NCAA: Overseas Option A Threat?
Senior NBA & College Basketball Editor
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NCAA Players Could Go Overseas Too: Currently all the talk is about NBA players going overseas and the impact it is going to have on the ongoing Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations between the owners and the players. Players are seriously exploring career opportunities overseas, with more than 20 guys already agreeing to deals with new teams. Players uninterested in playing overseas are quickly becoming the minority as just about everyone seems open to the idea, especially if the 2011-2012 season is delayed or cancelled.
While this may be a big story now, the exodus is only going to last as long as the lockout does. In time everyone is going to come back to the NBA. It’s still going to be the home of the best players in the world with the most amount of money available.
What isn’t talked about enough is that NCAA players could end up being the next group to start looking at overseas employment options if the age limit is increased. The last CBA required a prospect to be at least one year removed from high school. There are rumors that an increase to two or three years could be included in the new CBA.
If that’s the case, we’re definitely going to see some players opt to go overseas. We already saw it happen during the last deal when players only had to wait one year after high school. Milwaukee Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings opted to play overseas rather than in the NCAA and attributes a lot of his early success to that decision.
The NCAA has a very elaborate and restrictive set of rules that are not exactly ideal to abide by. Full scholarship athletes have to take classes full-time, cannot accept any kind of impermissible benefits and have limitations on how much they can work with their coaches during the offseason. For future pros there is a lot distracting them from being able to work on their game, which is most important to them.
Not only would they be able to get paid overseas, they’d also have the ability to put in far more work than they would as college students. Plus, they remain draft eligible. With how the game has developed internationally, NBA scouts and GMs would still be able to see them plenty despite the great amount of distance between them.
When the influx of NBA players comes to a halt overseas, pro teams are going to explore other options. Imagine what Kentucky freshman power forward Anthony Davis would be worth to a team overseas if he was guaranteed to stay for two, maybe three seasons. They could make an offer that would be pretty tough to pass on, while the NCAA would still be enforcing their “our way or the highway” policy.
This possibility is just another testament to how important the next CBA is going to be. It’s going to impact basketball as a whole worldwide, not just in the NBA.
Rough Times In China: Right now Georgetown and Duke are touring China and playing in preseason tournaments. The NCAA allows schools to do this, but in turn they start practicing later to prevent there being any unfair advantages. Most programs do it every couple of years since it can be expensive.
It can also be hectic too, as Georgetown proved this week. The Hoyas game against Chinese pro team Bayi Rockets got ugly. There was reportedly a lot of tension in the game from the moment it began. The Rockets got the benefit of the whistle to say the least, getting to the free throw line 57 times compared to just 15 for the Hoyas.
Eventually tempers boiled over and punches were thrown. Afterwards, with the game tied at 64 midway through the fourth quarter Hoyas head coach John Thompson III decided that enough was enough. He put an end to the game by leaving the court with his team. They were showered with miscellaneous items that varied from water bottles to a chair.
The Hoyas arrived in China this past weekend for an 11-day trip. There’s no word yet on whether or not this incident will lead to the tour being called off early.
Meanwhile Duke ran into some problems of their own, although nowhere near as severe. They went head to head with the Chinese Olympians, defeating them 77-64. There was a scary moment in that game, though, when heralded freshman Austin Rivers went down with an ankle injury.
Luckily for Duke, Rivers was ok and returned to the game. He finished with 18 points and looked every bit like the instant contributor he’s hyped up to be.
Parrish’s Bright Idea: Memphis head coach Josh Pastner raised some eyebrows this week when he told Jason Smith of The Memphis Commercial Appeal that he may work without a third assistant this season. Pastner, who was unable to lure NBA defensive specialist Tim Grgurich, suggested that he would just take on the additional duties himself.
This would be a risky move for Pastner as there is definitely strength in numbers when it comes to forming a coaching staff. There’s a reason why most coaches have as many as four assistants. That doesn’t include a graduate assistant, which most programs have as well.
Pastner has done a great job of making sure that Memphis maintains its status as the premier school in Conference USA. Taking over for Kentucky head coach John Calipari in 2009, Pastner has won 49 games and qualified for postseason play in each season.
He’s also kept the high-level recruits coming in, but the pursuit for these blue chippers is as hotly contested as it’s ever been. That’s why CBSSports.com’s Gary Parrish’s idea of hiring a top-ranked recruit’s father is so good.
If Pastner wants to take on extra work, fine. His dedication should be applauded. However, there are resources in place to hire a third assistant and they should be used. Otherwise, they’re just wasted and an opportunity is missed out on. Other programs have done it too, and will again, until the NCAA outlaws it. If it’s the difference in signing or missing out on Shabazz Muhammad, the number one player in the class of 2012, it’s worth it.
Yannis Koutroupis is an NCAA and NBA analyst for HOOPSWORLD. You can follow him on Twitter.