It’s a Love/Hate Relationship: Volume IVPosted by jbaumgartner on December 28th, 2010
Jesse Baumgartner is an RTC contributor. In this piece he’ll spend each week reviewing the five things he loved and hated about the previous week of college basketball.
The Five Things I Loved This Week
I LOVED…..a monster throwdown over a brave defender. Too often these days the defensive player gets out of the way, fearful of ending up on the wrong end of an ESPN Top Ten nominee. But not Georgetown sophomore Hollis Thompson. He stood tall in the paint and boldly said “Posterize me,” to Memphis’ D.J. Stephens, who replied, “As you wish” in rim-rocking fashion. Also, you have to love that “Blake Griffin-esque” was the first adjective used by the announcers on the slo-mo replay.
I LOVED…..how many players rotate through the “No. 1 draft prospect in America” slot during the college season. First it was UNC’s Harrison Barnes, before he even took a shot. Then it was Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger for a bit, followed by some rumblings about Baylor’s Perry Jones. Of course we haven’t even gotten to the NCAA Tournament yet, that wonderful showcase that tends to exponentially inflate or deflate draft projections (remember Joakim Noah’s rise to the top of the board after Florida’s first title?). Stay tuned – next week’s No. 1 pick could be coming to a court near you.
I LOVED…..that Western Kentucky coach Ken McDonald felt so bad about his team’s performance that he reimbursed fans for their gas mileage. How awesome is that in today’s coaching world, which has plenty of big egos and more than a hint of the “don’t blame me” philosophy. You have to wonder why some big-name coaches don’t do things like this. Obviously it’s harder with larger fan bases, but big-name coaches make big-time money, and creative PR moves like this can go a long way. My hat is off to the Hilltoppers.
I LOVED…..an awkward moment. And who doesn’t love awkward moments, if we’re truly honest with ourselves. This week we had a doozy. Roy Williams, he of Carolina upbringing and the understudy of legendary Dean Smith (synonymous with God in Tar Heel country), released his necessary statement of admiration for Mike Krzyzewski as the Duke coach gets set to pass Smith in all-time wins. Take a read – it’s a humorous mixture of, “Yes this is amazing that you broke this record and I’m congratulating you” and “but you’re also passing my idol which really really sucks.” Oh and PS, these two coach in the sport’s biggest rivalry and don’t really get along that well to start with. Wayda suck it up Roy.
I LOVED…..a feel-good story. This one comes from Presbyterian College, which has a unique group of players who thought they would get a shot to play in the NCAA Tournament, only for the school to be denied Division I status. The cool part? Their studs all decided to stay and finish what they started, even though they won’t get a chance to be on CBS in March. Give it a read for a nice, refreshing change from the big-time programs.
The Five Things I Hated This Week
I HATED…..Renardo Sidney’s ridiculousness in the stands in Hawaii. Maybe it brings back too many eerie memories of Ron Artest’s rampage into the crowd, but any fan of college basketball has to cringe at what this type of publicity does to the sport. Yeah, the first instinct might be to smile and shake your head, but it’s downright embarrassing for the Mississippi State program – and a poor reflection on college athletes.
I HATED…..Georgia Tech’s game against Fordham getting cancelled. Not because I wanted to see the game, mind you, but because of those poor GT season ticket holders. Here they were, probably thinking they would get their money refunded for a little Christmas cash. And what do they get instead? $20 credited to their account for next season, when they can see a lousy 6-5 team that doesn’t appear to be getting any better. What a rip. Show me the money.
I HATED…..reading about how even though Bruce Pearl knowingly broke recruiting rules and has been reprimanded, he can still harass – whoops, I mean contact – potential UT players via Facebook messaging. I find this funny given Pearl’s situation, but it’s also just sad that young athletes all over the country have to be recruited through all these different media. Maybe some things should be off limits…
I HATED…..Frank Martin’s tone with reporters in his press conference after Kansas State’s loss to UNLV. Yes, it’s kind of funny. But really it’s just sad that for all the times that programs get positive publicity (and you haven’t had to deal with too much criticism, Frank, given that you’ve build a so-so program into a contender), some coaches still feel like the whole world is against them when something goes wrong. Guess what Frank? Your best player got suspended and your team has underperformed. Suck it up, don’t cry, answer some fair questions and then go cash your way-too-big paycheck.
I HATED…..that we have to hear about Enes Kanter’s pending eligibility decision at Kentucky… for the 2011-12 season. First of all, who cares? Answer: not me. Until next season that is, at which time I will resume my outrage that the NCAA is even considering bringing in a player who was paid as a professional. And second, shouldn’t the sport’s governing body have more important things to worry about right now – Cam Newton, Ohio State bowl eligibility, setting terrible precedents for amateur athletics…do we need to keep going?