Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban recently said some very smart things about the uselessness of the NCAA, suggesting that the NBA D-League is a viable alternative for developing future NBA players who would only attend one year of college before going pro because of the one-and-done rule. Larry Brown, now the head coach at SMU, vehemently disagrees with Cuban for no other reason than the fact that he has a very inflated view of his profession.
Here's what Brown had to say when asked to respond to Cuban's comments:
"They don't teach guys how to play, in my mind," Brown said of the D-League. "The head coaches in the NBA and a lot of the assistants do, but [college basketball] is the greatest minor league system in the world. If you didn't go to one class and just live in a college environment, then you're way ahead. And I think most coaches are responsible enough to make them go to class, make them go to study hall, give them life lessons.
"How about being around [SMU assistants] Eric Snow and George Lynch? Those two guys played 13, 14 years in the league, have families, are successful. In all honesty, I love Mark, but [college basketball] is pretty good.
OK, let's put aside Brown's self-evidently dumb assumption that the NBA Developmental League is not a good place for young players to develop their talents, and instead focus on his flowery image of college coaches and the college atmosphere. Because aside from the hypocrisy and the "student-athlete" sham and the Escher-drawing-as-rulebook that determines what kind of cream cheese a recruit can and cannot have, assertions like the one Brown is making above are the most annoying thing about big-time college sports.
There's just so much self-importance oozing out of that quote. The college experience is invaluable, even if a kid is just there to play basketball and never set foot in a classroom! Nobody can dish out life and basketball lessons like a seasoned college coach can; they're hardworking, experienced family men, after all!
That's all bullshit, of course. Are we really supposed to sit here and pretend that Rick Barnes had anything to do with Kevin Durant's greatness, or that Jeff Capel taught Blake Griffin how play? As for the "life lessons" hooey, look no further than Brown's use of the phrase "study hall" to understand just how badly he is overstating the extent to which his coaching staff is involved in the lives of his players. Study hall? That hasn't been a real thing for at least 15 years, Larry.