All posts by fun

I hate Saint John's almost as much as I love them

It’s About Time

St John’s defeated DePaul 77-76 in Chicago – or as Pete Gillen would say and did, several times, the Windy City! Chicago! Illinois! – Wednesday night, their fourth straight victory and second in a row on the road. (I thought that last factoid might have been something but they won three in a row on the road last December, @ Tulane, Syracuse and DePaul, so never mind.) Despite winning four in a row they’re still in last place, but assuming that DePaul loses to Seton Hall in New Jersey on Saturday SJU will leap into ninth. Excelsior … For most of it this didn’t look like a win. DePaul would spurt ahead, St John’s would nearly catch them but not quite and then DePaul would spurt ahead again

And in fact DePaul was up four 69-65 with four and a half minutes left when Ponds’ six points and an assist keyed a 10-2 run that put it away for the good guys … Last time I mentioned snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Case in point last night when a DePaul three at the buzzer made those who’d given the points losers: DePaul went off plus one and a half. I don’t bet college basketball much but when I do I eschew statistical analysis and advanced analytics (I don’t understand math) and instead base my selection on two factors: which team has the more powerful mascot (Demons > weather) and which color is more appealing (blue > red). Those of you who gave the points might want to take that to the bank next time: weather > eagles and red > yellow … St John’s won last night despite the presence of the appalling Pat Driscoll, the worst referee in college basketball. And in fact Driscoll gave them I thought a bit of a gift on a questionable charge that Tariq Owens drew late, which sure looked to me like a block. And I suspect it would have looked to Driscoll like a block if St John’s had been playing Villanova or Xavier …. Ponds continued his unconscious streak: 26 points on 10 for 18 from the floor plus ten assists. The main beneficiary of the latter was Marvin Clark, who had a career high 24 points and six rebounds. He’s averaging six of those a game over his last four, which not coincidentally corresponds to SJ’s winning streak. Simon had 16 points, three rebounds and three assists, which considering how he’s been playing lately seems a tad disappointing. Stiff defense by Tariq Owens held some Eastern European lummox called Marin Maric to a double double, although to his credit Owens made what turned out to be the game winning free throw. Bashir Ahmed had as many turnovers as points and once again Trimble didn’t embarrass himself. And someone called Kassoum Yakwe played two minutes to little effect, he must be a walk on because I vaguely remember his name but don’t recall seeing it in the box score recently …. The play by play guy was someone called Carter Blackburn, which sounds like the name of a character in a Tom Wolfe novel and Pete Gillen, who sounded like an idiot. Gillen babbled incessantly and mostly incoherently, to the point where missus fun wondered whether he was “all coked up.” I told her no, he probably just had an extra bottle of wine at dinner considering the late start. He repeated ad nauseum that Chicago! is called the Windy City! and is in Illinois! and that Sharmorie Ponds played for Thomas Jefferson High! in Brooklyn! New York! and there was for my taste way too much Glory Days talk about his erstwhile coaching career, the upshot of which is that teams he coached – Xavier, Providence and Virginia – tended to achieve better results after he left than while he was there. Most egregiously Gillen does not seem to understand the concept of time. With four minutes left in the first half he said that there was “Plenty of time left in this contest.” Okay, fair enough. Twenty four minutes later, with 34 seconds left in the game he said that there’s “Still a long way to go,” which seems longer than plenty of time, and then with less than three seconds left he said there’s “2.8 seconds, still an eternity,” which an eternity is certainly longer than either of those. If you took him at his word you’d think the game was getting longer as more and more time ticked off the clock and in fact now that it’s been over for 12 hours it still might be going on.

In an odd confluence game day was both Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday – odd because the former holiday celebrates carnality and concupiscence and the latter repentance and mortification of the flesh. Valentine’s day is named for Valentinus, a Christian priest decapitated by the Emperor Claudius in the third century, which separation of skull and torso allegedly occurred on February 14th. (This explains why the giving of head is a traditional Valentine’s Day gift.) That a 2000 year old decapitation came to be associated with modern romance is also odd, but associated it is: traditionally February 14th features exchanges of gifts between lovers and especially flowers, which makes a perverse sort of sense, as bouquets of flowers, being themselves an aggregation of severed sexual organs, are delivered to females by males castrated by monogamy and Hallmark. Ash Wednesday on the other hand marks the beginning of Lent, a period of atonement in which the Catholic faithful emulate the deprivations suffered by the Baby Jesus during his 40-day sojourn in the desert, from which he emerged triumphant, having three times resisted Lucifer’s entreaties,  foreshadowing Peter’s failure to do likewise after the crucifixion. In the Catholic tradition the faithful mark the Lenten period by forgoing sensual pleasures, which eschewment is meant to cleanse the spirit in anticipation of the resurrection. I’m a bit fallen away now – in the same way that Oprah is a bit fat – but Lent was a big deal in our household growing up. My father for example gave up smoking for 40 days – he smoked every Sunday though, because during Lent the Sundays don’t count – and promptly resumed Easter morning.

(Pater was a Lucky Strike man.


Talk about your truth in advertising: his throat was devoid of tumors when he died of cancer.)

No doubt my mother gave up something as well, although with her you could never be sure, because she was something of a duplicitous bitch. As youngsters my siblings and I too we were encouraged to give up childish pleasures, at first candy and sweets and cookies and later as we got older masturbation and Southern Comfort. Either way Lenten Sundays were sticky affairs in my parents house growing up.

Not for nothing but there are some St John’s fans whose souls could use a little cleansing this holy season. A few suggestions. If you’re one of those guys I see sitting in the stands sitting on your hands in Alumni hall whose pendulous man tits are dangerously close to bursting through your thread-worn red and white sweaters, consider giving up donuts. If you’re one of those chronic malcontents who sign on daily to St John’s fan forums and whine incessantly and tediously about every little thing that pops into your tiny little brains, maybe give up whining like little bitches. If you’re one of those people who insists on putting mayonnaise on lobster, consider eschewing mayonnaise and try a nice Bearnaise sauce instead. If you’re a plagiarist, consider writing your own jokes, and failing that, hang yourself. And if you’re a cunt, maybe consider not being a cunt. Me, I’m going to give up vodka, starting …. April Fool’s Day

Mass Marquette Fiction

I wrote yesterday an essay about St John’s 86-78 victory over the Marquette Floor Slapping Dopes 86-78 at Carnesecca Arena Saturday afternoon, noting that it was their third straight win and that the victory moved St John’s back to .500 for the year and vaulted them to within one game of 9th place DePaul in the Big East standings. It’s fortunate that I didn’t post it yesterday afternoon, because in light of morning it turns out that most of it was unreadable. I don’t mean it was garbled, like my notes sometimes are the morning after I’ve been making bubbles in a bottle of spirits, but garbage, like I hadn’t written it, like some untalented unclever hack had broken into my house and pounded out a couple thousand words on my office desktop. It was a half-assed fully-contrived hackneyed mess and I’m embarrassed to have written it.

