Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

‘Tis the season. The season when young basketball stars get to decide if they want to go for the gold or stay for a shot at the golden ring. Truthfully, I think most probably aren’t really thinking about the ring. If they stay, the college life and a possible good team probably are factors, but not as much as the idea that they can improve their draft position for the next year. It’s all about getting drafted as high as possible.
So far this week we’ve had Brandan Wright, Thaddeus Young and Sean Singletary all announce that they’ll be putting their names in the draft. What’s interesting is that you have three ACC underclassmen apparently doing the same thing, but they are all three in very different situations. Wright is a sure-thing top-five pick. Coming out is pretty much a no-brainer for him. Yes, he’s the rare case where he could actually be that highly regarded and still improve his position for next year, but why take that chance? The difference in money isn’t worth the risk of injury or failed expectations. While Wright says he isn’t going to hire an agent (or at least hasn’t yet), he’s not coming back. Nice knowing you. Wish we could have watched you develop.
Young is an interesting case. Like Wright, he would have been a top 5-10 pick last year, but unlike Wright, played his way out of that position this season. Make no mistake, Young is a very promising player with loads of potential, but he didn’t dominate like everyone expected him too. So he makes for an intriguing draft decision. Do you just look at the good things he did and can do or do you focus on the fact that he didn’t live up to the hype? My guess is that if he stays in, he’ll be picked in the middle to lower-half of the draft. Is that good enough to stay in? I say no. He could be a top-five guy and his game could use a little seasoning. It’s not hard to see a first-team All-American when you look at Young’s future.
Sean Singletary is yet a third case. As a shortish, scoring point guard, he’s going to have a hard time impressing NBA scouts. While he’s a wonderful college player – certainly better than either Young or Wright at this point – players like Singletary are a dime a dozen in the NBA. He certainly can play at that level, but he’s not going to be drafted until at best the late first round. So why announce? Simple. You are allowed to do that and go through all of the pre-draft workouts and evaluations one time in your career. It would be stupid not to take advantage of the opportunity to have disinterested third parties evaluate and critique your game after they watch you play against other NBA hopefuls. I’m sure he’ll hear that he needs to improve his outside jumper and his game-management skills. Unfortunately for Singletary, he’s probably not going to have the teammates to help him too much in that latter point next year (Virginia’s going to need his points), but he can improve his shot before the 2008 draft.

The ACC And The Draft

David Glenn has a blog entry up today talking a bit about the ACC and the NFL Draft (What, you thought this post was going to be about Brandan Wright?). It’s a pretty vanilla entry by Glenn’s lofty standards, but there’s one very interesting part. He talks a bit about the programs that have had the most players drafted. You probably aren’t surprised to hear that Miami has the most and Florida State is #2. What shocked me though, was when he ran down the rest of the league. Can you guess which ACC program has had the fewest players drafted (all time, not just as a league member)?

Take a look. Bet you got it wrong.

Reggie Bush Would Have Gone Faster

Wanna know how a #1 NFL draft pick (deserved or not) rolls? In a burnt orange Lamborghini at about 130 mph on I-40 here in Raleigh, that’s how. Evidently Super Mario doesn’t follow the news much and hasn’t heard about Kellen Winslow, Ben Roethlisberger or Bobby Hurley.
Oh, you might want to put the headphones on for this one.
BTW, burnt orange? Is he pretending to be a Texas alumnus now that he’s in Houston? Don’t they make those things in red anymore?

Rabbit, Run

Have you ever wondered why Florida, south Florida in particular, churns out so many fantastic, blazingly fast football players? ESPN the Magazine thinks they know why.
Now, I don’t normally seek out ESPN Mag articles, because they tend to be the sports equivalent of People magazine or maybe USA Today, but this one was pretty damn interesting and well written. Yeah, it’s quite a stretch to give all the credit to chasing bunnies in fields, but this could certainly be a factor for some kids.
Update: I forgot to mention that I found this link via the Swamp over at the Sports Frog. Poster wlu_lax6 is always digging up cool links over there.

We Are Virginia Tech

There has been a lot of discussion over the past few days about Virginia Tech’s response in the early hours of Tuesday’s tragedy. Did they take the matter seriously enough? Did they respond quickly and effectively enough? Did they really have the best interest of their students, faculty and staff in mind?
Those issues can and will be debated for some time. They should be. What can NOT be debated though is just how impressive the Hokie nation has turned out to be. Almost immediately after the disaster, the community rallied around itself and started addressing their own problems. If there’s anything that can be learned about Virginia Tech from all of this is that the school, the administration, the students and the alumni have built an incredibly supportive and united community. How could anyone watch the way they’ve responded and still think that the university doesn’t care about its own students and employees? You can’t watch the obvious love that those people have for their school and not be incredibly impressed.
I mentioned in my previous post that incidents like this always make sports seem so inconsequential. Well, maybe I need to reconsider. Virginia Polytechnic University is NOT just a football team, but it’s clear that the football team, along with all the other athletic teams, IS a huge part of the school. A huge part of the culture. A hugely positive part of the culture, experience and pride of being a Hokie. Students, alumni and fans everywhere – including the Washington Nationals – have been wearing the maroon and orange all week. They repeatedly refer to themselves as Hokies. That unity and common identity comes directly from the athletic teams.
Sports do matter.
Finally, to wrap up the two points I’m making, you need to watch this video from yesterday’s convocation in Cassell Coliseum. An English professor gives an incredibly stirring speech that clearly inspired everyone in the crowd. Watch the whole thing and see what spontaneously erupts near the end. I promise you, you’ll get a bit choked up. And you’ll see why sports can be so important.
We all are Virginia Tech.

