Sports department for the student run radio station 90.3 WRST at UW-Oshkosh
Excitement, emotion, passion, heart, and competitiveness: Words that coincide perfectly within the game of college basketball. But in November? As ESPN wrapped up its 24 hours plus of broadcasting college basketball, fans across the country received just a taste of the electrifying season that lies ahead of them, and by golly I think it will be one remembered for a while.
The sheer talent that was on display in the United Center for the State Farm Champions Classic was enough to make me giddy for the months leading up to March. Roughly 70 NBA executives/scouts were in attendance last night and you can bet none of them left disappointed. While it’s obvious that the play of Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, and Julius Randle stole the show in Chicago, the play of guys like Keith Appling, Gary Harris, and Adreian Payne and others who elected to stay in school also impressed. Coach Tom Izzo and his team have much to look forward behind an upper-classmen lead team.
Seeing an athlete stay until their junior or senior season is becoming a rarity in today’s college basketball game. Ever since the NBA implemented the “One-and-Done” rule in 2006, you’re seeing kids elect to forgo their three remaining years of eligibility to earn an NBA salary and better themselves for the future. Why wouldn’t they? If they are skilled enough to make it out of high school, let them go for it rather than risk injury ala Nerlens Noel. This is not something new. This argument has been presented for 7 years and ultimately fans, including myself, will just have to deal with it, since there is no end to the rule in sight. The NBA benefits from it too much to even re-consider a rule change. Personally, I’ll watch a college basketball game 10 times out of 10 over an NBA game.
Unfortunately, the rule results in mocking the term student-athlete. Dan Patrick said it best on his talk show when he stated “Andrew Wiggins is majoring in NBA. Not MBA, he’s gonna get an NBA.” Spot on. These players only have to make it through a semester and a half of classes before they are free to chase their dreams, but what if they bust in the NBA? Does the NBA think the one year in the collegiate ranks provides enough time for maturity? I guess so, but to me the difference is moot; giving a luxurious contract to a 19 year old rather an 18 year old is not going to make a difference.
So what’s my solution? If the NBA were willing, let kids make the jump, or if they commit to a university make them stay at least 2 years. Two years will not only relieve the program some, but also gives these athletes significant time to be coached up and prepared for the next level. If they cannot cut it in the NBA out of high school (like some are sure to be) utilize the NBA Developmental League to refine their skills. The salaries are low, but it keeps hope alive some of the NBA teams will give them a shot. Either way, it will be a life-changing decision forced on a kid who is not even 20 years old.
The college basketball game is in a sticky situation with one-and-done athletes. Although the circumstances are not ideal, I continue to look at the positives and am thankful the college game is blessed with this talent, even if it’s just for a year. Hopefully the future includes change, but for now let’s watch the future of the NBA play with unlimited passion representing their respective universities.
World Of Sports
Keeping it within the college basketball ranks the NCAA has received some early criticism in regards to its new rules when it comes to officiating basketball. Teams and spectators are quickly finding out that referees will not be hesitant call fouls on what used to be considered “ticky-tack” fouls. According to the NCAA, the fouls that will now be enforced are:
Defending the Player with the Ball
1. Placing and keeping a hand/forearm on opponent.
2. Putting two hands on opponent.
3. Continually jabbing by placing hand or forearm on opponent.
4. Using an arm bar to impede the progress of the dribbler.
The NCAA intends to have higher scoring outputs from opponents this year, which makes sense considering the most recent season witnessed the lowest scoring totals (67.5 points per game) since the 1951-1952 season. While I may be on the fence, I really do agree with the change. While it will take everyone some time to adjust, it will hopefully open up scoring from everybody. I just do not want to take away the defensive intensity the game offers. If players can adapt, I do not think it will be a problem.
I am willing to see what happens as the season will progress, but for now, fans can expect to see games like Boston College and Providence. In that game there were a total of 55 fouls, 60 free-throws, and 6 players fouling out. I have a hard time believing that it was an entertaining game for fans of both teams. Nobody wants to watch a basketball that contains stoppages every time up and down the court. If the trend continues throughout the entire season I would not be opposed to what broadcaster Dick Vitale’s idea in a recent tweet:
While Dick may be hard to interpret, fouling out with 6 fouls rather than 5 perhaps could provide players to remain aggressive and physically challenge the ball handler. I guess time will tell though, but I’m glad the college basketball season has returned. Let the games begin.
-Tony Bettack, Sports Director, 90.3 WRST-FM Oshkosh (@tbettack10)