With LeBron James in town and the NCAA Tournament on television, I can’t help but think that it’s a shame the NBA didn’t forbid high-schoolers from entering the draft a few years earlier.
It might have been the most intriguing tournament ever if James followed through on a threat to take his four high school teammates from St. Vincent-St. Mary to Akron University for one run at glory.
Imagine if the 2003 Final Four featured Carmelo Anthony and Syracuse, Kirk Hinrich’s talented Kansas squad, Marquette with Dwyane Wade and Akron? (Edit -- I got my college seasons messed up, see below).
I think it’s possible James could have won a title essentially by himself, but we’ll never know.
Granted, several reporters who cover James think he would have eventually settled on Ohio State if he had to spend a year in college. Maybe so, but I think the nation would have been riveted by an Akron tourney run.
--At some point, James definitely needs to spend a season in the NFL, just to see how he’d do. He played wide receiver through his junior year in high school, which gives him more experience than Michael Jordan had playing baseball.
Does anyone think James would lose a footrace against Terrell Owens? Even a 29-year-old Owens? And he’s five inches taller.
--James did make one comment after the game about his impending free-agency, basically reminding everyone that he’s not committed to Cleveland.
“This is a business,” he said. “This isn't high school basketball any more. You have to do what's best for you and your family. I've always said I've loved being in Cleveland. I love these guys in here and how I approach the game.”
--Here’s more LeBron on Chicago: “Chicago is a great city, one of the best in America. It has a great lifestyle and is a great sports town. Derrick Rose is an incredible talent, and Taj Gibson and (Joakim) Noah are really bright spots for them. They have a lot of great pieces in place when they’re healthy.”
--Anyone know if Jay-Z brought LeBron onstage during “Empire State of Mind” at his United Center concert on Thursday?
--By the way, LeBron hugged one Bulls player following the game – Gibson. Not sure if they have a connection or if it was out of respect for Gibson’s 20 points, 13 rebounds and 3 steals. Best player on the court for the Bulls on Friday.
--Not sure how the Bulls can justify leaving Acie Law on the bench for poor defense when Kirk Hinrich, Jannero Pargo and Flip Murray combine to hit 13 of 44 shots. Law scored 6 points in 10 ½ minutes against the Cavs. He had 40 against Memphis and Dallas earlier this week.
--One interesting observation from Friday’s game was assistant coach Pete Myers having words with Cleveland forward Leon Powe during a second-quarter time out. Referee Eli Roe was in the mix, also. Not sure what it was all about, but Powe has an uncanny knack for drawing fouls.
--Before leaving the United Center on Friday night, the Bulls learned that their flight to Philadelphia would be delayed. They were expecting a very late arrival, if not a Saturday departure time.
--The last two Illinois state high school champions had celebrity superfans on their side. Whitney Young had a fanmily connection wth Michael Jordan last year and Richards brought Dwyane Wade in 2008.
Derrick Rose wants to be there for Simeon, but the Bulls are playing in Philadelphia on Saturday. Rose said he gave the Wolverines a pep talk on the team bus just before it departed for Peoria.
--I asked Rose if it feels strange being one of the few players in the Bulls locker room without a team in the NCAA Tournament.
“I do have a team – Kentucky,” he answered. Of course, Rose was coached at Memphis by current Kentucky boss John Calipari.
“Chris (Richard) knows. Chris, who’s my team?” Rose asked.
“Uhh, Florida?” Richard answered.