* not a direct quote
Did you know that Tark the Shark now has a blog called SharkBytes with the Las Vegas Sun? We mentioned this earlier today in Fast Breaks, and a couple of other blogs (notably, Fanhouse and The Dagger) talked about how interesting this development not only is, but could be will be over the course of a season, especially given Tark’s penchant for outspokenness and rabble-rousing.
Tark Is Not Friendly With Arizona (photo credit: AP)
But both of those blogs focused on what Tark wrote about recruiting against Kentucky in the good old days, regaling readers with a tale involving all-world prep prospect Sam Bowie and a Rodeway Inn in Pennsylvania. A funny and interesting story, no doubt, but not nearly as compelling as what we found when we dug a little deeper into the post. Consider, Tark wrote:
Other programs, like Arizona, would rip us behind our backs, telling recruits’ mothers that hookers would get her son or the mob would get them. Mothers would call me and I’d have to fly back a second time to talk with her. I’d tell parents, if a coach comes in and bad-mouths another program, I’d eliminate that coach right away. If your son gets hurt, you and your son will be bad-mouthed. Once, the father of a kid in San Diego asked me what I thought of Arizona. I said, they have a good program. The dad pounds a folder on his coffee table. Coach, let me show you what they said. The folder was filled with every bad article ever written about UNLV. Arizona had sent it to the father.
Now, Tark’s been around the west coast a long time – starting as head coach with Long Beach St. in 1968, and continuing at UNLV from 1973-92, but Arizona only became a real force in college basketball upon Lute Olson’s arrival in 1984. UNLV and Arizona would have probably been recruiting the same caliber of player only after his landing in the desert. So, who else other than Lute Olson could Tark be referring to here?
We find it really interesting that, considering how long Tark’s been around, and all the things he’s seen in the game, that he decided to focus on and throw Lute Olson under the bus for playing dirty. And yes, we realize the irony of Tark calling anyone, anyone at all, dirty. Still, this is just another feather in the cap of Lute Olson’s 2008 Award Tour.
Keep it coming, Shark!