Coach K thinks NCAA’s one-and-done policy is a ‘sham’

Per (via the Dan Patrick Show)…

“If [a kid is] good enough, he should be allowed to come right out of high school,” Kryzewski said.

But Coach K thinks if a player does go to college, he should take academics seriously.

“If they go to college, they should be there long enough to take core courses that could eventually lead to a degree,” Kryzewski said. “Otherwise it’s a sham.”

When the NBA age-limit rule was implemented, I conducted a study that found that players that were drafted straight out of high school had a higher success rate than players that were drafted out of college or via international ball.

I think the best system would be to allow high schoolers to be drafted, and if they go undrafted, they’re able to enter college. Once they do enter college, they’ll have to play a minimum of two years. That way, the players that are NBA-caliber at 18 can go straight to the league, while those that need seasoning will have to put in a couple of seasons on the collegiate level. The two-season minimum is to ensure that these players will put in some academic effort while in school (which will hopefully result in a degree somewhere down the line). One season isn’t enough. Right now, players have to pass just six hours in the first semester to be eligible to play for the entire year. That’s a joke.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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Will Greg Paulus play football at U of M?

Before becoming one of the most hated college basketball players in the country, Greg Paulus was a really good football player in high school.

Paulus, 6-foot-1, 180 pounds, was a four-time all-state player at Christian Brothers and a starter in the U.S. Army All-American game, and set six state passing records. Christian Brothers was 42-3 during his time there, and he had 11,763 career passing yards and 152 touchdown passes in 45 games.

Paulus visited the Michigan campus this week and says that he’d be eligible to play right away.

Although Paulus played four years at Duke, he has one year of eligibility remaining for football under NCAA rules. He would also not have to sit out a year if he transfers, as he would if he were switching to play basketball, which would allow him to potentially be the starting quarterback for the Wolverines in 2009.

By most accounts, Paulus was a better football player than basketball player in high school, though he was obviously pretty good in both. I’d like to see him have some success in this endeavor after Coach K benched him mid-season to give the Blue Devils a more athletic lineup.

An open letter to the NCAA

Dear NCAA Men’s Tournament Selection Committee,

This weekend, the Final Four will be played at Ford Field in Detroit, and I want to thank you for another lackluster tournament. The aristocrats of college basketball trampled their opponents en route to the Motor City. Your selection process favors the haves (30 of the 34 at-large bids went to schools from the six largest conferences) and discriminates against the have-nots (four at-large bids to mid-major conferences).

An alarming trend has shown that the number of at-large mid-major schools has dwindled from the high water mark of 12 in 2004 to a low of four schools (Xavier, Dayton, Butler and Brigham Young) playing in this year’s tournament. You’re slowly taking away the madness of March. Please don’t BCS the most anticipated playoff format in all sport.

Your chairman, Mike Slive, proclaimed, “It’s all about who you play, where you play, and how you do,” when describing the criteria for selecting the 65-team field. He added that the committee looks at schools individually and not at their conference affiliation. I beg to differ, as a bailout package was handed to a couple of major conference schools (Arizona and Wisconsin) to salvage their seasons, while the mid-major schools were left standing at the altar.

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2008 Year-End Sports Review: What We Already Knew

While every year has its own host of surprises, there are always those stories that simply fit the trend. Sure, it can get repetitive, but if we don’t look back at history aren’t we only doomed to repeat it? Every year has its fair share of stories that fell into this category, and 2008 was no different.

Our list of things we already knew this year includes the BCS’ continued suckiness (Texas-Oklahoma), how teamwork wins championships (KG, Pierce and Ray-Ray), and the #1 rule for carrying a handgun into a nightclub – don’t use your sweatpants as a holster. (Come on, Plax. Really? Sweatpants?)

Don’t miss the other two parts of our 2008 Year-End Sports Review: “What We Learned” and “What We Think Might Happen.”

Brett Favre can’t make up his mind.

The biggest story of the summer was all the drama surrounding Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers. This saga has been covered to death, but there’s one detail that never seemed to get that much play. At the start, it looked like the Packers were making a bad decision by moving on so quickly even when Favre decided he wanted to return. But when the news broke about Favre’s near-unretirement in March, the Packers stance became much more clear. They were ready to take him back after the owners’ meetings, but he called it off at the last minute. At that point, the Packer brass was understandably finished with Brett Favre, much to the chagrin of a good portion of the Packer faithful. – John Paulsen

The Chicago Cubs’ title drought is not a fans-only phenomenon.

