Nova Wildcats just won the NCAA championship for the second time in three years, the city of Philadelphia is going wild. An NCAA championship and the Super Bowl in the same year, and Charles Barkley just boldly predicted the 76ers will win the NBA championship. Although, he may just be slightly joking there is always a possibility. But this post is not the success of Philly, it is about the Big East Conference.

When I was younger the Big East Conference was one of if not the best conference in college basketball. Remember Georgetown with Patrick Ewing, Reggie Jackson, David Wingate and Michael Graham, St. Johns with Chris Mullins, Mark Jackson, Walter Berry, and Boo Harvey. Syracuse Derrick Coleman, Billy Owens, Sherman Douglass, and Pearl Washington. Pittsburgh Jerome Lane, Charles Smith, and Brandin Knight. Boston College Michael Adams, Dana Barros, and Bill Curly. Providence Rick Pitino, Billy Donovan, Otis Thorpe, Erick Murdock and Eric Williams. Villanova Ed Pickney, Dwayne McClain, Gary McLain, Harold Pressley, and Stewart Granger. Seton Hall John Morton, Mark Bryant, Terry Dehere, and Adrian Griffin. UConn Cliff Robinson, Ray Allen, Richard Hamilton, and Khalid El-Amin. These are just some of the great college basketball players for yesteryears of the Big East Conference. During the 80s college basketball was more exciting than pro basketball in my opinion, there were epic battles involving Big East teams. Georgetown versus Villanova 1985, Georgetown versus Syracuse 1986, Syracuse versus Michigan 1988, and St. Johns versus Georgetown 1985. The reason I am reminiscing over the Big East is that many of the former teams have left the conference, by leaving the conference the Big East has shuffled schools in and out for the last few years and this, in my opinion, has hurt the standing of the Big East with regards to dominating conferences. The teams that left claim the conferences they were joining were better conferences for football, that is fine, but it was basketball that made these schools popular. The lack of dominance has hurt the Big East teams as far as recruiting is concerned too. Remember Big East schools would attract top high school basketball players, now they are few and far in between. I know people will say Nova has some top talent, Kemba was at Uconn, and Isaiah Whitehead was at Seton Hall. That fact that we can name them is the problem.

My point to all this is Villanova Wildcats has shown the world the Big East can still be a great conference if teams had the guts to live out the legacy. You will never see North Carolina, Duke, or Wake Forest leave the ACC, that is because those teams understand what was built and what it takes to maintain the success of the conference. I long for those great Big East battles, thank you Villanova Wildcats for showing the rest of NCAA that the Big East can still be great.





Zion Williamson is a High School basketball player from Spartanburg, South Carolina, he is ranked number 2 on the ESPN Top 100 list of High School basketball players. Both of Zion’s parents have athletic backgrounds, his stepfather was a division one basketball player, Zion was born to be an athletic star. Zion was being recruited by all the top college basketball programs, on January 20th he committed to Duke University.

His choice of school for some reason did not sit well with University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari. Coach Cal normally gets more than his fair share of top basketball recruits each year, so I am wondering why losing Zion to Duke was such a problem that he had to comment. Duke sold Zion on the fact they are a family and provide a life for you after college basketball. All this is true if you look at Duke assistant coaches many of them are former players and there many former Duke assistant coaches who are head coaches at other schools. Someone else reminded me that a degree from Duke has a little more prestige. I believe that Zion made a wise choice but being a South Carolina kid myself I would have preferred Zion stay in state.

I was hoping he would go to Clemson, I like to see the top players going to those schools who are not basketball powerhouses. Michael Porter Jr. going to Missouri, Trae Young at Oklahoma, Ben Simmons at LSU, and

at Alabama. In my opinion, going to the others is what legends are made off, but I understand why going to the powerhouses is attractive, it almost guarantees an NBA contract. Choosing the right school has huge implications for a player’s career, the wrong school could hinder your chances of making it to the NBA, so Duke is probably the best option for Zion.

