Come Out of Your Pods!

  • Morpheus: There is a recurring conventional wisdom in the Matrix, Neo, it says that there are more good college basketball players now than ever before and that the level of D1 basketball is now higher than its ever been.

    Neo: It seems to be bunk, when I take off the conventional wisdom prescriptions and look around, like Neo freshly broken out of his pod and gasping at the world as it actually is.

    Yea, I know a thousand Agent Smiths are going to come for me very shortly, because I took the pill @HighEliteMajor and Morpheus have been offering–the one that let’s you see what’s going on, and here is how it looks outside the pod when I yank out the fiber optic cables jacked into my forehead and the electric current drip lines jacked into my temples. And rip the hype conduits feeding into my rib cage.

    The conventional wisdom confuses muscle mass with skill and athleticism.

    There are more guys now starting and rotating that wouldn’t have started, or rotated 20 years ago, if you leaned them up to morphology standards 20 years ago. And vice versa, more guys from 20 years would be starting today, if you Hudy-ized them to today’s standards. More fine players were in D1 20 years than now. Lots of there in the L already.

    There are more guys now that don’t have a clue about offensive, or defensive fundamentals than ever before.

    There are more guys now that know how to weight train in ways that make them carry more weight, less fat and over develop their fast twitch muscle fibers more, so that their ligaments and tendons, that are about the same as they were 20 years ago, become over stressed and fail partially or totally, until all of this modern talent is playing at 3/4 speed by the end of the season, if it is playing at all.

    There are more guys coasting at 3/4s speed to protect the merchandize than ever before.

    There are more guys getting cheap shotted and butchered now than there were 20 years ago.

    There are more guys now sitting on the bench because they are not from deep talent pools, so that players from power AAU teams, and basketball academies that produce endless streams of players, are playing.

    There are more prison bodies and wide loads, and palookas in D1 now than ever before. More guys that would have labored for jucos two years, then for a second division D1 team for two season, and then for a CBA team, or a Euro team, or a prison team, depending how those first few years off the training table went.

    The draft choice talent this year is more concentrated that it has been maybe in forever, but the concentrated talent is not as good, or as developed, as the concentrated talent on Wooden’s last eight ring teams, or on Dean’s teams overshadowed by Wooden during those years, or by Houston’s teams during those years. Wooden’s last eight ring teams would have whipped this UK team by 20 even with the refs wearing UK jerseys. It wouldn’t have been close. The undefeated Indiana team? They would have blown this UK team out of Indiana and into Lake Michigan. Seriously, they were waaaaaaay better than this Kentucky team. They had played together for years and they had amazing talent.

    NCAA D1 is arguably more depleted of top talent now than it has ever been, since integration spread to most schools by the middle 1960s. There are almost certainly fewer talented, developed players playing in D1 now than in Wooden’s era of rings from 1963 to 1974, or so. The level of teams playing in the NCAA tournament, because only the best teams were taken in those days, is almost certainly higher than it is today, when teams like Iowa State, composed of a bunch of transfers and juco players, and lacking even a semblance of big men, can challenge for a conference title and make it into the March Madness. ISU would have been laughed off most D1 courts by Top Ten teams even 10 years ago.

    There hasn’t been a single team in D1 with the level of polished starting talent equal to the 1976 Indiana team.

    There hasn’t been a single team with the athleticism and overwhelming NBA hall of fame talent of either UNC’s national champion with Michael Jordan, James Worthy, and Sam Perkins. If you are young, Jordan was third banana on that team.

    There hasn’t been a single team with the D1 athleticism and awesome subsequent NBA careers of University of Houston’s Phi Slamma Jamma:

    Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon (AKA

    Akeem Olajuwon)

    Benny “Bomber from Bernice” Anders

    Clyde “The Glide” Drexler

    Larry “Mr. Mean” Micheaux

    Michael “Silent Assassin” Young

    Sean “Stretch” MacRitchie

    Alvin Franklin

    Rob Williams

    Reid Gettys

    Ricky Winslow

    Greg “Cadillac” Anderson

    OMG! That was an insane team and it didn’t win!

    The NCAA has never seen two players in the National Finals of the quality of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, since that game. Their teams weren’t much to write about, but Johnson and Bird? There haven’t been two players that good in the same Finals since.

    After 5-10 years of the best not playing in D1 at all, we are about ten years into the OAD experiment, which started Rush’s freshman year of 2004, if I recall correctly. It took about ten years for all of the strands depleting player quality and player supply to filter through.

    Let’s be honest: Kelly Oubre would have red shirted on KU’s 2008 Ring Team; that’s how far things have depleted and diluted.

    Things have gotten so bad that Big Man U cannot even field a single true 5 out of 13 scholarship players.

