Summer League – Part 1
It is getting to be late June, the NBA playoffs are wrapping up, and that means the dog days of summer are upon us. The Olympics will give us some dribble drives in August complete with the fish and chip culture of London. But what are we hoop junkies to do about the college game? Easy. Meet me at the watercooler and let’s chat about all the changes for this upcoming season!
Let’s play some Summer League ball. But not all at once. 3 each in June, July, and August. That gets us to September. We can allow that other sport to creep into our vision for 6 weeks and then it is October 15th and all is right with the world again!
Drum roll please. Let’s get started.
1) Realignment. Without a doubt this is the headliner for all summer dialogue. Much credit goes to the Atlantic 10 for losing Temple but adding Butler and VCU. And they don’t have to wait. Those two teams are competing this year. With maybe THE two hottest names in college coaching, Brad Stevens, the professor, and Shaka, the dancer! The VCU head guy doesn’t even have to use his last name anymore joining other basketball names such as Shaq, Tiny, Dr J, Hondo, Pistol, Spud, and Tree. (Hoopsters…there is your first summer quiz….name all of those players!)
photo credit: ibtimes.com
I give the best upgrade award to the Atlantic 10.…for one year. Because any league that adds Syracuse and Pitt to its roster has, without a doubt, made the biggest splash in hoops realignment. And its not close. Now, we don’t know when they will start down Tobacco Road and may not for some time, but can you picture the Orange in Cameron, Pitt visiting Maryland, or Carolina in the Carrier Dome? Come on, that is righteous!
So, the short term winner here is the A-10. But the bigger winner, long term, is the ACC. For a league that lately has been Duke/Carolina….big gap…group of 3 or 4…big gap…the rest…this was a slam dunk of David Thompson proportions!
2) Officiating. I know, I know. I have written about this extensively and my beginning premise has not changed. There are some simple paradigm shifts that would help in the now. Like call ALL the fouls and protect the guy with the ball. Until the powers that be acknowledge that this part of the game needs a complete overhaul, basketball will continue to suffer.
Then why bring it back up? Because the NCAA has come out with new guidelines about the block/charge call. And I am one for almost anything that helps officials do a better job. This has evolved because of the restricted arc area that was instituted last year. First, understand this. The arc is good for the game. It did what it was suppose to do. Eliminate all those take the charges under the basket. There is no arguing that. The thought was too many decisions were charges last year if you just got your feet out of that arc. Maybe so. I think it is an overreaction. Officials will get better at doing both (watching the feet and getting legal defensive position) over time. It has only been there for one season. Not enough data. Of all the things that the NCAA could have clarified that would really help the game, this is the one they choose? The block/charge has always been the toughest call in the game. Guess what? That wont change.
photo credit: usatoday.com
3) Xavier/Cincinnati. The only good thing that came out of the cross-town brawl happened recently when the two schools inked a two year contract to play at a neutral site in the River City. Why should future Musketeers or Bobcats be punished for the stupidity of those involved last year that will no longer be around? They shouldn’t.
From that black eye night on college hoops, there were a lot of not so intelligent reactions by players and coaches. But this was the smart move. Keep the rivalry but loose the nastiness that comes with a home team in their own arena. Kind of makes me wonder why they didn’t play this game at the U.S. Bank Arena all along. But congrats to both programs for moving in the right direction.
Now can someone explain to me how Mark Lyons is eligible to play at Arizona this year? Oh I know the rule but is it fair? Transfers and transferring are on the list for July. Meet me at the cooler again to find out the rest.
Mark is a former assistant at Purdue and South Florida. He also serves as an analyst for for ESPN, Fox Sports Net and the Florida Gators radio network.