Call this blog taking a small page out of a popular late 1980’s computer video game when all of the madcap adventures would eventually be shown on PBS with, “Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego?”
Now that we have self-immersed ourselves in that catchy theme music for pure nostalgic purposes, my guess is after several virtual makeovers and maybe hanging out with a few Playboy models back at the Mansion in Holmby Hills, California for the better part of a quarter century (you know who you ladies are, wink wink;), she has been actively on the hunt pursuing college coaches that are willing and able to take their acts overseas to foreign countries.
All of these trips are not just for show and sightseeing. It’s mostly about business.
For example, Shaka Smart and Texas will be playing Washington in China. The week of Veteran’s Day, several programs will be playing on barracks and on ships at sea in front of appreciative military members of around 200 or so as ESPN cameras highlight the current war veterans trying their best to make our lives safer each and every day. There will even be some games on the anniversary of one of our darkest days of the 20th century, as that area surrounding Pearl Harbor in Hawaii will hold special games both on December 7 of this year and when the 75th anniversary of that surprise attack come 2016.
One of the real reasons why coaches take their schools overseas, especially when they play AAU or similar club teams like in Europe or Australia during the not-so-busy time in the heat of summer is to build comradery and teamwork. More often than not, the final score does not matter in the grand scheme of things. It is about forming the building blocks of potential NCAA Tournament greatness, working out any kinks or tendencies to make plays work and execute better defensively.
And even with Kentucky coach John Calipari doing the athletic mini-version of War and Peace, all we learned about their record 38 game winning streak was that he used a “platoon system” of up to ten guys during games. His entire online rant can be seen on his website for your instant review, just fyi.
Even with CBSSports.com rehashing the fact that UK has lost out to several blue-chip recruits, the well is far from being dry after seven players from the 2015 Final Four team have decided to enter the NBA Draft. Kentucky will more than likely go seven deep, meaning very few substitutions on paper. Of course, the unlikely cases of players getting injured of suspended for any academic or student relations issue (no matter how great the severity of the act in question) could raise some interesting red flags by the time we get to December when all of the pre-season holiday tournaments are usually the first indicator on which crop of 20, 25, 30 or so schools have resumes worthy enough of not only reaching the Tournament, but also making deeper runs into the Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight, or quite possibly the Final Four as well.
Bottom line, it is more than a numbers game–and it won’t come down just to converting American dollars into other foreign currencies before the players and coaching staffs have to get their passports stamped and approved just so they can get the privilege to play in foreign lands and spread the international flavor to other 18 to 22 year old men that might be willing enough to someday fork over a few thousand dollars so they can get a quality education and maybe someday become the next Uwe Blab, Hakeem Olajuwon, Dikembe Mutombo, or Luol Deng.
Something to think about over the next several months. Thanks for reading.