Quick… what’s the term for the opposite of good basketball IQ? A Stephon Marbury? What do you call a player who consistently makes abominable, indefensible and atrocious decisions on the court? A Derrick Coleman? Well, step aside Bonehead Brethren of Years Past, because there’s a new sheriff in town, and his name is Jamelle Horne. The Arizona sophomore, through his complete and utter obliviousness at the end of two key games this year, may have singlehandedly ensured that his school will not play in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in a quarter-century.
Arizona now sits at 11-7 and eighth place in the Pac-10 (2-4) after getting swept by the SoCal schools over the weekend. Their RPI is currently #52, the ship appears to be taking on water, and at this point it’ll take a herculean effort for Russ Pennell to get Arizona back into the mix as a realistic at-large candidate. But what if instead of 11-7 (2-4), the Wildcats were currently sitting at 13-5 (3-3)? You’d have to figure they’d be getting votes in both polls as well as being talked about as a dangerous team in the second half of the season.
This is where Jamelle Horne comes in. The Arizona wing was lambasted back in November for intentionally fouling a UAB player 60 feet from the basket in a game that was tied 71-71 with one second left. UAB hit one of two free throws and won the game. Flash forward to Saturday night at USC. In a game where Arizona led most of the way, USC had clawed back to tie the score at 64-all when Nic Wise threw the ball away. USC’s Daniel Hackett grabbed the errant pass and started upcourt. From the Arizona Star:
Immediately after Hackett crossed the midcourt line, Horne ran into the USC guard with 1.2 seconds left. Having only a prayer of a chance at a game-winning field goal, Hackett instead was given two free throws. He made the first one and that was all the Trojans needed.
We were watching this game live, and let’s be a little clearer than the reporter’s account above. Horne didn’t just accidentally “run into” Hackett. He deliberately ran into Hackett in an attempt to cause the referee to blow the whistle. It wasn’t an intentional foul in the sense that you grab a guy to impede his progress, but it was an end-of-game “intentional” foul designed to stop the clock and put the player on the line. The kind of foul you only make when you think you’re behind and you need to get the ball back. (we respectfully disagree with this UA blog’s assessment that the foul was ticky-tack)
Problem was, for Arizona and Horne, the game was (once again) TIED.
If we were Russ Pennell, we’d strongly consider putting Horne through a battery of memory tests to determine if he has the mental capacity to remember something for longer than two seconds. Either that, or just sit the kid down at the very end of his bench for the last minute of every game. It’s simply astonishing that the same player could make such an egregious error twice in a single year, costing his team two Ls as a result. Time and score, time and score, time and score… how many times did we hear that growing up? Either Horne really is not a very bright bulb… or he’s gotta have something else going on.
note: we couldn’t find video of the incident, so this walkthrough vodcast will have to suffice.