Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tuesday,  December 17, 2012

Basketball 2012-2013

Interesting developments in the world of college basketball with the departure of the Catholic Schools from The Big East Conference.  Not sure if they will retain the name as a new basketball emphasized conference with at least 2 to 4 teams expected to be added soon. But regardless of the name this league will have,  I have some thoughts I would like to share concerning this recent development.

First I have to say what took them so long? The writing was on the wall way back when Boston College did the dumbest move in years and departed for a southern based league which is what the ACC really is.  We all know that football money can build new labs quicker than basketball money. But for basketball purposes Boston College looks silly even being in the ACC. In fact I doubt being in the ACC helps them at all recruiting wise. If they stayed in the Big East the Basketball Team sure would have been better. But again football generates great revenue. But is the ACC a real football power conference? Ummm!

Second and most important.  I honestly feel the Catholic seven would have had Notre Dame if they had moved on this quicker. In fact I wonder if ND would consider joining these teams to make up a truly super league. Yes,  I feel this will be a great league because of the teams, and more importantly the wonderful basketball tradition each brings to the table. Georgetown, St. Johns, Seton Hall, Depaul,  Providence, Marquette, and Villanova all have outstanding tradition and potential tremendous fan bases.  In fact all represent great media markets as well and even have rivalry partners as DePaul and Marquette will be.  This league will be a power conference regardless of what some haters will say. In fact top to bottom on any given year they could compete against any conference in America!

As far as additional teams? I really wish for Butler, Xavier, and Memphis! And if I can get a great Christmas present it would be Notre Dame joining the league as well!  As a last resort Temple would also bo a great addition but they have alot invested in football so the logical choice would be.....St. Joe's who would bring additional history and tradition.  I do not like the league, I  LOVE THE LEAGUE!   Caution please do not have 16 teams because to gain great visibility league teams need an opportunity to play great out of conference schedules as well as develop wonderful local rivalries.

Lastly on this subject I hope to see the new league, regardless of what it is called,  have its conference tournament at Madison Square Garden. For the remaining teams in the weakened Big East to try to do a local conference tournament without St. Johns, SHU, and others would be suicidal so the possibility of the teams playing at MSG should be great!

Finally on this subject I personally doubt if the Big East will even be in existence basketball wise within 2 years. Or at the most it will be a mid major basketball league with a stronger, not strong, football presence.

Hoop Group Event at West Orange HS

Spent all day Sunday at West Orange HS watching 6 HS games. Talk about torture this sure was close.  First game had to be a courtesy game for the usage of the gym. In a slow unnecessary game Plainfield beat West Orange HS zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz! But Plainfield will always get props from me based on destroying Teaneck last year. I still owe hot dogs to a few Plainfield fans.

Next game was Bloomfield.......oops I mean Hudson Catholic vs a scrappy St. Peters Prep from Jersey City. Now there is hardly any chance for St. Peters to be anything above JV in Jersey City with St. Anthony's and Hudson Catholic also located there. But what a nice club they have and very well coached. Nice size and decent players who will win their share of games this season. They just played a team with better and more experienced talent.

Many people often come to me asking why I am somewhat hard on Hudson Catholic and The Coach. I really am not but it just seems like a movie star is the coach with all the background folks all dressed alike for the act and him wearing Armani sweaters etc.  Not important but whats that all about?  lol!   Honestly the guy does a good job and has done a lot for his players over the years.

Watched Reggie Cameron closely and keeping it real as I always do I have to say he choose the right school. A school that runs a system where he will excell. I still say he has too much meat in the fridge and remains not hungry. He watches the game often and fails to participate despite having great skills and ability. Basketball remains a game of confidence where the strong survive. After HS he has to step it up to get where he rightfully should be.

You either love or hate Kavon Stewart of Hudson Catholic. Nice player who might drive the wrong coach crazy. But at Robert Morris he could be an impact recruit for the lowly NEC school. In Pittsburgh  they will always be JV to the two larger schools currently in the Big East and A10. Thinking about the A10 school if I remember right they are a Catholic University. Ummmmmm!

