Alright. I’ve had it.
Enough is enough. It’s time someone is willing to come out and say what we have all been thinking (or at least should be thinking):
I DON’T CARE HOW GOOD OF A COLLEGE BASKETBALL PLAYER YOU ARE IF YOU HAVE NO SHOT AT BEING GOOD IN THE NBA.
There it is, in the flesh. Let the disagreement floodgates be open.
Okay, let me explain. College basketball is great. The NCAA tournament is without a doubt the greatest playoff system across any sport, be it college or professional. There is arguably no better weekend than that of the first and second rounds. I personally spent 20 incredible hours combined on Thursday and Friday this year in the same seat, at the same bar, watching every minute of every game. I wouldn’t change that for a second, and there isn’t much else about the sport that I would want different.
Except one thing: the players who get the most praise.
Let’s take a quick look at the recent Bleacher Report All-American Team: Michael Beasley, Tyler Hansbrough, Kevin Love, Stephen Curry, and DJ Augustin. These five players, along with runner-ups Chris Douglas-Roberts and Luke Harangody, have been talked about all season long. They have been praised for their performances on the court, and the leadership that they have displayed for their respective teams. Yes, they deserve this praise. They have all been the most dominant players in the college ranks, and their teams have all had good seasons.
But here’s the problem that I have. Out of that group, other than Beasley and Douglas-Roberts, none of those guys will be great in the NBA. In fact, I don’t expect any of those guys to even be good in the NBA. I’ll even go one step further and say I would not be surprised if some of those guys don’t even make it on a NBA team.
Yet, we continue to consider them our “favorite” college basketball players. Everyone loves Tyler Hansbrough. He was just named the AP Player of the Year, when that should have easily gone to Beasley. You can’t watch a UNC game without hearing the announcers praise Hansbrough every other time down the court. Yet, if anyone reading this article had a top-ten pick in this year’s draft, would you take Hansbrough? I think we all know the answer to that question.
No, of course you wouldn’t.
How about Harangody? The Big East Player of the Year. Do you want him on your team? He’s the same as Hansbrough only worse. Of course you wouldn’t want him. And don’t get me started on Dell Curry’s son. The guy may have had an impressive tournament leading Davidson on a Cinderella run, but I’m pretty sure Candace Parker would have no problem boxing him out. And as big of a Candace Parker fan as I am (shout out to Naperville, IL), you have to be A LOT stronger than that to play in the NBA.
It’s obvious that there is no way to predict with complete certainty who in the NCAA will go on to be a great NBA player. But, I think we can all figure out pretty easily who has no chance. I wish the players that we would see and hear about day in and day out, would be the same guys who we think will make it. I would like to see more of the awards and acclamations handed out to guys who I will be watching for the next ten years. I didn’t need to spend a full season hearing about J.J. Reddick, and then two years later not even know if he’s on an NBA roster. But it seems like that just can’t be avoided.
What kind of a business works this way? Do you think Wall Street firms care about a kid who has great grades coming out college, yet can’t carry a conversation for more than a minute? They care about complete packages – students whom they know were good for four years, but have the potential to be even better in a professional setting. This is how we should look at our college players.