One-And-Done Or Die

Dana O’Neil, who I normally enjoy only slightly more than a root canal, has written an interesting piece explaining why fans (and opposing coaches) shouldn’t bemoan Kentucky for their tremendous success with one-and-done athletes.

She explains as follows:

You can fret over the bastardization of academics or denounce the death of college ideals until you are as purple as Frank Martin during a 15-point loss.

It won’t change a thing. Until the NBA decides that, like skilled carpenters or master craftsmen, basketball players don’t necessarily need to go to college, we will live in the age of the flyby.

Seriously, Dana?

In other words, don’t blame the people who have benefited from the rule. Blame the people in charge of making the rule.

O’Neil, with open disdain, describes Calipari as the game’s “P.T. Barnum.” A comparison that makes so much sense because P.T. Barnum was a coach in competitive sports that involved teaching and improving athletes as players and people. Oh, he wasn’t? My bad.

That aside, she goes on to make a few very valid points about the state and future of college basketball:

 The history of our world, the basketball world, is being rewritten before our eyes. This isn’t 1972. Bill Walton isn’t slinging hook shots in tube socks and short shorts.

 

… I realize that conventions don’t last. The construct of the rules dictate how the game is played, and one overriding rule from 1972 still applies: He who has the best players wins.

And why does Kentucky get the best players, Ms. O’Neil?

So Mom and Dad. You want your boy to succeed in his field of choice, the field being basketball? Well, tune in on June 28 and watch. UK is to basketball as MIT is to engineering.

I think that sums it up pretty nicely. If your goal is to play and succeed in the NBA, UK is the place to be right now. Don’t kid yourself. Getting to the NBA as fast as possible is most certainly the goal for every top prospect who isn’t lucky enough to have independently wealthy parents.

Kentucky coach John Calipari recruits the best players possible year in and year out because he can and talent equals wins. Unless the NBA changes the one-and-done rule, college coaches will have to adapt or die.

You can rest assured that the NBA will not be changing the rules any time soon. NBA GMs have benefited immensely from having an extra year to watch the top prospects compete against high level competition. The one-and-done rule has produced more players like Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, and John Wall than it has busts like Kwami Brown and Jonathan Bender.

Coach K has recruited and coached a couple of one-and-done players, so has Roy Williams. Rick Barnes and Thad Matta try to recruit as many as possible. They’re just not as successful at it as John Calipari.

In the end, I think that’s what rubs people the wrong way. It’s not that they give a crap about integrity or development. They just hate losing.

As long as they keep clinging to an outdated approach, they better get used to it.

‘Twas the Night Before Krzyzmas

‘Twas the night before Krzyzmas, (though we didn’t know that)
And not a creature was stirring, not even a rat.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugarplums danced in their heads.
And Mama in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters, and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.

But with its little old driver so angry and gay,
I knew in a moment it must be Coach K.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he shouted and cursed them, and called them by name!

“Now Wojo! Now, Singler! now, Redick and Curry!
On, Paulus! On, Shavlik! Melchionni, please hurry!
To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!
Now flop away! Flop away! Flop away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of douchebags, and their Leader too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the ceiling
Their prancing and pawing and loud girlish squealing
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney Coach K came in with a bound.

He was dressed like a pallbearer, from his head to his feet,
And his haircut was tidy, his dark suit was neat
A sack full of cheese he had flung on his back,
Likely Gouda, Romano, and Monterey Jack

His eyes-how they twinkled! His dimples had merit!
His cheeks were like roses, His nose like a ferret!
His smug little mouth was drawn up and droll,
And the hair on his head was dyed blacker than coal.

He was sickly and gaunt, a right creepy old elf,
And I gasped when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A snarl of his lip and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to worry I had something to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And took all our presents, the rotten old jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
Blew out a big wad of snot on my clothes!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, as they sang “Hark the Herald”,
“Remember the real victim in all this is Gerald!”

2011-2012 College Basketball Preview Series – Duke Blue Devils

(EJSIC is previewing several college basketball teams.  Check out Michael Street’s Memphis preview here.)