The 2008 Cubs were easily the best team the franchise has assembled in decades, but they still couldn’t win a single game in the playoffs, and the reason is simple: the pressure finally got to them. Sure, they said the right things to the press about how they didn’t care about what had happened in the past, but don’t believe a word of it; there wasn’t a single person in that dugout that wasn’t fantasizing about being part of the team that finally, mercifully, ended the longest title drought in sports history. Once ESPN picked them to win it all, however, they were doomed. Ryan Dempster walked seven batters in Game 1, which matched his total for the month of September. The entire infield, including the sure-handed Derrek Lee, committed errors in Game 2. Alfonso Soriano went 1-14 with four strikeouts in the leadoff spot, while the team as a whole drew six walks and struck out 24 times. The team with so much balance in the regular season suddenly became the most one-dimensional team in baseball; take Game 1 from them, then sit back and watch them choke. And now that this group has lost six straight playoff games (the team has lost nine straight dating back to 2003), it isn’t about to get any easier. Get a helmet, Cubs fans. – David Medsker

If you’re going to wear sweatpants to a nightclub, leave the gun at home.

If winning a Super Bowl is the pinnacle of an NFL player’s career, than shooting yourself with your own gun in a nightclub has to be rock bottom. Case in point: Plaxico Antonio Burress. Just 10 months after helping the New York Giants beat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, Burress accidentally shot himself in the leg while at a nightclub. Apparently the (unregistered) gun was slipping down his leg and when he tried to grab it to keep it from falling, the lucky bastard wound up pulling the trigger and shooting himself. And that wasn’t the worst of it because as Plaxico found out, New York has some of the toughest gun laws in the nation. He was arrested, but posted bail of $100,000 and is scheduled to return to court on March 31, 2009. If convicted of carrying a weapon without a license, he faces up to three and a half years in jail. He shouldn’t expect special treatment, either. The mayor of New York wants to be sure that Burress is prosecuted just like any other resident of NYC. The Giants, meanwhile, placed him on their reserve/non-football injury list and effectively ended his season. While “Plax” definitely deserves “Boner of the Week” consideration for his stupidity, what’s sad is that in the wake of Washington Redskins’ safety Sean Taylor’s death, most NFL players feel the need to arm themselves when they go out. Maybe players can learn from not only Taylor’s death, but also Burress’s accident so further incidents can be avoided. – Anthony Stalter

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Team USA still has trust issues

Call me unpatriotic, but at times during the 2004 Olympics in Athens, it was tough to root for the U.S. Men’s Basketball Team. Helmed by Larry Johnson (boy was that a bad choice), Team USA was young, fragmented and couldn’t shoot. For the most part, the competition in Athens played together, proving the old adage that a sum can be greater than total of its individual parts. Teams like Greece and Argentina ran fluid, smart offense and played gritty defense – stuff that would make James Naismith proud.

Truthfully, the bronze medal finish was just what American basketball needed. It served as a wake up call that the rest of the world hadn’t just caught up to Team USA, it had passed them by.

Enter former Suns owner and four-time NBA Executive of the Year, Jerry Colangelo, who became the national director of Team USA. He immediately decided to hire legendary Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski to helm the team. Tired of the revolving door access to Team USA, in 2005 Colangelo required a three-year commitment that would take the program through the 2008 Bejing Olympics.

While the team has made progress defensively and (generally) playing together, offensively things are still a little rough. Team USA is at times sloppy, playing too fast and chucking up bad shots when an open jumper is two passes away. It’s difficult for NBA stars to check their egos at the door and pass up what they believe to be a good shot to eventually get a great one.

The team looked pretty good in a recent series of warm-up games against Turkey, Russia and Lithuania. They did not, however, look very good against Australia, even though they were playing without the Milwaukee Bucks’ Andrew Bogut.

The team added long range bomber Michael Redd (right) to shore up its shooting, but only he and Carmelo Anthony are consistent deep threats. Anyone on the team can get hot, but only the perimeter shooting of ‘Melo and Redd strikes fear in the hearts of the opposition. I’m afraid what will happen if both players have a bad game.

ESPN has been running a series called “Road to Redemption” that follows Team USA in its preparation both on and off the court. Essentially, it’s a fluff piece with all the players talking about how great everyone is and how much fun it is to play on Team USA. The footage from the meetings reveals a serious side to all of this; there is incredible pressure on the team to return with the gold medal. Failure is not an option.

Team USA opens up on Sunday at 10:15 AM ET against Yao Ming, Yi Jianlian and the rest of the Chinese team.

Here’s the complete schedule:

vs. China: Aug. 10, 10:15 a.m. ET
vs. Angola: Aug. 12, 8 a.m. ET
vs. Greece: Aug. 14, 8 a.m. ET
vs. Spain: Aug. 16, 10:15 a.m. ET
vs. Germany: Aug. 18, 8 a.m. ET
Quarterfinals: Aug. 20
Semifinals: Aug. 22
Finals: Aug. 24

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