Thursday, October 22, 2009

College

LeBron is giving Terrelle Pryor some tips and pointers:

James said he has been speaking to Pryor on the phone in recent weeks to try to help him deal with celebrity at a young age. James knows something about that, since he appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated under the headline "The Chosen One" while he was still in high school in Akron, Ohio.

"Being that No. 1 guy, how do you adjust to it and how do you get through it and still perform at a high level?" James said. "Sometimes it can be very difficult on [a young athlete]. I'm trying to be that guy who can really help him get through a lot of situations which he's never seen before but now he's seeing and understanding."

Pryor has been under fire from Ohio State fans after throwing two interceptions and losing two fumbles in the then-No. 7 ranked Buckeyes' stunning 26-18 loss at Purdue last week. They tumbled to No. 18 this week, and meet Minnesota on Saturday.

Adding to the pressure surrounding Pryor, his high school coach in Jeannette, Pa., said this week that Ohio State's offense is not maximizing Pryor's abilities. In a story which first appeared on ESPN.com, Ray Reitz said his former charge looks like "a robot" in Ohio State's offense.

Now, a cynical jackass like myself might wonder if LeBron has any idea what Pryor is going through. Sure, on the topic of being a young sports celebrity, I'm sure Bron-Bron can help a bunch. But has LeBron ever had the on court/field problems that Pryor is dealing with?

James has been a stud his entire NBA career. Sure, there have been blips here and there (free throw shooting, passing to Donyell Marshall, walking off the court without shaking hands) but for the most part, LeBron hasn't had many terrible games. Even when they lose in the playoffs, no one dares say LeBron was the reason, it's always the crappy teammates not helping him out (never mind that LeBron played off the ball for the entire year UNTIL the Orlando series when he would bring the ball up court every possession. Mo and Delonte weren't spot up shooters all season, but they were vs Orlando. Ya know what, let's move on).

The ongoing saga with Pryor pretty much summarizes why I just can't follow college sports like I do the professional leagues. Has Pryor stunk the past few weeks? Sure he has, no one denies that. But with all of the hype coming out of high school, Ohio State fans seem to view Pryor like an overpaid free agent bust rather than a 20 year old kid (who's dealing with on field adversity for the first time in his life). He's not Larry Hughes.

I just can't get that upset that when an 18-20 year old kid screws up (though it's not like I don't get pissed while watching the games). You couple that with the college football BCS format (where one bad game can ruin your title hopes) and the insane amount of pressure that playing for a big time program like Ohio State entails and I'm not surprised that guys like LeBron are lending a hand to help him out. It can't be easy.

(BTW- the Cavs were charging 50 dollars to see last night's exhibition game versus the Celtics in Columbus. Classy).