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John Calipari explains true value of college basketball, how the NBA might screw it up

Published: Thursday, March 08, 2018 @ 4:47 PM

LEXINGTON, KY - JANUARY 30:  Head coach John Calipari of the Kentucky Wildcats reacts against the Vanderbilt Commodores during the second half at Rupp Arena on January 30, 2018 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images
LEXINGTON, KY - JANUARY 30: Head coach John Calipari of the Kentucky Wildcats reacts against the Vanderbilt Commodores during the second half at Rupp Arena on January 30, 2018 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)(Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The NBA leaked to ESPN some potential changes for how it deals with players at the high school level this week. 

They are mostly terrible and unnecessary if you have any concept of the way things currently work. 

Just ask John Calipari, who seemed pretty fired up about the whole thing during an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show this week. 

“Whatever we do, Kentucky is eating first. I'd rather coach guys for four years, but I'm saying, what are we doing for these kids? Do we really trust the NBA to be all about these kids? Or are they going to be about the NBA? Maybe they can come up and give them all signing bonuses when they're coming out of high school and guarantee their education. You know what? I'm for that. Let's go. Sign me up." 

The Kentucky coach said less than that is not enough. 

Why? Because he doesn’t want to put at risk the educations numerous players who won’t make it in the NBA but don’t realize it yet are getting while they pursue that dream. 

(He said Kentucky offers players the chance to continue their education for free throughout their lives and guessed other programs do as well. I know Ohio State has sponsored a degree completion program for at least a decade now for athletes from all of its sports.)

Therefore, he seemed to be against the NBA grooming high schoolers and potentially paying some a little more to play in its developmental “G League” instead of going to college because most would probably not end up better off if they chose that route. 

More likely they would be worse unless the hit rate was a lot higher than when so many players went straight to the pros prior to the league’s setting an age limit a decade ago. 

"Why would we devalue education when that's the one hope to get people to the other side of the tracks? That's the hope, not the dream of (being an NBA player)." 

He asked this question after acknowledging teenagers are inevitably going to focus on the NBA rather than education because teenagers generally have poor perspective on life. 

We were all once dumb 14- and 15-year-olds with an inflated sense of ourselves, right? 

But there’s a difference between a teenager who plans to turn pro at 18 and one who knows he or she has to be eligible for college in order to keep a professional career in their future plans. 

That’s to say nothing of those who might grudgingly go to college then find out how to get the good out of their time there as reality hits from a basketball perspective. 

It wasn’t really clear if Calipari wants to eliminate “one and dones” or not. I think he was more worried about what happens to everyone else anyway. 

“I'm not here to say I want one and done. I'm here to tell you what's best for these kids. Going right out of high school for 15 — do we upset this whole system for 15, 12, seven kids, nine kids? Even if it's 20 kids? We have this thing when you start talking these graduation rates and things that are happening with high schools preparing these kids for college better than they ever have because they have to be eligible to play in college..." 

To further his point, Calipari cited his experience coaching players in the Dominican Republic, where baseball is beloved and youngsters often see that as a ticket to a better life. 

But unlike baseball players who go pro as teenagers then spend years toiling in obscurity in the minors (a far cry from the glitz and glamour of college basketball or football), potential pro basketball players have to be able to get into college in the United States. 

As it turns out, that has a positive side effect. While most great high school prospects don’t make it to the NBA, the ones who got college degrees return to their homes and become leaders in their communities. 

This also applies to the United States, where no one ever points out free college is a much better deal than getting paid little to play in the minor leagues for a while before finding out you aren’t cut out for The Show. 

Of course, there are problems in the current system that need to be worked out.  

Calipari joined the chorus of those who are calling for players to be able to profit off their likenesses while they are in school. 

RELATED: What should the NCAA do about its transfer rules?

He also suggested the NBAPA get involved helping prospects with financial needs by supplying them with loans. 

Those sound like good ideas to me, and I suspect something like this will happen.

More encouraging is hearing someone with an influential voice — and someone who has benefited greatly from the status quo — explain the value of the current system for the overwhelming majority of players rather than calling for the whole thing to be blown up to better serve a few. 

