Thursday, April 1, 2010

Morning: Errors and Opinions

Man, I was totally pumped about yesterday's morning post featuring the baby Dukies. The Moses Plumlee picture/joke might be the highlight of my blogging career, I thought. I walked around work like a real badass. Nothing could touch me. Then I went bowling after work (my name on the screen was "Old Snowshoes," and my top score from three games was 109), went to a party with my girlfriend, and didn't get home until 8:30. I loaded up the blog on my mac (and you thought the bowling score was sad), scrolled down, and discovered TO MY UTTER HORROR that the formatting was messed up. My favorite part of the post was obscured by giant font due to an unforeseen coding error, and all day it had been basically unreadable. So frustrating. So sad. So hopeless.

I fixed it, but lord knows it's too late. Unless you go back, read the post, and vindicate me retroactively.

Anyway. Today's going to be a fun day. Around noon, I'm going to post a very comprehensive Duke-WVU preview written by faithful reader Nick. Whereas I like to rely on emotional arguments and flawed instinct to predict an outcome, Nick has this weird thing where he actually looks up stats and analyzes the respective teams based on history, personnel, and probable strategies. What a douche, right? (It's actually an awesome preview.)

Later, I'm going to take a mini detour from the Final Four hype to talk some baseball. My fantasy draft got canceled yesterday, and was re-scheduled for tonight. So I'm gonna try to prepare a little bit. My strategy in the past has been to hope for Albert Pujols, get caught totally off guard when he's taken with the first pick, look for David Cone in a dead panic, and then just start picking Yankees until I pass out. My draft last year (team name: The Joba Code) looked like this:

Draft Central: The Joba Code

Round 1: CF Melky Cabrera
Round 2: LHP Phil Coke
Round 3: No pick, Yahoo automatically selects RHP Josh Beckett
Round 4: Note from Yahoo: No, you can't "give a player back," even if you hate the Red Sox.
Round 5: Note from Yahoo: You can't pick managers. Especially dead ones like Casey Stengel.
Round 6: Note from Yahoo: "Fuck you Yahoo" is not an active player.
Round 7: CF Brett Gardner

The Joba Code has left the room.

I still came in third.

Anyway, I'm going to try to have a more cohesive strategy this time around, and I'll get started on that by making a list of desirable players by position. The offensive categories are home runs, RBI, runs, stolen baes, and OBP. So I need mostly power guys. On the pitching side, it's more regular with wins, saves, ERA, WHIP, and strikeouts. Which, actually, puts the emphasis on guys who can throw a lot of innings since closers won't have a huge effect on four of those stats.

Some good news from The Onion: The NCAA will strip Duke of its losses from '08-'09. Finally.

And hey, did you guys see the McDonald's All-American game? Kyrie Irving is awesome. End of story. Look at the 1:50 mark of the video on this page for one of his great moves. He had 13 points in limited playing time, and an assist total that would have been way higher if the shooters didn't keep getting swatted. He'll make a huge impact next year, and will immediately start as PG.

Harrison Barnes also looked quite good. Speaking of which, here's part two of their smackdown video that I posted yesterday. This one doesn't include Kyrie, but it does include Reggie Bullock saying that Coach K looks like a rat:

Bullock is clearly kind of an idiot, while Marshall and Barnes appear to have more sense. The next few years should be interesting.

Hey everone, it's soapbox time!

They had a poll last night during the game that asked "America" how the NCAA and NBA should deal with high school players going straight to the pros. 41% said that they should be made to play two years or more, while only 34% said they should be allowed to turn professional whenever they wanted, including directly out of high school. The rest were mixed between requiring one year of school and four years. To me, this shows beyond a reasonable doubt that a majority can sometimes be wrong. I mean, there's only one correct answer here: they should be allowed to do whatever the hell they want. Restricting when they can turn professional after they're 18 is anti-player, anti-labor, and anti-common sense.

Without even getting into the moral side, let's just look at it from a job perspective. Why do people go to college? When you boil it down, it's for professional training and connections. Some people like to moralize about 'well-rounded people' and 'general education,' but anyone who has ever been to college for a liberal arts degree (which is what 99.9% of athletes are pursuing) knows that this is utter bullshit. I probably learned something at college, but I don't remember what it was. Anything I've ever become good at was a result of me practicing on my own.

The people who actually gain something from college are those who are training for a career. Like doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers, or the people from my school who planned and carried out the economic collapse. The rest of us basically fucked around for four years and paid a ton of money for a degree. That's why we all go back to grad school. We realize we screwed up the first time around, and we want to make better connections and get some actual professional training so we don't have to waste away in a miserable office for thirty years. People who idealize the 'undergraduate experience' drive me up a fucking wall. College is useful for professional training and networking. That's it.

And you don't need connections or collegiate training for basketball. The players have trained for most of their lives, they know the rules, and a lot of them are 100% prepared for the NBA. Would you make someone go to college before they can work at McDonald's, or before they can apply for a carpenter's license?

Now, it could benefit a player to spend some time playing in college. Just like it could benefit someone to take a management class before taking over the Syracuse, New York South Salina Street McDonald's. But it's not always necessary, and anyway, the decision should belong to the individual. You're going to tell some kid that he can't make big bucks because you want him to spend two years in school for a career that doesn't require it? Where he might risk injury and screw himself out of a contract?

Players who have gone pro straight out of high school have had tremendous success. The two best players in the league did it. And some fail, too. But to take away their choice is totally unconscionable. And arrogant, and selfish, and also pretty sheltered. People who insist on mandatory college for basketball players might as well wear a blinking sign that says "I CANNOT SEE ABOVE THE GATES OF MY AFFLUENT SUBURBAN COMMUNITY."

And that is my opinion. Back to the fun stuff later.

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