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Best of Howard Schwartz

Gaming Guru

 

Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook -- Red-Hot Seller at GBC

28 October 2003

For more than 20 years, a single basketball resource for college bettors has reigned as the fastest selling, hottest, most sought-after annual title on the shelves at Gambler's Book Shop. The Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook, edited by Chris Dortch and compiled by more than two-dozen of his crew (382 pages, paperbound, $21.95, plus $6.50 postage), remains "King of the Hill."

Originally founded by Chris Wallace of Buckhannon, W.VA.(who has worked his way up to be general manager of the Boston Celtics), this magnificent undertaking receives appreciation not only from bettors, but also from coaches, scouts, players, sportscasters, sports talk show hosts and fans. The reason is simple: The book analyzes almost every important aspect of every important basketball team from Air Force to Youngstown State and conference from America East to Western Atlantic, plus independents.

Most magazines that focus on college basketball gather stats and facts from sports information directors in the spring and summer, well before things start to gel for their teams. The Blue Ribbon people work constantly to update everything into late October, pulling facts from a variety of other sources and making their information so much fresher than anything else on the market.

The Blue Ribbon book examines the team program and the coaching philosophy; then looks at the season schedule, listing all games including tournaments. A special section lists team starters who are not returning; others players who are not returning; the projected starters for the upcoming season; key reserves; other returnees; other newcomers; and questions involving the team, followed by answers. This results in a Blue Ribbon analysis, including an evaluating or grade from A to F in these categories: backcourt, bench/depth, frontcourt, and intangibles.

The results of every game played last year for the top 25 when properly used will help give readers an indication of improved teams, "sleepers" or those about to pull an upset if the linemaker gets too optimistic or miscalculates, especially early in the season when power ratings have not yet become solidified. (Do not expect spreads or totals or any sort of gambling-related information. You'll find none)

The book isolates players who are key to each team's success. It helps point out how good or experienced the backup player at that position might be should he be needed (if a key player is injured).

The sharpest handicappers look for things like injuries, leadership, the sparkplug off the bench, the low-scoring-but-clutch offensive rebounder and they can find them here.

Of the Top 25 teams the Blue Ribbon Book ranks, only five come from the West‹Gonzaga, Arizona, Stanford and California, with Connecticut and Duke picked first and second.

If you're interested in where the top 150 high schools stars landed, it's listed. Immediately after that section you get the top 150 high school players still at that playing level, to familiarize yourself with future college freshman or immediate jump-to-the-NBA status.

With 382 pages and a boxcar full of facts, names and statistics to sift through, this book is clearly one to buy as soon as possible to allow time to underline, highlight or transfer the key stuff to a notebook or PC.

A pat on the back to Dortch and his group for putting together an essential, comprehensive reference for the upcoming season.
Howard Schwartz
Howard Schwartz, the "librarian for gamblers," was the marketing director for Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas, a position he held from 1979 to 2010, when he retired. Author of hundreds of articles on gambling, his weekly book reviews appear in numerous publications throughout the gaming industry.

Howard Schwartz Websites:

www.gamblersbook.com
Howard Schwartz
Howard Schwartz, the "librarian for gamblers," was the marketing director for Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas, a position he held from 1979 to 2010, when he retired. Author of hundreds of articles on gambling, his weekly book reviews appear in numerous publications throughout the gaming industry.

Howard Schwartz Websites:

www.gamblersbook.com