26 March 2006

LSU Basketball: 10 Years Later

Lester Earl (pictured), Roy Williams and the NCAA could not kill the LSU basketball program no matter how hard they tried.

Here's a recap for those of you who don't remember: Former Baton Rouge high school phenom Lester Earl committed to LSU and played there his freshman year. For some reason, he immediately regretted his decision and looked for a way out. "Mr. Integrity," Roy Williams, then the head coach at Kansas had a solution: come to KU. So he transfers to Kansas, but LSU doesn't grant him a release (thus losing a year of eligibility). Roy and Lester get pissed off about that, so they get their revenge. Lester tells the NCAA that he was paid by LSU. To add insult to injury, Earl gets immunity from the NCAA if he agrees to bring LSU down, and that's exactly what happens. LSU gets probation, Earl gets off scot free, and he later even regains the year of eligibility he lost.

So during the upcoming years, Dale Brown leaves in disgrace, and LSU's program is crippled and wallows in mediocrity (except for the Stromile Swift's sophomore season). Roy Williams' Kansas Jayhawks rack up the recruits, have great success, and is considered a "model program" for integrity. Fortunately, however, they come short of winning the ultimate prize: the national championship. Meanwhile, Lester Earl is driving a Yukon in Lawrence, Kansas. Later, he is arrested for drunk driving, but is eventually reinstated by Roy Williams.

Of course, the story does not end well for Kansas either. "Mr. Integrity," Roy Williams would leave them too and go to North Carolina. Later, it is discovered that Williams violated NCAA rules during his tenure, forcing his former school to face potential probation--while he gets off scot free.

So, here we are, almost 10 years later. To borrow a phrase from television, "Where Are They Now?"

LESTER EARL: He never lived up to his potential. And less than a year ago, he was arrested again. What a classless piece of trash.

KANSAS BASKETBALL: The Jayhawks remain a "respected" program. However, Roy Williams deserted them too, just like Lester Earl sold out LSU. In the last two years under Bill Self, the Jayhawks have lost in the first round in the NCAA Tournament. Those losses came as a 3 seed and a 4 seed.

LSU BASKETBALL: The Tigers are back in the Final Four for the first time in 20 years.

ROY WILLIAMS: Wins the National Championship with the team he inherited at North Carolina. The media are generally overjoyed by this development, and this "man of integrity" continues to be praised today.

Roy, hopefully you're the next one who will fail the test of time.

30 MARCH 2006 UPDATE: Lester Earl--Poscript.


At March 26, 2006 11:48 AM, Blogger Seymour D. Fair said...

Mr. DarDar:

One of the funniest things I have ever seen (and been a part of--with you in fact) in my life was when Kansas (with Lester Earl) played in that first round in the DOME back whatever year that was. Everytime Earl touched the ball the crowd erupted in boos . . . the entire game.

At March 26, 2006 1:34 PM, Blogger Hollis P. Wood said...

Come on Fitch. LSU gets into the final four for the first time in 20 yrs,beating 3 teams we all loathe in the process (Tam, Duke and UT) and you choose to write about Lester Earl???

At March 26, 2006 5:41 PM, Blogger Commish said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At March 26, 2006 5:43 PM, Blogger Commish said...

Lester Earl will never be forgiven. Dale Brown did not deserve to go out like that. The fact the NCAA gave Earl year after year of extra eligibility tells me that it was out to get the Tigers.

I'm sorry I can't forget about that every time I see how far LSU has gone since that happened.

There will be time to talk about the other things, trust me.

And I'm not the only person who thinks that Roy Williams is the biggest phony in the history of the NCAA. You shouldn't be allowed to get off the hook every time something goes wrong just because you look like Deputy Dog.

At March 27, 2006 11:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

FLSU. Self proclaimed flagship. No leadership.

At March 28, 2006 10:02 AM, Blogger Commish said...

Nice, intelligent response. And nice use of documentation and facts to back up your claims. The state gets some much-needed publicity, diversion, and entertainment. But you can't enjoy it? Why? Because you're a Tulane fan living 50 years in the past? This isn't about LSU and Tulane anymore. Don't you get it?

At March 28, 2006 2:03 PM, Blogger Roux said...

Earl was certainly a POS. He ran up bills all over town.

And you are correct about Roy Williams . He's the basketball equivalent of Bobby "I'm holier than thou" Bowden.

At August 18, 2006 6:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

where is Lester Earl right now???

At September 09, 2006 10:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

None of you all scumbags know anything about Lester in 2006 or even his relationship with Dale Brown. Suppose they are friends? Yep, that's right. Anyway, people change, people succeed, people fail and people succeed again. You a Christian? They who are you to judge. Back off. You all don't have a life if you all still need to talk about this mess. Peace. Lester's BM.

At November 09, 2006 8:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It appears Lester retired from basketball citing his knees problems for his major factor. An article in from the Lawrence Journal World claims that he has enrolled in classes, presumably at KU in Spring of '06.


At March 06, 2007 9:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

lester is my friend and i know that people have hate in there heart for the things that happen in his life but what did he do that shaq dident do? he got caught so that's what happen. he was 19 and the coaches at ku and lsu are garden snakes that took him for his good nature and used him. he is baton rouge and thats my dog. so all u haters can kick grass...............kcmostro....

At September 16, 2007 12:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...and people still hate him no matter how much you love him.

At June 13, 2008 9:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How do ya like us (KU) now? We just won the national title this year.

As for Earl, he's a good guy. He was young and immature at the time you speak of, but is now a very respected individual in the Lawrence area.

At June 18, 2008 12:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kansas did just win the national title but it's a good thing all those Florida players from the last two years decided to leave college early. At least Kansas has a history in something.

At July 03, 2008 1:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah Kansas beat florida last year like it would have mattered...

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