I had an exchange with a Mullin hating fan a couple of months ago and his take was that Mullin was not prepared for his job because coaching is hard. At first I thought he meant hard as in difficult, which how difficult can it be if cretins like Bobby Knight and Jim Boeheim are good at it. I think it fair to say that coaching doesn’t require much brain power. But no he said, he meant hard as in hard work, that it was grueling and tedious and unrewarding. That seems to me wrong as well, although not quite as wrong. I mean, I can see the drawbacks – you have to be around children and children are disgusting selfish little disease vectors and even the brightest nine year old is dumber than a dumb dog – but coaching little league or CYO can’t compare to being a gravedigger or a roofer or any other type of donkeywork in terms of being grueling and tedious and unrewarding. You can do it sitting down on the scorer’s table while wearing sweats and a hoodie and you get paid whether your team wins or loses or whether your students learn or don’t and you get the summers off. Seems like a pretty sweet deal to me.

You know what’s hard, I mean really hard? Staring at a blank piece of paper knowing that it you don’t fill it with words you don’t get paid and the rent’s due in a week. That’s hard. Which is why I learned a long time ago that sometimes it doesn’t matter what you write, it matters that you write: that starting to type is half the battle. I never suffered from writer’s block because I couldn’t afford to. Effete poseurs and housewife novelists can afford to be tortured artists waiting for their muse to come in but if you write for money you just have to write. And maybe that’s what I did yesterday. Maybe I felt obligated to churn out another one of these stupid essays and so phoned one in. Or maybe some days I’m just a hack, just like everyone else is most days. I don’t know. But anyway the point is that what I wrote was trash and it got dele-ed and I’m happier for it. To the extent that I made any points worth considering here’s the crib notes version:

* winning was good because after the last two it was important for them to protect their home court

* Shamorie Ponds is potentially the best basketball player St John’s has ever had but it’s unlikely he’ll be around long enough for us to see it; Simon is also very good but he need to practice his free throw shooting and he stinks is at in-bounding the ball, please let someone else do it; Clark can evidently rebound when he feels like and so can Ahmed

* hopefully Marcus Lovett is dying a little inside watching his team mates win without him

* the refs sucked, especially this guy

* Wojo is a shitty coach and sweats a lot and recruits an awful lot of white players, just saying

* Steve Lavin still sucks

There was only one vaguely interesting paragraph, which I append, unredacted, as a form of self flagellation

On February 10, 1964 Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan released his third record, The Times They Are a Changin’, which seemed apropos to mention, St John’s today having achieved their third straight win. Dylan has the distinction of being both the best and worst song writer of his generation: for every Positively Fourth Street and and Like a Rolling Stone he wrote he penned half a dozen Hey Mr Tambourine Mans and Lay Lady Lays and Shelters From The Storm and similar dogs, many of which are featured on The Times, which is pretty much an awful record. The title track, perfectly encapsulating as it does the puerile philosophy of Dylan and his insipid hippie cohort was not surprisingly covered by every half a fag hack with six minutes to fill in a live show. I plowed through inter alia looking for a suitable version to post – even as sadistic as I am I wouldn’t subject you to Dylan’s caterwauling – Billy Bragg, Tracy Chapman, Flogging Molly, The Searchers, Bryan Ferry, the appalling James Taylor, Peter Paul and Moron, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Eddie Vedder, Richie Havens, Chris Cornell (even he couldn’t save it), Joan Baez, Phil Collins, and pope-hater Sinead O’Connor, each of them worst than the last; even the great Richie Blackmore’s version is enough to make you throw up in your mouth a little. I finally gave up. Instead of that have a listen to this, which contemplates how quickly defeat can be plucked from the jaws of victory:

Nova Harm No Foul

The temptation is great, in the wake of St John’s improbable defeat of number one Villanova on Wednesday night, to say I told you so. To all the chubby balding middle aged clerks and middle managers who demanded that the great Chris Mullin resign from his job to prove his manhood. To all the gym teachers and CYO coaches who bemoaned the staff’s lack of experience and basketball acumen: Mitch Richmond is a lazy bum, and St Jean is young and dumb and for god sake can’t we hire a true basketball mind like Mike Rice (that’d be the Mike Rice who’s 16–38 lifetime in the Big East). To the utter shit for brains who continue to lament the loss of that chowderhead Steve Lavin and wondered aloud where the program might have been had he been retained. (Hint: it’d be taking incremental or baby steps up the hill or mountain to playing its best ball in February as a prelude to a magic carpet ride to Costco where they could share the bulk priced sugar. Except Rysheed Jordan obviously, he’d still be getting raped in the prison shower.) To all the chronic malcontents who contributed to the cacophony of glothering that has polluted SJU fan forums lo these many months, the ones who figured St John’s should move down to the MAAC or Division 2 where they’d be competitive and the ones who sold their season tickets to some privileged white piece of shit dewk fan for 30 pieces of silver and the ones who impugned the staff’s commitment and character and the players heart, talent and loyalty. In short to the whole conga line of mutts and losers that comprise the worst fan base in all of sports, it’s quite tempting to say I told you so, and then what the hell call them a bunch of cunts for good measure. But I’m not going to do that. Because I’m bigger than that. Besides, they wouldn’t hear me over the racket their claws are making as they this morning scuttle back up the gangplank of the ship that they had for months been assuring the rest of us be sinking. Which none of that is to say that this season hasn’t been a complete disappointment or that the corner has been turned and happy days are here again. Because the season has been disappointing and the only happy days I believe in is rerunning on Nickelodeon. It is though to say: I told you so you cunts … I was trying to recollect a more satisfying moment or more accurately, moments, in St John’s history. (One fan board genyious said this morning something like yeah they were great wins, but “let’s not get too excited.” Hey stupid, if not now when.) Obviously Mullin and company beating number one Georgetown in Landover, a game I watched with the late Dr S_________ while draining a bottle of Lochan Ora, a diabolical Chivas blend that like Dr S____ is no longer available in the states. Marcus Hatten standing at the free throw line with no time left on the clock at Madison Square Garden in front of a weeping dook bench. Elijah Ingram remembering to turn on his cell phone camera that fateful day in Pittsburgh. The great Norm Roberts defeating UMass to become the first coach to win back-to-back Holiday Festival titles since Louie did it 20 years earlier. And if you’re as old as dirt there was Black Sunday – March 10, 1979, I was just a rosy cheeked optimistic tad then – when on the first weekend of the NCAA tournament last-in St John’s and lowly Penn beat the number one and two seeds UNC and Dook in a game conveniently sited in Durham North Carolina. But honestly these two might be sweeter. Not only because of how horribly things have gone wrong this season but because the victims were the two whitest most lauded programs in college basketball and their repulsive coaches, rat face Mike Schrewshrenky and Schrewshrenky light, Jay Wright. Anyone who didn’t feel last night a shiver of excitement seeing classy Jay Wright red faced and bleating piteously to the referees as he watched his number one ranking swirl slowly down the toilet has no soul and is dead inside. Because fuck Villanova and fuck Jay Wright and he still should get that mole under his eye looked at, because I’m pretty sure it’s starting to grow legs … I’m not going to rehash the box score but a couple of things stand out. St John’s, which has been getting hosed by the referees for months now, shot 24 free throws to Nova’s 12 and 11 of those were by Jay Brunson. Only stupid Donte DiVincenzo – the Moors did so much fucking with Sicilian women – shot one; DiVincenzo , much beloved by Iona fans, who usually kills St John’s, beclowned himself for 38 minutes before fouling out. Sweet! St John’s, 321st of 351 teams in team total rebounding percentage – behind such powerhouses as Nicolls State, High Point, and NJIT – outrebounded Nova, led by Justin Simon, who was a couple of assists short of triple double. (Just a week or so ago I was assured by a knowledgeable fan board poster who “understands math” that Justin Simon wasn’t good enough to start on Rhode Island, which ridiculous assertion he justified based upon “advanced analytics” that were too complicated for your humble author to comprehend. Question: if there were advanced analytics that proved that Lena Dunham was a more desirable female than Charlotte McKinney would you start jerking off during Girls or would you throw your statistics in the garbage?). And Shamorie Ponds – who 10 days ago scored two points on oh for 12 shooting versus Butler – continued a remarkable run – 31 versus Xavier, 33 versus Duke and 26 versus Nova – that saw him named the Naismith National Player of the Week. As a sophomore. Hopefully he cools off a bit, I’d hate it if he were a lottery pick. This year at least … So where do we go from here. Certain fans are this morning parsing their way to an NCAA tournament bid, which that’d be nice, but oh and eleven’s a lot to overcome and frankly that reeks just a bit of wishful thinking, of Hitler in April 1945 hunkered down in his bunker pushing nonexistent Panzer divisions across a map of Europe. What isn’t too far fetched is that SJU wins four of their next six games, all of them winnable – it’s okay, I don’t believe in jinxes, if you do go light a candle – and gets an NIT invite. Which all things considered would be a remarkable outcome and one anyone would have signed up for – I would have signed up for an NIT bid at the beginning of the season, but that’s me, I’m a bit of a pessimist – considering the state of the roster. The optimistic Mullin haterz among you can still hope that this week was a brief respite from his inevitable failure, an oasis in the desert of suck that is Saint Johns basketball, and that you were right all along. In which case  you can say I told you so and call me a cunt. But not this morning. This morning the sun is shining and me, I’m going to Carl Junior’s for a burger and maybe a bit of the hair of the dog.

