The F Word: Friars


GAME: Well that’s a relief and to long time Saint John’s fans entirely predictable. Having dug themselves an in-conference hole that’s just about eliminated them from post-season consideration and having blown a lead late in front of a historic national television audience to give ratface his 1000th win and following that up with a laydown versus previously winless Creighton and in the midst of yet another public humiliation (infra), Saint John’s put together two good halves and survived a late charge to defeat first place Providence 75-66 Saturday afternoon at Madison Square Garden. Lest anyone get too excited the win leaves them still in 8th place and still a game behind 7th place Xavier, who they get on the road in about 10 days. Other than Providence, whose number they seemingly have, Saint John’s has not won a game outside of NY State since March 2014, and in fact have only won 2 out of state games since beating Rutgers in New Jersey in January 2013. So I’d hold my applause for the time being if I were you. Of course if I were you I’d have killed myself long ago, so there’s that … The two teams played relatively evenly for the first 10 minutes or so until Saint John’s spurted away towards the end of the second half, which spurt coincided with the entry into the lineup of Rysheed Jordan, who didn’t start because of yet another violation of team rules, about which more later. A wild Pointer three at the buzzer – off balance, falling back, legs splayed, you know, the usual – gave them a 12 point lead at the half. The game remained that way for most of the second half until a 12-4 Providence run brought them within 2 with about 8 minutes remaining. And then a most remarkable thing happened: rather than folding like a cheap house of cards – you know, the usual – Saint John’s went on a 14-5 run of their own to put the game away. Go figure. Although I don’t hold out much hope moving forward – best case scenario is probably 2-3 over their next 5 – it was nice to see them show some sack, especially after what’s transpired over the past month … Saint John’s shot a respectable 47 percent from the floor and 38 percent from three – this the second game in a row that their 3 point shooting wasn’t awful; they did however leave 8 points at the FT line where they were 16 for 24. None of that mattered though because Providence was atrocious: 40 percent from the floor, 18 percent from 3 and 68 percent from the foul line … Once again Lavin did nothing egregiously stupid, and in fact did a pretty good job stealing 25 minutes with his scrubs: Branch, Abladoddlebug and even Joey DelaRosa got in for a bit. Once again he called an eccentric time out, this one after a Harrison three had extended Saint John’s lead to 10 late – I said aloud “good time out Cooley” and only realized Lavin had called it after I saw him mouth “full” to the repulsive Jim Burr, the worst referee in the history of college basketball, whose very presence on the court cheapens the spirit of amateur athletics. All I can figure is that Lavin calls them with the TV time out looming to give his shorthanded team a double blow. That makes some sort of vague sense, so it’s quite possible there’s another explanation … Speaking of Cooley, Jim Jackson noted that he’d lost nearly 200 pounds through a regimen of diet and exercise that includes 5 miles runs and hundreds of daily pushups and sit ups. Good for Ed, but someone should really tell him that it doesn’t matter how many pounds he weighs: if he doesn’t do something about those slabs of pastrami he has glued to the back of his head he’s never going to get laid. He must know what it looks like, right? I mean, even some chia hair back there would be an improvement. Can you imagine paying $ 300 for front row seats behind the Providence bench and having to stare at that all game? Good grief … So yeah. Eighth place, 3 and 5 in conference, and three losable road games looming. It should come as a surprise to no one that I’m less than sanguine about the next several weeks

PLAYERS: 20 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and yeoman defense on LaDontae Henton (2 for 14) from Dom Pointer, whose starting to make a case for team MVP. Gus Johnson noted that Pointer’s nickname was now “Swiss Army Knife,” which, enough already with the nicknames. Can we pick one and stick to it please? How about Swiss Costco Batman, that seems to cover all the bases … Jordan had 14 points (an efficient 5 for 6 from the floor), 4 assist and 4 rebounds and only 1 turnover off the bench – he was relegated there after a bit of a twitter kerfuffle (infra) found him once again in violation of team rule. Airballed a free throw at game’s end, for the lulz … Harrison had 15 and remains passive on the offensive end. To the extent that hope exists this will need to change… Phil Greene seems to have realized that he’s not a very good three point shooter (6 for 20 over his last 5 games) and so has taken my advice and started driving the ball to the basket. Congratulations Phil. Please read my previous posts for a fuller explanation about why you suck and improve the remaining facets of your game accordingly …. Obekpa had 8 points, 10 rebound and 6 blocks. He is becoming, however, increasingly hard to root for, even for someone as charitable in spirit as am I. After a block in the second half he stood under the opposing basket flexing and woofing while his team went out on the break. A couple of plays later he bobbled a rebound that led to the fast break that brought PU within 2. The replay showed Obekpa turning his head to jaw at the ref while jogging up court. Someone should tell Obekpa that with his team in in 8th place he should play with a little more intensity and save all the celebrating for when they win their first NIT game since 2012 … Evidently Jamal Branch used up his allotted quota of makes for the month versus Creighton. He was his usual scoreless self. He was played to draw by Albivivotch, similarly scoreless, and both of them were outscored by golem Joey DLR, who had two points in a minute on a wonderful wrap-around pass from Jordan

