The Triumph of the Will


Saint John’s squeaked by the LIU Blackbirds Wednesday night at Carnesecca Arena 66-53. If they’d beaten them the way a good team beats their preseason opponents – DooK is averaging over 100 points per games while nearly doubling their opponents score – I wouldn’t have had to sit here for 10 minutes thinking up the worst opening line in the history of sports commentary, and that includes everything written by tortured dwarf Mike Lupica. I could have dashed off some nonsense about the 9 and 20 blackbirds baked in a pie and we could have all gotten on with our days. But this is not a good basketball team. Sure there were some positives. The ball movement is encouraging, when they move the ball, which isn’t often: there are in a game fewer offensive sets with crisp passing than there are breaks where a SJ guard takes the ball to the hoop one on four. But it’s there all the same, sometimes. Also encouraging is the free throw shooting, which was once again exemplary. And at times the defense can be stifling, but I’m going to wait until Dom Pointer blocks seven shots by Rakim Christmas before I get too excited, rather than shutting down Sven Gunderson of the Reykjavik High School Lutefisk, Iceland’s player of the year. The bad news is that when the defense is not stifling – which it’s not when Obekpa’s not in the game – it’s pretty atrocious, a fact the Lavin press is designed to obscure. Ask yourself: how much of Chris Obekpa’s considerable defensive prowess is the result of the team’s poor exterior defense? If defenders weren’t continually blowing their assignments there wouldn’t be so many shots at the rim for Obekpa to block, would there. Pointer gets a pass because he lets his man go by intentionally because he wants to block the shot from behind and get on Sportscenter, but the rest of them are either gambling for steals or failing to rotate or blowing their assignments. Except Phil Greene obviously, he couldn’t guard himself …. The stat line was per usual. Saint John’s shot under 50 percent from the field, 10 percent from 3 – the second time this year when the 4-guard offense has shot under 15 percent from 3, gee, I wonder if anyone’s going to zone us – were outrebounded (46-40), and out assisted (13-7). If it were not for LIU’s poor shooting – which likely was more the result of first game jitters from nine underclassmen than any sort of shutting down by SJ’s nine upperclassmen – things might have been different. And of course SJU was once again the beneficiary of generous officiating: in all three games they’ve made 10 more FTs than their opponents and in two of those those 10 points were the margin of victory. One might wonder – if one were in the habit of calling oneself one – if that discrepancy will continue once they play real opponents. One suspects not … Something of a strange rotation by Lavin – resplendent in a Jim Rockford sportcoat over a sweatsuit top – although that’s not really news. Lavin has 4 serviceable guards, but seems intent on mixing two other guards into the rotation, at the expense of Christian Jones and Jasilionus II, both of which big men would seemingly be of value as the season progresses. It seems that Lavin, having examined his ill-constructed roster and determined that he will have no choice but to play small has decided that an even better idea would be to play smaller. The cynic in me whispers that Lavin is doing this so that the fact that he’s been reduced to fielding a team of midgets looks like a conscious decision, rather than the result of his incompetence as a recruiter and manager of personnel.

PLAYERS: Pointer had the same sort of impressive game he usually has against inferior competition, before disappearing against Division 1 teams. The next time he has a game like this against a good team will be the first time … Rysheed Jordan allegedly missed a defensive assignment on a three a couple of minutes into the game and sat for the next 10 minutes. Despite several subsequent LIU three pointers no one else sat. Then Jordan was benched to start the second half in favor of fun-fave Felix Balamou. Perhaps this was just some more there’s more important things than winning light a fire under his ass grandstanding from our resident Svengali, but the conspiracy theorist in me wonders what sort of shenanigans are up the great and powerful sleeve in regards to Lavin’s most talented player. Speaking of Jordan, he managed 15 points, 13 of those in the second half … Obekpa had 10 rebounds and 8 blocks but was 1 for 7 from the floor. (Is it my imagination or are shooters shying away from his body for fear of contacting his member, which is in danger of slipping out the bottom of his taped up shorts?) He yesterday at least reverted to the weird fall away sideways jump shot he regularly displayed last year … For anyone else 14 points and 7 rebounds sounds like a good night but it is less than half of what Harrison put up against Franklin Pierce … Phil Greene is not quite oh for November, but he’s in Avery Patterson territory. He will have to get his shooting percentage out of the teens for this team to have any chance for a successful run in the NIT … Our only true PG Jamal Branch had no assists in 25 minutes … “Good thing selfish cancer Jakarr Sampson is starting for the 76ers, that really opened up 2 minutes a game for Chris Addition By Subtraction Jones” Fun said. “Fun really nailed that analysis” Fun added … Miles Stewart scored his first collegiate bucket … Balamou looks to be shaking the rust off

