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The Unexpected Rookie: Kristaps Porzingis

(Photo courtesy of Mozaic Sports)

(Photo courtesy of Mozaic Sports)

The 2015 NBA Draft had some jewels in it. Duke big man Jahlil Okafor and Kentucky big man Karl-Anthony Towns highlighted a talented class of young players making their way into the NBA. The New York Knicks, who had a forgettable 2014-2015 season, were slated to draft 4th. Surely they would be able to get a talent that would make a difference for them. As expected, the Timberwolves selected Towns 1st overall. The Lakers took Ohio State guard D’Angelo Russell 2nd overall and the Philadelphia 76ers took Okafor 3rd overall. Many wondered who the Knicks would take with their pick. Would they go with guard Emmanuel Mudiay, who left high school to play one year of professional ball in China? Or would the Knicks go get a big man to bolster their defense in Kentucky’s Willie Cauley-Stein? The Knicks and Phil Jackson would end up drafting neither and instead chose Latvian big man Kristaps Porzingis. The big man was raw and considered a project by many who had scouted him. He came with shooting skills and the ability to handle the ball some at 7’3”. But with his lack of weight and the relatively little that was known about him, he was thought to be a piece of the rebuilding project along with point guard Jerian Grant. When his selection was announced, Porzingis was booed unmercifully by Knicks fans at the draft. There were also rumblings that Carmelo Anthony was dissatisfied with his selection. The prevailing thought was that Melo would be wasting his prime years in New York. But little did we know Porzingis was going to show up a little quicker than expected.

When we first saw video of Porzingis, we saw tapes of him doing drills on the perimeter. He was effortless with the basketball, but he was going against air at the time. Many wondered how he would adapt to the physical play that goes on in the NBA with him only carrying 240 pounds on his 7’3” frame. Well, Porzingis has been surprising. The first surprise is that he has been placed in the starting lineup alongside Carmelo Anthony. He is only averaging 26 minutes a game, but he is giving the Knicks 9 rebounds and 13 points a game. That is way more than what was expected of him. He has been a little more physical than many thought he would be and he is holding up well so far. The best thing about him is that he attacks the boards with reckless abandon. Over the first month of the season, we have grown accustomed to Porzingis flying in to follow up a miss with a dunk. That shows not only the athleticism but the courage he has to throw his body around in there. And the best thing about these finishes is that he has put them down over or around people. The amazing thing is it seems like no one gets a body on him to prevent him from doing this so far. Eventually that will come as the scoring report gets out there, but at this time, he is giving us highlight after highlight from his position. The best thing about him holding his own at the power forward for Knicks fans has to be not having to see Carmelo Anthony at the power forward position. Melo had a huge season under coach Mike Woodson there, but he also was beat up at that position a lot. Coming off a knee injury, that will take some of the wear and tear off the Knicks star player.

But along with holding his own on the boards, it is amazing to note that he is getting 13 points per game without having plays ran for him. The kid is just hustling and making plays to help this team try and win games. But just because he does not have plays ran for him does not mean he doesn’t have skills. Porzingis showed what skills he had recently in a game versus the Houston Rockets. He had 24 points in that game, but he did it in a variety of ways. Porzingis showed off his shooting touch that game when he stepped out and hit both three-point shots that he took. He also showed off a post game that no one expected to see. He actually gave a defender the Hakeem Olajuwon Dream Shake in the paint one time and finished with the jumper. It honestly was amazing to see the aptitude Porzingis had shown in such a short amount of time. The offensive skills that the international big man showed gave us all a glimpse into what could happen when he gets some touches and is able to make some things happen. Porzingis may not get those opportunities this year, but it will happen eventually.

Porzingis is now known across the league for his finishes at the rim that keep showing up game after game. But eventually he will get some of the offense ran through him so he can show his skills on a consistent level. The kid who Knicks fans did not want has turned into can’t miss television for Knicks fans. And he is also a guy that has Knicks fans excited about the future. Not bad for a kid that was virtually unknown for most of the time building up to the 2015 draft. Maybe Phil Jackson knows a little more as a front office guy than folks are giving him credit for.

