In Coaching from the Inside Out, John Calipari wrote, “Just because you’re a year older doesn’t automatically make you a year better.” True. Yet, if the Wildcat freshmen stay hungry year after year, per the mantra of Duke coach Mike Krzyewski, their return on investment could rival that Kobe Bryant's investment fund. For that matter, if Duke's freshmen grow to be giants on the court, it may be hard for any other team to reach their height. But, while Kentucky and Duke have recruited two and three of the Freshman on the 2017 Naismith Watchlist, respectively, it seems that Madison Square Garden humbled freshman during the Champions Classic. More specifically, Frank Mason and Devonte Graham's backcourt humbled Freshman during the Champions Classic. In the "Year of the Freshmen", the upperclassmen prevailed. They prevailed because perhaps the problem for freshmen is not that becoming a year older does not necessitate being better. The problem for freshmen is that becoming a year older may mean complications and complications may be deadly.
In medical dramas a complication is a twist of events that makes a bad situation much worse. However, for viewers, a complication provides a perspective that is much more exciting and worth watching. With more eloquence, Megyn Kelly said in a TODAY interview that her very public Trump and Ailes complications gave her the perspective necessary to build muscle. This muscle is one that Angela Duckworth likes to call grit: "passion and perseverance for especially long-term goals". This grit muscle, unfortunately, is one that Kelly claims is becoming harder for millennials to grow. While she claims that her complicated interactions with Ailes and Trump honed her sense of perspective, she claims that similar upsets would affect millennials differently, crediting this difference to millennials becoming "too soft" and too reliant on safe spaces. Duckworth states that struggles affect millennials differently from older generations not because they are too soft or too reliant, but simply because they're younger. Similar to Coach Krzyewski, she claims that millennials just need growth to gain grit.
So maybe growing grit, then, is why Frank Mason is in the news today rather than Frank Jackson. In a Championship with complicated implications, Mason "went to work" when the younger, perhaps less "grittier" players did not. For Kelly and Generation X, mustering the grit to go to work garners respect. For Calipari and Krzyewski, mustering the grit to go to work garners one more, one better year. This week, it was upperclassmen who nodded to more and to better. This week then, it was upperclassmen who earned nods of respect.