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Hoopaholic’s Gazette: Countin’ Down

One hundred sixty eight hours and seventy nine minutes.*

Until U of L Basketball Media Day.

*It’s the kind of lede anxious scribes use to let their readers know that they are really looking forward to something.

Hoops is in the air. KP and El and Syd were in Charlotte for ACC Media Show & Tell.

More about that in a bit, but first . . .

. . . a couple of ideas that hit the media wave today.

One horrid.

One, a b-ball junkies’ fondest wish.

* *. * * *

Negativitude first.

ACC commish Jim Phillips is saying expansion of the NCAA tournament would be a good thing. That he supports it. Apparently the guy with the biggest block and tackle in the room, SEC boss Greg Sankey agrees. As do some coaches.

The idea seems to have legs.

Give. Me. A. Break.

The tourney is already four teams too large. Those Tuesday and Wednesday play in games in Dayton serve no purpose other than as a fix for junkies like, well we know who we are, those who can’t wait until High Noon on the Thursday after Selection Sunday.

For oh so many reasons, 64 is a perfect number.

You got your “$64,000” with Hal March presiding. March/ March Madness, get it? Forget the scandal.

You got the Beatles “When I’m 64.” Indeed, the greatest of sporting events is a valentine sent.

Less is often more. Especially when it comes to The Dance. Four less in fact.

Get my drift, I loathe this money grabbing idea.

Make it smaller, so teams have to earn it the John Houseman way.

* * * * *

The other brainstorm floated by none other than John Calipari — hold your boos — is a boffo suggestion.

Summer hoops.

Sometime in late July, early August , fallow days generally speaking on the American sports landscape, let colleges play a couple of exhibitions. Against other schools. Here in the States, not on some made up “for educational purposes” jaunt to Jamaica to play the Ziggy Marley All-Stars.

Apparently Dan Gavitt, as close a thing as there is to a college hoops czar, thinks it would work. And is a good idea.

Dudes, how about inaugurating this in the summer of ‘23?

Readers will have to figure out how many hours and minutes until then on their own.

* * * * *

Besides his time on the rostrum at the ACC clambake, Kenny Payne did fifteen minutes with the gang on ACC Network.

During the latter he made some interesting comments. These are paraphrased.

That he’s been stopped by well wishers around the Belknap Campus, younger folks, who tell him how much they cherish U of L hoops.

“They don’t know U of L basketball.”

KP is old school. For those who have been at it a long time, it’s a good thing.

Asked the biggest recruiting changes since he left UK to work with the Knicks, he mentioned two things. NIL. Juniors can take on campus visits.

Unlike Jim Boeheim, interviewed before the Cardinal mentor on the TV show, Payne was not asked one thing about his players, his type of offense or defense or his coaching philosophy.

Which was generally true of his time on the rostrum.

In both interviews, he invoked the term, “dreamchaser,” to denote the type of ballers he intends to recruit. The type of players who will embrace the quest of improving, such that they’ll put their arms around him on the sideline.

Which is an admirable trait of Tom Izzo. He can yank a Spartan, be ripping him a new belly button, and the player will have his arm around Izzo’s shoulder.

* * * * *

A perfunctory note about the recruitment of that grandson of a former Cardinal national champion.

He just signed an NIL deal with NIke. One must assume it’s for seven figures, such was the splash of PR.

U of L is an Adidas school. Players have to wear Adidas.

What’s grandson going do, flip the bird to Nike, bite the hand that feeds him?

Doesn’t seem likely.

* * * * *

One hundred sixty eight hours and forty three minutes.

Let’s get this party started.

— c d kaplan