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Bruns’ late heroics leads Marion Local in D-IV state semifinal win

Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 5:14 PM
Updated: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 5:16 PM

Marion Local junior Nathan Bruns addresses a 56-54 defeat of Pandora-Gilboa in a boys high school basketball D-IV state semifinal at OSU in Columbus on Thu., March 22, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Nathan Bruns scored Marion Local’s final five points as the Flyers edged newcomer Pandora-Gilboa 56-54 in a Division IV boys high school basketball state semifinal on Thursday.

The win sends Marion Local (24-4) into Saturday’s D-IV state championship at Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center against Willoughby Cornerstone Christian (21-7) at 10:45 a.m. Cornerstone advanced with a 51-41 defeat of Berlin Hiland in Thursday’s opening D-IV semi at the Schott.

»RELATED: Springfield standouts on All-Ohio teams

»RELATED: Wayne, Trotwood players picked for All-Ohio

That sets up a rare shot at a state championship double-double for the Flyers. The Midwest Athletic Conference power also won a D-VI state football championship last December.

Scoreless in the first half, Bruns scored 15 points in the second half to lead the Flyers to their 12th straight win. None were more crucial than his last five.

»RELATED: Rams’ opposing coach, ‘They’re crazy athletic’

»RELATED: Ahrens, Barhorst earn top D-IV boys honors

Tyler Mescher’s 17 points led Marion Local in scoring. Trailing by two, he missed two free throws with 2:11 left. However, Bruns snared the rebound, hit a field goal and converted a free throw for a 3-point play that would give the Flyers the lead for good, but not without some anxious moments.

Following a steal, Gilboa was in great position for a final shot, but missed. Bruns rebounded the miss and converted two free throws.

»RELATED: Trotwood-Madison back to final four

»RELATED: Boys state final four pairings

Ahead by three, the Flyers deliberately sent Jared Breece to the line with 5.2 seconds left. He converted the first to account for the final score. On the second he bashed off the rim, but the play was ruled dead. Marion Local successfully inbounded the ball and the celebration was on.

Drew Johnson had a game-high 24 points to lead Pandora-Gilboa (26-2), including 19 in the first half. Breece added 16 points.

»RELATED: Moeller bumps Wayne off tourney trail

»RELATED: Springfield coach, “we’ll be back”

Marion Local will be shooting for its third boys state basketball title, joining the 2003 and 1975 Flyers’ teams. It also is Marion Local’s fifth state final four. It was the first final four for Pandora-Gilboa, out of the Blanchard Valley Conference and Putnam County League.

Cornerstone Christian 51, Berlin Hiland 41: Michael Bothwell, the D-IV state player of the year, scored 22 points in leading the Willoughby power. This is the second final four for the Patriots, who won a D-IV 

state title in 2016. Hiland finished 23-6.

»RELATED: Boys regional results

»RELATED: Girls state final four results

• Upper Arlington senior Dane Goodwin was named Ohio’s Mr. Basketball by the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association on Wednesday. The son of former University of Dayton hall of famer and Capital men’s coach Damon Goodwin, Dane averaged 24 points and 10 rebounds for the Golden Bears.

A four-year starter, he initially verbally committed to OSU but signed with Notre Dame after Thad Matta resigned with the Buckeyes.


Thursday’s D-IV semifinal results

Willoughby Cornerstone Christian 51, Berlin Hiland 41

Marion Local 56, Pandora-Gilboa 54

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National sports site highlights UD St. Patrick’s Day crowds; police presence

Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 4:31 PM

Police in riot gear dispersed a large crowd that gathered on Lowes Street in Dayton during St. Patrick’s Day celebrations Saturday March 17, 2018. Steve Maguire/Staff
Staff Writer
Police in riot gear dispersed a large crowd that gathered on Lowes Street in Dayton during St. Patrick’s Day celebrations Saturday March 17, 2018. Steve Maguire/Staff(Staff Writer)

While crowds throwing rocks and clogging the streets during St. Patrick’s Day didn’t amuse the administration at the University of Dayton, Barstool Sports found the events amusing enough to put a story on its site.

