What is different about this year in college basketball? There aren’t any household names. There is no star power. No must see-TV players in the country. It’s quite honestly, stunning. And unfortunately, boring.
College basketball has certainly gone through some pretty major transitions over the last couple of decades. Players began leaving earlier, and then they started skipping college, and then when forced to go, they’d only stick around a year. The balance of power has shifted somewhat because of these reasons. It’s opened the door for mid-majors not just to pull an upset, but to sustain success over multiple years, and advance further in the tournament than ever before.
But through all the changes, we’ve still had great players to follow. Some amazing one-n-dones like Kevin Durant, Michael Beasley, Anthony Davis, Derrick Rose, John Wall, Carmelo Anthony, Greg Oden, and many others. Sure, we are disappointed as college hoops fans that these guys didn’t stick around longer, but we knew all about them, and appreciated their greatness while we had them.
It’s not just those guys though that make college hoops fun to follow. It’s the fringe NBA players, or even non-NBA player that sticks around 3-4 years. Guys with nicknames. Guys that you liked to root for or against. Adam Morrison. Jimmer Fredette. JJ Redick. Tyler Hansbrough. Jameer Nelson. Blake Griffin. Stephen Curry. Jared Sullinger. Kemba Walker. Joakim Noah. Dwyane Wade. Emeka Okafor.
That’s just a brief summary of the last 10 years or so. 1, 2, 3, or more of those guys to cover, to watch, and to follow each year.
There was always an obvious answer or discussion about who was the best player in a particular year because of guys standing out, either on talent or sheer popularity. This year, for the first time I can remember, there is not.
I mean seriously, check out this preview of preseason All-Americans and tell me, what the average fan, the one who watches just a small handful of games before the big dance, has to be excited about? Do you know anyone on that list if you are just an average, or slightly above average college hoops fan?
Heck, I am a diehard fan. I know others that are. IS there honestly anyone in the country you are excited to watch play? If you were to try to have a passionate player of the year discussion, could you? Are there any lock NBA superstars in what draft pundits are calling arguably the worst draft ever?
I don’t say any of this to hate on the game. People will be excited about March Madness like normal. There just is something missing. Or someone missing. Next year, college hoops could bounce right back with the right freshman or some underclassmen sticking around a little longer. It is just frustrating to see the game dissolve from what it once was.