DALLAS (105.3 THE FAN) — Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban isn’t a fan of the current state of college basketball. Current SMU and Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown is.
Cuban made comments last week, suggesting that players would be better off joining the NBA Development League, rather than playing college basketball for one or two years.
“The NCAA rules are so hypocritical, there’s absolutely no reason for a kid to go [to college], because he’s not going to class [and] he’s actually not even able to take advantage of all the fun because the first semester he starts playing basketball,” said Cuban via ESPN. “So if the goal is just to graduate to the NBA or be an NBA player, go to the D-League.”
Larry Brown, who has led No. 18 SMU to a 23-6 record in his second season as head coach, thinks Cuban’s comments are simply off base.
“I admire [Cuban] and think he’s one of the bright guys we have in our profession, but that was the worst thing I heard,” said Brown to Shan & RJ on 105.3 The Fan. “Maybe the Mavericks would take the time to prepare these kids — I’m not talking basketball wise — in all the life issues to prepare them to be in the NBA.”
“The NBA has this development thing — they don’t teach guys how to play. In my mind, the head coaches in the NBA and a lot of the assistants do, but this is the greatest minor league system in the world. If you didn’t even go to one class and just lived in a college environment, you’re way ahead.”
Brown believes that student athletes have a greater opportunity to get an education and learn valuable life lessons. He points to former NBA players and current SMU assistants Eric Snow and George Lynch as valuable assets available to mentor his athletes.
While the NBA does provide a preseason rookie orientation which helps educate incoming players, Brown thinks it’s simply not enough.
“Play for Rick Pitino for a year or two, or Tom Izzo or Jon Calipari or Bill Self — I think Cuban would be happy with what they get.”
On SMU’s Rise In Popularity
When Larry Brown arrived at SMU last season, he took over a program that had not entered the Top-25 since 1985 — and it showed.
“Last year, I was just amazed at the lack of interest,” said Brown, whose team is currently No. 18 in the AP poll. “I’m just thrilled for our players; I’m thrilled for our fans, and for the school and our student body. I look at this as a positive.”
The team now has its sights on breaking another unpleasant streak. The program hasn’t made the NCAA tournament since 1993.
“I want them to enjoy this, but also understand that we’re good enough to beat anybody, but anybody is good enough to beat us. We got to keep trying to get better.”
The team continues conference play as No. 11 Louisville comes to Moody Coliseum Wednesday night.
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