With Sports Illustrated, broadcasting for CBS, what was unique about the opportunity that Campus Insider presented? Was it simply a chance to grow your brand? Moving forward with a show in the digital age?
All of the above. Campus Insiders is a great opportunity for me to stretch my wings. I’m a magazine writer, I like sitting down with people and drawing things out to tell their stories. I appreciate the chance to break out of college basketball and talk to football coaches, other writers and enter the NBA space. I’d like to find entertainers and politicians to interview too. The show is centered around a smart conversation with interesting people. Campus Insiders has given me that opportunity.
Let’s talk a little more about college basketball. Is it fair to compare this year’s freshmen at Kentucky to the Fab 5 of Michigan?
Well, ask me again in April. This group is absolutely capable of doing what the Fab Five did and anyone who thinks they’re not capable isn't paying attention. But first they have to do it. Remember, that Fab Five team came back and made the Final Four again as sophomores and I doubt any of them (Kentucky freshmen) are back as sophomores. Coach Cal is hard to beat as a recruiter. DId you see he got Trey Lyles today?
He’s created a special culture for great players that want to be there. What’s underestimated is that it’s not like he rolls out the balls and lets them go.He teaches them and develops their talents. A lot of coaches don't know how to coach great players, that’s a skill in itself and I think he has the best player of them all in Julius Randle who might be national player of the year.
I’ve been in a lot of debates about that. I like Randle, love Jabari and Wiggins is a freak, but I honestly think Arizona’s Aron Gordon might end up as the best pro. I know people say he doesn’t have a position and he’s not as big as Randle, but I was there at Hoop Hall in Massachusetts last winter when he dunked on (current BYU freshman center) Eric Mika. He can score on big bodies, double teams, can handle it OK, but that will come and he can shoot.
You don’t lose out between him, Randle, Wiggins and Parker. It’s like deciding what you want to drive, the Ferrari, the Maserati, the Porsche or the Rolls Royce.
(Laughs) Yeah, it must be nice to have one of them on the roster.
If I had to pick one freshman to win a college game tomorrow, I’m taking Randle. Between his size, amazing skill set and motor, he’s my choice. All those guys have some of that, but I don't think Gordon is as big and strong as he is, Wiggins has his size but not mental toughness, Jabari can be a very good athlete but not the athlete Randle is. Gordon’s the better passer and who knows, maybe Gordon is the better pro five years from now. But if I have to win one game tomorrow, I got Julius.