When Kevin Garnett declared for the NBA draft in 1995, college basketball was changed forever. What really dramatically altered the course of the game was the one and done rule. Back in the day great teams with multiple first ballot hall of famers couldn’t win the title. Take Phi Slamma Jamma for instance.
Does anyone in any plain of existence believe Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler would have had any problem handling Virginia or Texas Tech in the 2019 March Madness Tournament? A better question might be could they hang within 30 points. My opinion is possibly if Houston played like shit or if they played them today for real. If anyone is wondering if they were so great, why didn’t they win an NCAA title? Here’s one of the reasons why.
In the 1982 final four those hall of gamers from Houston ran into a UNC team led by James Worthy, Sam Perkins, and Michael Jordan. I wonder what those boys from Chapel Hill would of done in the 2019 tourmament? My point is you can have a Zion Williamson who is a tremendously rare talent. A freshman who had a bigger impact than almost any freshman ever has, but at this time last year he was in high school.
Year after year guys like Coach k and John Calipari bring in these one and done players who dont have the experience and chemistry to compete against a team that’s been together 3 or 4 years. Maybe these teams have a couple guys going to the league after their junior or senior seasons. These players probably will never play in an NBA All Star game. but when they go up against these future NBA stars, they will win about 80% of the time! Why you ask? Simple last march they were playing in the NCAA tournament, while Mr. Bluechip was still in high school. Only one time has a freshman phenom won the championship and that was Anthony Davis in 2012. Melo to a lesser extent won too. Count it if you like.
Someone said to me a couple of years ago that North Carolina’s coach Roy Williams only won because of the talent he put on the court. I immediately countered with the fact that since he’d been at Chapel Hill, he’d never had a player go on to play in even one NBA all star game! He is a good example of how to win. In 2005, 2009, and 2017, he had championship teams filled with NBA players. Most of these guys were juniors and seniors. 2009 was a blitzkreig of dominance.
If your team gets one of the best one and done players out there. Even if he’s a once in a generation talent à la Anthony Davis, don’t start counting your chips yet. I find it hysterical that every season 4 outta the top 5 teams in the country coincide with that years recruiting classes. Yet when its all said and done a team thats played together (anyone remember what happened to the 2011 Miami Heat) for a couple of years and its nucleus is made up of upper classman wins the title year after year. Then the very next season, its back to who has the best incoming freshman class.
In the 2016 National Championship game, North Carolina lost to Villanova on a buzzer beater. Despite bringing back the majority of their team going into 2017, the so called experts had them ranked 8th in the preseason polls. Mind the fact that the year they lost in the final, they weren’t some Cinderella story. No, they easily managed their way through March Madness and were heavily favorited in the championship game. 6 Months later everyone was talking about the teams with the best recruiting classes.
I knew North Carolina would be champions when 2017 ended. They were seasoned. They had more size than some NBA teams. Most importantly they had chemistry and experience, along with NBA calibur talent at every position. No other team had this combination. I knew when march rolled around they would not be affected by the atmosphere. The scope and size of an event like March Madness was something that wouldn’t affect them.
It’s like your first day at a new job. Alot of what people deal with is the unknown. Not knowing what to expect. What the people are like. The overall atmosphere. After a while that’s not on your mind at all and you perform your tasks without even thinking about it. This happens to these freshman phenoms also. No matter how talented they are. The previous year they were in high school. March Madness is something they never experienced before. Increasingly bigger each round of the tournament they play. In one way or another their affected by this first time experience. Just as they will be when they go on to the NBA for the first time. Throw in the fact that their chemistry together can’t be on the level of kids who have been together 3 or 4 years.
Chemistry is very understated most of the time. Ask any NBA player or coach and they’ll tell you the importance of knowing your teammates and vice versa. So when November rolls around and these so called experts begin to rave about the best teams in the country don’t take their word for it. Year in and out they make the same mistakes. Never looking at the recent history and learning from it. This history has a pretty clear blueprint outlined.