A.L.: David Foster Wallace on scouting
June, 15, 2012
By Eamonn Brennan | ESPN.com
The Afternoon Links are (intermittently) back, and they are exactly what they say they are. Some days will bring more than others. This is the offseason, after all. If you have a link you'd like included, your best bet is to hit me on Twitter. You can also e-mail your link to collegebasketballnation at gmail.com, or use the submission form here. Does anyone else wish the U.S. used the British plural style for describing teams? "England are," not "England is." I prefer it. No? Anyway ...
- I plowed through David Foster Wallace's masterpiece "Infinite Jest" back in the halcyon days of Infinite Summer, the best temporary online book club of all time. I've never spent more time with a book, or returned to a book more often, whether to plumb new depths or chuckle at 20-page tennis-physics footnotes or just spend time with dozens of vividly realized, profoundly strange characters. (Mario Incandenza is probably my favorite.) My copy is dog-eared and torn and rife with markings and post-it notes, and it has a perpetually reserved spot on my dresser. Given this information, you now know why there was no possible way I was going to not link to the passage highlighted by Basketball Prospectus recruiting guru Drew Cannon at the Prospectus blog today, in which one of the younger tennis prospects at an elite academy describes his instructor's philosophy on player development. The passage is immensely relevant for any pursuit, really, but especially in regard to scouting young basketball players, as Cannon writes. It is also, like so much of the book, brilliant.
- The Dagger's Jeff Eisenberg has spent much of the past month counting down the most "untouchable" records in college hoops, from North Carolina's 56-game home winning streak against Clemson (No. 10) to Pete Maravich's insane 44.2 points per game average (No. 2), and today the series concludes with a worthy topper, UCLA's seven-straight national titles. None of the records on the list are likely to be broken, but it's safe to say we will never ever see another run of dominance like John Wooden's. To say the least.
- The Georgetown fans over at Casual Hoya are utterly thrilled with the news of Georgetown's opening day naval game against Florida: "Just when I thought our scheduling woes couldn't get any worse, you go out and do something like this...and TOTALLY REDEEM YOURSELF." A founding principle of Afternoon Links: If a piece includes a "Dumb and Dumber" reference in its lede, I will always link to it.
- The long-since-reported news that the Cincinnati-Xavier series will continue as expected was confirmed by both schools Thursday. The game will indeed take place at a neutral site, with some of the proceeds going to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Oh, and it's not called the "Crosstown Shootout" anymore. It's called the "Crosstown Classic." Hilarious.
- A bit of realignment news came Friday, when Boston University announced it was leaving the America East in favor of a move to the Patriot League, beginning in 2013-14.
- Mid-Major Madness has a worthwhile NBA draft primer on former Penn guard and pro prospect Zach Rosen.
- Rush the Court's Evan Jacoby is, like yours truly, a fan of the NCAA's new block-charge-related rule clarifications.
- Larry Krystkowiak is in the midst of a total rebuilding project at Utah, and he needs every good bit of recruiting news he can get. Landing Parker Van Dyke, a top player from the state of Utah in the class of 2013, certainly qualifies. The only downside: Van Dyke plans on taking his Mormon mission after he graduates from high school, meaning his arrival at Utah will likely be delayed until 2015.
- On Thursday, the lot of us shared our high school and college memories of current NBA Finals stars on both the Thunder and the Heat (I spent too much time thinking about what Nick Collison really means to me, man), and Myron ranked the top 10 NBA Finals participants in order of their collegiate careers.
- Myron analyzed the impact of a new rule that allows players to limited summer workouts with their coaches.
- Doug Gottlieb listed his five boom-or-bust NBA prospects.
- Jason King broke down just how hard it is to replace legends in college coaching.
- Andy Katz spoke to former SEC players and current NBA hopefuls about the teams they left behind.