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The Everyday Man’s Sports Blog Presents…The Official Everyday Man’s 2015 NBA Mock Draft (Picks 1-15)

The NBA Draft is almost here and each team is breaking down who they want and why. Check out what I think each team should do. (photo courtesy of www.lakersnation.com)

The NBA Draft is almost here and each team is breaking down who they want and why. Check out what I think each team should do. (photo courtesy of http://www.lakersnation.com)

The NBA Draft will be upon us very soon. And there will be a lot of young men that will becoming instant millionaires. But where will they go and who will be taking them? Many have taken stabs at trying to predict it, so here at the The Everyday Man’s Sports Blog, I have decided to take our stab at it and explain as to why some teams will be taking some players. Here are the first 15 picks of my  mock draft and why. Disclaimer: This will not include trades of picks or anything like that. The predictions of picks will be for the team that has that pick at that certain time. Well, let’s get started!

1st Overall (Minnesota Timberwolves): Jahlil Okafor (C), Duke

The Minnesota Timberwolves already have the reigning Rookie of the Year, Andrew Wiggins, to build around and now they have the 1st overall pick. With the team they currently have, they are more of a speed team. With players like Zach Levine and Wiggins filling the wings and point guard Ricky Rubio dishing assists, it would actually make more sense for them to select Towns to run with this team. But again, the Timberwolves do need someone they can throw the ball to in the post and get a basket. And with that notion, they may not want to wait and see what Towns becomes at the NBA level. So with the affinity that Timberwolves coach/general manager Flip Saunders has for Okafor, it is almost a no-brainer that he gets selected there. When the game slows down, the Timberwolves are hoping Okafor can be the guy to sustain their offense with his offensive footwork and soft touch. Of course the Timberwolves may suffer defensively with the young big man, but they will take their lumps there if the big man is able to produce for them.

2nd overall (Los Angeles Lakers): Karl-Anthony Towns (F/C), Kentucky

One of the coveted big men in this draft is headed to the Los Angeles Lakers. Assuming Flip Saunders is still in love with Okafor, the second most-coveted big man is headed West. The Lakers are looking for yet another piece to help them in their rebuild. They selected power forward Julius Randle last season out of Kentucky and he was essentially hurt all year after he suffered a season-ending injury in the first game of the season. But even though they lost their top rookie, the Lakers still got great play from second-round pick Jordan Clarkson out of Missouri. Now with Randle coming back next season, the Lakers can add a healthy but aged Kobe Bryant and versatile big man in Towns. The big man out of Kentucky will add rebounding, shot-blocking and versatility to the Lakers frontcourt and he will also be able to learn the Laker way under Kobe for what some think is Kobe’s last year in the NBA. Look for the Lakers to begin the rebuild with Towns, Randle and Clarkson and maybe another piece in free agency to add with Kobe Bryant. It may take a little time for Towns to show his skills. But once Towns settles in, the Lakers will be happy with the monster they end up drafting.

3rd overall (Philadelphia 76ers): Emmanuel Mudiay (G), Guangdong Southern Tigers (Chinese Basketball Association)

The Philadelphia 76ers had a chance to get multiple picks in the lottery. But with the way the ping pong balls dropped, they ended up with only one. However, the 76ers still ended up in great position with the 3rd overall pick. The last couple of years, the 76ers selected injured players and essentially redshirted them for their first season in the NBA. Well, this season will be something different. The 76ers have some nice complimentary pieces that would fit well on a team that had a star. But the team is void of star power currently as they stand. Nerlens Noel is a player the team is high on, but they also have a decision to make with how they can use he and Joel Embiid. They may try Noel at the power forward position, but they will be physical and rugged up front. The problem with this team is they do not have a point guard. Well, in this draft, they have their choice of which point guard they want. Some may want the services of D’Angelo Russell here, but the 76ers may have others ideas. 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie was the only general manager to fly to China to see Mudiay and that should tell you right there the way he is leaning. The 6’5” point guard, who many don’t know a ton about, will be the 76ers international man of mystery this year and he will be one that will have Philly fans excited because of his size, speed and athletic ability.

