College clubs, unencumbered by the illegal-defense rules that perplex NBA fans, players and sometimes even refs, can double-and triple-team a dominant scorer and prevent him from getting the ball, thus forcing the scorer's teammates into the action. Does that sort of defense make a back-to-the-basket scoring center like Hakeem Olajuwon appreciate the freedom of the NBA, where he can't be double-teamed until he catches the ball? Sure. But it also means that if you enjoy team offense—a forgotten concept in the pros—you should stick to the college game.
College defenses can employ all sorts of alignments that force an opponent to find creative ways to score (witness Utah's use of a box-and-one defense while upsetting Arizona in last year's NCAAs). College defenses can change minute to minute—for instance, going into a zone after made shots and man-to-man after misses—thus forcing teams to make adjustments on the fly. Isn't that what Dr. Naismith had in mind?
46 Only in college hoops can the crowd storm the court after a big win.
47 College is Bob Knight in a sweater.
48 Fathers coach their sons (Valpo's Homer Drew watches Bryce) in college. In the NBA, sons ask, "Where's Daddy?" The NBA is Del Harris in Armani.
49 The College game gives us a chance to see raw young players like Bryant (Big Country) Reeves develop. The pros give us a chance to see old players like Charles Barkley deteriorate.
50 College is the place where the game reinvents itself each autumn, introducing a crop of unfamiliar faces, including freshmen, junior college transfers and foreign imports, destined for stardom. The five players on the following pages, sure to have an outsized impact on the season to come, have arrived from diverse addresses, from the hinterlands to the Netherlands, to fertilize the game for another season. So turn the page and meet...