Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Catching Up - NCAA Tournament (3-29-11)

It's been a minute or two since my last post, but wow, this has been a great tournament.  Let's touch base on some items:

1) It hurt to see my Dukies lose to Arizona, but I knew that they would have problems with Tristan Thompson or Derrick Williams in one of those matchups.  Williams D-E-S-T-R-O-Y-E-D the Blue Devils all over the court and dare I say (this hurts) that the Blue Devils qu, it's hard to write this,...the Blue Devils quit.  I've never seen a Coach K team just pack it in, but I got that feeling watching the game (they basically pulled a Jay Cutler).  All of the people that say that Nolan had a bad game because of Irving on the floor, I just don't buy.  Nolan just had a bad game, at the worst possible time. 

2) Shaka Smart has this VCU team looking like world beaters.  Their last game against Kansas was just hard to put into words.  It was like watching a heavyweight fight and the favorite (Kansas) came out and got a few jabs in early (their 6-0 lead) and then challenger (VCU) landed like a 6 punch combination.  Kansas was stunned for the entire rest of the first half.  They played better in the second half but they were just too far behind.  VCU is going to have to pony up some money to keep Smart and we'll soon see how much money that will be. 

3) While VCU is the darling this year, please don't forget about Butler.  They find a way to win or at least they put themselves in the position to win.  I do think that Florida gave the game away in regulation and we won't talk about that Pitt game.  How do you not get a better shot than a fade-away 3 pointer when you had over 20 seconds left on the clock and the game is tied?  Arrrrrggghhhhhh.  All I could do was to talk to my son about what to do in that situation and that the kid could have gotten that 3 point shot anytime he wanted to during that game (with probably the same result).  Nevertheless, Butler has to be the favorite going in to this game and maybe they win it all this year.  They only missed it by about 4 inches last year.  We'll see.

4) John Calipari has a chance to win it all.  This Kentucky team is loaded and they are athlethic and long enough to cause each of these other 3 teams problems.  I'm wondering when Jones will turn it back on to the way he was playing earlier in the year.  Harrellson has been the piece for the Wildcats, and I would imagine that him stepping up makes missing Enes Kanter all that much easier.  Our prayers go out to Coach Cal and his family as he is dealing with his father and their loss of Cal's mom. 

5) K-E-M-B-A.  This guy is actually carrying a team and has done this for a while.  He's in such a groove and seems to have command of the Huskies offense and their ability to win.  Funny story, one of my guys (yes T-Rell) saw Kemba working out this summer with Tim Grover and came away VERY VERY unimpressed.  He didn't see why this kid was garnering any attention.  Suffice it to say, T-Rell has eaten those words since Kemba beat his cousin, Dion Dixon, and the Bearcats in the second round of the tournament.  But back to Kemba, he can get the Huskies all the way there, he's that good.  We'll see what happens from here. 

6) The Fab Five, Jalen Rose, Grant Hill, and Duke.  Yes, I watched the ESPN documentary on the Fab Five.  Didn't know until the end that Jalen was the producer.  Man, I remember when that team hit the scene and man, those were some bad dudes.  I do understand what Jalen was saying about not being recruited by Duke and the perceived lack of 'soul' of brothers that went to Duke. 

(Several stories here)  My cousin went to an HBCU in Durham, NCCU and dated a young black girl that went to Duke.  She often encountered the stigma associated with being black and going to Duke and how it made you less of 'black' person.  With that said, she was smart and wanted to be a doctor (which she is today) so she made the best choice for her when it came to schooling. 

I ran track for a local Durham track team (do the Durham Striders still exist?) and we were always over at Wallace Wade Stadium for practice and meets.  I took courses during the summer (while in high school) at Duke, and was all ready to play for Steve Spurrier at Duke but he left for greener pastures (Florida) in 1990.  But the stigma I encountered (and I never enrolled at Duke) was that I was trying to be 'white' by going there. 

So the perception was there about blacks that attended Duke.  With that said, I think Jalen would have done himself a service by saying that 'when I was 17 or 18 I thought this way, but now that I'm older and wiser I see the error of my ways'.  I think this would have allowed him to keep it real and also let everyone know that we all grow and evolve.  Without doing that Jalen, and rightfully so, caught a lot of backlash from not only Grant Hill, Bobby Hurley, Coach K, and a whole bunch of other people.  I don't think that Coach K recruits in certain households and not others, I think he recruits the best talent.  Coaches gotta win.  Jalen was a left handed, 6'8" point guard who wasn't really a defensive player and wasn't a great shooter.  Think of the guys on those Duke teams: Hurley, Brian Davis, Thomas Hill, Grant Hill, Christian Laettner, Antonio Lang, Bill McCaffrey, etc.  Jalen wasn't going to get Hurley's spot and he also wasn't going to be happy with coming off the bench. 

Hopefully this all goes away and we can get back to talking about basketball and how it brings all people together for the common good.  Jalen, write an apology letter or something and finally make this go away. 

The only odd thing is that as good as that Fab Five team was they lost to the ACC's best in back to back years ('92-Duke, '93-UNC). 

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