Is Zion going to be that special player? The Michael Jordan or LeBron James, I ask because with the litany of great players Coach Cal is associated with why did losing Zion provoke a comment? However, Zion story ends it will be the way he wrote it.

 





LiAngelo Ball has left UCLA and we do not know his plans. I have been a supporter of the Ball family especially LaVar, but I do not think this was a smart move. I hope LaVar proves me and all other nay-sayers wrong as he has done in the past. I do not like doubting anyone because everyone can prove someone wrong, all they must do is put in the work and refuse to fail but I think this move will hurt LiAngelo.

One of the reasons I believe this will hurt LiAngelo is based on his current reputation, most NBA teams will not give him a chance. I believe it would have been better to stay in UCLA overcome the stigma for the theft and produce on the court for UCLA. Before this incident in China, everything said about the Balls was that they are terrific kids. People were waiting for an incident like this to happen so that they can criticize the Balls and how their parenting. The media and the public do not mention the other players involved and we still do not know who stole the merchandise. Repairing his reputation was the most important thing and leaving a school because they are punishing you for the crime and the embarrassment associated with it will not help. There are great players who NBA teams have shied away from because of character issues, in addition, LiAngelo has not shown he can be a good player on the collegiate level.

LaVar says he will be getting LiAngelo ready for the draft but who has identified him as a draft project. LiAngelo was not an ESPN top 100 players coming out of high school. What is strange about this I can not remember a player being the leading scorer on a nationally ranked school not being considered a top high school player. Both of his brothers were ranked, therefore the argument he is not ranked because of LaVar will not work. It is incredibly hard for high school top 10 players to get draft without playing in college, so what magic formula does LaVar have that will get his son drafted. The fact that he believes the punishment was too harsh will have teams turning away. I believe LiAngelo is the better shooter of the brothers, but he does not have Lonzo’s court vision and athletic abilities; LaMelo is today’s prototypical point guard. LaMelo can be Damian Lillard at six feet five inches tall. I saw LiAngelo being like Dennis Scott, I believe that is who he should have modeled his game after to ensure he makes it to the NBA. Dennis Scott had a successful career at Georgia Tech, that allowed NBA teams to see him play at a high level, what body of work will LiAngelo have for NBA scouts to judge. Workouts and being in shape does not translate to NBA talent, he to display he could excel in games. There are players in the G league now who can score but they have not received a call from the NBA.

I am hoping LaVar has a trick up his sleeve because if he is wrong this decision could affect all three of his sons. People will question LaMelo game because he is not playing high school ball and may not be able to play in college. Lonzo is struggling by some people standards. Any failures will be contributed to LaVar and this empire he is slowly building may come crumbling down.





Will there be a WNBA in the future? If the WNBA is lost how will this impact women’s sports? Can women save the WNBA? The WNBA has been in existence for 20 years, how can we make sure there are another 20 years of women’s professional basketball. James Dolan has announced that the WNBA team New York Liberty is for sale. Dolan is one of the last original owners of a WNBA from the initial season. San Antonio has sold their team to buyers who will bring the team to Las Vegas. Th

Most of the WNBA teams are losing money, most of the revenue from the WNBA comes from television deals that were packaged with the deal for the NBA. The WNBA has seen a decrease in attendance on average, I believe this is the main reason Dolan has decided to sell the Liberty. People will be mad at his decision, but this is business, if people want the Liberty to stay they will need to attend games. I reside in New York and I have not heard much disappointment in Dolan decision to sell the Liberty maybe because some fans hope he sells the Knicks but that’s another story. Personally, I used to be a fan of women’s basketball, my favorite player was Dawn Staley. The fact that only time I would be able to see the women play was during the Olympics made the WNBA intriguing to me. Unfortunately, I must admit I have never been to a WNBA game and I seldom watch the games on TV. I believe the growing popularity of the NBA has hurt the WNBA a little, the WNBA games are played during the offseason of the NBA but with the increasing popularity of the NBA summer league and now Ice Cube’s Big 3 league basketball junkies have other places to watch the game.

