Hello again, my Puddlers. We are flying through another week. I hope that you have been enjoying listening to the new Strokes album Angles while simultaneously reading my review. I'm also curious to know any thoughts about yesterday's long rambling post. I'll be putting up another post in that sort of vein on Thursday and then we'll move back into some more familiar and hopefully funny material.
However, today is Wednesday and that means we get another moment with our newest columnist, Mr. Alex Theoharides. This week, Alex is weighing in on what is Overrated, Underrated and Properly Rated in the world of March Madness. This seems absolutely appropriate. Read this and learn something.
Theoharides on March Madness
I’m the sort of person, who typically loses interest in the NCAA Tournament as soon as its initial two days of madness have faded into the much more predictable rounds of 32, 16, 8, 4 and 2. This year was no different. Once my bracket was suitably busted and the teams from my beloved Big East yet again failed to meet up to expectations, I was left feeling a little lost, a little hurt, a little betrayed that I was ever interested in this damn tournament in the first place.
Beneath my complaints about the rather mediocre level of play in the tournament, what bothers me most about college basketball is the fact that schools, coaches and athletic directors make millions of dollars, while student-athletes make nothing. Sure they get scholarships and an “education.” Still the whole thing stinks of professionalism. In particular, I dislike the coaches, who are so often held up as being the type of people that mold young men into adults. A few of them may fit this description, but as a whole? Not a bit. It would be more appropriate to describe college coaches collectively as a group of piranhas, who gather around talented prospects, distracting them with talk of the NBA, while they devour them, one after the next, all the while collecting rather sizable paychecks.
That being said, I’ve decided that the best way to judge these piranhas is two-fold. A) How much they make per year and B) How well they deliver on their promises to their recruits. Namely, how many NBA prospects they actually produce and how successful these men are when they reach the Association. I focused most of my energy on coaches from perennial powerhouses, and I only focused on current NBA players. If I missed anyone let me know. Kudos to the good folks at cbssports.com for all the data.
Rick Pitino makes over 4 million per year at Louisville (with incentives for tournament appearances, etc.), and he’s known for coaching athletic teams that press for most of the game and play lock down man-to-man defense. He’s also known for his slicked back hair, his TMI affair with Karen Cunagin, and his propensity to leave a team when the going gets rough.
His list of NBA players is decidedly underwhelming. Top of the list? Francisco Garcia, who gets regular run on the Sacramento Kings, but is far from being a household name. The rest? Backups and bench-warmers. See how many of these names ring a bell: Earl Clark, David Padgett, Samardo Samuels and Terrence Williams. His days at Kentucky were slightly more fruitful, and two of his stars, Nazr Mohammed and Jamaal Magloire, are still in the league.
Jim Calhoun makes 1.6 million a year, less than half of what Pitino earns (of course both salaries are the sort of crazy money that would lead me to do something stupid like build a house with 18 hot tubs, wall to wall flat screens, stripper poles and a bowling alley, oh wait, only NBA players do that). He’s also only coached at two schools: Northeastern and the University of Connecticut. In 2009, he got into a bit of trouble for alleged recruiting violations of Nate Miles, a young man who never played a single possession at UCONN. As a coach, he’s known for having aggressive point guards, big men that rebound but can’t score, and for mumbling his way through the post-game interview. Still, the list of NBA players he helped produce is impressive. Leading the way is Jesus Shuttlesworth himself, Mr. Ray Allen, who just set the NBA record for three pointers made. Ray-Ray is followed by All Star calibers players such as Richard Hamilton, Rudy Gay, Caron Butler, Charlie Villanueva, Ben Gordon, and Emeka Okafor. Rounding out his bench? Jeff Adrien, Hilton Armstrong, AJ Price, and Hasheem (worst pick ever) Thabeet.
Unlike, the head Puddler, Mr. Matts Domino, I’m not a North Carolina Fan. I hate their powder blue shorts. I hate the fact that they always have the best recruits. I hate the fact the MJ went there. And, most importantly of all, I hate the fact that they always win. Still Roy Williams makes less money (1.5 million) than either Pitino or Calhoun, he hasn’t been involved in any major scandals, and even when he ditched the “Rock, Chalk Jayhawks” of Kansas for the powder blues, at least he had the excuse of returning to his alma mater. Check out his list of NBA players.
From his days at KU: top-50 all time great, Paul Pierce, the always productive Nick Collison and Kirk Hinrich, and the somewhat underwhelming Drew Gooden.
At UNC: Ray Felton, Marvin Williams, Tyler Hansbrough, Danny Green, Brandan Wright, Wayne Ellignton, Ty Lawson, and Ed Davis.
The list isn’t staggering, but its long, which is perhaps more important. When Roy Williams visits a recruit, he can honestly say that he’s helped dozens of young men reach the NBA. A lot of coaches claim this, but he’s one of the few who actually delivers on it.