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ESPN's Bruce Feldman Thinks That Number of NBA All-Stars Equates to College Conference Strength

Monday, February 15, 2010 , Posted by Christopher Byrne at 10:10 AM, under , , , ,

Bruce Feldman of ESPN The Magazine put out an interesting tweet last night. It read, "Who says the SEC is just a football league? There's actually 5 SEC products in the NBA All-star game more than any other conference." It almost sounded like he was being a shill for the SEC now that ESPN has the 15-year contract with the conference.

Does anybody really think that the Southeastern Conference is a basketball conference beyond one or two teams (especially in the past couple of years)? Let's look at the five players he was referring to in his tweet.

Player School Years NCAA Championships
David Lee Florida 2001 - 2005 (4) 0
Al Horford Florida 2004 - 2007 (3) 2
Gerald Wallace Alabama 2000 - 2001 (1) 0
Rajon Rondo Kentucky 2004 - 2006 (2) 0
Joe Johnson Arkansas 1999 - 2001 (2) 0

Look at the table above. Five players, 40% of whom played for Billy Donovan at Florida. 80% left early (presumably without a degree). And most importantly, these players are no long around the SEC.

The question of whether a conference is strong in basketball has to go beyond the hype. It has to be answered in terms of "What have you done for me lately?" In the world of SEC basketball since Florida's dominating run is "not much." Does it even make sense to sing the praises of a conference when 80% of the players mentioned did not even graduate on time? Should that not be one of the true measures of a successful conference?

There is also the simple reality that the college and pro games are fundamentally different. Success at the college level translating to the pro game depends on raw ability, solid coaching at both levels. It has nothing to do with the perceived strength of a school or conference.

Mr. Feldman is a gifted writer, but it makes it hard to not see this as having the appearance of being a shill for an ESPN-owned property. He really needs to talk about the present state of the conference, not the past.

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