Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

(UPDATED) Quick Post: On 'Dre's departure, and the word 'failed.'

If you haven't completely given up on traditional media, you may have come across a pair of articles in the local rags about the reasoning behind Andre Roberson's decision to turn pro.  Both featured essentially the same argument from the Roberson camp as to why 'Dre needed to enter the NBA Draft.  One of them, however, featured an editorial hammer-blow aimed at Coach Boyle and staff that jumped the boundaries of reality, and strikes me as an intentional attempt to injure Colorado Basketball. 

It was in the Denver Post that editors chose to slap John Henderson's story with the ominous title "Andre Roberson left Colorado for NBA because coaches failed, dad says."  The phrase 'coaches failed,' is a serious charge, one that seems to imply that the Roberson family feels that Coach Boyle is to blame for both 'Dre leaving, and only being a projected 2nd round pick.  You would imagine that such an inflammatory accusation would be supported by the content of the article. You would be imagining wrong.

Do me a favor, and ctrl+F the word 'failed' in that article.  Any results beyond the title?  Nope.  John Roberson, Andre's father, never used that word.  It was thought up by some editor at the newspaper.  You could say it was pulled out of his ass.

If anything, the 'failed' implication seems to stem from the following quotes:
"That's what he ('Dre) told Coach Boyle. That's the struggle he was fighting. Was it more about 'Dre and fulfilling his dream or more about getting wins?  I think it has to go both ways. If you're going to develop him, develop him. Don't just take the point of view of, 'We need 'Dre so we can have a Final Four team or a top-10 team.' Now if you look at it that way, it's selfish as opposed to (Andre) being selfish."
In the larger context of the whole article, I read that more as John Roberson protecting his son from accusations of selfishness, and explaining that the nature of basketball at the collegiate level simply wouldn't allow Andre to get the singular focus he would need to improve his abilities and draft standing.

Now, compare the titular theme of 'failed' in the Post with the more conciliatory tone of Brian Howell's article.
"'I think it would be really hard (at CU) for him to develop at the three spot (small forward), just considering the impact that he has as a four and the mismatches he has against bigger players,' John said. John also acknowledged that Andre has to develop more on offense, but said that would have been tough to do at CU, as well. With so many scoring options at CU, including guards Spencer Dinwiddie and Askia Booker, the opportunities to take shots would have been limited, both in practices and in games"
The sentiments I espoused last month, that 'Dre would have trouble showing improvement with all the offensive firepower returning in Boulder, are echoed, and the situation is passed off as a matter of circumstance.  It's essentially saying that 'Dre's skills necessitate a certain style of play at the collegiate level that would keep him from further developing the skillset that he will rely upon at the next level.

That very explanation is found earlier in the Post article, where John Roberson is quoted as saying:
"You'd have a lot of guys coming (back) next year that were demanding the basketball. 'Dre, not being a selfish player, it'd be hard for him to kind of say, 'I want to work on my NBA game my senior year' while the other guys are doing their thing.
 That doesn't say 'coaches failed' to me, that says 'Andre needs to go pro for developmental reasons,' and certainly has nothing to do with 'blaming' Coach Boyle for the situation.  It all boils down to development, which was exactly what Boyle expressed at his season ending presser.

The editors at the Post did a disservice, both to their credibility and their readers, by intentionally using an inflammatory title to sensationalize a narrative that simply doesn't fit with reality.  Coach Boyle and staff didn't 'fail' Andre Roberson, and that's not what 'Dre's father is saying (or even implying).

This is the kind of shit editors at the New York Post resort to when they don't have any real news to report. The Denver Post shouldn't be playing that fast-and-loose with reality, as they haven't (yet) become a tabloid. 

(UPDATE) The Post has since changed the wording of the title to "Andre Roberson left Colorado for NBA to find better coaching, dad says" While still misleading, it's at least less inflammatory.  Can no one over there come up with a damn article title that isn't purely sensationalistic?

(UPDATE, pt 2) The title has gone through a second rewrite, and now says "Andre Roberson left Colorado to develop his NBA game, dad says."  Finally, a title with a firm grasp on context and reality.  Only took them three tries.

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