This is a great time of year in college basketball. Some conference tournaments are under way, Wisconsin beat Illinois in a Big Ten regular-season thriller, the Xavier-St. Joseph's game in the A-10 was a classic, and Tuesday's SEC showdown between Florida and Georgia ended with a nail-biting win for the Bulldogs, despite the allegations surrounding Georgia coach Jim Harrick.
With all the great action, isn't it unbelievable to have all the controversy going on? The Georgia situation will play itself out. Then there's the academic fraud case at Fresno State, ruining an unbelievable year by coach Ray Lopes' kids as the school decided to declare them ineligible for postseason play (in either the NCAA tourney or the NIT). The WAC then banned Fresno State from the conference tournament.
One of my favorite guys was a superstar with the Bonnies, a player I coached in the NBA, Bob Lanier. I wonder what he's thinking now.
But the story that really caught my attention was the mess at St. Bonaventure. Think about it ... players deciding they are not going to play because a teammate was declared ineligible (the Bonnies were forced to forfeit six A-10 games and were barred from the conference tournament).
Come on, coach Jan Van Breda Kolff, where are you in this scenario? Where is the school president during this turmoil? How do the kids make the decision? Who is running the asylum? It is incredible to me that these kids would be able to voice their opinion so strongly to not finish the season.
I firmly believe in freedom of speech, which helps make our great country what it is. Everyone has freedom to make choices, but everyone also has responsibilities -- and St. Bonaventure had an obligation to the conference to complete the regular season. Think about Massachusetts and the Minutemen seniors who were deprived of a home game in the season's final week. What about the conference, which had a television commitment for the Dayton-St. Bonaventure game?
It sounds like a bunch of kids who decided that since they didn't get their way, they would forget about the last two games. What are we teaching about life skills? In life, things don't always go your way. When they don't, do you just quit? Do you pack it in? Really, it sounds like a first-grade mentality.
Let's get a grip, folks. I can't say it strongly enough: Shame on you, St. Bonaventure. This is a school with great basketball tradition. One of my favorite guys was a superstar there, a player I coached in the NBA, Bob Lanier. I wonder what he's thinking now. He wore the Bonnies uniform with great pride.
If I were involved, I would want to ban them from the Atlantic 10. A-10 commissioner Linda Bruno, who does a great job, shouldn't allow that school to be part of a league with outstanding players, coaches and people who do things the right way.
Yes, you have a right to voice your opinion and a right to disagree. These players had a right to be upset that six games were being forfeited and that they were banned from the conference tournament. But to just pack it in and quit is not the American way.
Shame on you, St. Bonaventure. Shame on you big-time.