For the WNBA to survive viewership must increase, to increase viewership WNBA must have more interaction with the NBA. For example, the WNBA should play their all-star game right before the NBA All-Star game. The same day same arena. Allow the WNBA season to spill into the NBA preseason. Right before the WNBA game you can have the NBA team practice in front of the fans, scrimmage or play a preseason game. Allow discount for NBA tickets if some has brought a WNBA ticket, for example, if you bought a ticket for a game against the Sparks you get a discounted ticket for the game against the Lakers.

I am not sure what or if anything can help the survival of the WNBA, but I am afraid its failure may have a negative impact on the future of women’s sports. This may require women who are not sports lovers to support just because these are women and allow these little girls that dream of playing in the WNBA to continue to dream.





What will the NBA look like in 10 or 20 years? What do you want the NBA to look like in 10 or 20 years? Will the NBA be better, or will it lose some of its popularity? What would you add to the NBA game? These are questions I ask myself and other people, most of the times people do not have an answer. Some do not have an answer because the game of basketball is not that important to ponder the future, I fully understand this position and respect it. For me watching basketball sometimes allows me to have a break from reality but there are times basketball forces me to think about the important issue that affects the world.

I believe the NBA will grow internationally, we see more and more games being played overseas. I know some people are pushing for an NBA team to be located in another country, I believe if the team is in the Eastern hemisphere it will be a logistics nightmare. The travel time would have an adverse impact on the player’s performance. I have a suggestion that may increase the global brand and provide more NBA games without having an adverse effect on the players. The top 16 teams make the NBA playoffs, I purpose the next eight teams participate in NBA tournament. The tournament can change locations each year, having the host country bid for the tournament much like the Olympics. The tournament could be a three or five-game elimination, then the winner moves to the next round. Just imagine the NBA can pick exotic locations with high tourist travel such as Dubai. Dubai will meet the financial requirements, has the viewership, and can build an arena that is suitable. This will also help prevent teams from tanking because the players will want to win to get the extra money for playing in those games and the teams would want the extra revenue.

I know my idea may not be perfect or the NBA may not be able to execute it, but I would be interested in watching these games. The game must go somewhere, so why not a tournament. We see the viewership and the attendance for the NBA summer league games increasing each year, this indicates people want more NBA games, so the NBA must come up with a more to give us more games.





What is wrong with the Cleveland Cavaliers? This seems to be the question that everyone is asking lately. The Cavaliers have gotten off to a bad start and it seems like all the commentators and basketball experts are panicking. The Cavs as of today have five wins and seven losses, which places them in the 11th spot in the Eastern Conference.

In my opinion, everyone needs to calm down I believe the Cavs will come back to be the powerhouse of the Eastern Conference. The only team that is playing well in the East is the Boston Celtics, who are in first place. The second-place team is the Detroit Pistons and the third-place team is the Orlando Magic. Now, who really thinks the Pistons or Magic are better teams? No one, these teams are overachieving and will revert to old habits soon. This year the NBA implemented a shortened training camp and pre-season schedule, I believe this has affected teams that had huge personnel turnover. Someone will argue how come the Celtics and Houston are not having problems, the Celtics system was centered around a scoring point guard they just switch scoring point guards, therefore, the system needed a little adjustment. In Houston Chris Paul has not been playing, so the effects of that trade have not been seen yet. The Cavs are missing their point guard Isaiah Thomas, have injuries to key players, Dwayne Wade is trying to figure out where he can have the most positive impact, and Jae Crowder must figure out his role. My opinion on Jae Crowder is that he has been focusing on scoring too much, defense is where he hangs his hat, and this should be his primary focus. The concern that I have with the Cavs is that they should be a much better defensive team compared to last year. Defensive is about effort and I do not see that effort, maybe coach Lue needs to concentrate on defensive more. The Cavs have enough scoring power, so the offense is not the problem, LeBron can dominate a game offensively anytime he chooses.

