Jay Williams, ESPN College Basketball Analyst and former Duke/Chicago Bulls point guard, sat down with Michael Rapaport to talk college basketball on I AM RAPAPORT.
“Tell [UConn Coach] Geno [Auriemma] to take his talent elsewhere,” Rapaport said. “You won 100 games in a row. This is a joke. You’ve won 56 of those games by 40 points or more, 97 of 100 games by double-digits. This is inhumane.”
Rapaport thinks “Geno should take his talents to a higher level,” but Williams is glad he “is giving us something to pay attention to.”
Rapaport believes that Auriemma should take his talents to the NBA or to men’s college basketball because “it is undoubtedly more competitive,” and Williams believes that Auriemma is too busy “building a dynasty.”
“He’s running his own battle. He wants to win 200 games in a row… 300 games in a row,” said Williams. “So whenever someone says that isn’t enough, for who, for you? There’s a different bar, and I think that’s where Geno’s going.”
Auriemma is in a league of his own, and collegiate coaching has a variety of benefits that professional coaching can’t offer, especially when it comes to control.
“He can control who he brings in. When you start going to the league [NBA], you gotta worry about general managers, a president,” said Williams. “Look at our own f—ed up situation in New York [with the Knicks]. It doesn’t matter what coach you are.”
Williams explains that it is ideal to put together a good roster because “you can control who gets into your program” but that doesn’t make Auriemma’s job any easier. “Just because he’s done it and it’s 100 games in a row, it might seem easy to the viewer,” but it isn’t easy.
“You don’t understand the amount of control you have at the collegiate level. At the collegiate level, you’re your own GM; you’re your own president,” said Williams. “All of that overhead is covered; you don’t have to worry about living expenses, travel, all of that stuff.”
But that control and security comes at a price. It’s the age-old debate about whether or not college athletes should be entitled to make money.
“You can’t tell me that in your biggest grossing sports, football and basketball, you can’t say: ‘Look, we live in a capitalistic society, and if you go to a Duke you’ll make more money than if you went to a La Salle,” said Williams. “But you can’t say, ‘hey, we’re gonna put a certain amount of money in each year and put it in escrow, and if you graduate maintaining a certain GPA, then you’re entitled to that money.'”
Williams doesn’t believe its fair for an organization to profit off the play of collegiate athletes when the athletes playing see no benefit other than a trophy, “not that college doesn’t give you valuable skills.”
“At least allow me to have that. Rather than see my jersey do $3.5 million dollars my last year but I can’t take $40 dollars from an agent for a steak after a game,” said Williams. “But my head coach can make a lifelong contract for millions of dollars and people around me incentivized by going to the second round of the NCAA tournament, the fourth round or the Championship. But I’m supposed to be happy with a trophy?”