One of the most fascinating teams in college basketball to watch this season will be the Duke Blue Devils.  Replacing four year stars Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith, as well as one-third-and-done Kyrie Irving would seem a nearly overwhelming challenge for many coaches.  However, when you’re an all-time great coach, like Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, it’s hard to get rattled.

Last season’s results:
32-5
ACC Runner-Up
ACC Tournament Champion
Lost 93-77 to Arizona in Sweet 16

Key departures:
Kyle Singler  (34.8 mpg, 16.9 ppg, 6.8 rpg)
Nolan Smith (34.0 mpg, 20.6 ppg, 5.1 apg, 3.2TO, 35% 3PT)
Kyrie Irving (27.5 mpg, 11 gps, 17.5 ppg, 4.3 apg, 2.5 TO, 47% 3PT)

59% of scoring, 39% of rebounding, 63% of assists

Key returnees:
Mason Plumlee (25.6 mpg, 7.2 ppg, 8.4 rpg)
Seth Curry (25.0 ppg, 9.0 ppg, 2 apg, .9TO)
Ryan Kelly (20.1 mpg, 6.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg)

Notable non-conference matchups:
Michigan State (likely to be the game in which Mike Krzyzewski breaks Bob Knight’s all-time wins record)
at Ohio State (a true road game!)
Maui Invitational (possible matchups with Memphis and Kansas or UCLA)

Before we go much further, I should mention that as a lifelong Tar Heel fan, a hint of subtle bias may occasionally creep into this analysis.  But I’ll try to keep my personal feelings out of this entry as much as possible.  I’ll let you watch Duke play, and you can form your own opinions about the way Coach K and his staff approach the game. Continue reading

EJSICleaks

One of the rules of good journalism (LOL @ journalism in the Internet age) is to have sources. Lots of sources. One of our most trusted sources, who anonymously goes by fluffy (not even our normal writers at EJSIC know his name), works in the mail room for Julian Assange’s Wikileaks.

As you can imagine, fluffy sees a lot of good stuff on an hourly basis. He’s been kind enough to leak some of the sports-related documents to us.

We’ll release them slowly over time, as not to overwhelm you (the reader) too much in one day. Some were discovered through the hard work of our readers (and they will be credited properly) while our regular contributors discovered others.

If you find any in the coming days, feel free to e-mail us at elitistjerksports@gmail.com.

The first leak, as found by loyal reader fluffy, is a series of e-mails between the University of Memphis and the Atlantic Coast Conference.

———————————————————————————————–

From: memphis@anythingbutCUSA.com

To: bigeast; bigten; big12; pac 10; ACC; SEC

Subject: Help

We need your help. We have to get out of C-USA. Can anyone add us to their conference?

Regards,

University of Memphis

———————————————————————————————–

From: ACC

To: memphis@anythingbutCUSA.com

Subject: RE Help

Thanks for your enquiry. We would love to help, but it has come to our attention that you are no good at football.

Regards,

ACC

———————————————————————————————–

From: memphis@anythingbutCUSA.com

To: ACC

Subject: RE Help

So we would fit in well in the ACC.

———————————————————————————————–

Our final leak for today was discovered by regular contributor Al Kenmore. The avid Tar Heel fan set to find out the source of Duke’s flopping nature. What she uncovered was astonishing.

From: DukeCoachingStaff@duke.edu

To: Massimimiliano.Allegri@ACMilan.it

Dear Allegri,

Thank you so much for the copy of your recent clinic: “Innovative and Exciting Ways to Make it Appear that an Opponent’s Player Has Committed a Foul.”

We found the sessions on “Facial Distortions to Emulate Pain” and “Slapping the Forehead to Check for Blood” especially helpful. Of course, anything that involves slapping is very popular in the Duke basketball organization.

Unfortunately, I am not able to furnish you with an autographed photo of Coach K. First of all, he doesn’t like to be photographed unless he can be assured that there is no silver in the film. Secondly, the Leader of Men prefers not to have his name associated with this project.

I hope you understand.

Kindest regards,
Wojo

Coach K Defends America Against Stupidity

Kudos to USA basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski for standing up to the Russian men’s basketball coach, David Blatt.

(If you’re thinking that David Blatt is an odd name for a Russian, it’s because he’s actually a dual American/Israeli citizen.  Don’t ask us why the Russians can’t find someone to coach their team.)

