A Guide to Summer Hoops
The time between the National
Championship game in April and Midnight Madness in October is
excruciating for many college basketball fans. The ‘endless summer’
is full of hot weather, beaches and BBQ’s; but we need college
hoops. The NBA playoffs are done. The Spurs won and nobody watched.
There are people out there, like me who need basketball. The summer
has great hoops, and I am not talking about the WNBA.
To start with, we have the NBA Draft. Even if they are just
highlights, this is your last chance to see your favorite college
star in his school’s uniform. One last chance to see Carmelo in his
orange uniform throwing down the dunks. Draft night is a show more
than anything else. It’s fun for a night. See where everyone gets to
play next year.
As some players leave, programs are welcoming new stars for next
season. Read scouting reports. Follow stories from AAU and other
summer leagues. This is good beach reading material.
There is also basketball to watch this summer. The NBA summer
leagues, including the Reebok Summer League in Boston, are next
month. From July 14-20, the Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics, New
Jersey Nets, San Antonio Spurs, Atlanta Hawks, Dallas Mavericks,
Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers and Washington
Wizards will field rosters with many players we should be familiar
with. Besides the chance to see LeBron James play this summer, these
10 teams will have rosters full of former college stars and role
players trying to make a name for himself. You should see NBA
hopefuls like Luke Walton, Matt Bonner., Keith Bogans, Steve Blake
and LaVell Blanchard. These are guys we loved to watch in college
that need to play strong in July.
Maybe watching guys trying to make the NBA is not for you. How
about a chance to watch the future stars of college basketball. The
Men's Junior World Championship will be played in Greece July 10-20.
The hopes of your team in the 2003-04 season could rest on the
shoulders of some of the players on Ernie Kent’s team. You will get
to watch such stars as Daniel Horton of Michigan and J.J. Reddick of
Duke. Not only are these players representing America in world
competition, they will be working hard on their skills for the
Some of the top upperclassmen will be in action as well. The Pan
American Games men’s basketball will be played August 2-6, in Santo
Domingo, Dominican Republic. Coached by Michigan State’s Tom Izzo,
the final roster will not be set until next month, but whoever is
selected will be among the finest college basketball players in the
country. Finalists include Andre Barrett (Seton Hall), Josh
Childress (Stanford), Ben Gordon (Connecticut), Julius Hodge (North
Carolina State), Luke Jackson (Oregon), Arthur Johnson (Missouri),
Brandon Mouton (Texas) Steve Novak (Marquette), Emeka Okafor
(Connecticut), Ricky Paulding (Missouri) and Hakim Warrick
Finally, there is team USA’s participation in the 2003 FIBA
Americas Olympic Qualifying Tournament August 20-31, in San Juan,
Puerto Rico. After being embarrassed in the last FIBA World
Championship Team USA has a lot to prove to itself and the world.
Coached by new Piston’s head coach Larry Brown, this team should be
dominant and fun to watch. On the team are NBA stars Tim Duncan,
Tracy McGrady, Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Jason Kidd, Karl Malone,
Ray Allen, Mike Bibby, Elton Brand, Richard Jefferson, and Jermaine
O'Neal as well as former Kansas All-American forward Nick Collison.
The coaching staff includes Gregg Popovich of the World Champion
Spurs as well as two college coaches who are newcomers to the ACC,
Clemson’s Oliver Purnell and North Carolina’s Roy Williams.
Hopefully the games will be smoother and more enjoyable than most of
the NBA Playoffs.
That gets us to September. With the NFL and college football
every weekend starting in September, the wait until Midnight Madness
gets easier. If all else fails there are many college hoops video
games to choose from. Just tweak the players and rosters a bit.
Remmeber that the player and team ratings are from last season’s
pre-season. In Dynasty mode, you can even keep players like Carmelo
Anthony in school for more than a season!
Midnight Madness is almost four months. You can make it. You’ll
Ira Weintraub is a first time writer for Collegehoopsnet.
Any suggestions, comments, or critiques would be highly welcome.