Is it November yet? More specifically, can we get to the 10th day of that usually frigid month a little bit sooner?
We have hit the dog days of dog days of college basketball. Sure, it is the live period, but after a handful of 2018 prospects committed last week, everything has come to a screeching halt.
The Ankle Of Magic
Here’s The Thing…
According to Duke’s Coach K, Grayson Allen underwent minor surgery on his ankle, and all is well.
“We had him away from basketball for about three months,” Mike Krzyzewski said of Allen on Seth Greenberg’s podcast. “He had a minor operation on his ankle. He’s now fully recovered, so his athleticism is back. He’s happy, he’s in shape and he’s sharing that.”
This is only news because of the slow cycle we have hit, but it certainly falls in the good category for Duke fans. With the Blue Devils — per college basketball law — expected to be competing for the Final Four in 2017-18, they will need a healthy Allen to accomplish such a feat.
“Gary Trent, talking with him after a workout yesterday, I said, ‘What do you think?’” Coach K added on the pod. “He said, ‘Coach, I didn’t know G was that good.’
” ‘Well, he’s healthy. You didn’t think he could shoot that well, did you?’ ”
Oddly, Allen’s efficiency numbers last season were pretty woeful. He shot under 40 percent from the floor (which is an abomination to the senses). Allen did, however, manage to right his shooting from beyond the arc by last season’s end, hitting on 37 percent of his 3-point attempts.
We’re Kind Of Buying!
Allen is slightly overrated at this point. Had he not entered last season with the hype, few would have cared to nitpick his game, either. It has been a double-edged sword for the most tripping of tripsters. A benefit of doubt of greatness on one hand, with extra analysis of his game on the other.
He’s still an excellent player, though. Maybe not the type that should still — through magic, I suppose — be getting pub as a preseason favorite to win national individual awards, but he remains one of the better players currently trotting about collegiate hardwoods.
If Allen can enter the season fully healthy, there will be zero excuses for him. He’ll be a senior, with all that veteran swag with him, and should be as prolific a player as he’s ever been.
It will be interesting to see what his role is with Duke this season. Last season, Coach K used him at the point guard position often, a role Allen struggled to play well at on both ends of the floor.
We’re Talking About Practice
This Is Weird!
On the same podcast in which he discussed Allen’s ankle, Coach K also touched on the allotted practice time the NCAA gives coaches in the summer.
For those unaware, it is only two hours a week. That is not a lot. It is less than 20 minutes per day.
The legendary coach argued that musicians aren’t under such a limit of practice time with their teachers, so the same should apply to basketball craftsmen.
Opening The Door …
He’s not wrong, but this isn’t an apples to apples comparison. Musicians in college can go earn money outside of the university using their musical talents. Unpaid laborers wearing the Duke basketball uniform can’t.
This wasn’t the point Coach K was trying to make. It is slightly unfair to make it about a different topic entirely, although he opened that door by comparing one student to another.
Unfortunately, money-sport student-athletes aren’t treated anywhere near the same as regular college students. Outside of the scholarship the player has earned, those kids are treated worse.
If Coach K wants more practice time, if most people want to cure all the backdoor shenanigans that happen in recruiting, or if anyone wants to “fix” all the other supposed issues that plague college basketball, we can just do that by paying the players.
Until then, it is hard to argue that players should be forced to practice more in the summer, since they’re not being paid to do it. Of course, many of the players would probably like to get more practice time — with pay or not — and this can be a discussion had by NCAA representatives, top coaches in the country and a few player reps.
That will never happen, however. At least not the part that would be allowing the student-athlete’s voice to be heard with the same impact as those who currently make all the money and have all the power.
He’s Still Here
We Told You …
And He Keeps Doing It!