Mac Attack 3/19: Duke legend and Miami Heat forward Shane Battier calls in to talk about Duke’s loss to Lehigh Friday, his thoughts on this years Blue Devils team, and his thoughts on one-and-dones in college hoops.
Battier was disappointed in his alma mater’s early exit from March Madness but is proud of how the team played throughout the entire season.
“Stay the course, the formula has worked for a couple of years now…the fact of the matter is we ran in to a team in Lehigh that played their tail off, …we couldn’t stop them really, so Duke had a heck of a year and has big wins against Kansas, Michigan State and North Carolina…we ran in to a tough game, and that is the beauty of March…we ran in to the wrong team on the wrong day.”
Battier acknowledged that this year’s Duke team was not as talented as teams past, but through Coach K and playing with heart and soul, was able to succeed.
“I think Coach K did a heck of a job…I don’t think the talent across the board was what it usually was…I thought Coach K did the best he could to squeeze out some wins [against much more talented teams]…those kids played hard and deserve a lot of credit for having a great year.“
Unfortunately, Battier said, basketball in college has gone downhill for favor of players leaving to go pro after a year of college. He attributes this to one of the many reasons Duke’s basketball program was not as strong as it has been the past few years. He said this was a problem not only at Duke, but at basketball powerhouses across the country.
“The value of playing basketball has been greatly diminished…the quality of college basketball [is] way down from where it used to be…it was very tough to watch a lot of regular season games because the talent just isn’t there…”
Battier is a strong believer that many college players are entering the NBA too early and would be better served to develop for another year (or three) and head to the NBA after maturing as a player. He said that the players, NBA and college basketball are all better served from players staying an extra year, or finishing out their college career because the game is not only more difficult in the pros, many young players don’t have the maturity to handle the mental aspects of the NBA.
“I am in favor of the baseball rule. If you want to try to go pro after high school, go ahead and try…no one should be denied the chance to earn a living…the NBA would be better served having a crop of players coming in after two years of college…this is not easy…and a lot of the young players who come in before their time struggles…every young guy that comes in, that is a veteran guy who is out…let’s make this a league of guys who are NBA ready…the NBA isn’t going anywhere…don’t just come to the NBA to come to the NBA.”