NOTES: In a famous dissent in the case of Olmstead vs US (that’s 277 US 438 for those of you scoring at home) Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis said that The makers of the Constitution conferred the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by all civilized men—the right to be let alone. And truer words were never spoken. What that means in theory is that citizens have the right to opt out: that freedom entails the right to discriminate according to the conscience of the individual actor; that liberty encompasses the right to refuse to engage in commerce or intercourse with anyone, for any reason, at any time, without explanation or recrimination. In practice this can lead to untoward outcomes and so is nowadays anathema and especially to the political left, who believe that equality means that all people are the same, rather than that despite their personal deficiencies all people should be treated equally – this is not a subtle distinction, and yet it seems to fly right over their heads. One of the ways the left seeks to enforce this absurdity is through the control of language: liberals seek to impose speech codes not because they find language inappropriate or reprehensible, but because they disapprove of the ideas that words represent. In fact, this is nothing more than a modern version of burning heretics at the stake; it is what George Orwell called thoughtcrime: the criminalization of beliefs that countervail the conventional wisdom, which to progressives is their own ideas. A reader interrupts to ask: what the fuck are you on about. Well reader, it seems that horror of horrors, Rysheed Jordan recently called someone a fag on Twitter. Notice I say fag, not F*G or the F word. The F word is forever fuck, and I’ll give you fuck when you pry it from my cold dead hands. Besides which, calling fag the F word is frankly pretty gay. Jordan, an African-American, has the misfortune of living in an age in which his race has fallen to third in the hierarchy of aggrievement, behind Muslims, now first, and the LGBT community, now a clear second. What this means is that is that it is perfectly acceptable for a Muslim cabdriver in Minneapolis to refuse to transport a Chinese blind man and his seeing eye dog because Islam regards dogs as unclean, whereas a black Christian baker who refuses to produce a wedding cake for two upper-class white homosexuals is in violation of civil rights law. That’s pretty f***ed up if you ask me and frankly terribly confusing. Anyway, Jordan’s use of commonplace inner city street slang on a social media account voluntarily accessed by parties interested in the untutored opinions of a 19 year old has been deemed homophobic – a word meaning fear or hatred of those who engage in same sex carnal relations – which is a patent absurdity, as would claiming that homophobia comprises screaming “you suck” at Jim Burr, who actually, you know, sucks, or calling someone who cut you off in traffic a cocksucker; or as would be claiming that calling someone a motherfucker is an accusation of incest. No one – at least I hope no one – has been harder on numbskull Steve Lavin than I have been. If you know of anyone, shoot me an email, I’d like to congratulate them for their efforts. But in this case I applaud his actions: he benched Jordan at the beginning of this morning’s game for a violation of team rules – having a twitter account at all – no mention of context, and then got on with his life. In the past Lavin has used his team’s disciplinary problems as an excuse for his own failures as a coach, and to the extent that he realizes that he’s cried wolf too many times I admire his personal growth – because any harsher punishment of Jordan would be seen for what it is … A final word. In Louie’s autobiography In Season he talks about John Wooden’s practice of not allowing certain players – he mentions the Muslim Lew Alcindor – to talk to the media. Lou says that Wooden was doing his players a disservice, that part of his job as an educator was to prepare his delicate charges for life after basketball and that that included allowing players the opportunity to make mistakes in public and to learn to “say the right thing.” Good for Louie. It’s not surprising to me that of all the lessons Lavin claims to have learned from his alleged mentor Wooden one of the things he took away was the wrong one. Because it reinforces my own prejudice, to which I have an inalienable right granted to me by goD and the constitution: the belief that Lavin is a chowderhead.





GAME: I asked following the loss on Sunday whether Saint John’s was playing up to dewk or dook was playing down to Saint John’s. That question was answered Wednesday night in Omaha Nebraska with Saint John’s 77-74 loss to winless last place Creighton. Because the team that played dook to draw, and Gonzaga to a draw, and beat Syracuse at the Carrier Dome, that team was snowed in on Long Island. The team that flew to Omaha two days early was the one that squeaked by Saint Mary’s and lost to Butler at home. In the pregame the dynamic Ben Howland – and if I’m oompa loompa Chris Monasch I’ve already made preliminary inquiries in that direction – said that the Saint John’s players knew that this was a must win and predicted that they’d come out with a sense of urgency. Whereas that happened not so much. Because this team – other than Pointer and Harrison, both whom of are foxhole material – displayed all the resistance of a 5 dollar whore in a Bangkok brothel. They are the perfect reflection of their airhead coach, who’s quite willing to state publicly that he doesn’t much care whether he wins games or loses them. They may even be a reflection of the times in which we live, where hashtags and placards like #saveourgirls and #jesuischarlie are considered acts of courage that display the righteousness of their authors without exposing them to the sort of real world consequences that might accrue should they be moved to actually get off the couch. If that’s the case it may be that we already won these games back in October, when the players who rolled over last night were festooning their tweets with #unfinishedbusiness and #hammertorock hashtags … Speaking of couches, I was sitting on mine at about 11:30 last night, having watched yet another college basketball season swirl down the toilet and scribbling notes on a legal pad by the light from the television refracting through the dregs of a glass of Crispin Cain Low Gap Clear Wheat Whiskey when I thought to myself: what the hell are you doing? How many ways can you describe a lump of shit? It’s brown and smells and feels like day old mashed potatoes. The rest of it is just ego and purple prose, signifying nothing. But then I remembered that we’re just meaningless carbon based life forms hurtling through an infinite and godless universe on a rock and I had to do something while sitting around waiting to die so why not drink and mock Lavin. Existential crisis passed … To the extent that the game itself deserves mention, it was awful. I had not seen Creighton yet this year but if last night was any indication they stink. Fortunately Saint John’s obliged them by being worse. Oddly though, Saint John’s outperformed Creighton in nearly every statistical category: the two teams shot the same percentage from the floor (41); Saint John’s shot 55 percent from three, to CU’s 40; SJU outrebounds Creighton 40 to 34; more assists, 19 to 17; more steals, 6 to 2; more blocks, 6 to 5. The only significant difference was at the free throw line, where Creighton shot 85 percent (18 of 21) to SJU’s 60 percent (10 of 17). Regular readers will recall mention of Saint John’s exemplary free throw defense earlier in the season, how it was responsible for several wins and how it was fool’s gold that would come back to bite them in the ass at some point. Teeth meet sphincter … Coaching wise Lavin was not any more awful than usual. Specifically there were some peculiar time-outs, at least one of which stopped a SJU rally dead in its tracks. I can’t really blame him for not preparing his team for the ridiculous triangle and two that Greg McDermott used to flummox Saint John’s for the first ten minutes, except to the extent that he doesn’t prepare his team for anything. And I’m not even going to mention his stupid get up. If his dress is a cry for attention I’m not giving him any more …So Saint John’s remains in 8th place, having dropped 6 of their last 8 – and this is against the palookas on their schedule. On the one hand it’s still early: there are 12 conference games left and anything can happen. Ten and two puts them at the top of the conference and at 20 wins, three of those against top 20 teams. But on the other hand when anything happens to Saint John’s usually it’s bad and anyone who thinks this team is going to rip off 10 or 12 wins in a row is out of their gourd. Thank goodness February is upon us or I might be worried.

