True of so many guys, unfortunately. As more of a College Hoops fan from UCLA, Zach LaVine is the same, only worse since he doesn’t play defense.
He was the most selfish player I have ever seen at UCLA - “I have to get mine, before anything else, including winning.”
I wonder if this is, in part, the “get to the next level” mentality of a ton of young players now (either if they are, or think they are one & done college players), and the need to show themselves off, and standout as a talented player, rather than a glue-guy/team player/winning above all else, all through HS/AAU/College/G-League, etc.).
I’ll be honest, I write off a lot of one & done players as guys who will never lead their teams to championships, and think that if they want to be the kind of player in the NBA who can do that, it starts by staying back (in college, or what have you) and learning to lead a team, and make others better, rather than just showing off your own athletic talent.
I mean… I guess. But also, I am never ever going to fault a player for deciding to get paid rather than waiting a year to get hurt and lose millions of dollars.
But, I really hate college basketball, because to me, it is a racket set up to extract money from talented young black athletes and give it to corrupt and awful state school systems at the risk of their health and the promise of a largely useless degree in something they barely had time to study for.
It’s only a racket insofar as the NBA rookie/draft rules make it one. The NCAA has no control over what age the NBA sets as the draft limit. You may not want to watch College Basketball because of it, but don’t blame the NCAA for it, blame the NBA.
I’m actually in favor of the NCAA saying “enough”, and just making Freshmen ineligble (as they were in Kareem’s era) until the NBA cleans up the mess it created.
FWIW, the new G-League rules allowing the signing of players directly out of high school will alleviate this.
The thing you must remember is that there are 317 (last I checked) Division 1 NCAA basketball squads. At 13 scholarships a team (max), that’s over 4,000 players annually. The NBA drafts ~50 college players a year, out of the ~1,200 eligible. So, the folks actually being “exploited” as you say, is about 4% of the population, at most, and the other 96% are getting “paid” with an education, room and board worth as much as $50k, annually, maybe higher (scholarship, book, room and board, not including the power 5 stipends, depending on location and tuition (FWIW, the annual cost to attend Duke is $71k, Kentucky is cheaper at $29k in-state, ~$46k out of state, as a couple of examples).
Your take on the “worthlessness” of the degree is insanely stupid as well - the degree is worth what people will pay for it. If the student athletes don’t take advantage of it, how is that different from getting paid by the NBA for a few years and blowing it all on cars, etc., leaving themselves with nothing at the end.
In the case of Duke - a 4-year scholarship is worth at least $290,000 (as I don’t know what stipends/books/etc cost), because that’s what people pay for it. That ain’t chump change.
I got more. It isn’t right. Promising a college education (for which in extreme examples like UConn at a 92% dropout rate) for hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue to the NCAA is just insane.
And I am not even going to mention how they let predators prey on women and children for years, and then leave the administration off the hook?
This is why I don’t watch college sports. I am only interested in watching athletes that are being paid fairly for their talents, not just lining the pockets of some filthy rich millionaires. (Of course pros do this too, but make millions in the process)
Agree to disagree then, I prefer to watch college sports because they aren’t playing for money, but rather something greater (in my mind). In my mind, if a player would rather get paid than go to college, go ahead - I don’t want them - it works for the Ivy League to not even offer athletic scholarships, but I think that the benefits to those who do take advantage of a free education in exchange for competing in athletics across the NCAA spectrum (99.9% of whom will never be a professional athlete) far, far outweighs the relatviely meager handful you are angry about.
As a Bruin, Zach LaVine is the poster child from UCLA for this. He was the most selfish player I have ever seen, and while incredibly talented, playing him was actually a disservice to the team, and that selfishness has carried over into his NBA career as the poster child for selfish talent who will never be a team player - never plays defense, doesn’t play to make his teammates better, etc.
In the cases you specifically cite, UConn/MSU, UConn’s 8% graduation rate is from a segment of 12 players who went on to the NBA - in other words, they left of their own accord to get paid. If that’s all they wanted, my take is that they should have been free to do so from the start, and not go to college in the first place. UConn also ended up on probation for those years due to other NCAA infractions, and so this is a case in which the program was being managed against the rules, leading to sanctions, and since the sanctions, the graduation rate is improving (I also think that the graduation rate should be adjusted for players who leave to go pro, and that there really needs to be more reporting on what happened to them afterwards - were their scholarships still honored, as many are, or did their pro contract include paying for college afterwards, like a friend of mine who went the minor league baseball route instead of signing with Miami, and got his degree after hanging up his cleats?).
As to MSU, that was an institutional failure, much like CBS was under Moonves. I felt that it wasn’t necessarily the NCAA’s job to punish them, but the Feds more than anyone else, which is happening, however slowly, as the law works slowly.
On the other hand, I also realize that with respect to college student athletes, my opinion is in the minority - especially compared with every. single. espn talking head/sportswriter who only focus on the meager handful of student athletes who may get paid at “the next level”.
I care far more about those who care about performing at the level they are at, not constantly looking to position themselves for the next level, paycheck, free agency period, etc.
It’s a huge reason why I am rarely interested in the NBA regular season - it showcases individual talent at the expense of the team game - less defense, stat-stuffing and big highlights matter more than winning and losing, etc…
It isn’t until the playoffs that the NBA actually gets interesting to me, when 99% of the players are actually trying to play team ball in order to win, and not just show off.
I watch far more regular season college basketball then NBA.