4th overall (New York Knicks): D’Angelo Russell (G), Ohio State

The Knicks are going to have a lot of cap space this summer and plenty of Knicks fans were hoping the number one pick would be joining the players the Knicks are able to obtain with the money available in free agency. Well, everything did not pan out as well as the Knicks and their fans had planned. But all hope is not lost. Things could have been worse for them and they could have landed even further back. They will more than likely not get one of the coveted big men in this draft and that could have been something that would have helped Carmelo Anthony when he returns next season. But another thing they didn’t have last season was solid point guard play. The Knicks need a player that can be special with the basketball and bring some sizzle to the Garden. Russell is as talented an offensive player as there is in the draft. He has a nice stroke, good handles and can make the perfect pass in a tough situation and he is no slouch defensively either. He and Carmelo together and maybe a big man in free agency could be an interesting dynamic together. And the Knicks will finally have a point guard that could compete with the top point guards in the NBA potentially in a point guard driven NBA.

5th overall (Orlando Magic): Willie Cauley-Stein (F/C), Kentucky

The Orlando Magic have been out of the spotlight since they traded away Dwight Howard. The team has not been close to being a playoff-caliber squad and that is quite bad considering they play in the Eastern Conference. But this team does have some young pieces they can build with. Victor Oladipo is starting to catch his stride in the NBA, starting point guard Elfrid Payton got better as the season went on and Nikola Vujevic was a machine inside. The Magic fired their head coach, Jacque Vaughn, during the season and hired former Magic player Scott Skiles to man the ship. With Skiles, the Magic will have a demanding head coach that will want to execute and play hard. And what better piece would fit his scheme than Kentucky Willie Cauley-Stein? The athletic big man from Kentucky will remind some of current Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah with his game. He is not a scorer, but he is a guy that will defend, block shots, rebound on both ends of the floor, give you putbacks and play hard at all times. The passing is not the level of Noah, but he can have a great effect on a team that is trying to form an identity.

6th overall (Sacramento Kings): Kristaps Porzingis (F/C), Latvia

The Latvian big man joins a long line of European players that have tickled the fancy of many scouts and executives. Many of those that have observed the 7’1” big man have been wowed by the things that this kid are capable of. He can shoot the midrange shot and can put the ball on the floor. And he is also not too bad an athlete. For the Kings, they would love to have a guy like this join their team. George Karl is still missing a power forward that would complement starting center DeMarcus Cousins, but this guy could be the guy. With many comparing his skills to that of Dirk Nowitzki, he would be able to space the floor for Boogie to operate in the paint. Porzingis, for all his talent, is one that could take time to develop though. He is still pretty young (19) and the step to the NBA could be one that proves difficult for him at first. But the Kings have a history of taking guys like Peja Stojakovic and Hedo Turkoglu, so naturally he would be a choice for them. Look for Karl and company to take him with their selection.

7th overall (Denver Nuggets): Justise Winslow (G), Duke

Winslow was the less-heralded member of Duke’s big three recruits last season (Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor). But over time, he became the most important member of the trio. Winslow played well down the stretch and helped lead the Duke Blue Devils to the National Championship. Not a bad way for a freshman to start and end his college career. Winslow is an intriguing prospect for many. He is a very solid defender and can be special offensively, especially on the fast break. With the team the way it is in Denver, they will probably be more uptempo. And with the skills of Winslow, he would fit in perfectly with what they would like to do. He and Ty Lawson would be a perfect fit beside each other or he could slide to the small forward position at times even though he is not the ideal height for the position (slightly under 6’6”). Imagine the type of energy Winslow and Faried could create on the court should they become teammates. Wow.

8th overall (Detroit Pistons), Mario Hezonja (G/F), Croatia

The Pistons will more than likely keep Reggie Jackson as their point guard and match him alongside Caldwell-Pope as their guard tandem. And even if they lose starting big man Greg Monroe, Detroit still will have the talents of Andre Drummond to sustain them. And even though he is limited in the post, Jackson could get him easier shots when he gets in the paint and distributes. But the biggest hole this team has had is the small forward position. They have not been solid there for a while and that includes two tours of service from their best small forward in over a decade, Tayshaun Prince. Adding Hezonja would bring some athleticism to that position along with someone that can shoot the basketball. He could slide into the starting lineup as the small forward eventually for the team should they sign a veteran to get the nod on the starting spot. But if he is drafted by the Pistons, he would be a welcomed addition and likely groomed as their small forward of the future. The only thing the Pistons would have to worry about is how his defense will hold up. And that could be the main reason he does not start immediately in Detroit for Stan Van Gundy.