PLAYERS: D’Angelo Russell Harrison had a quiet first half but singlehandedly kept them in it at the end, including several off balance and acrobatic threes, one of which clanked off the back rim at the buzzer. Obviously four for 18 is not ideal, but nothing about this BB team is … Here’s something I’ve never said before and will likely never say again: Jamal Branch displayed skill at playing basketball. It was his play at the beginning of the second half- he started for Jordan, who allegedly “sprained” his “knee” – that fueled SJ’s comeback from a 10-point deficit. Colormoron Bob Wenzel twice described Branch as a “cerebral” player – unless he doesn’t know that the world “cerebral” means or meant that Branch plays like someone suffering from a brain injury I’m at a loss as to what he was talking about. To prove my point Branch committed 5 personals and fouled out in 28 minutes, nearly all of those by grabbing at a player that had run past him 40 feet from the basket … Pointer double doubled and added 6 assists. Made the play of the game when he saved an errant rebound by throwing the ball off a Creighton player’s face … Obekpa has 7 points and 8 rebounds and displayed nice form on his jump shot. You have to figure that the more he plays the more his draft stock drops. Last night he got pushed around by a bunch of hayseed lummoxes. Imagine what’ll be like in the D League. Managed to get a three second call 47 seconds into the game, which seems almost like a mathematical impossibility … Jessica Albivecovich played nearly 20 minutes off the bench and once again was not completely inept. Made a huge 2 pointer jump shot on a long rebound with three seconds left in regulation, which would have been amazing has Creighton not been up three … With Saint John’s down 4 and only 25 seconds remaining in the game, Phil Greene spent 13 seconds dribbling around outside the three point line looking for a shot to take. Lol at Phil Greene. He’s stinks

NOTES: Don’t have any. Nebraska is a big flat pile of nothing. Other than South Dakota it might be the stupidest state in the union. I don’t know what a cornhusker is and can’t be arsed to look it up. Other than Benoit Benjamin I think they probably haven’t had a college player I’ve heard of: what the hell is a Kyle Korver and who cares. Bob Gibson went to Creighton: he was HOF pitcher and played for the Harlem Globetrotters; that would be fodder for a paragraph if I were in the mood to write a paragraph. I’m not. I like birds but blue jays suck. I already did a bit about what a dope Bob Wenzel is and how he drinks too much. More would be thin gruel from which I’ll spare you. During the pregame there was a Saturday morning cartoon version of Lavin talking about how much he likes going to the movies and eating popcorn. Tempting. Can you imagine sitting for three hours behind that bulbous head listening to him cackle at Adam Sandler? Because you know he loves Adam Sandler. Anyone doubt he owns Happy Gilmore on Blue Ray? I don’t. But fuck all that, I’m not in the mood … Okay, one note: on Saint John’s fan boards this morning even Lavin’s lickspittles and toadies are deserting the sunken ship, i.e., posters saying oh well I was a Lavin supporter up to now but after this loss it’s clear that this isn’t working and even I can’t support him. The translation of that is: Until I got hit between the eyes by that Omaha 2 x 4 I didn’t realize what a buffoon Lavin is, but now even someone as stupid as I am has seen the light. The answer should be: if it took you this long to see something so plainly obvious, why should anyone care what you think now. Shut up and eat your shit sandwiches and choke them down with the dregs of your Kool-aid. I could not care less.

