NCAA Basketball

When Grant Hill Was The Next Big Thing

Today, Grant Hill is the second oldest player in the NBA. He has just signed a contract to play for his 4th team — the Los Angeles Clippers. At one time, Grant Hill was the next Michael Jordan.

The acclaim started early for Grant. Hill was a McDolands High School All-American. The son of two well-educated parents, he had his pick of schools when it came time to choice a college. His mother wanted him to attend Georgetown. His father wanted Grant at North Carolina. Hill chose Duke. This would be the beginning of my early disdain for Grant Hill.

It ended up being a solid choice to say the least. He, and his Duke teammates, appeared in two national championship games in the mid-90s. For me, it was the rise of the vaunted Blue Devils. This was before the 24-hour SportsCenter news cycle. But it seems that ESPN and other outlets have not stopped talking about Duke basketball since Hill was in Durham. It feels that way at least.

By the time the 1994 NBA Draft rolled around, Hill was a top prospect once again. Hill was taken 3rd overall by the Detroit Pistons — historically another unlikable outfit. Over his first two seasons Hill would average just over 20 points per game. He was living up to his billing as a potential superstar.


The Anthony Davis Baby

Add this to the list of things that shows just how much the south loves its college sports.

An adorable baby posing like a well-known Anthony Davis promo picture — Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. But it goes one step further. This baby has cojones. The baby’s family is actually from Louisville. Blasphemy — I know!

As I said, the southern states in this country love their collegiate athletics. I can’t help but think that this baby might want to want his back. In the pantheon of college hoops, the University of Louisville and University of Kentucky rivalry is no joke. Some other 2-year-old in his play group might go Gillooly on him.

[via @AntDavis23]

The OTHER Final Four Goes Down Tonight

Look at the out of place logo. That’s Massachusetts hoops — the only non-BCS team still playing division 1 collegiate basketball don’t you know!

Great. Have a cookie, right? Well, actually, yeah. The Minutemen fanbase is amped.

It’s actually been quite the year for the University of Massachusetts. You may have heard, the greatest 1AA wide receiver since Jerry Rice sharpened his skills in Amherst. Yes, everyone had the Victor Cruz thing shoved in their face for the last 6 months. Our apologies, but you must admit that it’s likely better than the same old stories that tend to get rehashed over and over.

Speaking of stories you definitely don’t care about, Cruz’s old football team also announced they’d be making a move this year. UMass will be playing FBS football in 2012 in the vaunted, highly-exciting, MAC. Have another cookie. Again, UMass nation couldn’t be happier. Sure it’s decades late, but better late than never. Right, Hofstra? Right, Northeastern?

UMass has always been a basketball school, though. OK — not a basketball school like Duke or UNC. But, if your either a football, hockey, baseball or basketball school, UMass was the latter. From Julius Erving straight through the Calipari years — life was good on the court. But in the early 2000’s the program really got off track a bit. All it took was having a short leash for Calipari disciple Bruiser Flint (who is doing quite well as Drexel, by the way) to start the fall from grace. Now, a couple of bad hires later (Steve Lappas and Travis Ford), and here we are.

That’s all in the past, now. The program is doing much better with former Calipari player, and assistant, Derek Kellogg back at the helm in Amherst.

Well, in actuality we are right where we were went Travis Ford cast the Minutemen aside like a cheap date. UMass was fresh off an NIT run when Ford got what he wanted out of the relationship. He headed back down south after getting a BCS coaching offer (at Oklahoma State).

It took three full seasons, but Kellogg has his first 20+ win season at UMass head coach. And, wouldn’t you know it, here we are back at Madison Square Garden for the NIT Final Four.