What is Kansas State without Michael Beasley? They’re the regular Kansas State Wildcats that everybody in the world has become accustomed to other the past, oh, 10 — maybe 20 — years. He’s transcended them into a tournament team.
What is North Carolina without Tyler Hansbrough? They’re still a top, premier shooting team that can launch a ball from downtown.
There’s a difference, folks.
Add this to the list of reasons why I sometimes get aggravated with college sports. Everybody in Pro-land complains that MVP (Most Valuable Player) awards are given to the best player on the best team in the league (hence the 2006-2007 Dallas Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki). What about college basketball? You see the same thing (except the Tar Heels are FAR, FAR away, in another galaxy (alas Star Wars) from being anywhere in the proximity of being mentioned as the best team in college basketball) in college basketball.
So why is Hansbrough winning Player of the Year? Look at it this way: he’s had an outstanding year and led a Tar Heels team to wins from afar that weren’t likely on paper. He’s one of the more physical guys in the game today, and can patrol the paint like any of them out there. He deserves the Player of the Year award, but he’s not the best college player in the United States of America, let me tell you.
Michael Beasley was good enough to enter the NBA last year. Albeit I agree with the fact that players go to college for one year (experience is significant; Stern should lengthen it to four years, but that’s just my opinion), Beasley was at the level last year to enter the professional game. He was ready then, and he’s even more ready now. He’s garnered another level of experience. And God will have bestowed this marvel on a team in the NBA in June, and the league will be more than proud.
But for Hansbrough’s impending NBA days — whenever they come — let’s see him make an impact that Beasley is more than perennially able to make.