Larry Brown disagrees with Mark Cuban’s stance on NCAA/D-League debate


Last week Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban voiced his opinions on college basketball and the D-League, stating that the best young prospects would be better-served to play in the D-League instead of going to college. Cuban opined that players would make greater strides in regards to skill development playing in the NBA’s developmental league instead of attending college for a year.

And then there’s the whole “student-athlete” angle.

“A major college has to pretend that they’re treating them like a student-athlete,” Cuban said according to the Associated Press. “It’s a big lie and we all know it’s a big lie. We can do all kinds of things that the NCAA doesn’t allow schools to do that would really put the individual first.”

While this is also to be considered, it doesn’t have a great impact on the argument of which route would be better for young players when it comes to making sure they’re prepared to play at the next level. And on Wednesday SMU head coach Larry Brown voiced his thoughts on the matter to Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas, disagreeing with Cuban’s statement.

“They don’t teach guys how to play, in my mind,” Brown said of the D-League. “The head coaches in the NBA and a lot of the assistants do, but [college basketball] is the greatest minor league system in the world. If you didn’t go to one class and just live in a college environment, then you’re way ahead. And I think most coaches are responsible enough to make them go to class, make them go to study hall, give them life lessons.

“How about being around [SMU assistants] Eric Snow and George Lynch? Those two guys played 13, 14 years in the league, have families, are successful. In all honesty, I love Mark, but [college basketball] is pretty good.

“Now, it’s our job to make [players] realize getting an education is something that’s important, because here’s the deal: Life after basketball is a real long time.”

One thing to keep in mind with regards to the D-League is that there are only 17 franchises for 30 NBA teams, 14 of which have direct “one-to-one” relationships with a parent organization. In the case of those 14 teams maybe there is better instruction going on, as there’s a direct pipeline to the next level. But without every NBA franchise having a “one-to-one relationship with a D-League franchise, doesn’t that limit the amount of teaching going on?

Of course there are skills that can be honed at the D-League level, regardless of the relationship between that particular team and the NBA. But a better argument for the D-League route being better for elite young players than college basketball if every NBA franchise had its own D-League franchise to use in developing young players.

Both routes have their positives, but ultimately this comes down to the player and his family and what route they feel is the best to take.

Illinois’ injury woes continue as starting center needs knee surgery

George Niang,Abdel Nader,Mike Thorne, Jr.
AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser
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Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.

Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.

Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.

The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.

John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.

NEW PODCAST: Recapping Feast Week

Kris Dunn
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We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.

For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.

Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.