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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Senioritis and college basketball

Published: February 3, 2006
Section: Sports

Im going to start this column by making a few assumptions. First, the majority of those people reading this column are either in college, or have at the very least graduated high school. My next assumption is that since many of them have graduated high school, a large percentage of my readers know about the disease known as senioritis. This being my second senior yearnot in college folks, one in high school, one in college, thats a total of twoI consider myself an expert on the topic.

The most common symptom of senioritis is slacking off. I have found that a great cure for slacking off is to watch an endless stream of college basketball. The funny thing is that when I watch college basketball, I just see a bunch of kids with senioritis. However, they have what I like to call the other symptom, the one where you realize that this is your last chance to get something done, to make a name for yourself, to prove something to someone before you get out in the real world. Just take a look at what some seniors on the top five teams in the country are doing.
Lets start with the number one team in the country, the University of Connecticut Huskies. The team may be led by a number of underclassmen, but the teams glue this season has been senior Hilton Armstrong. He is scoring and rebounding well above his career average and the longtime reserve has allowed fans to overlook pre-season All-American Josh Boones season long slump.

The currently second ranked Duke Blue Devils have a senior class that is unrivaled throughout the country. All-Americans JJ Redick and Shelden Williams average nearly half of the teams points, while less touted Sean Dockery shuts down opponents with stifling perimeter defense and Lee Melchionni strokes three pointers. If Duke wins the National Championship this year it will be thanks to their stellar senior class.

The Memphis Tigers, currently ranked third in the country, have seven freshmen on their roster, but their best player this season has been senior Rodney Carney. Possibly the most athletic player in the country, Carney brings energy to the Tigers with his dunks, but teams should not overlook his outside shooting either.

Outside of Cameron, North Carolina, the Villanova senior class is the best in the land. Two of Novas outstanding guards, Randy Foye and Allan Raye, are seniors who are well on their way to leading Villanova to its first Final Four since the team won the NCAA Championship in 1985. Jason Fraser, the Wildcats best interior player, is also a senior, and injured forward Curtis Sumpter may hold the key to Villanovas championship hopes if he is able to recover from an ACL tear in time for the tournament.

Unlike the top four teams in the country, Gonzaga will only go as far as junior Adam Morrison takes it. The sixth team, however, is the University of Illinois. The Fighting Illini are riding the advantages of a broken leg. That leg belongs to senior guard Dee Brown, who was set to follow backcourt mate Deron Williams to the NBA after the Illini finished second in the NCAA Tournament last season. Brown broke his leg during a pre-draft camp and decided another season in Champaign, IL would help his career prospects. Without him, the Illini would likely be an NIT team;

with him, they are currently ranked sixth in the country.

Clearly, senior year is a crossroads. You can follow my path, in which case this column is likely the hardest youve worked all yearand thats not saying much. Or you can use your senior year to prove something and try to win an NCAA Championship.