Comments about ‘Doug Robinson: '80s college basketball was better than today’

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Published: Wednesday, April 3 2013 12:35 a.m. MDT

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Washington, UT

I agree 100 % Doug......it really is a sad situation these days about college ball. Heck, when final scores are 55 to 39 that alone should tell the so called experts that the game needs fixing. Mainly the NBA needs to require that players go to college for at least 2 years. that would help it out, but there is just too much greed out there. The NBA is the game that will be on the list next as the game that is being ruined. How many really enjoy watching an NBA game also these days? The refs also have a lot to do with the ruining of college ball. They feel they have to call a charge or a blocking foul if there is contact. Why not call nothing at all sometimes? Plus, The college game needs just a 24 second clock, and they need to make the underneath the basket circle larger. Hand checking is another issue where players get away with it. That used to be called all the time now just maybe when the refs feel like it on how the game will be long before.

Alpine, UT

Money talks, and the fans fork out the money.

Washington, UT

Brad is correct in his assessment...and there are other reasons the game stinks right now.

1. the rules and the officials allow too much defense, too much holding, pushing shoving, contact of all kinds. Basketball, unlike soccer or even football, is an offensive game, not a defensive game. If basketball degenerates to a game where scores are again in the thirties and forties--nobody will watch it, it's too boring, too absurd to be basketball.

2. the timeouts have killed the game experience--and the viewing experience. Each team gets 6 timeouts per half, so that's 12 timeouts for the two coaches, 12 game stoppers. Then TV is entitled to call numerous timeouts (I don't even know the number, so assume there are at least six per half, so now we have 18 game stoppages per half. Then add in any injury timeouts (officials timeouts), and then there are the video review stoppages.

The college game last 40 minutes, 20 minute halves. I have already accounted for at least 20 stoppages per half, that's at least one every minute of playing time. Are you kidding me? This isn't basketball. Can we please just let the kids play?

Idaho Falls, ID

Yeah, I think it's just terrible that a talented athlete would want to be paid for his enormous talents as opposed to giving it away as an indentured servant.

Sandy, UT

I guess I really am an old codger awash with nostalgia, but I long for the Jack Gardner/Stan Watts/Ladell Anderson days of teams routinely scoring in the 90s and 100s (think Merv Jackson, Dick Nemelka, Jerry Chambers, Jeff Congdon, Craig Raymond, Kari Liimo, Mike Newlin, Shaler Halimon, Wayne Estes, et. al.). The worst thing that happened to Ute basketball is the hiring of Bill Foster (zzzzzzz), who implemented a "style" of ball that led to 50-60 points a game; but these days maybe that would pass for an offensive explosion as witnessed by NCAA tourney teams shooting 30% game after game. Wrong sport, but remember Casey Stengel saying, "Doesn't anybody here know how to play this game?" You're right, Doug Robinson.

Saint George, UT

I went to a high school basketball game this winter and was appalled at what I saw that passed as 'basketball'. The refs allowed shoving, pushing, slapping, etc., by kids that looked like they were one day removed from football jerseys and weightlifting competitions. Skilled players that are smaller framed wouldn't be able to perform under those circumstances. Referees should have been ashamed and coaches should have been lived. Just the opposite; not even a word expressed! It looked like the World Wrestling Championships with a basketball wandering around looking for a home. Where are the leaders of this mess? Nowhere! Is it any wonder that many kids are turned off by it before they even have a chance to experience it. Coaches want kids in the weight room and going to team camps, where fundamentals aren't even addressed. Sportsmanship and character development? I beg to differ. I wouldn't touch this 'game' by a mile. I have two young boys and both have expressed the desire to play basketball--in the backyard, with me! I get the best of both worlds: Time with my boys and playing the greatest game ever invented!

Bountiful, UT

I stopped watching NBA games years ago. It is no more legitimate that professional wrestling. The big-name players receive special treatment, and too often the game officials decide the outcome.

I kept loving college basketball until recently. Instead of special treatment, the truly phenomenal players are being mugged, battered and neutralized while game officials look the other way. Basketball should be a game of finesse, but is becoming more and more a contact sport. Some winning programs are now so intensely physical on defense that the game officials allow a double standard; penalizing finesse teams for ticky-tack touches, but allowing brutality on the part of the "physical" teams. I'm ready to stop watching college basketball.

Cedar Hills, UT

Doug Robinson is right, of course, but it is what it is, and thank goodness our Constitution still allows people to pursue professional life goals. By what authority could anyone require a college education from someone with the skills to play professional basketball?

Requiring 2, 3 or 4 years of collegiate competition would certainly improve the quality of college basketball, or collegiate football or baseball for that matter, but since when is the quality of college athletics the purpose of a free nation?

Cedar Hills, UT

Is there any question that the University of Washington's IT program would be vastly better if Bill Gates worked for the university and gave the profits of his skills to the school?

Why is any skilled basketball player obligated to find a school to enrich by giving his talents away?

The simple fact is that the vast majority of basketball players, even those who end up in the NBA, find great benefit in attending a college where their skills are honed and they can get an education to fall back on if athletic stardom doesn't work out. Attending college is beneficial for the vast majority of the entire population, but we don't force it on anyone who wants to pursue a profession that doesn't require it.

