A Senior Moment
In addition to today’s thoughts on the Marquette game, I’d like to add quick note on the Duke-Kentucky game. I could spend lots of time (if I had said time) talking about the ridiculous athleticism of Kentucky, or the fact that Duke’s Ryan Kelly is underrated because his last name is not Plumlee, but the thing that really stuck out to me last night was player introductions. In one of the greatest moves of overcompensation that I’ve ever seen, Kentucky’s Julius Mays was introduced not as a senior, but as a "grad student." I’ve since checked the Kentucky basketball website, and indeed, on the team roster he is also listed as a grad student. This move feels like an obvious and pathetic attempt to deflect from Kentucky’s status as the place where a new crop of all-American freshmen go each year to spend a season before they can head to the NBA.
Kentucky forcing every announcer and publication to refer to Mays as a grad student reminds me of a common experience that I used to have in college. Every semester I’d start new classes, and there would usually be that part where the professor or TA had us go around and introduce ourselves by stating our name, major and year in school. Most normal people would say something like "I’m Tim, and I‘m a junior majoring in economics." But every so often there was that one guy who’d instead say "I’m Mario, I'm a biology major, and I'm a second-year student with junior standing." And invariably the next thoughts going through my head would be "Congrats on having lots of AP credits. Just tell us you’re a sophomore or a junior. Explicitly pointing out that you have more credits than most of the students that started school at the same time as you doesn’t make me think you’re smarter–it makes me think you’re an insecure jerk." Much like the info that Mario in English 205 has a higher class standing than usual due to his ability amass credits, the info that Mays is a grad student is irrelevant to me. All I care about is that he’s in his fourth year of basketball eligibility. We commonly refer to that as a senior. Let’s not get cute about it.
So Kentucky, please know that when you note that Julius Mays is a grad student, it doesn’t make me forget that every year you have four high school all-American basketball players who don’t plan on playing more than a year in college and will probably never attend a second semester class. It simply makes me think you’re ashamed of who you are. With that in mind, let’s start calling Mays what his is for basketball purposes–a senior.