Duck Fuke



I amn’t one for moral victories, especially for a team that has now dropped five  of their last seven since being ranked 15th in the country. But if you had to have one Saint John’s 77-68 loss to DooK on Sunday afternoon was as good a time as any. For DoOK this was a classic trap game – a road game after a weekend frolic in Manhattan on a national stage at the world’s most famous arena, going for the coach’s historic 1000th victory with three games against top 10 teams looming on the horizon; whereas Saint John’s was playing with house money: an OOC game they were not expected to win against the # 5 team in the nation and with their best player hobbled. That they did not fold like a cheap house of cards is shocking, because I thought this would be a blood bath. Instead it turned out to be an entertaining affair and an eminently winnable game. (Never again will I doubt the smart money, which had the line at about eight. I would have given 18.) DooK went out to an early 11 point lead and seemed to be on the verge of making it a laugher when after a judicious Steve Lavin time out – that in itself rarer than a can of dandelion – Saint John’s not only regained its composure but outplayed, outmanned and out toughed its way to the lead, behind the play of Rysheed Jordan, who played perhaps the best half of his career, and Dom Pointer, who threw up his usual array of wild and off balance prayers, most of which were for a change answered. The two combined for 29 of Saint John’s first 41 points, most of them in transition. And in fact despite their woeful start Saint John’s took a 4-point lead into the locker room when Harrison’s NBA three after the buzzer was allowed despite clearly leaving his hands too late, regarding which expect a rule change regarding reviewability of same in the off-season. Saint John’s extended its lead to 10 before the wheels fell off, which falling off coincided with the entry into the game of Mason Miles Marshall Plumlee, the sort of uncoordinated white doofus who Mike Shrewshrenski has over the years molded into a halfway competent basketball players. This is now the fifth or sixth time in a row that Saint John’s has blown a sizeable second half lead, which once again I am forced to credit to the opposing staff’s second half adjustments, although I’d be at a loss to tell you what they were. DeWk ended the game on a 26-7 run and when the Saint John’s players walked off the court with 15 seconds left to the roar of “Let’s Go Duke” they were at least left with the satisfaction of having left it all on the court. The question for Saint John’s fans is: did SJU play up to their competition or did DoOk play down to theirs … By the numbers it was as usual: Saint John’s shot a mediocre 40 percent from the floor, 25 percent from three, and 60 percent from the free throw line; they were out rebounded by 10 and managed only 11 assists in 60 possessions. Dewk did not fare much better – 45 / 36 / 66 – but they made theirs when it counted, included a string of three point plays in the last 5 minutes which sealed the deal. Up next a road game against last place Creighton, which like more or less every game on the schedule is now a must win … Earlier in the week Lavin claimed that Ksyzsynsky was his “mentor and advisor” and today in the pregame that he was his “coaching idol.” To honor him – and perhaps not to distract from the festivities by dressing like Bozo – Lavin wore a shirt with a collar. I was chagrined to learn that as a tad Lavin had sent Krsyxzshinki fan mail of the sort that teenage girls send to Justin Bieber and even more so to learn that Lavin had kept the reply and was willing to share it with Fox Sports. If a narcissist like Lavin were capable of embarrassment he might have been, but that’s okay, I’m embarrassed enough for both of us. Regarding his coaching there is not much to say except that he kept out of his own way, playing only five guys most of the way and judiciously using his time outs in an attempt to staunch the second half bleeding. The conundrum with Lavin is that even if he calls his time outs at the proper juncture he doesn’t really have anything to say that’s worth listening to.

PLAYERS: I’m starting to get the whole Batman thing, because Pointer was once again a wrecking ball: 21 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, and 5 steals. It’s a shame he doesn’t have another year of eligibility because he’s playing like a first round pick. In 2016 … Rysheed Jordan continued the stellar play he has displayed since returning from Philadelphia. 18 point and 4 assists … Phil Greene had 13 points but it took him 12 shots to get there, including a less than stellar 1 for 5 from three. As usual he contributed little else: 1 rebound and no assists in about 40 minutes … Harrison had 12 but is clearly suffering the effects of whatever disability under which he’s laboring … Obekpa had 11 rebounds and played adequate defense against the future #1 NBA draft pick, but was clearly outmanned … Joey De La Rosa spelled CO in the first half and immediately after entering made his presence known by punching Amile Jefferson in the face and standing over his opponent like Ali over Sonny Liston. He left and did not return … Similarly Jamal Branch entered in the first half and after turning the ball over by tripping over his own feet leading to a dunk at the other end was barely seen again. It’s a shame he’s so awful, they could have used another body.

NOTES: Saint John’s fans with functional cerebral cortices long ago realized that Steve Lavin knows so little about x’s and o’s that he would be in danger of breaking a bone playing a game of tic tac toe. And yet he has defenders who say that his obvious incompetence is of no matter – that coaching and strategy can only go so far and that it is the player who makes the coach, not vice versa. To those dopes I present exhibit A in opposition, Mike Screwshrnecky, pictured below instructing his current team at a recent practice.


As much as it galls me to admit it Kryzwsyzski is one of the greatest coaches of all time, in any sport. Every year he takes a group of slow, white, unathletic, pasty-faced ballerinas – nothings like Cherokee Parks, Shavlik Randolph, Steve Wojowojhowski, Josh McRoberts, Brain Zoubek, Kyle Singler – and turns them into contenders for the national championship. If you think that hyperbole, consider: more Deuk graduates have had their NBA careers end in drunk driving accidents than have had successful NBA careers. And yet year after year Kryzchrznski has them in the top 10. How does he do it? First, he’s evolved a diabolical system and recruits players to fit it. His offense relies on college hoops great equalizer, the three point shot, while his extended defense is intended to deny his opponents the same boon. Second, he uses the sycophancy of the college basketball hierarchy and his lickspittles in the media to foster an atmosphere in which he is given every advantage. On the court DeWk guards are expert at warding off defenders with one hand while simultaneously palming the ball with the other, yet are never called for either offense; DeWk big men spend enough time in the lane to grow roots and are never called for three seconds; and even the most cursory CBB fan is aware of the propensity of dEwK players to feign contact and flop to the ground tweet offensive foul high five dOok basketball.