Why would the NBA require a college education? To improve the college game? To enrich the NCAA? For the safety of the players and fans? There's no more reason to require it than to require Bill Gates to obtain any level of education to create computer applications.

Mormon Wookiee
Riverton, UT

I've got to be honest--if I had the skills to play in the NBA after one year of college (rather than having the skill to be a bench player on my Church ball team), I would have left college early too.

Saint George, UT

The NBA is an organization that can set its requirements however it wants, so there are no constitutional guarantees that anybody can play in the NBA even if they are good enough.

And to DSB, there are a few reasons the NBA would benefit from keeping players in college: better player development and more time to scout=less money thrown away at potential that will never amount to anything; and like the NFL, players coming in would already be stars. In each NFL draft, teams will get at least 4-5 players that most football fans have at least heard of. Jadeveon Clowney would be the number 1 pick this year, no questions asked. He probably would have gone top 5 last year. But most of the other picks would have been athletes with potential that most NFL fans would not know because they were only maybe the 5th best player on their college team.

Having said all that, I like the baseball model. A few players are ready out of high school or they simply have no desire for college. But most players should go to college 2-3 years first.

Cedar Hills, UT

@dhsalum - yes, players "should" go to college for 2-3 years before entering pro sports. Most should probably go for 4 years. Why are baseball players freely expected to choose whether they "simply have no desire for college," yet basketball players should be prevented from making that choice?

Sports is one of the great bastions of free enterprise. NBA has no other goal than to present the best basketball on the planet - period. Team owners and coaches have a singular goal - to win games. Sure, undeveloped players can apply for the draft, but owners aren't obligated to choose them, and wouldn't do so unless they believe the individual either has talent to contribute to winning, or can be developed to be a winner within their system. If they thought the risk was too big, or the talent needed development through collegiate play, they wouldn't draft that kid.

I've already opined that the vast majority of players are better off with collegiate play. I think everyone knows that, including coaches and team owners.

I don't see why the model you like for baseball is good for baseball, but not for other sports.

Saint George, UT


I totally agree with you, apparently I did not phrase it well. I think the baseball model would be perfect for basketball. The LeBrons and Derrick Roses can go straight to the NBA if they want, but if you choose college, then you stay for at least 2 years (I dont think they'll go to 3 years like baseball). Unfortunately, Derrick Rose chose to cheat on his SATs to qualify for college because the NBA was not an option..Players like him should have the option to declare out of high school

Overton, NV

Little disappointed that Robinson chose to end his team examples at 1989. Some of those early 90s teams had 4-year stars as well. The 1990 UNLV team had several 4-year players. Stacey Augmon and Greg Anthony played all 4 years at UNLV, and Larry Johnson was a JC transfer who played both his Senior and Junior seasons for the Rebels. The Duke team that lost to UNLV in 1990, but got revenge the next season, also had several star players that stayed all four years. It really wasn't until the 2nd half the 90s that players leaving early became a widespread phenomenon.

DEW Cougars
Sandy, UT

Free Jimmer - they need to fire Keith Smart NOW! But, what do I care about NBA and ncaa college basketball starting to follow.

Salt Lake City, UT

Doug, you may want to address these issues in your article:

Chamberlain left college after his Junior year and played a year with the Globetrotters because the NBA required a player wait until his class had graduated.

Bird played three years at Indiana State, but his class had graduated a year earlier (which is why he was able to be drafted by the Celtics after prior to finishing his last year.)

Joey K
Sandy, UT

@DSB. The constitution could probably use the same authority when it explicitly states that no one under the age of 35 can be president. Ironic that you would site the constitution since it explicitly limits the power you are claiming that it doesn't.
The truth is that Stern and the NBA owners want to put a limit that players must play 3 years before going to the NBA, and this would be the best for EVERYONE. It would be better for the NBA because then teams wouldn't play 19 year old kids who stink just to get them experience and better lottery picks. It is better for the kids because 80% of them go bankrupt in the long run, and they need the education and financial savvy. Better for the fans because we wouldn't have to watch teams who play kids who aren't ready to get them experience. This has nothing to do with keeping people from making a living or indentured servitude. Brandon Jennings played in Italy for thousands. Any player can play in Europe at any time, or work at TacoBell. They just shouldn't drag down the NBA before they are ready.

Cedar Hills, UT

@JoeyK - regarding the Constitution. . . huh? Hopefully your comments make sense to you.

You make it sound like the youngsters are running the asylum. How do they "drag down the NBA?" Are they somehow forcing teams to select and play them? Do coaches and owners really place a higher priority on playing them than winning games with better and more experienced players? Maybe that's why Sacramento, Cleveland, and others have always been perennial losers. The free market at work.

I repeat - thank goodness for the Constitution. It not only allows people to pursue the career of their choice, but also allows private organizations, like the NBA, to establish their entry rules. Since they want to present the best basketball on the planet, NBA leadership has the Constitutional right to tinker with their rules to see what works best. I think the NBA is better with Labron James, Kobe Bryant, and Kevin Garnett entering out of high school. Let anyone risk entering the draft whenever they want, and let ownership pick whoever they want, and let the strong of mind and body flourish. The NBA may feel differently. They certainly have the right to change it up.

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