Thursday, June 10, 2010
By Dick Vitale ESPN.com
Each week I'll talk about the sport I love, college basketball:
•I read Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim's comments to ESPN.com's Dana O'Neil regarding the APR, and his criticisms about a two-scholarship punishment over a low APR rate are legitimate. How can a coach control players leaving to chase their dream of a pro career? It's impossible. Factored into the low APR were Jonny Flynn, Eric Devendorf and Paul Harris, who immediately left school for workouts, which were essentially like job interviews. Those three were on course in school, but then dropped everything to leave. I don't understand how their departures are factored into this. Was Boeheim supposed to handcuff them and make them stay? How can the schools be penalized for this situation? It just seems unfair. I also hope those three aforementioned kids eventually return to school to complete their education.
•Conference realignment may destroy college sports. It is total insanity. A lot of geographically sound matchups will go away. Additionally, it almost violates the principle of student-athletes. Think about the travel that will be involved with these mega-conferences. That's a factor that isn't being discussed enough. Why not just have one power conference with all football schools and get this over with?
Bill Self has had a busy off-season
•The Big Ten, by reportedly adding Nebraska, should really change its name. Come on, it is no longer a 10-team league, so why call it the Big Ten? All of this conference expansion is wacky, baby!
•It has been a busy time for Kansas and head coach Bill Self. First, there is the ongoing bedlam over the future of the Big 12. Then came news that star newcomer Josh Selbywould be sidelined 4-6 weeks with a broken hand, taking away valuable court time during the summer. Self also added a pair of intriguing walk-ons, Justin Wesley and Niko Roberts -- both of whom have ties to Kansas and Self. The 6-foot-8 Wesley transferred to the Jayhawks from Lamar University. He is the younger brother of former Kansas standout Keith Langford, who was a member of two Jayhawk Final Four squads. The 5-foot-10 Roberts is the son of former Saint John's head coach Norm Roberts, who served as an assistant coach under Self for nine seasons.
•There was an exciting announcement with the pairings for the SEC/Big East Invitational. The two-night men's college basketball event begins with a doubleheader on Dec. 8 at Freedom Hall in Louisville, featuring Arkansas-Seton Hall and Kentucky-Notre Dame. Then on Dec. 11, at the brand new CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, it's Rutgers-Auburn, followed by Pittsburgh-Tennessee. These games feature two great coaching matchups -- Jamie Dixon vs. Bruce Pearl and John Calipari vs. Mike Brey. And that doesn't even include all the talent on the court. Kentucky, Tennessee and Pittsburgh will all be in the preseason top 20 next season, so this will be a great event.