Chris Otule & Kevin Laue Remind Us to Stop Complaining

Posted by rtmsf on January 6th, 2011

The human body is an amazingly adaptable entity when faced with adversity.  If it’s extremely cold, blood rushes from its extremities into the core to keep the central organs warm and functioning.  If it’s too hot, buckets of sweat seep from its pores to act as an internal cooling mechanism.  When injured, the fight-or-flight mechanism often makes a dangerous situation into a survivable one by buying time for the individual to get to safety.  We all know these things to be true, and therefore it should be no surprise when we learn of astonishing people in the athletic realm doing astonishing things with their bodies.  And yet we are.

Chris Otule (in goggles) Was Outed as Having One Eye Last Week (AP)

Such was the case late last week when, during the Marquette-Vanderbilt game on ESPN2, commentator Mark Gottfried told the viewing audience that Golden Eagle center Chris Otule has only one functional eye.  Come again?  Most people, including many members of the Marquette fanbase, were not aware of the redshirt sophomore’s physical limitation, which begs the question of how Gottfried knew about it (did he recruit Otule while still at Alabama?) and why he chose a national television audience to out the player.  Notwithstanding the possible HIPAA violation that Gottfried committed while on air, the bigger question is this: HOW ON EARTH DO YOU PLAY DIVISION ONE BASKETBALL WITH ONE EYE???

This is phenomenal.  See, the beauty of having two eyes in our heads is that it provides us with what the smart folks call stereoscopic binocular vision, or essentially, the ability to see clearly in three dimensions.  That third dimension relating to depth perception is the key, because it allows other animals an ability to gauge how far away their prey is and how fast it is going, while also allowing us human folks the convenient ability to accurately pass, catch and shoot a basketball while on the move.  Now, with only one eye, a person can still gauge depth, but it becomes much more difficult, especially at close ranges.  Even at farther lengths, it takes longer for a single eye to make determinations of relative distances, and the accompanying field of peripheral vision has been estimated as 25% smaller.

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Morning Five: New Years Day Edition

Posted by rtmsf on January 1st, 2010

  1. Happy New Year, everyone! Everyone here at Rush the Court hopes you had a safe and fun evening last night which will be followed by the best 2010 you can hope for.  We feel blessed here with the growth in readers, notoriety and access that RTC continues to have, and we’re certain that this will be our best year yet.
  2. A late Xmas present for Jay Wright and his Villanova Wildcats today, as freshman center Mouphtaou Yarou will be back to play after being diagnosed with hepatitis B earlier this year.  It will undoubtedly take Yarou a while to get his sea legs back, but even if he can provide 15-20 minutes/game in hustle, rebounding and defense, that would be a tremendous benefit to VU throughout Big East play.
  3. Here’s a nice piece from George Dorhmann on USC’s Mike Gerrity, who is without a doubt making the single biggest impact as a transfer player this season anywhere.  USC was barely a D1 program when he was on the bench.
  4. We’d agree with Goodman’s sentiment that UConn is overrated this year, but part of the problem is that there doesn’t appear to be a whole lot of difference between teams in the #10-#30 range.  Interesting about Calhoun’s recruiting, though.
  5. Kevin Laue, the Manhattan College player with only one arm who was featured here as well as many other places in the past year, got the first point of his collegiate career Wednesday night in a game versus Vanderbilt.  He played a season-high seventeen minutes and hit one of four free throws while also totaling eight rebounds!  A great story just keeps getting better.
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10.08.09 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on October 8th, 2009

Like the first trickles of a flash flood, the verbal barrage about our beloved sport really started picking up this week.  There’s a lot more previewing, interviewing, writing, talking and salivating going on around the college hoops blogosphere.  Let’s take a look at some of the items that are catching our interest…