9th overall (Charlotte Hornets): Stanley Johnson (G/F), Arizona

The Charlotte Bobcats are a team that struggled to score all season long. Al Jefferson was just not the same as he was the year before and Kemba Walker was not the same either due to injuries. They brought Lance Stephenson in for added scoring punch, but that move has proven to be a failure at this point. So in a move to get more offense, the Bobcats could bring in Stanley Johnson. The young guard/forward out of Arizona had some troubles shooting in college at times, but he can attack the rim and be a playmaker as well. With his addition and his acclimation to the professional game, he can definitely be a good addition to this team. And with his addition, it should be interesting to see what they do with Lance Stephenson, whether it be bring Stephenson in off the bench, start Stephenson or trade him before the season starts.

10th overall (Miami Heat): Devin Booker (G), Kentucky

Booker was one of the overlooked players on the loaded Kentucky basketball team last season. But there is no mistake that he was their best shooter. And when he got cooking, it was trouble for everyone. The Miami Heat are staring the potential end of the Dwyane Wade era whether it be this offseason if he indeed opts out of his contract and leaves or down the line when his body cannot hold up anymore. Whether he comes back or not, Booker would add a young guard that can make some things happen with the jump shot. Miami does not really have anyone on the perimeter that would be as consistent a shooter as he can be. And the great thing about him and potentially being a Wade replacement is he is not just a stationary shooter. Booker’s game off the dribble is underrated and many did not get to see it much due to the team he played with. But Booker can maneuver with the basketball (even though he does need a little bit more work with his handles). And the best thing that he can do is shoot the midrange jumper. That shot could be dangerous if he improves his handles. Booker would fit in whether being off the bench and would spread the floor for Bosh as well.

11th overall (Indiana Pacers): Frank Kaminsky (F/C), Wisconsin

The Indiana Pacers were playing without their star, Paul George, all season long. You would have thought that would have meant they would focus the offense more on center Roy Hibbert. But unfortunately, he was not able to come through like they have paid him to do and they struggled to get it done as a team without George. Some would think they would go point guard and select Cameron Payne out of Murray State, but they need someone that can get them some buckets and some production out of the center position. Kaminsky fits the bill for what they need. He needs to get stronger, but he can post and can also step outside and shoot. The Pacers offense would be better with the addition of him and with Hibbert going into the later stages of his contract, he could end up sliding right in as the starter eventually.

12th overall (Utah Jazz): Myles Turner (PF), Texas

The Utah Jazz finished the second half of the season strong after starting off slowly. The team had some issues with chemistry in regards to forward/center Enes Kanter, but when they traded him they seemed to play better. Derrick Favors and fellow big man Rudy Gobert fit better together as a duo than Kanter and Favors. But what that team is missing is another big man to fit in their rotation that brings something different than Favors asnd Gobert. Both players are athletic and can finish at the rim, but neither can shoot with any kind of range. With Myles Turner, the Jazz get a guy that can stretch the defense with his shooting ability and could cause some problems with his size as well. He would give them some pop off the bench as well. And with his addition, the Jazz would be able to continue their rebuilding process towards contention again.

13th overall (Phoenix Suns): Bobby Portis (PF), Arkansas

The Phoenix Suns were definitely a team that a lot was expected of last season. But with the team did not live up to expectations and did not make the playoffs. The results are a team that some are down on at this time. The Suns are known for pushing the tempo and guard Eric Bledsoe will be entrusted to do so going forward. But when you look at production in the post, the Suns really don’t have that one guy that can get you a bucket in the paint. With Bobby Portis, that issue is taken care of. Portis can post in the paint as well as can shoot the midrange jump shot. His addition would allow for the Suns to have a more fluid offense that can do everything. Love the Morris twins, but they cannot be depended on to score in the post at all despite their solid perimeter skills.

