Whitesburg KY

Will new NBA entry age return to 18?

Bob Watkins Sports in Kentucky

Bob Watkins Sports in Kentucky

As summer’s wool blanket settles onto Kentucky from asphalt to tobacco base – some call it HHH, we look across the sports landscape and see …

1. Could be big impact news for fans in Kentucky. In negotiations for a new contract, the NBA Players Union is reportedly agreeable to adjusting the age limit for entry from 19 to 18 again. High school graduates could go straight to the NBA draft … OR commit to play college basketball for more than one year. Number on the table is two.

ESPN analyst and former coach Jeff Van Gundy told The Sporting News: “It would be great if the NBA in their collective bargaining agreement could convince the players association that if they don’t come out (for the draft) after high school they have to stay (in college). … I would love to see it get to the (college) baseball level of three years, but more likely two years. I think it would help college basketball, too.”

COMMENT. Think of it. Landscape of college hoops could change instantly, A renaissance here in America’s heartland, Kentucky.

John Calipari would be forced to change his recruiting philosophy to “… hey kid, come to Kentucky and enjoy growing up, get an education. Oh, and, while you’re here we’ll make you the best NBA prospect you can be too.”

Gee, a student-athlete again.

2. Kentucky basketball all-stars week. Having been swept the last three years and underdog again, will our high school all-star team ever beat Indiana again? The one-time rivals, girls and boys teams, meet at Bellarmine Friday and play again in Indianapolis Saturday.

3. We wonder if fans this side of the Ohio River will ever see again best of the best players in the Commonwealth consider it a privilege to be an all-star and want to represent our state, as the Hoosiers do?

4. One of our state’s most successful high school coaches has gone.

Tim Riley, having coached 307 wins in 435 games the last 14 years at Warren Central High, including eight trips to the Boys Sweet 16, is

Impeccable. Riley becomes an assistant coach in the women’s program at Western Kentucky University. An “opportunity to work for a university that I have loved since my childhood,” Riley said last week.

The move may well be positioning for him to succeed Mary Taylor Cowles at Western.

5. What good come of Jim Tressel’s plummet-to-earth at Ohio State? For starters, these …

• For those who rail against media, this reminder: Boosters let in, are poison to college athletic programs (see Joe B. Hall years).

• Reminds us, to win, by whatever method, whatever cost to fans, athletes and school, is in the end, a net loss. Wait for it, NCAA sanctions against OSU.

• Reminds us, at end of an investigation, an “I didn’t know…” doesn’t work. Any buffer of deniability established by a head coach is still cowardice.

• Tressel’s fall, along with disgraces at Southern Cal and Tennessee recently, reminds us anew college ball coaches deserve guarded and fleeting praise only and no pedestal and a tenured professor-level pay grade.

• Being humbled. Tressel’s disgrace and that of Terrelle Pryor aside, OSU President E. Gordon Gee must respond sooner or later on his remark that Boise State does not deserve to compete for a BCS championship (with Big Ten schools).

And …

• Quarterback Pryor, whom some believe is principal villain in OSU’s debacle, will be humbled too. Painted with the same brush that smudged Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton at Auburn – a cheat. He announced Tuesday he will not return to the Buckeyes.

6. The Southeastern Conference has voted to reduce its 12 football affiliates from 28 to 25 scholarships per year. Any limits put on Alabama, Florida and LSU is a good thing for Vanderbilt, Kentucky and the Mississippi Schools.

7. South Carolina and Alabama will play for the SEC football championship in November, says a poll in the Birmingham News. Sports information directors voted. Kentucky, off its letterman losses and one-step-back bowl game loss to Pitt, is picked next to last in the SEC East.

8. The SEC’s East and West divisions for basketball are no more. One through 12 teams will compete for the league title and one of four top seeds at tournament time. The new (old) format parallels the growing interest in SEC basketball in that every regular season game becomes important again, impacts league standings.

And, coaches believe, more SEC teams will get at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament.

For the SEC Tournament, teams will seeded by conference won-loss records.

9. One of our state’s two most successful basketball coaches in 2010-11, Scotty Davenport received a five year extension from Bellarmine University. No mention of money or a bonus stipend was made public. How refreshing.

10. Ex-major league baseball player Barry Bonds reportedly has offered to pay for college for 12-year-old son Tyler and eightyear old daughter Tabitha Stow, children of Bryan Stow, the Giants’ fan who remains in hospital after being beaten unconscious by thugs after a game at Dodger Stadium March 31st.

We can rest assured Bonds’ charitable gesture was from the heart and not spin of a man trying to improve his image after lying to a grand jury about drug use, can’t we?

You may reach Bob Watkins at Sprtsinky@aol.com

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