Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Hoops: Need a Star?

I am a believer that you need NBA talent to make it to the Final Four. That doesn't necessarily mean 1st round draft kind of talent, but you need players who can play in the league.

Conventional wisdom says a team needs a superstar to reach the Final Four.

Yet UK or Michigan State will advance to St. Louis without a sure-shot first-round pick in this year's NBA Draft.

"We just love to play, man," Hayes said of the Cats' one-for-all approach. "We love to have fun. With this group, you never know what guy will show up. Due to we don't have so-called stars, it feels good doing it without that."

UK Coach Tubby Smith said the changing nature of college basketball (early entry into the NBA) requires a balanced approach.

For the record, Georgia Tech advanced to the 2004 Final Four without a first-round draft choice.

So did Oklahoma in 2002, Wisconsin in 2000, Florida in 1994 and Penn in 1979.

Indiana won the 1987 national championship without a first-round draft choice. Leading scorer Steve Alford was taken in the second round by the Dallas Mavericks.

The Indiana Pacers drew fire for not drafting Alford. The Pacers used their first pick in the 1987 draft on Reggie Miller.