This being an election year, let my first act as your new president of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association be to make some promises, a few which might be achievable and some whose long-term prospects run along the lines of Donald Trump being endorsed by Paul Krugman.
Example: I promise the next 12 months will be as dramatic and thrilling as a 3-pointer from Kris Jenkins to win the NCAA championship.
If you're scoring at home, that's one of the Trump long shots.
I can, however, assure you of this: I am beyond honored to assume the position and will do everything in my power not to pull a Jordan Spieth on No. 12 at the Masters.
One of my first tweets upon inheriting the gavel from the skilled and sagacious Pat Forde at the Final Four in Houston was to pledge that I would steer the organization at less than 20 knots so as to see all icebergs in time.
That, and have T-shirts made reading: Forgive your enemies, but never forget seating and wireless.
I feel a little like Gene Bartow following John Wooden, except for the part about if things don't work out, I never taught drivers' ed or badminton and don't have many other skills to fall back on.
Forde Minutes? I just hope to deliver five good ones before we all gather in Arizona.
I suppose that's my way of informing First Vice- President Vahe Gregorian to be ready for a promotion at any minute, and this includes when the Royals are tied in the ninth of a playoff game come October. Deadline be damned, Vahe.
More than anything, what I learned from Pat and before him the supremely talented Dana O'Neil and before her a lengthy list of other accomplished giants in our business who also assumed the president's role is that nothing is more important than serving the needs of membership.
I will do that to the absolute best of my ability.
While taking part in many of our annual Saturday meetings at the Final Four with members of the selection committee — including this year in Houston — I have concluded over time that the NCAA is willing to work with us and address many of our concerns.
David Worlock is our friend and I promise to take as much advantage of that relationship as he will allow in continuing to improve those areas most significant to all of us doing our jobs.
Many other topics remain of high importance, including naming and honoring the second recipient of the Dean Smith Award, the brainchild of USBWA member and past president John Feinstein; and continuing to engage more and more young basketball writers to become involved with the organization.
I'm also excited about an idea brought forth by past president and current Basketball Times publisher John Akers regarding the formation of ad hoc committees that would address specific issues.
The committees, which would not be bound by terms limits, would be comprised of members throughout the USBWA and cover such topics as increasing access to players and coaches for beat writers, creating greater diversity within the organization, placing a member inside the room during the NCAA selection process, improving media seating during both the regular season and the NCAA tournament and social media issues.
If you have any desire to serve on such a committee or can think of other issues that should be addressed in such a manner, please reach out.
This goes for any idea or complaint or suggestion you might have.
My email is email@example.com.
Use it. Often. Tell me what you think, what you want, what you believe our greatest needs are at this time. Tell me which conference offices to pester until such needs are met.
Please reach out and never forget to wear your best and most impressive recruiting hat when talking to those who haven't yet been blessed with the benefits of USBWA membership. Sell the heck out of us to anyone and everyone.
We need to grow and prosper and make sure our voices continue to be heard.
In the meantime, I'll do my best not to hit an iceberg.
That's a promise.
Graney elected USBWA president
Ed Graney, columnist for the Las Vegas Review- Journal, moved into the USBWA's presidency position at the association's annual business meeting during this year's men's Final Four in Houston.
Graney succeeds Pat Forde, Yahoo Sports, as president of the USBWA.
Mike Waters, Syracuse Post-Standard, was elected third vice president. Moving up in the rotation of officers were Vahe Gregorian, Kansas City Star, first vice president, and David Teel, Newport News Daily Press, second vice president.
Named to the board as district reps for three-year terms were Joe Juliano, Philadelphia Inquirer, District II; Jeff Greer, Louisville Courier-Journal, District IV; Jenni Carlson, The Oklahoman, District VI; Carlos Mendez, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, District VII; Geoff Grammer, Albuquerque Journal, District VIII; and Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, District IX. Bernadette Cafarelli, American Athletic Conference, was chosen as SID representative and Randy McClure, Rush the Court, as New Media liaison.
Returning as district reps, with their year on the board in parentheses, are Laura Keeley, Raleigh News & Observer (third), District III; Tom Noie, South Bend Tribune (third), District V; and Seth Davis, CBS Sports (second), and Jeff Goodman, ESPN (second), as atlarge representatives. Mel Greenberg is the liaison for women's basketball.
Joe Mitch serves as executive director. John Akers is Tipoff editor, and Ted Gangi is the USBWA webmaster.