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Jay Bilas Interview

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham
The Truth Network Radio
April 28, 2020 3:43 pm

Jay Bilas Interview

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham

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April 28, 2020 3:43 pm

Jay Bilas joined The Drive with Josh Graham to discuss how he decorated his office for his web hit, Wake basketball's search for their new head coach, and more.

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As we all know at this point, there's just one major conference school to make a coaching change this offseason in college basketball. That was Wake Forest firing Danny Manning over the weekend and Jay Billis is here to share his thoughts on the subject.

Jay, the time's always appreciated. Aside from being one of the primary voices on college basketball for EA, ESPN, you knew Danny when he was a player. Your son was a captain for one of Danny's Deacon teams. So when you saw the headline and the timing of it Saturday, what was your reaction?

And they decided to make a change. But that doesn't change how I feel about Danny Manning and how he conducts himself and the influence that he's been not only on the game but on his players and specifically my son. To have him as a coach and a teacher and a mentor for his four years was just phenomenal for my son Anthony. Give me a specific story that Anthony has shared with you that speaks to what you're talking about, Danny Manning, the mentor.

Well, I don't think it requires a specific story. It's just I think when you're around someone every day that exhibits all the great qualities of a leader and puts other people first, which Danny's always done. I think that that just speaks volumes about the kind of man Danny is. We spent some time earlier this week with Wes Durham, with Chris Pitola, talking about this specific subject, the subject of criteria, because I feel like at a place that's as different as Wake Forest is geographically with the teams that are next to him, the conference, the academics, the size of the school, I think fit is everything in this type of circumstance. What do you think John Curry's criteria should be in this time?

Well, fit is everything everywhere. There are a number of coaches that could do a good job at Wake Forest. It's been a number of years, I think, since the school has asked different coaches to take over different situations in the past probably 10, 12 years. And really, there have been a number of decisions since Skip Prosser passed away that have led to Wake Forest being in this position.

But it really doesn't matter what's happened in the past. What matters is, you know, wherever the starting blocks are, you have to make the best possible decision now. It's a difficult time to do this because of what we're dealing with with COVID-19, but it's not impossible. And so there are a number of really good candidates out there that I think would have great interest in the job. And it's just up to John Curry and whatever decision makers he's relying on to make the best possible decision. When you talk about challenges there, I think, obviously, financially, there are challenges in college sports. I think about just limitations that state and federal governments have on you trying to get in touch with people, trying to travel, obviously. And also coaches trying to look at what type of AAU season there's going to be, what can they do in recruiting.

What do you think to be the biggest challenge Curry faces in this spot? Everybody faces the same challenge. We're all dealing with this pandemic at the same time. It's not like anybody had a heads up about it and was able to do anything different. Wake Forest is in the same boat as everybody else. So I don't consider this to be any sort of list the challenges decision. Wake understood what the challenges were when they made the decision. So I would imagine all their ducks are in a row already.

So this shouldn't be that difficult. It's Jay Bilas with us here from ESPN. When you saw the NBA's new developmental path announcement from a few weeks ago, who did you think of first in terms of who was most effective? Was it college basketball or maybe guys like RJ Hampton who might have considered going overseas versus staying in the States?

Well, I didn't think about anybody in particular. It's a global decision. So it was a decision made by the NBA that was in the NBA's best business interests. And it is certainly not going to be a good decision for the business interests of college basketball. College basketball is going to be affected negatively. Now, there are those that would say, well, college basketball survived not having Kobe Bryant and LeBron James and the like.

Well, the issue isn't survival. I don't think any reasonable person suggested college basketball wasn't going to survive. But college basketball is going to be diminished by not having the best players. And so I don't think any reasonable basketball person would try to posit that college basketball would have been better off without Kevin Durant and Kevin Love and Derek Rose and Zion Williamson and all these great players that were in college for a short period of time or a relatively short period of time. Of course, it made college basketball better. But it certainly will continue to do just fine.

And it's not going to be diminished to the point where nobody's going to care about it at all. But it's a problem for the NCAA in that it's additional competition. And it's going to mean that resources are going to be expended by top institutions that are recruiting players that will never show up to campus at all.

And so you're not going to be able to make those determinations in time. And so you're going to have to recruit. And it's going to be back the way it was back when the one and done rule didn't exist. And that 10 year period, which, you know, frankly, recruiting was a mess. And it's going to go back to that where recruiting is going to be a mess again.

It doesn't mean we can't handle it, we can handle it. But it'll be messy and there's no reason for it from the college standpoint. College needs to allow the players. First of all, we need to be more welcoming for players and not put up as many barriers.

But we need to allow them to make money and without restriction and to have agents and to participate in the marketplace. Because if they're not allowed to do that, they're not going to go at all. And I can't imagine that institutions of higher learning need to take the stance of, well, if you don't want to come for four years in a row and be Shane Battier or Bill Bradley, we don't want you at all.