Off the court recruiting violations that would have other coaches banished from the game – like finding cushy high paying jobs for the unqualified parents of recruits like Chris Duhon and Carlos Boozer or the delivery of giant bags of cash to Corey Magette by convicted crack dealer Myron Piggie – are swept under the rug to preserve the halo of integrity that surrounds the Blue Devils. This regime is enforced by Coach K-hrist himself, who in game is a beady eyed whirling dervish, hurling at the officials a torrent of the most foul and pernicious abuse that can be heard outside of a prison shower, for which he is never, ever, given a technical. And yet despite all these advantages he is also a careful strategist, controlling tempo and judiciously managing the clock and his personnel. He is, in fact, a genius, and for those who say coaching doesn’t matter I say: explain all those rings on Shrewshreki’s paws … This year’s DooK team is an anomaly in at least one respect, viz.: usually it’s pretty apparent which smug Ivy league wannabe is most deserving of a swift punch in the face or a vicious boot to the groin. In the glory years – and dOoK actually had them, as opposed to this fraud of a program – the most hated player in college basketball was the appalling Christian Laettner, shown here receiving his just reward from Phil Sellers


Following Laettner there was universally reviled poet laureate Jonathon Clay “Gay Gay” Reddick, who penned these immortal lines, once the subject of an unctuous ESPN special

No bandage can cover my scars
It’s hard living a life behind invisible bars
Searching for the face of God
I’m only inspired by the poems of Nas

Facing the forecast of fears
that none of my peers
have ever been faced with
I wanna reach the top floor
but I’m stuck in the basement
With not enough juice
to burst through the chains
that have shackled my brain

As Oscar Wilde said of The Olde Curiosity Shop: “One must have a heart of stone to read of the death of little Nell without dissolving into tears of laughter.” A few years later no one would have batted an eye had you ground a fistful of glass into the face of the insufferable Jon Scheyer and had you broken several of Greg Paulus’s fingers with a garlic press spectators would likely have broken in a hearty round of spontaneous applause. This year though there’s really no one who inspires that sort of hate, although that just might be that I no longer watch much college BB besides SJU, and that barely qualifies. And don’t even get me started on their fans, the highlight of whose college life is drinking a six-pack of Zima and painting each other’s nipples blue while camping outside Cameron Indoor Stadium so as to get seats close enough to the DooK bench to be able to bask in the intoxicating aroma wafting from Tyus Jone’s sweaty balls. They are a hideous crew, the boys acned refugees from a Dungeons & Dragons convention and the girls cellulite ridden prematurely aged milk-fed hausfraus in waiting ….


If all that wasn’t enough Duke was founded by Washington Duke, a slave owner who after serving the Confederacy in what dewK grads still refer to as the War Between the States made his fortune creating a monopoly in tobacco, thereby consigning millions of innocents to horrible and agonizing deaths from cancer. Not surprisingly Duke alumni comprise a conga line of the worst and most pompous and self-righteous douche bags in public life, the worst of whom include: Charlie Rose, Dan Abrams, Judy Woodruff, Henry Hyde, Ron Paul, Eleanor Smeal, Emmett Grogan, William Kennedy Smith, Tucker Max, Seth Davis, John Feinstein, Melissa Harris-Perry, John Seigenthaler and Richard Nixon … And just to show that it’s not just me, because let’s face it I hate everyone,  this, which never gets tired:


Carlino’s Way



RECAP: Saint John’s snuck away with a 60-57 win Wednesday night versus Marquette University in the battle for eighth place in the Big East. To the extent that they have any post season hopes the win kept them alive, but even the most optimistic rose colored glasses wearing gee this shit sandwich is delicious Saint John’s fan cannot at this point have any wildest hopes and dreams beyond a tournament bid and a first round loss. Which is where we are halfway through year 5 of the Lavin regime: hoping to catch enough breaks to be on the right side of the bubble. Question: if Lavin can’t win with a group of seniors that comprised the third ranked recruiting class in the country, what can he win with … The game had the stench of a blow out early. Marquette looked surprised by SJ’s quickness and athleticism and repeatedly turned the ball over and missed nearly every shot they took and could not buy a rebound. An early time out from floor-slapping dope Steve “Wojo” Wojowojowitz roused them from their torpor and they raised their level of incompetence to the level of incompetence that Saint John’s was displaying, which led to the sort of exciting game that can result when two awful teams meet. Like if a team of blind players faced off against a team of quadriplegics, you wouldn’t see much good basketball, but the game would nonetheless be pretty entertaining. Which at this point is all realistic SJU fans can hope for: if they’re not going to be successful at least they should be interesting … Regarding the game and depending on your perspective, both teams either played stellar defense or sucked on offense. Regardless, it was ugly. MU shot 30 percent from the floor and from three and SJU shot 35 percent from the floor and 25 percent from three. Rebounds, assists, free throws, turnovers all about even. Except for the basketball IQ of their coaches these were two evenly matched teams: both of them stink and one of them had to lose. On the bright side the referees let them play, advantage Saint John’s. If it wasn’t a felony they didn’t call a foul which negated SJU’s lack of a bench and despite 13 blocks nary a goaltending was called, which if you’ve watched Pointer and Obekpa block shots this year you know is a mathematical impossibility. Still, it’s a win and like Lavin said in the post-game, sometimes you just need to have a good day. This team especially needed to have a good day, considering the media hoopla that’s going to ensue come Saturday when ratface wins his 1000th game by beating the shit out of them at the Madison Square. Because that’s going to be a bloodbath.

