Last offseason, I spent Fridays answering questions from readers about various topics in college basketball. Because I'm nothing if not consistent (or more accurately, OCD), I'll do the same this offseason, and I'll start right now.
Here's my weekly Five for Friday column.
1. Is it good to move the date on which underclassmen must decide whether they're in or out of the NBA Draft up to April 10?
It's good for me because I write about college basketball and thus have to worry with these things. At the moment, the deadline is May 8. So I have to worry until May 8. But if the NCAA board of directors later this month endorses a policy already passed by the legislative council, that date will move to April 10, and that means I would be done worrying with who is and isn't returning to school just a week after the national title game.
|Terrence Jennings has Louisville in limbo as he tests the NBA Draft waters. (Getty Images)|
And the move would be great for college coaches.
But it's a pretty crummy deal for underclassmen on the fence because it'll rush the process, and it's proof that the ACC coaches who proposed the new date are more interested in knowing how next season's roster will look as soon as possible than they are in truly helping their players make well-informed decisions. That's a bad message to send, but I'm not surprised. The NBA has the one-and-done rule because the NBA believes that's what's best for the NBA, and now the NCAA is close to making underclassmen decide their futures the week after the title game because the NCAA believes that's what's best for the NCAA. In other words, we have two billion-dollar entities doing what's best for them with little regard for anything else. I think that's called the American Way.
2. Are you surprised non-BCS coaches keep rejecting offers from BCS schools?
Not at all because some of the desirable non-BCS coaches -- guys like VCU's Shaka Smart, Butler's Brad Stevens, Memphis' Josh Pastner, Xavier's Chris Mack, etc. -- are now making nearly (or in many cases much more than) $1 million a year. So they're well-compensated and comfortable. Why run from that for a mid-level or lower-level job in a power conference that could have you fired in three years?
Yes, three years.
Used to be a new coach would get five years (or at least four) before a school would give up on him. But coaches are now getting fired after three losing seasons (Kentucky, of course, got Billy Gillispie after two, but that's a different deal), and it's causing people to be more careful with their career choices. It's better to make great money for 15 years than it is to make super-great money for three. That's the new mindset, and it's a wise one.
3. Why won't Miami hire Kansas State's Frank Martin?
Because Miami is stupid.
4. Will Arizona's Derrick Williams be the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft?
Perhaps ... but I would take Kyrie Irving. The one-and-done point guard from Duke was basically the consensus No. 1 pick with NBA scouts in November and December, and I wouldn't let an unfortunate toe injury move me off him. Williams could be a future star, but I think Irving definitely is one. So I would go with Irving No. 1 and then put Williams, Kentucky's Enes Kanter and North Carolina's Harrison Barnes (provided he's in the draft, which remains uncertain) at No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 in some order to be determined after workouts.
5. You OK with UCLA's Ben Howland reportedly close to hiring an AAU coach from Atlanta?
I'm OK with anything within the rules, and this is within the rules. Honestly, I don't know why more coaches don't do it. Success in college basketball is rooted in recruiting, and if I were a high-major coach my staff would feature one assistant to help me coach and two player-getters, and if one of them had a direct link to a prominent AAU program, well, that would be terrific. So if UCLA (an Adidas school) hires Korey McCray from the Atlanta Celtics (an Adidas program), it'll be viewed as more smart than shady in my eyes.
I've never pretended this sport is anything other than what it is, and what it is, is a sport where men make millions of dollars when they win and get fired when they don't. The best way to ensure winning is to get talented players, and the best way to get talented players is to create advantages. Best I can tell, Howland is in the process of creating a nice advantage that could lead to Class of 2011 standout Kevin Ware -- a Georgia native and former Tennessee recruit who is now back on the market -- enrolling at UCLA in time for next season. If I had just lost Tyler Honeycutt and Malcolm Lee to the NBA Draft, I would almost certainly do the same thing.