Sometimes it is too easy to fall into the trap of being a fan.
We forget that the athletes we are watching from the stands or on our TV aren’t simply a source of entertainment for us, that they aren’t cyborgs immune to the criticism and the name-calling and all the rest of the vitriol spewed from the comfort of the anonymity that the internet provides.
I’m not innocent, either.
I’ve made plenty of negative comments directed towards athletes and TV personalities. Baylor sophomore Perry Jones III has been on the receiving end of a number of them. And while my opinion of the player they call PJ3 hasn’t changed at all this season, after reading Jason King’s story on his history, the way I view him as a person has:
That’s what frustrates Jones’ inner circle. Everyone thinks they know PJ3, as he’s called by his friends, but the perceptions are far from true. The people who believe he was getting money from Baylor during high school might feel differently if they knew Jones was homeless — bouncing from one $95-a-week hotel room to another — throughout much of his final prep season.
Those who wonder why he picked the Bears over a national power such as North Carolina or Kansas might understand if they knew that Jones’ 40-year-old mother, Terri, was battling a severe heart condition — she may need a transplant — 90 minutes away near Dallas.
Seriously. Read it.
I still think Jones has a ways to go before he is an impact player in the NBA. He needs to get stronger, he needs to be physically tougher and he needs to be more aggressive attacking the rim.
But I can tell you that he will have at least one blogger pulling for him to make it.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.
Florida freshman will miss the season with stress fracture
Bassett will require surgery in his right foot and his projected recovery time will be four-to-six months. The injury will force Bassett to redshirt the 2016-17 season.
A three-star recruit coming out of Oldsmar Christian in Florida, the 6-foot-9 forward wasn’t expected to be a big contributor during his first year with the Gators, but his loss does hurt some of the team’s frontcourt depth. With John Egbunu, Devin Robinson, Justin Leon and Kevarrius Hayes all returning, the Gators should have plenty of players to use in the frontcourt this season without Bassett.
Once Bassett is healthy and able to play next season he showed good athleticism and an ability to hit the glass hard while he was in high school. Bassett should be able to join Florida’s rotation as an energy defender and rebounder right away.
Iowa State lands four-star Class of 2017 guard Lindell Wigginton
Iowa State has its point guard of the future as four-star Class of 2017 prospect Lindell Wigginton pledged to the Cyclones on Friday.
The 6-foot-1 Wigginton is regarded as the No. 40 overall prospect on Rivals.com as the Canadian has spent the last few seasons at powerhouse Oak Hill Academy. With an ability to play both guard spots and defend a few spots, Wigginton is a valuable addition to head coach Steve Prohm’s ballclub as Wigginton could help replace Monte Morris after he exhausts his eligibility.
Wigginton is going to need to improve his consistency on his perimeter jumper, but he’s a good pull-up scorer who can make plays for himself or others off the bounce. Iowa State’s Class of 2017 recruiting haul now includes Wigginton, four-star wing Terrence Lewis and three-star guard Darius McNeill.
This commitment is huge for Prohm as Wigginton is the most highly-regarded recruit that he has landed with the Cyclones. With Prohm’s point guard history with guys like Isaiah Canaan at Murray State and Monte Morris now with Iowa State, Prohm did a nice job of finding his next young guard to mold for the future.