Each week I'll talk about the sport I love, college basketball:
• At this time of year, there are a lot of reports about players leaving early. At the Final Four, rumors were swirling about a number of Kentucky players. When I heard people talking about Daniel Orton considering a jump to the pros, I thought long and hard about this tough decision. Orton was one of five Wildcats to declare for the draft. The big man has a lot of potential, but he would be better served by returning to Lexington. He would be a starter for the 'Cats, and that is better than sitting on the pine for a year or two in the NBA. Yes, it is all about dollars and NBA teams taking a shot on potential, potential, potential, but he should gain more experience and improve his game. Why not be a big man on campus and enjoy the possibility of getting to the Final Four? Look how much fun it was for the four teams in Indianapolis this year. I wish him the best but I question the choice.
• It wasn't a surprise that Evan Turner decided to jump to the NBA. His stock was way up after earning the Naismith Award and AP Player of the Year honors. Also, among those recently declaring for the draft are a pair of one-and-doners, Xavier Henry of Kansas and Cincinnati's Lance Stephenson. Then add on the list Willie Warren of Oklahoma, Jordan Crawford of Xavier, Florida's Alex Tyus, Avery Bradley of Texas and Chris Wright of Dayton. However nothing is final yet, players have until May 8th to decide to stay in the draft or withdraw, as long as they have not signed with an agent.
• South Carolina recently suffered a big blow. Dominique Archie appealed for a sixth year of eligibility after missing most of the 2009-10 season with a knee injury. Archie's request for another year was turned down by the NCAA, putting an end to his collegiate career.
• The Great Alaska Shootout field is set. The 2010 tournament will run from November 24th to the 27th and will return to an eight-team bracket. Leading the field are Arizona State and St. John's with new coach Steve Lavin. Also heading to Anchorage are host team Alaska Anchorage, Ball State, Drake, Houston Baptist, Southeast Louisiana and Southern Utah.
• What is going on in college hoops with all the firings? I wonder if Coach K would have survived his first three years at 38-47 under this climate. The announcement of Dino Gaudio's dismissal at Wake Forest may have come as a surprise to many. He was 30 games over .500 in his three seasons as head coach and his team advanced to the second round of the big dance. Athletic Director Ron Wellman was not happy with the way the last two years ended, with late-season collapses. There was a lot of pressure at Wake and Gaudio took over in a tough situation following the passing of Skip Prosser. I hope he gets another chance to coach in Division I, because he deserves it.