To say that David Carter's first three weeks as head coach of the Nevada Wolf Pack has been tough is an understatement.
He lost a player to injury; he lost a player to gun possession; he lost a player, Mark McLaughlin, because Mark Fox left and he lost a player, Malik Cooke, who wants a transfer.
Nevada officials scolded the media for its way of handling the situation involving Phillips and bringing up past issues with both Kirk Snyder and Kevinn Pinkney.
That sort of background stuff always comes out when something bad happens like it did with Phillips. That's just basic newspapering. There is always somebody new reading the paper who is unaware of past indiscretions by a player or program.
When discussing the Phillips case, one name keeps coming up " Armon Johnson. Phillips, according to police reports, got the gun from Johnson's house/apartment. Johnson apparently was holding it for a friend.
What coach Carter should be thinking about and addressing is why Johnson has a gun in his residence in the first place.
Johnson supposedly has NBA aspirations, and if that's indeed the case he shouldn't ever possess a gun and he needs to divest himself of friends who play with guns. If Johnson isn't careful, he could find himself at the wrong end of the barrel if he's running with the wrong crowd.
Whoever is guiding Johnson these days off the basketball court, really needs to sit down with the Nevada star and pound some sense into him.
Johnson comes off as a happy-go-lucky guy. I certainly don't think Johnson is stupid, but it's obvious he lacks common sense and bends to peer pressure. Why else would he hold a gun for a friend? Can't he stand up and straighten up? Can't he shed some of his buddies from his days at Hug and realize they could bring him down?
Making the NBA is a difficult task in the first place, let alone if you have off-the-court issues in college. Problems can cost you a lot of money when it comes to the draft. Maybe Johnson needs to spend more time in the gym and cracking the books and less time hanging around people who are bad news.
The bulk of kids recruited by Nevada in recent years have been pretty good. However, all it takes is a couple of incidents for a program to get put in bad light.
I have to think that opposing coaches in the Western Athletic Conference are having a field day with the latest incidents. Recruiting is a dog-eat-dog business, and schools in the WAC will use Nevada's indiscretions to steer them away from Pack. That's not guessing on my part folks, that's facts. I've covered enough college ball and talked to enough recruiters to know I'm 100 percent right.
There is a lot of pressure to win in college athletics, especially in football and basketball, the money making sports. Sometimes coaches recruit kids that might have problems in the classroom and off-the-court, but are real good basketball players. The coaches think they can change them or they just pray nothing bad happens while they are in school.
Personally, I'd like for colleges to recruit "good" kids; kids that they know won't embarrass the program. I'd rather have a roster crammed with those type of kids and only win 65 percent of the games rather than have a roster of talented players, albeit knuckleheads, and win 80 percent because sooner or later a problem will arise.