Think about this: Zion Williamson from last season (Heisman Trophy winner alongside every other award possible in college basketball for his position, eventual No. 1 NBA draft pick, social media rockstar, dunking sensation but way, way, way more than a dunker) in prime physical condition.
Hold up– Zion wasn’t in prime physical condition last year?
Well, obviously, Zion was in incredible shape. Like, he was jumping from the free throw line before the season had even started. However, it appears that even that isn’t prime physical condition for him; this picture is getting a lot of attention:
Good gracious. Many were quick to jump on the “not in good enough shape” bandwagon after his post-college, pre-draft break, but that’s out of the question. I’m pretty sure he’s doing alright and it looks like his knee, which he injured minorly in his first summer league appearance, is healed up pretty well (see below).
We can’t wait for Zion to start tearing up the league. The Pelicans open in Toronto to play the reigning champion Raptors, sans Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard. Bleed blue.
Thank goodness. After 37 years of RPI rankings, the NCAA is replacing the system in favor of “N.E.T.”, NCAA Evaluation Tool, which values quadrant wins more. RPI, or Rating Percentage Index, was used to help seed teams in men and women’s NCAA college basketball tournaments. It’s considered a God-given move by many, as RPI had, according to many, long expired in the college basketball world.
We all remember when Trae Young and his 3-12-in-the-second-half-of-the-season made it into the tournament soundly. Their 18-13 record was certainly aided by their four Quad-4 (bad teams, basically) wins. But they did have six Quad-1 wins (good teams, basically) that fueled their entry into the tournament (and I’m guessing CBS had a say, with Trae Young being the clickbait of television) But their eventual record of 12-13 against “good” teams was not considered tournament material. Of course, Trae Young and Co. (I don’t know the rest of their names, to be honest) were incredible in the first half of the season, rising up in the rankings to (I think) the top 5. But their descent (it was really a direct downward plunge off of a cliff) happened as soon as teams figured out that by defending Young extremely, extremely well, they could basically cut the team’s scoring in half. Young still managed to average the highest in points and assists for the year, but that certainly didn’t lead to actually winning. You can celebrate the statistics, awards, whatever all you want, but at the end of the day, it’s the score that actually counts and Oklahoma crashed and burned in that category. Oklahoma’s ranking in RPI didn’t actually help their case. Would this system have? Will this system consider events like the downfall of Oklahoma? We must wait and see.
Bleed blue. The wait for Countdown to be here is agonizing, I know, but I’ll try to keep you busy whilst we must endure the anticipation.
Now, probably one of the most important people in sports has spoken out. Mike Krzyzewski spoke about how the NCAA didn’t go far enough. He gestured to a picture in which leaders from the NCAA, the NBA, the NABC, AAU, and more, met in a summit in 2005, using it as an example. Coach K said that while the reforms were “well-intentioned”, the NCAA lacked coordination. Many reports say that while the organizations met, both the NBA and USA Basketball, who were implemented multiple times in the proposal, felt blindsided. In addition, he addressed the unchanged rules on communication between coaches and players in the summer months, which hasn’t been solved.
You can read more on Coach K’s comments here, but basically, he appears unimpressed. He also mentions the upcoming Canada trip (four days!). Bleed blue.
After becoming immersed in FBI investigations last year for corruption involved with the sport, the NCAA has announced some majorly huge changes for college basketball. In summary, based on the NCAA’s report on the rule changes, here they are:
The number of visits has been increased.
With a pending decision from the NBA and NBPA, high school players can have an agent by July 1st before their senior year, provided they are identified as an elite senior prospect by USA Basketball.
This rule becomes effective if/when the NBA/NBPA reaches the decision to allow high school students in the NBA Draft
College basketball players can be represented by an agent if they ask for an assessment from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee
Agents are permitted to pay for expenses, including meals and transportation for players and their families.
This rule is effective when any relevant state laws are changed, including the Uniform Athletes Agent Act, Revised Uniform Athletes Agent Act, and others.
Agreements between players and agents must be:
Terminated when a player enrolls in or returns to college.
Disclosed to the NCAA (for players in high school) and the school (for players in college).
To work with a student-athlete, agents must be NCAA-certified.
Students who wish to enter the NBA Draft must seek an evaluation from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee, providing information to advise the students in their decisions on whether to stay in school or enter the draft.
Student-athletes who are not drafted, attended an evaluation, and attended the Combine will be permitted to re-enroll in school provided that they alert their athletic director of their decision by 5pm the Monday following the draft.
Effective if/when the NBA makes an expected decision making undrafted athletes who return to college ineligible for the NBA draft until the completion of the next college basketball season.
Required funding and assistant from schools for players returning for degree completion.
Effective August 1, 2019.
These new changes will be groundbreaking for the NCAA and all of college basketball. Of course, many of these changes are pending a decision by the NBA and NBPA. It’ll take a while, but we may just be witnessing the end of the one-and-done era.
De’Aaron Fox had some choice words for the NCAA:
Congratulations NCAA! You’ve gotten worse 😂😂😂 At least you’ve finally admitted it’s about money
Duke athletic director Kevin White has been appointed chair of the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee for 2019-2020. Dr. White has been on the committee since the 2015-2016 season. The current chair, Creighton AD Bruce Rasmussen, is set to rotate off of the committee September 1st. Congratulations to him and his family.
Our Athletic Director Dr. Kevin White has been named chair of the 2019-20 Big Dance!!! He will serve as vice chair this year! Big congrats to Dr. White. 🕺🔵😈 pic.twitter.com/9du4VTKqDM
Happy Father’s Day! As this year’s draft approaches, this Father’s Day reminded me of a commercial from last year that Foot Locker put on. Jayson Tatum participated as the future draftees gave a tribute to their fathers who helped them on their way to the draft. The hilarious part? Lonzo Ball. His father, LaVar, is nationally famous for his outspoken views. Here it is. I laugh out loud every time.
While the changes weren’t exactly what many people were hoping and vying for, beneficial changes were made to the NCAA Transfer law. Coaches are no longer permitted to block the transfer of a player and student-athletes will not require permission from coaches to visit other institutions. Simplistically, coaches are not allowed to influence a player’s transfer to another school, which I believe is a good move. If a student-athlete wishes to transfer for his own benefit, a coach shouldn’t be able to block the move simply for his and the program’s benefit. The NCAA is made so that the student can walk away with the best experience to benefit them in the long run (or at least they say so), and this rule accentuates this goal.
Bleed blue, Duke fans. NBA Draft is in one week! According to Rip Hamilton, after his great performance at the combine and workouts, Grayson Allen has a good chance to go early! No surprise to Duke fans, of course, but a good hearing for him.