The Open Man Q&A: Bru McCoy Transfer; Washington Basketball; Liev Schreiber

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I am watching Bru McCoy’s transfer with particular interest, because how the NCAA rules sets an important precedent going forward.

His situation shares some similarities with other transfers of signees before they ever played: Two that immediately come to mind are former Florida State linebacker Matthew Thomas and former UCLA defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes, both in the 2013 signing class. Thomas got cold feet after signing his National Letter of Intent to Florida State, saying he only did so feeling an obligation to his mother; sought transfer to either Georgia or USC; and ultimately remained committed to the Seminoles. The implication surrounding Thomas’ situation for the five months it lingered was that he would not be eligible if he transferred, which initial reports suggest would be the case for Bru McCoy.

But then there’s the Vanderdoes case. Vanderdoes signed his NLI with Notre Dame, asked for his release to transfer to UCLA, and was granted immediately eligibility due to hardship with a family member ill in California. Perhaps McCoy has a hardship case, but coaching changes — even particularly odd coaching changes like the USC situation — have not historically been viewed as constituting hardship.

Where Bru McCoy’s case differs from those of Thomas, Vanderdoes, or any recruiting transfer in recent years also makes the NCAA’s potential, impending decision landmark. Both Thomas and Vanderdoes signed NLIs in an era before the early signing period.

The first week of February was already a remarkably early time to begin collecting letters of intent; in my own instance eons ago, I did not decide between playing lower-division college basketball or becoming a student civilian until late April of my senior year. Pushing the process up another month-and-a-half is mind-boggling to me.

Now, some blame the early-signing period on coaches — and it’s true some coaches pushed hard for it. But in the last few years, exponentially more 4-and-5-star recruits have opted to graduate high school a semester early in order to enroll and participate in spring practices. Bru McCoy would have been one such player in 2019, and may still be depending on his decision.

But the early-signing period falls at the tail-end of Silly Season, college football’s unofficial coaching carousel that runs from Thanksgiving weekend through NFL Week 17. The prevalence of coaching changes during this stretch coinciding with early signing requires the NCAA implement a concrete rule regarding coaching changes. Having a clearly stated bylaw moving forward prevents opening a potential “floodgate” in the future, or prevents a player from transferring while citing a dubious coaching change.

The Bru McCoy decision should set the precedent moving forward.

Coming into the season, I was high on Washington’s prospects for winning the Pac-12. Last year’s team overachieved, and really took nicely to Mike Hopkins’ approach. The preseason Top 25 ranking may not have been warranted, and it appeared as though the Huskies were playing with that burden through the nonconference slate. But what we have seen for the past month more closely aligns with what I anticipated for Washington.

The proverbial back-nine of conference play provides more clarity (obviously), but winning at Oregon on Thursday made an emphatic statement. Washington looks like the best team in the Pac-12 right now by a considerable margin; Arizona State has the potential to be the best, but lacks consistency. The Huskies have balance, and the confidence that comes with experience.

Balance in particular separates UW from the Pac. Jaylen Nowell and David Crisp are both playing to their potential, while Noah Dickerson can still be looked to to have a monster performance. At the same time, Washington isn’t as badly hamstrung if the perimeter players aren’t at 100 percent as Arizona State is when Remy Martin struggles, or if Dickerson isn’t scoring effectively on the interior, it’s not as detrimental as Arizona playing without Chase Jeter getting points.

Matisse Thybulle’s a huge X-factor; no team in the conference has a fourth option with a ceiling as high as Thybulle. What he brings defensively, in particular, plays a huge part in my faith in Washington. He can focus his efforts on defense and make as much of an impact scoring two points as he does scoring 12.

Should Washington complete the sweep of the Oregon programs on the road, I’ll be close to penciling UW in as regular-season champion.

Well, since Lee Chong’s market from the John Steinbeck novel Cannery Row isn’t my neighborhood, I’ll have to assume none. The assertion that furloughed workers can simply offer an IOU to a grocer — most of which these days are part of national chains — is utterly delusional.

What’s even more absurd is that hasn’t been the most preposterous suggestion from the Administration during the ongoing government shutdown. I was dumbfounded to see the Cryptkeeper from the old HBO series Tales from the Crypt not just working as Secretary of the Treasury, but also making the dumbfounding suggestion furloughed workers take out loans.

I preferred the Keeper’s old monologues to this new shtick.

So I readily admit that the spirit behind the (semi) weekly Q&A is outsourcing ideas. To that end, I cannot get too worked up over the growing trend of Blue-Check Accounts posing open questions on Twitter with the sole intention of adding followers and mining for content. It’s a cynical practice, sure, but ultimately not as harmful as accounts that QT other people’s reporting adding nothing of value, or that repeat the original tweet’s information, thus committing a form of micro-plagiarism.

Besides, I don’t want to criticize the Eric Alper’s of the world for fear of garnering disproportionately angry retorts like this:

But what I have opted to do is flip the script and turn the open-forum social media question into my *own* content. It’s contentception here at The Open Man!

Liev Schreiber. No doubt about it.

In addition to being one of my favorite actors — and a woefully under-appreciated actor, at that — Schreiber has an impressive voice-over resume. He narrates the HBO series Hard Knocks, but his work on the 2003 HBO documentary Rebels of Oakland has stuck with me.

I have not seen Rebels of Oakland since watching it one Sunday night back when I was in college, and have never found a copy on DVD. It and the 2011 documentary on the UNLV basketball dynasty of the 1980s and early ’90s remain my two favorite HBO Sports products.

Schreiber discussed his narration on an episode of Dan Patrick, and reveals he landed the gig through his connection with Ross Greenburg.

Greenburg’s a name that piqued my interest, as he was the HBO executive who issued the network’s official statement on the notorious Artie Lange appearance on the short-lived Joe Buck Live. If Liev Schreiber’s who I most want narrating my life story, Lange might be at the bottom.