NOTES: Regular readers (hi Mom!) (just kidding, she’s dead) (thank god) will notice changes to BEB. Essentially I got tired of maintaining the wonky dB to the standards expected by its host and so have taken it off line in favor of this format: it’s called a blog, which I’m led to believe is the next big thing. And which, let’s face it, makes a great deal of sense, as nobody posted here anymore and I don’t care much about the opinions of those who did anyway. The only loss is the archives, which contain a wealth of witticisms, mostly by me; I copied a lot of them off beforehand because that’s gold jerry, gold. The demise of the old BEB is a little ironic, because I had recently been considering making the entire archive publicly available – by public archive I mean the hidden forums where the moderators discussed misbehavior on the board, much of it mine. You’d not believe the caterwauling that went on. I didn’t have much use for moderators then and still don’t and if you don’t believe that 70 years ago small-minded petty clerks like Tom in Simsbury would be shoving you into cattle cars for a one way trip to Birkenau, well, you’re probably a democrat and wouldn’t recognize a fascist if the entire Wehrmacht goose-stepped up your ass to film a Leni Riefenstahl bioepic in your colon … Regular readers are also aware that I skipped the FP game and I appreciate your emails asking about the website’s well-being. I didn’t have anything of import to say about Franklin Pierce anyway, so you didn’t miss much. There was a bit of a drunken ramble about Franklin Pierce dying of cirrhosis and another paragraph about the year I spent clerking in Concord where I lived on the third floor of a haunted pink Victorian inhabited only by myself and a woman named Helen who’d just been released from 40 years confinement in a mental hospital and who had the unfortunate habit of running out into the hall late at night and banging on my door yelling “I bet he’s jerking off in there,” which was all the more confounding because usually I was. Those are down the rabbit hole but I would remiss if I did not mention that the Pierce game saw the reemergence from the primordial slime of Jim Burr, the worst referee in the history of college basketball, whose every court appearance cheapens amateur athletics … Franklin Pierce are the Ravens and LIU the blackbirds, which motif leaves me an excuse to recycle this, which I wrote many years ago as part of a misbegotten attempt to stage a musical version of the works of Edgar Allen Pork. I think you’ll agree it still hold up.


Once upon a midnight snacking
While I dawdled,
meat-stuffs lacking
Over a many times reheated
platter of forgotten yolks
While I buttered,
bushed from boinking
Suddenly there came an oinking
Yes, a none too gentle oinking
“Oinking,” said I, “’tis a hoax”
“‘Tis some visitor” I muttered
“Oinking — surely ’tis a hoax
People and their little jokes”

So I sat, engrossed in guessing
Till at last I made the blessing
And employed some salad dressing
Hoping to improve the yolks

Presently my soul grew stronger
Hesitating then no longer
“Sir,” I said, “or Madam truly
Truly I approve of jokes
But the truth is I was eating
And so forceful was your bleating
And I’m peace and quiet needing
Lest on my eggs I’ll surely choke”

By and by I spied the lurker
Steady now — here comes the corker
Inside stepped a stately porker
S’truth — I nearly had a stroke
Not the least obeisance made he
Not a minute stopped or stayed he
But with mien of lord or lady
Plopped down on my plate of yolks
Picture that — his porcine pooper
planted on my plate of yolks
Perched — I nearly had a stroke
Quote the Bacon, “Th-th-that’s all folks”

The center cannot hold. And neither can the point guard.