Heisman Talk; College Hoops Rising Stars

Credit: National Football Foundation

Hard at work for you, dear reader. (Credit: National Football Foundation)

Why is the Heisman Trophy essentially reserved for quarterbacks and running backs? My latest college football column attempts to answer that. I attended the press conference for the 2013 College Football Hall of Fame class, which included 1996 Heisman winner Danny Wuerffel, Orlando Pace, and Tedy Bruschi (pictured above), among others, and I spoke to them about the Heisman’s skill position bias.

I’ve been doing a lot of college basketball reporting as well, covering several games at Madison Square Garden for Newsday. I’ve also started a weekly column for CBS Local in which I profile a “Rising Star” in the sport (I’ve written the two from this season). Remember, this blog is home to most all of my freelance work. If you have any suggestions for my next “Rising Star,” or any other story ideas, send them my way. Even if it’s a local story that received little attention, I’d love to give it a bigger audience. Thanks for reading. Happy holidays.

NBA Draft All-Access: Trey Burke

2013 nba draft

The first people I recognized on the day of the NBA draft were the Zeller parents on the ninth floor of the Westin hotel in Times Square. This couldn’t have been more fitting. If you’ve watched any college basketball the last five years, you’ve seen them. As the parents of three sons who played college ball, Mr. and Mrs. Zeller have gotten as much airtime on ESPN as Dick Vitale.* Cody, the Indiana center, was this year’s draftee, so when he showed up to meet his parents for breakfast, followed by his oldest brother and his family, I felt right at home.

*In the Zeller family, each son is better than his older brother, as opposed to the Kahn family where the middle son is by far the most talented.

I was at the hotel by 9 a.m. to shadow Trey Burke throughout the most important day of his life. I chronicled Burke’s experience for Michigan Today. Due to a word count and the fact that the piece focused on Burke, many of my observations went unreported. Here is what didn’t make it into the story, starting with what I saw at breakfast:
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Trey Burke: What Is His NBA Ceiling?

Trey Burke (Credit: Adam Glanzman)

When kids start high school, adults of all kinds can’t wait to tell them how this is not middle school anymore. It is time to get serious. The dedicated students rise to the challenge. The same thing happens in college. This is not high school, the professors say. No more coasting. Again, the committed students do well.

Trey Burke was a dominant high school player but was told he was too small for the big, bad Big Ten. He was the National Player of the Year last season and led Michigan to the national championship game. Now there are doubts about how his game will translate to the pros. Yes, he will be a lottery pick in Thursday night’s NBA Draft; in fact, it’s hard to imagine him falling past the Pistons at No. 8. While hardly any expert thinks Burke will do poorly at the next level, opinions run the gamut as to his ceiling.
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