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Was Nice Knowing You, Love & Collison

The LA Times reports that both Kevin Love and Darren Collison plan to enter the NBA draft, an announcement I expect to come officially from Ben Howland sometime today. I can’t say I’m too surprised that Love is going. It was said that Love would have gone pro after high school if it weren’t for the rule change. There was that small chance he could have elected to return to school, but alas, greener pastures await. If I were him, I probably would be eager to go make that money as well, though another year in school probably couldn’t hurt his game.

Now if Darren Collison really is planning to declare for the draft, I can’t say I agree with the decision. True, Collison is still a talented point guard with deathly quickness, but he got abused in two of the last three UCLA games by opposing guards. I just think it’s poor timing on his part. Now if Russell Westbrook were to declare, I would understand that; he’s fast, athletic, and well-suited for the NBA game. I could see him succeeding as early as next season in The Association. It’s possible that Collison won’t hire an agent and that he returns to school next season. I hope so. Either way, I don’t think I’m speaking out of turn when I say the Pac-10 already looks wide open for the taking. Then again, Stanford is losing the Lopez’s, Arizona is losing Bayless and Budinger, and USC will lose Mayo. Maybe there’s still room for the Bruins at the top.

Brandon Rush Leaving on a High Note

There’s no better time to leave college for the pros than after you’ve won the National Championship game. That is, unless you’re the Florida Gators and you can all return and win back-to-back titles (but cost yourself a few slots if you’re Joakim Noah). Well now that his team has peaked by winning the title, Brandon Rush will leave for the NBA draft according to Yahoo! Sports’ Jason King. This isn’t much of a surprise considering the fact that it’s the third time he’s declared for the draft. The first time Rush declared for the draft was in high school, but he decided against it once he realized he wouldn’t be a high pick. He then declared last year but tore his ACL and had to return to school. Worked out well in the end.

With Rush already reportedly leaving — no surprise — hearing Rose and CDR’s response to the question about going pro cracked me up. Everybody and their mother (mine included) knows that Rose is going to the NBA where he’ll no doubt be a top three pick, if not the first overall selection. And though it was a completely inappropriate question because his team had just lost the title game, he was asked about his future plans. Rose mumbled something about talking to his family and making a decision in the future. CDR gave the old “yeah, whatever he said” response. That pretty much says to me that they’re both gone.

And while we’re on the subject, I really appreciate John Calipari’s candor in regards to this issue. He has said and continues to say that he wants the best for his players; if they’re going to be first-round picks, he feels they have to pursue the opportunity. And honestly, if I were those guys, I’d be gone as well. That’s where Bob Knight’s thoughtst on the subject comes in, and he’s completely right. The one-and-done rule is eliminating the integrity in collegiate athletics and making a mockery of the concept of student athletes.

Alamo Dome Seats Ripped Fans Off

I remember looking at the photos online when I was getting prepared to purchase my Final Four tickets for the trip I wound up not taking. I automatically ruled out certain sections based on the charts I saw. Now I know why. We have visual photo evidence from Sports by Brooks depicting how horrible some of the seats were:

When players are beginning to resemble a farm of fire ants more than the physically imposing specimen they really are, you know things are bad. Typically I say you have to be there when your team wins a championship. In this case, watching on 15″ kitchen TV would be an unequivocal improvement. I’d like to see some of the representatives from the Alamo Dome actually take a hike to section 330 and truly tell me tickets should be sold for that section. Now you know why the attendance was over 43,000. What a disgusting ripoff.

Free Throws Finally Burn Memphis

Amongst other issues. That was quite the final eight minutes (including the OT). First off, much props are inline for Jason, the co-founder of the excellent sports/fan networking site Ballhype, who easily won the LBS March Madness Pool by being the only person to correctly predict the participants of the Championship Game. Quite impressive, Jason. Jason had Memphis winning so he probably was counting his money with about 130 seconds to go and the Tigers up by nine. There were several factors that contributed to the Kansas comeback, and I’m delighted to elaborate.

Joey Dorsey fouled out, leaving the middle open for Darrell Arthur. Mario Chalmers made his free throws, not to mention a small, tiny little three-pointer. They also made a great steal on an inbounds pass under the basket and Sherron Collins cashed it in with a three-pointer. But just when people thought Memphis had turned the corner when it came to free-throw shooting, they tanked. CDR and Dozier made two apiece to help build the nine-point lead. But then things came crashing down. CDR missed the front-end of a one-and-one, and followed that up by missing two more free throws in the double bonus with his team only up one. He makes one or two and his team is safe and sound. Instead, he bricked them both, leaving the pressure on Derrick Rose. Rose then hit one of two, keeping it at a one possession game.

