Sports Linx 06.26.08

Astros pitcher Shawn Chacon choked general manager Ed Wade during an argument.

In Euro 2008, Turkey finally loses. But not without another ill last 15 minutes goal, which was answered in the 90th minute by a German goal for the win.

Tonight is the NBA draft; Chad Ford and Bill Simmons chat about the top picks (I like Chad Ford's work, and his comments here).

The University of South Florida recruit Dwan McMillan has problems with his academic record and will likely not suit up for South Florida this coming season.

Photos from the Steve Nash charity soccer event in Manhattan, including Theirry Henry, Baron Davis, Raja Bell, Leandro Barbosa, and Jason Kidd.

The Sporting News' Mike DeCourcy disagrees with he feasibility of Brandon Jennings' European basketball plan, making salient logistical points. I don't agree with all his assertions, but why would a European team make an investment, and then, why would they play him? Read more below the fold.

It starts with the notion there would be a huge market for a player in Jennings' circumstance. His stated intention is to be a part of the 2009 draft. So why would a European team want to make any sort of investment in him? The agent wouldn't rule out the possibility that some rogue owner might take a flyer, but he considers it highly unlikely. He said it's not like it was when Danny Ferry was lured to Europe for a time after he went No. 2 overall in the 1989 draft. The money is not as loose for American players now.

"The only guarantee with contracts in Europe," he said, "is that you're guaranteed not to get all the money you're expecting."

There also is the fact we're talking about Jennings, not LeBron James or Greg Oden or even O.J. Mayo. Jennings is an appealing prospect for the Arizona Wildcats, but he is not nearly as well known or established as some of his predecessors. He is a score-first point guard, and European coaches, who tend to be "play the right way" types in the Larry Brown mold, are unlikely to be excited about his style.

Many teams in Europe are loathe to play the young talents that are homegrown and under contract. French big man Alexis Ajinca should be one of the first international prospects taken in Thursday's draft; he averaged 11 minutes a game for Hyeres-Toulon last winter. Turkish center Omer Asik, another first-round prospect, got about 18 minutes a game for Fenerbache in Euroleague competition.

In order to actually play, Jennings might have to go to a much lower level where the salaries are limited and collecting at payday can be an adventure. Indeed, if any of those teams will have him.

This is not the revolutionary moment in basketball that opponents of the NBA's draft age limit dream it to be. Even if Jennings were find an interested team, sign a lucrative deal, navigate the likely cultural and linguistic barriers, crack his team's lineup and excel on the floor -- he's more likely to go 0-for-5 in those pursuits than 5-for-5 -- this still would not be the best avenue for elite prospects to follow because it removes players from the consciousness of the American sports fan.

NCAA antagonists have convinced a generation of players their time in college basketball is uncompensated, but it's a lie. Beyond the education, living expenses and high-level training provided to all Division I basketball players, Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony signed contracts with Nike worth a combined $81 million based on the reputations they gained in one college season each -- Durant as 2007 national player of the year, Anthony as 2003 NCAA Tournament most outstanding player. They became famous, and therefore their endorsements became valuable, because of college basketball. There would be precious little marketing appeal in a player who went from Oak Hill Academy to Europe.

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