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I Accidentally Caused an International Incident Last Night

The internet really is a funny place sometimes.

Yesterday, I wrote an article detailing why I didn’t think it was the best move for RJ Hampton to spend next season in New Zealand playing in the NBL Australia’s professional basketball league. Honestly, at the time, the article didn’t feel all that “controversial” to me. Hampton’s stated reasoning for going to Australia was that this league would “best prepare him” for the NBA in 2020 and beyond, and I simply didn’t believe that.  I simply didn’t buy that playing in a league with a 28-game schedule, against good, but not elite international competition was the “best” way to prepare him for the NBA.

And yes, the competition is good, but not elite. With all due respect, the last two Rookie’s of the Year in the league have been Isaac Humphries (Kentucky) and Harry Froling (Marquette), two players who literally couldn’t get off the bench for major colleges.

To be clear, I never said the level of competition in college is better than Australia. But again, Hampton’s stated goal was to do what will “best prepare him for the NBA.” And as I said on my podcast (though unfortunately not in the article), part of the “best way to prepare” is to play against the best possible competition. Therefore, playing in the G-League (which is an option for elite high school players) or in a top European league seemed like it would be better preparation. Beyond that, if it was really about “living a pro lifestyle” I believe that college was just as good of an option, you know, since colleges actually play more games, over a shorter stretch of time than the NBL.

Now call me crazy, but to me, that doesn’t feel all that controversial of a take. You can disagree, but my argument seems relatively simple and logically thought out.

Or, so I thought.

Because apparently I caused an international controversy by simply stating that I don’t believe Australia/New Zealand is the best option for RJ Hampton next season – which it isn’t.

In essence, I got the entire country of Australia mad.

There were so many tweets that my thumb got tired scrolling through them all. But here are some of the best ones:

Or Scott.

Or Brayden.

Tiago’s tweet doesn’t really make sense, which is disappointing since he has “writer” in his bio. I do appreciate the effort of casually dropping an f-bomb in however.

For those who tried to defend the league (which isn’t necessary), they argued that the league has produced several future NBA players the last couple years. You know, the same amount that the big-time colleges (Duke, Kentucky, UCLA, Kansas) produce every season:

Heck, Harry Froling, last year’s NBL Rookie of the Year even got involved. Yes, the same Harry Froling who averaged three points per game at Marquette two years ago.

There are more and more and more and more, but we’ll just stop here. Especially since this whole story ends with a happy ending.

Although, I have pissed off every fan and media member in Australia, the folks at the NBL, the league Hampton will play in, couldn’t have been nicer, even if he called me Adam.

After a few DM’s with Nick, it appears as though the head of the league will be appearing on the next Aaron Torres Sports Podcast to discuss my article.

Can’t wait.

And sorry to all of Australia for making you mad.

Even if what I wrote was true.

Article written by Aaron Torres

Aaron Torres is covering football and basketball for KSR this season after four years at Fox Sports. Follow him on Twitter @Aaron_Torres, Facebook or e-mail at [email protected] He is also the author of the only book written on the Calipari era, “One and Fun: A Behind the Scenes Look at John Calipari and the 2010 Kentucky Wildcats.”

18 Comments for I Accidentally Caused an International Incident Last Night

  1. Smyrna_Cat
    11:06 am May 29, 2019 Permalink

    It wasn’t an “international incident”, and there are trolls all over the email … but I didn’t think it was your best article … it was pretty lame. (And I like your writing a lot!)

  2. Smyrna_Cat
    11:07 am May 29, 2019 Permalink

    “And sorry to all of Australia for making you mad.”


  3. Cole28
    11:09 am May 29, 2019 Permalink

    Wow… This is pretty great actually. Good on ya, to get a NBL rep to come on the show.

  4. ukbradstith
    11:22 am May 29, 2019 Permalink

    Actually, all the responses you received strengthened your argument. That list of NBA players from the NBL couldn’t beat a top 5 college team. And that’s from a whole league over several years.

  5. makeitstop
    11:35 am May 29, 2019 Permalink

    What you said was objectively true, opinions bolstered by actual research, and a cogent argument… naturally that makes people mad if they just want to argue with hyperbole and name calling. It is objectively true that the best college programs produce more NBA talent that the NBL especially per capita. Probably a third of Duke and UK’s roster is going to the NBA this year… two teams producing more NBA roster spots than your whole league? It’s a fact hat competition is better in Europe, bolstered by data – the number of NBA roster spots held by guy who started in Europe – and not just bench warmers and role player. It’s true that talent is better in the G-League. NBA “style” schedules, offenses and coaching styles are more prevalent in the G-League. NBA level support staff, as you point out, weight and conditioning, medical and PT, nutritionist, all better in the elite college programs. So if that offends snowflakes and trolls, I’d say that’s on them, not you. And really, the rap on the US is we don’t know how to use the internet?? Ok… take me to Australian Silicone Valley and show me whee the iphone, google, FB and other internet giants (for better or worse) were started… then let’s roll over to Aussie-Amazon, Aussie HP and Aussie-Microsoft. Good Lord. I love the Aussies but these guys should be sent to the Outback with no internet for a month just for being stupid.

  6. notFromhere
    11:52 am May 29, 2019 Permalink

    Didnt see the article, but was going to write a similar response to the announcement Hampton made.

    Goytlieb … havent seen or heard from him since ESPN gutted their radio lineup. Great to see he’s still an idiot at least half the time.

    The rest also dont want anyone writing anything objective written, or theyd have to ve journalists. Either Hampton or his dad dont feel he will go in the first round after one year against tough competition OR they think he just needs to be working solely on basketball 24/7, regardless of the level of that competition.

    I dont fault them for deciding to go pro, but it seems strange to choose new zealand. Guess they want the isolation. Kind of like a boot camp type thing without the security and with lots of travel time….

    • notFromhere
      11:53 am May 29, 2019 Permalink

      I wouldve had to care about where Hampton went to respond to the original article, but I think it’s pretty cool of all of those trolls to give you pub, Aaron

  7. UKfanman01
    12:13 pm May 29, 2019 Permalink

    Wow…. way to throw a plethora of super talented players out there.
    Torrey Craig
    Terrance Ferguson
    Jacob Wiley
    Mitch Creek
    Brian Bowen
    Andrew Bogut
    Isaac Humphries
    Let’s be honest….. These are decent players, yes I know BBN, Humphreys is on there. I get it. He does hold one of my fondest UK moments in all of history, but he isnt a star in the NBA.

  8. Big Sexy
    12:14 pm May 29, 2019 Permalink

    So they give 7 examples of NBL players in the NBA. How many players are in the NBA from college?

    Torres said he would be better prepared by playing college. Somehow these people hear, “the NBL is crap”. Pretty typical in today’s world actually. People are triggered so easily.

  9. catsby90.1
    1:08 pm May 29, 2019 Permalink

    I agree 100%, and that has nothing to do with wanting him at Kentucky. He was going to go to Kansas anyway, which would have been a better decision.

  10. cats646
    1:40 pm May 29, 2019 Permalink

    Lol, Australia. Smh

  11. StuckinLville
    1:43 pm May 29, 2019 Permalink

    It’s funny they mention Bowen when he didnt really have a choice but to go over seas. Other than Craig, there is no one of substance on this list. UK has produced that many pros pretty much in one year before. Aaron is right.

  12. kywildcat_96
    2:37 pm May 29, 2019 Permalink

    You do realize that New Zealand and Australia are different countries right?

  13. Luether
    6:33 pm May 29, 2019 Permalink

    Keep up the great work, Aaron. This is much to do about nothing…