By: David Lamm
I’m a hypocrite. A big, fat, old hypocrite.
For a decade I’ve ranted about how bad the one-and-dones are for college basketball. They make a joke of the academics of the participating schools. They make the term “student-athlete” a punchline.
They make team building impossible. By the time you learn who these players are, they’re gone, many who are never thought of again. They give the bluebloods a major advantage.
Tonight, in the NCAA national championship game, there’s not a blueblood in sight. No one-and-dones.
Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver, a sophomore, may be a lottery pick, but he wasn’t recruited as one.
Virginia has an All-American in Ty Jerome and an All-ACC player in Kyle Guy. Both are juniors.
Got my wish. But be careful what you wish for.
Something’s missing. In fact, a lot’s missing.
I miss Duke and Kentucky and North Carolina. Neither Virginia or Texas Tech has ever played in the title game.
But what – actually that’s WHO – I will really miss is Zion.
That’s Duke’s Zion Williamson, this season’s best player and biggest celebrity, perhaps the most celebrated one-and-done in history.
In spite of what I’ve said so many times, tonight’s game has a hollow ring to it. It isn’t because both teams emphasize defense first. Indeed, the first team to 50 may lift the trophy.
The game will be well played, but where will the thunder dunks by Zion be?
Of course I’ll watch but I’ll hit the record button just in case I fall to sleep.