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I Got Game
Leigh Montville
December 02, 1996
As college basketball takes over the TV schedule, only the clich�s outnumber the contests
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December 02, 1996

I Got Game

As college basketball takes over the TV schedule, only the clich�s outnumber the contests

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"I'm not afraid to Go to the Floor," I say. "I'm not afraid to Set a Pick. Give and Go. Double-Down. Shake and Bake. Work Without the Ball. Run the Break. Jump-start the Offense. I'll get free with my Drop Step down low, my Crossover Dribble up high. I'll always be aware of the Principle of Verticality and will never put my hand In the Cylinder except when I'm Slamming the Rock Home to Deliver a Message."

"Is there one kid in all of college basketball who is premed?" she asks. "Is there one electrical engineer in the making? One English professor? I suppose there must be a couple, somewhere. The whole thing seems perverted to me. Kids from the West Coast go all the way to the East Coast to go to college. State universities fall all over each other to get tall kids from Nigeria and Serbia and Finland to go to their schools. Where's the sense in all this?"

"I'll work the Pick and Roll," I say. "I'll Lay It in with a Kiss! I'll Box Out. I'll Put a Body on People! I won't Give Up the Baseline, but I'll Hit the Front End of the One-and-One, and I'll Look for the Cutters and the Mismatches. I'll Feed the Hot Hand, and I'll Ice the Shooter. I'll Take Off from the Foul Line. I'll Alley and I'll Oop."

"It just seems a little silly to me," she says. "The recruiting, the scandals, the money. All of this commotion...."

"Three-Pointland!" I say.

"It seems like so much...

"Beyond the Arc!"

"...gibberish."

(Pause for a program note: ESPN will televise 194 college basketball games this season. ESPN2 will televise 87. SportsChannel will televise 58. CBS will televise 50. ABC will televise 31. NBC will televise six. ESPN and ESPN2 will televise 22 women's games. These numbers do not count the telecasts of either the men's or the women's NCAA tournaments.)

"All I know is that it's a new 'season," I say, "and I'm Taking My Game to the Next Level."

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