BOSTON (CBS) — For Boston Celtics fans, the NCAA tournament was supposed to offer a glimpse of the future.
With the Celtics in the mix for a high lottery pick, fans are hoping for that franchise-changing selection come June’s NBA draft. Names like Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins and Duke’s Jabari Parker were supposed to give us that early showing of greatness over the next few weeks with deep NCAA tournament runs, but both of their teams were eliminated over the weekend.
The Boston Globe’s Joe Sullivan covered the first two rounds of the tournament in Buffalo, and doesn’t think any of the freshman phenoms are worth an NBA team “tanking” a whole season to get a high pick.
“I hate this whole tanking thing, and the idea that you would sacrifice a season for a player like (Wiggins) is ludicrous,” Sullivan told 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher and Rich on Monday. “(Wiggins is) talented and could end up being a very good NBA player, but this kid is no LeBron. He’s not even a Dwight Howard.”
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Wiggins scored 19 for Kansas in their opening round win over Eastern Kentucky, but was held to just four points on 1-for-6 shooting in Sunday’s loss to Stanford. Parker scored 19 points off 4-for-14 shooting and pulled down seven rebounds in Duke’s 78-71 upset loss to Mercer.
“These freshman are all very talented, but they’re not once in a decade or once in a lifetime players by any stretch,” said Sullivan. “They’re not going to come in and make you a championship contender.”
“I saw (Syracuse point guard) Tyler Ennis in Buffalo, and at one time everyone was in love with him that he would be the number-one pick. He had two dead-on chance to beat Dayton (on Saturday) and he barely missed both shots. He’s a freshman that needs to keep playing. He’s talented, but he’s no LeBron.”
While the Boston College Eagles aren’t playing in the tournament, they’re still making some headlines with their search for a new head coach. Former UConn head coach and Hall of Famer Jim Calhoun recently said he was interested in the BC vacancy, but it doesn’t sound like the school shares the same interest.
For Sullivan, there is only one man for the BC job: Harvard’s Tommy Amaker.
“I think it’s Amaker or bust for BC; it just makes so much sense,” he said. “Jim Calhoun is feeling great health-wise and he’s a competitor and wants to get back into the action, but I don’t think the hire makes sense for BC. Who you want to hire if you’re BC you want to hire the next Calhoun, not this Calhoun.”
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“To get Harvard to the level he has is a very difficult thing to do,” Sullivan said of Amaker. “He’s probably hit the ceiling at Harvard, where he can could go farther at BC. He would have more players of a higher ability available to him if he was recruiting for BC rather than Harvard. I don’t know about winning a National Championship, I’m sure he would think that way, but he would be back to competing at the biggest level in the ACC and NCAA tournament.”
How long will Dayton’s Cinderella run continue, and can Iowa State make the Final Four without a star player? Sullivan breaks it down with Toucher & Rich: