Larry Brown Prefers College Hoops Over D-League for NBA Prospects

by March 05, 2014
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by Bill DiFilippo

A few days after Mavericks owner Mark Cuban suggested that NBA prospects should choose the D-League over playing college hoops, Southern Methodist head coach and NBA Hall of Famer Larry Brown fired back, calling the claim “the worst thing I heard.”

Brown—who has coached collegiately at UCLA, Kansas, and now at SMU—did agree with Cuban’s assertion that players should be required to stay in school for three years unless they decided to declare directly out of high school, but was critical of Cuban’s opinion on college basketball.

Via ESPN Dallas:

“They don’t teach guys how to play, in my mind,” Brown said of the D-League. “The head coaches in the NBA and a lot of the assistants do, but [college basketball] is the greatest minor league system in the world. If you didn’t go to one class and just live in a college environment, then you’re way ahead. And I think most coaches are responsible enough to make them go to class, make them go to study hall, give them life lessons.

“I always was amazed the NBA had this program before this season where they’d bring everybody in, similar to what you do in college before school starts, orientation,” Brown said. “I used to always ask my players what they got out of it, and it was comical. You’re not going to get anything out of four days of orientation, but play for Rick Pitino for a year or two or Tom Izzo or John Calipari or Bill Self, I think Cuban would be happy with what they’re getting.”

Brown returned to coaching college for the first time since 1988 last season. Under his tutelage, SMU is 38-23, including a 23-6 record this year en route to the team being ranked in the AP Top 25 for the first time since 1985.