It was another exciting sports weekend between NCAA and NFL football games, not to mention pretty much every detail being posted from "secret" NCAA basketball scrimmages.
"The scrimmage was a secret, but our point guard scored 40 so we'll talk about it," seemed to be a prominent rationale for programs across the country.
Other random thoughts for you on a Monday:
1. The Tush Push
Should it be banned? The pro-ban crowd all seem to be anti-Philly, which eliminates their vote in the fight. On one hand, you have a play that brings old school football coaches to their feet. On the other, critics argue that it puts players at risk.
My take: it's a legal play that works with a good offensive line and a tough quarterback. If it were that successful, every team would do it. But, not every team has the personnel. The whole point of coaching is to leverage your team's strengths within the rules: the tush push in Philly is exactly that.
2. Pre-season College Basketball Rankings
They're sure fun for the fans, but let's be honest: they don't matter one bit. For those who argue whether Duke or Kansas should be #1, have my piece of cake and eat it too. We all have short memories, but as a reminder, check out this article that I wrote back in May. From the article:
"Since the 1984-1985 season, six times out of 37 have the experts correctly picked the national champion (i.e: the preseason ranked #1 team won the national championship)."
History tells us that you don't want to be ranked #1 in the preseason.
So, enjoy the ego boost while you can. It won't end well.
We're setting kids up for failure with the amount of hype that surrounds college recruiting. Take the range of emotions from decision day to first college workout. "You're the man" quickly becomes "this is hard as hell" real quick. A college decision isn't the top of the mountain, but we set kids up for failure by suggesting that it is. College sports for many is a long journey, a good journey. But, it's a journey nonetheless. Let them live it and ride the highs and lows without a predetermined professional timeline.
It's a well-known strategy in the NBA. In the NFL, not so much. Should it be? With the amount of hype that goes into the NFL Draft, new-age analytics, and kids identified as future stars early in high school, you'd think that projecting NFL talent would be the easiest its ever been.
Yet, teams are getting it wrong, and they're getting it wrong often. The 2024 NFL Draft will be loaded with quarterback talent. Teams off to slow starts could certainly consider positioning themselves come April. The problem, though, is that even the best NFL talent evaluators can't convince their organizations that there's a sure thing out there.
The last few quarterback draft classes have been.....eh.....ok, I guess. But there have been more misses than hits. What I think everyone is learning is that accuracy and decision making win in the NFL. There are more Brock Purdy's out there, and the thought of tanking may still be in play, but maybe it's not for the franchise quarterback.
5. NBA Preseason
Summer league was the first of the overreactions. This is round two. Wemby and every other rookie now have 82 games to play basketball against actual NBA rotations. Anyone can do it in a game or two. Throw in sore muscles, back-to-backs, media scrutiny, riffs in the locker room, and shooting slumps, and we'll all have a more complete picture of what the next generation looks like next June.
John Willkom is the author of Amazon best-selling basketball books: Walk-On Warrior and No Fear In The Arena. John is an avid reader, sports fan, and father to two incredible little girls.
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