Hudson Catholic won easy but had all starters on court with a minute and a half remaining in game and up 23 points. Why?  I guess the Hudson Catholic Coach was concerned about St. Peters hitting a 23 point shot!  By the way St. Peters Prep Guard Travis Wyche will have a great career at St. Peters College of the MAAC!

Before the next game I saw the same cast of characters who have hovered around the game for years betting on college games,and making side deals regarding kids going to certain schools. The games were so boring that I spent time air hustling to get information. You have to hear some of the things. "Thats one of my kids,  call me and lets discuss making it happen"  or "I sent him there but I will be making his college decision."   AAU guys making deals on who will play for them this summer, guys smoozing with parents to get an edge, low level want to be agents trying to get a foot in the door, and no one watching the games hoping to discover a player they knew nothing about previously. Sad!

Coaches I saw were from Monmouth, Fordham, Cincinnati, Pitt, West Virginia, St. Johns, and even Temple who was represented by their head coach Fran Dunphrey (sp) who was in the building watching his recruit Josh Brown the super guard fro St. Anthony's. Interesting how many of those coaches just laughed and had fun like they were doing guys out night as opposed to even watching the games.

Nice to see Kyree Irving in attendance looking like he is 20 years old. Wait, he is about 20 years old lol. He was so down to earth it was refreshing.  Also saw the same cast of characters with press credentials walking around getting in the way. Interesting that I have yet to see a story or even a blog they have done. Of course the legendary Tom Konchalski was in attendance and actually watching the games unlike many other so called scouting services.

It was now time for the Roselle Catholic vs Pope John game. And again no sign of Jermaine Lawrence who is reported to be out with a hand injury. I guess he was home in NYC watching TV. Would have been nice to see him at the game sitting on bench supporting his team. Guess he had other plans! You have to be a great player for coaches not to recognize that selfishness.  Heck,  if you have game you could do time for murder and some D1 school will take you no questions asked. One day soon I will see him play an actual game. But for now it would have been nice just watching him cheer for and encouraging his teammates.

Roselle catholic won the game but it was sure interesting. Tyler Roberson is a Syracuse Player if I ever saw one. He is really good and worthy of all his accolades.  Tall, lanky, and extremely skilled. Runs the court and competes every play. Future NBA player!   Malaki Richardson the transfer from Trenton Catholic could be just as good.  He is a tremendous player and only a sophomore. The sky is the limit for him and I predict greatness worthy of the McDonald game if he works hard.

Interesting that both teams with such great players had mix match warm-ups and no team sneakers. Whats happening is the sneaker money now off the table? These guys were dressed like they were getting ready for a game at The Riverdale Y.

I have to point out that Pope John Soph Mustafa Diagne will also be special in a year or so. He was voted best basketball body of the day. 6 ft 9 and built like a rock!

During the game one Assistant from a NJ HS power was sitting back talking loud about Parents texting him. He said they do not know him and he could whip their.....!  You never know who is listening.

Bryce Aiken, freshmen guard on Pope John is a future star. If he gets stronger and grows 4 inches he could be a high major in he same mode of the NYC and NJ  greats he has watched.

St. Anthony's beat a talented Neptune team that will compete for the states. Its interesting how Bob Hurley gets kids to play hard, play D, and compete! I love hearing HS coaches say their kids do not play good D.  Well whose fault is that? Use the Hurley model that dictates defense or a place on the bench regardless of who you are and your offensive skill level. It's not as if St. Anthony's kids are head and shoulder better than kids on other teams. It's just the fact they work harder on both ends of the court and have been taught how to play the game better. It also helps when they know their Coach is not kissing anyones ......!

Karl Towns walked into the gym and he is actually a legit 7 Ft,  strong and agile. I love the fact his Parents are right there with him every step of the way. Dad knows the deal because he was a baller himself. But funny joke from someone in the stands was Dads leather jacket had the Kentucky logo all over the inside lining lol. I guess Karl purchased the Kentucky Ski Cap he had on while he was there visiting.  Love seeing kids commit to schools and wind up with tons of gear that they must have ordered on the computer lol.

