That’s Debatable: Santa’s Wish ListPosted by rtmsf on December 24th, 2010
That’s Debatable is back for another year of expert opinions, ridiculous assertions and general know-it-all-itude. Remember, kids, there are no stupid answers, just stupid people. We’ll try to do one of these each week during the season. We’re fairly discerning around here, but if you want to be included, send us an email with your take telling us why at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Week’s Topic: Santa is stopping by your house this week, and he’s bringing you one thing that you really want this college basketball season and he’ll take one thing away when he leaves. What are those two things?
Ned Reddick, RTC contributor
My wishes for Christmas are pretty simple. I would ask Santa to bring Kyrie Irving back. No matter what you think of Duke it would be difficult to find a part of his game that a basketball fan would not enjoy. He’s fundamentally sound, athletic, and he plays hard. Although his absence makes the season more interesting in the sense that it makes the championship picture less defined, with Irving suiting up for the Blue Devils they would be the heavy favorites to win the title. With him on the sidelines in street clothes they are just one of about four or five teams that have a legitimate shot at the title. As for taking something away I would ask Santa to make players stop putting themselves in bad situations. I know they are just college students who as a group tend to do dumb stuff, but I wish they could stop taking things that the NCAA deems as impermissible benefits (like clothing or money) or just breaking the law (like a DUI or stealing other people’s stuff). It’s unfortunate that they are willing to risk a potentially lucrative career for a short-term pleasure so I hope Santa can take that away.
Brian Otskey, RTC contributor
This is a bit out of left field, plus it will never happen, but I’d want to see live video of the debate inside the committee room in the days leading up to and on Selection Sunday. I think it would be fascinating to see what they focus on rather than what we fans and the media lurch onto as the most important criteria. I’m glad the NCAA allows the media to participate in a mock bracket for a few days because it’s fun to read about the process and how they went about it, but nothing compares to seeing the real thing. Also, last year’s bracket was riddled with procedural errors and I’d be interested to see if they really focus on that or not. As for what I’d get rid of, that’s easy. All the agents, handlers, AAU coaches, etc. that make up the nasty part of recruiting. Seriously, why does a high school kid have to have his “people” decide where to go or what to do? What person that age has to have an entourage? It is terrific that the NCAA appears to be cracking down but they have a long, long way to go.
Andrew Murawa, RTC contributor
Well, I asked Santa to bring me the title of the commissioner of all sports, but he just mumbled something under his breath. “But Santa, all I want to do is ban the use of domed stadiums in sports that are meant to be played outside,” I said, but he saw right through that, knowing that a college football playoff would be coming along right after that. And you know Santa, he’s a big fan of those bowl games. Anyway, after some haggling, Santa has promised me a couple of four-day national holiday weekends in March. He’s got an in with the holiday creation board for some reason – I’m guessing blackmail, but you never can tell with Mr. Claus. He’s a mysterious one. And, just as a personal favor to me (we go back quite a ways), when he leaves on Christmas morning, he’s taking away four NCAA Tournament at-large bids, although I suspect he’s just going to dump them somewhere near the site of the Great Alaska Shootout on his way back home.
David Ely, RTC contributor
Santa, please move the college three-point line to where it is in the NBA. Let’s face it, with a line that’s set at 20’9 from the basket, it’s way too easy to hit threes in the college game. Nearly every player on the court thinks he’s a threat to score from downtown, and because the three-ball is so enticing, the shot becomes the key aspect point of a lot of teams’ offenses. According to KenPom.com, 40 teams take at least 39.6% of their field goals from beyond the arc, and 118 squads opt for a three at least 35% of the time. Moving the three-point line to what it is in the NBA would do two major things for college basketball. It would reduce the number of threes attempted by players who have no business shooting from anywhere beyond a mid-range distance, and it would create more space for teams to run their offenses. Defenses would have to extend themselves in order to cover the new three-point line, which in turn would create more lanes for passes into the paint or drives to the basket. The game would benefit from this simple little change. Santa, make it happen.
Kevin Doyle, RTC contributor
I would really like to see another NCAA Tournament like the one we had last year. Northern Iowa defeating #1 Kansas and reaching the Sweet 16, Cornell’s magical run, Saint Mary’s riding big man Omar Samhan past Villanova, and, of course, Butler coming within inches of defeating Duke for the title is what makes March Madness hands down the best postseason tournament in sports. Everyone loves to see the guys who get almost zero coverage and notoriety during the year come out and shock the big boys. In writing “The Other 26” column weekly, I have come to realize that the smaller clubs—San Diego State, BYU, UNLV, Temple, etc.—all can make this happen. As for what the fat man in red takes away, I hope he takes away the disgusting world that is recruiting. Coaches are always looking for that edge against the opposition, and with the amount of pressure that is placed upon their shoulders illegal recruiting and going to the extremes is an epidemic that is widespread throughout big time college hoops. College basketball is an amateur game; I wish many did not lose sight of that.
Tom Wolfmeyer, RTC contributor
When Santa gets to my house this year, he’ll find a scene of milk, cookies and a Christmas list with a single, solitary gift request: that the NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement next year sets a 20-year age minimum to play in its league. This will guarantee that most elite talents will end up in college basketball for two years, and the game will be all the better because of it. Give me a second season of John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins running pick-and-rolls off each other; Xavier Henry joining Josh Selby at Kansas; or, Avery Bradley joining a talented corps of scorers in Austin. Let me have that sense of stability and (egads!) development that comes from knowing a team will stay intact for at least a two-year period. While Santa’s here, I’m going to ask him to take away coachspeak. If I have to hear one more time a coach talking in vague platitudes about what’s wrong with his team rather than telling the media the truth, I’m going to lose it. Some are much worse about this than others, but the trend that has displaced the old-fashioned notion that speaking your mind is actually acceptable really bothers us. I understand that winning the sound bite is important, but is nobody genuine anymore?