All the hype about hype (and notes)
When Lebron was in HS, we were told he was the king. That was tough to swallow for a guy like me who thinks things should be earned...and call me crazy, but dominating AAU and winning Ohio state championships isn't exactly the pinnacle.
When Tiger Woods was on talk shows at age two...the world noticed...then, as he stayed in the public eye throughout childhood into Stanford. Before he had played as a professional, many were ready to crown him the greatest of all time.
While it's still debatable whether or not Lebron belongs in the conversation with MJ, Russell, Magic and others as one of the greatest of all time, I think it's fair to say that Lebron has lived up to the hype. As he's showing during these playoffs yet again, he's a truly great basketball player that's living up to his billing.
And until the devil called in the deal he made with Tiger Woods, he was well on his way to becoming one of, if not the very best golfer ever...by about any form of measurement. Even with a disappointing autumn of his PGA career, he's still on anyone's Mount Rushmore of golf.
Hype is tough to deal with. Along with talkshows and SportsCenter mentions comes pressure. Guys like Penny Hardaway, Ryan Leaf, Sergio Garcia, Freddy Adu and Kyle Petty can all attest to not meeting the public's expectation to some level. Some of these guys had solid careers, Garcia is still one of the best golfers in the world...but some still look at these guys as failures.
Closer to home, IU's Cody Zeller was the centerpiece of something called the movement...IU fans and their athletic department alike told the world that they were back with a team of bluechips and high school basketball's most coveted recruit. After reaching number 1 in America during the regular season and reaching two Sweet 16s, the Movement was over...and the hype wasn't realized. A large forehead had more to do with this failure than a Big Handsome.
Even closer to home, following in the Big Dog's footsteps, another Robinson came to Purdue. Another McD's All American, many hoped Mike Robinson would be able to stay for a year or two longer in God's country and maybe, maybe, get Purdue back to the Final Four. Robinson had a solid career at Purdue, starting all four seasons, averaging just under 10pts, 5 rebounds and 2 assists/game...and was a part of some of the longest (and most unexpected) runs for Purdue in the NCAA tourney...but only reached a final 8.
Not living up to the hype can mean a lot of things to a lot of people.
We've talked about this at BS before- Caleb Swanigan has a bit of hype around him. Some of it comes from him being a successful high school basketball player...but some of it comes from his confidence and lack of trepidation when talking to the media. Biggie and co. have set a goal of helping Purdue reach the final four. And he's also already beginning to talk to the Purdue media about his plan on reaching the NBA.
With a sports agent and former professional athlete as a guardian, it's not hard to understand why he thinks this way...but for many Purdue fans, this feels pretty unusual to hear a Boilermaker talking like this...before officially playing in West La La.
Much like many on the list above, much of what will define Swanigan's success isn't even in his control- Will the point guard situation pan out? Will some of the players on the team take the next step? Will Painter be able to adapt his offense enough to mazimize the depth of this team?
With a big body like Melvin McCants, passing ability like Brian Cardinal and confidence like Glenn Robinson, Swanigan could have a short and very successful career at Purdue...and still not live up to the hype. As everyone else has thought, if Purdue succeeds as a team, Swanigan will reach his goal to play in the NBA. That said, not reaching lofty goals doesn't make you a failure- but not reaching true potential does.
We'll know in the coming months what is hype and what is reality.
PJ travels the globe
PJ Thompson just returned from a basketball tour in China and Mongolia with the USA Eagles Select team. He was the youngest player on the team by a few years...and surely the shortest. That's only noteworthy because the league they competed against has produced 7 footers that later played in the NBA.
Thompson's coaches say he was great at times, apprehensive at others...but overall played pretty well. The additional high level competition is nothing but positive for the Sophomore Boiler PG.
This team is a ministry that uses basketball as a way to spread faith and strengthen leadership for the players involved. Recent addition to Matty's program, Johnny Hill also played for this team last year.
Vince and Biggie move on
Both Vince Edwards and Caleb Swanigan were invited to tryout for the USA U19 team. Both made the first cut...the final roster will be set by June 21st. The initial 24 players are a who's who of college basketball recruits and underclassmen...and the coaching staff is just as noteworthy.
Swanigan was a member of the U17 gold medal team.