Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sraight to NBA

I am going to finish up from the last post about Coach Hewitt and the apology. I think I have fleshed out my thoughts well enough to be fairly coherent on the issue. After doing some checking, I found an excellent source from an older article on the Doc Sports web site. This author conducted a breakdown of the success of high schoolers who entered the draft straight from high school.

The gist is this. The majority of high schoolers drafted straight to the NBA do not have an immediate impact; many have no impact at all in the NBA. The more I have read, and the more I have thought, I have come to a few conclusions.

First, why are so many people not being honest to these young athletes? In other words, what is so bad with going to college first? There are two typical retorts to this. One, what if they get hurt playing college ball, ruining their chances of an NBA future? To that I would say, what if they got hit by a bus crossing the street to Madison Square Garden on draft day? No one can predict things like injuries or accidents. They happen. I still argue that the opportunity to get some education, live away from home (mature, hopefully), and work with a higher level of coaching all make college a much better decision. The second retort is one I touched on in my earlier post, that being economic opportunity. Shouldn't these young athletes be given the chance to maximize their earning ability as soon as possible? I am a little conflicted on this one. I don't mind people making the cash as early as they can, but I go back to the long term benefits of going to college.

Second, and this is an argument that Congressman Cohen from Tennessee spoke about directly, and most others who have written or spoken on this issue at least imply. That is the racial, or at least the socioeconomic dynamics associated with this issue. Most of these kids have come from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds. Considering this, I will turn the economic argument back on some people. Think about the economic impact of a young athlete getting drafted, outside of the first round and its financial guarantees. Say this same athlete gets injured during the off season, ending his career. Without an education, where does that leave that same athlete? Beyond that, what does it say when people in authority (writers, sports casters, even US Congressmen) basically concede that these young athletes have been failed by the education system,can't benefit from college, and don't belong in college. Strong, I know, but that implication is clearly there.

Ultimately, I see two troubling aspects after digging into this subject. First, our society seems to not value education as much as money/prestige. Second, our society seems to be moving further down the path of immediate gratification. What would you really want for your child?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Coach Hewitt and The Apology

ACC Basketball Tournament - Georgia Tech vs Florida State

I caught wind of this story a couple of days ago, yet really was not sure how to approach writing about it. The background is this: A US Congressman from Tennessee has loudly rasied the issue with the NBA's current rule about the minimum age a player may enter the draft. His opinion, in a nutshell, is that it is wrong to make talented prepsters wait to enter the draft. The New York Times reported on this issue last week.

Here comes the rub. The last few sentences in the Times article, where the Congressman takes what really seems just a flat out cheap shot at former Tech hoopster Thaddeus Young, and by extension, the Tech men's basketball program.

Coach Paul Hewitt took exception as well and requested an apology for the smear on Thaddeus Young (who was a good student in high school acccording to the Commercial Appeal), and the backhanded smack on the Tech men's hoops program. As reported by the Memphis Commercial Appeal, the Congressman heard the uproar, and did contact both Coach Hewitt and Thaddeus Young with apologies. As a side note, I appreciate the character demonstrated by Coach Hewitt for being discrete about the apology.

I am admittedly somewhat out of the mainstream with aspects of this story. I think if a school offers you a scholarship, and you accept, you have a certain responsibility to the school and the program to be there longer than one year. Purely in terms of economics, though, I don't have any problem with any athlete trying to maximize their earning potential.

Another concern I have, outside of just homerism for my favorite school, is the immaturity level of too many of these athletes, and the advice they are receiving from those close to them. My next post will cover this issue more in depth, but basically, I argue that for every successful jump to the NBA (Lebron, Kobe, etc.), there are many more who don't make such a smooth jump, either through going undrafted, or getting drafted and not being able to handle the lifestyle. From this standpoint, you have to look deeper than dollars and cents.

From the Times article, I also took a little issue with the Congressman's use of golf, baseball, and hockey, as evidence that there are racial overtones in the NBA rule. This is the difference as I see it. In baseball and hockey, most of your young draftees go into a minor league system that gives them a little time to mature before the glare of the spotlight hits in the big leagues. Golf isn't team based, and is such an individual sport, I don't even see the connection.

Bringing it back around to Tech. I would say that to a degree, Coach Hewitt is sometimes a victim of his own recruiting. The guy can flat out bring in the talent. The problem, too much of that talent leaves early, preventing the team from developing and gelling. Continuity and experience count a heck of a lot when it comes to tourney time.

Maybe Coach Hewitt needs to pull a page from Coach Paul Johnson's recruiting manual, and just focus on getting solid, quality kids (not that the star recruits weren't) who maybe are not blue chip super talents, but just good ball players. Remember, our last deep run in the tourney came with just such an experienced team, one that really didn't have any superstars.

A Note about UGA

I didn't mention UGA in the first post, for a few reasons.
I am not scared of playing UGA this year.
We whipped them last year, in Athens.
They don't have Stafford,
They don't have Moreno.
Finally, I believe they don't have the coaching to see it through.

Georgia Tech Football

Georgia Tech v Georgia

Hello. This blog is dedicated to Georgia Tech sports, specifically Football and Basketball. To open, I just wanted to explore some issues with the football team and their upcoming campaign.
The most dangerous game, FSU at Tallahassee. We beat them last year, rightfully so, regardless of the hype. FSU was dominated the whole game and didn't deserve to win.
Most dangerous team in our division: Virginia Tech. They have a ton of talent back, especially on the OL and DL, and at QB and RB. In addition, they have a stable coaching staff.
How we do it:
Nesbitt continues to improve in the scheme, limits TO's and improves passing accuracy.
Backfield and OL continue at last year's pace.
Defense improves, even with new starters.
Is it unrealistic to predict 10 wins?
I don't think so.
Thanks for being here, and please contribute if you will.