14th overall (Oklahoma City Thunder): Kelly Oubre Jr. (SF), Kansas

The Oklahoma City Thunder just could not stay healthy last season. And even though they had struggles there, they still almost made the playoffs. Despite that, this team is still looking for some additional parts to add to their arsenal. Looking at what is out there, they have some athletic wings that can make it happen. But they are missing that one lockdown perimeter defender that can take them to the next level. Although Oubre will not be the starter there in Oklahoma City over Kevin Durant, he could be that guy. Andre Robertson is nice, but he does not have the overall ceiling that Oubre does and the length advantage also goes to Oubre as well. With his addition, he will help make the Thunder a deep team under new head coach Billy Donovan. And although his offense may be sporadic at the beginning, he will definitely add to the athleticism they have and his versatility defensively will be a thing of beauty to watch.

15th overall (Atlanta Hawks), Sam Dekker (SF), Wisconsin

The Atlanta Hawks were definitely better than many expected, as they played their way into the first seed in the NBA’s Eastern Conference. And despite lacking a superstar, they made it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Free agency may not be kind to them this offseason as both their starting forwards, DeMarre Carroll and Paul Milsap, are free agents. With that in mind, the Hawks may be able to keep one but not the other. Assuming they are able to keep Milsap there in the ATL, the Hawks will be looking to add another small forward to their team. The best possible fit for them at that position is Dekker from Wisconsin. He has good size, athleticism and can shoot the basketball. And most importantly, he is able to defend at the next level. He should fit right in with what Atlanta likes to do and be an additional cog in their already talented and deep team.

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The Everyday Man’s Sports Blog Presents The 2015 NBA Top 5 Draft Pick Predictions

Who goes where when it comes to the NBA Draft? (Photo courtesy of www.insider.espn.go.com)

Who goes where when it comes to the NBA Draft? (Photo courtesy of http://www.insider.espn.go.com)

Tomorrow’s superstars could potentially be in the 2015 NBA Draft. Many are excited over the many talents that are out there including the teams. But before anyone can pick, the NBA had their usual routine during the Conference Finals, the NBA Draft Lottery. In the lottery, the order in which teams pick is determined by their record and the bounce of a ping pong ball. The more you lost during the year, the more ping pong balls you had available to obtain the 1st overall pick. There were many teams that were hoping to obtain the 1st pick, but in the end, the Minnesota Timberwolves ended up with the number one spot. They were followed by the Los Angeles Lakers and then the Philadelphia 76ers. The top five was completed by the New York Knicks and the Orlando Magic. With that being set, many are starting to envision who will be wearing their favorite team’s jersey. Well, let’s take a second and check to see who could be landing where!

1st Overall pick (Minnesota Timberwolves): Jahlil Okafor, Duke

The Minnesota Timberwolves already have the reigning Rookie of the Year, Andrew Wiggins, to build around and now they have the 1st overall pick. With the team they currently have, they are more of a speed team. With players like Zach Levine and Wiggins filling the wings and point guard Ricky Rubio dishing assists, it would actually make more sense for them to select Towns to run with this team. But again, the Timberwolves do need someone they can throw the ball to in the post and get a basket. And with that notion, they may not want to wait and see what Towns becomes at the NBA level. So with the affinity that Timberwolves coach/general manager Flip Saunders has for Okafor, it is almost a no-brainer that he gets selected there. When the game slows down, the Timberwolves are hoping Okafor can be the guy to sustain their offense with his offensive footwork and soft touch. Of course the Timberwolves may suffer defensively with the young big man, but they will take their lumps there if the big man is able to produce for them.

2nd overall pick (Los Angeles Lakers): Karl-Anthony Towns, Kentucky

One of the coveted big men in this draft is headed to the Los Angeles Lakers. Assuming Flip Saunders is still in love with Okafor, the second most-coveted big man is headed West. The Lakers are looking for yet another piece to help them in their rebuild. They selected power forward Julius Randle last season out of Kentucky and he was essentially hurt all year after he suffered a season-ending injury in the first game of the season. But even though they lost their top rookie, the Lakers still got great play from second-round pick Jordan Clarkson out of Missouri. Now with Randle coming back next season, the Lakers can add a healthy but aged Kobe Bryant and versatile big man in Towns. The big man out of Kentucky will add rebounding, shot-blocking and versatility to the Lakers frontcourt and he will also be able to learn the Laker way under Kobe for what some think is Kobe’s last year in the NBA. Look for the Lakers to begin the rebuild with Towns, Randle and Clarkson and maybe another piece in free agency to add with Kobe Bryant. It may take a little time for Towns to show his skills. But once Towns settles in, the Lakers will be happy with the monster they end up drafting.

