Mark Cuban

Larry Brown, once again, believes NCAA develops better basketball prospects than D-League

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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.

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.

Dallas owner Mark Cuban weighs in on NBA draft age limit debate

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The debate about the NBA draft age restriction seems to be the flavor of the week, as far as hot arguments go, and now Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has chimed in.

Whereas David Stern wants the league to add another year to the already existing “one-and-done” rule that the NBA has in place, Cuban wants to add two years, keeping players in college through their junior years.

“I just think there’s a lot more kids that get ruined coming out early or going to school trying to be developed to come out early than actually make it,” Cuban told “For every Kobe (Bryant) or (Kevin) Garnett or Carmelo (Anthony) or LeBron (James), there’s 100 Lenny Cookes.”

Lenny Cooke, you’ll remember, had a famous duel with LeBron James in high school, before their paths went separate ways, with LeBron where he is today and Cooke never having played a minute in the NBA.

“I just think there’s every good reason to do it, which is obviously why we didn’t do it,” Cuban went on to say, sarcastically.

An interesting point to make, though, is to look at the composition of Cuban’s championship team last season and how many stand at odds with Cuban’s new idea for the draft. Remember, he believes players should stay three years after their high school class has graduated.

Tyson Chandler, the anchor in the center, came to the NBA straight out of high school. Solid contributor DeShawn Stevenson went that route as well.

Jason Kidd, the veteran point guard, played two years at California before getting drafted. Caron Butler, though injured for the stretch run of last season, played two years at Connecticut before turning pro.

Dirk Nowitzki was a few days shy of his 20th birthday when he was drafted in 1998.

Peja Stojakovic had just turned 19 when he went pro.

To be fair, Cuban made a point that players should be able to develop in the D-League or head to Europe, as Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings did, before heading to the NBA.

But, with a roster so based on players who didn’t stay for three years in college, it would seem to steer Cuban’s argument toward the business side of the game. It’s better for the NBA business to have players who have developed, weeded out in college, so owners can make better drafting decisions.

This, of course, does not take into consideration the view of the players, who some believe should have the right to play, regardless of their age, so long as an NBA team wants their services.

And the debate goes on.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_