For 10YS and much of The Bahamas, this year’s B4A tournament is about Deandre
Ayton. He’s a unicorn, a prospect like we’ve never had before (forget any other
comparison) and it seems almost surreal that he’s so good at such a young age with almost limitless potential.
There is a clear distinction between the type of person who sees himself as the underdog that overcomes the obstacles and succeeds despite the odds. This
is the type of person that most of us identify with. It’s the type of protagonist put forth in movies because everyone sees part of themselves in this character archetype, the common man.
Deandre Ayton is not common.
Expectations are already high, and the goal of being the number one pick, having a successful NBA career, and making the Hall of Fame have already been heaped on his shoulders at the age of 19. To have these expectations AND live up to them is the purview of only the greats. Players like, Jordan, Shaq, LeBron have always had the expectations of greatness but the fact that they lived up to their superstardom is rarer than we realize. This is the framing that Ayton will have to deal with for the rest of his career.
Millennials are often derided for habits they’ve developed during the internet age, but there are benefits for college athletes and players like Ayton. Growing up with less privacy and in the age where everyone assumes their thoughts and posts are meaningful allows you to learn from mistakes and develop into someone that is well adjusted to what can happen when your persona goes awry.
It’s why this current class of NBA rookies seems more mature at such a young age, and it’s why the current iteration of college athletes seems less likely to go astray. They’ve evolved in an era where everywhere is “famous” so they’re more accustomed to dealing with “fame.” They’ve played out the scenario in their heads thousands of times, both upsides and downsides. They’ve done this time after time. So here we are, that’s the frame of the college athlete in 2017 – the labor is free, the real education is out of the classroom and the competition is fierce.
On to the tournament…
Tennessee Volunteers vs. (18) Purdue Boilermakers
From its inception B4A has always fielded an impressive list of teams. It’s the place ranked teams come to get tested. Iron sharpens Iron here. This isn’t about November, this is about March.
Eighteenth ranked Purdue falls to unranked Tennessee and we get our first upset right away. At B4A always trust the team wearing orange to make some noise (Looking at you Syracuse). How is Tennessee beating anyone with those stripped pants they wear in warmups? That’s the real question here. I’m convinced none of the Tennessee starters wears those pants, they gave them away to family members. There’s no way Allan Houston wore those pants. When the first game goes into
overtime you know this isn’t going to be an easy road for anyone.
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers vs. (5) Villanova Wildcats
Dwight Coleby made his return home to B4A with the Hilltoppers,
unfortunately, they’re facing the 5th ranked Wildcats a program with national title pedigree and a B4A title from 2013.
Coleby played well getting 12 and 10, but it wasn’t enough in the second half as
Nova pulled away and moved on to the winner’s bracket. The Nova guards were, of course, dominant because well it’s Villanova.
Meanwhile Nal and Randy are sending me videos to post on IG. I mean, obviously Nal doesn’t really post on social media so can’t blame him, but Young Randolph how dare you…not be able to frame pics in 2017.
(2)Arizona Wildcats vs. NC State Wolfpack
The stands were packed; the energy in the arena was palpable. I’d told one of my friends earlier that Ayton was about to drop 30 points in the game and the cats would win by 10. I was expecting a coronation.
For some reason Ayton didn’t get the hammer introduction in his home county, must be reserved for the senior players. But why though?
Despite Arizona’s superior talent, NC State will not go away. In the first half it’s clear
that the NC State’s guards are missing their big men rolling to the rim, Arizona seems completely lost on defense for most of the first half. Seems like an easy coaching fix on both ends right? Right? RIGHT?!?!!?
We (Randy) get distracted because Shaq walks in and pause but well he’s bigger in
person. Randy then attempts to take 18 selfies with Shaq and post it on all forms of social media. I wish I was making this up. Can’t believe he’s our plug. He didn’t even say pause once.
In the second half ISO Zo wakes up but Arizona’s defense doesn’t get any better. It’s
worth noting that ZO’s shoes are fire though. The Wildcats end up giving up 90 points to NC State. Ayton finishes with a stat line 27 points and 14 rebounds but is going to fall short of being the first Bahamian player to win the B4A championship. Arizona may have Rawle Alkins coming back this season, but the success of the team will depend on its defensive attitude and Ayton’s growth in his role as the team’s anchor.
Yes, Arizona took an L here in The Bahamas and won’t win the tournament but much better now than in March you know when you’re playing Duke.
Northern Iowa Panthers vs. SMU Mustangs
We’re running on fumes right now. So quick observations:
Northern Iowa has a guy with the last name Koch on his jersey so immediately Nal brings up the Koch brothers and we rename the team the Republicans…for obvious reasons.
He then drops a series of awful puns. This is my life.
“I bet he’ll be lobbying for calls”
“I expected his game to be more….conservative”
“He goes RIGHT every time. Nice.”
“He cuts to the rim like Paul Ryan cuts taxes for the rich.”