The last 10 seconds of the game are then a mystery — from the Memphis side. Give Clark Kellogg credit for saying it — why didn’t the Tigers foul with five or six seconds left in order to eliminate the chance of a game-tying three-pointer? They foul, it goes to the line, and then Memphis gets the ball back and wins. It’s the exact same strategy Bruce Pearl used to beat Memphis in their only prior defeat. Calipari says they were trying to foul, but I didn’t see it. Maybe he thought so, but maybe his players were on a different wavelength. Anyway, much like I said in my reflections on the UCLA loss, free throws would eventually come back to burn Memphis. And congrats to Jason for winning the pool.

Reflections on the Loss to Memphis

I would consider myself quite a practical-minded fan; I’m involved and interested, yet tempered in my levels of fanaticism and enthusiasm. I don’t throw stuff when my team loses, nor do I let it ruin my day, week, or year, nor let it serve as a blow to my self esteem. All this being considered, I think I have a fairly level-headed reflection on the loss to Memphis.

I was truly disappointed; in so many ways this was supposed to be UCLA’s year. After coming up short the last two seasons — arguably better than every team in the country except one — there was no true powerhouse standing in our way. What we didn’t have those two seasons we finally had — some size — a center, potentially the best big man in the country. We got some favorable calls towards the end of the regular season that allowed us to get a No. 1 seed in the West Region. Our draw was clearly the easiest — we had by far the weakest of the two, three, and five seeds in our bracket. Everyone was riding the Bruin bandwagon as they became the popular pick to win it all. In so many ways, everything was aligned for UCLA to win the title.

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Derrick Rose Ruined by Gummy Bears

I love of it when players get mysterious injuries or ailments that disappear suddenly. Like honestly, are there that many 24-hour stomach bugs or 24-hour flus going around athlete circles that seem to skip the rest of the population? And everyone who’s ever called into work sick with one of these knows exactly what they were covering up — a hangover. So you really tell me that Derrick Rose missed media sessions Sunday because of gummy bears but he’ll be fine for the title game?

“He eats Gummy Bears and Starburst for breakfast, and Twizzlers and Honey Buns for dinner. That’s why his stomach hurts,” fellow guard Chris Douglas-Roberts said. “We tell Derrick the whole year, ‘Stop eating so many Gummy Bears and Sour Straws.’ But he can’t. … Nobody eats Gummy Bears more than him.”

Now there’s a true friend — someone who’s going to bring up something childish and humorous to distract everyone. Sounds to me like Rose was out having a good time after the Saturday night win and was recovering on Sunday. You can take your gummy bears; I’ll put my money on Jagermeister. Still pretty funny to consider he’s eating Gummy Bears and Starburst to start off his day. Obviously the breakfast of champions.

Portland State Sure Knows How to Party

They often say what happens in Mexico on Spring Break, stays there. That might be the case for your average skank winning wet T-shirt contests and trying her luck at a game of Chinese finger cuffs. It even applies to the average dude slamming beer and bong rips in between playing Eiffel Tower with co-eds. But one thing you’re not allowed to do in Mexico is beat the crap out of some tool and leave him lying in the street. Unfortunately for a few basketball players at Portland State, they learned that the hard way:

Less than two weeks removed from the glory of taking Portland State to the NCAA Tournament, two of the basketball team’s star players were arrested in Mexico for their alleged roles in a brutal beating that threatened a man’s life.

“You couldn’t do damage like this with a baseball bat — it’s worse,” said Alejandro Rojas, general manager of Balboa World Class Clinic, the hospital where a cabdriver took Meagher afterward. Rojas said that it was unclear what beyond fists may have been used in the attack but that upon arriving, the 6-foot, 170-pound Meagher’s lower jaw was broken in several places. He was choking on blood from severe internal bleeding.

Eight screws, two titanium plates, and about $40,000 in medical expenses later, Meagher was ready to go home. The two players implicated in the beating are Scott Morrison and Jeremiah Dominguez, both top contributors to the Portland State squad. Seeing as that Morrison is 6’11″ and 250lbs, while Dominguez is 5’6″ and 150lbs, I’m going to go ahead and venture a guess that Morrison did most of the damage. Just a hunch.

UPDATE: The players are refuting the claims.

Pic from Spring Break.