NBA and player development.

<>. Here’s an interesting article by Kevin Pelton of ESPN, saying that the NBA develops players better than the NCAA. You know what? He’s right. What? You’re saying it’s odd that I laud the NBA for something? Here’s the deal on that: I love the NBA but I don’t love the NBA game today. Fortunately (or unfortunately, I’m not sure which), I’m old enough to recall the entire development of the NBA. I was 10 years old in 1946, when the BAA (later the NBA) was formed and we saw our Chicago Stags play in Chicago Stadium. So, I’ve seen it over its entire 75 years.

Again, I agree with this statement: the NBA develops players better than the colleges do. But that’s not the whole story. The NBA deals in one thing: basketball. The NCAA deals in roughly 30 sports and they do this on a SEASONAL basis, as they’ve been doing for over one century: 8-game football in the fall, 20-game basketball in the winter, 25-game baseball in the spring. Those seasons now overlap but the concept remains. So, the NBA is light years ahead of NCAA Basketball in terms of TIME: a longer season; more time to practice; no academic problems. So they can practice twice a day or have teaching practices.

I’ve been saying this for years: the NCAA, if it wants to keep college basketball at the top, must compete with the NBA. I know: that’s not the mission of NCAA Sports. Well, that mission may take them to the basketball cemetery. They need to go to a 54-game regular season plus the NCAA Tournament. They need to open the NCAA Tournament to all 350 schools, like the high schools do in their state tournaments. They need to go do what makes their game competitive with the NBA game. Again, not their mission. But the NBA is slowly strangling NCAA Basketball. Well, that’s another story for another day.

Yes, college coaching staffs have added teaching coaches in recent years. Actually, they’ve always had them … at some schools. But the NBA has REALLY gone into hiring teaching coaches. Of course, 50-60-70 years ago, at the NCAA level, the HEAD COACH was also a great teaching coach: Dean Smith, Bob Knight, John Wooden, Adolph Rupp, Pete Newell, Ray Meyer, Hank Iba, etc. I’m not sure that’s the case today because the job has become so complex, especially with regard to recruiting. Finally, add in the One-and-Done matter, where NBA prospects, once they reach the NBA minimum age of 19, leave college after one season.

Well, I’m wasting time, energy and lung power here because the NCAA has not been a good listener when I’ve been offering up advice. Then, the NCAA is fighting for its very life as they've been playing catch-up for too long. With that, they have fallen further behind with understanding what they need to do to compete and survive. Sorry to say that, as I'm an NCAA man and an NCAA fan since I can remember. I’m a long way from how the NBA does its job with player development, something they do because they don’t feel the college coaches do it as they used to. I’ve heard that said many times. And it breaks my heart every time I hear it. (Foto

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