Small College Basketball

Sep 19

USA Basketball

I decided to wait about a week after the USA won the gold at the FIBA World Cup to post a few thoughts, so here we go…..

Overall, I thought that this was really an impressive performance for the USA.  Obviously, they won every game and won the gold, but the reality is that they completely dominated the competition.  They won every game by more than 20 points and they won by an average of 33 points per game.

While some may mention that the USA didn’t have to play Spain, who was widely considered to be their top competition, the reality is that Spain lost before they even reached the semi-finals.  We may look at France and realize that they were without Tony Parker, which is really big (USA didn’t face France, but with Parker it’s quite possible that they would have made the Championship game).  But here’s also the reality: The United States completely dominated this 2014 FIBA World Cup by 33 points per game, with no team coming within 20 points.  Here’s another piece of reality: The United States did it without LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Kevin Love and several others that were considered likely to make the team. 

To me, the credit goes to those in the arena - those players and coaches who made the sacrifice to be a part of USA Basketball.  Starting with Jerry Colangelo and Coach Mike Krzyzewski, every coach and every player made a sacrifice to be a part of this team, and to represent our country.  THEY deserve the credit, as they are the ones who put in the time and effort. 

The players on the court were all good NBA players, many of them among the very elite in the league.  They worked hard, and for the most part, they represented our country very well.

While many players played well at certain times, I must say that I was particularly impressed with Klay Thompson and Kenneth Faried.  I somewhat expected Anthony Davis to be good, and he fulfilled that thought (he’s just really good, and continuing to get better and better).  I don’t think that it would be a stretch to think that Anthony Davis will be a top 5-8 player in the NBA in 3-5 years (he’s not far off now).  With this said, Klay Thompson has really good size for two-guard, and I knew that he could shoot it……but he really showed that he could put it on the floor and get to the basket and he really showed that he can defend.  Faried just played with such energy…..he was just fun to watch as he worked so hard on the glass, on loose balls and to keep plays alive.

A couple of things that I’ve heard/read this past week that bothered me:

1)  The Yahoo article that spoke about how USA Basketball was just used by Coach K for his personal benefit, and for the benefit of his Duke program.  Whether you like or don’t like Coach K and/or Duke, you just must acknowledge that the man has sacrificed a tremendous amount of time - and brought back a high degree of respect - for USA Basketball around the world, and in this country.  Overall, Coach K has been absolutely great for our game and for our country, so I see no reason for a reporter to take a shot at him after he comes back with great international respect - and a gold medal.

The other comment that bothered me was that nobody cared about the FIBA World Cup.  First, for those of us that love basketball, we cared.  We care A LOT!

Congratulations to all of the players and coaches that earned the gold medal.  I watched and I cared.


Sep 18

Random Thoughts

Just a bunch of random thoughts on Small College Basketball:

* Congratulations to Coach Doug Tolin from OK Baptist on his election into the NAIA Hall of Fame.  It’s been a heck of a good year for the Tolin’s, as Doug’s son, Kyle, was named the Head Coach at Arkansas - Monticello, after this past season.

*  I’m really happy for Roy Pickeril, long-time Sports Information Director at Kentucky Wesleyan and long-time basketball historian and media director for the NCAA Division II Elite Eight….Roy was just elected to the Kentucky Wesleyan Athletic Hall of Fame.  It’s his third Hall of Fame, as he’s already been inducted into the COSIDA HOF & the Kentucky Wesleyan Alumni HOF.  He’s been a tremendous ambassador for Small College Basketball!

*  Congratulations to Will Carlton, former Georgetown College All American and NAIA National Champion (while earning Tournament MVP honors), as he was just elected into the NAIA Hall of Fame.

 *  A Coach called the other night with great enthusiasm, as he just wanted to let me know that a former player (from many years ago) just sent a picture of himself in a tie.  He said he tied it himself, and sent the picture to thank his Coach…..many years ago, it was Coach that taught him how to tie that tie!  Coach called to exclaim: “Paycheck!”

*  Please keep Kelly Wells, the Coach at Pikeville, in your thoughts and prayers, as he continues to battle kidney disease.  Kelly has been open publicly about his story with the hope to encourage people to become organ donors.  (Please think about this, as organ donation is clearly saving lives).


Sep 16

Anonymous said: John, my son is presently a senior, playing basketball for his high school. He's one of the best players on his team, but isn't good enough to play D1. He loves the sport, though, and would love to play at a small college. His coach thinks he can. But how do we go about researching? How do we find a school that has good academics and a great coach, that has good scholarships, and where he'll get a chance to play?

Really good questions.  I think that these questions are very relevant for thousands (literally) of high school senior student athletes each year.

In fact, I think that they are important enough that I wrote a booklet on the topic, and I’ve also become a minority owner of Star Athletes Online.  You can order the booklet through my website at  Click on the Star Athletes Online tab, and it will provide information about Star Athletes Online and will provide the link to order the booklet.  If you order the booklet (and this is relevant for others that read this post as well), you can also e-mail me at and I’ll attach an updated version of the booklet as well.

The direct website for Star Athletes Online is  Among the other information that is provided here is a database of the many colleges throughout the country.  It’s a quick way to gather information about many schools.

Now that my (shameless) plug is completed, I would suggest that you begin by asking your son a whole series of questions.  His answers to the questions will help provide a guide to your process.  There are many questions to ask (and have your son answer), but here are a few:

What do I want to study?

Where do I want to live?

Is it more important for me to have an opportunity to play, or to be a part of a winning team?  Or both?

Are the values of the members of the team similar to my own values?  Do I really like these teammates as people?

Does my style of play fit the style of play of the team?

What size of school - and what size of classroom - fits me?

Do I really get along with the Coach?  Do I respect him and his values?

There are many others, but it’s important for your son to ask himself these questions - and give honest answers.

From the viewpoint of a Father, you will probably want to find out about scholarships and the total cost of tuition, room, board, books and fees.  Also - and this is important - please understand that there is much - and I mean MUCH - more academic scholarship money that is given than there is athletic scholarship money.  Look into the various sources of scholarship money and grants. 

Also, please make sure to understand the difference between a grant and a loan.  Here’s an incredible statistic: student loan debt has now surpassed credit card debt in America.  Be careful about putting yourself and/or your son in a circumstance where you take on too much loan debt.

Best wishes, and thank you for following along with the Small College Basketball blog. 



Sep 14


U.S. wins Basketball World Cup with 129-92 victory over Serbia -