Keeping ‘Kool’: Results over reputation

I recently wrote an article discussing the topic of whether it would be possible to just recruit Michigan and win a national title. That question wasn’t thoroughly answered, but what materialized was a debate over my starting line-up on the perimeter.

My starting perimeter guys were Xavier’s Jordan Crawford, Western Michigan’s David Kool, and Notre Dame’s Tory Jackson. Those three were routinely dissed in the comments in favor of the likes of Manny Harris, Kalin Lucas, and Durrell Summers [I actually thought Dar Tucker would garner more attention, but I forgot that he didn’t play for Michigan State or Michigan]. Look, I’m not going to act as if the latter three wouldn’t be worthy of starting, but I’m also not going to pretend as if that are clearly better either.

Jordan Crawford plays in the Atlantic Ten, which in some circles is high major. While I’m not in that camp, I do believe Xavier, like Temple, is a high major program. Besides, he was a really good back-up to Eric Gordon at Indiana back when they were good. But Crawford’s raw data speaks for itself. His percentages are sick, particularly from three-point land [nearly 40%, as opposed to Durrell Summers’ 25%]. None of the guys argued for can sniff his accuracy. Beyond that, ask Lebron James who he’d be more worried about defending, Manny Harris or Jordan Crawford?

David Kool drew the heaviest individual fire in the conversation, but that’s nothing new for Kool. People have been hating on Kool since he was in high school. After putting on one of the most brilliant performances ever at the Breslin as a junior, en route to a state title, he was thrashed probably more than Derrick Nix for winning the Mr. Basketball award. High majors weren’t in love with him. It could have been because of a torn ACL or it could have just been hating. But after three and a half successful years at WMU, Kool has proven the doubters wrong. This kid can play at any level. Against high major opposition, Kool scored in double figures in each contest and went off against a very good Temple for 30.

Beyond that he’s on his way to being a two-time MAC scoring leader, and perhaps third depending on how you look at it. So I ask, isn’t the best player in the MAC good enough to play and start at the high major level? Would he be the same star in the Big Ten that he is in MAC? No, but you better believe he could excel.

Finally Tory Jackson received a lot of indirect criticism because of who I have him starting over, Kalin Lucas. I’ve never been a huge fan of Lucas, primarily because I can’t get the image of him falling flat on his back after a dunk attempt at the state semifinals out of my mind. The biggest reason though is that I have a difficult time viewing Kalin Lucas as a pure point guard. He obviously has some ridiculous abilities, but I don’t like seeing a team’s leading scorer being a point guard, and by a pretty large margin at that. And the team’s back-up power forward averages just one assist per game less. My preference is for pass-first guys like Tory Jackson, who also plays almost every minute of every game. There’s things that Lucas can do that Jackson can’t, but there’s things that Jackson will do that Lucas just doesn’t. Oh, and lets also not forget that the Big East is the best conference in the country. These are just my opinions, but I don’t think that I’m way off here.

Gavin Raath