Let me preference this by saying that I am not a LeBron James fan, but I respect the man’s game. LeBron is the best player in the NBA today, people will argue Stephen Curry or Kevin Durant but LeBron, in my opinion, is the best, we can debate this later (just post a comment). LeBron will bring the Cavs back to its dominance soon, the Cavs will be back in the championship game. You would think by now people would not doubt this man’s ability and desire to win, he has proven repeatedly his greatness. This is just another instance where he will prove his nay-sayers wrong




Could this be the greatest rookie class ever? I know it is early in the season but most of these rookies are starting to look like they are worth their weight in goals. Normally rookies look at to be work in progress, most teams draft rookies with expectations that it will be a few years before they can become good NBA players.

Most rookies struggle with the speed of the NBA game, the traveling, a number of games each week, length of the season and the minimal amount of time to prepare for a game. All these things are the reason why it takes rookies sometime before they can become consistent contributors. Most fans understand this and are patient with the development of the rookies. There are only so many LeBron James, now speaking of LeBron James his draft class may be one the best NBA Draft classes. 2003 NBA Draft class produced 9 players to appear in an All-Star game, 11 NBA championship winners, and easily 4 Hall of Famers. It will be hard to beat the draft class of 2003 but I think the class that might have the best chance of being just as good or better is the draft class of 2017. Again, I know the season just started but these rookies are playing great basketball, I will admit they are not doing it on a night to night basis, but they are contributing in a major way each game. Lonzo Ball, De ’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, TJ Leaf, Jayson Tatum, Lauri Markkanen, Dennis Smith, Jr, Donovan Mitchell, Bam Adebayo, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart, and Sindarius Thornwell have been playing valuable minutes for their teams. These players have been a factor in the success of their teams usually, there are two or three rookies making this type of impact.

Will this draft produce 9 all-stars and 11 NBA championship winners, I do not know, maybe not but I will enjoy watching. This may be the passing of the torch, LeBron, Wade, and Melo are getting older they have to leave the league in the hands of great players and the draft class might be it. The NBA is lucky just as the lights are starting to dim on some of their stars the NBA gets an influx of new bright baby stars.


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Willful ignorance or plausible deniability? If you are a basketball fan you are aware Rick Pitino has been fired from his coaching job at the University of Louisville because the scandal surrounding the fact that players were paid to sign with the school. Louisville is not the school accused of these actions. Recently Pitino did an interview with Jay Bilas for ESPN, during this interview Pitino stated that he had no knowledge of players being paid.

After watching the interview, listening to comments and reading comments it seems that most people do not believe Pitino’s response that he had no knowledge of the illegal activity. The comments center around that he is the head coach and how was he not aware of the reason these players decided to attend his program, he was also involved in a previous scandal and he made the same claim of not having knowledge. Many believe after the first scandal he would be more hands-on and more aware of his staff activities. This is a fair assessment, but is he responsible for every person, can he be there for the players, his family, coaching and other duties. Pitino during the interviewed stated he was given a lie detector test and he passed the test. Some may believe this makes him innocent, but it also depends on what was asked and how was the question asked. For example, if he was asked about a specific incident he might not be aware of that specific incident. He might have an overall knowledge of the recruiting tactics but not specific knowledge. I think all coaches know how these players are recruited. As I stated in a previous post the players deserve to be paid for their talents.

Do I believe that coach Pitino was willfully ignorant or utilizing plausible deniability, I do not know and I do not care. These coaches are using everything they can to remain competitive, these schools rely on these programs being competitive. This is the college sports recruiting game and this has been a part of it for many years and will remain a part of the recruiting process. Players family members get hired by the school, players siblings get to go to the school for free and no one says anything about this. They want to bring down legendary individuals because one man got caught doing something he knew was wrong, so instead of taking his medicine, he would rather destroy the game of basketball.


