In what has easily been the most turbulent off-season in the history of the CAA, the past five days should not come as any surprise. (The summer of 2000 when the league nearly blew up is excepted.)
As first reported last night, Drexel’s Jamie Harris and Kevin Phillip are wanted by Philadelphia police on suspicion of armed robbery. The pair have reportedly turned themselves in. It is mind-boggling to read the report.
We’re not delving into details and innuendo and speculation here. It’s a pointless chase, and we’re not going to waste your time with a pile of “no comments.” It’s a university matter and we’ll wait word before asking some questions.
We do know, based on the report, that the incident occurred last Wednesday night.
Assuming the facts are proven true, Jamie Harris and Kevin Phillip have wasted, in a profane manner, an opportunity. We’re not talking about anything basketball-related, either. That’s irrelevant right now.
Both kids had an opportunity to get a college degree from a respected university and get on with a productive life. It’s the old saw of one day the clock will strike zero and you will need to move on with your life. This is a reality for most mid major basketball players.
Basketball is a means to and end, a four-year education and experiment in networking. Players finish with sports memories, a degree, and the support system of an entire university. It’s the theoretical “what it’s supposed to be.”
Here’s what burns me up the most: all we’ve talked about this offseason is cheating, agents, runners, rules changes, NCAA tournament and money and teevee and how these kids are being used. Most people are wringing their hands at all of it and despising its hypocrisy and dirt. Here’s my problem: they never seem to write about why they are offended.
Here’s why: because of the random kid at the random university, whose eligibility will expire and he will have to go get a real job.
Whether the NCAA is clean or dirty, the John Walls of the world are not at risk. It’s a pointless argument and discussion. They will get their NBA career. They attend college because it is in the rules that they must. John Wall needed Kentucky and Kentucky needed John Wall. It’s no more, no less. I have no problem with Kentucky making $40 bajillion last season, nor the NCAA, nor John Wall staying one year. Nobody ever was under the impression that it was anything else.
Further, I absolutely believe the disgust at the whole OJ Mayo situation isn’t directed at Mayo or his benefits. Cheaters will cheat and it’s a gamble based on short term reward. We hate it and we want to stop it and we love it when they are caught or fail. Ha!
You do realize that Southern California finished fourth in the PAC 10 and bowed out in the second round of the NCAA tournament in Mayo’s season, right?
Hardly a boon to either party, yes?
But we’re not angry at the cheaters. The disgust exists because kids like Jamie Harris and Kevin Phillip will toil at schools like Drexel University for four years, be handed nothing, and will graduate with nothing more than an opportunity to make good in the world. As opposed to Mayo’s promulgating the bad, these kids can make things better.
It’s what makes us all proud of our university community and puff our chests at hoops success and personal success. It’s the opportunity everybody wants to see for kids and the real reason for the lament.
Yes, the NCAA is hysterically inept at staying in front of the cheating. We’ve brought ourselves past the anger and moved straight into disgust. The cheaters are going to get theirs. We’ve unfortunately all resigned ourselves to that fact.
It’s when the guys who can use the system for its benefits blow it on their own that we are left shaking our heads. That’s our prop; our reason for cheering. Good guys making good and winning games.
It’s downright sad that Jamie Harris and Kevin Phillip appear to have wasted that opportunity on their own.
And that’s what makes us angry.