Truth or journalistic sensationalism?

We have witnessed the transformation of a shy, laid back New York City prep star into a smiling, flexing, two handed dunking machine. 6-10 freshman phenom Chris Taft has made the whole nation take notice. Opposing coaches are in awe of him, and even ESPN analyst Dick Vitale raves about his skills.

During Midnight Madness, Taft seemed a little taken back by all the hysteria and craziness. But the 5 time Big East Rookie of the week and frontrunner for the Big East Rookie of the year has certainly acclimated himself to his new surroundings rather quickly.

While most of us are pondering where we will be playing in the NCAA Tournament, and if we do indeed earn a #1 seed, one cannot blame Pittsburgh fans for becoming leery of the recent rash of news articles questioning whether or not Taft will go to the NBA. With the lack of quality big men, especially one with Taft's abilities in the low post, it makes him a hot commodity for NBA scouts. Taft still has work to do on his game. Most notably, he needs to increase his upper body strength and develop a mid-range jump shot.

Chris has developed quite the fan-following in Pittsburgh, being dubbed "Big Ticket" by the Panther faithful. Most college basketball purists would love to see all kids stay in school for four years. However, in today's world of professional sports, it seems as though the money, power, and stardom are too much for a young man to turn away from. One thing these youngsters lose sight of is that for every Kevin Garnett, Tracy McGrady, and Kobe Bryant, there are five or six per each one of these guys who never set foot on NBA hardwood.

Being a biased Pittsburgh Panther basketball fan, I am among the thousands of others who hope that Mr. Taft sticks around Oakland for a couple more seasons.

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