This past Christmas break brought me a lot of joy. Not only was I not having to go to class, but I was able to catch some college basketball. You could say that I jumped on the #JabariSafari bandwagon even more than at the start of some conference battles. But it left me with questions. It left me wanting more.
Will we ever see a powerhouse team in college basketball again? That one program that is going to bring titles and trophies back home year in and year out? John Calipari thinks he has that figured out with getting all the top recruits and having them mesh for a year before they make millions, but can he really build greatness from that?
Since players started entering the draft after high school or one year of college, there has only been one repeat of champions. That was the University of Florida in 2006 and 2007. The closest team to that accomplishment could be Butler University, which lost two years in a row in the title game.
You just don’t see it anymore, folks, but as much as we tend to hate the teams that win year in and year out, I wouldn’t mind some program having the same players lifting the trophy as they earn their education.
The top programs are able to offer the top recruits everything that will help them get drafted, hopefully to a team where they can be successful. But what can the smaller schools, such as Wichita State, Butler and the original Gonzaga, have to offer? A chance to win every year — not only conference championships, but games deep in the tournament.
Those coaches have to recruit differently. They search for players who will not only help the program at the moment, but also be developed into more than they can imagine.
We have something like that going on right now. Kyle Tresnak, Davion Berry, Jordan Richardson and Byron Fulton, all seniors, put us in the position to win this year. But if you look a bit deeper, the future is bright.
Coach Randy Rahe and his staff have the makings of something special, not only this year but for many years to come. Rahe’s recruiting skills have put the program in line for a great future. Of course, it helps when you find Damian Lilliard, who takes the NBA by storm and wins Rookie of the Year, but it goes further than that.
Jeremy Senglin was the first true freshman to start on opening day for the Wildcats since the ’70s. Joel Bolomboy still has two-and-a-half years of ripping the rims down and owning the paint. It seems like Richaud Gittens will be soon getting the hashtag #thatboygittenup trending as he continues to light up the Dee with his highlight-reel dunks.
The best part for Wildcat fans is that the best is yet to come, as Rahe and his staff have shown in the past that they can develop players and elevate their games. Building team chemistry and having players around for more than one year will benefit programs. Weber State will show that soon enough.