A Class of Gentlemen

ESPN.com currently has on its NBA page a mock draft application that shows different scenarios depending on the way the lottery goes.  I’m a Knicks fan so I wanted to see our chances of getting Michael Beasley.  However, I realized early on something more interesting – all of the players being chosen as the top 14 “picks” were not even close to being seniors.  All but one player was a freshman or sophomore and he was Italian.  The only reason why most of these guys are in college is because of the 1 year rule instated by the NBA.  Names like Eric Gordon, Derrick Rose, and OJ Mayo continually popped up.  No Pitt guys showed up, not that I was expecting that at all.  But I realized something very interesting about our team and the guys who come to Pitt.  It is something that people have pointed out time and time again, but it is something very important.

We don’t get McDonald’s All-Americans and our guys don’t become superstars in the NBA.  I know and I’m proud of that.  Ronald and Keith might not have turned out the way  we had hoped and Mike’s story is just tragic, but they stayed.  I know they didn’t have reasons to leave, but their commitment to the program is something to be admired.  The commitment started with guys like Brandin Knight and Chevy Troutman and everyone in between (except Chris Taft – he slept through the class on loyalty and respect).  We never have the most talented guys and, like I said, I know that this argument has been made many times before.  However, I would take Ronald Ramon, a shooting guard who has lost his shot, over Michael Beasley or Eric Gordon or any of those future lottery picks any day.  I would rather lose with Keith than win with Jerryd Bayless.  Ronald, Keith, Mike, and even Maurice have great memories of Pitt and their playing days here that they can look back on.  I doubt that these lottery pick superstars have the same attachment to their schools.
Whereas Beasley can only say he played a year at K-State, Ronald and Keith and all of the guys that go all the way through this program can say that they are Pitt men.  These players have every right to leave early and I agree with their reasons.  I just feel sorry for the fans at these schools.  I can also say that I am a Pitt man and I am proud that these seniors represent my school.  In all likelihood, K-State will not win the NCAA tournament so at the end of the day, its fans have nothing to share with Michael Beasley.  He has used them as a pit stop, a proverbial weigh station.  It’s out of the way of his ultimate goal, but he has to do it.  He will never be brought to tears by the sight of adoring fans who have shared his highs and lows or share a connection with a coach that stood by his side at his most vulnerable time.  That is something that cannot be replaced by a shoe deal or a signing bonus.
I will not be at the game tomorrow and I am very upset about it.  I wish I could be there to give these gentlemen of Pitt their proper appreciation.  These four gentlemen have given their time and effort to Pitt and for that I thank them.  Keith, Ronald, Mike, and Maurice will probably never play in the NBA, but knowing that they gave all they could to the team and to the fans is all I could ever ask for.
To you four men, I say thank you.
Hail to Pitt

7 Responses to “A Class of Gentlemen”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    if beasley was let out of his loi from k-state he would have come to pitt.

  2. max greenwald Says:

    I had heard that. I would have obviously welcomed him, but I think it’s clear that his personality would not have fit our system. He has been criticized for getting lazy and I’m sure that Jamie and the fans would not have put up with that.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    I’d take Bayless over Benjamin. Sorry.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    I’m sorry, but Beasley isn’t lazy. He leads the nation in boards and is third in scoring. That’s not lazy. You want lazy? Maurice Polen is lazy. He sits on the bench all game long.

  5. DPJ Says:

    Do we really have to keep posting anonymously? Just throw your name out there, it’s not that big of a deal.

  6. max greenwald Says:

    Beasley may have great stats, but he is clearly playing for himself.My personal feeling is that college sports is not all about winning. I think it is far greater to see guys who aren’t as naturally talented fight to get to a place of prominence than to have one superstar who has ulterior motives.Seeing Keith step it up when Levance and Mike went down was truly inspiring. I am proud that our team did not give up on this season like they could have. Their last few games before DePaul have left something to be desired but I admire their intensity.College sports are more about skill and stats. I think the guys that come through our program realize that.

  7. Jay Fanelli Says:

    Listen, I’m a Pitt grad and I love Ramon and Benjamin as much as the next guy, but if you’d rather have them than Michael Beasley, you’re a delusional fanboy. Without Beasley, we’re a 7-seed that’ll get bounced in the second round. With Beasley (and no Fields injury) this team maybe wins the national championship.

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