GAME: I wasn’t going to write about Saint John’s third game in the Battle4Atlantis – considering the 9:30 Friday night start I almost didn’t bother watching – a 63-55 loss at the hands of the Old Dominion Monarchs, but Fidel Castro’s death has put me in such a good mood that I’m going to give it a whirl. So yes, SJU dropped its fourth straight. The loss itself followed an eerily similar pattern: SJU went up early, lost the lead, fell behind in the second half, and mounted a comeback that came up short – this one from 16 points down at the eight minute mark to down three on a Lovett three with a minute left. Before that spurt was 32 minutes of the ugliest basketball we’ve seen since a year ago this time. Consider: at half time SJU had been outrebounded by 12; they had 9 turnovers versus 8 field goals; they were 2 for 13 from three; they had gone seven minutes without a basket; they had seven free throw attempts to ODU’s 18 – and they were only down six points, which would have been three except Malik
Einstein Ellison cleverly fouled the three point shooter at the buzzer. So neither of these teams put on a clinic. And at least Saint John’s has an excuse: they start two freshman, two sophomores and a JUCO and have a sixth man who instead of being on scholarship should be wandering the streets of Palermo with an organ and a monkey. This is not a recipe for success, and the result is – and it’s a result that should be evident to even the several fan forum morons who were this morning I shit you not calling on Chris Mullin to resign – what you saw over the past several days: missed defensive assignments, failure to box out, missed free throws and offensive impatience. Because these are mistakes young players make and to expect them to not make them six games into their college careers is insanity. The irony is that many of the most vociferous anti-Mullin voices come from supporters of the repulsive Stave Lavin, whose lackadaisical approach to recruiting is what got us into this mess in the first place. As for me, I’m encouraged by what I’ve seen over the past several days, even if I was discouraged by the results. Because there’s a lot of talent on this team. All they need to do is grow up … Odd too that after listening to Saint John’s fans whine since time immemorial about wanting to see up tempo full court basketball immediately upon seeing it they pine for the days of Bobby Kelly walking the ball up the court to set up Lou’s version of the four corner offense. Hey dopes: this is what up tempo basketball looks like. Is it perfect? Obviously not. Most of the players seem to think that having the green light means that shooting is mandatory. Presumably they’ll learn in time that it is not. But if you expect four guys who have played together six games to execute an NBA offense like Walt Frazier and Bill Bradley, well, you’re going to be disappointed.
PLAYERS: Lovett had another subpar effort – he managed only 16 points and four rebounds while shooting 50 percent from the floor …. Ponds: 10 points, seven rebounds, three assists …. Mussini managed 5 points in 21 minutes that featured a dead eye three that caromed off the side of the backboard. He hit his first (and only) three of the game in the second half with Saint John’s down 16, proving once again what an excellent shooter he is when the game is not on the line, He’s the best garbage time shooter I’ve seen since Jason Kapono … One of the problems with Mussini being so awful is that it means that Ellison has to play 20 minutes, which he did again yesterday, to little avail: one for five from the floor, one rebound, zero assists and the bonehead foul of the three point shooter, supra ….Safe to say that Bashir Ahmed has some anger issues: this is the third straight game he had to be restrained by team mates while jawing at an opponent. Hey Bashir, you know what’s good revenge? Making your free throws … Sima (4 points, three rebounds) and Yawke (three points three rebounds) got pushed around most of the night, leading to a 20 rebound deficit. Not their finest hour … Good thing the Christian Jones question was settled during the Baruch game otherwise I might wonder whether a 230 pound fifth year senior would have done us more good last night than Tariq Owens, who managed no field goals and six rebounds in 20 minutes …. Richard
Wagner Fredenburger played which at this point I have no problem with because why not except once again I do not see the marvelous “gazelle” with a pure jump shot I was told was coming over the summer. I see more like Detlef Schrempf with a head injury … Alibegowith was so ridiculously bad in his 12 minute spurt – two fouls, zero points, rebounds, assists – that Mullin threw Darien Williams out there for a couple of minutes in the second half. He committed two fouls in one minute before being euthanized.
NOTES: There are no notes today. Instead let us all have a Cuba Libre (rum, cola, lime) and join those dancing in the streets of Miami: the mass murderer Fidel Castro is finally at long last dead. Despite full throated engagement in all the phantasmagories that terrify leftists about milquetoast reality TV star Donald Trump – concentration camps, torture , political murder, persecution of homosexuals, slavery, nuclear proliferation – Castro was for half a century lauded by the political left, even more so than the other genocidal lunatics they championed in the name of their beloved socialism: Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot. I think it was the beard and funny hat they liked so much. Anyway, Castro’s dead, it’s about time, have a drink and the adventurous among you can fire up a cigar