College basketball is an exciting venue for its fans. Western New York is continuing to send outstanding local high school competitors to fine programs. New York State's Mr. Basketball, Leonard Stokes (Turner/Carroll) at Cincinnati, Damone Brown (Seneca) at Syracuse, Justin Miller (Southwestern) at Siena and Julius Page (Turner/Carroll) at Pittsburgh, regularly make national headlines and sports programs. Charlie Comerford (Timon/St. Jude) will go to Holy Cross.
Local administrators and promoters will always find that an NCAA Division I label does not make a program. It is fun to travel down Route 219 to Olean and watch the only Western New York program of consequence which is St. Bonaventure in the Atlantic-10 Conference. The AD, Gothard Lane, and basketball coach, Jim Baron, have a semblance of a program, but not of the caliber of the Big East and New York State's premier Syracuse franchise.
The revelation of what makes a franchise has yet to dawn on local schools. It is about developing value of the kind outstanding athletes will recognize. It is an open door to development, but as this year, even the sixth place Atlantic Coast Conference team may gain a coveted place in the NCAA Tournament, and those are the statistics that are watched.
DAVID R. CONNERS