Soon after Kentucky Coach Calipari walks in with Assistant Orlando Antiqua who I remember from his days at St. Raymond's HS in The Bronx.  Honestly they arrived like Movie Stars! No Kentucky gear, no fancy bright warmups, just nice tailored clothing and tans. Most likely they came on a private jet. They sat away from the other side away from the other coaches as Rick Patino does when recruiting and actually watched Karl play his game against Teaneck.  They obviously understand how to do it while the other coaches  in attendance were BSing around having fun.

St. Josephs avenged last years Teaneck win with an overtime  victory that was very exciting. In the game karl did not hit one outside shot but was very tough inside and looked much stronger and tougher.  For Teaneck they will always be competitive except for the game against Plainfield last season where they were totally embarrassed to the point I thought there was going to be some movement of some kind within the program. Would nice to see The Hernandez kid play a bit more team ball but thats not what they ask. Right now he would be a great get for a NEC or MAAC level school.  Learn to play better team ball and he could be a A10 player. It would be nice to see them play some tough match-up zone, full court press with traps, and even a half court 131 of some type. You can have an off night offensively but defense must be consistent and  played each and every game. No D? No Play!  Shakir Lindsey is also a very very very special player and I sure hope it all comes together for him.

Watched the first quarter of the last game featuring St. Benedict's vs a Prep School from Massachusetts with a huge team. The prep team looked tremendous on the sidelines.  But horrible when the game started. proves you cannot judge a book by its cover.  By the way both of these teams also looked like they were playing at The Riverdale Y with the mix match warm-ups, different sneakers, etc. Just a terrible look and one I hate to see.

Seems to me that NJ has the best HS basketball talent in the tri-state area. maybe its because of the recruiting that is allowed in NJ that brings so many of the better players across the George washington Bridge and through the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels.  But regardless of the reason, it is not even close any longer!

My NJ Top 9

St. Anthony's
St. Benedict's
Roselle Catholic
The Patrick School
Pope John
Gil St. Bernard
St. Josephs
Hudson Catholic


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

As we continue with this crazy basketball season watching teams we love fight for wins it occurs to me that changes must happen in many ways for certain programs to be successful. After all,  it sure is not about only the glitter because much of that has a tendency to turn into litter!

St, Johns of the once all powerful Big East  Loses to The University of San Francisco? Oh well they are still sporting a winning record so does anyone really care about this loss? Will St. Johns sell out the next home game regardless of this past performance? Would be a nice thing but I doubt if we will see St. Johns sell out another game anytime soon unless they change all home games to St. Joseph by The Sea HS located in somewhere NY?

OK maybe I did not get the memo but I was certain that Big East Teams were supposed to beat up on all others outside of other high D1 and power conference teams. What the heck is happening? Millions of dollars in coaching salaries and even more getting recruits from all over the country except the NY Tri-State Area and playing like they have with no purpose on the court is very interesting. Lets see how they do from here out but when all the changes were announced years ago we actually thought St. Johns was back!  This now seems like Bob Hill at Fordham all over again! Anyone else remember when Fordham was going to compete with all the big boys and hired the high level staff who were supposed to, according to rumors, each get a Range Rover as a recruiting vehicle to impress recruits?  We all thought Fordham was taking over. Ditto St. Johns with the new staff they have in place! Right now no one is in fear of playing St. Johns of the powerful Big East Conference. In fact the other local college teams are not in awe of any Big East Program between New York and Pennsylvania. with the exception of Syracuse who is running as far away from the Big east as they can.

Interesting that the Big East Program that does seem to be heading in the right direction is Providence College. Just proves what happens when folks hire substance as opposed to glitter.  And locally teams are itching to play the big boys. I hear D3 Lehman College has reached out to play home and away against St. Johns, RU, Seton Hall, and Villanova but turned down alot of money to play Providence (smile).  I am sure they will get the FDU game on the schedule because a win is a win for teams such as Lehman.

