There are a lot of things I've seen in my life that I never thought I'd see. The Berlin Wall falling. Missouri coming within one game of playing for a national title.
Nebraska winning an NCAA tournament game.
All those things were shocking. But I truly never, ever thought I'd see little ol' K-State accused of leading the college athletics arms race. Maybe Whitlock is tired of talking about Texas, Texas A&M, Nebraska and the Royals and their Godzillatrons. Maybe summer is just boring him. It's clearly boring me, as I'm writing weekly posts about music I remember from the 1990s.
But frankly, I find it quite absurd that K-State is being mentioned by anybody as one of the principal causes of college athletics' version of the race to the bottom (or top, depending on your point of view). I find it absurd, even while I predicted that something like this was coming when I read that Dalonte Hill had been signed to a $420,000 per year contract.
I find this particularly absurd, because K-State ranks 11th in the Big 12 in money spent on sports, and spends significantly less than half the amount that Texas spends. Accusing K-State of contributing to the NCAA's version of the Cold War is kind of like accusing hybrid cars of being significant contributors to global climate change. We really haven't been given much of a choice in this whole deal. If we don't spend all the money we possibly can, we're doomed to failure. K-State has to spend every cent it can just to keep up.
But further, is Whitlock right? Are we really taking a huge flier on an unproven commodity? I'd say at this point Dalonte Hill's skills are pretty well known. He has great connections to the D.C. Assault AAU team. That team has produced Michael Beasley. It also boasts Wally Judge and Rodney McGruder, both of whom (surprise!) are quite interested in K-State. While I doubt D.C. Assault is going to stop producing top-shelf talent anytime soon, Hill has also shown he can branch out with the recruitment of Latavious Williams. The point is, I don't think Hill is that much of an unproven commodity.
Another accusation leveled at us is that we're spending a lot of money and not getting anything out of it. Specifically, we got Michael Beasley, who only stayed a year and whose team produced a second-round tournament exit. First of all, considering that was our best season in 20 years, I'm not sure we really got cheated. Ask Rick Barnes if he felt cheated by what he got out of Kevin Durant, which is essentially what we got out of Beasley and the team on which he played. While KU can boast its Danny Manning, and his house in Lawrence, and the fact that he still helps coach the team, the ghost of Michael Beasley is going to hover over K-State basketball for quite a while. Not only did his presence and attitude breathe life into a long-dormant program, it seems it's already helping us in future recruiting endeavors. I'll happily take the benefit of that bargain.
Whitlock also points out that we're paying Hill a lot more than that school down the river pays its assistant coaches. I'll go ahead and swallow my pride here: we have to do something to make K-State a more attractive destination. At this point, all we really have on our side is a tradition that few remember. Granted, it's an impressive tradition of which all K-Staters should be proud. But until we prove that K-State is a place where you can come in and compete for Big 12 titles and make deep NCAA tournament runs, we're going to have to do something else to attract good coaches and recruiters. Spending a little money seems like a pretty logical course of action.
As I sit here at the end of this, I'm not really sure why I bother typing up these responses. They're really following a pattern at this point. Writing stuff like this has been Whitlock's m.o. for about as many years as I've been alive. I'm not going to convince him he's wrong or stupid, and it's not my intention to attempt to do so. And I really doubt I'm writing anything that any of you haven't already thought. In the end, it's a wordy, drawn-out version of "this guy sucks" vs. "we'll see."