PLAYERS: Dom Pointer had a remarkable game of the sort he sometimes has when he’s the most athletic player on the court: 15 points, 12 rebounds, 6 blocks and 6 assists. Last night he really was Batman. During the game Tarik Turner noted that Lavin had called Dom Pointer “the smartest player I’ve ever coached,” which is one of the stupider things Lavin has ever said and of a piece with calling Marco Bourgault the best shooter he’s ever coached or Rysheed Jordan the best passer. Because Dom Pointer is a lot of things but smart is not one of them … Another steady performance from Jordan. Fifteen points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists. To the extent that this team has any hope it rests on his shoulders … Harrison was 3 for 18 from the field but iced the game with two free throws late. I’m assuming there’s still some lingering effects from his calf … Speaking of dumb, in a recent gambol I noted that Phil Greene is among the stupidest players to ever wear a Saint John’s uniform. Last night, with 10 seconds left in the game and SJU up one, Greene received a pass ahead of the MU press and instead of dribbling the ball around the front court to use up precious seconds that would have insured the victory, Greene streaked to the basket and dunked, putting Marquette in a position to tie the game, which they nearly did, except Carlino back rimmed it … I’ve been encouraged by Chris Obekpa’s play of late, and when I say encouraged I mean that he’s been playing so poorly that I think it’s possible that he doesn’t declare for the draft and returns for his junior year. Last night was no exception … Has Jamal Branch ever thrown a pass where he looks at the guy he’s passing to? We get Jamal, you can throw a no look pass. Too bad you can’t do anything else… newly minted sixth man Amir Albaviovich managed 4 fouls in 6 minutes in the first half. I’ve seen more graceful golems.

NOTES: We’ve not seen Tarik Turner in about a month and to cut through all the suspense it turns out he’s still a blabbermouth. The problem is not just that Turner feels the need to pontificate about each possession as if he’s describing a new life form that he’s just witnessed spontaneously generate from the primordial ooze. It’s that everything observation he makes occurs in a vacuum. For example, on one possession with SJU up 8 in the first half Tarik noted that despite their lead Saint John’s was settling for threes and that they should move the ball. Fair enough Tarik, they were and moving the ball is always a good idea. But then on the very next possession he said that MU had to tighten up their defense because Saint John’s was getting whatever shot they wanted. And then the next possession he said that SJU had settled for a three. I mean, what the hell. It’s like he wakes up from a coma after each change of possession with no memory of what has transpired before. Which I suppose not coincidentally is a lot like his play at point guard … Sometimes with this team I’m not sure whether I’m watching basketball or What Not To Wear. It may just be that when the basketball sucks there’s nothing else to talk about or perhaps all the fashion talk is a clever ruse by master manipulator Steve Lavin to take pressure off of himself and his team. Hence all the ridiculous sweat suit get-ups and the focus on the Obekpants ® and so forth. That would also explain the unveiling last night of new gray uniforms with red piping, which are hideous, and a new Lavin look, a polyester mock turtleneck under a suit with unlaced white sneakers, similarly atrocious. Question: why do the red storm no longer wear red? And what’s the significance of black and blue and gray? Is it an homage to elder abuse? … In the post -game interview Lavin mentioned that DoOk coach Mike Schrewshrenvki was a “mentor and advisor,” which I had not heard before. I knew about Lavin’s relationship with John Wooden, and Bobby Knight, and Pete Newell, and Gene Keady. Question: if Steve Lavin has such close and abiding relationships with so many hall of fame basketball coaches who have meant so much to him and taught him so much, how come he’s such a shit basketball coach? … Unlike Saint John’s Marquette has a pretty good track record coaching wise: before Wojo Buzz Williams (albeit currently 8-9 and 0-4 in the ACC at Va Tech), Tom Crean, Mike Deane, Rick Majerus and going back to Saint John’s graduate Al McGuire, who led Marquette to back to back final fours and a national championship in 1977. Here’s McGuire addressing an alumni group, circa 1972. Funny stuff:




Ru(e) (de)Paul



Outside of buying several of my ex-girlfriend’s a six pack of Pabst, there are few sure things in life. One thing you can be pretty sure of though when you sit down to watch a SJU Depaul basketball game is that you are likely to see some of the worst college basketball of the year. And for 20 minutes this one was no exception: the first half of Sunday’s 71-67 overtime loss to second place Depaul was just about the worst half any two D1 teams have played all year. The result of the horror was that Saint John’s took a 10 point lead into the locker room, thanks to Depaul’s 13 turnovers, most of them of the dribble the ball off your foot throw the ball into the stands variety and atrocious 2 for 13 3-point shooting. Once again SJU was not able to hold their advantage – this is the fourth game in a row now that an opposing coach has eaten Lavin’s second half lunch by making half time adjustments, although I admit to having no idea what they were outside of perhaps sayings something like stop dribbling the ball off your foot and stop missing all your threes. On the other hand the second half was quite entertaining, other than the outcome obviously, which leaves Saint John’s mired in ninth place at 1 and 4 in conference. Anyone who thought that possible two weeks ago raise your hand and then bring them down repeatedly on your pants, which are on fire … Neither team performed well on the offensive end: for the game SJU shot 27 percent from the floor and 17 percent from three and Depaul meanwhile shot higher from three (35) from the floor (33). In the end the game came down to free throws: 60 fouls were called in all, 3 players fouled out, and 62 free throws taken. Those of you think that the free throw shot is the single most exciting play in college basketball and not an all an annoyance that slows the pace to a glacial crawl were probably on the edge of your seats. The other thing that made a difference was the DePaul press, which forced a bunch of turnovers and which I’m surprised everyone doesn’t do. Press and fall back into a zone, we’d probably not score another basket for the rest of the year … Coach Lavin once again wore a shirt with a collar, for which I take full credit. Unfortunately it gives me one less thing to whinge about. And in fact other than some strange substitutions – at one point he had 4 guards plus Jessica Albavogchavick out there – and a perplexing use of his last TO in regulation – after calling his penultimate one to set his defense up with 31 seconds left he spent his last one when that one expired – I don’t have much to whinge about the coaching either. For the most part Lavin keeping out of his own way is him out-coaching the other guy, even when the other guy coaching is Oliver Purnell … All of which leaves SJU at 1 and 4 and at the bottom of the league and the chances of turning things around become ever slimmer. On the bright side there’s nowhere to go but up and not a lot further down they can fall. Excelsior.

