Web Exclusives: From the P-Nut Gallery
a column by Nate Sellwyn email@example.com
the madness begin
The P-Nut weighs in
on hoops stars and Harrick Jr.
Hey sports fans, it's that time of year. The mascots have
their costumes at the dry cleaners. The fans have placed their body
paint orders. The cheerleaders are at the tanning salon. The kegs
and pizzas are on their way. March Madness is nearly upon us. And
Princeton is in the Big Dance, after winning the Ivy title. Hmm,
I seem to remember predicting that one...
The question is how the Tigers will fare come tournament time.
Well, I can't tell you. Selection Sunday will help to determine
that. The selection of All-Americans, though, is one topic I'm
prepared to discuss. Here are my picks:
Jameer Nelson, St. Joseph's
Nelson put up 20 points, five assists, and five rebounds per game
while leading his team to a perfect record. Expect to see his name
on every list in the country.
Emeka Okafor, Connecticut
Yes, UConn has struggled at times this year. It can't be
denied, though, that Okafor dominates a game on the defensive end
more than any other player in the nation. He won't fall farther
than No. 2 in this year's N.B.A. Draft.
Hakim Warrick, Syracuse
Syracuse had every excuse to slip off the map after last year's
championship with the departure of Carmelo Anthony. Warrick has
made sure that didn't happen, putting up nearly 20 p.p.g. and 10
r.p.g. while pulling the fans out of the seats several times a game.
The kid has more hops than Princeton's favorite beverage.
Ryan Gomes, Providence
Didn't you see him beat UConn by himself? He would be on a lot
more lists if not for Providence's late season loss to Pittsburgh.
He also shoots 88 percent from the free-throw stripe, which is something
guys like the P-Nut appreciate.
Luke Jackson, Oregon
Jackson combines heart and intelligence to create his own brand
of basketball. He stepped up this year when Oregon's best player
left for the N.B.A. and was the best player in the PAC-10 all season
What, no Princetonians? Even with our tough schedule? In this
conference? Hey, blame it on our brand of basketball.
March Madness will be a welcome relief for the N.C.A.A. from the
drama of academic fraud. Try this one on: How many points is a 3-pointer
Did you get it? That was just one of the many challenging questions
featured on the final exam -- and only test -- in Georgia assistant
basketball coach Jim Harrick Jr.'s 2001 class, "Coaching
Principles and Strategies of Basketball." The Bulldogs are
currently on the bubble for the tournament, and one presumes Georgia
thought it best to get all its skeletons out of the closet. Harrick
Jr.'s exam and transcripts of interviews with some of the
students in the class were among 1,500 pages of documents released
March 3 by the university in its response to N.C.A.A. questioning
about rules violations in the basketball program.
You may remember I looked at this issue before. (LINK?) The problem
initially arose last year, when a former player accused Harrick
Jr. and his father, head coach Jim Harrick Sr.
of paying his bills, doing his schoolwork, and teaching a sham class
on coaching. Well, now the details of that sham class have come
to light, and the issue has opened up again like an infected cut.
Yuck. The P-Nut was appalled when this came around the first time,
and I'm appalled again now. Why can't there be a class
like here? I mean, I'm certainly not all about 'lecture
attendance' or 'reading the readings,' but my
classes are hard. The Ivy League complains about grade inflation?
Every student in Harrick Jr.'s class received an A. Can we
give him some tenure over here?
Seriously, it will be a travesty if any member of the Harrick
family granddaughters included is ever allowed
to work at an educational institution again. Can you imagine the
uproar if something like this had happened here? Alumni would burn
down the stadium. To be honest, though, this story actually made
me feel good about Princeton. I've taken classes with basketball
players, football players, and plenty of other hulking athletes.
Not only do they complete the same academic work as other students,
but they do it well and on a far more demanding schedule.
In the past, I've used this column to shine the spotlight
on athletes who chose to break the academic rules. It would do us
all good, though the P-Nut included to remember
that those kids are part of a very, very, very small minority. Athletes
at Princeton jump the same classroom hurdles as every other student,
and should be commended for it. Of course, if any of them are taking
a Harrick course here, I hope they recommend it to me. I'll
You can reach Nate at nsellyn@Princeton.EDU