How easy is it to get away with an NCAA rules violation? Easy enough that I used to aid and abet college players who needed to save some cash. And no, I was never a sports agent.
The first time I ever illegally benefited a college athlete, I was 20 years old. It was January, 2005. I was an assistant manager at Champs Sports, while also a student at the University of Washington. I was put in a pretty lofty position at a young age. I had keys to the store, was responsible for all the cash in the till, and was frequently left alone on the job with only a handful of teenagers to help me run the place.
A national chain affiliated with Foot Locker, Champs had the market cornered on the trendiest athletic footwear and apparel. It was a young male’s dream. The target audience was 18-to-25-year-old men who liked sports. So naturally, athletes of all ages and skill level frequented our store.
Conference tournaments are no fun. Fans usually hold their breath during these meaningless postseason shenanigans, hoping against hope that their team suffers no injuries or has to labor through victories. Yes, it’s always nice to win a conference tourney (especially if you absolutely need that automatic NCAA bid), but for those teams already locked in to an at-large Big Dance slot, this might as well be a jamboree exhibition game.
The worst part is, conference tournaments aren’t even necessary. They’re simply a way for a league to bring in some extra money, while propping up student-athletes as revenue-building machines in the process. The NCAA loves to claim that they “care about the student-athlete.” But in reality, while these kids are missing classes (and in many cases finals) to attend these half-empty crapfests, the NCAA is capitalizing on their lack of appreciation for the young men and women who are essentially writing their paychecks. It’s an absolute travesty.
There are a plethora of contenders when it comes to the best ballers in the Pac-10 this year. No, it’s not the same quality as last year, with the likes of Kevin Love, O.J. Mayo, and Jerryd Bayless taking over the league, but there are still a number of high-profile hoopsters across the ten conference teams. From Jon Brockman to James Harden and everyone in between, we’ll countdown the Top 11. On to the list.
11. Nic Wise, PG, Arizona. The junior has had a solid year, averaging 14.8 PPG and 4.7 APG. As one of Arizona’s big three (along with forwards Chase Budinger and Jordan Hill), Wise has been a target of opposing defenses all season long and has responded nicely. He’s come on strong as of late, posting five straight games of double-figures scoring, including 27 and 26 in big wins over USC and UCLA, respectively.
Not that Yahoo Sports is considered a valuable resource for college basketball analysis or anything, but come on. Come on, Jason King, you’re supposed to be an expert. Instead, you look like a fool, with your back-asswards Pac-10 basketball rankings and an expectation that we’re supposed to trust you for insight.
I implore you to stop. Just stop. You’re not as smart as you give yourself credit for, and there’s no need to keep perpetuating flat-out wrongitude.
Who is Jason King, you ask? Jason King is a Yahoo Sports college basketball “insider” (inside what, we may never know) that spends his time analyzing all of NCAA basketball.
First of all, asking someone to analyze all of NCAA basketball is like asking someone to sponge bath all of Bartolo Colon, or read all the works of Shakespeare. It’s a humongous task that no one should be assigned on a sole basis. But in these tough economic times, not only has Yahoo Sports entrusted one man to handle this job, they’ve entrusted Jason King, who happens to be an idiot.
Additionally, King hails from Kansas and attended Texas’ Baylor University, so his knowledge of West Coast basketball is right up there with my knowledge of nuclear physics.
It’s been easy to overlook everything that’s gone on over the course of today, what with Griffey’s return and all. But there are a number of other stories Seattle fans need to know about before the day is done, so let’s get to it.
Hawks franchise Hill. Free agent linebacker Leroy Hill will more than likely be returning to Seattle next season, as the Seahawks designated him their franchise player for the offseason, ensuring any outside suitors would have to pay a king’s ransom in order to sign him to a deal. By placing the franchise tag on Hill, the Hawks have the option to work out a longterm deal with the pass-rush specialist, or simply pay him an average of the top five salaries of players at his position for one year.
I.T. on ESPN. Washington’s Isaiah Thomas is currently being featured in an article on ESPN.com, which can be found HERE. The Huskies starting point guard was also interviewed in a television segment for the show “First Take,” and the video is posted at the above link as well. Nice to see I.T. get some national love after going relatively unnoticed over the past four months.
Mariners: Ichiro pitching? Not in Jack Zduriencik’s world. The Mariners general manager quickly put an end to any rumor of Ichiro on the mound, briefly stating yesterday that Ichiro “isn’t going to pitch.” Period.
Zduriencik issued his statement in response to a 56-pitch bullpen session that the Mariner outfielder and leadoff man tossed over the weekend. The showcase took place in Japan, with Ichiro in preparation for the 2009 World Baseball Classic.