Of the first 20 players taken in the 2006 NBA Draft, an even dozen did not play a single minute of NBA basketball in 2015, Tyrus Thomas played seven over the course of a 10-day contract that was not renewed, and another—first overall pick and human Crying Loudly emoji Andrea Bargnani—is Andrea Bargnani. Nine years sounds like a long time to do anything, let alone do it poorly, but perhaps this is a way to make that more clearly understood.
When the CSTBracket first became a thing, those of us picking our brackets were trying to ascertain just how far Shelden Williams could carry Duke, or whether Michigan State’s pro-ready trio of Maurice Ager, Shannon Brown, and Paul Davis would be enough to get them to the Final Four. We parsed Patrick O’Bryant, and then we did it again to be sure, and then made our (incorrect!) picks accordingly. If you are old enough to remember those names and those considerations, you are wincing, and not just because you—as I did, as most of us do—were also likely wrong about them. If you are not, then you are wincing at how old those wincing old fucks are. Either way, we should get used to it. This is the wincing season, and the CSTBracket is how we craft and create new winces, for a new era.
I know, as someone who wrote basketball cards—not just one, but like a dozen different ostensibly collectible little blurblets about Hilton Armstrong and Leon Powe and Cedric Simmons, all of whom are demonstrably and Google-ably real—just how little there is to know about all this. It is not that these players aren’t interesting or worth speculating about, and anyway who are we to not-speculate about things like this. It’s that we don’t know, we never know, and that the fullness of time reveals how little we know just as surely as the first four days of the tournament do. That is: viciously, totally, inexorably, and in a way that is both painful and fun.
So yeah: let’s get back to it. Nine years is a long time to be wrong. So is eight. So is Thursday. We will not stop being wrong, and college basketball—all beautiful and dumb and flawed and broken and great—is not going to stop making us be wrong. So let’s keep at it. Let’s be wrong together again. The password is cstbracket, and to click here is to be invited.
The gift bucket will, once again, be provided by our generous host GC—it will be either an autographed Vin Baker photo from his legendary tenure with the New York Knicks (autographed by GC, not Vin himself) or a championship-grade collection of 12XU swag. Only one of us will get to win it. The rest of us will only win the privilege of being wrong, in this way and around each other, for another year. Which, at least, is something worth coming back for.