This column appears in the December 28 issue of ESPN The Magazine.
Remember when it seemed like only teams with elite centers made deep Tourney
runs? Well, give or take a Greg Oden or two, the days of a Ewing or Olajuwon ruling the Final Four are long gone. "The trend over the past 10 years has been for big men to shift outside," says one NBA Western
Conference scout. "The seven-foot post presence is becoming more and more
rare in today's college systems." As big-time coaches lean toward wide-open
offenses like dribble-drive motion, back-to-the-hoop centers are scrambling
for scholarships. And crafty mid-majors are gobbling them up -- and spitting
them out to the NBA.