Wednesday, March 7th, 2007...2:08 am
Old School LittyHoops
A bunch of people have been asking me to write about college basketball. This makes sense since most people are used to reading my Littyhoops articles back in the day. I still try and carry on the Littyhoops legacy where it is appropriate (hence the header graphic of this blog). Actually, I’ll gladly buy a beer and talk hoops to the first person who can name all 10 players in the header. Leave a comment with their names if you think you know.
So without further ado here is my one college basketball article to sum up the entire season. Let’s call it the LittyHoops Awards.
Favorite Team: The Johnnies
This is the first season since high school that I have been living in NY the entire season. So I was unlucky enough to follow the Johnnies from start to finish. I’m happy to report that I am as sick and obsessed as ever. St. John’s was supposed to have a decent team this season and I held out hope that they could make a run for the tourney. My high hopes were crushed within five minutes of watching my first game of the season when St. John’s fell behind to Maryland 35-11 in the first 12 minutes. To make the entire situation worse I was with former Georgetown Coach Craig Esherick who I have needled about the glory of SJU for years, going as far as saying that Marcus Hatten got him fired. This famous rant didn’t help. and he got his revenge as he laughed in my face throughout th game. Usually, my “moment of no hope” occurs when the Johnnies fail to qualify for the NIT or the Big East Tournament. This year it came within five minutes of the start of the season.
But like any true diehard I fought back. I went to the Garden by myself when nobody else would go to the games with me. I went wild during a mid season surge when they defeated Syracuse and Notre Dame. After a few more decent Big East wins brought their record to 15-11 (6-7) I fantasized about the Johnnies winning out to sneak into the bubble picture.
Even now with leading scorer Lamont Hamilton out for the season and Daryl “Showtime” Hill already riding out his career on the pine with a bad knee I’m still dreaming. I asked my dad what seed he thinks the Johnnies will have in the big dance if they sweep #18 Marquette, #12 Pitt, #13 Louisville, and #9 Georgetown to win the Big East. He thinks I’m sick. If you saw St. John’s play Duke in the first half last week you would think so also.
Favorite Player: Kevin Durant
This kid is a golden god. Somehow Texas is always on TV playing a thriller and Durant is lighting it up. I don’t think I’ve seen him miss a shot all year. I don’t get why he doesn’t take 50 shots a game. He can score every way possible. His shot is perfect, he can drive, pull up, post up and hits the glass. I keep on trying to compare him to somebody in the NBA but there is nobody like him. He already has more offensive game at 18 then Garnett has had in his whole career. He’s much more athletic than Dirk and smoother than Lebron and has a better body then Melo. I would take Durant with the #1 pick and think he puts up at least 24/game next year.
Favorite Character: Acie Law IV
This is the point guard straight out of a major motion picture (think Sunset Park). He takes a school that is in the basketball outhouse for infinity and turns them into a powerhouse. His name is awesome. His swagger, confidence and leadership make Barrack Obama look like Rodney Dangerfield. Best of all, he hits big shot after big shot. I think Law has already reserved his space in the One Shining Moment montage.
Favorite Freaks of Natures: Brandon Wright/Julian Wright
Both these guys fly under the radar but the key word there is fly. They both have teradactel wingspans, marsupial hops, and are over 80″ tall. They pass, they shoot, they rebound, they run, they jump, they swat the shit out of shots. Where did these freak shows come from? They weren’t born before 1985. It used to be that a guy over 6’10″ played inside, couldn’t dribble and was allergic to the ball. Now, these guys can do anything. Is it steroids or could Larry Nance have been Dirk if he was born 15 years later in Germany.
Team That Makes Me Pull Out My Hair: Michigan
Things Tommy Amaker is good at: Wearing mock turtlenecks, Not losing his cool, placing his hands on his hips and looking disappointed, taking teams deep into the NIT, Acting like a Duke guy, not running the dirtiest program in America, resembalance to Condi Rice.
Things Tommy Amaker is bad at: coaching
Until I watched the Indiana and Michigan State victories I was sure the media was playing a dirty trick on me. Every Michigan game I watched they lost. In fact, they got blown out. I probably saw them go 0-7 to start the season. I didn’t believe that they had actually won a game during the season. They looked like the worst team in history. A completed pass was cause for celebration. Lester Abram, Dion Harris, and Courtney Sims all have regressed into marginal players since their freshman year. I look at Ekpe Udoh and his rawness and resigned to the fact that after this season he will probably just get more raw.
