Category Archives: tulane

The Big Easy


GAME: What a difference a week makes. On Monday evening after SJU’s embarrassing loss to Delaware State Chris Mullin was a lazy bum who lacked all understanding of basketball and fan forum discussions centered on how much Archie Miller’s buy out is and failing that whether Tom Pecora could be enticed to sit on the bench and offer Mullin the sort of wise counsel that allowed him to win nearly 9 games a year at Fordham. Saturday morning, after Saint John’s dismantled Tulane 95-75, Chris Mullin is a hard working basketball prodigy who deserves all the credit in the world for developing a game plan that put his players in a position to win and whose bench savvy ensured that they did. Of course and in FACT none of that is true. Chris Mullin is exactly the same person he was a week ago, when he said “If you’re looking for panic you’re looking in the wrong place.” (Exactly Chris, if you’re looking for panic read the fever dreams of the hysterical old women who post at Johnny Jungle and Redmen dot calm com.) And the players are exactly the same ones who humiliated themselves on Monday. They’re just a game older. Because this is what’s meant by the up and down in up and down season. Today we are a peacock – Monday we were a feather duster. This is life: there are good days and bad days and days in between. The secret to it all is to remain serene in the face of such vicissitudes. Or at least drunk …. I saw little point in rehashing the box score after the Delaware game and see just as little point this morning. Saint John’s hit 10 of their first 11 threes en route to a 30-15 lead in the best first half they’ve played in the Mullin era and probably going back beyond that. They shot 65 percent from three for the game, 55 percent from the field and 13 of 15 from the free throw line. They had 22 assists to 14 turnovers. They were plus 8 rebounding. On the offensive end Tulane wasn’t awful – they shot 44 percent from three themselves – but their defense was shall we say porous. But it was also one of those night where everyone on Saint John’s was somewhere between on and unconscious. More than the numbers what was striking was the energy with which they came out, on the road, after being humiliated three days ago, when they could have rolled over, and the ball movement, the likes of which we have not seen in a very long time. And in fact on the first possession of the game they were so intent on moving the ball that they didn’t even bother shooting – if the shot clock hadn’t expired they might still be passing it around this morning. Anyway if this is the system, count me in. If the guards stay healthy and they get a couple of players who can finish in the paint this is going to be something to see … First game of the season where Mullin wore a suit and a tie. Looked off the rack but still it was nice to see him taking basketball seriously for a change.

PLAYERS: Nearly all the smalls played well. Ahmed had 17 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and zero offensive fouls. He airballed a couple of threes but with a line like that you can live with it. Lovett 18 points and five assists. Ponds had 15 points – all threes, he’s shooting 40 percent for the year – and four assists. Mussini had his best game in quite a while or perhaps ever – 17 points, three rebounds, and only a handful of embarrassments on the defensive end. Even Ellison (seven points, four assists) wasn’t is usual atrocious self …. The bigs were another matter. Other than Baruq Owens, who acquitted himself reasonable well (eight points, six blocks), the bigs were more or less invisible. Sima has only two rebounds … Fredenburger – for whom the game is just too fast at present – had no points or assists in 13 minutes but 6 rebounds … Even Alibegowitch got into the act, making his first three of the year, after which he raised his hand in triumph, or maybe relief. Christian who? … Which brings us to Kassoum Yawke, who once again looked lost out there. Kid showed a world of potential last year and obviously it’s way too early to throw him under the bus but he seems to have lost whatever instincts he displayed last year that made him so much fun to watch. He was one for six from the floor – the five he missed were lay ups and chippies and the one he made was a circus shot he banked falling away from the basket that he shouldn’t have taken in the first place – and had three rebounds and one block. You know if he wanted to he could manage a dozen rebounds a game. Threat advisory scale: yellow.

NOTES: Tulane is coached by Brooklyn native Mike Dunleavy, a longtime NBA player who won an NBA championship as coach of the Los Angeles Lakers and was later named NBA coach of the year while a Portland Trailblazer. Unfortunately that NBA experience has not translated to the college ranks where Dunleavy now sports a .14 winning percentage. If the comments this morning on the Ye Olde Green Wave Forum (I shit you not) are any indication, Dunleavy better get Pete Gillen on the phone stat, because the fans are none too pleased. For example poster GSx writes than Dunleavy was “completely outcoached” by Chris Mullin – evidently GSx does not read the SJU fan forums, he’d know that “anyone who thinks mullin knows what he is doing is lying to himself.” Poster Waverider wonders “ how much is talent and how much is coaching.” Pete Rache thinks Dunleavy “ completely ignored teaching defense,” while poster RJC laments that Dunleavy’s “experience is only in the pros.” Not one to mince words poster Wavemania declares that “Dunleavy is a loser” and hopes that Tim Welch Floyd is available, although he is willing to give the former NBA coach of the year “two years to turn it around.” NJ Wave wishes Tulane would press more, believes the problem is not lack of talent, and is losing patience with Dunleavy; Baywave believes “ coaches need to do better”; and Rororooter “would have hired a guy who had a proven college system, a system that could win with inferior talent.” (Pete Carill to the white courtesy telephone.) This is after Dunleavy has coached seven games. And the moral is: only the half-clever names have been changed. What I can’t understand is that none of them complained about the most heinous act of Dunleavy’s career: he spawned the repulsive Mike Dunleavy Jr, formerly of DooK university.