What happened to the Atlanta Hawks? It wasn’t so long ago the Hawks were one of the elite teams in the NBA. For some time, the Hawks had perennial all-star Joe Johnson along with should have been all-star Josh Smith. After this regime, the Hawks had maybe one of the best team with five good players Kyle Korver, Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap, Al Horford and DeMarre Carroll. Four of the five were all-stars in 2015. Usually, teams on the verge of greatness build on what they have but for some reason, the Hawks went the opposite way.

During the 2014-2015 season, the Hawks finished first in their division, Mike Budenholzer, the coach, was named coach for the East All-Star team and four Hawks players were named to that same All-Star team. The Hawks record that year was 60 wins and 22 loses. The only team who had a better record that season was the Golden State Warriors who went on to win the championship that season. The Warriors build on their success, so why didn’t the Hawks do the same thing?

I am not fortunate enough to have an inside ear on what is going on with the Atlanta Hawks but this has to be a severe case of mismanagement or no understanding of basketball. I know in the beginning of the season the Hawks had to deal with the scandal surrounding their general manager Danny Ferry, eventually, Danny left the organization but this is the same season the Hawks won 60 games. If they are going to blame the downfall on Danny Ferry then Danny is either a great basketball mind and that the reason for the success or the scandal did more damage than we thought and that is the reason for the fall. I believe the reason for the fall is bad management. The team loses DeMarre Carroll, Al Horford, and Paul Millsap in free agency when the Hawks can pay them more than any other team. They trade Kyle Korver and Jeff Teague for nothing. I understand maybe management feels Dennis Schroder is the future point guard for the Hawks and Korver is getting older. In the Teague trade, the Hawks get the 12th pick in the draft, which turns out to be Taurean Prince. Prince is a poor man’s DeMarre Carroll, so they should have resigned Carroll. They traded Korver for Mike Dunleavy and Mo Williams both players are no longer in the league.

The Hawks went from one of the best teams in the league to one of the worst teams in the league in two seasons. The best players now are Dennis Schroder and Kent Bazemore, two players who are not household names and do not sell tickets. I do not hear many NBA comments talking about the downfall of the Hawks. But I was just sitting here wondering WHAT HAPPENED TO THE ATLANTA HAWKS?

I am sure by now everyone has heard about the recent scandal surrounding college basketball. Anyway, I will not bore you with the sorted details but in a nutshell, several assistant coaches from prestigious colleges have been arrested by the FBI for paying players to attend these colleges. Well-known coaches such as Rick Pitino from the University of Louisville have been let go. Other coaches may follow in Pitino’s foot-steps. 

 In my opinion, all of this is very hypocritical the pressure put on these coaches to recruit top level talent is ridiculous. As I stated in a previous post everyone benefits from the player’s talent except the player. The reason the coaches need to get top talent is not solely based on winning, the better the talent the more money from shoe companies and television. The main reason they do not want kids going from high school to the NBA is that the NCAA revenue suffers when this happens.  

Just look at the salaries of the coaches and the athletic directors, these individuals are making millions each year and that is not counting the salaries of the coaching staff, trainers, and others. If I am a top tier player and deciding which college to attend the important factors of my decision would be the style of play, playing time, and best route to the NBA. If there are three schools who are equal in all categories the one who pays me would tip the scale.  These coaches have to do what is necessary to remain competitive, the better the team increase attendance to games, and alumni donations. The schools are aware of what is being done to recruit these players. 

Side note, look at the discussion surrounding Lamelo Ball’s eligibility because his father has released a shoe in his name and Lamelo receives income from the sale of the shoe. His eligibility is in question because what he is selling not because he is making money. If they were selling eyeglasses, for example, the NCAA would not care but because he is selling shoes and this will impact the money they receive from shoe companies it is an issue.  

 Instead of arresting and firing these coaches for doing the job they were asked to do how about the NCAA pay their athletes what they are worth. What is the government step in and say the school is only allowed to earn a specific amount of the athlete and the rest of the money goes into a fund the athlete receives after he or she leaves the school. I bet the NCAA would fight against this with all they have because forbid the people who deserve the money actually get the money.