Rats

With six minutes left in Dook’s inevitable victory over St John’s on national television at Madison Square Garden on Saturday Day afternoon I wrote “a lot of bad things can happen in six minutes” in my notebook and turned off the TV and went upstairs to pleasure Missus Fun. (For those of you scoring at home, I nearly succeeded.) I haven’t checked the score yet and it doesn’t matter: after yet another humiliating defeat snatched from the jaws of victory I’m firmly in the Mullin-Must-Go-Camp. I admit it: all you CYO coaches and gym teachers were right: Mullin has no idea what he’s doing and must be fired, Mitch Richmond needs to go, Greg St Jean is a disgrace, Matt Abdulwhatver is a horrible recruiter, and Dan Matic whoever he is is as useful as tits on a boar. It’s time for St John’s to make a change, to hire some up and comer like Will Browne or Bruiser Flint, and failing that to consider moving down to the MAAC or some other completely shitty horrible conference, because there’s no way they can compete against upper echelon teams in Division One, especially teams like those coached by the great Mike Screwshrenski. Suffice it to day that this was another horrible loss in a string of horrible losses: it’s just a shame that the great Lou Carnesseca had to be in the crowd to witness this humiliation, because he deserves better. If they couldn’t beat dook today on their home floor they can’t beat anyone … I can’t be arsed to look at the box score, but no doubt it reflects the inevitable St John’s choke. No doubt Bashir Ahmed, an over rated out of control loser, shot one for ten from the floor and turned the ball over half a dozen times. Good luck in China next year Bashir, and good riddance. No doubt it shows that Tariq Owens is too skinny to compete in Division One basketball, as opposed to Brian Trimble, who can’t compete because he’s a fat tub of lard. No doubt it proves that Shamorie Ponds – hey Shamorie, you’re oh and eleven, stop taking so many threes! – is kidding himself if he thinks he’s going to be a professional basketball player and that Justin Simon is no Federico Mussini and that Marvin Clark transferred from MSU because he knew he was incapable of playing for a real coach like Tom Izzo. Amar Alibgowitz was as usual garbage. All of these players stink and that’s all on the staff, who are over rated and over matched. Hopefully all of the players transfer and if the staff is half the men I think they are they will all resign to prove their manhood …

NOTES: The game was called on CBS by Gus Johnson and Jim Jackson. Jackson is more or less fine but Gus Johnson has a ridiculous habit of reciting mundane facts as if he’s reporting on the assassination of a president: Bashir Ahmed! is from the Bronx! He enjoys tuna fish sandwiches! His favorite band! Is Dexi’s Midnight Runners!. Note to Gus Johnson, not every fact is an epiphany … I know I said just a moment ago that Jackson is fine but because I like to contradict myself Jim Jackson is also an idiot. For example he said at one point and I know this because I wrote it down that “dook might have gotten away with” after which I went into a coma, because here’s a partial list of what dook might have gotten away with: a shot clock violation on the first play of the game, several muggings, various goal tendings, and a dozen fouls that weren’t called – when I turned the game off dewk had made 11 more free throws that St John’s had attempted. You might as well say that “Dewk has gotten away with murdering Nicole Brown Simpson and are helping OJ search for the real murderers” or “Dewk has gotten away with crucifying the baby Jesus.” Dook has gotten away with is enough. They have gotten away with stuff forever and had they not they’d not have been as successul as they have been. (I’m looking forward to the Villanova Duke NCAA championship game, which if that happens either no fouls will be called or all the players will foul out before the first commercial time out.) If they didn’t get away with stuff, maybe St John’s would have had a chance at the upset them Saturday afternoon. Instead we’re left with what is it now 12 losses in a row now and no light at the end of tunnel. It’s a sad state of affairs … Lest the day be a complete loss here’s a picture of poet laureate JJ Reddick picking his nose

and here’s Mike Schrewshreki dunking

and here’s a funny song

This, I don’t know what this is, it’s probably Russian Bots

Sink Or Swimsuit

Many of you have written over the last several weeks asking what gives and where I’ve been. And I’m not even making that up, as is my wont. In tweets, emails and comments you’ve asked fun, where for art thou: another season has come to naught and our beloved St John’s basketball program is in danger of foundering upon the rocks. At this our darkest hour we need you now more than ever. Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani.

Well look. In the first place if you’re looking to me for solace you’re bound to be disappointed. I don’t like too many of you to begin with and anyway I don’t do sympathy. But more importantly, what am I supposed to say? Saint John’s dropped their eleventh in a row Tuesday night to number six Xavier and then rehash the box score and takes a couple of jabs at stupid Steve Lavin? I don’t think so. Been there, done that. Neither is there anything that novel about this season: I’ve sat through close losses and blow outs and catastrophe before (Kevin Clarke to the white courtesy telephone). I can barely work up the energy to shrug. It’s a sign of how inured to it all I’ve become that not even the loathing and contempt I feel for many sad plonker St John’s fans raises in me enough bile to call them cunts. The relentless faggotry of the Mullin-must-go crowd, impotently regurgitating the same shopworn self-important pablum. The inept exhortations from pointless losers to email the school president, threatening to boycott the concession stand unless their demands are met. Not even the sad sack serial plagiarist, parroting my pet phrases, droning on humorlessly about watching milk fed Midwestern lummoxes on the telly with his boon companion. None of it gets a rise out of me. (Although I think we can all agree that plagiarist guy is a cunt.) It does not move me, not enough to write about it anyway.

