St. Rita's Charles Matthews (center) recently committed to play… (Nuccio DiNuzzo / Chicago…)
It was a small headline, nothing major, but unfortunately it got me thinking, which I hate.
It said "St. Rita G Matthews commits to Kentucky."
St. Rita junior guard Charles Matthews has selected his school, and of course, it's Kentucky. And I'm thinking, wow, that's nice. He'll follow in the tradition of Anthony Davis (Chicago kid, went to Kentucky) and Jabari Parker (Chicago kid, went to Duke) of big-time Chicago players going to big-time schools.
And that absolutely stinks because none of these big-time schools is in Illinois, though they should be.
These guys should be staying home! They should be enrolling in this state! Here's a headline I want to read: "Illinois lands another top St. Rita player." Or how about "DePaul signs another G out of Public League."
It sounds crazy, except that this used to happen all the time. DePaul and Illinois used to get a ton of local studs. Now, I hear nothing. DePaul, shame on you for that wretched afterthought you've become. Come on people, if you can't sell that campus and this city, then you're in the wrong business.
As for Illinois, you're just so … Illinois. Do I need to show you a map? Here it is. See? That's "Chicago!" Oh, look over there. That's "St. Louis" and over here is "Peoria" and we have other neat little cities spread out across the state where there are all kinds of gifted basketball players.
It's called "salesmanship" and I'll just say this to Illini coach John Groce and DePaul coach Oliver Purnell: Guys, get out there and sell it. You don't even have to leave the state. Look at some history books—from the '80s! Ray Meyer, Lou Henson. It's been done before.
As for the other underachieving college, Northwestern, a quick word to Kain Colter: Your five minutes may be up. Yes, it's hard being a student athlete, but it's not "like a job." Working in the cafeteria and scrubbing dishes, that's like a job. You got all tuition paid at an elite university. That's your payment.
I've never been prouder to say "it is what it is". Be thankful for it.
Bag Boy is a RedEye special contributor.
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