Posted on: August 8, 2009 1:20 pm

Isiah Thomas Is Like a Box Of Chocolates…

You know the rest of the quote…at least that’s what I’m playing off of.  Isiah Thomas is one of the most confusing, unpredictable human beings in sports.  One moment he’s sexually harassing a female executive for the New York Knicks, and next thing you know he’s in the hospital with a drug overdose.

You may know Isiah Thomas as one of the “Bad Boys” of the Detroit Pistons, where he won two NBA championships and solidified his spot in the Hall of Fame. 

Or maybe you know him as the man who slowly and painfully killed off the Knicks during his close to five years with the organization.

Well now you know Isiah Thomas as the head coach of an unheralded college basketball program.  Of course, critics were skeptical, and thought there was no way this could end well for either party.

After all, how in the world could Thomas provide the needed charisma and allure to recruit high-end talent to a small university in the Sun Belt conference?  There is widespread belief that most recruit’s parents would not enjoy hearing about a drug overdose from someone who could possibly be their son’s next head coach.

Honestly, what could be better for the overlooked and unanticipated Golden Panthers of Florida International than to bring in an NBA Hall-of-Famer and former NBA head coach to the sunny beaches of Miami?  It’s not like Thomas could screw up FIU’s public image.  What public image?  Truth is FIU had nothing to lose by hiring Thomas, and everything to gain.

And FIU’s so called “gamble” if you will is already paying dividends.  On Friday, Thomas and the Golden Panthers received a verbal commitment from a top high school prospect, ranked No. 8 overall in the class of 2010 by ESPN. 

If you looked at Dominique Ferguson’s profile, you would see he was considering Duke, Florida, Kentucky, Indiana, and UCLA.  No mention of FIU, and with good reason.  In the words of Ferguson, “I had kind of forgot he was coaching there.  Then we talked on the phone after they were allowed to make phone calls.  Coach Thomas, his entire staff, the city, it was an easy choice for me.”

Ferguson’s ambition is the same as any other high school basketball star, and that’s to make it to the NBA.  So he saw the logic in going to FIU where he can learn from the best, as many others are sure to follow.

After arriving at FIU Thomas had already drawn attention from top recruits in the class of 2009, Lance Stephenson and Latavious Williams.  While he didn’t draw them to FIU, it looks like it was a sign of things to come in terms of drawing interest from big-time prospects.

Thomas has received commitments from Phil Taylor, the No. 39 ranked point guard in the class of 2010, and Chris Coleman, ranked No. 43 overall in the class of 2011 according to ESPN.

The pieces are starting to fall into place for FIU to bust onto the national scene as the next surprising mid-major.


 Written by Colin Means

Original Article: OnlineSportsFanatic.com

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: May 11, 2009 8:58 pm

Top 20 Impact Freshmen for the 2009-2010 season

We all know in almost every case it takes experience to win championships, but a little youth certainly doesn’t hurt.

I will rank the top 20 impact freshmen not only on how talented they are, but the impact they will make on their teams

    1.   C Derrick Favors, Georgia Tech:GT is coming off a last place finish in the ACC, and big man Favors is the little push they need to become competitive again.

      2.   G Michael Snaer, Florida State:  The loss of Toney Douglas will  hurt FSU, but Snaer will be an instant impact player capable of relieving the load.

      3.   F Dante Taylor, Pittsburgh:  Pitt loses 4 starters, including the entire frontcourt.  Taylor will instantly start and help the Panthers stay competitive.

      4.  C Keith Gallon, Oklahoma:  Blake Griffin’s departure to the draft will leave the frontcourt wide open for the Sooners, and Gallon is the guy that can take over down low. 

      5.  G Avery Bradley, Texas:  Bradley will start right away, most likely in place of A.J. Abrams.  He is a dynamite scorer, and arguably the best perimeter defender in the class.

For the complete rankings go here.

Category: NCAAB
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com