You want solace? Here it is, and I paraphrase something I wrote a few weeks ago: We will all soon enough be cold dead in the ground, our suffering at an end, lying fallow in boneyards overgrown with weeds, forgotten by our friends and family, nourishment for maggots and weevils, and the world will get on quite all right without us. That’s what I got for solace. I hope it made you feel better.

As to the basketball team, I paraphrase myself again:

Jamaica is where coaching careers come to die. Every coach post Mahoney has come to SJ on the come and each of them has flamed out spectacularly. Bonehead Mike Jarvis was the most successful coach St John’s has had since Louie and he left the program disgraced and on probation. Fran was a tortured little dwarf who spent his tenure waving his shriveled white cock in his players faces. Norm was, charitably, inept. And stupid Steve Lavin was mentally ill and an abomination.

The point is that SJU is not a good job. The facilities are antediluvian, the fan base sucks – that’s right, I’m talking to you, you suck – and Jamaica is a shithole. If Mullin fails – and I give him a mulligan for this year, pre Lovett he was on an NIT trajectory which is all that anyone other than the most delusional fan would have expected – no one with a brain would take it, unless they pay some over achieving mid major dope like Will Brown – imagine, people are pining for Will Browne, that’d be the Will Brown who was 32 and 72 in his first four years in the mighty America East. Will Browne versus Jay Wright and Doug McDermott’s father, can you imagine the carnage – four or five times his present salary to come disappear in the Bermuda Triangle of coaching, never to be seen or heard from again. Me, I’ve already registered FireTimCluess.com with network solutions and am looking forward to the ad revenue. Because this blog doesn’t generate shit for me. It’s barely worth the write off. (Write off, geddit?).

The fact is that things look worse than they are. If they’d won a couple three games they could have it wouldn’t look so bad. Lavin’s last year – the year he finally managed to make the tournament without Norm’s players – he lost to Butler by 25 on the road. Nobody remembers that, but they wail and gnash their teeth about what happened in Indiana last week. That’s not to minimize the disaster this season has been, but to put it in perspective. Considering the roster – a roster on which Amar Alibegowitz is expected to contribute – hell, they might be over achieving. I mean, they’ve lost to six ranked teams by a combined 38 points; they’ve played two and a half bad games out of 23. Nobody’s murdered anyone, no one’s raped anyone, no one’s punched anyone. Which on the one hand is a pretty low bar, but on the other one that a bunch of Mullin’s predecessor couldn’t jump over. So yeah, they’re not winning games, but they’re not embarrassing themselves either – and if you’re embarrassed, you’re a mouth breather. If Mullin sucked as much as the perpetually disgruntled believe he’d have lost the team a long time ago. Which he hasn’t. Which is to say, it’s not a basketball acumen issue, it’s a talent issue.

Mullin – especially Mullin – doesn’t deserved to be fired two years (no rational person would count his first year) into a six year contract and even if the wanted to they can’t afford it and even if they could afford it they couldn’t afford to hire anyone who’d make them immediately relevant, e.g. the whore monger Rick Pitino, who was making seven million at Louisville which is like 11 million in NYC. Other than hoping that Mullin turns things around there are no good alternatives. Which is why I hope he does … A couple quick notes. Tariq Owens stage mother Honey Boo Boo Renard (his Twitter profile says he’s a proud dad who’s “currently … getting money”) tweeted this week that his son deserves 15 shots a game and that “If I was Tariq I would shoot every time I touch the ball no matter what.” Tariq responded by going for no points and two rebounds versus Xavier, goal tending what turned out to be the winning basket and travelling on SJ’s final possession. Fortunately for Tariq Miss Congeniality is still in play, because with his body he’s not winning the swim suit competition … Apropos of nothing, I never noticed Chris Mack’s nose before, which is surprising, because it’s enormous. In fact:

Separated at birth?

… Speaking of dopey Steve Lavin, his mother passed last week. Condolences to him and his family. That said, how many weeks of half time shows do you think he’ll miss sitting Shiva? At first I figured he’d be out until Memorial Day but then it occurred to me that he’d much rather mourn on television. Now my guess is he shows up for the Dewk game in a black hat, veil and dark glasses looking like Jackie Kennedy … Finally, the refs sucked, especially Pat Driscoll, who has inherited the worst referee in basketball mantle from stupid drunk Jim Burr. There was a telling moment in the first half: Mullin was talking to Driscoll directly in front of the SJ bench; Driscoll said something to him and Mullin looked down at his feet with an incredulous look on his face. Clearly Driscoll said something to him about being out of the coaching box – I couldn’t tell exactly what he said, my view was obscured by JP Mascara’s cock, which was firmly lodged in Driscoll’s throat – which if Mullin was out of the box he wasn’t far out of the box. Can anyone imagine Driscoll saying the same thing to classy Jay Wright or his hometown boy Jim Boeheim? Because I can’t. If you recall Driscoll is the same guy who called a foul on Shamorie Ponds a couple of weeks ago when a Nova player climbed up his back like a Sherpa scaling Mount Everest. Probably Driscoll’s not on the take, but that doesn’t make his behavior any less egregious.

Mailing It In

St John’s dropped another one Wednesday night, this time to #11 Xavier on the road. Once again it was a good game and once again that’s at this point all you can hope for. St John’s actually led with with seven minutes left and were within one at the five minute mark, at which point they ran out of gas: Xavier scored 11 straight to go up eight and that was that. Oh and seven isn’t pretty and last place is last place and you are what your record says you are. I get that. But if the record is all you see you’re missing a lot. You’re missing some marvelous individual effort – Ponds last game and Simon last night – and some mental toughness by an undermanned team that’s showing some amazing resiliency. If the season’s lost – and yeah it is and yeah that’s on Mullin – at least you can enjoy that. If enjoyment’s what you’re looking for. There’s a large contingent of SJ fans who aren’t looking for that. They don’t want to have fun. They just like to complain. I mean sure, there’s certainly a lot to complain about, but constant repetitive whining is deadly dull and pointless. Not to mention the ridiculous spectacle of a bunch of chubby clerks and middle managers who haven’t seen their own dicks in five years challenging Chris Mullin to resign to prove his manhood. News flash for those dopes. In the first place quitting is not a sign of manliness, quite the opposite. In the second, Mullin’s not going anywhere. He’s coach until he doesn’t want to be coach anymore and I suspect that every loss increases his resolve to stay and succeed. Whether he can is an open question, but to demand that he go gently into the good night is profoundly absurd. Pro. Foundly. And in the third if you think the vast knowledge of basketball you’ve gleaned coaching third grade girl’s CYO would aid Mullin in his understanding of Xs and Os and use of timeouts and when to employ the triangle and two, you should write it all down and send it to him, I’m sure he’d be grateful for the assistance … Simon, who I was assured this week would have a hard time cracking the starting rotation at Rhode Island, had 28 points, nine rebounds, six assists, three steals and only two turnovers in 38 minutes. Rhode Island must be very good. Ponds and Clark scored in double figures but Ponds needed a lot of shots to get his and I AM MARVIN CLARK had one rebound, as SJ once again got killed on the boards. Owens had seven points, six rebounds and four blocks, which would have been good had not some Turkish golem called Kerem Kanter lit him up for 22 and 13. Ahmed got pulled after a boneheaded defensive lapse and thereafter barely returned, which I appreciate Mullin trying to teach him a lesson, but the lesson could have been shorter. Trimble was the recipient of Ahmed’s minutes and once again I was relatively impressed. He made his threes and hit his free throws and didn’t otherwise embarrass himself. As opposed to Yakwe and Aliobegowitz … I’ve spent a bit of time this year kvetching about the referees but last nights crew – I don’t think I’ve ever seen them before – didn’t suck that badly. Xavier got the benefit of the doubt on a bunch of calls – as you’d expect the #11 team to on their home floor – but mostly things were even. I wasn’t pleased when Simon was given a technical for hanging on the rim five seconds into the game and was less pleased when JP Mascara – if there’s a dirtier more easily detestable player in the Big East him I’ve yet to see, he makes Grayson Allen look normal, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him bite someone – hung on the rim longer later and was called for bupkis. There was also an interesting turn when the refs first called a foul on Ahmed when he and JP got tangled under the basket and then after an interminable review to determine whether Ahmed’s foul was a flagrant one they waved the whole thing off, having decided that no foul had occurred. Oops, sorry. The sooner they get the refs off the floor and have them call the games from a sky box the better. … The game was on CBS, which meant (a) that I had to buy CBS Sports for the night, because evidently its a premium channel (b) that the game started at about 8:50 est, which is way past my liver’s bedtime and (c) that I had to watch things unfold in real time, meaning no fast forwarding through commercials or halftime, which on CBS is particularly awful, featuring as it does the unctuous Jon Rothstien, who has all the charm and wit of a Serbian sex trafficker. At least on Fox I get to hear stupid Steve Lavin do his Irwin Corey imitation