Blatt basically opined that the 1972 Russian team was the rightful winner of the Gold medal, which is a ridiculous assertion deserving of at least thirty seconds of judgmental laughter.  So please, take 30 seconds (at a minimum) and laugh at it.  We’ll wait for you.

There.  Better.

Anyway, Krzyzewski was having none of Blatt’s ridiculous comment.  He fired back:

“You know, he coaches the Russian team, so he probably has that viewpoint, and his eyes are clearer now because there are no tears in them,” Krzyzewski said. “So, it’s great. Whatever he thinks, he thinks. It really has absolutely no bearing on what we’re trying to do tomorrow. Absolutely none. Our bearing is how we guard [Anton] Ponkrashov at point when he comes in, how we defend [Timofey] Mozgov and [Sasha] Kaun inside, that we don’t let [Sergei] Monia get shots. That’s our goal, so that’s what our focus will be.

And we’ve addressed that that game was played 38 years ago, and five of these guys are 21. So I don’t think they remember it as well. It is what it is. It’ll be a negative from the way the U.S. looks at it forever, and should be. And it’ll be in some ways a positive for those who believe in fairy tales.”

Boom!  Roasted!  In addition to Krzyzewski’s verbal blast, Team USA also defeated the dirty Russian bastards in an actual game of basketball, if anyone really cares right now.

So now we wait for Blatt’s next move.   Here’s how I imagine it playing out now that the game is over:

Blatt:  Hey Mike, good win tonight.   By the way, how many Pollocks does it take to coach a basketball team?

Krzyzewski (filling in a small rectangular mustache with a black Sharpie):  I’m sorry, I didn’t hear Jew.  I mean hear…you.  Mind repeating?

At that point, fisticuffs ensue.  Inexplicably, Geraldo Rivera’s nose is broken by a flying chair.

David Blatt just learned what most people already knew:  Never corner a rat.

Luke Warm Linkage

White guys evidently like Tom Clancy more than breathing.

The Emperor’s New Clothes (or Why I Hate Duke)

Duke and Coach K - An example of what happens when a morality tale becomes real life

I’m an old-time UNC fan. When I showed up in Chapel Hill as a freshman in the fall of 1978, Bill Foster was the head coach at Duke and our hated rivals were N.C. State and UVA. I had had the privilege of meeting the Duke basketball team in the spring of 1978 because they stayed in the Hyatt Hotel in Winston-Salem for the ACC Tournament that year and I worked in the only gift shop in the hotel at the time. They were all super nice guys. I shook Bill Foster’s hand and wished them well in the tournament, although I was really hoping I could meet the UNC team and that UNC would win it all.

During my four years at UNC, Duke did little to raise our ire, except for one incident in which Mike Gminksi elbowed Dave Colescott in the eye in a Duke-UNC game that wasn’t very memorable otherwise. When a seemingly friendly, meek, mild-mannered new coach showed up in Durham in 1980, he barely registered on the radar because from 1980-1982, we all wanted UVA and that sniveling, whining Terry Holland destroyed.

In 1986, Duke played Louisville in the National Championship game. I remember it well. I was visiting my parents and my father and I sat down to watch it, fully prepared to pull for the ACC team. I don’t remember exactly what happened, but by the second half, my father (who is one of the best sports alive–always willing to cheer an ACC team on) and I were so filled with loathing for Coach K and his team that we began cheering for Louisville and we were elated when they won. I think that, even then, it was that combination of arrogance and entitlement radiating from the Coach and the players that so angers basketball fans now that made us start pulling for Louisville. Anyway, it was on that day that my hatred for Duke and Coach K was born. My father also points to that date as his turning point. I only pulled for Duke twice after that and it was in the 1990 and 1991 games against UNLV. Given how I feel about Duke now, I almost wish I could take those games back.

