College Basketball: 3 Players Who Seemingly Have Never-Ending Eligibility
3 Players Whose Eligibility is Never-ending
Have you ever watched a college basketball game and thought to yourself, man hasn't this kid played here since folks starting pickling cucumbers? It's a natural feeling these days with the one and done rule. We really don't expect players with a high-level of talent to stick around past their sophomore years. When they do we are in so much shock that it just takes us back.
But it's not even just the superstars we feel this way about. Sometimes a student-athlete will come to a program, immediately start his freshman year, and just float through the lineup for what seems like centuries. We all thought that since he started his first year there that the kid was going to be beyond great. Sadly, he was just an above-average role-player during the early parts of his career but now that he's a senior the man is a beast. He's become 2 different players in a span of 4 years which makes him feel like he's been there that much longer.
Than there's the doppelganger. You know the cat who's replacing the identical style of player that he himself is. It makes sense that this would happen often considering coaches recruit to their playing style. If the coach is looking for a specific type of point guard odds are that they will all look and play pretty similar. The neat thing about the doppelganger is that it rings true in aspects of all life. Right now there is a you in the Newark Airport hating life as you hate yours behind a cubicle listening to your office neighbor play parodies of Gangham Style on the YouFace.
Let's take a look at 3 guys who haven't really over stayed their welcome but sure do feel like it. Here's "3 Guys who've been in College Basketball Forever"...
Murray State Racer point guard Isaiah Canaan is the best player in the country. Don't believe me, just ask him. Canaan is a senior who saw time as a freshman, scoring 10 points per outing. Last year as a junior his average went up to 19 a game. So he fits the mold of a fellow starting as a role type player and evolving into a man-beast. But the real reason he feels like he's been in college isn't really because of that.
Canaan plays on Murray State, not exactly a national picture-box draw, so I doubt people heard of him before last year. But just hearing him talk makes me feel like this guys been around since Egon Spangler was straightening out his slinky as a child. Oh, it's the ego/hype that's been around forever, not Canaan.
Every year a player's national spotlight starts to bubble up. Remember Joakim Noah getting all that attention going into his sophomore year? If the guy went into the NBA Draft after his freshman year he would have been the number 1 overall pick. Deciding to forgo the draft, and chase down a second national title, the buzz around Noah was insane. And he ate it up. Noah would talk about how great his team was, how it wouldn't affect his draft stock(it did), and just how generally awesome his hair was(still is).
However, when Mr. Noah came to the Florida Gators program the hype surrounding him wasn't as loud. Same could be said about Derek Lilliard, Tyler Hansbrough, Keith Van Horn, or Michael Olowokandi. These guys came to their programs without anyone really noticing until the their last year before they went pro. Not all of their egos were as out of control as Canaan's seems to be but it's the "I've been here for awhile AND NOW I'M AWESOME" guy who's been in college hoops forever.
Tim Hardaway Jr.
Michigan Wolverines guard Tim Hardaway Jr. is only a junior. It shouldn't feel like he's been around forever but it does. And he's the easiest to explain. His father is former NBA basket maker Tim Hardaway. So when Jr. decided to go to Michigan it was kind of a big deal. And Timmy Jr. hasn't been a disappointment averaging over 14 points per game over his first 2 years with the program.
Not only do you factor in the "hype coming in" angle but he's the son of a pretty famous former superstar and their name is identical(until the Jr.). So since 1989 we have heard the name Hardaway used regularly during hoops season. It's only natural to feel like Hardaway Jr. has been around forever because you no longer have the capacity to realize they are 2 different people. I don't blame you, I feel for you.
Louisville Cardinals guard Peyton Siva is Louisville Cardinals guard Edgar Sosa circa 2006-10. They are the same player, which in turn, makes them doppelgangers and making Siva feel like he's been around since 2006 when Sosa was a freshman. What I'm trying to say is that Siva has played college basketball for almost a decade.
Siva is not only Sosa's clone(by the evil-doings of Richard Pitino) but he's literally been through a ton of different versions of Louisville teams while playing for the Cardinals. He backed up Sosa as a freshman and nobody really talked about the kid because he played a sparingly 11 minutes a game. But he played just enough, behind just a big enough name player, that you remember him. The problem with that is the Sosa led Cardinals feels like they were playing decades ago, not 5 years ago. It's a brand new Louisville team from that Sosa one with the exception of the eligibility-limitless Siva.
His following 2 seasons Siva's stock skyrocketed as he made key plays in the clutch and won the Big East Most Outstanding Player award for his play in the conference tournament as a junior. Siva is also that no flash all substance player that the Cardinals have seemed to employ at the point guard spot since the first incarnation of the Power Rangers aired(Siva is a Nylock).
Listen, I'm not trying to say these guys or their programs are cheating the system and have actually been there forever. But really, somebody needs to see when their eligibility is up, I heard Lebron James Jr. the III is already being recruited despite not even being a fish in..okay never mind. Talk about a kid who'll feel like he's been there forever.