6 College Basketball Personalities We Love to Root Against
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As much as college basketball becomes beloved for about a month every spring, there also emerges a perennial group of villains and teams that the general public roots against.
Whether it be their success, attitude, or off-court incidents, it becomes just as fun to root against these players, coaches, and teams as it is cheer for Cinderella or our favorite team come March.
You may not know the players mentioned yet, but chances are you won’t be jumping on their bandwagons any time soon.
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Maybe it’s his unrelenting confidence. Maybe it’s Duke’s perceive superiority complex over their state school rival down the road, North Carolina. Maybe it’s the fact that Duke Basketball always seems to have that star player that loves to be hated (Christian Laettner, Bobby Hurley, JJ Redick, the list goes on and on).
For whatever reason, the general populace generally despises Duke, and the face of Duke Basketball, Coach K. The real reason for this hatred: Krzyzewski’s constant success. Which is why it seemed like a national holiday in the college basketball world when Duke was upset by No. 15 Lehigh in their first NCAA tournament game last March.
Krzyzewski is not afraid to yell at the referees or his players. He demands respect, sometimes to the point of entitlement. We all respect Krzyzewski, but can’t help enjoying the moment each March where Duke’s national title hopes are dashed.
Michael’s younger son has the confidence and arrogance on and off the court just like his father. The only problem? He hasn’t quite earned it yet.
First, he single-handedly ended UCF’s $3 million partnership with Adidas after wearing Air Jordans in an exhibition. UCF has since signed a deal with Nike, but it still shows arrogance when one thinks their shoe preference puts them above the rest of the entire athletic department.
He’s no angel behind the scenes either.
Jordan is a fringe NBA prospect that hasn’t led the Golden Knights to a NCAA berth yet, but his sense of entitlement is cringe-worthy.
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No one is denying the man can coach. However, his ego and constant trouble with the NCAA tells one that Calhoun is not running a pristine program in Storrs.
It’s hard to believe Calhoun was in the dark in the Nate Miles incident, while his icy relationship with UConn women’s coach Geno Auriemma is not encouraging.
He was suspended three games last season for the Miles incident, while the Huskies are ineligible for the 2013 NCAA tourney due to subpar academic progress rates under Calhoun.
Calhoun has been knocked down a peg by the sanctions, so it might be a few years before he’s contending for national titles again. However, it’s doubtful that there’s a huge contingent of college basketball junkies feeling terribly sorry for him.
Larry Drew II
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It’s one thing to transfer at the end of a season where you discover your basketball future is at another school. But in the middle of a vicious ACC conference slate? Please.
In 2011, Drew II quit the UNC team less than a month after losing his starting point guard job to Kendall Marshall. Marshall is now in the NBA as after being selected in the lottery in June, so it looks like coach Roy Williams made the right call.
Quitting on your team is bad enough for respectability. To simply leave Chapel Hill without telling your coach or your teammates is downright selfish. He even made his dad, Larry Sr. (and Atlanta Hawks coach) tell coach Williams of his decision.
Transfers are a way of life in college basketball, but Drew II burned every possible bridge in his way out of the UNC program.
Other Pouty Transfers
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Maybe it’s me, but few things rile me more in college basketball than sudden freshman transfers. Every case is different, yet it seems that too often touted, yet spoiled recruits wave the white flag because they’re no longer god’s gift to their coach like in high school.
UNLV’s Khem Birch whined his way out of Pitt after just ten games. In an interview with Pittsburgh sports station 93.7 KDKA-FM, he voiced his complaints:
“I felt like, just coming in as an All-American, they didn't try to embrace me or anything… I think some felt threatened.”
In college, you rely on your abilities. Not on your high school accolades. Looks like someone didn’t receive the memo.
Not to be outdone, Oregon’s Jabari Brown quit on the program after just two games. He’ll be suiting up for Missouri this season.
These two players are just a microcosm of what is wrong with college sports, where too many players are loyal to a school as long as it can provide the ideal path into a pro career. Rather than face adversity, they run from it. Too bad we still see your true colors.
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Kentucky has replaced Duke as the despised juggernaut in the college basketball world these days. The motto of Calipari’s best players has been “see them while they last”.
Calipari is a mastermind recruiter, and has flourished in luring “one-and-done” players to Kentucky and his previous stop in Memphis. College basketball purists hate Calipari and his embracing of a system that uses college as a pit stop on the way to NBA success.
Kentucky brass aren’t loving it either, especially when Calipari said in an interview with ESPN’s Heather Cox that having five players taken in the 2010 NBA draft was “the biggest day in the history of Kentucky's program”.
However, a reason this disapproval turns into dislike is that Calipari has not exactly prescribed to the NCAA rulebook in his career. He’s been part of massive scandals as coach at Massachusetts and Memphis. He’s also a notorious path-paver in being the first coach to have Final Fours vacated from the record books at two schools.
People don’t like Calipari’s past or how he’s been building his teams at Kentucky. Sounds like a villain to me.