Roy Williams tried and failed; Mark Gottfried ditto. For some reason, youngsters playing college basketball just don’t get it when the older and usually wiser coaches tell them what is needed to win. Williams tried to warn his players on the North Carolina Tar Heels that they needed to want to win more than NC State's players wanted to win last week. Gottfired tried to tell his Wolfpack players Saturday that his team was ripe for the pickings by Boston College if his players didn’t play at the same level they did a few days earlier against UNC.
The pleading by both coaches didn’t work for either. The Tar Heels fell behind and couldn't understand the fight NC State had coming down the stretch even though UNC came from 16 points down to within a deuce before falling by a dozen. The Wolfpack went to Boston College and played with little determined effort, falling behind by a huge number and failing to do what it takes to get back in the game at all. It shows that both teams, even with upperclassman leadership, are young and sometimes play with random thoughts circulating their brains. Coaches be damned!
To college basketball players, it's obvious that winning a game is not the most important thing on their collective minds; though the fans wish it were that way. And losing is just a little blip on the radar or a bump in the road to the overall big picture of life. Fans and coaches prefer the kids to think of a loss as depressing as a death. In some cases, losing will mean the death of a season of promise. Probably, if the minds of these youngsters could be wired and examined during games of winning and losing, the results would show more concern of what they’ll find on their Twitter feeds after the game or what they’ll be doing after the game, win or lose. Fans wish there were no Twitter or Text Messaging or Facebook (old school) communications available to those on who so much pressure to win has been placed. Believe it: The pressure is on these kids; it shouldn't be removed.
With college basketball and college football teams, it’s amazing how much pressure fans and coaches put on the players about their performances. And these are just children who are usually anywhere from 17 years old to 23 years old and who have little full-life experience. This applies to all intercollegiate teams, but the gravy train for college sports is primarily football and basketball (men’s only; the women’s game may be entertaining but financially it’s a huge drain on athletics department budgets) so winning in football and men's basketball is magnified with good reason.
Howard Cosell once said of a professional football player who dropped a crucial pass in a Monday Night football game: “He has no right to drop that pass. He’s paid to catch it.” In some regards, college players are paid to play and win at all costs even though they do not share in the revenue they help generate. In winning and losing, in reality, we ask this question: Do they have the right to drop a pass, to not perform at the top level in every game, to reveal in the glory of victory, and to not worry about defeat? We need answers! Twitter that!
Dictionary.com word of the day
switcheroo (noun) [swich-uh-roo; swich-uh-roo]: an unexpected change or sudden change or reversal in attitude, character, position, action, etc.