3rd overall pick (Philadelphia 76ers): Emmanuel Mudiay, Guangdong Southern Tigers (Chinese Basketball Association)

The Philadelphia 76ers had a chance to get multiple picks in the lottery. But with the way the ping pong balls dropped, they ended up with only one. However, the 76ers still ended up in great position with the 3rd overall pick. The last couple of years, the 76ers selected injured players and essentially redshirted them for their first season in the NBA. Well, this season will be something different. The 76ers have some nice complimentary pieces that would fit well on a team that had a star. But the team is void of star power currently as they stand. Nerlens Noel is a player the team is high on, but they also have a decision to make with how they can use he and Joel Embiid. They may try Noel at the power forward position, but they will be physical and rugged up front. The problem with this team is they do not have a point guard. Well, in this draft, they have their choice of which point guard they want. Some may want the services of D’Angelo Russell here, but the 76ers may have others ideas. 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie was the only general manager to fly to China to see Mudiay and that should tell you right there the way he is leaning. The 6’5” point guard, who many don’t know a ton about, will be the 76ers international man of mystery this year and he will be one that will have Philly fans excited because of his size, speed and athletic ability.

4th overall pick (New York Knicks): D’Angelo Russell, Ohio State

The Knicks are going to have a lot of cap space this summer and plenty of Knicks fans were hoping the number one pick would be joining the players the Knicks are able to obtain with the money available in free agency. Well, everything did not pan out as well as the Knicks and their fans had planned. But all hope is not lost. Things could have been worse for them and they could have landed even further back. They will more than likely not get one of the coveted big men in this draft and that could have been something that would have helped Carmelo Anthony when he returns next season. But another thing they didn’t have last season was solid point guard play. The Knicks need a player that can be special with the basketball and bring some sizzle to the Garden. Russell is as talented an offensive player as there is in the draft. He has a nice stroke, good handles and can make the perfect pass in a tough situation and he is no slouch defensively either. He and Carmelo together and maybe a big man in free agency could be an interesting dynamic together. And the Knicks will finally have a point guard that could compete with the top point guards in the NBA potentially in a point guard driven NBA.

5th overall (Orlando Magic): Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky

The Orlando Magic have been out of the spotlight since they traded away Dwight Howard. The team has not been close to being a playoff-caliber squad and that is quite bad considering they play in the Eastern Conference. But this team does have some young pieces they can build with. Victor Oladipo is starting to catch his stride in the NBA, starting point guard Elfrid Payton got better as the season went on and Nikola Vujevic was a machine inside. The Magic fired their head coach, Jacque Vaughn, during the season and reports are that they are looking at current Chicago head coach Tom Thibodeau and are willing to do anything to get him there. If that happens, you can bet he will look to build his team identity through defense. And what better piece would fit his scheme than Kentucky Willie Cauley-Stein? The athletic big man from Kentucky will remind some of current Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah with his game. He is not a scorer, but he is a guy that will defend, block shots, rebound on both ends of the floor and give you putbacks. The passing is not the level of Noah, but he can have a great effect on a team that is trying to form an identity.

This NBA Draft could help a lot of teams, but these in the Top 5 need it the most. And if they draft correctly, these guys could make their teams better immediately if they are selected where they are. It should be interesting to see if these selections hold true to form or if trades happen to change up the selection. What are your thoughts on The Everyday Man’s Sports Blog’s Top 5 NBA Draft Projections?

Wisconsin’s Bo Ryan Has Sour Grapes

Bo Ryan had sour grapes instead of gracefully taking the loss (photo courtesy of www.fansided.com)

Bo Ryan had sour grapes instead of gracefully taking the loss (photo courtesy of http://www.fansided.com)

March Madness has come to an end with the Duke Blue Devils coming away as the champions. Coach Mike Krzyzewski has won his fifth title and he has done some with some pretty talented freshman on board. But along with the celebration of Duke, there was the agony of defeat from Wisconsin. The Badgers just could not come through this time like they did against the Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday night. And just like that, one of the best seasons under head coach Bo Ryan ends without the glorious ending. You would think that Bo Ryan would lose graciously as a veteran coach, but that was far from what we received. The coach would go on to use two remarks that would resonate with some in the sports world. Quite honestly, it was surprising that he would want to go out this way with these comments. And it should not be something that we accept as just something a coach says after disappointment.

