Still, I operate under an insuperable handicap: I know the college game. Finch, on the other hand, is an NBA veteran who works the league as an advance scout for several months each fall and therefore knows intimately the Peg-Board into which each of these collegians would have to fit. From Thanksgiving through March I see only what lies before me: zones, spot-up three-point shooters, dandified coaches preening on the sideline. In addition to being a gimlet-eyed connoisseur of fundamentals, Finch has the advantage of imagination—the ability to take a player and picture him on a larger, much more demanding stage.
"As far as I'm concerned, this isn't opinion," Finch tells me at our final meeting, slapping a pile of his scouting reports. "This is fact. I'm pretty confident judging talent."
I, by contrast, am still as confident as Wayland White staring down a wide-open 15-footer. From the scouting racket, I'll be getting good separation.