Michigan somehow pulled it together near the end of the season when they inserted Jarrett Smith at point guard. They even had a tournament birth in their grasp — up 6 over #1 OSU with 4 minutes left. But a few turnovers and a missed dunk later and the Wolverines are headed right back to the NIT. My only hope now is that Dion Harris breaks the all-time NIT career scoring record.
Favorite Jew: Jon Schuyer
Every jewish person in Chicago claims to have some kind of relationship to Schuyer or his family. He is the jewish Kevin Bacon. It got ridiculous in Puerta Vallarta where we meet three different families that all claimed to break matzah with him. I was fed up with all the ballyhoo until my friend Eric recently told me we knew his older sister at Michigan. Now I use the “how I’m related to the jew” line also.
By the way, Schuyer is somehow somewhat good. He is super skinny, has a shot that doesn’t look all that special and doesn’t really have a position. But he always seems to score a bunch of points and is much more productive then the other freshman on Duke.
Favorite Play of the Year: Jarret Smith to Brett Pettway Alley-Op
Smith threw the ball 60 feet and hit Petway perfectly in mid-air for a thunderous jam for a key basket in Michigan’s late season win over MSU. I’m not sure it really happened though. I’ve decided the play is statistically impossible. Close your eyes and think of the most improbable thing in the world. For me it would be running into NaS, Malik Sealy, Gwen Stefani, Jack Kerouac and Albert Einstein on the subway on my way to work tomorrow. I truly think that has more chance of happening (with a few of those guys being resurrected from the dead – like Tupac and Jesus) then the Alley-Op being completed. If you could freeze time as Smith released the pass I would bet the bookmakers in vegas would have set the odds at 1 in a googolplex.
Favorite Story: Josh Heytvelt getting caught with shrooms
Figures that the big white guy with shaggy hair gets caught carry psychedelic mushrooms. I love the formality of the story as it is reported. Check it out. Two Cheney police officers could smell a strong odor of burnt marijuana coming from the car. The baggie of dried mushrooms was protruding from the top of a gym bag that had Heytvelt’s name and jersey number embroidered on the front. Also in the bag were three foil-wrapped brownie muffins that the officer contended contained hallucinogenic mushrooms. Theo Davis, the passenger in the car, stated that he has been at a party earlier in the evening in which he had `taken a hit off of the bong. Go here for the real story.
LittyHoops Discovery: Chase Budinger
When I lived in California I worked in Carlsbad. Down the block from my office was Carlsbad High School. The guy who sat in the cubicle next to me would tell me about a sophomore named Chase Budinger at least once a day. He told me he was the next Larry Bird. He would bug me to go watch him play volleyball after I work. I thought this guy was out of his mind. Apparently not cause Budinger is siiiiiiiiiick.
Best Historical Moment of the season: Psycho T’s Broken Nose
It was great to see Hansbrough pop up with a bloody face and that southern white boy crazed look. I wasn’t sure if he was going to turn into the Incredible Hulk and kill everybody in his way or if he was going to break down and cry. Hansbrough looked like a maimed Barbero as he started running around the court and eventually into the locker room. Meanwhile, word has it that Gerald Henderson cried the night away in his dorm room for his unnecessary karate chop. Wouldn’t you just die to see UNC play Duke in the ACC tournament final.
Best Game of the Season: Texas vs. Oklahoma State
If you saw it you would agree.
My Adopted Team: Winthrop
My friends gave me a hard time at lunch the other day because I was sulking that I was missing the Winthrop game. The Eagles are legit though. They are 28-4 with three of their losses coming in the final minute at UNC, Wisconsin and Maryland. Their other loss is at Texas A&M. They have two legit scorers, a solid center and a good coach. They will be going to the tournament for the seventh time in the last 9 seasons. Don’t you just smell a sweet 16 run.
Wow I wish I was them: Florida Gators
Brewer, Horford, Noah and Green live together. They all have ties to professional athletes and grew up privileged. They have a title under their belt and can have another one if they decide they want it badly enough. These guys are the Matt Leinarts of college basketball this year.
Corniest Moments of the Season: Tennessee Coaches Act Weird
First Bruce Pearl has to show he is has the biggest chest of any Coach in Division 1 by painting himself orange for to support the women’s basketball team. Then Pat Summitt dresses up as a cheerleader and sings some wacky volunteer Rocky Top song. Doesn’t it all somehow smell of incest.