It reads well: aging favorite son returns with the fire and desire to lead a return to greatness, or create a path to a greatness that never quite really existed in the first place. His coming-back party is embraced by all who remember him, by those who have been informed about him by those who remember him, and by just about anyone linked to the equation who hopes for a better future than the recent past.
With Eddie Jordan’s decision, unofficially made Wednesday, to take a dribble down memory lane along the banks of the Raritan River in Central Jersey and grab the reins of the rubble that is the Rutgers University men’s basketball program, what we have is the positive, heart-tugging, pride-pumping beginnings of a great storyline. Following the Mike Rice instruction-by-intimidation (or, if you prefer, intimidation-by-instruction) fiasco, not to mention previous errant shots with coaches, the Scarlet Knights appear to have pulled off a slam dunk here.
A Michigan repeat wouldn’t be the craziest thing to happen in next year’s tournament. Or at least it wouldn’t have been had star point guard Trey Burke decided to stay with his team. Unfortunately for the Wolverines, the sophomore’s not gonna be in blue and maize next year, but that isn’t head coach John Beilein's only worry.
We all know that Burke is leaving, but what still needs to be answered is who else will follow? Mitch McGary, Glenn Robinson III, and Tim Hardaway Jr. are all up in the air about what to do next year too. Trey deciding to head to the big leagues doesn’t help either, him on the floor opened up the shots for the rest of his team. Not that they aren’t great ball players, but we all know that Nik Stouskas is never gonna go 6 for 6 on threes without Burke getting all the attention from the defense. Just cause he can do that in his YouTube videos doesn’t mean he can in a real game.
Perhaps you’re basking in the afterglow of the recently completed NCAA tournament, or swimming through the sludge of the Rutgers University coach-by-abuse fiasco. Maybe you’ve stepped away from college basketball altogether until next fall, opting to focus on baseball or spring football.
Regardless, the fact remains … the game, as it does with all big-time sports, goes on – day after day, month after month, year-round.
Be it hirings or firings, conference addition or subtraction, something always seems to pop up on the hoops radar. With all that, and the underlying reason behind everything being money, it was kind of nice to see that Oklahoma State freshman Marcus Smart opted to remain on campus at least another season, a decision he made public Wednesday.
No one-and-done for him. The green and gaudy lifestyle provided by an NBA bank account can wait.
The NCAA tournament ended with a lot of heart-warming storylines and Cinderella stories, as well as heartache and shock. The Wichita State Shockers literally shocked the basketball world, making it to the Final Four before bowing out to eventual champion Louisville. The Cardinals had some inspiration along the way when they lost a key member of their team, Kevin Ware, to a grotesque season-ending knee injury. Andy Enfield put Florida Gulf Coast on the map, which later led to USC luring Enfield away for a larger paycheck and a much more competitive conference. As the 2013 season has winded down, it's never too early to start predicting who will be cutting down the nets in 2014.
With the culmination of the 2012-13 college basketball season, signed, sealed and delivered with Louisville’s Peyton Siva-sparked “speed kills” act Monday night in Atlanta leaving Michigan on the wrong side of an 82-76 score, we, alas, must bid adieu to this campaign’s Mid-Week Madness.
Yes, it’s true – sad, but true. No more blasphemous statements that cast doubt the true ever-lasting omnipotent quality of powerhouse conferences the big-name schools that play in them. No more insane suggestions that maybe, just maybe, a great player or five exists who wasn’t coveted by the Big Ten, Big East, ACC, Pac-12 or SEC, and that – holy cow – one of ’em may be better than the Otto Porters of the world. No more going against the grain, and calling into question conventional wisdom such as Indiana’s obvious place atop the game’s elite, that the Hoosiers just could not be touched when things mattered and that Victor Oladipo was the second coming of not just Michael Jordan or Dwyane Wade, but an other-worldly combination of both.
Yep, there has been just some crazy thinkin’ and preachin’ in these parts. But, rest easy. That’s over … for now.