NCAA’s new proposed draft deadline is absurd, unfair

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If the NCAA cares about its student athletes, it has a funny way of showing it.

The D-I Legislative Council approved Wednesday a measure that would force college basketball players to withdraw from the NBA draft before the first day of the spring signing period.

In simple terms: if it took place this year, instead of having until May 8 to make a decision, players would’ve had to decide Tuesday. Next year, they’ll have to decide by April 10.

Yes, that’s absurd.

Contrast that with the NBA’s deadline to enter one’s name in the draft. This year, it’s April 24. And they can withdraw by June 13. But that only affects international players.

The NCAA says the proposed rule change is intended to help players focus on academics during the spring semester, but that’s so disingenuous it’s worthy of a four-letter rant that I can’t provide here. We’re a family friendly site.

Instead, it’s to help coaches spend their Aprils by going fishing or golfing or whatever else they choose instead of helping their players make the best possible decision for their future. It’s completely ridiculous, unfair and self-serving.

(If the NCAA cared so much about academics, why do those same basketball players spend nearly all of March out of the classroom? Oh, right. It’s so they can fund 90 percent of the organization’s revenue.)

And I’m hardly the only one who thinks this. Coaches also have doubts.

Butler’s Brad Stevens and Memphis’ Josh Pastner both told ESPN.com that it didn’t help players. Those remarked were echoed by Maryland’s Gary Williams.

“I just worry too many players will go in with the idea they’re not sure,” Williams told ESPN.com. “But every player thinks they can play their way into the draft if they’re on the edge. For the basketball players, it’s a little quick to make that decision, especially after the NCAA tournament. If you have a tough loss, it’s not enough time to calm down and make a good decision.”

If that’s not enough, one of the few coaches who usually advocates for his players to go pro isn’t in favor of it. If that’s not an indicator, I don’t know what is.

“All this stuff: For the good of college basketball? This should be about these kids,” Kentucky coach John Calipari told Sporting News. “They’ve done their good for college basketball. This should be about, ‘How can we help these kids make a good decision?’ ”

The one bright spot in all this? The rule isn’t official yet. The NCAA Board of Directors will vote on the rule on April 28. Here’s hoping common sense prevails.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.

POSTERIZED: Wyoming’s Josh Adams takes flight

Josh Adams
Associated Press
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Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.

After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.

Video credit: Wyoming Athletics

Defensive progress will determine No. 4 Iowa State’s ceiling

Monte Morris
Associated Press
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Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.

Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.

Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.

Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.

Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.

But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.