That's a stance that I don't think educators should be taking. And I'm wondering what the NBA's motivation is to get involved in this, Jay, because when I think about, yeah, it benefits college basketball that Zion Williamson's in it. And but I'd also argue it benefits the NBA that he's on the radar and he gets the exposure based on the TV deals that ESPN and other companies have with college basketball. And Zion's able to step in and become a star despite having not played the first half an NBA season.

I don't know if that happens if you're playing in the G-Link. So what do you think is the NBA's motivation to put together paths for prospects that might deviate them from going to college? Well, first of all, Zion Williamson was famous before he ever got to college. He had 250 or 300 thousand Instagram followers before he ever got to college. That's in high school. So these players, just because you or someone else may not know them doesn't mean they're not known.

They're known. And you could make you could have made the same argument about LeBron James, that LeBron James didn't go to college and have the marketing machine of the NCAA prop him up. Didn't need it. And neither did Zion. Now, the reason the NBA is doing this is because it gives them greater control over the development of the top players, that they're being put in an NBA environment coached by NBA coaches and allowed to develop on that track where basketball is their only concern. It's not you know, they're not serving sort of the NCAA's purpose of being touted as a student athlete and being limited to even though it's a phony restriction, but limited to 20 hours a week of the job that they're there to do for. And that's all for PR purposes and my my humble judgment.

But that's why they're doing it. It's a good business decision for the NBA, you know, for them to be able to take Zion Williamson for five hundred thousand dollars and then help shape him. And they get then they have him there to scout. So everybody gets a look at him, whatever they want, including practices and all that, which isn't necessarily the case with with college players. So it's a it's it's a good decision for the NBA.

It's just not a good decision, a helpful decision for college. Jay Bilas of ESPN with us on Sports Hub Triad. It was either a week or two ago we had Johnny Dawkins here and he was describing the intensity of these fall practices or make them scrimmages that you guys had pickup games between North Carolina players, both at Carmichael and also at Cameron back when you guys were playing in the 80s. He was specifically, I think, talking about the one where you guys first showed up on campus.

Jordan just hit the shot in 82 and it was right before that season started. How would you describe these pickup games in the fall with Michael Jordan? They were great. They were very intense. But, you know, pickup ball was was always intense.

We felt back then. But it was just having the Duke Carolina thing where we were friendly, but not friends. You might have known a couple of guys, but but there was always that arm's length distance between the two, the two teams. And so it was it was really, you know, sort of a great competitive environment. Yeah, we'd go over to Carmichael play. I think we played in Woolen Gym a little bit, too.

And then they'd come over to Cameron or our card gym to play. So it was just really, really a good, you know, good experience. I don't even know who set it up. I think it's probably Johnny Dawkins and David Henderson that that would set it up each each time that they came over. We went over there.

But it was really a great experience for all of us. Who was calling fouls? Just normal pickup where where everybody calls fouls. You know, if you get fouled, you call it. You know, it's not that it wasn't like we had to have some sort of edict on how to play pickup is pretty simple. I think he described one time Jordan, his team got beaten.

And of course, in pickup, you have to sit out and wait a little bit before you could get back on the floor. And he I think Johnny described it as MJ walking to the farthest corner of Cameron and not talking to anybody completely despondent. And then when he came back in, it was almost like the game when he dropped 32 later on you guys. When you played in the regular season, he just had it just clicked.

It just clicked and it turned on. Well, what's the best story you have on the floor with him, Jeff? In college?

Yeah. Yeah, I would say probably the time that he hit his head on the backboard. You know, we had some some really intense games, especially in 1984 when, you know, he was last year there. He hit his head on the backboard in a game in 1983. And then in 1984, we had a double overtime game at Carmichael where he was he was amazing.

Really wound up winning the game, I thought, for for Carolina in his last game at Carmichael. But, you know, any time you're on the floor with him, he he did something extraordinary. Just he was just that type of player and where you really couldn't compare him to anybody else. He was unique in not only his skills, but how hard he played all the time.

And and he was just, you know, he was relentless when, you know, you didn't really know what relentless looked like. You know, you heard the term, but never had seen it before. That was the first time I'd seen it.

Jay Bilas, when I see you on TV, I see you have one of I think actually someone did like the office ranks, like the background that you have and the books on the shelf. And you even have a Wilson volleyball there, which I really respect. It's actually a basketball. Oh, it's basketball.

Yeah, it's a basketball. My wife painted it. I live in a house full of artists. My wife's a professional artist.

My daughter is. So my wife decided if I was going to be stuck up in that office doing sports center hits through all of March and April, that I'd have some company. So she painted me a Wilson on a basketball. Hopefully you don't go stir crazy. WILSON! Let's hope it doesn't end up that way.

I think we're all a little stir crazy. Jay, thank you so much for spending the time in the Triad. It's appreciated. Always a pleasure. Thank you. That's Jay Bilas of ESPN. Follow him on Twitter at Jay Bilas. Coming up, three rumors regarding Cam Newton and the Wake basketball search that I just want to put away right now. This is The Drive.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-11 20:16:26 / 2023-02-11 20:21:54 / 5

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