CHICAGO, March 2, 2012 – It’s always nice to see the underdog win a game, even nicer to see them win a big one. Watching VCU claw its way into last year’s Final Four, only to lose to equally tiny Butler was a sports fan’s dream, regardless of how many brackets they demolished.
Unfortunately, on the other side of that coin lies the truth that everyone, excluding the schools’ respective graduates, hates to see goliaths be goliaths. Watching heavyweights Kansas and Kentucky slug it out on Monday night was an entertaining game without a doubt, but was it really what we wanted to see?
The worst part of it all isn’t that the two teams are perennial monsters; it’s the methodology of Kentucky’s and Coach John Calipari’s system that’s going to destroy the sport. Now that it’s been proven that a team of wily one-and-done freshmen, who will soon be shipped off to the NBA, anchored by only a few veterans can win a championship, the sport has been set on a path—a path that could end with five schools each boasting six blue-chip freshmen blasting their way into the elite eight while the rest of the country scratches and claws for the right to get their rears handed to them in the sweet sixteen.
It’s sad to think that this could happen to the sport that we’ve all come to adore over the years, but at this point, what’s stopping it? The only thing that had seemed to block this from happening was the idea that a team needs to be led by veterans to be successful, that leaning on freshmen would lead to Derrick Rose missing free throws in the title game when they mattered more than ever.
This is no more.
John Calipari proved two things to America by winning the championship. He proved that freshmen can be just as composed, focused, determined and poised as the most grizzled of veterans, with Anthony Davis being the face of that idea. Rarely in history have players been able to dominate a half of play like he did in the first half of the championship game with a grand total of one point. He finished the night 1-for-10 from the field and was still the best player on the floor at all times, amassing 16 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and a block total of 6 that almost seems pedestrian by his historic standards.
Calipari also proved that the one-and-done rule for the NBA needs to change. The idea behind it isn’t very clear to most fans, and the result of it is further bewildering. Players are going to college to wait until they’re old enough to play in the NBA, not to get an education and be on a team. The rule is a stain on what is one of the world’s most successful leagues, and that needs to change.
As long as the rule is in place, however, Calipari will continue to damage the sport with his philosophy. Players will opt for a college that allows, even encourages its players to leave after one year and mar the college level of the sport altogether, taking the competitive fire right out of the first three quarters of March Madness.
Unless the rule itself is taken out of the laws of the National Basketball association, the NCAA is going to be in big trouble in the coming years now that Calipari and the Cardiac Cats showed that talent is really all that’s needed to win a championship.
To contact Nick Goralka, see above to send him an e-mail containing a question, comment, or scathing insult. His work appears in Alley-oops for Touchdowns! in the Communities at the Washington Times Online.
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