The loss was definitely a tough one for Wisconsin. The team had come so close yet the title ended up seeming so far away. And for Wisconsin next season, there will be a different look minus Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker, should Dekker leave school early. Ryan seemed somber when he spoke to CBS after the game, but he spoke on something that he thought about the game. He spoke on the officiating and what he felt like it was. Here is an excerpt of what he said: “It was just a situation where you just have to be able to handle all the hands and the checking. All the body contact — there was more body contact in this game than in any game we’ve played all year, and I just feel sorry for my guys that all of a sudden, a game was like that. I think they’re struggling with that a little bit. We missed some opportunities. They hit some tough shots. You know, it’s just a shame it had to be played that way.” It seemed like Ryan continued to talk about how the game was played and things like that. Though it was true that there was some errors by the officials, there should be no reason for Ryan to blame the officials. Did Ryan forget that his team forgot to take the ball inside consistently in the second half? Did he forget that his team let Grayson Allen of Duke drive past them and finish at the rim? Did he forget they went through a drought in the second half that essentially cost them the game? But conveniently, Ryan can remember all the things that went against his team in his mind and all the things his team did to lose the game. That sounds more like a coach that is bitter about a loss than a veteran coach that has been in his share of rodeos.

But Ryan was not done with his commentary after he said this. He also took a shot at one-and-done players. When answering a question about it being hard to say goodbye to his seniors, this one an excerpt of what Ryan had to say: “Oh without a dout. All the seniors that I’ve had-hard to say that. But every player that’s played through the program, okay, we don’t do rent-a-player. You know what I mean.” Some may say that he may not have intended his comments to come out the way they did, but guess what? They did. In this instant, it seemed like he was taking a shot at programs that recruit players that are deemed one-and-done players. And he seemed to try and put his program on some moral high ground because his team did not recruit these types of players. Honestly, he may want to remember that not many if any one-and-done players are actually considering Wisconsin nor have they ever. And he also may remember that the kids that are leaving have a chance to make some money off their talent, like coaches do when they manage players on the sidelines. He may call them rent-a-players, but for Ryan, he rents most of his players for four years while they make absolutely nothing off what they do for him. All the while coaches like Ryan are getting paid to coach these players and benefitting from what the NCAA has put together in this structure. And while we are on Ryan’s salary, he was actually the 10th highest-paid coach in America at $2.75 million. While the NCAA is pimping these players, Ryan and other coaches are the playas on the sideline crushing a lot while the players break their necks for both and get no money. So for Ryan to get mad at certain players for taking advantage of the system we have and coaches for recruiting them is crazy. And by him saying he would not take a one-and-done player is not true. He would take one in a minute if that would line his pockets more and make his program better if even for one year.

In the end, Ryan comes across as a hypocrite for how he complained about the refs and the one-and-done players in college basketball. We all know he would take one if they considered Wisconsin and we all know that he was not complaining about how the game was officiated when he won versus Kentucky. Several calls were missed in that game and yet there was Bo, silent as a church mouse when it came to that. So maybe the next time Bo should take the high road when it comes to talking to the media. Many roasted Kentucky for having players walk off the court without shaking hands and the infamous Harrison comments. But it seems that some are turning their heads the other way on these Ryan comments. Honestly, both were bad and both actions were that of a sore loser. But Andrew Harrison and Willie Cauley-Stein, who was a Kentucky player that walked off the court without shaking hands, are young kids who will learn from their experiences. As for Ryan, he knows better. He has been in the game probably longer than Andrew Harrison and Willie Cauley-Stein have been alive. Yet he makes this mistake of coming across as a sore loser instead and a deflector of blame. Wisconsin did not lose the game because of officiating or the one-and-done players. They lost the game because they did not make enough plays to win.

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