Count John Calipari with those who cant stand the NBA eligibility rule

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John Calipari said he had a “ball” coaching all those freshman this season. Which is good, because it’s exactly what he’s going to do next season, too.

The coach of Kentucky has lost four freshmen as one-and-dones to the NBA draft, and he told ESPN’s Mike and Mike he does not like that one bit.

Let me tell you this, I don’t agree with the rule now. I think that one, kids should be able to go directly to the league if that’s what they choose to do and if they go to college, they should stay two years or maybe three. The way it is right now, it’s really hard. You think about my team next year. I’m going to coach all freshman again next year. The team I have that will be next year. I will have four returning players, two have experience, two have not much experience. That’s the way it is. It’s hard.”

I think college baseball has it right. Players can get drafted by teams straight out of high school by a major league team (and, in a very different system then basketball, they are off to minor league teams to develop). But if you go to college, you have to go for three years.

There is no reason for the LeBron James/Kobe Bryant/Kevin Garnett/Dwight Howard type players to go to college for a year. If you’re good enough, you should be able to ball with the best. But the one-and-done is bad for college (it mocks the idea of education being the priority), so why not write the rules so a high school player does not lose eligibility for college until an NBA team drafts them. If they do, they go to the NBA. If not, they have to do three years in college then can turn pro, giving these players a little more time to develop and the programs to grow with them.

David Stern is talking about making the rule two years out of high school, as part of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. That is just owners wanting to protect themselves against mistakes by their general managers. Teams reached for guys out of high school and got stuck with players who were not ready. That is on the teams. Good players should not be punished because of faulty scouting.

Remembering Notre Dame, Laker legend Tommy “the hawk” Hawkins

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Tommy Hawkins passed away recently at the age of 80.

The former NBA player was the first black athlete to earn All-America honors in basketball at Notre Dame (he still holds the school’s total rebounds record), was drafted in the first round, and went on to have a 10-year NBA career playing for the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers as well as the Cincinnati Royals. Los Angeles fans may also remember him as the long time director of communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers after his playing days ended.

The NBA put together this well done video look back at Hawkins’ career.

Celtics’ Brad Stevens said early September tests will show if Thomas ready for camp

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Isaiah Thomas said he expects to be ready for the Celtics’ training camp next month. The guard’s All-NBA season came to an early end in the playoffs when he aggravated a labral tear in his right hip initially suffered back in March. At least the injury did not require surgery.

Players are also about the worst judges of when they will recover from an injury. They pretty much all think they are invincible and will be healthy faster than doctors predict.

Coaches tend to be more pragmatic. Take Boston’s Brad Stevens, who told Chris Mannix on The Vertical Podcast that tests in a couple of weeks will show if Thomas is ready for camp.

“He has another follow-up and another scan in the early part of September. Obviously, it’s been a lot of appropriate rest, a lot of rehab. There have been some good strides here certainly in the last month or few weeks, but we’re not going to know that until after that early September timeframe.”

The Celtics are understandably going to be cautious with Thomas, while Thomas wants to prove he is healthy and has no ill effects from the injury as he enters a contract year (one where he expects to get PAID). Also, the Celtics could use him in camp as they start to figure out how he and Gordon Hayward can share playmaking duties.

Still, from the outset, the timelines have suggested he should be ready for camp in late September. Coaches are just cautious on these things by nature.

Allen Iverson predicts LeBron James will win MVP

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LeBron James has four NBA MVP trophies in his case. (Does he keep that case in his home in Akron or the one in Los Angeles… that’s a question for another day.) Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six) and Michael Jordan (five) have more.

Could LeBron James add a fifth to his case this season?

Allen Iverson said yes at last weekend’s Big3 playoffs in Seattle.

LeBron was fourth in preseason odds to win the MVP at 15/2, behind Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Kawhi Leonard.

To me, LeBron could be a good bet. If/when Kyrie Irving is traded, the chances of LeBron getting the MVP go up. If LeBron puts up impressive numbers (again) and leads a depleted Cavaliers team to a top two seed in the East, he is certainly going to be in consideration. And should be.

It’s a long season, and personally, I think you need to get midway through the season before seriously considering the year-end awards. But history says LeBron will be in the mix, and Allen Iverson could be proven prophetic.

Phoenix Suns with quality solar eclipse joke on Twitter

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With the cooler-than-I-expected solar eclipse on Monday came a lot of bad solar eclipse jokes on Twitter. Because that’s what Twitter does. Especially the NBA Twitterverse. We knew a lot of “where on the flat earth will Kyrie Irving watch the eclipse?” jokes were coming.

There were a couple of good ones, however.

Appropriately, the Phoenix Suns won the day.

One personal favorite here, an old meme that never goes out of style.