Speaking of Seton Hall I would be concerned and far from satisfied that NJIT could play the Pirates so close yesterday. Maybe it was close because they both have used the Prudential Center as a home court in the past. SHU plays all home games there and NJIT has played one or two some years. Maybe NJIT is just a better team and program now as opposed to what we remember when they were ranked the worst D1 team and program in America a few years back,  going winless for the season. Regardless, all Big East teams should win those type of games by no fewer than 20-25 points and the opposing team should be sprinting to the locker room with smiles on their faces realizing the beating could have been by 50 if they did not play as well as they did.  In a nutshell I will only say un-acceptable!

Speaking of Fordham with a coaching staff I really like, what the heck was that about going into Pa. and getting seriously whipped by Lehigh of the powerful..........heck I cannot even remember the name of the conference they play in and they are right down the road or highway from my home in Pennsylvania.  But than again I could say the same thing about Villanova losing to Columbia earlier in the season. Yes,  powerful Columbia of the powerful Ivy League!  Maybe the Big East should extend invitations to Columbia, Lehigh, and NJIT to join the conference with San Francisco also being strongly considered as well?

I am scared to even look at what other colleges and universities in the area are doing. It is just that type of year thus far. None of the very good kids want to stay home it seems. I guess they feel it is just to close. Yea right, I doubt that! The local programs just do not have it going on. Believe it or not Seton Hall has more glamour about their program this season than SJU, RU, VU, and definitely more than a place like Penn State who has all the facilities and tools to be successful but remains at the bottom of the BIG conference that continues to get even bigger.  The Prudential Center at least has atmosphere that would be impressive to recruits.

Speaking of recruits please allow me to give my take on what it takes to land the top guys and win in the year 2012, 2013, and even 2014.

Recruits want to play in front of a lot of people at home. They want the arena or gym full with fans being supportive.

Recruits want to see committed coaching staffs consisting of people who can get them better and most cases good enough to make money one day playing basketball. Or in some cases maybe I should say to continue making money!

Recruits want luxury accommodations in where they live, how they eat on campus, how they travel to games, and where they work out.

Recruits want respected coaches who command respect and have a track record of winning. By the way thats winning and not whining!

Recruits want to be impressed as they are wined and dined during the recruitment process.

Recruits want to feel as if they are a priority as Dexter Strickland did when he watched North Carolina play a home game in Chapel Hill at noon on TV and Roy Williams still showed up at his 4 PM game at Madison Square Garden arriving to the area via private jet.

Recruits want to see great player development across the board and not watch other kids they once idolized treated unfairly, and not living up to their potential.

Recruits want glitter and substance including first rate tutors, computer access, dedicated learning labs, wonderful practice facilities not shared with the women's team or used for intramurals.

Recruits want to see other high impact recruits considering the colleges recruiting them. Think it was not impressive to Kyle Anderson that other highly rated recruits were considering UCLA? By the way does anyone really feel SHU had a real chance at the time? OK folks read between the lines.....At-the-time!!!!   Remember I still say Kyle Anderson is the real deal and a future NBA Star! Put him on Kentucky and they are undefeated!

So whats the formula for a quick fix and in some cases, but certainly not all, quick births to the NCAA tournament?  Do I really need to say this? You mean you really do not know the answer? You really do not know the one thing that most schools other than the local schools do to attract players? You do not understand what many schools have done with AAU and travel team coaches as well as HS coaches from places such as Chicago, Detroit, etc. going back many-many years?  You mean you have never heard the stories about how certain schools that at one time were spitting images of what FDU was last year becoming national type programs? You mean you honestly thought it was all about coaching?

Lets change up a bit. Or are we? Ummmmmmmmm!  Does cheating actually happen all over America in athletics? What role does the sneaker companies play and how much influence do they really have? Is it true certain Sports Agents have so much access they actually support certain travel teams with under the table contributions? Is it true that on certain campuses there is even an un-official lounge for certain sports agents to come and go as they please? Is it true that on some campuses certain sports agents are almost treated like staff?

All of the above could just be rumors? Or some or all of it just might be true. Many have said that in no way except on years when the stars and moon align  just right will teams from non power conferences, or teams without winning traditions, or teams who do not cheat, make it to the final 4. Just saying what I have heard!