PLAYERS: Rysheed Jordan started his second game in a row and seems to have shaken off whatever funk he was in a couple of weeks ago. Seventeen points, 4 steals, 4 assists and two free clutch free throws to send the game into overtime … Phil Greene had 17 points as well but on 5 for 13 shooting. Considering his appalling past performances against hometown DePaul – in two of seven games he’s managed to get shut out – we should be grateful. Evidently a regular reader of this blog, which has spent the past two weeks haranguing him for his paucity of free throw attempts, Greene took the ball to the basket on more than one occasion and ended up six for six from the line … Harrison had 11 points, 7 of those from the free throw line. The announcers said he injured his calf in practice yesterday, and it showed … A good 16 minutes by Jasilionus II, who evidently is a basketball player, as has been rumored. It would not surprise me to see him start a game, as trying to catch lightning in a bottle is one of Lavin’s signature coaching moves. Some would say his only move, and by some I mean me … Obekpa got a ferocious rebound with 30 seconds to go in regulation and his put back made it a one-point game. To atone he missed the game winner in OT from 10 feet .. Pointer had 11 points but did little else before fouling out .. Jamal Branch is awful … Balamou got a minute or two … Two straight DNPs for Christian Jones, erstwhile replacement for Jakarr “+ x –“ Sampson.

NOTES: DePaul grads include mayor for life Richard Daley, keyboardist Ray Manzarek of the Doors, and actors Tom Bosley, Harvey Korman, Joe Mantegna, Karl Malden and John C. Reilly. Their hoop alumni comprise a pretty good starting five: Mark Aguirre, Terry Cummings, George Mikan, Quentin Richardson and Rod Strickland. DePaul was also the victor in one of the most horrifying losses in the pantheon of humiliating Saint John’s defeats. Let’s reminisce. It’s 1987. Depaul is 28-2, ranked 7th in the country, and is a three seed in the Midwest region. Saint John’s, the six seed, has squeaked by Wichita State in the first round 57-55. The game is for some reason on DePaul’s home court in Chicago. With 36 seconds left SJU is ahead by five, 67-62, this despite the referees having awarded DePaul twice as many free throws: of 25, they made 21 to Saint John’s 9. After an exchange of baskets and with Depaul down 4 with 12 seconds left, lunkhead Terry Bross fouled Dallas Comegys on a put back, making it 69-67. Instead of making the FT Comegys – contrary to the strategy devised in the huddle by his HOF coach Ray Meyer – attempted to miss the FT on purpose, a play that never works, unless, like Comegys, you violate the lane so egregiously that by the time the ball hits the rim you’re standing under the basket. It goes without saying that no violation was called and Comegys made the lay up. Tie score. Mark Jackson missed a pull up as time expired and DePaul went on to win in overtime. History repeats. It was really one of the worst losses ever, rivaled only by the Duke game the year before and whatever game it was where Mullin missed that free throw, either Penn or Temple, I CBA to check … The 87 SJ team included Jackson, porn mogul Willie Glass, the most overrated player in SJ history Matt Brust, Jasilionus prototype Marco Baldi, and Marcus Broadnax and Elander Lewis – one of whom got the scholarship that would have gone to Gary Payton if Louie wasn’t such a nimrod. Game goat Terry Bross went on to a brief 10 game career as a pitcher with the NY Mets before becoming a sports agent, in which profession he was a few years ago accused of pimping out a porn actress called Bibi Jones in an attempt to recruit clients. In an attempt to drive web traffic and to appease those critics who complain that I am tedious because I use too many words they don’t understand and not enough pictures that they might, here she is.



Finally, speaking of whores, Greg Anthony, who broke the news of Steve Lavin’s hiring in 2010, was arrested over the weekend for cavorting with prostitutes. And not just any prostitutes either: a transgendered prostitute from Craig’s List. In case you are a Neanderthal CIS * like me, a transgender is a person who associates psychologically with a gender opposite to their genitalia. For example a female born with a vagina who thinks she should have been a guy named Dave or a guy named Dave born with a wiener who thinks he should have been born a lesbian. (As opposed to a transsexual, who’s one who skips all the Freud and just starts lopping off body parts on the theory that nature has put them there by mistake.) So presumably Anthony was looking to bang a guy in a dress. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Pictured below is his wife, who’s probably not coincidentally pretty much a dead ringer for Reggie Miller.



* CIS are individuals who are born associating favorably with their genitals. That is, a male assigned male at birth – a guy with a penis who thinks he’s a guy – is a cis. In the old days these sort of people were considered normal and their opposites sideshow attractions. Nowadays everything is normal, lest someone’s feelings get hurt.




