And the debate rages on.
Larry Brown brought up the topic of basketball development in college basketball against young players going to the NBA Developmental League on Wednesday at the American’s media day in New York.
Mark Cuban has said in the past that he believed players would improve more in the NBA D-League than they would in college basketball, something Brown strongly denied once again on Wednesday. Brown has weighed in on this topic against Cuban before.
In a post from EJ Holland of the Dallas Morning News, Brown responds, at length, to the debate:
On players leaving college after just one year:
“We have the best minor league system in the world. There are unbelievable college coaches out there that will teach kids. I can’t even believe the NBA questions it because if you keep kids in school, it opens up opportunities for older kids to play and be taught. You don’t have all these analytics guys and workout guys teaching them. You have coaches teaching them. For me, I’ve had a lot of great players in my life. and the ones who have degrees or great careers had college coaches who cared about them. Look at track record how successful they are after basketball. If you played for a Mike Krzyzewski or Bill Self or John Calipari or Tad Boyle or Fred Hoiberg, when you get to NBA level, you’re ready to play.”
Brown also believes that staying in college is the stronger option for basketball players in the future, as he again builds up the development track record of certain pros during four-year college careers:
“Look at the draft. Everybody drafts on potential. Sean Kilpatrick was a four-year kid an a first-team All-American at Cincinnati. Doesn’t get drafted. Scottie Reynolds a was four-year guy at Villanova and a first-team All-America. Doesn’t get drafted,” Brown said. But look at guys like Shane Battier, David Robinson, Tim Duncan. They stayed four years made a lot of money. They were more prepared for the NBA. Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, might think I’m crazy. I saw where he said kids should go to the D-League – then they’d be better off than if they stayed in college. If you’re in the D-League, what do they have? Nothing. If they go to college and don’t make it, they have a degree. Nobody is going to tell me the caliber of coaching in the D-League is comparable to the caliber of coaching in college. That’s not heresy. They’ve got skill coaches in the D-League. We’ve got basketball coaches in college. They’ve developmental coaches in the pros. We have teachers in college.”
Ultimately, it’s interesting to see Brown defend coaches like himself at this stage in his career on the eve of a new season. I’m sure the coach is getting defensive and is tired of hearing about Emmanuel Mudiay and prospect development and wants the season to be underway.
As for player development? If a player works hard, in college or in the D-League, they’ll make it and both places have programs that can help you succeed. At both levels, some places are better equipped for pro development than others. In college, you just have more of a say in where you first end up while getting an education and in the pros you make money for doing it. To each their own.