Monday, March 24, 2014

There's an upside to the superstar freshman getting knocked out of the NCAA tournament

One of the big stories of the weekend has been the fact that the projected top three picks in the NBA draft, Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid (who's injured but may have returned next round) of 2nd seeded Kansas, and Jabari Parker of 3rd seeded Duke, were all eliminated from the NCAA tournament in surprising upsets.  While most people are lamenting the fact that we won't get to see these guys in the Sweet 16 and beyond, I think it's actually a good thing that they'll no longer have a chance to compete for the national title.
Will they remember what it says under the spray paint?

College basketball, and more specifically the tournament, isn't really for them anyway.  The only reason Wiggins and Parker were even there in the first place is because the NBA wouldn't let them in yet.  It's not their fault.  The league's "one and done" rule basically forces the best of the best to pick a college to hang out at for six months before entering the draft.

But there's something not right about freshman with no real ties to their schools being able to just show up and grab a Final Four appearance or national championship.  Who knows if it even matters to them or not?  Tournament success should be reserved for players who earn it; guys who work hard for a few years and developed a sense of pride in the institution that they represent.  I'm much happier to see titles go to those will cherish them as an experience of a lifetime, rather than to preordained wunderkinds who may forget about what they've achieved three months later when they become NBA lottery picks.

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