2022-2023 Utah Basketball Thread

Of course the point was a metric for demonstrating the decline in native Utah talent that is available to the Utes to recruit, not NBA prospects from Utah per se. We all seem to agree this has occurred. Talented HS Utah athletes are disappearing like honey bees.

I hear you, concerned. Not sure I agree with this. Of course, I tend not to compare players or teams across generations. Game has evolved (better or worse).

Player training has evolved. When I was an athlete at the U, I ran 4.6 and had a 35" vertical, of which both were decent as a 6’1" athlete. Now, I’m not even close to being competitive, and those are just two of the many measuring metrics. Now, players start training so much earlier and tools/resources are much more available. Thus, coaching has also evolved.

It is clear that one-and-done has changed college basketball. So have the transfer portal and NIL. If you were watching college basketball closely in the 80s and early 90s and then took a Rip Van Winkle nap, on awakening you would barely recognize the sport. That’s true of comparisons among other prior eras too, of course. Is the sport a better fan experience now? I don’t think so.

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Agreed. Player/fundamentals development has not kept pace with athletic development, IMO. Portal and NIL are a part of the cause, I think.

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On the NY Times podcast, the Daily, this morning, the Times’ beloved film critic AO Scott explained why he’s abandoning the plumb job he’s held for 23 years and moving into the book section. The cancer-like dominance of stupid superhero movies, the relegation of interesting or innovative films including character studies to streaming releases are among the reasons.

It made me think of our discussions about the good old days of college basketball.

He concluded by saying that maybe it’s not that overall films are worse, it may be that the changes are just bad for him and the job he is leaving.

Likewise, the zenith of Utah basketball was arguably the 1966 Final Four (the second in five years). The Civil Rights Act and end of Jim Crow thereafter limited Utah’s recruiting. Greats like Billy McGill, Jerry Chambers, Merv Jackson and Walt Simon were not available after that. Society was better off, but Utah basketball suffered. The same may be true for changes such as younger NBA eligibility and NIL that have impacted college basketball.

I always believe that in democracies things tend to get better, even if that’s not true for segments of them (like the buggy whip industry).

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The difference is that those earlier changes were external to the game, very beneficial to society and to millions of innocent individuals, and morally unimpeachable. NBA eligibility and NIL were internal decisions and benefited only a comparatively few individuals’ financial interests.

I think many would say early NBA and NIL were important social justice reforms that cause more fair distribution of the value created by athletes to them, and fans who paid less for tickets, and media and corporations, coaches and universitis who benefited from brand deals have been unfairly subsidized by the athletes.

Yes, that argument can be made and it is not a bad one. You and I just see it differently The transfer portal freedom is another element in the discussion that I did not mention. That one is harder to defend on social justice grounds, IMO.

Supported by a libertarian ethic?

I am not a fan of how the portal has changed the game. To misquote a former All Star: “if I ain’t starting I am departing”. That seems to be the trend.

BUT I never understood why coaches & staff could leave & players could not leave. If you don’t like a job you can leave, if a student does not like a school they can leave.

Maybe the solution is for schools to pay players & they agree to stay for a stated number of years.

Of course if they don’t pan out or blow out a knee they still get paid. The Lamar Jackson —guaranteed $$ clause.

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Knowing a lot of the money we are seeing thrown around today was happening before, at least it’s now happening out in the open.

As to the next step. It’s important to drill this fact into these kids’ heads:

Tens of thousands of players worldwide will be eligible and available for the NBA draft in any given year. Only 60 players will be drafted. If you are lucky enough to be drafted, congratulations. If you aren’t, you need to be ready to move on to another chapter in your life that may not have basketball in it. THIS IS THE REASON YOU ARE GOING TO SCHOOL! It is to be ready for that eventuality. Please take full advantage of it.



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