College basketball: All-College ideas
For the Friday Oklahoman, I wrote about the declining relevancy of the All-College Basketball Classic. You can read it here. My solution – what I consider the only solution – is an all-Bedlam All-College. But I got a few emails from readers who still have an emotional attachment to the All-College and had some ideas. I thought I would share them.
Michael: “One of my best childhood memories was seeing Pistol Pete Maravich in the All-College. Seeing him made me fall in love with basketball. I learned to do all of the Pistol Pete drills. (The coach at Boley told me once that I could not be all-white because of the way that I played basketball.) I think that the best idea to save the All-College would be to invite regional teams. Inviting New Mexico/New Mexico State or Wichita State/Missouri State or Louisiana Tech/SMU or most logically Tulsa/ORU would be games that are competitive and have some appeal. All of the above teams would love to be on television. A&M and Arkansas would be great choices as well. If OU and OSU signed a two-for-one deal with ORU/Tulsa then one year OU could play Tulsa at the All-College and the next play ORU. OSU would play the flip. The third year when they both play in Tulsa, then invite two of the other school that I mentioned.”
Those days are gone, my friend. People in Tulsa are hard-pressed to get interested in ORU and Tulsa. New Mexico and New MexicoState? I don’t know if they sell out playing each other in Albuquerque. WichitaState and MissouriState? MissouriState played in Stillwater, and nobody cared. This is not an All-College problem. This is a college basketball problem.
Dennis: “Of course the AllCollege is worth saving. As we rightfully reflect on the contributions of Ken Trickey, are the traditions of Bill Russell, Pete Maravich, Willie Lanier (actually Bob Lanier), Calvin Murphy, Rich Travis, Wayman Tisdale and Abe Lemons not worth continuing?
“I am in favor of any format that keeps the All-College alive. If that is Bedlam, fine. But where is Tulsa, ORU and especially OCU in this do-not-resuscitate discussion? Here is a suggestion for the All Sports Association (who owe their existence to the All College). We may not be able to compete with the big money, sandy beach tournaments, so what? We would not have the Women’s College World Series if the prevailing attitude had been ‘it’s not the real World Series.’ So let Oklahoma City grow with small ball. Let us have the premier Division II Holiday Tournament. The smaller schools no longer have a Holiday Tournament now that the Gem City Jam has decided against holiday spirit. Or, how about the nation’s best women’s holiday basketball tournament?
“Let’s appreciate what took 77 years to build, really good round ball, at any level. Matchups that can be seen no where else. Let us ‘secure, promote, create, execute, host’ and continue to bring amateur sports excellence to Oklahoma City.”
You know, I like the attitude. I like the ideas. Revamp the All-College. A women’s tournament? Probably not. Couldn’t get OU to move its Vanderbilt game to OKC, so I don’t think you’re going to get a four-team tournament. But it’s certainly worth a look. But the small college tournament has legs. OCU, Southern Nazarene, Oklahoma Christian, Oklahoma Baptist. Maybe that has possibility. It’s not going to replicate Pistol Pete and three days at State Fair Arena. It’s not going to be Wayman Tisdale or Bob Lanier or Robert Parish. But maybe it has promise.
Bill: “I just finished reading your All-College story, and as a long-time attendee of that classic until I lost my sight and moved out of town to find a job in ‘88, I found it very sad and disheartening to see where it has wound up. Seems to me maybe the All Sports Association needs some new and revitalized blood with new and creative ideas to come in and spice things up. Because while events like the Women’s College World Series and various conference and regional college sports are great and have made homes for themselves in OKC.
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