Thursday, January 31, 2008


It might be forgotten by next week, but Kansas State freshman Michael Beasley guaranteeing a victory against Kansas was one of the all time sports guarantees, up there with Joe Namath and Mark Messier. Kansas had won 24 in a row in Manhattan, going back to 1983. But before the season Beasley said "We're going to beat Kansas at home. We're going to beat them in their house. We're going to beat them in Africa. Wherever we play, we're going to beat them," and he dropped 25 on the previously unbeaten Jayhawks, droping his average to 25.3, 4th in the nation and the only guy in the top 12 from a BCS conference. He's leading the country in rebounding, and he's also dropped eight threes the last four games. He's a lock for the Naismith. The question is - is he the best freshman ever, or just since last year?

Beasley and last year's historic freshman Kevin Durant have a couple things in common: both were born in Washington, DC, both played high school ball in Maryland. Beasley was dominant at Riverdale Baptist and National Christian Academy in Prince George's County; Durant starred at Montrose Christian School in Rockville. The last dominant freshman before these two, Carmelo Anthony, was born in Brooklyn but also played high school ball at Towson Catholic High School in Baltimore. These are maybe the three most dominant freshman in the history of college basketball, and the University of Maryland gets none of them. They at least got a sniff of Anthony, neither Durant nor Beasley, listed Maryland as a school of interest.

The collectively bargained rule that forces prospective NBA players to spend at least a year in college has been a boon to the college games, in my opinion. The two best players in the country last year were freshman, and you could argue that Beasley, Kevin Love, and Eric Gordon are the three best players in the country right now (sorry Derrick Rose, you're not there yet). So what if we can only watch them for a year? I'd rather see these guys playing 35 minutes a game in college than 15 minutes in the pros.


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