April 2, 2010 Column
Tweet of the Week
Tweet of the Week
NCAA officials announced today that the Final Four will be played with playground-style, metal chain nets in hopes of preventing the costly practice of vandals from the championship team cutting the nets down.
"We can no longer afford to have the nets removed year after year after year," said Dan Guerrero, Director of the NCAA Tournament committee. "It's an added cost during tough economic times. And if the coaches aren't going to police their players, as we have asked numerous times, we had to step up and act."
The premium string nets traditionally used in the Final Four cost as much as $9. The metal chain nets cost almost twice that, but the NCAA won't have to pay for new nets again for years.
"We tested a set of cheaper cloth nets. A $3 one I found at Wal-Mart," said Guerrero. "It was red, white and blue. But the ball got stuck in the net a lot and wouldn't fall through to the floor. We don't want to slow the game down, so metal it is."
Guerrero says the NCAA may also ban dunking on the baskets used at the Final Four.
"These kids have no respect for property," he said. "I mean, one or two dunks fine. But they do it all game long. They dunk and hang on the rims, as though rims and backboards come from some magical land where everything is free. No, they're expensive. And the players are ruining them. I don't want to hear them complaining when they break one day and the kids have nowhere to play."
Duke forward Kyle Singler said he is disappointed about the NCAA's decision.
"I'm not sure how much I want to play at the Final Four anymore," he said. "It used to be a fun place to play, but all these rules suck. Me and Jon Scheyer are going to put graffiti all over the backboards late tonight. That'll show 'em what we think about their rules."
University of Kentucky Professor Dr. Calvin Goldblatt stopped three people on the way out of his Thursday Introduction to Philosophy class to ask if anyone in the class had seenJohnWalllately. All three students just shook their head and walked on.
"I just don't understand," Dr. Goldblatt said. "His attendance record was perfect in January and February. Then suddenly this month, he was rarely here. I am worried about him."
Goldblatt, who has been at Kentucky for 13 years, but doesn't consider himself much of a sports fan, went on to add thatWallhadn't been in class at all for the last two weeks. Along with missing class,Wallwas absent for last week's midterm exam, and did not show up for his weekly tutoring session.
"I'm just concerned that he'll fall behind in his work," Goldblatt said. "I wouldn't want to have to fail him and make him repeat the class next fall. He's a good kid. But education means everything. Without an education, he won't get anywhere in life. A lot of kids don't want to hear that, but it's true."
Professor Goldblatt inquired about Wall at the university's registrars office, but got no answers.
"Has he dropped out of the school?" said Jane Flinner, a secretary at the registrars office. "Not that I can see. However, at the same time, I can't even find anything official saying he was every enrolled here. However, please, if you do see John, can you get me an autograph?"
Goldblatt also stopped DeMarcus Cousins, another of his students, on campus this morning to ask aboutWall's whereabouts. But, Cousins, who didn't seem to recognize the professor, ignored the question and continued packing boxes into his 2010 Mercedes-Benz ML550.
SportsPickle is previewing each MLB team in the lead up to Opening Day 2010. Today: Detroit Tigers (2009: 86-77, 2nd in AL Central)
With his Mountaineers just two wins away from winning another national championship, West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins says it’s time to break things down and focus on the non-fundamentals.
“At this stage of the tournament, only great teams are left,” said Huggins. “We can all hit free throws and box out and throw bounce passes. But what can set you apart is the non-fundamentals. And that’s what we’re working on. Today I had them practicing hook shots from half-court.”
Senior forward Da'Sean Butler says he thinks working on the non-fundamentals will raise his draft stock.
“I get sick of hearing about how fundamentally-sound I am from scouts and NBA types,” he said. “It’s like a slur. You think I can't do more than shoot, defend, drive the to basket and rebound? Oh, yeah? Watch this … do you think that kind of player could have done a cartwheel into a dunk like that? I might just pull that one out in the Final Four if I get a breakaway.”
Point guard Truck Bryant has been wowing his teammates at practice with his non-fundamentals, obscure “skills” he mastered while he was out of action with a foot injury.
"So many players think that when they get hurt, they can’t improve their game,” said Bryant. “Not true. Look what I can do now – cool, huh? I bet you never saw anyone spin a ball on the tip of their tongue like that, did you? And that’s just one of the things I mastered. I am as non-fundamentally sound as they come.”
While focusing on the non-fundamentals with his team, Huggins says his job is to make sure his players don’t go overboard with it.
“Non-fundamentals are very important. If the final play comes down to who can bank the ball off the JumboTron and into the basket – who has the advantage there?” he said. “Not Duke. We’ve been practicing that. But I can’t have my players do too many non-fundamentals. Then you get into Globetrotters territory – tossing confetti and stuff. We have to stick to the fundamental non-fundamentals.”
The run to the Final Four by the Butler Bulldogs has rekindled interest in the 1986 sports classic "Hoosiers", the movie based on the improbable run to the 1954 Indiana state championship by tiny Milan High School. Not only is Butler a similar underdog, but their home arena is the same gym that was used to shoot the championship game in the movie.
Now that we're more than 50 years removed from "Hoosiers", let's see what became of all the main characters.
News Duke Gay
Duke’s men’s basketball team, which has reached the Final Four for the first time since 2004, remains hopelessly and pathetically gay, say many college basketball observers across the country.
“Oh, man. Friggin’ Duke,” said North Carolina alum Jack Tankersley. “I can’t even stand to look at them. They’re so unbelievably … what’s the word … they’re so unbelievably gay. Just totally gay.”
Maryland student Joshua Benjamin says everything about Duke is gay.
“Just look at their roster,” he says. “Singler? Gay. Jon Scheyer? Gay. Zoubek? Gay. Miles Plumlee? Gay. Mason Plumlee? Gay. Their coaches? Gay to the max. Chris Collins? Gay. Wojciechowski? King of the gays. Their mascot? Gay. Cameron Crazies? Gay. Krzyzewskiville? More gay than San Francisco. Gay, gay, gay, gay, gay. All of it gay.”
Benjamin said that he does not mean everyone associated with Duke is homosexual.
“Oh, no. I don’t mean it in that way,” he said. “I just mean … you know – gay. But I’m sure most of them actually are gay, if that changes anything. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It would just make them both gay AND gay. Either way, I think we can definitely agree that they’re definitely gay. Uber gay.”
Scheyer says he and his teammates are routinely told how gay they are.
“Yeah, you hear it all the time from opposing crowds,” says the senior guard. “’Hey, Scheyer! You’re gay! You’re a total gayboy.’ I mean, it’s not very creative. But we get it a lot. Apparently people see us as gay. I also get a lot of people telling me I look like I'm retarded. But I’ve always gotten that, even before I came to Duke. The gay stuff didn’t pick up until I arrived here.”
Despite that, most Duke watchers say Scheyer is the current Duke player who most exudes that trademark Duke gayness.
“Oh, yeah. Totally,” says Tankersley. “Just like Christian Laettner. Just like Wojciechowski when he played. Just like JJ Redick. Just like Greg Paulus. It has been passed down from team to team. One guy slaps the floor and the next guy picks it up by slapping the floor after him. It’s just the way they walk. The way they complain to the refs. They way they celebrate. They way they cry. The way they wear their jerseys. It’s just so … incredibly annoying. And also gay.”
Oddly enough, the face of the Duke program, head coach Mike Krzyzewski, is not gay.
"No, he's just a fking ahole," says Tankersley.