Friday, April 6, 2012

A PSA On the Rhetoric of "Readiness" and Why A Lot of People Should Probably Stop Talking

Listen up, kids.
When CBS's Jeff Goodman first "broke" the story that Trey Burke was going pro, it had all the signs of a story we'd heard before. Of course, by that I mean "journalists trying to be the first to break something that is only pseudo-fact at the time." Even if Trey ends up going pro, I have a hard time giving Goodman (or any other person that does this sort of thing) credit for breaking this story; that would be like giving yourself credit for the fact that your car had been cleaned despite the fact that it was the hard rain that did it and not you. The ends do not necessarily follow logically from the means.

This is all to say that this thing is ongoing despite the little "insider" tidbits that the Internet can offer us, such as a picture of Trey Burke's West Quad room, full of packed bags and a pervading sense of finality. Newsflash: I bet you a significant percentage of college dorms can look like that on a regular basis. Seriously. In college, it's normal to put your dirty laundry in garbage bags, right next to the mountain of Cottage Inn boxes. College is a weird place.

Then you've got texts from hockey players saying that Trey hasn't been in class for some time, and insider reports claiming, first, that Trey was definitely gone only to at some point thereafter have a "change of heart." This is all like watching the sausage get made, and I feel about this sort of how I'm starting to feel about recruiting: let me know when it's over and done. When it comes to recruiting, I'm no longer interested in the pointless minutiae that seems to drive adults to insanity and/or e-anger. Likewise, these NBA early entry situations, of which we've now had two in as many years, just seem so tiresome. Let me know when it's over and let the kid make his decision in peace.

"Can I have some peace and quiet, fergodsakes?"
We all knew this was an inevitable, that Trey would strongly consider leaving, and that although he is certainly not a top 10 prospect, that doesn't mean that he necessarily shouldn't leave even if there's no guarantee that he's, say, a top 20 guy. Maybe he should leave, maybe he shouldn't. This is a difficult decision, one that could irrevocably alter the path of a young man's life, for better or worse. The problem with this entire thing, for me, is the entire concept of "readiness." He's not ready, people will say, as they said after Morris decided to leave the friendly confines of Ann Arbor.

To that I say, with all due respect: please be quiet. Not only is this patronizingly offensive, it must be incredibly annoying for Trey, who is faced with what is probably the most difficult decision of his life. Think how he must feel, to have all the people that were rooting for him all year claiming that "he's not ready," that he's not good enough right now or would be foolish to try to jump to the NBA. Of course, the Internet being what it is, I've even seen some people go as far as calling Trey and his thought process "stupid," while others have expressed a good riddance sort of sentiment, which is horrible. They'll have you know that they're just sick of "all of these one and dones," which is hilarious for so may reasons. Continuing to exclaim that he's not ready is just so transparently selfish, but hey, this is a guy that plays for a team we root for, which seems like it gives some folks the feeling that they have free rein to act like an insufferable moron when someone like Trey Burke does something UNSPEAKABLE, like trying to parlay a lifetime of work and a season of essentially pro bono play at Michigan into an NBA career. How dare he do something that is contrary to my selfish interests as Some Guy On The Internet!

Imagine if, on any given day, a horde of anonymous maniacs was allowed to run into your office building and crowd you in your little cubicle, yelling that YOU'RE NOT READY to ask for that raise or YOU'RE NOT ENOUGH OF AN ENERGETIC SELF-STARTER TO MAKE IT IN THE WORLD OF MIDDLE MANAGEMENT. That would be a very not nice thing and you would be saddened indeed.

Then, there are things like this. Simply horrible from beginning to end:
I'm not here to give you an opinion, Trey. I'm here to state facts.
/proceeds to basically give opinion

Pst, Bob...nobody cares. That goes for the rest of you out there who continue to, seemingly without shame, rag on Trey for attempting to pursue his dream while offering passive-aggressive "advice." I understand people worrying that Trey is getting bad advice from someone out there, but I guarantee that more often than not this "concern" is a cover for an expression of personal interests (i.e. that Trey comes back and wins Michigan some more games, because that's all that matters).

Have some self-respect and support the guy, no matter what his decision ends up being. Believe it or not, there is in fact a compelling argument for him to enter the draft, even if it might be contrary to your personal wants, Guy on The Internet. As far as the case for jumping to the NBA goes:

  • Morris's NBA trajectory thus far is completely irrelevant to Trey's situation. 
  • There are very few point guards in this draft class that are obviously better than Trey and/or had better 2011-12 seasons. 
  • There are multiple NBA teams looking for a capable backup PG, with some even looking for a #1 guy. 
  • The potential for injury (knock on wood). 
  • Potential for a sophomore slump, as Trey's friend Jared Sullinger can attest to. 
  • While I have significant criticisms of the NBA, I don't think there's any denying that the only way Trey will get an order of magnitude or two better than he currently is is by playing NBA competition. Simply existing in Ann Arbor is not going make him any taller, and he can work on his outside shot, physique, and defense in the NBA just as well as he could in Ann Arbor. 

This just can't keep happening every time a Michigan player thinks about leaving early. I know we haven't had much experience with this sort of thing of late, but if Beilein's coaching of Morris and Burke is any indication, we haven't seen the last of this. Get used to it, because this is how things are for successful programs in modern college basketball. I would love for Trey to stay and improve his game in Ann Arbor, but if he chooses not to, that's okay. As for the people essentially writing next year off...well, you're probably the same people giving Trey flak for thinking about leaving.

Appreciate the good times that guys like Trey and Darius have given us, as Michigan fans, and stop acting like a petulant child. If this doesn't apply to you, then keep on keepin' on. That is all.

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