Locally I have heard some interesting rumors that are borderline unbelievable especially considering how certain teams have competed and played. In no way could these rumors be true based on what I have seen thus far. Not only locally but on the national level as well.  During my travels I love going to games and watching what happens off the court while the game goes on. Trust me often the real game takes place in the stands. The deals that are struck you would not believe.......according to what I have been told as well as what I THINK I HAVE HEARD AND SEEN.  But to this day I will never ever understand the NCAA because what we have in place is a system that hinges on amateur athletic destruction as we know it. A system that makes everyone go out and do all they can regardless of committing recruitment violations in an effort to keep up, compete, and to win.   A system so corrupt that kids are completing 4 years of eligibility with 41 earned credits and than returning home with low self esteem and a bunch of free athletic gear that one day will turn yellow and too small to wear as they become bigger from not playing the game as much any longer. Will schools such as FDU, St. Peters, LIU, Marist, Manhattan, and Monmouth, ever really have a chance to be successful and go far in the NCAA's? Ditto SHU, RU, Fordham, Penn State, and others? Do we need to go to a system of D1, and D1AA for the schools who really do not have the resources, commitment, or even deep pocket boosters (wink-wink) to allow them to compete with the big boys?

Lots to think about and remember it all could be just a dream, or at the least just rumors. But despite it all, change needs to happen across the board including the local programs with coaching, player development, facility upgrades, commitment,  event marketing, and other areas that will make local great players as well as some national players consider attending good ole local university!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Monday, December 3, 2012

Interesting basketball thoughts from the weekend!

First of all its a sad day in sports losing Rick Majerus, a great coach who seemed to always do it his way and produced winning teams at many universities.  Rest in Peace Coach!

Also a sad day because Kenny "Eggman" Williamson departed the Earth recently. A memorial service was held for him yesterday at Iona College. A great personality, true character,   and a wonderful person who was from the community and loved by anyone who ever met him. Rest in Peace Coach Williamson!

Basketball wise I am now about to write some things that just might have people up in arms. But as you know and understand about me,  I couldn't care less. I give it to you straight with no chaser! So if you get angry fast please depart this page now.

I will start by including St. Johns, Seton Hall, Rutgers, and FDU in the same category. What category is this you might wish to ask? it is the going nowhere fast category! Sorry, I said it. Than again I am not sorry because  it is what it is.

Seton Hall has had some health issues and things that has kept their best product from being on the floor.  But I have to say where is the depth? Where is the bench?  My thoughts on the direction of this program will be at the end of this part of my post.

St. Johns looks like a team playing a summer league game in the park uptown. Yes, I said it! What the heck? With all the money they spend and continue to spend whats the deal? Plus for the first time since I can remember they actually did not have 1 NYC or Northern NJ kid in the rotation or on the roster the last time I looked. How can you be in the MECCA, close to NJ, Pa., Connecticut, and in NY and do not have an area influence on the roster?  This should be a crime when you think about the SJU history of success. Lucky Marty Markowitz the Brooklyn Boro president is not Mayor because  he would fine them (smile).

Rutgers just seems to be doing the best they can. Unfortunately that is just not enough. What the heck! Is anyone interested? Are they really going to the Big 10? Why? OK it has to be for  Football because no one seems interested in RU Basketball. Sooner or later they will have to win some games. Even than how do they get  8500 fans out for every game. I can see it now: Indiana at Rutgers and the attendance will be 4265. Michigan State 4600, etc.  Unlike UConn, and Syracuse those Big Ten schools are too far to bring a fan base with them,  especially to Rutgers which will not be good enough till they get the formula to attract great NJ, NY, and Pa. players. It will be like traveling to Northwestern years ago. Just did not happen!

FDU is in this category because they are FDU! In  fact they are doing better than I thought they would do thus far. I might even go to a game. I will call my ex player Greg Vetrone and ask him to leave me two tickets. One for me and one for a needed body guard lol.  Maybe I will get the ticket from my good friend James Brown CPA who lives and dies with FDU and Teaneck HS basketball. Wait a moment that came out like I was saying FDU HS basketball. Maybe that's what they should do. Make the program a HS team. After all they made a nice looking facility into a horrible looking HS gym!