… AND NOW IT’S STORY TIME:

My mailbox got knocked over yesterday morning, the second straight year this’s happened. My house is situated on a county road towards the bottom of a hill that descends from the Rensselaer  Plateau. The speed limit’s 30 but nobody does 30. Grandmas routinely do 45 and crazy people do 60. So anyway you come down the hill heading west and right before my house there’s a little jog south, 10 or maybe 15 degrees, but on snowy days like yesterday before the road’s been plowed it can be tricky to navigate. In both cases the driver was a young male in some crappy car (yesterday was an 89 Plymouth Horizon) going too fast who misses the turn, swerves to avoid the telephone pole left of the driveway, over corrects, turns sideways and slides over the mailbox and into the 100 year old silver maple on the front lawn. Contrary to my normal behavior – I can sometimes be pretty impatient believe it or not – I tend to take these things in stride. Because accidents happen. So we got young John’s car out of the culvert where it ended up and I got a crow bar and pried his right front fender back to where the car was driveable and sent young John on his way home to the other side of the river. It turned out he’d been visiting his boyfriend when the storm started and stayed the night and so was unfamiliar with the road. Young John gave me his number and said he’d be happy to pay for the damage but I expect I’ll never hear from him again. Here’s the scene of the crime.

I bring this up because just yesterday on a popular SJ fan forum someone brought up that very same mailbox. Which requires some slight back story. Now I frequent these fan forums and I’d be the first to tell you that I behave like an asshole. People call me a bully, but it’s not quite that. What it quite is is that I’m smarter than most people, and better educated, and better read, and write better, and let’s face it I’m pretty funny. So I don’t lose too many arguments and even when I do I get in a few good ones. But that’s not bullying. Like if we went bowling, and you beat me all the time, that doesn’t make you a bully, that just makes you a good bowler. My perspective is: if you don’t want me to point out that you said something stupid, stop saying stupid things. Some people take my behavior in stride. Oh they think, that’s just that dopey fun being dopey fun, and it’s water off a duck’s back. Some people though, being thick of skull and thin of skin, plan their revenge. One particular imbecile about a year ago – and mind you this is a grown ass man with a family and children and a job and a mortgage – decided that the proper response to sharp elbows thrown in the marketplace of ideas was to discover personal facts about me and post them in that forum – he doxed me, I think the kids call it. This particular imbecile figured out where I live – it’s not double naught spy stuff, you just need to go to whois – and went so far as to use a picture of my mailbox that he copied from google earth as his forum avatar. Which, whatever, I know where I live and so do a lot of other people and I’m in the phone book and Martindale Hubble and lawyers dot com and any number of places besides. The digital age has its benefits but privacy is not among them. However when this particular imbecile said something to the effect of ‘I know where your wife works’ I decided he was a sociopath. I mean good grief, my wife – besides being something of a looker – she’s a fucking saint. I don’t take veiled threats to her well being lightly and so I resolved to no longer truck with this particular pompous gasbag. Because only a psychopath responds to a little good-natured ribbing by what I took to be a threat to harm – or at least involve – my family.

Well just yesterday some other dope, let’s call him imbecile number two, in response to some innocuous comment I made about recruiting, said “Where’s that darn mailbox? Maybe, I should dig up the pic, bitch ass.” (Yes, he said bitch ass. Evidently I’m also a f’in punk.) The very same mailbox that was just hours earlier demolished! I mean what are the odds? What are the odds that imbecile number two was privy to my year ago intercourse with imbecile number one, remembered it, and responded with the same sort of petulant childish behavior involving my precious and newly defunct mail box. It’s like they’re the same person. Except I know they’re not, one guy, uses many, more commas, than the other, guy, and you can’t fake that sort of poor, syntax. Anyway I told that guy that I live at 91 Elliot Road in the Greenbush and he was welcome to come by any time although he should mind the Akitas, they’re pretty high strung and haven’t had much exercise since an unfortunate incident with a couple of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the fall. Should he I’ll be happy to extend to him the same courtesies I did to young Jonathan, up to and including using a crow bar should it come to that. You’re all invited as well. Happy hour starts around noon. I’ll supply the booze but you have to bring your own snacks.

The whole thing’s worth a listen but for those of you with short attention spans can skip ahead to the 1:30 mark

Master Baiting

I talked over the last couple of recaps about the emotions the season has engendered, first hope, then anger, then disquiet. I’m pleased to announce that I’ve reached nirvana, having achieved in one short week the same sort of Zen state I had when Norm was coaching, when I knew that almost everything that could go wrong was going to and that very little of what might turn out right would. Which is why despite being on the short end of the score I very much enjoyed watching St John’s lose 78-71 to #1 Villanova Saturday night at Madison Square Garden. Because a good game well played is at this point all you can ask for. I mean sure, did I curse the referees when down six late Shamorie Ponds was called for a foul when a Villanova player climbed up his back and fell on top of him? Of course I did and Pat Driscoll should be ashamed of himself. Did I curse that albino freak Dante Di whatever every time time he made a three? Of course I did. But here’s the thing: if you have no expectations you can’t be disappointed and so I wasn’t. Onward and downward and it’s only a couple of months to the Derby … Speaking of the shitty referees, St John’s was once again on the short end of the free throw differential, and once again by just about the margin of victory. It’s getting harder and harder to believe that this is coincidence. Consider: Shamorie Ponds took 28 shots, most of them in traffic going to the basket. He took eight free throws. Albino boy (“the moors did so much fucking with Sicilian women … that they changed the bloodlines forever”) took 11 shots, 9 of them threes, and he took six free throws. Look:

