By Whason Jitlock
Ever heard the one about the criminal who just couldn't keep his hand out of the till?
Neither have I. But I do know that if you're a major college basketball coach with a shady past, you should do everything you can to avoid the slightest hint of impropriety.
But I wonder if that lesson has sunk in on K-$tate's Frank Martin. Some of you may remember that Martin, at least according to us at the KC Star, ran the filthiest high school basketball program in the universe at Miami Senior High. I don't care that he was never implicated in any wrongdoing, he was close to the fire, and anyway, he's Cuban.
This weekend, an AAU basketball tournament came to Manhattan, Kan. That's right. Not the Big Apple, not the Little Apple, not the Tiny Apple. That town is in the middle of nowhere. Nobody wants to go there. Well, except some of the best high school basketball players in the country. Hope they enjoyed that two-hour drive from Kansas City to rural nowhere. Manhattan is certainly no Muncie, Ind., which is where I went to school.
Anyway, some of the best high school basketball talent in the country was in Manhattan this weekend, and by all accounts the K-$tate faithful showed up in droves. I'd say more about the play at the tournament, but I can't because I wasn't there. Anytime I go near a gathering of more than three K-$tate fans, I get booed and have rude jokes made about my weight. It hurts me so bad it's forced me to turn to Ricky Williams-esque holistic healing.
Of course, not being there nor taking any notes during an interview has never stopped me from getting the story before.
That's why I'm here to tell the story first: K-$tate fans should be very, very worried about impending NCAA sanctions for recruiting violations. I may have been through hundreds of dysfunctional relationships in my lifetime, but I'm not so dumb that I can't smell recruiting improprieties from 120 miles away. Here it is in algebraic form:
High-Profile Recruits + Head Coach Known for Being Dirty + Manhattan, Kan. = Recruiting violations
Let's not stop there. K-$tate deserves the death penalty for this. A town like Manhattan, with 50,000 people, has no business hosting an AAU tournament. Surely these kids would never come to the Miniscule Apple if there wasn't something on the table. Dalonte $400K and Filthy Frank Martin sweetened the pot to get them out there, and then to keep them there for the one or two years they will require before jumping to the NBA. Meanwhile, teams who are known to have broken the rules continue to do things the right way.
Look, when I was a kid, I got caught with my hand in the cookie jar. A lot. But I was never so dumb that I got caught five times in one day. Frank Martin and Dalonte Hill could learn a lot from me when I was five.