat
them, Zen-like, until they take on a mystical, mantra-like quality.

  • "Big Mac"
  • "experts."
  • "Big Mac"
  • "basketball experts"
  • "experts."
  • "Big Mac"
  • "recruiting experts"
  • "experts"
  • "All-American."
  • "Big Mac"
  • "best players"
  • "All-American."

Not quite a Haiku. Low-ku?