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Today’s young ball players: self-righteous and soft

It’s been well-documented that the transfer rate of Division I basketball players the last few years has become epidemic on both the men’s and women’s side of the sport. Try googling “transfer rates in college basketball” and see how many stories you find on the subject.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, now we have a new trend: filing complaints against coaches. Athletes are alleging abuse and mistreatment by their coaches left and right. But so far this year, those allegations haven’t panned out for the accusers.

Last month Wichita State investigated coach Jody Adams for such complaints, and decided to keep her as coach and facilitate improved communication between her and her players. Kennesaw State made a similar conclusion this week, after looking into accusations against coach LaNitra Perry.

Of course there have been abusive coaches. And with the ever-increasing pressure of NCAA compliance and potential litigation, universities are happy to get rid of such coaches, which they have. But in the vast majority of these cases of supposed mistreatment, there is no abuse going on. The problem is that much of today’s younger generation is self-righteous and soft.

Here’s why: Your AAU coach won’t make you a starter? Fine, then your parents put you on another team, or they create their own and make you the star. You’re dissatisfied with your high school coach or the school itself? No problem – just fill out those transfer papers and you can go wherever you want.

It happens all the time, and I’ve seen it over and over and over. Where I work, two male basketball players left the school just before the season to go play somewhere else, for no particular reason. One came back after the season was over because he missed his friends. And I’ve seen the AAU exodus/creation of a specialized team for one or two kids.

Many of today’s young people were coddled, and as a result, feel a sense of entitlement that their elders never experienced. I see it in how quickly they give up on things: sports, academics, life. I see it in the kids I teach, the kids I’ve coached, the kids who I talk with who aren’t even in my classes. They don’t seem to have the same concept of fighting through adversity and obstacles that previous generations have – not to mention their complete lack of resilience.

Today we got news that five players from Eastern Washington are leaving the team. While they don’t accuse 14-year coach Wendy Schuller of abuse, they do blame her for their departures. When I read one of the reasons, I busted out laughing:

Locked out

Two of the departing players said one of the turning points of the season came during a losing streak in January. The Eagles lost at home to Sacramento State before losing on the road at Northern Colorado, North Dakota and Idaho.

When the players returned to Cheney, “we got our locker room taken away for a couple weeks,” Redmon said. Coaches “thought it was a privilege and we didn’t deserve to have that privilege.”

Brown said the locker room lockout made her start to question whether she wanted to stay.

“From there on … we were pretty successful,” Brown said of the team that won six straight games. “But a lot of things happen behind closed doors. You could tell the relationship between the team and the coaches took a turn for the worse.”

Pat Summitt wouldn’t make it as a coach today – she’d be accused of abuse. Because among other tactics she used over her 38 years of coaching, she locked the Lady Vols out of their locker room from time to time to prove a point. And just as in Eastern Washington last season, it always worked. The difference was that Tennessee players were smart enough and tough enough to understand what she was doing.

There’s also this about the EWU players:

Schuller said each of the reasons for the players leaving was different. Some of them wanted to be closer to home and others weren’t happy with the minutes they were getting on the court.

Poor wittle babies. The homesickness and having to earn your playing time is sure rough. I’m sure no collegiate athlete has ever experienced that before.

I really respect Schuller for not giving the canned “we appreciate their contributions” speech and keeping it real:

“In terms of the young ladies who don’t like my coaching style, I guess that’s why they are leaving. I don’t know what to say about that,” Schuller said. “We had a lot of success doing what I do. I try to treat my players like young women.

“If they don’t feel like it was a great place, maybe it’s good they are moving on.”

Go on, girl. And the same to Jody Adams. Is it any wonder a protege of Summitt was accused of being abusive? I think not.

I’m hoping today’s young people get a grip soon. I can’t keep busting chops for the rest of my life; I’m going to have to retire eventually.

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