  • Dissecting Duke’s Recruiting.  Gary Parrish wrote an interesting article last week about Duke’s recruiting over the past five seasons and we had to comment on it because it fairly accurately depicts what the substantive problem with Duke has been in the postseason (i.e., away from CIS).  We’re on record as saying that Duke hasn’t had a true game-changing stud since Luol Deng graced the gothic campus with his presence for one season in 2003-04.  This is not to say that Duke has been without very good players during that time.  Shelden Williams, JJ Redick and Gerald Henderson all come to mind as great collegians.  But none of those players, and certainly none of the laundry list that Parrish mentions as some of K’s other ’top’ recruits (McBob, Singler, etc.), are the kinds of elite NBA-level talent that gets teams through the regionals and into the Final Four.  There are of course notable exceptions (George Mason in 2006 is the most obvious), but this is Duke, and Duke is always taking a team’s best shot.  They’re going to be very well coached, but Coach K and his staff know that well-coached moderate talent will lose out to elite talent more often than not.  This is why when Parrish says that Duke needs to secure commitments from Harrison Barnes and Kyrie Irving in order to compete with UNC, Kansas and now Kentucky on the national stage again, he’s right.  The Jon Scheyers of the world are great to have on your team, and will win you a lot of games over four years; but they’re not the players who can carry a team through rough spots en route to the Final Four.  If you don’t believe us, check out who was the MOP of the 2004 Atlanta Regional, leading the team in scoring in both regional games and literally saving the team on more than one occasion with clutch buckets (hint: it wasn’t the more celebrated upperclassmen).    Box scores here and here.  If Duke is serious about getting back to the big stage again before Coach K retires, he needs players like Barnes and Irving to get it done.  Fundamentally, Duke fans probably realize this, which is why each of these visits makes for tense moments in Durham.
  • Midnight Madness.  So we’re only eight days away from the start of basketball practice, and thankfully the NCAA closed the loophole that meant we were having these things all month of October, like last year.  But ESPNU will be back with coverage from 9pm to 1am EDT next Friday, with a simulcast from 8:30-9pm EST on ESPN.  There will be coverage from nine schools this year, including Kansas’ Late Night in the Phog, Kentucky’s Big Blue Madness, UNC’s Late Night With Roy, and several others (Michigan St., Duke, Washington, Georgetown, UConn and North Dakota St.).  RTC will hopefully provide live coverage in some fashion, but we’re still working out what that will be.  Make sure to check back early next week for more details. 
  • Prodigious Previews, Batman.  From Goodman, the Big Ten, the SEC, the ACC and Big East.  From Parrish, his final Top 25 (and 1) and his preseason all-americans.  Some players getting early-season pub are Gani Lawal, Isaiah Thomas, Alex Stepheson, Lance Stephenson, and the entire Mississippi St. frontline.  Mike DeCourcy answers five questions about his season preview.   
  • Quick Hits.  Patrick Patterson: his junior year at UK will be his last.  Kevin Laue:  great to see things working out for him at Manhattan (RTC flashback).  Contract Extensions: Ed DeChellis at Penn St. and Louis Orr at Bowling Green (Parrish calls BS on these).  Zach Spiker: the new head Cadet at Army.  James Keefe: UCLA F injured shoulder, out 4-6 weeks.  Len Elmore: has UNC, Michigan St., Kansas and Michigan in his F4BinghamtonNancy Zimpher was listening to us after allCAA: silver anniversary teamSeth Davis: an interesting read on overworked college officialsChris Taft: remember himRivals Team Recruiting Rankings: early list for 2010 is out

 

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Kevin Laue Doesn’t Need a Hand, Thankyouverymuch…

Posted by rtmsf on May 26th, 2009

The next time we complain about our knees throbbing after a particularly physical run over at our local courts, remind us of Kevin Laue.  The 6’10 native of Pleasanton, CA, was offered a scholarship by Manhattan College after spending a postgraduate year at Fork Union Military Academy, where he averaged 10/5 per game playing against other D1 prospects.  So why is anyone talking about a low-major recruit heading to a MAAC school?  Well, because Laue plays with only one hand.  From the AP:

Manhattan College’s Barry Rohrssen figures coaches take chances all the time. He’d rather take one on Laue, whose left arm ends just past the elbow. So last week, the Division I school signed the center, and Rohrssen is confident his work ethic will rub off on other players.  “We take chances on kids who have poor academic histories, who have disciplinary problems both on the court and off the court,” Rohrssen said Tuesday. “We give opportunities to players who don’t appreciate them, who take them for granted. For all the right reasons, Kevin deserves this chance, and he should make the most of this opportunity.”

kevin-laue

Back in grad school, we actually played pickup ball quite a bit with a guy like this.  He was surprisingly efficient with the ball in terms of his motion and release.  Very consistent with his shot and could play defense just as well (or better) as anyone else out there.  Given that experience, it honestly doesn’t shock us that someone such as Laue could pull this off, as in our experience, people with disabilities work that much harder to prove everyone wrong.  Two years ago an article in the San Francisco Chronicle stated, “he carries a 3.5 grade-point average. With an offseason’s work on a hook shot, he could become a Division II or III college prospect.”  Or… a D1 scholarship player.  Still exceeding expectations.  Congratulations, Kevin.

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12.29.08 Fast Breaks

Posted by nvr1983 on December 28th, 2008

This is the last installment of Fast Breaks for the calendar year, but it’s a loaded one with lots of news before the New Year’s ball drops.

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