The arrogance and obnoxiousness of K and his minions along with the pictures of refs with farm animals that keeps them all in his pocket, which have been covered so well by others like the Sensei and I’m Just a Number to You, fan the flames of my anger and loathing. However, what kicks it up a notch to completely irrational hatred is the fact that I feel that Coach K is a fraud (as are many of the Duke players) that the mainstream media, especially ESPN, has been perpetrating and sustaining for years. Not only that, but Coach K uses a dastardly mastery of spin to feed on the fraud. It’s like an amped up version of  story of the Emperor’s new clothes. Why amped up? Well, in the story of the Emperor’s new clothes, the emperor is merely a naked stooge convinced that he’s wearing gorgeous garb, but in this real-life version, Coach K is a willing participant in the fraud. He uses his ads and his official website to further the idea that he’s not only the best coach in the land, known for brilliant coaching and revolutionizing the game, but he’s the elder statesman of college basketball, an embodiment of all that is right and good in the sport.

Bullhockey. Several years ago, a writer who is often associated with the Carolina Water Cooler and the Inside Carolina basketball message board (and whose name I’ve forgotten) wrote several blog posts detailing why K is neither brilliant nor revolutionary (unless you include stealing the flop from European soccer and using it to draw fouls on opponents who are about to win the game or slapping the floor). He said many of the things that I’ve thought for years and I wish I could find the original articles. Coach K does have the old school style of emphasizing fundamentals like layups and foul shooting, but it’s not anything special. Nor is jacking up threes. I of course understand why being great free throw shooters is so important to K – if you’re going to draw fouls and win the game based on free throws, your team needs to be good at them. I also understand that three-point shooting is the kind of thing that makes the media act like a bunch of slobbering dogs having their tummies rubbed into ecstacy. Hence their love affair with the elfin-eared J.J. Redick.

The fact is that, since 1980, many of the Duke teams have not been that special. K’s been riding his back-to-back championships for years, the second of which was won by a guy who should have been removed from the game for his intentional foul with malice aforethought. K feeds the myth that his team is invincible by not playing any OOC teams that are any good and by not traveling to many opposing teams’ courts. He also schedules teams that he can beat by 35 points to make the victory look more impressive in this new era of believing that a team is only good if it decimates its opponents – even if those opponents have just recently started a basketball program or the words Division III are associated with their names. Until this year, Duke had never lost in the Big 10 challenge, which sounds impressive, until you see that while other ACC teams were taking on Ohio State and Michigan State, Duke was playing Indiana and Michigan in their down years.

Then there’s the NCAA Tournament. The media loves to tout all of his trips to the NCAA, his astonishing (and usually undeserved) number 1 seeds and all the trips to the final four and the final game, but if you look at it another way, that’s actually a story of ineffectiveness. From 1980-2009, Duke has been in 11 Final Fours and only won 3 championships. They’ve also been seeded No. 1 11 times and only won 3 championships. They’ve taken gifts from the NCAA selection committee (such as their No. 1 seed in 2005) and still exited before the Final Four–often in the Sweet 16 and before. If any other coach had that record, he’d be ridiculed as a failure.

What gets me the most, though, is this elder statesman crap. This is a guy whose players stomp on opposing players’ chests and punch people in the nose to prevent them from making a layup. And, instead of keeping a low profile after the incidents, he takes to the media microphone and implies that his players’ violent actions were the fault of the opposing team. What’s infuriating about this is that it starts a firestorm of discussion about how long you should keep your starters in a game you’re winning, puts the other team on the defensive and completely deflects the fact that K keeps all his starters in for as long as possible, even when he’s playing the Durham School for the Deaf and the Blind and Sampson County Community College in the early part of the season. Meanwhile you can just feel the smirks emanating from his Holiness’s office on the Duke campus.

One of the biggest frauds ever

So, there you have it. Duke’s coach is a cheating, hypocritical, fraudulent spinmeister who can turn seemingly decent guys like Gerald Henderson into mob-like goons. (Beware, Kyrie Irving.)  Meanwhile, every time you turn around, you have to hear about what a great guy he is and how Duke is the most prestigious team in college basketball (with the basis for that honor being skewed by only looking at the years when Duke was a success). Add all this to a succession of overhyped underperforming, violent, whiney players like Greg Paulus, Brian Zoubek, Chris Collins, Wojo and Josh McRoberts and the recent gift the NCAA Selection Committee gave Duke in the South region and you’re left with one question. What’s not to hate?