The current, controlling chatter about limiting the ability of graduate students to switch schools for an extra season of eligibility has a familiar ring.
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Thirty years ago, TV basketball commentator Billy Packer loudly and persistently argued against allowing foreigners to receive scholarships to play in the U.S. "I would like to see a ban on all foreign players," he wrote in an academic journal known as TV Guide. "I think American coaches should do their recruiting in the United States."
Of course things have changed a bit since the eighties when, for instance, the ACC was a cute boutique league with eight members.
The idea of grad students freely shopping for a last playing stop wasn’t even on the radar then. Now late-career school switchers are found throughout college ball, in the ACC from Boston College to Georgia Tech to Louisville to Pitt.
As for extending grants-in-aid to foreign-born players, we don’t give it a second thought anymore. In fact the ACC has enjoyed the contributions of an impressive array of players with roots outside the United States.
Just over the past decade we’ve seen Venezuala’s Greivis Vasquez star at Maryland and Cameroon’s Kenny Kadji at Miami. A few other All-ACC players from overseas since Packer’s proclamation: Haiti’s Olden Polynice at Virginia (1986); UNC’s Ademola Okulaja (1999) from Nigeria and Germany; and Wake’s Darius Songaila (2002) and Vytas Danelius (2003), both from Lithuania.
This season there are seven imports starting for six ACC teams, not to mention a number of others spread around the league. Louisville’s roster alone is a minor United Nations, with four representatives from Australia, Egypt and Norway. Not to be outdone, Florida State has players from Canada, Chad, Nigeria and the Slovak Republic.
|Ervins Meznieks. BC||freshman||Latvia|
|Landry Nnoko, C||senior||Cameroon|
|Xavier Rathan-Mayes, FS||sophomore||Canada|
|Boris Bojanovsky, FS||senior||Slovak Republic|
|Tonye Jekiri, UM||senior||Nigeria|
|Rafael Maia, UP||graduate||Brazil|
|Konstantinos "Dinos" Mitoglou, WF||sophomore||Greece|