I continue to think about the way many of our local Metropolitan area kids are treated when they attend certain colleges and universities. It is the reason I continue to push for kids to stay local where they can receive family and friend support in times of academic and athletic crisis.
I also support the stay within 100 miles theory because of what area alumni support can do for players after they take the game sneakers off. Yes if you guessed I am still talking about the huge amount of kids going far away to college on the major and mid major level. I will never understand why a kid with choices would leave the area to attend any school other than Stanford, Duke, North Carolina, ND, etc. I even question why would a kid go to a great academic place like Rice University when he has multiple great academic universities located in his backyard including Penn and Princeton, both who could be NCAA bound if players decided to go there as folks like Brian Taylor and Bill Bradley did years ago at Princeton, and Bobby Willis, Tony Price (Father of AJ) and many others did at Penn. Yes there are great after basketball opportunities locally that kids need to take advantage of.
One thing for sure. No less than 4 years after a kids playing career is over he could be forgotten at good ole large university with the big arena and boosters. Who helps that kid now after the lights in the gym has gone off? No boosters from Oklahoma or even alumni contacts in the tri-state area. Part of attending college, and I learned this from Ernie Loich of all people, is developing local contacts you will use upon graduation. remember everyone will not be in the NBA. And that's despite early super star status.
This brings me again, and I am so sorry if I am being redundant, to the great schools we have locally. If only Kids, Coaches, Advisors, and Parents would only open their eyes. Local Universities offer the best in most things academically. They play competitive basketball. They all have very good support, especially when they are winning. Alumni contacts? Out of this world!!!!! The guy or gal sitting near the top in the stands could just be the person who gets a players after basketball career on track. Trust me I know what happened with my son, kids I have worked with, and others I have heard about. I am sure folks have read my Iona College stories about almost 100 percent of the Iona basketball graduates being very successful in life via great alumni contacts.
So this leads me to a sore spot with me. I read either on NYCNJHOOPS or The Daily News on-line that ex Syracuse University standout Pearl Washington has just been named the Head Coach of The Thomas Jefferson HS Girls Basketball Team. Are you kidding me? One of the top HS players of all time! One of the top College Point Guards of all time (prior to NBA)! A great person! He is the girls coach at Jefferson? That's like Phil Sellers, who by the way attended Jefferson HS, coaching the girls team at Hackensack HS. If Phil wanted to coach at Rutgers, they would definitely find him a spot. But I hear he is pretty successful with what he does. I know Syracuse was there for Pearl when he was ill a few years back. But my understanding is he always expressed a desire to coach at Syracuse. Yet to this day it has not happened. I do not know Pearl, but did have an opportunity to coach him in a pro-am league years ago. He was nothing short of fantastic on and off the court. It just amazes me that Syracuse could not find a spot for him. In fact I wonder what alot of ex Syracuse players are doing? I would love to see the list. In fact it would be a great thing to see what kids from all schools are doing 3 years after graduation. That is how you tell the real deal!
In conclusion I again beg parents, guardians, coaches and advisors to look at the entire picture before sending kids 400 miles away and having them eat grilled cheese sandwiches for Thanksgiving as my kid did when he attended at a prominent big 10 university. And that's regardless of the fact they gave him alot of money to eat alone with on Thanksgiving.
As Dorothy said in The Wizard of Oz, "There Is No Place Like Home."