Video Of The Day

Sports still seem incredibly unimportant today, but this video is still worth posting. Normally, there’s absolutely no good reason to watch a regular season MLB game, but this isn’t normal. I don’t think. A fan tries and fails to catch a foul ball, while simultaneously spilling his and his buddy’s beer all over the place. Then, just after he fumbles it, a flying pizza slice nails him on the shoulder. He’s named the Red Sox Fan Of The Game just as he launches into an angry, profanity-laden tirade against the pizza chucker.
It’s pretty damn funny.
The whole story.

Tragedy In Blacksburg

I’m sure you’ve seen the story by now. A gunman went crazy at Virginia Tech today and killed over 30 people, including himself. It’s just mind boggling. It’s hard to understand how one person could do so much damage.
From what I’ve read, he went first to a dorm, looking for his girlfriend. When he couldn’t find her, he shot her roommate and maybe the RA. At least one person was killed in the dorm. He got away from there and as police were investigating, he showed up in another building. The rumor is that he was still looking for his girlfriend, this time in a classroom. In that room, and maybe in several, he started shooting and that’s where he killed most of his victims.
Terrible.
My thoughts are with those in Blacksburg and the families of all of those affected. We make fun around here sometimes, but it’s just that – fun. My family lived in Blacksburg when I was born and later in Radford, where the shooter was evidently from. No place deserves this sort of tragedy, but sometimes it feels even more real when you have a tie, no matter how tenuous.

Remembering Coach Eddie Robinson

You probably saw it in the news yesterday, legendary Grambling football coach Eddie Robinson passed away at the age of 88. Robinson is famous for being a great football coach and great leader of young men, particularly the predominantly poor, southern black men who played for them.
The Sports Frog posted a story by Bob Pentland about meeting coach Robinson several years back. You may remember Bob as the author of the fantastic Eleven series here at Dave Sez. Go read it and you’ll understand a bit better what a great man Robinson was.

Forward Thinking

As soon as a season ends, the first thing most fans do is wonder about the next season. Will my team be better or worse? Is anyone going to leave early? What will I do without Jason Cain’s mustache?
Thankfully, some of the answers to those questions have been answered by ACC guru Dave Glenn. In a three-part series, he previews next year’s ACC taking educated guesses about who’s leaving and who’s staying. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.
The bottom line? The league should be quite good next year. Unless Hansbrough or Lawson leave, Carolina should be even better. Georgia Tech could be really good. Duke will be better too. The only two teams who are really being decimated are Maryland and Virginia Tech. The Terps had some promising freshmen though and it might actually be a good thing to continue to sweep out another post-title recruiting class. Actually, Miami probably counts in the decimated category as well, but they weren’t too impressive to begin with, so that’s no big loss.
2008 should be a hell of a season!

Guerrilla Radio – Greatest Teams Since 1980

I’m going to be on Grant Thompson’s Internet Radio show again today at 2:35. In previous appearances, I talked about the ACC and it was going to do/was doing in the NCAA Tournament. Well, now that that’s all over and Florida repeated, the inevitable question comes up – where does this team rank among the all-time teams? They have to be in the conversation, since they are the first to repeat in 15 years and just the second in over 30 years.
For this particular discussion, Grant asked me to come up with my top four teams since 1980. I’m going to cheat a bit and break things into two categories – teams the won the title and teams that did not. College basketball can be a bit capricious and so sometimes the best team doesn’t win. I don’t think we should forget those teams.
So here are my nominees:
Champions
1982 UNC – Worthy, Perkins and Jordan
1984 Georgetown – Ewing, Williams, Wingate, etc.
1990 UNLV – Augmon, Johnson, Anthony, Hunt
1992 Duke – Laettner, Hill, Hurley
1996 Kentucky – Anderson, Walker, McCarty, Delk, Mercer
2001 Duke – Battier, Boozer, Williams, Dunleavy
2005 UNC – May, McCants, Felton
2007 Florida – Noah, Horford, Brewer
Non-Champions
1984 UNC – Jordan, Daugherty, Smith
1984 Houston – Olajuwon, Drexler, Young
1986 Duke – Dawkins, Alarie, Amaker
1991 UNLV – Augmon, Johnson, Anthony, Hunt
1999 Duke – Brand, Langdon, Avery, Battier
And the winner are ….
Champions
1982 UNC – Worthy, Perkins and Jordan
1984 Georgetown – Ewing, Williams, Wingate, etc.
1992 Duke – Laettner, Hill, Hurley
1996 Kentucky – Anderson, Walker, McCarty, Delk, Mercer
Non-Champions
1984 UNC – Jordan, Daugherty, Smith
1984 Houston – Olajuwon, Drexler, Young
1991 UNLV – Augmon, Johnson, Anthony, Hunt
1999 Duke – Brand, Langdon, Avery, Battier
Discuss …