No reason for Martins to go through NBA draft |

No reason for Martins to go through NBA draft

Joe Santoro

Sports fodder for a Friday morning …

There is simply no rational reason for Caleb and Cody Martin to leave the Nevada Wolf Pack right now for the NBA. Neither one distinguished himself or improved his draft stock at the recently complete NBA Draft Combine. So there is very little chance that either of the Wolf Pack twins will be drafted next month. Is now the time to leave one of the best teams in all of college basketball simply to start a career in basketball’s minor leagues or overseas? The minor leagues will always be there for the Martins. This is their last chance of playing in the Final Four. It might be the one and only chance in the history of Wolf Pack basketball. Delaying a professional career one more year will do nothing to harm the Martins. In fact, it might help them tremendously since next year’s draft isn’t supposed to be nearly as deep as this one. The Martins have a chance to make history this coming season. The NBA will be drooling all over them a year from now if that happens.

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The Wolf Pack needs both Cody and Caleb Martin. The twins are the heart and soul of this Wolf Pack team right now. They are the perfect Eric Musselman players. Versatile, skilled, incredibly intelligent. Motivated, competitive and determined. Take both Martins off this team and, yes, the Pack could likely still win the Mountain West. But the Pack is not going to the Final Four without them. Take Cody away and who plays point guard? Lindsey Drew coming off a serious Achilles injury? A 5-foot-10 Jazz Johnson? Mariah Musselman? Take Caleb away and, well, the Pack suffers in about a half dozen areas, namely scoring, rebounding, shooting, passing, rebounding and, the biggest one of all, leadership. The Pack would still be good — Mountain West title, NCAA tournament team — without them. With them the Pack can be great.

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The 2019 Final Four, by the way, will be in Minneapolis. Eric Musselman’s father, Bill, is a legend in the state of Minnesota, having coached the Minnesota Golden Gophers to huge success in the early 1970s. Bill Musselman is also the first head coach in the history of the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Musselmans would be the darlings of the Final Four next April in Minneapolis. It’s all falling into place, Wolf Pack fans.

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Do you care that the Vegas Golden Knights will be playing in the Stanley Cup Finals? Does Nevada state pride for a Northern Nevadan only refer to anything that happens in the state outside of Las Vegas? It would have been nice if they called the team Nevada Golden Knights but nobody east of Elko, south of Tonopah, north of Stead and west of Verdi actually knows Las Vegas is in the state of Nevada. Las Vegas certainly won’t admit it. The rest of the country, it seems, looks at Las Vegas as the western version of Washington, D.C., an area not part of a state. So it’s fitting that the Knights and Washington Capitals are playing for the Cup. Two areas that are sort of make believe cities.

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What will it say about the current state of the NHL that an expansion team can win the Stanley Cup? Is the rest of the league that bad? Is hockey so random that you can put together a team with discarded players just months before the season begins and then go on to win the championship? Or are we witnessing one of the more remarkable accomplishments in professional sports history? Why isn’t the rest of the country getting more excited about the VGK? Is it because it is just hockey and the fact that LeBron James drinks water on the bench is still far more interesting to American sports fans than anything that takes place in the NHL? A big reason is the media, which simply panders to Internet clicks right now. So anything relating to LeBron is priority number one. But the best story in sports all season has been what is going on in Las Vegas, whether anyone knows it or not.

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Does it seem strange to anyone that the Golden Knights are referred to simply as the “Vegas Golden Knights” and not the Las Vegas Golden Knights? The team is abbreviated in box scores as VGK and not LVK. Their logo sports a V and not LV. Can you imagine the 49ers calling themselves the Frisco 49ers? How about the Jose Sharks, Angeles Dodgers and Rams, the Diego Padres or Antonio Spurs? What if the Giants suddenly changed their logo from an SF to simply an F? What if the Dodgers went from LA to just an A? Hey, last we checked, it is UNLV. Not UNV. Bring back the Las.

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It is doubtful we’ve heard the last about NFL players protesting during the national anthem. The players should be furious about the NFL changing its policy this week, declaring that it will fine teams whose players kneel during the anthem. Yes, the NFL is giving the players the option of staying in the locker room during the anthem. But that is basically just the league telling the players, “Go ahead and protest but don’t let our paying customers or our television audience see it.” Is it a protest if nobody sees it? Of course not. So the NFL wins. The NFL always wins. We will now find out just how strongly NFL players actually care about the issues they say they were protesting.