N.O. Quarter


RECAP: Although revenge can be the most satisfying form of justice it’s generally illegal in the United States, where the latter is meted out via the jury system, wherein two liars attempt to confound twelve morons as to what really happened. The ancients, who invented revenge, said that nothing is sweeter, but advise that it’s a dish best served cold or even best not served at all: that living well is the best revenge. Saint John’s has not lived well since last these two teams met – when Tulane bounced SJU from the NCAA tournament in 1992 – which makes yesterday’s meal served cold all the more satisfying. I’ve been waiting 23 years to say this: suck it Green Wave … Regarding the 25 point beat down SJU put on Tulane Sunday there’s not a lot about which even a curmudgeon like myself can complain. SJU came out with energy, put Tulane away early and kept them there. In doing so they looked as good as they’ve looked in a while. It didn’t hurt that Tulane was awful: 17 turnovers, 37 percent from the floor, 20 percent from three, and 45 percent from the free throw line (opponents are now 117 for 201 for the season). Some of that awfulness was a testament to SJU’s defense and some to Tulane’s incompetence. On their side of the ball SJ moved it well and made their shots for a change. Even Lavin displayed the routine competence that would be expected of a run of the mill D2 coach. In fact if it wasn’t for the clown suit he wears I wouldn’t have noticed him at all. Regarding Lavin’s coaching prowess colormoron Donny Marshall opined that he’s “one of the top ten or fifteen coaches in the game,” which no he’s not …Lavin has in Decembers past talked about preparing his team to play its best basketball in February. But in those past Decembers his teams sucked and his patter was intended to gull the rubes. We haven’t heard anything about February this December, where SJU has exceeded expectations. It’ll be interesting to see whether SJU can sustain their efforts moving into conference play or whether, come February, we’ll be talking about December. We should know better after January 6.

 PLAYERS: Pointer had a career high 24 points and seven steals. Lavin credited himself for Pointer’s improved play, claiming that he’d threatened to redshirt Pointer in the spring as a motivational tool (h/t Rabinowitz)  … Harrison had 21, moving into 4th in SJ history all time … Jordan had 12 points in only 22 minutes. Traveled a bunch of time and still looks to be pressing … Phil Greene was 3 for 8 and is 14 of 49 from the field over his last four … Obekpa got in early foul trouble again and wasn’t much of a factor, except perhaps psychologically.  Eight rebounds, four blocks and three goal tends… Forgetting someone. Oh yeah, Jamal Branch … JDLR continues to impress in limited minutes. And that’s not even sarcasm. He plays with energy, throws his body around and seems willing to cripple a guy if it comes down to it. Now if I said he displays a deft touch on his free throws, that’d be sarcasm … Balamou played a bit and had a couple of baskets despite his evident fear of shooting …great white hope Jessica Albagovic got the biggest cheer of the night when he hit a three in garbage time

NOTES: Like this year’s team the seventh seeded SJU team that lost to Tulane in 1992 had been together four years: Malik Sealy, Robert “Tissue Paper” Werdann, PG Jason Buchanan and top 5 all-disappointment Chuck Sprolling were all seniors. They’d won an NIT championship as freshmen and lost to DoOk twice in the NCAA tournament, one of those the infamous Billy Singleton double technical game, the worst and most soul crushing loss in the conga line of futility that is Saint John’s basketball. Also on the roster were future NBAer Shawnelle Scott, a couple of large transfers called Lamont “You Dummy” Middleton and Mitch “Bananas” Foster, and sharpshooters Sergio Lyuk, Terrance Mullin and Lee Green. (That last bit was sarcasm as well.) As usual, I had them going to the final four. Also as usual, they lost in the first round. Instead Michigan , the 6-seed from their bracket, went to the championship game and lost to dEwk. Against Tulane Saint John’s went out to an early 10 point lead; by halftime they’d lost it and never got it back. Alleged shooting guard Chuck Sprolling was 1-7; Buchanan was 3 for 11; Scott was 2 for 9. Sealy, who was 6 of 7 in the first half shot 2 for 9 in the second and committed two turnovers in the last minute, including one that led to the winning basket. It was this team that finally convinced Louie that the game had passed him by. Which it had. He retired shortly thereafter … Tulane alumni include Robert Kennedy Toole, the author of A Confederacy of Dunces *, the great American novel. Unfortunately for Toole he could not get Dunces published in his lifetime. After numerous revisions it was rejected by Simon and Schuster editor Robert Gottlieb, who passed because, he said, “it isn’t really about anything.” Which pronouncement led Toole to destroy the manuscript and kill himself at age 32. After his death it was published by LSU Press when Toole’s overbearing mother brought a carbon of the manuscript to the novelist Walker Percy, then on the faculty, and begged him to read it. Percy agreed only to get the hysterical woman out of his office. In 1981 it won the Pulitizer Prize for fiction. (A BB analogy would be a coach, let’s call him Louie, refusing a college scholarship to a gifted HS player, let’s call him Julius, and then later, when he’s coach of the Nets, declining to sign him to a professional contract and then Julius goes to the Hall of Fame. It’s like that.) Gottlieb continued a distinguished career in which he produced books about something by such literary giants as Paul Simon, Sidney Poitier and Bob Dylan, and has gone on to a comfortable retirement in a fashionable apartment on the upper East Side where he’s penning his memoirs, for which no doubt he’ll receive a handsome advance. If the best revenge is living well he did, which would make the dish best served cold Toole, who ended up at room temperature, the moral of which is that there isn’t any justice, not really … I couldn’t find the Tulane game on youtube but here’s the 10th ranked 92 Redmen losing to Duke by 30, featuring Vitale at his slobbering best:



* “When a true genius appears, you can know him by this sign: that all the dunces are in a confederacy against him. ” — Jonathan Swift