College basketball: Do I stay or do I go? The toughest decision of their careers

should i stay or should i goA National Champion has been crowned, a parade has been given in the Louisville Cardinals honor and several players have accomplished their life long dream of trending on twitter. But now underclassmen have two weeks to make the tough decision either to declare for the 2013 NBA Draft or return to school to improve their draft stock and take the Economics course that all students dread.

NBA benches are filled with can’t miss high school phenoms like New Orleans HornetsAustin Rivers New Orleans Hornets guard Austin Rivers, Houston Rockets forward Thomas Robinson, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Perry Jones III, and Phoenix Suns point guard Kendall Marshall who have failed to live up to their draft stock barely registering any significant minutes in the regular season. Each of the players mention would have been locks as First Team All-Americans and would have altered the college basketball landscape and we may have possibly had a different team celebrating winning a National Championship in Atlanta.

nerlens noel injuryHowever, this is the tough decision that awaits a number of talent NBA prospects: Do I declare while I am still considered a first round pick? Do return to school to improve my stock and risk scouts souring or worst risk injury?

For talented underclassmen NBA prospects like Missouri point guard Phil Pressey andlousiville cardinals russ smith Louisville guard Russ Smith there is little chance of them improving their draft stock and due their teams losing talent to graduation and since there is no growth spurt in sight for each of them they are unlikely to shake the hand of NBA Commissioner David Stern as first round selections whether they declare for the draft now or wait a year.

Indiana forward Cody Zeller returned for his sophomore year and he was projected to be a lock to be a top five pick got exposed throughout the season for being soft, frequently being out-muscled and bullied out of the point forced to settle for jump shots. Although Zeller is still a lock to be selected in the first round his plummeting draft stock made declaring this year a virtual certainty because returning he may have risked dropping out of the first round all together.trey burke michigan wolverines point guard

Returning to school also has its benefits, last season Michigan point guard Trey Burke was considered a borderline first round pick at best. But with another year of seasoning leading the Wolverines to the National Championship game and collecting Player of the Year awards along the way Burke is now a lock to be the first point guard selected in the NBA Draft.

miami hurricanes shane larkin

As promising prospects continue to weigh the pros and cons of this momentous decision the landscape of college basketball lays in the balance. A tough decision awaits  promising prospects: Miami guard Shane Larkin, Michigan State guard Gary Harris, Baylor forward Isaiah Austin, and Michigan’s talented trio guard Tim Hardaway Jr., forwards Mitch McCrary and Glenn Robinson III. Should they stay or should they go? Stay tuned… I know I will – A. Denmark

Anthony Denmark is a writer for Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. Listen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio Tues/Thurs 630 PM EST & Sat 1030 AM EST

Tough Coaching or Abuse: Where do you draw the line?

Tough coaching or abuseWhen a high school prospect agrees to sign with a perspective college or university the parent is entrusting the head coach to look out for the best interest of their child, helping them make the transition to independence and adulthood. Once these kids arrive on campus they undergo hours of orientations to ensure that they adhere to the NCAA policies and do not violate the rules of the institution.

The consequence of violating school or NCAA policies can be costly to an amateur athlete. Former Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant was suspended for a year when it was found that he had lied about visiting Deion Sanders home during the summer of his junior year. Brigham Young University forward Brandon Davies lost a year of eligibility when it was discovered that he had pre-marital sex which was a violation of BYU’s code of conduct.

These penalties cost Oklahoma State a chance to contend for a National Championship and stripped BYU of the opportunity to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. However, the message that the NCAA and the institutions were sending was loud and clear: “No one is above the law.”

Even Hall-of-Fame Indiana Coach Bob Knight found himself in front of a coaching bob knight texas techfiring squad when he was caught on film choking one of his players. Although Knight had coached future NBA Hall-of-famers and won his fair share of conference titles and national championships he was not exempt. But where do we draw the line between tough coaching and abuse?

Who is looking out for the best interest of the college athlete? Rutgers University basketball coach Mike Rice actions warranted more than just a 3 game suspension and a 50,000 fine. Rice crossed the line when he threw balls at his player’s head, physically assaulted them, and called them obscene names. Rice’s firing will not wash away the stain that went overlooked for three years at Rutgers by athletic director Tim Pernetti who hired Rice.

mike rice and rutgers basketballIn order for Rutgers to get a fresh start and regain the trust of the New Jersey community and basketball recruits Pernetti may need to be let go since he failed to look out for the best interest of the athletes who were the true victims in this scandal? Should Pernetti be let go for believing that since there not a line of players outside his door that Rice’s behavior was not grounds for immediate termination back in November? In time the answers to these questions and more will come to light. Stay tuned… I know I will.

Anthony Denmark is a writer for Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. Listen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio Tues/Thurs 630 PM EST & Sat 1030 AM EST