Maybe we ought to stop hyping these kids.
Maybe we ought to stop rating them.
Maybe they aren't as good as we thought they were.
Maybe they aren't mature enough to handle it all.
Maybe they ought to top reading and start playing.
Maybe the analysts who overanalyze and the anonymous Internet contributors who are eager to communicate their partisan opinions will back off and chill out.
All of the usual suspects were on display during the holidays and--guess what?--the critics agreed that they revealed more minuses than pluses. In short, if there is a dominant player in the mix, he didn't emerge from the pack. Maybe he won't.
Look at the class of 2011, for example. The sophomores have been touted as potentially the best class produced in Illinois since 1979 and 1998.
Is Wayne Blackshear as good as Nelison "Nick" Anderson was as a sophomore? Is Tracy Abrams as good as Bill "Quinn" Buckner was as a sophomore? Is Mike Shaw as good as George Wilson or Glen Grunwald were as sophomores? Not even close.
How about the juniors?
Is Jereme Richmond, who is rated among the top 10 juniors in the nation, as good as Mark Aguirre was as a junior? Is Meyers Leonard in a class with George Wilson? Is Lenzelle Smith as good as Marcus Liberty was as a junior?
And the seniors?
How do Darius Smith and Chris Colvin compare to Isiah Thomas, Ronnie Lester, Sam Puckett. Paxton Lumpkin, Kiwane Garris and Derrick Rose as point guards? Who would you take, Jack Cooley or Jim Brewer? Brandon Paul is very athletic but is he in a class with Kenny Battle, Ronnie Fields, Sergio McClain, Cazzie Russell or LaMarr Thomas? Matt Vogrich is a splendid shooter but is he better than Billy Harris, Jay Shidler or Jon Scheyer?
The problem with many of the critics who are comparing A to B to C today is their knowledge of the game began in the 1980s or 1990s. To them, that is history. They fail to recognize the fact that the best players of the 1950s and 1960s--Lumpkin, Wilson, Russell, LaMarr Thomas, Sweet Charlie Brown, Tom Hawkins and many others--possessed the quickness and athleticism to make the transition to today's game.
The problem is today's overhyped and sometimes overrated stars don't have a clue who those players were. And that's a shame.