The People's Voice blames it on the refs

Dan Wetzel

In the wake of the Final Four, and the People's Voice has plenty to say about Rashad McCants, Sean May and the state of college basketball. I won't even mention how I almost picked all four teams in the Final Four (I'll leave that to someone else).

As always, when writing us an email, include your name and town and keep it to the point and if you want to get printed. My responses appear in italics. We appreciate every last letter.

Now on to The People's Voice ...

RASHAD McCANTS ("Wild card" April 4, 2005 )

Good piece on Rashad McCants, who is one of the most fascinating and frustrating Tar Heels of all-time. You captured that he is intelligent and likable but can be selfish and unpredictable.

T.A. Rayman
Charlotte, N.C.

Rashad McCants sometimes has a look that he might rather be "off mining coal somewhere"? What is that supposed to mean?

Ian Larkin
Berkeley, Calif.

He looked like mining coal would be more fun than being at the Final Four. In hundreds of press conferences I have never seen an athlete act the way McCants did at Sunday's NCAA availability. Where the rest of his teammates looked eager and excited, he slunk back and closed his eyes.

This is being hyped as team over talent, but everyone seems to forget that Carolina led the nation in assists. Does that fall under talent or team?

Donald Lee
San Diego, Calif.

I also thought the team vs. talent thing was overblown. What, Illinois doesn't have talent? And Carolina was a lot more of a team, and had a lot more team-first guys, than they were given credit for. I think that was proven on Monday.

THE MAYS ("A presence"April 5, 2005)

What you saw from Scott May was the ultimate in class. He knew what it was like to be on the court after winning [a national championship, and] he did not want his presence to detract from his sons' experiencing it, which it would have had he gone on the court.

It must have broken his heart not to be there with his son at that moment, but he did the right thing, he let his son have HIS moment. A suggestion for an article would be for you to focus on this show of extreme class by Scott May.

Tom Brady
Wading River, N.Y.

Is Scott and Sean May the only father-son tandem to each win NCAA title rings? Who are the others, if any?

Fidel Mangonon III
Quezon City, Philippines

No. Kris and Marques Johnson and Mike and Henry Bibby also accomplished the feat. That should have been mentioned in the column.

I [am] an Illinois alum, but I tried to be as unbiased as possible when watching games. And you cannot convince me that the refs were not thinly veiled Carolina fans.

Sure, Sean May was a presence on the blocks. But anyone with even a minor understanding of the game should have seen the obvious phantom calls on James Augustine, Jack Ingram & Co. when they defended May. Apparently, you aren't allowed to even touch May. Those calls were uglier than Michael Moore in a Speedo ... and those ticky-tack calls also probably gave Carolina alum Michael Jordan some fond memories.

The only way to stop May is to put a body on him and try to keep him out of the paint. But when the zebras won't let you so much as lay a finger on May, the larger question becomes: Was May really that good or was it a mirage?

Rob Tong
Chicago, Ill.

My only problem with the officiating is the fourth foul on Augustine should have been called on Roger Powell, Jr., who made way more contract. That mistake really hurt the Illini, but the officials' mistakes are part of the game. Unless they are egregious, I don't mention them.

Sean May plays a grotesque mixture of basketball and football. It is unfortunate that the refs let many strong leans and charges slide. This is not basketball. Illinois proved ... that they are the better team being outnumbered five players to seven (five players + two refs) for most of the game.

Ted Reed
San Diego, Calif.

Sean May played the way the officials allowed him. Just like Shaq.

THE THRIVING GAME ("Compellingly competitive" April 1, 2005 )

Dan, awesome article! I agree ... the best thing that has happened to college hoops in a long time is letting the egocentric, ball-hog, show-me-the-money superstar teenagers all go to the NBA. It has leveled the playing field for all the great teams and team players out there ... Let's not forget the lessons learned from the last Olympics. [International competitions] showed us the difference between a small group of superstars versus a real-deal team.

Richard Cseh
Elizabeth City, N.C.

I agree with you on most points except the lesson of the last Olympics. I was there, and those guys played as much as a team as could be expected from a group that had been recently thrown together. Effort wasn't the problem. A lack of talent and a coach who had given up before the Games even started was the problem.

"A few years back, this would have seemed like a lifeline to college hoops, a dying sport."

Since when was college basketball a dying sport? I haven't seen it that way EVER in 30 years of following it. Never mind the defections; the fan base has always been there. I do enjoy your columns, but I think you need to clarify yourself on this point.

Art Carawan
Greenville N.C.

I never thought the sport would die, but there were plenty of critics out there. Lagging television ratings didn't help.

Robert Montgomery Knight once said, he sees no problem if there were some other venue for kids who want to develop into NBA players instead of playing for a university for a year. Keep the colleges a place to learn and play.

Ed Lopez
Manila, Philippines

I completely agree. Some players have zero interest in being students. Legislating them back into college basketball because the NBA doesn't want to develop their talent is troubling. I'd rather see the NBA up its commitment to the Developmental League.

I would love to see [LeBron] James and the rest of them in the college because NBA is not the same. Too many guys are all about the money instead of love for the game. Really, money hurt all pro sports. Just look at NHL. That why I love college sports. The guys play their hearts out because they are hungry to get in the pros.

Cedric Lewis
Bladenboro, N.C.

"Whoever clips the nets couldn't have made the Final Four two decades ago?" Get real, Dan. These teams woulda murdered the precious '79 champs (or Ewing's Georgegown, or Alford's Indiana, etc.). Stick in a tape in and watch. Today's game is so much faster and athletic. I was surprised with your ignorant comment and expected better.

Gregg Kalina
Seattle, Wash.

Sean May scored 26 points on 10-of-11 shooting against Illinois. They had no one who could cover him. I think everyone would agree Sean May is not remotely the player Patrick Ewing was. So what would Patrick get, 50?


What did you think of Tom Izzo's postgame rip of the media? I think he has a point: The players received too much criticism. But it was un-Izzo like.

Cal Harris
Bay City, Mich.

Here is what I think happened. The NCAA requires a school to choose to two players to come to the postgame press conference before the game is even played. Really strange rule that makes no sense. MSU picked Alan Anderson and Paul Davis.

Well, Spartans lose. Izzo begins with an opening statement that is controlled and gracious. Then the NCAA says the media has to ask the players questions. Davis never says anything interesting. Anderson had just ended his career with a zero-point performance. So sure enough, with no other option, first question was about Anderson's terrible performance.

Izzo's face just dropped. You could see him seething. By the time he met with reporters afterward he was lashing out at everyone, threatening to quit and go to the NBA. I'm not sure he wouldn't have done it anyway, but the NCAA's dumb policy didn't help here. Because emotion was involved, I wouldn't read too much into it though.

I always hated missing the Final Four by one team. We're in the same boat brother!

Graig Smith
Richmond, Ind.

You know, for all the crap I caught for my pre-tournament picks, I am glad one, single, solitary person remembered that I picked three of the four Final Four teams. My last one, Kentucky, lost in double overtime. And Patrick Sparks was fouled on that three.

Yes, it probably was a statistical probability. But after numerous years of 0-for-4, I am basking in the highlight.

Way too long to hear from you. Are you displaced, injured, or your family suffering? Hope not. If so, God bless you. Keep up the good work wherever you end up.

Kevin O'Brien
Auburn, Wash.

Thanks to all the readers who noticed my two-week absence. Nothing's wrong at all; seven pounds, five ounces of truly great provided all the March Madness we needed at my house.