Is that possible? Sure, if you’re skeptical enough almost everything’s possible. Is it probable? Let’s say it’s pretty unlikely. Now introduce the sort of bias that allowed Villanova to play an entire game earlier this year without committing a single foul. All of a sudden it seems inevitable …. Games against Villanova allow St John’s fans to wax eloquent about Jay Wright – or I like to think of him, Mike Schrewshrensky II – and what might have been, how classy he is and what a great dresser and so on. My own opinion is fuck Jay Wright, he’s a cunt. In the first place rest assured that if he had come to Jamaica, the Bermuda triangle of coaching, he’d have self destructed as spectacularly as all the other sure fire winners this school has chewed up and spit out. And as to the rest of it, he swears at the refs with impunity, dresses like a dance instructor at a Miami Beach Arthur Murray Studio, and if I were him I’d get that mole under my eye looked at, because if it gets any bigger its going to need its own zip code. Fuck Jay Wright, I hope he gets hit by a bus … No point in rehashing the box score. Ponds was spectacular, everyone else not so much. Yakwe had a couple three nice pick and rolls early – he managed to catch the ball and gathered himself and finished but wasn’t seen from much again. Trimble seems to have shaken off his mini shooting slump and is a sneaky good rebounder. The rest of them were somewhere between awful (Alibegowitz) and ineffectual (Simon) … … The game was shown for some reason on the Fox Business Network, and their coverage was about as good as would be the daily market round up if it was hosted by that bald dope Tony Kornheiser. I don’t know if any of you paid attention to the scroll at the bottom but if it was to be believed Saturday was a busy night in the NFL. The scroll reported these games as on going:

Arizona – Seattle
Carolina – Seattle
Minnesota – Seattle
Carolina – New Orleans
San Francisco – Carolina
San Francisco – Los Angeles
Minnesota – New Orleans

Each was tied zero zero in the first quarter except Minnesota – New Orleans. That one was a burn burner that the Saints led 6-2, the game featuring evidently four safetys .. And finally the elephant in the room. Conspicuously absent from the bench was Marcus Lovett, and good riddance. There’s a lot to complain about this year but if this is the aftermath of the Lovett situation, then this isn’t one of them: Sure Marcus, of course you can keep your scholarship and take advantage of the school’s facilities but don’t come around the team, because you’re not part of it, because you’re a quitter. Just the right balance of of christian charity and contempt. It’s too bad Marcus doesn’t have, say, Andre Stanley’s heart, he might actually have had a chance to play in the NBA. Speaking of the apple not falling far from the tree, Marcus’s father, also called Marcus, was a stand out basketball player at NAIA basketball dynasty Oklahoma City University before leaving the team in midseason, although in senior’s case he flunked out. Evidently he managed to meet the university’s rigid academic standards – the sports teams had at that time a 27 percent graduation rate – when taking electives such as Fishing and Angling, Beginning Volleyball, Beginning Golf, Intramural and Recreation Programs and Walking and Jogging (three As, a B and a C), but faltered with his core requirements. At which point he did what every red blooded American does when confronted with his own shortcomings: claiming that he was being discriminated against, he sued the university, during the course of which suit it was revealed that Marcus Sr. has an IQ of 91 (which is towards the low end of average) and suffers from attention deficit disorder. The latter perhaps explains why Marcus Jr has attended five different schools in seven academic years and the former why his father isn’t smart enough to realize how badly he’s mismanaged his son’s career.

Patrick, You Win

 

I was trying to think of just the right word to describe my feelings watching St John’s lose 69-66 to Georgetown Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden. During the DePaul game I was angry; last night I wasn’t angry. I wasn’t happy, but I wasn’t sad either. I wasn’t embarrassed as some fans are when their team loses. And basketball can’t demoralize me, I’ve been demoralized since I was 14. The closest I can come is dispirited, meaning to have lost enthusiasm. It’s kind of how I feel around Candlemas, January having turned to February, months of cold and snow having come and gone and still yet needing half my wood and half my hay, because there’s still a long way till spring. It’s just, I don’t know, yuck. Because I’m watching another basketball season swirl down the toilet, as so many have swirled down the toilet before, and with no doubt many more swirling down the toilets to come. The good news is that I may have to watch the games, but I don’t have to write about them. I don’t have to rehash the mistakes and blunders and missed opportunities. I don’t have to and I’m not going to … Certainly the blame for what’s gone on this season falls on the shoulders of coach Chris Mullin. The problem isn’t – as so many gym teachers and CYO coaches would have you believe – Xs and Os and when and where time outs are called and what are ephemerally called halftime adjustments. The problem is the roster. Besides being left short handed by Lovett’s absence, the players just aren’t good enough. Ponds and Simon are bona fide big east players who’d probably start on any other team in the conference. Ahmed and Clark and Owens are okay, but each has flaws in his game. The rest are charitably not very good: Trimble’s a freshman, Yakwe is, well, who knows what’s up with Yakwe, and Alibegovic is garbage. Even with Lovett the talent is comparable to Georgetown and DePaul and Georgetown and DePaul stink. The players individual shortcomings are not all exactly Mullin’s fault, but not having enough serviceable bodies who aren’t garbage time players, that is his fault. Best case he realizes that they don’t have 10-day contracts in college basketball and learns from his mistake. Because despite the absurd calls to arms you hear – email President what’s his name and make dissatisfaction known! Fill up his mailbox and make your voices heard! Good grief, shut up.  – Mullin’s not going anywhere. He’s coach for as long as he wants to be coach, unless the big donors turn on him, and they never will. You guys who go to the games and splurge on lobster rolls gourmet hot dogs, they don’t care about what you think. That should be obvious by now …   There’s a lot of chatter about Marcus Lovett on various fan boards – and it’s rightfully a topic of conversation. It ranges from the uncharitable – they should pull his scholarship unless he plays – to the incredulous: how can he think he’s going to go from sitting on the bench of a 10-win team to a professional contract. Well, the fact is he is: he’ll go play in Europe or Turkey or somewhere and probably have a good career and make millions of tax free dollars and bang exotic women in far off locales. That said – and I don’t know how badly he’s hurt and I hope it’s not too badly – I think it’s fair to question his heart, just a little bit. Because he doesn’t seem to upset watching his alleged “family” get their heads kicked in night after night. I guess what I’m saying is he might not be who you want in the fox hole with you. You know who you want in the fox hole with you? This guy, because he’s got bigger balls.

 

 

