Afternoon Links: Reading is fundamental

What we're reading while we avoid making literacy jokes. Submit links via Twitter.

  • With anecdotes provided by outspoken former UNC-Chapel Hill learning specialist Mary Willingham, CNN’S “Schools of Thought” series gets in on the NCAA fun:

    “Willingham's job was to help athletes who weren't quite ready academically for the work required at UNC at Chapel Hill, one of the country's top public universities. But she was shocked that one couldn't read. And then she found he was not an anomaly. Soon, she'd meet a student-athlete who couldn't read multisyllabic words … another came with this request: ‘If I could teach him to read well enough so he could read about himself in the news, because that was something really important to him,’ Willingham said. … A CNN investigation found public universities across the country where many students in the basketball and football programs could read only up to an eighth-grade level. The data obtained through open records requests also showed a staggering achievement gap between college athletes and their peers at the same institution.”

  • "I see 5,000 fans at Pauley," ESPN’s own Dick Vitale said on a conference call Wednesday, "5,000 fans at a school and team of that caliber in Southern California, that's just humiliation. I know you've got to win and produce or people aren't coming out in Hollywood, baby, with all there is to do. But are you serious? UCLA is winning, winning big and there should be excitement, enthusiasm.” Really though, you give to give folks in L.A. a pass: It has been awfully cold.

  • Creighton’s Grant Gibbs couldn’t play in the second half for the Bluejays Tuesday night, and the early worry was that he might lose the rest of his season (and thus his college career) to a knee injury. It looks now like Gibbs will be able to return, but the 4-to-6-week timeframe still presents a huge challenge in Creighton’s Big East title viability. (As I alluded to on the Spreecast this afternoon, it will also be interesting to see how Gibbs’ injury -- who is a borderline telekinetic feeder of Doug McDermott at this point -- affects McDermott’s output, if at all.)

  • My second year after college, it was so cold in Chicago that the pipes in my (old, decrepit) walkup froze. This prevented me from showering before work, and my very cool boss at the time allowed me stay home that day. I like to tell that story to boost my cold-survival credentials. Xavier forward Isaiah Philmore has got me beat.

  • Rasheed Sulaimon, once banished to the bench, is starting for Duke again.