One vote for the amateurs
By Dan Shanoff
Special to Page 2

To my Page 2 compadre:

Let the record reflect that I am a huge R-Dub fan. Love the mag articles. Love the books. Love the Page 2 stuff most. You obviously love the NBA, but in dissing college hoops, you sound just a little defensive -- over the fact the college game owns this time of year, or perhaps because the NBA regular season just happens to get a mite bit tedious right about now ... every @#$%&@! year.

Now let me say that some of your points are right on, but to fully appreciate the differences between the sports, it's only fair to present the other side:

Why college hoops is better than the NBA
G-Wiz. 'Nuff said.

  • College has the rumbling Stanford Tree; the NBA has fumbling Washington mascot G-Wiz.

  • College has a 3-point distance that allows any player on the floor to be a threat; the NBA has a 3-point distance that no player but Tim Legler actually likes.

  • College has a vibrant coaching pipeline; the NBA has recyclables.

  • College zone defenses are a thing of beauty; the NBA zone defenses are a knee-jerk reaction to plodding offenses.

  • College is scandalous; the NBA is sterile.

  • College players miss some easy shots early, but evolve over time; the NBA has vintage '93 Charles Smith for the Knicks. Ooh, what a savvy vet.

  • College refs can look at end-of-game replays for did-he-or-didn't-he-get-the-shot-off clock disputes; the NBA lets Lamond Murray be a hero with the famous catch-set-square-up-jump-release-all-in-a-half-second time-defier.

  • College has extra-long shorts; the NBA has the fashion police.

  • Every college tourney game crackles with win-or-go-home; the NBA has the lumbering first six games of a seven-game playoff series (when it's not one of those oh-so-thrilling 4-1 or 4-0 series).

    Shane Battier
    After four years of college ball, Shane Battier got a degree and an NBA starting job.

  • College has the excitement of parity; the NBA has snoozer dynasties.

  • In college, thrilling 18-year-olds rule; in the NBA, thrilling 18-year-olds ride the pine.

  • College has four-year starters; the NBA has the journeymen-in-training NBDL.

  • College had Ralph Sampson; the NBA never did.

  • College had Chris Jackson; the NBA had Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf.

  • College had the unstoppable Wayman Tisdale; the NBA got a good bass player.

  • College had Loyola Marymount averaging 120 per game; the NBA has a 120-point over-under.

  • College had Phi Slamma Jamma; the NBA has the cliquish coaching fraternity.

  • All-World Tim Duncan loved his four years of college development; the NBA has Erick Barkley.

  • Collegian Shane Battier came out of four years at Duke ready to start in the NBA; the NBA has prep-to-pro "projects."

    Rick Majerus
    Pro hoops hasn't quite found what it takes to lure Rick Majerus.

  • College has Rick Majerus; the NBA wishes it does.

  • College has chalkboard innovation; the NBA has the good ol' pick (yawn) and roll.

  • College is an actual winter sport; the NBA season lasts longer than baseball.

  • College has ultra-clever student sections like the Cameron Crazies; the NBA has corporations buying blocks of good seats to give to rich people who sit on their hands.

  • College has the thrill of expectation at Signing Day; the NBA has contract disputes.

  • College has sneaker impresarios; the NBA has take-no-prisoner agents.

  • College players date NBA dancers; the NBA dancers are off-limits to NBA players.

  • College has Chris Wilcox and Caron Butler; the NBA's D-Miles and Q had better watch their backs ...

    Dan Shanoff is a regular contributor to Page 2.



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