So here is what I think about all the programs mentioned. In fact let me say all but FDU which seems to also be doing better and the best they can.  All the programs are lacking attractiveness. They all seem plain with nothing exciting or sexy about them. St. Johns had a great opportunity with the new glamour staff. But they continue to look more like the Milbank Unlimited Team in The Rucker summer league.  What is Seton Hall doing to really get the very good to great area players? Finishing 2nd is not worthy of accolades, especially during a time when it is not uncommon for highly recruited kids to say the correct things to local media people.  St. Johns has attracted highly recruited players as only they can. Unfortunately they seem to not be jelling as a team. Also nothing like that NYC toughness on a team. see Ron Artist reference. Also see Beaver Smith, Frankie Alagia, Chris Mullin, Walter Berry, Mark Jackson, Kevin Williams, etc.

Unfortunately most of the college teams in America are playing to make the NCAA knowing for the most part they have zero chance of winning a national championship. St. Peters knows this as does Manhattan, NJIT, and yes FDU. Unfortunately SHU, RU, and SJU should feel the same way until they figure out how to keep the tremendously talented top 50  type players home, something RU has done in football. Now St. Johns has done what it had to do but the coaching and player development is the same as what is happening at UCLA to date.  But the others?

Lets talk real stuff!   I still say 85 to 90 percent of the college D1 basketball teams cheat in one way or the other. Most commit minor infractions while others are doing major stuff like paying money to players and families, supplying jobs and business opportunities, hooking up rec and even some HS coaches for a home visit, school visit, and a jackpot for a commitment.  So where does that leave most schools? They have no chance of competing. Oh yes there will be the occasional Butler (with 16000 seat arena) VCU (with strong commitment to basketball) and Gonzaga. But for the most part the "Big Boys" know how to get it done. Arriving by private jet, showing up in a limo, playing in front of 20,000 plus, wining and dining student athletes, outstanding training facilities, traveling to away games via 2 or 3 private jets, special training table, etc. Anyone watch that Kentucky recruitment film on TV?

So how do the area teams compete? Or are they just playing to be respectful? I just do not see any light at the end of the tunnel at this point. I do not see sell outs at RU, SHU (I am talking entire building not the curtain thing), or St. Johns on campus or at the Garden. I just do not see what they are doing to make kids grow up hoping to play for one of the power teams in the area. I  remember when St. Johns did not recruit, they selected!

Other Thoughts

Waiting to see what happens to the Head Coach at Hofstra after all the thefts that took place on campus. Now I say everyone is innocent till proven guilty. But I await to see the punishment the head coach will get. The last time I saw similar incidents was at Binghamton, and that was nowhere as serious. However the Head Coach was FIRED! Now I am not looking or pushing for anyone to get fired. Just curious how Hofstra handles this in comparison to Binghamton who in my opinion  handled it wrong and had to pay the ex coach a lot of money when he left.

What is the deal with all the players now sporting beards on the court? Where is Bobby Knight, John Thompson, Dean Smith, and others when we need them?  I always said if I was a HS or college basketball coach a player would have to play like Michael Jordan to get my permission to have corn rows, a beard, crazy hair, a mohawk, super tattoos all over, etc. I know I know I am behind the times. But wow does this new beard thing look ridiculous and some kids look like they are in the Junior .......(fill in the blank) .

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Not alot to say this morning but I do have some personal points to make regarding basketball, the game we love and adore.

It really seems to me that we are getting closer than ever before to the International system where players are being developed from an early age for professional basketball careers. Let me give a few examples:

Kentucky : Nuff Said!

Kids reclassifying to graduate early from HS to get NBA bucks quicker!

The NBA D league actually becoming the farm system it was designed to be with many 1st and 2nd round players spending significant time there.

We are actually pointing kids in the direction of "Balling For Dollars' as opposed to getting them interested in obtaining a great education at good ole academic university. What happened?

