Shanoff's W.U.C.: No NCAA? Dwight Better Off

Today's Calls: Lakers vs. Magic, CC Sabathia vs. Red Sox, Chase Utley vs. Raul Ibanez, Mark Sanchez vs. Brett Favre, Jake Locker vs. Nick Montana, Stephen Curry vs. the Knicks and More. ↵The Opening Pitch: "Right now, he's kind of predictable." That's Kareem Abdul-Jabbar about Dwight Howard. ↵

↵And I guess that's kind of the point: Imagine how good Howard will be once he actually learns how to play basketball. ↵

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↵Now, folks like my friend Mike DeCourcy would have you believe that Howard would have been better off with a few years of college coaching. Here is what's clear: The college would have been better off. The college coach would have been better off. College basketball would have been better off. ↵

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↵But would Howard be a better pro player for the experience? No way. In his 5th pro season, Howard was 1st-team All-NBA, Defensive Player of the Year and -- of course -- led his team to the NBA Finals. ↵

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↵If Howard had gone to college, he would have just completed his rookie NBA season. There is no way he would have been nearly as good as he is now, after five years of being exposed to pro basketball. He got better, faster, with greater long-term upside. (And let's not even get into the financial reward.) ↵

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↵The reason is simple: College hoops coaching is not about getting the player ready for the NBA; college hoops coaching is about getting the coach his next big contract. Or the school their next big donation. ↵

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↵If a high school or college player wants to best prepare themselves for the NBA, they are better off being tutored by pro coaches, whose entire job is based around making those players successful in the NBA. (Psst: It's called the "D-League.") ↵

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↵That's why I am so intrigued by the announcement this week of "iHoops," the initiative between the NBA and NCAA to reform (or reinvent) the player-development pipeline in basketball. It is a terrific, long-needed idea that will make both the pro AND college games bet ↵

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↵If you want to play college basketball, go play for a college coach. If you want to play pro basketball, go pro. ↵

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↵MLB Talking Points ↵

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↵• Sox beat Yanks (again): This is why they paid CC. ↵

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↵• Utley is pretty good: 2 HR in W. (Anyone want to accuse him of juicing?) ↵

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↵• AL's Best Pitcher: Hmm: Justin Verlander? ↵

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↵• NL's Hottest: Rox win 7th straight. ↵

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↵• Manny Show a no-no: Not with media around, at least. ↵

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↵• Fantasy Stud: Gil Meche (7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 11 K). ↵

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↵Raul Ibanez is still angry: "I'll come after people who defame or slander me." And yet the blogger's response to the mini-scandal was mostly reasonable -- certainly as reasonable as Rick Reilly's rationale when he demanded Sammy Sosa pee in a cup in front of him, right then and there -- an implicit accusation that Sosa was cheating. Surprise: Skepticism -- even cynicism -- isn't exclusive to traditional media. ↵

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↵(But I will say this: If folks are willing to give this much attention to mere idle speculation, expect plenty of attention-hungry folks in the media -- bloggers and mainstream alike -- to try to gain their own 5 minutes of fame by throwing out speculation.) ↵

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↵NFL: Mark Sanchez signs with the Jets, including a $28M signing bonus. Presumably, he wanted to get a deal fast so he could get on the front end of the endorsement deals that are sure to flow his way being the marquee star in the biggest market in the country. ↵

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↵Favre Watch: Zzz. ↵

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↵Vick Watch: Jim Mora thinks Mike Vick definitely deserves another chance in the NFL ... um, just not with Mora's Seahawks. Where Vick may play is becoming the NFL equivalent of where to relocate Guantanamo Bay detainees, at least as far as coaches are concerned: Not in my backyard. ↵

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↵NBA Draft: Stephen Curry likes the Knicks a lot. Too bad he won't be available when the Knicks pick at No. 8. So if NY wants him -- and he's not just a sick shooter but a F.O.L. (Friend of LeBron) -- they will have to convince a team like the Wizards to swap spots with them. ↵

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↵MLB Draft: Jake Locker has been called the next Tim Tebow. Maybe he is the next Drew Henson -- he was drafted yesterday by Angels. Would the Washington QB ultimately give up his pro football potential to play baseball? Good thing UW has lined up a "name" replacement. ... ↵

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↵CFB Recruiting: Joe Montana's son, Nick -- yes, a QB -- commits to the University of Washington. Which is good, because UW could use all the cachet it can get. ↵

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↵Economy: We have quickly gone from the opportunity for big brands to have exposure on NFL (practice) jerseys -- for a big price -- and "alternative" sponsors rushing the gate, looking to pay to get a piece of the action. ↵

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↵Sports Books: Why was Selena Roberts' A-Rod book a flop, selling only 16,000 copies out of 150,000 printed? Couple of theories: ↵
↵(1) Timing: Book's shocking new info scooped a month in advance. ↵
↵(2) Subject: Fans don't love to hate A-Rod; they don't care about him. ↵
↵(3) Misogyny: Roberts' media tour went negative on her, quickly. ↵

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↵International Soccer: Transfermania! Man U gets a record $131-million transfer fee from Real Madrid for Cristiano Ronaldo. (All so Ronaldo can lose to Barca again?) ↵

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↵The Last Word: "Right now, he's kind of predictable." -- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on Dwight Howard. I guess that's kind of the point: Imagine how good Howard will be once he actually learns how to play basketball. ↵

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↵Dan Shanoff writes The Wake-Up Call every weekday morning for SportingNews.com and blogs daily at DanShanoff.com. Got any comments, questions or feedback? Email Dan at shanofftsn-[at]-gmail-[dot]-com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/danshanoff. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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