Enjoy the ride, U of M fans

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - It was an incredible ride to watch the Wolverine basketball team, with its sometimes unlikely and mostly lovable cast of characters, push its quest for the ultimate season to the very end.

But in tonight's Tom's Corner, Tom Van Howe says he hopes you enjoyed it, because it appears the magic isn't just's really over.


For U of M fans, the NCAA tournament was a cardiac caravan of comebacks, unexpected thrills, and ultimately affection and pride.

What a thrill ride. On several occasions.

There they were...a bunch of freshmen, who at this time last year were playing for their hometown fans in high school gyms, fighting tooth and nail in front of an international audience on the biggest stage basketball has to offer.

One Facebook posting during the Louisville game said "I can't believe there are so many freshmen out there...When I was that age I just missed my mom."

And it all had people talking about the resurgence of a "program," about Michigan's return to prominence. Finally.

And now comes the news that four of the starting tournament Mitch McGary, point guard and national player of the year Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway, Jr., and Glenn Robinson III...are rumored to be entering the NBA Draft.

My first reaction is to shout no...don't do that. That would be a huge mistake. Do what Wolverine student-athletes do.

Finish your educations. And then go off and make your millions as educated, well-rounded young men.

After all, that's what going to college is all about. The campus is a microcosm of overall societyof the world, for that matter.

It's where you learn to socialize, to think, to consider ideas not your own, to structure your life,to inherit and absorb the thoughts of great thinkers who passed this way long ago.

Or is it?

It doesn't take much reflection to understand that things have changed. That most people today seek higher education to help open doors down the road in the search for a career with a high rate of pay.

That's really what college has become. Go to college and get a good job.

According to the experts, Burke and McGary could be first round picks.

Hardaway and Robinson second rounders.

And you know what? That's a pretty good job. The minimum salary of an NBA player is nearly a half-million dollars a year. On the other end, as we all know, the sky's the limit.

On the other hand, if they stay in Ann Arbor another season or two, they might not look so good as they did this season; they might get injured; their stock might go down.

So, theoretically...Ya gotta strike when the iron is hot.

There are, after all, only 360 NBA players, period.

If they do enter the draft, and they do, in fact, get draftedand they'd better hope they dothey will have achieved what they set out to do. They went to college and got good jobs with high rates of pay.

College basketball fans will miss them. They were fun to watch.

And I hope you enjoyed every moment...because one poll for next season already has the Spartans of Michigan State ranked number twoand the Wolverines of Michigan nowhere to be found in the top 25.

And so it goes.

In this corner...I'm Tom Van Howe.