Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Desertion? Not hardly.

When I was watching the NFL draft coverage Saturday afternoon (The Sox and Hawks games were over... nothing else was on) Herm Edwards relayed an interesting tidbit regarding the Myron Rolle situation. Apparently one team had asked Rolle (The former Florida St. linebacker who put the NFL off for a year to take advantage of his Rhodes Scholarship in England) in interviews how he "felt after abandoning his team" to take advantage of the scholarship. (After having completed his degree in only 2.5 years, Rolle applied for, received, and accepted the scholarship. To accept he waived his final year of eligibility) It's a crap question from a shallow human being, whoever he may be. But it got me thinking about the circumstances that lead players to leave their teammates behind.

(Be proud, Myron. You made the right choice. From: this place)

The gears were furthered along last evening when I read about the impending transfer of Buffs reserve forward Keegan Hornbuckle. CU sports, and especially the basketball team, have been hard hit by transfers and drop-outs over the past few years. The basketball list is particularly offensive to the eye. Since the day Jeff Bzdelik was hired (April 4th, 2007), the following players have left the program: Kal Bay, James Inge, Sean Kowal, Marc Van Burck, Xavier Silas, Jeremy Williams, Caleb Patterson, Kyle Wright, Andrew Zehnder, Toby Veal, Ryan Kelley and Keegan Hornbuckle. That's damn close to an entire team! Considering the seemingly desperate search for a big man to eat up the low block, how good would Caleb Patterson, Jeremy Williams, Sean Kowal or Toby Veal be looking in a Buffs uniform right now? Add to this the high profile football cases of Josh Smith, Darrell Scott and Kendrick Celestine, and maybe something in the water gives CU athletes the wanderlust (the taste of losing perhaps?).

(I will not hold a grudge Keegan. From: the BDC)

I do not, in most cases, blame these kids (and at 18 or 19, that's what they are) for transferring. Be it because of a coaching change, or simply a change in attitudes/priorities, these kids are finding that, for whatever reason they no longer want to be with their team. Yes, there is a commitment made between both the University and the athlete to compensate them with a scholarship in exchange for their participation in athletics, but this isn't the military, and sometimes life gets in the way. Certainly it's hard, from a teammate perspective, to watch your friends go, but I don't think of these guys as "abandoning their teammates." Life takes precedent. If you feel you have to go home to take care of your kid (like Kendrick Celestine), then that's what you need to do. If you feel the situation has changed because of a coaching switch (like the RP ex-pats), then that happens. If you need to seek out your burgeoning rap production career (like Josh Smith, lol), then that's what's got to happen (just kidding, his rationalization was lame). It's college, and these guys are not professionals (no matter how much we'd like to think of them as pros).

I wish Keegan well. Hell, I wish all of the ex-pat Buffs well.


Back to Rolle; he felt that a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to further his life (and potentially the life of his future progeny)
and further his education by attending school at Oxford was important. Damn straight it was. You have to take care of your own self. For him to have the perspective to take advantage of all of the gifts that God bestowed upon him is impressive, not negative. If some idiot in an NFL front office doesn't understand the need to take advantage of every opportunity presented to you, then fuck him, and fuck the NFL for propagating such a culture. If I was an NFL GM, I'd draft a guy like Myron in a heartbeat. Any organization (be it in the professional or athletic world) would be foolish to pass up men, like Rolle, who bring the full package to the table.

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