College basketball icon Christian Laettner was at Missouri Southern’s Robert Ellis Young Gymnasium on Wednesday to watch the Association of Christian College Athletics National Championships.
A full story about what the former Duke and NBA star was doing in Joplin is available at joplinglobe.com.
The following are leftover comments from Laettner that came during my interview with him on Wednesday. He talked about the current state of college basketball, Duke coach Mike Kryzewski, being on the 1992 Dream Team and the ACCA.
Laettner on how current college basketball teams compare to those of his era that often included highly-touted seniors:
“I think if kids were staying in school longer now, the teams would be as good as they were when I played. But it’s been watered down a little bit, because the kids are leaving early. It’s a little watered down, but it’s watered down across the board so it’s still very entertaining basketball.
“It does seem like the teams that have seniors like Minnesota can pull off some wins. A team like Miami has a six-year senior. It seems like the teams that have a lot of veterans tend to do well. That experience and age means a lot. It’s still high quality basketball.
“Coach K still gets kids to stay -- most of them for a few years. But everybody wants to go to the NBA and make money and get all of that attention.”
Laettner on having the opportunity of being the only college player on 1992 Olympic Dream Team, which is considered the best basketball team ever assembled:
“It was just being lucky and blessed and being in the right place in the right time. I’m sure if I hadn’t won two championships, I might not have been selected. It was just the right timing. A dream of mine was to represent my country and win a gold. It was a wonderful feeling.”