Pivot moves

Where do old-school bigs go to get NBA ready? Not where you'd think

Updated: December 17, 2009, 9:49 AM ET
By Matt Giles | ESPN The Magazine
Rick Haye/Marshall UniversityWhiteside's 4.4 BPG are third-best in all of Division I hoops.

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.