I’m Mad As Hell

Chris Mullin honored his former coach Lou Carnesecca – recently turned 93 and awarded the Naismith Outstanding Contributor to Basketball award – by losing to DePaul University on Lou’s namesake court 94-72, the loss dropping SJU to oh and four on the season and into dead last place in the Big East. I don’t know how the game ended – I was so disgusted that I fast forwarded through the last eight minutes, because I’ve seen this one before, having suffered through the Norm Roberts year – but judging by the final score it did not turn out well. SJ is not yet at DEFCON yet, but they’re getting there, because Georgetown is a horrible match up and after that comes Villanova and then a bunch of road games and then dook. I can’t be arsed to figure out how many losses in a row that is but carry the one it’s quite a few. If they don’t show up against GT in the same way they didn’t show up today the season is for all intents over. And considering what they did the last month, that’s a shame … During the game – for the first time this year and maybe since they lost to Delaware State or Penn State last year – I was angry and frustrated and disgusted. And not even visiting various St John’s fan forums and reading the ignorant and ill informed post-game commentary from various gym teachers that’s evidently de rigueuron those forums cheered me up, as it usually does, other people’s misery and disappointment being to me like mother’s milk, or what I assume mother’s milk tastes like: my own mother that cunt couldn’t be bothered to give me the tit, she had more important things to do than feed her second born, which explains why I’m so well adjusted. Mind you, I don’t mind losing: as a St John’s fan I’ve suffered through every conceivable sort of loss there is. Billy Singleton’s technicals. Dallas Comegys free throw. Reggie Carter’s charge. Chris freaking Mullin missing the front end of a one and one that would have sent St John’s to the final four. I’ve seen it all. Which is why I watched the Seton Hall game with nary a concern: good game I thought, good try. I watched the Creighton game not once but twice, that’s how good it was, the best basketball game I’ve seen in years. Because I don’t mind losing, all I want is to watch good basketball. What I mind is caring about something involving participants who don’t care about what I care about. If horse racing comprised trainers who couldn’t be bothered to drug their animals and jockeys who couldn’t be bothered to whip the horses and races wherein the Lucchese family couldn’t be bothered to bribe the stewards, I wouldn’t watch the races. I’d watch dancing with the stars: at least Bindi Irwin and Rumer Willis and Joey Lawrence seem to give a shit about what they’re doing, and what they’re doing isn’t even what they’re good at and what they’re good at is being completely talentless vapid fuckstains. No. I’m angry and disgusted because for the first time this year – or the second time if you count the second half of the Providence game – is that the players just didn’t seem to give a shit; they didn’t seem to have an ounce of will power or self respect. I’m angry at Chris Mullin for his Brooklyn insouciance, for not trying something, anything, to light a fire under his team, which came and flat and uninterested and lackadaisical. I’m angry at his team for not caring: for not even attempting to box out, for not rebounding, for not closing out on three point shooters, for running lazy sets and settling for stupid shots. I’m angry at Shamorie Ponds for taking his enormous potential for granted, for dribbling behind his back down 20 points, for not playing defense, and especially for chucking up a moronic 35 foot three when ST John’s crawled back within four in the second half. It would have been a great shot had it gone in, stupid, except it didn’t, just like 80 percent of the other threes you’ve settled for this year. I’m angry at Justin Simon for throwing his usual three boneheaded no look passes and blowing his usual once a game if this goes in I’ll be on sport center tonight dunk. I’m angry at Batshit Ahmed for not being a better free throw shooter. I’m angry at Tariq Owens for mistaking himself for Dirk Nowinski and not eating a couple of fucking sandwiches in the off season . I’m angry at Marvin Clark for not being a couple of inches taller. I’m angry at Brian Trimble for being a freshman. At Marcus Lovett for sitting on the bench laughing while his teammates were getting punked by a bunch of milk fed veal midwestern white lumoxes. And I’m angry at Amir Alibegovic for being born, for growing up, for sullying the game of basketball by attempting to play it. Good god he fucking sucks. The only person I’m not mad at is Kassoum Yawke, he played pretty well … I’m also angry at the referees, who did not call a foul against DePaul until four minutes were left in the first half. St John’s had zero free throw attempts – ZERO FREE THROW ATTEMPTS – until 7 minutes into the second half. DePaul shot 29 free throws to St John’s 14. It’s not right. Over their last three St John’s opponents have shot 70 FTs, St John’s has shot 35. If that’s a coincidence, that’s a hell of a coincidence. Apologies to the guy who postulated a vast right wing conspiracy against Chris Mullin, I’m fully on board … Speaking of Mullin obviously it’s too early to question his hiring. Way too early: stupid Steve Lavin left him in a non tenable situation and obviously there are going to be lumps and bumps and bruises along the way.What it’s not too early to do is wonder whether Mullin is a little too comfortable being a legend who St John’s is never going to fire. I don’t doubt his credentials. I don’t doubt his basketball acumen or coaching ability. I don’t even doubt the process. I do though wonder whether if his last name was Hurley and he was oh and three staring at oh and four he’d have change defenses every once in a while, or drawn up a play o done something other than drank bubble water.

PLAYERS: Kassoum Yawke, who played two minutes against Creighton because Mullin wanted dead eye shooter Amir Aligofuckyourslef of the floor at crunch time, played 16 minutes: he has three blocks and three rebounds and score seven points. If you want to know what the rest of these bums did go look at the box score, I can’t be bothered.

http://www.espn.com/mens-college-basketball/boxscore?gameId=400988563

NOTES: Many of you wrote, okay several, okay a couple, okay one person wrote after the Creighton game asking where the recap was. Answer: I took a mental health day, sue me. It’s been approximately a million degrees below zero where I live for about a month and it gets to you, no matter how much you drink, and I drink plenty. The only person who I feel I owe an apology to is the people who had to read the output of the guy who routinely plagiarizes my blog and presents it as his own thoughts in other venues, because you had to read his own puerile thoughts, which are stupid and ridiculous and expressed in syntax that would embarrass an ESL student.

Technical Knockout

St John’s suffered an improbable 75-70 loss to the number 23 Seton Hall Pirates New Year’s Eve in New Jersey. It wasn’t improbable because they lost – even the most optimistic fan could only hoped to have stolen a road win – but because they lost not nearly as badly as they should have with their two best players in street clothes. (Although in Lovett’s case I’m not sure what street, he looked like he was dressed for Mardi Gras.) I certainly didn’t expect them to win – I wouldn’t have expected it even if they were at full strength. I didn’t even expect them to keep it close. And so I sat down (or let’s be honest, laid down) with minimal expectations: I was hoping it wasn’t too bad a rout and even when SJ went up by nine points halfway through the first half I was expecting disaster to strike at any moment. Which it did: Seton Hall ended the half on a 38-19 run to take a ten point lead into the locker room. (Into the locker room, good grief, what a hack.) Which considering what they were facing and how awful they’d looked during the second half versus Providence, no one could have expected them to make a game of it, which they ended up doing. Seton Hall extended their lead to 15 midway through the second when SJ went on a 15-2 run to bring it within three. At which point I might even have sat up briefly, I don’t remember. I do remember though that down three after a questionable no call on Ahmed under the basket Coach Mullin got an ill-timed technical – it was ill-timed whether he deserved it or not and I didn’t think he did, you don’t call a foul like that at that point in the game; Seton Hall graduate Jerry Carino who covers Seton Hall basketball for a Jersey paper said it was deserved, although he also said he “didn’t hear” what Mullin said, so if he didn’t hear what what said it’s difficult to understand how he could judge whether it was deserved, and that Myles Powell missed both FTs lends credence to my skepticism, because unlike beat reporters covering their alma maters the ball doesn’t lie – which interrupted whatever momentum St John’s comeback had generated. A missed free throw here, a missed three there and St John’s drops to oh and two in the conference with a likely loss to Creighton looming. Let’s hope that the back court returns soon, because otherwise it’s going to be a long winter … By the numbers the game was more or less even. St John’s shot 46 percent from the floor to SH’s 42; St John’s shot 50 percent from three to SH’s 44; ST John’s shot 64 percent from the FT line, which stinks, but SH shot 60 percent; SH was plus eight rebounds and plus three assists but turned the ball over 17 times. The big difference was free throws: despite missing four of every 10 they took SH ended up making three more FTs than SJ attempted, the total differential being seven, which is a five point game seems something of a big deal. About which a bit more more below … I’d be remiss if I didn’t start the new year out with a gratuitous slap at dopey Steve Lavin. Although in this case it’s not that gratuitous, as two players the keen judge of talent Lavin thought couldn’t help St John’s – Kadeem Carrington and Desi Rodrigez (an in game bio of Rodriguez noted that his favorite band was Green Day, which as Mrs Fun said no one’s favorite band should be Green Day, especially anyone called Desi from the Bronx) – combined for 47 points and 15 rebounds. Credit rat face Kevin Willard: he was in filthy gyms in the Bronx and Brooklyn recruiting those guys while Lavin and his double chins were scouring the French Riviera for Marco Bourgault and Amar Alibgowitz, two of the best shooters he’s seen since Jason Kapono. Coach Lavs: the gift that keeps on giving.