    Not one.

    KU plays in B12 12 conference entirely devoid of 5s.

    The Big 12 is like a culture where all the 5s have been abducted and sent to Gitmo. We are all in fear and denial about it.

    There was zero chance that the Big 12 was one of the best conferences in any place but Whoville, where a person is a person, no matter how small. The Big 12 was so depopulated of true 5s that flipping Horton could have started and made first team all Big 12 for any team in the conference.

    There were only a few teams in the country able to field teams with true 5s, and decent perimeters at all: Wisconsin, Kentucky, Duke, UA, Louisville, Gonzaga, and Utah are all I can think of right now. Maybe UNC?

    Look how many no talent teams there were in every conference.

    Come out of your pods.

    The good players are all in the NBA.

    They either aren’t developed enough, when they play in D1, or the are protecting the merchandize.

    And all of these supposedly good players that are 3-5 year types?

    Well, what does it mean to be good, when you don’t have anyone worth a damn to play against?

    Can anyone imagine what Danny Manning would have done in an 18 game round robin never having to face anyone better or taller than Rico Gathers?

    For god’s sakes, Danny might have averaged 70 ppg against this year’s Big 12.

    Pull the fiber cables out of your heads.

    Its scary as hell what is going on out here.

    But we’ll never change it if we don’t first come out.

  • @jaybate-1.0 Jordan was third banana on that team

    Why? Was he protecting the merchandise? No, he was just a freshman. He hadn’t figured it out yet. He hadn’t learned to be the dominant player he became eventually.

    I have a hard time believing most of the OADs are sandbagging it. I just think they are young. It’s the saddest part of the OAD culture, that we never get to see what they could develop into. They rarely dominate. Jordan’s freshman year is a great example; great player, certainly had his moments, but still a freshman and 3rd banana. Danny Manning deferred to Ron Kellog and Calvin Thompson his freshman year. He was just young.

    And you’re right. No chance for great players to mature and develop is diluting the game.

  • @tundrahok

    The game changed.

    Wiggins had to be sand bagging.

    There were no upperclassmen for him to defer to!

    Then boom! He steps into the NBA and he is doing as a rookie what he could not do at KU!

    Of course he was sand bagging.

    Jordan was third option behind two great experienced talents.

    Danny? He was playing on an experienced talented team. Brown called it one of the most talented teams ever.

    UW showed what playing hard is.

    UK and Duke just would not play that hard. That’s why the refs had to step in and decide both gAmes.

    In Okafor’s defense, he doesn’t even know HOW to play that hard, because he has probably been protecting the merchandise since highschool.

  • @jaybate-1.0 To me, sand bagging is intentional. If you don’t know how to play hard, then you’re not doing it intentionally. Most teenagers think they know what it means to work hard, but really don’t understand what it means to give consistent effort, day after day.

    Seniors (UW) play hard. Freshmen (UK and Duke) really don’t understand what it means, for the most part. Especially top talent, because they haven’t had to work hard to excel. It’s just a learning process, which takes time, which you don’t have in a single season.

  • @jaybate-1.0

    It’s a race to the money. All the fast-twitch muscle isn’t being coached to learn the skills of basketball, it is being coached to chase the fast money. It’s a race to the money.

    ““AAU basketball,” Bryant said. “Horrible, terrible AAU basketball. It’s stupid. It doesn’t teach our kids how to play the game at all so you wind up having players that are big and they bring it up and they do all this fancy crap and they don’t know how to post. They don’t know the fundamentals of the game. It’s stupid.””

    Kobe: Europe’s players more skillful

    Americans are junkies to athleticism, not skillfully played basketball. You won’t see a kid playing the game mimicking smart finishes at the rim with the other hand, you see them trying to windmill dunk while his dad looks on marveling because his kid has some hops.

    Look at a player like Kelly Oubre. He has excellent athleticism and a body built by the basketball Gods… but the kid can only go left. He didn’t finish with his right hand ONCE as a Jayhawk! That alone is reason for that kid to return for year 2. Do you think his long reach is going to save him in the league? He is about to learn a big lesson at the next level… it’s called “hedge defense”… something never even mentioned in college ball. He is going to be hedged right out of 90% of his drives at the next level. The kid better learn to go right or his game is toast.

    I can barely stomach college basketball today. I watch because of my competitive nature. But every time my brain engages in a game, I become sickened by the empty tool box these kids bring to the game.

    Kansas should hire Bobby Knight as an assistant. His only job will be to teach these kids what a shot fake is. And while he is at it, he can teach them the other 10 or so fakes that can be used in a game. Bobby’s motto will shift off the known “shake and bake” to “fake and bake.”

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