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Gary Parrish All-Americans

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Gary Parrish at CBS Sportsline continues his parade of basketball previews with his All-American picks for the upcoming season. Now, I give Parrish a lot of grief, mainly because I think his analysis(if you call it that) is fairly shallow and many of his assertions are Doylesque in nature. In his defense, he is a national correspondent for basketball so there is only so much he can absorb in terms of information.. The frustrating aspect I find in reading Parrish is his opinion held in higher regard because he is on CBS Sportsline yet it is so devoid of actual substance in many cases. So bearing that in mind this is what Parrish had to say about Tyler Hansbrough when he named him a 1st team All-American:

Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina: I never knew how much fans despised Hansbrough until I ranked him as the top big in the nation. Lots of haters out there. But I honestly can't understand how anybody could dispute his relevance as a dominant college basketball player. He has only been held to single digits in points six times in 69 career games, and it's worth noting three of those six came late last season after Hansbrough suffered a broken nose.

Let me clue you in on Hansbrough Hate. Part of it has to do with the uniform he wears. Carolina blue can be somewhat inflammatory for some people. Secondly, Hansbrough's style of play does not tend to make him any friends. He is a bull in the lane and it is the contention of half those who do not call themselves UNC fans that Hansbrough either travels or fouls his defender every time he touches the ball. The point is this level of hatred does not know anything about stats and analysis based on numbers.

I also would point out that Parrish really ought not to complain about the kind of responses he gets from his readers. A majority of the things he writes it either fluff or poppycock. He rarely makes use of stats and analysis to make a point. That is why I am a little amused that Parrish would drop that "games in double figures" stat in response to the Hansbrough Hate he found in his inbox which was a direct result of the wildly subjective blurb he attached to Hansbrough while ranking him #1 among centers.

1.Tyler Hansbrough (North Carolina): Hansbrough is on his way to a possible national title, which would solidify this Missourian as one of the great college basketball players of his era.

Yeah, I cannot imagine why you would not get a flood of angry emails from people by simply declaring Hansbrough one of the best players in era without providing any reasonable data to support the assertion. While half the folks who read it are going to whine because they simply have disdain for Hansbrough or are biased to their own players, the other half might be persuaded if you showed some insight instead of coughing up these fluffy one liners. Take a look at his assertion that Ty Lawson would be second team All-American:

Ty Lawson, North Carolina: Lawson shunned the chance to be a lottery pick after last season. Oddly, he'll still be leading a team of pros.

Now, the fact he has Lawson at second team is actually more alarming that the complete box of air he wrote about him. Then again he is being consistent in putting Lawson on the second team and Memphis freshman Derrick Rose on the first team since he ranked them that way. At the time that did not really strike me as a problem but it does now because this is what Parrish said about Rose in naming him to the 1st team:

Derrick Rose, Memphis: Rose will not have the stats to justify this accolade as a freshman. I admit that up front. But Mike Conley Jr. only averaged 11.3 points and 6.1 assists last season at Ohio State, and was there any doubt in March that he was the best point guard in the nation? Of course not. Because sometimes stats don't tell the whole story, particularly when a point guard is surrounded by great players and would just as soon create for them as he would himself. Conley had great teammates last season. Rose has great teammates this season. The former played for a national title. I'm guessing the latter will have a similar impact.

The easiest way to make a subjective opinion almost ironclad is to make it so stats do not matter. In this case he admits up front that Rose will not have the stats to justify being an All American. Instead Rose will be voted the best PG in the nation based on a whole slate of wonderful things he will do which stats do not count. What? How can you make that argument with a straight face? Stats are the primary standard used for any discussion because unlike overpaid writers for CBS' sports website they are not subject to whims or asinine thinking devoid of any logic. Intangibles and wins are usually factored in when the stats produced a dead heat. The hilarious irony here is had Parrish bother to check the stats beyond reading Conley's line off the Ohio State website he would know that his stats are actually very good for his position. In 2006-07 Conley was 7th in the nation with 6.1 apg while committing only 2.2 turnovers per game. That plays out to be about a 2.8 to 1 assist-to-turnover ratio which the last I checked was pretty good. Conley also shot 51% from the floor, had 3.4 rpg and 2.2 steals per game.

And you know who had similar stats to Conley last season? Ty Lawson did when he posted 10.2 ppg, 5.6 apg and had an A/TO of 2.6 which was the best in the ACC. Lawson also shot 50% from the floor with 2.9 rpg and 1.5 spg. By Parrish's own admission Lawson will be playing on a team of good players and in my opinion for a better coach while having a year of college basketball already under his belt. Lawson does not have to spend three months learning to play at this level before he gets his engine running unlike Rose will and should be just as capable of doing all the intangibles Rose will allegedly do that makes him the superior PG in Parrish's mind. And please spare me the use of 2008 NBA Draft projections as a factor here they are totally worthless even on the day of the draft much less nine months out. Based on Lawson's stats from last season, his experience, his coach and his team I would think choosing him over a freshman with no experience playing against a weaker conference is more of a no brainer than he claims selecting Hansbrough was among centers.

It is pure laziness on the part of Parrish. All it takes is a little more research and using his brain for something besides popping out what he probably thinks are cute or witty one liners. Whatever the case, CBS Sportsline is probably paying him too much for his work.