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‘Rent-a-Player’ Mindset Ruining College Basketball



I went to a Catholic high school a million years ago. There were lots of really smart kids there and I graduated near the bottom of my class. There were a couple of kids who skipped their senior years and went directly to college, including one who went to Princeton.

Those kids were so smart they had sparks coming out of their heads. None played basketball as I recall.

So, when I heard that a kid named Marvin Bagley III was skipping his senior year to matriculate at Duke University I was really impressed.

He must be a really good student.

The last I heard Duke was a pretty good school.

Marvin must be a really smart kid if Coach K thinks he’s ready to handle Duke’s notoriously tough curricula after only three years of high school, despite the time he will have to devote to basketball.

And Marvin already missed a chance to get his feet wet academically in Summer school.

Of course he’s 6-foot-11 with a really nice jump shot and could be the number one pick in the NBA draft next June and academics has nothing to do with why he’ll be taking up space on Duke’s campus.

Apparently academics have been an inconvenience for Marvin for a while. He changed schools three times in two states in less than six months before ending up at Sierra Canyon High School in Los Angeles.

All that moving around probably wasn’t part of a search for the perfect chemistry teacher.

College basketball is a joke.

Let me try that sentence again. “College” basketball is a joke.

Coach K had three freshman taken in the NBA Draft in June, two in the first round and one in the second.

If you’re a Pitt basketball fan, this is what you’re dealing with.

You want your team to compete in the ACC? It better start loading up on one-and-dones.

Sixteen freshman were taken in the first round this year. Two went in the second round. The first seven picks were freshmen. The first 10 college picks were freshmen.

Eight of the first 20 and 12 of 32 were from the ACC.

Why were they taking up space on a college campus?

Did any of them actually show up for a class?

The saintly Dean Smith at North Carolina, for several years, had kids who could barely read playing for him. He, of course, was shocked when he found out.

Kids who are ready for professional basketball after high school should be able to play professional basketball.

The NBA raised the age limit to 19 in 2006 and this year’s draft speaks volumes about how that has affected college basketball.

It’s only a few players but they’re the best players and they are taking scholarships away from kids who might actually plan to take advantage of the free education.

And the NBA is happy to take advantage of colleges who are willing to trade their academic integrity for a rent-a-player.

How did we survive before college football analytics?

Analytics are coming to college football. There was a time when a quarterback was expected to know which play to call. That’s why you’re called a Monday morning quarterback and not a Monday morning offensive coordinator when you second-guess someone. Quarterbacks used to be called field generals.

Now NFL quarterbacks have speakers in their helmets.

According to the Honolulu Star Advertiser, a company called Championship Analytics, Inc. has 53 subscribers this year.

If you wonder how you were able to enjoy baseball before WAR and exit velocity, you’ll be thrilled to know that college coaches will now be able to refer to a color coded book on the sidelines before signaling a play into their quarterback.

Rob Ash, former head coach at Montana State and current director of coaching development at CAI, told the Star Advertiser how his company can help a coach who enters four down territory. “If you know that on fourth-and-2 or -3 is going to be a go-situation you know on first down you only need to get seven yards on three plays instead of 10. So you can structure your play calling accordingly.”

Haven’t coaches been structuring their play calling according to down and distance since leather helmets?

How did Knute Rockne trust the Gipper to make a good call without analytics?

Please tell me that they’re not going to ruin football with this stuff.

If you’re at Heinz Field and Pat Narduzzi decides to try a field goal instead of going for a first down at the 15-yard line, whom do you boo – Narduzzi or some analytics geek in the press box?

Will the NCAA try to enhance the “game experience” for football fans by providing them with the same stats that the coaches have?

Sorry, but it’s probably only a matter of time.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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