PLAYERS: Justin Simon had 15 points, 10 assists, 8 rebounds and five steals while playing a full 40 minutes at the point. He did though miss the front end of a one and one with 40 seconds late and St John’s down three … Tariq Owens had 19 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks which is not the most remarkable thing he did last night. The most remarkable thing he did was play 39 minutes without fouling out. He also made a couple of threes, which if he starts hitting threes he’s going to be a very interesting player … Marvin Clark – who did foul out, for the fourth time this year – had 18 points … Ahmed had sixteen point and four rebounds, including three of four from three … Yakwe and Trimble played 40 minutes between them and had two points, four rebounds and four turnovers, which combined doesn’t even comprise one mediocre performance … Alibegowitz played five minutes, averaging a missed shot, a foul, no points, no rebounds and no assists every 2 minutes.

NOTES: New Year’s Eve brings our annual death pool round up. Gone this year were actors Johns Hurt and Heard; Sam Shepard, who banged Jessica Lange before plastic surgery turned her into a hideous gargoyle; Moores Mary Tyler and Roger; Bill Paxton, Powers Boothe, Adam West, Martin Landau, Frank Vincent, Harry Dean Stanton, Robert “Benson” Guillaume, John “Higgins” Hillerman, and Chuck Low, a major in the US army who went on to appear in a number of Martin Scorsese films, most notably as Morrie in Goodfellas; dead musicians included Walter Becker, Glen Campbell, Chuck Berry Tom Petty, Chris Cornell, Fats Domino, Greg Allman and being charitable because it’s the holiday season David Cassidy; comedians Jerry Lewis, Don Rickles, Charlie Murphy and Dick Gregory; the only other columnist in NY worth reading other than me, Jimmy Breslin; former heavy weight champion Jake LaMotta; and miscellaneous celebrities Della Reese, the Honorable Joseph Wapner, former CIA agent Chuck Barris, the sybarite Hugh Hefner, Monty Hall, Erin “Joanie” Moran; and sneaking in just under the wire Rose Marie, who like as not pushed someone over the finish line. Congratulations winners … I wrote last time about a particular type of fan – the sky is falling type – and this time I’m going to write about another. I’m not going to make this a habit – let’s face it if I spent all my time chronicling your collective shortcomings I’d end up typing with Ray McKegney’s gnarled hands – but this story has a moral, as opposed to my usual cheap mindless viciousness.

The ones I’m talking about here are fans who claim to have secret insight into the way the program is run. Understand I’m not talking about good-natured fellows like everyone’s favorite poster P___________ , who seems to be a well meaning fellow with legitimate access to the program who shares what he hears in a good-natured way and adds a for-what-it’s-worth at the end. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about fans who make vague allegations and allusions to rumors they claim to have heard about some bombshell that’s about to explode, secret info about this player or that situation, which player or situation they have the inside dope on but can’t really be too specific about because if they were they’d burn their deep-throat source, who at great risk to him (or her) self and career has given the dope an inside scoop, probably in code and using a series of drop boxes. Whereas in reality mostly these guys are just sad wankers with no sources and no information. I’d ask why people behave like this but I know the answer: they lack self esteem. Some have micro penises; some are Iona fans; some are Iona fans with micro penises. Just like the chicken littles I don’t begrudge them the way they go about their hobbies, just as I trust they don’t begrudge me the way I go about mine, one of which is pointing out other people’s shortcomings in an attempt to make myself look better by comparison. Which is what I’m doing here except that this story has as I said something of a moral. But first the story:

A poster this week in a well read St John’s fan forum posted as follows. He said in reference to Chris Mullin that

The reports on him that the refs file on him after each game are not pretty. Also, the fact in year 3 he does not even know their first names are not helping his situation.

Which is quite a remarkable assertion on a number of levels: first this poster claims he is conversant with official sounding “reports” that are filed by referees with presumably some referee-ing authority; that these reports are unflattering to Mullin; that the attitudes toward Mullin reflected in the reports affect the outcomes of games; and further that Mullin is penalized for not fraternizing with the referees and conversely that other coaches who do fraternize with the referees benefit therefrom. (Which if true might explain how Villanova played an entire game earlier this year without a single foul being called against them.)

Now what can we conclude from this. It could be that the guy is just a sad plonker with a micro penis, that there are no reports, or in the alternative that maybe there are reports but he hasn’t seen them: that is, that he just made the whole thing up. That’d be sad, but in this case that’s the best case. The worst case is that there are reports, that he’s privy to them – presumably such things are confidential – and that he’s correct: that there’s an on going conspiracy among Big East referees to rig the outcome of college basketball games against coaches they dislike personally. If that’s the case I’d hope this poster informs the league offices, and the NCAA and the FBI. Because these crooked referees aren’t harming just Chris Mullin: they’re harming the league and their employers and the NCAA, the student athletes whose games they’re adjudging, the fans who pay to watch the games and ultimately college athletics itself. Its one thing to have an incompetent like Tim Higgins make bad calls because he’s hung over, or to have an incompetent like Jim Burr make bad calls because he’s hung over and dumb as a rock. It’s quite another to engage in a systematic conspiracy to defraud a sizable number of innocents and in doing so to affect the outcome of a sporting event upon which people wager. Which is quite possibly a felony under federal law and if this guy knows about it and doesn’t report it, that’s a felony too, misprision of felony as defined by 18 USCS § 4, which carries a max penalty of three years in the federal penitentiary. Advice to that poster: don’t drop the soap.

But we’ll never know, Because when I asked this poster for details on his lurid assertions – what exactly these reports comprise, how he access to them and so on he merely said “referees talk” and then refused to address the situation further. Which is par for the sad plonker course.

But I bring that up not to mock this dumb slob but to note that in St John’s five point loss to Seton Hall the Hall took twice as many free throws as St John’s (23 to 11) and made twice as many FT’s as St John’s (14 to 7); that St John’s was called for three technical fouls – one on the bench for god knows what, one on Mullin for jawing at the refs – which not for nothing but I used to sit behind Louie in Alumni Hall as a young impressionable lad and for a number of years thought that St John’s back court comprised two guards, one named FUCKING and the other BULLSHIT – and one on Tariq Owens for stepping to a Seton Hall player who’d just shoved a SJ player in the chest.

Which FT disparity I’d find highly suspect on the best of nights. But then I’m a bit of a paranoid. I do leave you with this however: this is a shot comparison between Kadeem Carrington and Bashir Ahmed. Carrington took 13 shots, 10 of them threes, for which he was awarded eight free throws. Bashir Ahmed took 14 shots, 10 of them moving toward the basket in his usual bull in a china shop fashion. Which for his effort he was awarded two free throws.

Which you have to admit is passing strange.