Archive for Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Finley: Top recruits can leave too quickly

March 5, 2008

About 25 years ago some basketball fans could possibly have thought a McDonald's All-American was an athlete that attended McDonald's University and became an All- American.

Today, that notion is silly.

The McDonald's All-Americans label has given players instant credibility and created a race between college programs of who can sign the most to play at their school.

The McDonald's All-American selection committee picks outstanding high school senior basketball players from throughout the United States to play in the game.

Two basketball powers the University of North Carolina and Duke University have developed great programs with McDonald's All-American players leading them.

Kansas has fared well over the years with some McDonald's All-Americans, but has note been fortunate enough to get the higher caliber players that have been recruited by the Tar Heels and Blue Devils.

This season, though, Kansas Coach Bill Self could possibly field a starting team of all McDonald's players this year with Brandon Rush, Mario Chalmers, and Darrell Arthur. Kansas honored several of these players during senior night at Allen Field House.

The players leaving Kansas University will be Chalmers, Sasha Kaun, and New York product Russell Robinson.

My wife who is from New York hates to see Robinson graduate, but they leave as a talented group of Jayhawks.

I have some mixed feelings about McDonald's All-Americans regarding recruiting too many top level players as some may stay in school for only one or two years before leaving for the NBA where they can make a fortune playing basketball.

A good example of losing a high-caliber player is Kansas State who will probably lose Michael Beasley after one season.

While his stay may be brief, Beasley has been at Manhattan long enough to give the Wildcats a big boost after their program was down for several years.

Beasley is slated to be a picked in the first five picks of the NBA draft.

Moving forward, Kansas coach Bill Self has received several commitments from McDonald's All-Americans for next season.

But, the discouraging fact is Duke and UNC have probably also received commitments from higher caliber players. When Norm Stewart was coaching at Missouri he would always kid Kansas coach Roy Williams saying that Kansas is getting McDonald's All Americans and his team settles for eating at McDonald's.

Over the years, Kansas has been fortunate to not lose quality players after about one yea.r One player who left early was Paul Pierce. If he had stayed for his last year, Kansas could have won the national title.

The one player I hate to see leave KU is Darnell Jackson who was never really considered a high profile player for the Jayhawks.

It was Jackson's three put backs against Kansas State on Saturday that fired up the Jayhawks.

Jackson is a Self-type player with his aggressive play on defense and on the glass.

The Jayhawks control their own destiny if they expect to get a share of the Big 12 crown.

Monday night they blew out Texas Tech who defeated Texas last Saturday.

KU closes out the season playing Texas A&M who was coached by former Kansas player Mark Turgeon at College Station and the season finale.

After the regular season,the Big 12 Tournament is going to be a very interesting with four or five teams capable of winning the tournament.

KU should get at least a two seed in the tournament with Texas likely getting the number one seed.


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