Tyreke Evans dunked so hard on Gary Neal of the Spurs even he had to smile about it. His teammates were loving it, Tyreke had a sly grin, and the play-by-play announcer nailed it when he said “we’ll see you on every highlight reel in America, Mr. Evans.” Perfectly said.
Let me start out by saying I’m all for the New Jersey Nets moving to Brooklyn. Their new owner, Mikhail Prokhorov, certainly has tried to give fans the impression he means business and being right in New York should only improve the team’s fan base. Mark Cuban may disagree, but Prokhorov at least deserves a a shot at turning the franchise around. However, he has yet to assemble the pieces needed to pull that off.
The Deron Williams billboard above is an unfriendly reminder that the Nets need a superstar. Don’t get me wrong — Deron Williams is a great player. He’s an All-Star caliber point guard, but is he a superstar? Not really. Something like “LeBron James and the Nets bound for Brooklyn,” or “Carmelo Anthony and the Nets bound for Brooklyn,” would have looked and sounded much better on a billboard. The Nets are working with what they have, but the billboard should serve as a strong indication that they don’t yet have enough.
On Saturday, Knicks big man Amare Stoudemire called Lakers forward Pau Gasol soft. He was at the Foot Locker House of Hoops and was asked what it was like going up against Pau Gasol when he got off the blast. Here’s the video via Slam Online:
When word got back to Lakers center Andrew Bynum, he immediately questioned Amare’s place to call Gasol soft, writing on twitter, “The NBA is a weird place! How can a man that plays 0 defense call a 2 time champion soft?”
But the best response of all came from Ron Artest, no surprise given his level of craziness. According to Beto Duran, Artest said before the Lakers’ loss to the Jazz Tuesday night “Amare butt naked in magazines and Pau’s soft?” That of course was a reference to Amare’s participation in a partially nude spread in a magazine. And if that wasn’t enough, perhaps making an Amare sailor outfit reference would have worked just as well.
The NBA, where hypocritical happens.
By now we all know at least something about the feud between Duke and Michigan that the documentary, The Fab Five, brought back into light. In particular, Jalen Rose had plenty of not-so-nice things to say about Duke and the players they recruit. Bobby Hurley fired back at Rose, but the real war of words emerged between Rose and Grant Hill, who took offense to Jalen calling black players that play for Duke “Uncle Toms.”
Rather than letting it grow into something ridiculous, Rose and Hill both decided to be professionals and settle their differences. They took to Twitter and supposedly met face-to-face, concluding that they respect one another’s opinion and would let bygones be bygones. Unfortunately, there are people who are still not over it.
On Wednesday, Pro Basketball Talk shared a story with us about a Chicago Bulls fan that swore at and attempted to spit on Hill. Grant became understandably upset and had to be held back by a security guard.
“He said some profanity and spit in my direction,” Hill said. “I’m not going to let somebody spit at me. He knew he did wrong because he took off running.”
No fan should be acting like that toward any player, but it’s almost worse to do it to Grant Hill. He’s known across the NBA for being a class act and is very well liked. Not to mention, he has every right to be offended by Rose’s comments. The security guard should have let Hill deck the guy.
I’m sick of sitting here and complaining about how bad of a season it was in college hoops and how uninspiring this year’s tournament was. It’s time to call things out for what they are and make some changes that will improve the game for players, coaches, and fans.
First off, the college game is lacking stars and recognizable players. Most of the interesting players leave school after one year and very few stay longer. The two biggest stars in the sport this year were Jimmer Fredette and Kemba Walker, both of whom stayed at least three years (the Jimmer just finished his senior season and Kemba completed his junior year).
When March rolls around, do we prepare ourselves to see the familiar faces from a year ago? Or do we learn about every new player based on a crash course in the tournament? The game would be a lot more enjoyable if the fans were more familiar with the players around the country.
Secondly, building powerful teams and programs is much more difficult because coaches never know when a player will leave for the NBA. Should they recruit players they think are pretty good but will at least stay all four years, or should they go after the one-and-done hero who can help win a title now? If you go for the latter strategy, you’re forced to constantly reload and it creates a fluctuation in performance. Think about it: who was the last dynasty in college hoops? It was Florida, and only because their star players decided to return to school for another year. Before that, you’d probably have to go back 20 years to Duke.
The recruiting process and scholarship process will be much easier for coaches if they know how long they’ll have players rather than being forced to guess about who will stay and who will go. This is an issue of continuity, and college basketball is sorely lacking in that regard.
So what can we do about it?
Suns point guard Steve Nash likes to dress casually and acts the same way on the court. He must have been wearing the wrong shorts to start the game between Phoenix and Chicago Tuesday evening because his teammates had to form a wall around him as he changed. A few seconds later, he was all set and he went out for 16 assists in a 97-94 loss. Seeing Nash strip down like that is no surprise — we know from his past actions he’ll do anything on the court shamelessly.
Thanks to J.E. Skeets for the video
This sounds about right. Any time news comes out about potential recruiting violations within a John Calipari program — which happens at every school he coaches for — we stand by for the rumors about where he is headed next. Unlike other coaches who stick around and take their lumps after they are found guilty of such activity, Calipari has a tendency to leave a program in peril and accept another high-paying job. This time, that high paying job could be at the next level.
According to the NY Daily News via FootBasket, Calipari may have his sights set on the NBA once again.
John Calipari coming back to the NBA to coach? Perhaps. Calipari recently left the distinct impression that, although he is recruiting and conducting business, as usual, as Kentucky’s basketball coach, he ‘wants back in,’ according to a source. Calipari has never gotten over how he was fired by the Nets 20 games into the 1999 lockout season.”
Naturally, a “source” can be anyone or nobody at all. Given Calipari’s track record, this wouldn’t come as a surprise. He is once again under fire for alleged recruiting violations, this time via a staffer that worked at Memphis and Kentucky. If Kentucky ends up being sanctioned by the NCAA or Calipari senses that punishment is on its way, it would be just his style to take his services elsewhere.