Headlined “Riot Police, A Running Of The Gingers And Girl Scout Cookies: University Of Dayton Absolutely Dominated St. Patrick's Day Weekend,” the story made light of the disturbances on March 22 that led to police in riot gear to respond.

Writer “Intern Jack Mac” congratulated Flyer students and their rowdy behavior: “Big weekend for a lot of schools. Nevada, Kansas State, Florida State, Texas A&M, etc. all dominated America’s March Madness attention. There was one school that didn’t participate on the court but does deserve a huge round of applause for their performance off of it: University of Dayton.”

The story included a number of embedded tweets: 

One interesting note from Mr. Mac, he discovered an Instagram video of a Girl Scout selling cookies among the throngs of UD students in the streets. 

Barstool Sports has stirred controversy over comments its writers and podcast hosts often make of female television sports reporters. ESPN had slotted Barstool with a one hour interview show until Sam Ponder, the NFL Countdown host, blasted the site and ESPN for allowing Barstool on the channel. Ponder was a frequent target of inflammatory language and anger on the site. 

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Atlantic 10 loses another high-profile coach

Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 12:12 PM

Rhode Island's Dan Hurley on being picked first in A-10

For the fourth time since 2015, the Atlantic 10 has lost one of its most successful coaches.

Connecticut announced the hiring of Dan Hurley on Thursday. He spent six seasons at Rhode Island, compiling a record of 113-82 and leading the program to the A-10 tournament crown in 2017 and the regular-season title in 2018. The Rams reached the NCAA tournament his last two seasons after missing the big dance in his first four seasons.

» RELATED: A look at Dayton’s 2018-19 roster

This wasn’t unexpected news. Dayton students teased Hurley about leaving for UConn when Rhode Island visited UD Arena in January. The Rams lose four senior starters from a team that finished 26-8.

Here’s a glance at the other recent high-profile coaching losses by the conference:

2015: Shaka Smart left Virginia Commonwealth for Texas after leading the Rams to the A-10 tournament title in his final season. He spent six seasons at VCU and finished with a 163-56 record, making the NCAA tournament his last five seasons.

» LOOKING BACK: Celebrating fourth anniversary of Dayton’s win over Ohio State

2017: Dayton’s Archie Miller took the head coaching job at Indiana after six seasons with the Flyers. Dayton shared the A-10 regular-season title in 2016 and won it outright in 2017. He was 139-63 in six seasons at UD and led the Flyers to the NCAA tournament in his last four seasons. Dayton finished 14-17 in the first season for Anthony Grant.

2017: Will Wade replaced Smart and took VCU to the tournament in his only two seasons. He left for LSU after the 2017 season. His final record at VCU was 51-20. VCU finished 18-15 in the first season for Mike Rhoades.

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Dayton recruit finishes high school career among top 40 scorers in Ohio history

Published: Tuesday, March 13, 2018 @ 12:48 PM

Dayton Flyers recruit Dwayne Cohill

Dayton Flyers recruit Dwayne Cohill finished his high school career with 2,182 points. That ranks 31st in Ohio history, according to the Ohio High School Basketball Association record book.

Cohill’s senior season ended when Holy Name High School lost 74-66 to Bay in overtime a Division II district final Saturday. He had 28 points in his final game.

» RELATED: Cohill looking forward to playing for Flyers

In 24 games, Cohill averaged 22.6 points per game. He shot 62.6 percent (161 of 257) from 2-point range, 42.0 percent (34 of 81) from 3-point range and 78.5 percent (117 of 149) from the free-throw line.

Cohill averaged 2.9 assists and 2.2 turnovers per game, plus 3.3 steals and 5.4 rebounds and 1.0 blocked shot.

Cohill will be one of at least two new recruits to join Dayton’s roster. Junior college recruit Jhery Matos is the other. Dayton has one scholarship open because of Xeyrius William’s decision to transfer.

Interview: Dayton Flyers recruit Dwayne Cohill

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