Sometimes, in all the discussion of the one-and-done rule and the pervasive influence of AAU coaches and agents and runners and shoe companies on college basketball and the problem of amateurism and most college players' burning desire to get to the NBA as quickly as possible and various other things that make your head hurt just to think about them, it's easy to forget one salient point:
It really does. Like, it's a lot of hard work, and you're definitely studying a decent portion of the time, but it's also a lot -- a LOT -- of fun. The crappy college-themed flicks of the 1990s and early aughts may not get the details right, but they've nailed the general gist, which is that college is pretty great.
And that's if you're just a regular student. Imagine yourself being in college, but having the built-in social capital that comes from being an awesome athlete. I'm sure the NBA is a lot of fun, but it might not get any better than that.
Which is why I love the following quote from Carmelo Anthony, which comes from "Carmelo's Way," a new documentary that chronicles Anthony's rise through youth basketball and his brilliant one-year stint at Syracuse, among other travails. The quote:
"Those were the best seven or eight months of my life," Anthony says of his time at SU. "We were The Beatles up there."
That might be the greatest quote of all-time. It's definitely top five. (Move over, Winston Churchill.) It has everything. There's a succinct explanation of the fervor that surrounds a good college basketball team in perfect metaphorical terms. There's the "best seven or eight months of my life" bit, which is about as unintentionally funny a footnote for the one-and-done era (which Carmelo's career preceded) as any. And then there's the temptation to figure out how each of the 2002-03 Orangemen corresponds to each member of the Fab Four.
Anyway, this blog fully recommends, if financially and academically possible, attending college for longer than seven or eight months. This blog also recommends taking the first opportunity to become an NBA player, provided you are a top-five lottery pick like Carmelo Anthony. But if you must leave early, make sure to make those seven or eight months count.
In other words: Be the Beatles up there. Words to live by, kids.