One of Jumpin’ Jamaica, Queens finest, Kenny “Jet” Smith and his TNT postgame partner Charles Barkley were in the building at Essex House Hotel's NCAA Media Event. First I caught up with Smith and got his opinion on some NCAA and NBA action.
A Houston rise and Miami Dive:
“I think the NBA season is about establishing your style of play to get ready for the playoffs. You start to see what works and your highs and lows and your peaks and valleys. So you kind of test certain things, you test certain guys and you have injuries, but when the playoffs start you know what it is. And Miami knows what it is. They’ve got the hardware to say nobody in the Eastern Conference has beaten us in the last three years. It’s not for us to figure out. It’s for YOU to figure out. Miami is my pick. A team has to figure out what they need to do to beat Miami. Miami already knows what it takes to win and beat those teams like Indiana. So they’re definitely still the favorites.”
The new ACC with the inductions of former Big East powers Syracuse and Pitt:
“It’s still taking me some time to wrap my head around it but I think over the next five years the schools will get to know each other and that’s when the Syracuse-North Carolina rivalry and other rivalries will start heating up, especially with the recruiting. The schools will star recruiting and competing for the same kids. And then the kids they didn’t recruit will have chips on their shoulders and that’s where the animosity and the competitiveness in the rivalry intensifies and develops. “
NCAA Tournament players to watch:
“Villanova’s Javon Pinkston is an underrated small forward/power forward with a lot of game. Langston Hall over at Mercer, he’s a future NBA player and a really good guard. Then I’ll say the obvious; Russ Smith my Archbishop Molloy brethren.”
Top NCAA Moments:
“The Lorenzo Charles dunk, that really made me fall in love with college basketball. It made a dream a reality. I was a sophomore going into high school wondering if I was good enough to play. And you look at that NC State team and doubted if they were good enough to beat mighty Houston, but they did it. So it gave me the motivation to say maybe I can play at that level.”
NBA Hall of Famer Sir Charles Barkley was kind enough to give The Shadow League a couple of minutes at his round table. It was literally a round dining table where I ate cantaloupe and asked him questions befitting of a celebrity of his ilk.
“I’m all over the place to be honest with you. I love listening to music when I work out. I prefer a lot of rap because it gets my heart racing and just gives me great energy .If I’m riding my bike or lifting weights music is always playing. I like The Eagles, love all type of rap. “
Favorite TV Shows:
My No. 1 show right now is “Scandal.” Love it. “Person of Interest.” Love it. And probably “Blue Bloods.”
Favorite Female Actors:
I’m feeling Kerry Washington right now. I love Julianna Margulies in “The Good Wife.” She’s amazing. Melissa McCarthy on “Mike and Molly is an actress I really like too.”
Favorite women’s college basketball team:
I root for my university Auburn, but Geno Auriemma does a great job over at Connecticut. Dawn Staley is doing a great job over at South Carolina and I root for her.”
Proposed 20-year-old rule for college players to jump to NBA:
“I think it great because it should really be 20. It’s ruining the NBA with all of these young kids coming out. I would love for them to move it to 20-years-old. Right now it’s bad basketball. They’re not ready for the NBA yet."