Russell Westbrook was overlooked when he was coming out of high school because, like so many kids that develop late, he didn’t finish growing or maturing athletically under late in his high school — and early in his college — career.
That’s why his ascension to the No. 4 pick in the 2008 draft was relatively surprising, and why his development into an MVP candidate was something no one could have predicted back in 2006.
I still remember the first time that I said to myself, ‘Ok, who is this kid?’ It was during Westbrook’s sophomore season when UCLA was playing Cal, when he did this:
A month and a half later, he did this:
And he hasn’t slowed down yet.
Blue Ribbon announces their preseason all-american team
The Blue Ribbon Yearbook, one of the best college basketball preseason publications on the market, has released an image of the cover of the book.
And on the cover is their preseason all-american team. Three seniors and two freshmen made the cut.
The freshmen are Kentucky’s Skal Labissiere and LSU’s Ben Simmons, the two guys that are favored to be, in some order, the first and second pick in the NBA Draft. They’re joined by Providence guard Kris Dunn, Virginia guard Malcolm Brogdon and Iowa State forward Georges Niang.
Here’s the cover:
Cody Zeller, Indiana president speak out against recent athlete legal issues
Indiana fans are not the only people in Bloomington that are getting fed up with seeing the names of athletes in the police blotter.
Indiana’s president is as well.
At an annual meeting with his staff to discuss the upcoming academic year, Michael McRobbie gave a scathing review of the athletic department, both the players running afoul of the law and the administrators that are overseeing it.
“What I do not want to see is any more stories of repeated student misbehavior. They embarrass the university, they embarrass all of you in Athletics, and they are a complete distraction from our primary role as an educational institution,” he said. “This misbehavior simply has to stop.”
McRobbie wasn’t alone, as athletic director Fred Glass praised his decision to speak out on the subject.
Former Indiana star Cody Zeller, now a member of the Charlotte Hornets, spoke out as well. While in town for a book-signing, Zeller warned the basketball team of the issues that notoriety can bring in a college town.
“I think they’re figuring out that IU basketball players are going to be held to a higher standard,” he said. “I saw 234 drinking tickets written by the excise police that weekend. Of course, the two you hear about are the Indiana basketball players.”
“Not to say it’s right or wrong that they had the alcohol. It just goes to show that you’re the name that is going to pop up if you’re in a situation like that. You’re not just a normal college kid. You have to hold yourself to a higher standard.”
Earlier this week, Indiana basketball players Emmitt Holt and Thomas Bryant were cited for underage possession of alcohol.
They were spotted by Excise Police in a car and in possession of bottles of vodka. Holt is a 19-year old sophomore and Bryant is an 18-year old freshman. That’s illegal, even if it is as minor of an infraction as you’ll find on a college campus.
The issue, however, is that it is just the latest in a long line of run-ins with the law for athletes at Indiana. Holt was the driver when former IU player Devin Davis jumped in front of a moving car while drunk. Holt, at the time, was not legally intoxicated, but he had been drinking and was arrested and suspended for four games as a result. Davis was dismissed from the program, along with Hanner Mosquera-Perea, when he was cited for possession of marijuana in a dorm room. Perea wasn’t cited then, but given that he had an OWI on his record from February of 2014, it was enough to send him packing.
Yogi Ferrell and former guard Stanford Robinson were arrested when Excise Police caught them in a club with fake IDs in April of 2014, and Robinson was suspended for the first four games of the season, along with Troy Williams, after they both tested positive for weed last offseason. An Indiana football player named Antonio Allen, a star safety, was arrested for a smattering of drug-related charges and dismissed from the program.