Seems to me that we have allowed a lot of people to make the sport their own personal toy or hobby. Yes, David Stern is guilty! So is John Calapari, though I am one of those who really feel he is not a horrible person, just an opportunistic person who figured out how to work the system to his advantage.  The powerful AAU and Prep programs are also at fault with the heavy emphasis on recruiting, sponsorships, and winning.  Laugh if you wish but some AAU type programs are more powerful than traditional HS basketball powers. I know for a fact AAU programs or shall I say traveling teams actually do home visits in an effort to recruit players. And some even cheat with money and gifts believe it or not!

I cannot believe my eyes when I read that Andrew Wiggins, Dakari Johnson, and Karl Towns Jr. all are considering re-classifying in order to graduate HS earlier. Now why would they do that? I remember when the big thing was re-classifying to gain additional years in HS. Still remember A kid from Brooklyn re-classifying and doing 2 extra years before accepting a scholarship to The University of North Carolina. And that was all right in some of our eyes because the kid actually wanted to one day get a college degree so he needed to get his academics in order.

So whats the deal with this new idea of kids deciding on their own to graduate a year early? OK I have it! They say to themselves   "I will just skip myself a grade  though I sure am not worthy of being skipped academically in the eyes of  the school system" Because of the greed and ambition of many others including but not limited to parents, trainers, AAU types, potential agents whispering in ears, and college coaches, I will take my C to B- average and immature personality and graduate from HS a year ahead of schedule.

Maybe I am wrong in thinking they are trying to get to the NBA money earlier than later. Maybe they just want to get to college and hit those sociology, biology, and english books ASAP because they cannot wait to walk across the stage to get their degree. Oops, wrong stage because I am sure the only stage they plan on walking across is the one with the NBA Commissioner calling the names of 1st round NBA draft choices.

Maybe they all were held back early in elementary or JHS allowing them to better develop and be attractive to colleges and universities. Now all of a sudden they are ready to hit the big time based on a majority of opinions, especially those who can gain from them making professional money.  In the Midwest and in Texas this is a common thing done in football towns where the entire population attends Friday Night games. And it is not uncommon in basketball. But again in both basketball and football the reclassification of a kid to allow him to graduate early and get to the money sooner is just greedy and might backfire!

Don't believe me? Do you folks actually feel Nerlens Noel  the 6 ft 10 Kentucky player who reclassified to attend The University of Kentucky Basketball Development Academy will be ready for the NBA Draft after the season? I sure do not! What about the kids who even left college early for the NBA draft and it has backfired? You have to be experimenting with drugs to see 48 underclassmen have applied for the draft and you put your name in after averaging 10 points and 2 assists at FDU (you know I had to give them a shout-out lol).  So many, too many, kids hurt by dumb basketball decisions.

This brings me back to my thoughts on The US becoming more like the International system that has 18 year olds playing for money on professional teams and affiliates. It is done in soccer, and basketball all over the globe. Now we have gone from kids needing to complete College, to being able to declare    hardship after a few seasons, to just declaring hardship after a season, to being able to go pro after HS no questions asked, to having to do 1 year of college no questions asked.  I say thanks to the NBA and NCAA for the biggest child exploitation ring this side of Asia. The college game  has been ruined to the point very few NBA players actually have schools they can be considered alumni of.  It is now a game of The Benjamin's, or balling for dollars even at an early age. For every Magic Johnson there are 20 Les Casons. For every Michael Jordan there are 30 Luther Wrights or Bill Willoughby's , although Bill has gone on to get his degree from..........Ready for this? FDU baby!!!!

In conclusion I have to say basketball is such a wonderful game. I really hope on the AAU, HS, and College side it can again become the amateur game it was years past. A game that kids played hoping for future opportunities gained over a time period that just might be 4 years of college. It is unbelievable that Kentucky, The NBA, and The NCAA, has allowed such a mockery to take place the past few years. Crazy as it sounds, when Notre Dame beat Kentucky this past week it was like the true Student Athletes beat the NBA development league  franchise out of Lexington Kentucky. Lets allow kids to be kids, lets allow young men to develop mentally and emotionally. Lets bring back real NCAA Basketball by making kids stay in college for at least 3 years before being eligible for the NBA draft because Kentucky has figured out the graduation rate penalty thing (if still in existence)  and realizes 13 scholarship players are not necessary when you have 6 freshmen in school ready for the NBA draft.