Sunday, June 29, 2014

Gotta go DI -- why?

Why is playing DI basketball for so many (players, parents, coaches) on a par with discovering the Holy Grail?

Granted, maybe equating the two items if we're talking North Carolina, Duke, Syracuse and Arizona basketball is defensible but, then again, getting minutes in one of these programs is also a different circumstance than a listing on the roster and rarely, if at all, removing one's warmups.

Take the state of California as an example. Being in Steve Alford's rotation presents bragging rights (which seems to be the major prestige surrounding hoops signings). San Diego State is quickly approaching that status. St. Mary's, well, not quite (that's sure to induce an overload of email begging to differ).

Yes, there are multiple other DI programs in the Golden State, some in so-called prestigious conferences, but why are the basketball experiences there considered on a different par (meaning better) than say at Chico State or Cal Maritime?

Simply put, playing for a preeminent albeit small program based somewhere between the border with Oregon and that of Mexico should be a consideration for the decidedly California-centric unless there is the opportunity to be a factor at a creme de la creme DI entity.


Because being part of winning, of success on the court in small town America, while also gaining a degree, is a double life victory. There are also a number of DII programs with much more rabid and larger fan bases than their counterparts a step higher. For example, a player could traverse the entire Santa Clara County ensconced in a neon-lit uniform and with fireworks going off overhead yet barely be noticed vis-a-vis one who could win the mayoralty in a number of other so-called lesser municipalities due to his basketball exploits.

A moment in time coming out of high school (the stature of a prominent signing) versus one where the likelihood of team and personal success is greater should be debated and weighed much more heavily than what often takes place. Winning the press conference that day as opposed to winning the next four years plus beyond -- it doesn't take the wisdom of Solomon to figure that one out.

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