Sounds like a battle may be brewing over Larry Davis’ potential release from his Letter of Intent…you know, the binding document that the kid signed with NC State University before Seton Hall hired Bobby Gonzalez and the Pirates’ program started making overtures to Davis (against NCAA rules) while he was signed with NC State?
In this article in the Fayetteville Observer titled “Loweâ€™s hiring doesnâ€™t impress prep coach”, longtime Christ the King head basketball coach, Bob Oliva made some pretty disparaging comments about Sidney Lowe.
Davis announced last week that he would play his college hoops at Seton Hall. In making his decision public, he said all the right things, praising State and the way the school handled his recruitment.
Contacted by telephone Monday, Oliva was not so kind or politically correct. Asked why Davis decided not to stick with N.C. State, Oliva said, â€œI donâ€™t really know â€¦ I can only guess. You want me to guess?
â€œWell, they (N.C. State) took two months to name a coach, and then, when they did, they named a guy who canâ€™t coach.
â€œThat is about the stupidest thing I ever heard of.â€¿
With that, Oliva hung up and returned to his Memorial Day activities.
Oliva’s comments are interesting in many ways – some ways directly related to the Larry Davis/NC State situation and some ways not at all.
Davis and NC State
Not knowing what is going on behind the scenese, one can only wonder what NC State’s staff has told Davis regarding his potential release from his letter of intent. Remember, State kindly allowed Davis to re-open his recruiting AFTER he signed his LOI. The program did this in the form of a “conditional release” that was attached to the condition that he wait to meet Sidney Lowe before making any decisions. Obviously, Davis has not lived up that commitment (any more than he lived up to his previous commitment to NC State).
HOPEFULLY the catalyst that sparked Oliva’s comments originates from Davis being told that he will not receive a full LOI release because of his continual inability to adhere to his side of agreements made with NC State.
I’m sure comments like these will help get Larry his release in short order. (sarcasm) These kinds of comments will serve to change the minds of some Wolfpackers who previously supported fully releasing Davis from his LOI, therefore not making him to sit out a season as mandated by the NCAA. One poster on a message board whose mind had changed because of the comments expressed it this way:
For him the “commit” publicly to SH without a release from us was wrong. If he wasnt going to give us the last shot, as promised, he should have let kept it quiet until everything was complete. I have said let him go, but take your own sweet time about it.
Impact of Oliva’s Comments on Other Kids
I have to wonder about the potential reaction to these comments of parents who have children whom are pretty good basketball players.
Great players are always going to be recruited no matter the situation; they can be at Mount Zion, Laurinburg, or wherever. For the most part their talent insulates them and they have no problem getting scholarships to go to college.
BUT, “good and pretty good” players do not have that same luxury. These players NEED high schools and high school coaches with a wide network and deep access to all colleges to help them land valuable scholarships (and basically, change their lives and shape their future). Bob Oliva, undoubtedly has that kind of network. But is that network as strong as it could be?
I would be very concerned as a parent that a high school coach would be so emotionally involved in Davis’ situation and choose to be so confrontational with a national program like NC State. Basically, Oliva just CHOSE to attack and shut out one of the Top 25 historical basketball programs in the country from THE BEST basketball conference in America who is ranked as the #2 best educational value in the country. How is this a good thing for any potential player this guy ever coaches?
If nothing else, this was really stupid on Oliva’s part. Seeing this kind of reaction from Oliva only begs parents and administrators to wonder how many other programs (big or small) in America has he attacked in this manner and ultimately shut out? How many mid-sized programs to which the “pretty good” players need access have ‘upset’ King Bob in the past and therfore reduce the opportunities for his players to obtain scholarships in the future? If I’m a parent, it is a valid concern.
Success in life is difficult enough to achieve on your own. One must be prepared take advantage of opportunities when they are presented. The last thing that young kids need is someone else limiting their opportunities to succeed based on their own selfish agendas.
As a parent, I’d also wonder if Oliva behaves in this manner whenever something doesn’t immediately go his way? Is that the kind of leadership and example-setting that is good for the development of young men Perhaps this kind of behavior and “leadership” from Oliva helps explain why Larry Davis felt compelled to confront a referee and initiated a confrontation in a hallway after a game. that ultimately got Davis barred from high school playoff games. (N&O Link) The confrontation escalated and the referee was punched in the face (allegedly) by a member of Larry Davis’ family.
According to published reports, Larry Davis, a highly recruited guard from Christ the King High in Middle Village, N.Y., yelled at referee Michael Bennett in a hallway following a loss Sunday in the city championship game of the Catholic High School Athletic Association. The New York Daily News and New York Post reported that Davis’ uncle, Warren Davis, then punched Bennett in the face.
The Daily News reported that Davis has been barred by the school from playing in the state Catholic playoff games and would not be allowed back in school until an investigation is completed.
Efforts to reach Davis, Christ the King coach Bob Oliva and CHSAA president Ray Nash were not successful. Bennett did not return messages left at his home.
Davis fouled out of the championship game, which was played at Fordham University. Bennett told The Daily News he was first confronted by Larry Davis and his parents after the game. He said after they left, Warren Davis approached him and punched him in the mouth.
Pretty interesting that Oliva was unavailable for comment in the middle of basketball season in March…but was very easy to find over the Memorical Day Holiday in May.
How does all of this align itself in the assessment of this gentleman’s ability and qualifications to lead young men? I don’t know. All I see is a man that remained silent and hid from the public when things were rough and then chose to limit the life-changing opportunities of dozens (current and future) of kids that are his responsibility simply to mouth off about something that isn’t even an impact to him.
I sure hope that there is more to this guy (and to Christ the King) than the way that he has behaved in public in the last few months.