PU: The Sweet Stench of Success


GAME: That explosion you did not hear last night was the sound of the Steve Lavin regime not imploding. Oh, it was close. Saint John’s oh and three in the Big East, on the road, a player down and a 17 point second half lead suddenly down to three. It was all about to come crashing down, because this was a loss they’d probably never have recovered from. This would have broken them. Even Harrison. But instead they gutted it out and came away with an 83-70 win at Providence Wednesday night. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about it is that even taking into account all the edge of chair nail biting inherent in a relatively glorious victory in a must win game SJU is still only in 9th place and looking at a long climb to respectability. Fortunately for them (or us for those of we who prefer that) they’ve 6 of their next 8 against the weak sisters in conference, which gives them the chance to be mid pack come the middle of February, when as everyone knows Steve Lavin’s delicate genyious kicks in … There’s really only one thing you need to know about Wednesday’s game: Saint John’s shot a higher percentage from 3 (59) than Providence shot from the FT line (56). That’s a remarkable statistic and even more remarkable considering how awful Saint John’s is at shooting 3s: they’re at 33 percent for the year and if you take out Harrison they’re at 28 percent. Which is pretty appalling. Whereas last night they made 10 of 17. And meanwhile PU missed 11 free throws in seven-point game and nearly everything else they attempted too: they shot a storm-like 40 percent from the floor and 28 from three. All I can figure is that they were still hung over from their 2OT win over Georgetown over the weekend. Because they were flat and awful and even the usually raucous crowd was listless … Perhaps the biggest surprise of the night was Jamal Branch did not start. Ha! Just kidding, it’s that Steve Lavin wore a shirt. Who knows what happened. Perhaps he spilled gravy on his dress sweat suit at the pregame meal. Maybe his wife packed for him. Anyway he was dressed appropriately; in other words, Mrs. Fun’s, “he doesn’t look like a psychopath.” Which when you think about it is not a lot to ask for 2 million a year: don’t dress like Richard Speck, and try and win 1 and a half games for every one you lose. Expectations could not be lower. This is a fan base that would consider a first round NCAA tournament loss an enormous leap forward. But I digress. Yes, so Lavin wore a shirt with a collar and in fact if you take the repulsive deformations in the back of Ed Cooley’s head into consideration you could even say that Lavin was the most dapper head coach in the arena. Re the game he subbed appropriately and called at least one time out when I advised him to (that is, he called a time out shortly after I said “take a time out Tesla” to the TV screen) and didn’t cock anything up spectacularly, for which we can all this morning be grateful.

PLAYERS: Harrison had 20 and passed chucker Felipe Lopez on the all- time scoring list. It’s unlikely that he catches Sealy, and as far as 4-year careers go, third is a pretty appropriate place for him … Greene had 20 points, several of them important. But let me tell you something about Phil Greene. He’s a dumb basketball player. One of the dumbest I can remember in a while, and I remember Donald Emanuel and Jason Buchanan like it was yesterday. And because he’s dumb, among his other myriad faults is that he rarely takes a good shot. So even if he scores 20 points, which he does every once in a while, and even if he scores 20 points by taking fewer than 20 shots, rarer still, he’s still dumb, and he still stinks, and I still can’t wait till he gets the hell out. Here’s an interesting statistic about Phil Greene: last night he secured his FOURTH offensive rebound of the year, in over 500 minutes. (By way of contrast Balamou has 6 in 60 minutes.) You’d think you could stand at a random place on the court for 500 minutes and that a missed shot would land in your hands say every 120 minutes, but no, not PG4’s hands. Here’s another whopper: PG4 has attempted 21 FTs for the entire year. (By way of contrast Harrison has over a hundred in about the same minutes.) Here it is by the numbers, FTA per FGA.

DH .50
RJ .50
PG .16
DP .38
CO .58
JB .31

That means that for every 10 shots FG takes, he shoots 2 FTs. Good grief. So to recap, Phil Greene is awful but did not suck as much as usual last night … I have been an active participant on various SJU fan boards for a long time and during that time have learned a great deal about logic and rhetoric. Here’s the sort of syllogism I learned to construct during discussions with various basketball gurus and nostradamuses on those sites over the years:

Rysheed Jordan started.
Saint John’s won.
Therefore SJ won because Rysheed Jordan started.

Addition by subtraction. Try and disprove it, you can’t. … Jordan started because Branch “cut himself.” I think what probably happened is that Branch was overcome with shame at how poorly he plays basketball and attempted to commit hari kari but because he’s Jamal Branch he dropped the knife halfway through the procedure and inflicted only superficial wounds. Get well soon Jamal … I didn’t notice while it was happening but evidently Pointer had 18 points. Twelve of those were from the free throw line, which is 4 FTs fewer than Greene has made all year … In a performance sure to impress any NBA scouts in the audience watching LaDontae Henton, Chris Obekpa scored  2 points before fouling out in 23 minutes … Branch’s failed suicide attempt meant more minutes for the bench. Jasilionus II got most of them , 4 points, two rebounds; shot-a-phobic Balamou had two FG attempts, making one and blowing the other at the rim; JDLR showed little.

NOTES: The game was called by Liza Minelli John Stockton, formerly a respected broadcaster. Stockton was relatively coherent during the early part of the game but later on as it got past his bedtime he seemed to have a harder time keeping up. For example, towards the end of the game Vin Parise opined that SJ was doing a good job attacking the basket, rather than using up the shot clock in an attempt to not lose, to which Stockton replied to the effect that yes, SJ had every reason to be patient on each offensive possession. Which is fact the opposite of what Parise said. Probably they both were wrong. Anyway Dick, it’s over, get out … Another interesting cut in to a Lavin TO, where in we heard the Lavin tell his players to give them a little “salt and pepper.” I was disappointed that we did not see enough of the TO to get the full context. Was Lavin perhaps giving the injured Jamal Branch a recipe for some nice cacciatore he could make while convalescing? (Unlikely, as Branch is a vegan.) Was he describing to foreigner Alba Albavokiovich which hip hop trio is best for getting American women in the mood to push it real good? (I swear by the Geto Boys.) Personally I’d like to think he was telling them that they’[d be watching on the ride back to the city his favorite Rat Pack movie Salt and Pepper, in which Peter Lawford plays Chris Pepper and Sammy Davis Charlie Salt, two groovy nightclub owners in swinging 60s London who thwart a plot to overthrow her majesty’s government and get the girls. It’s a gas man … Speaking of the Geto Boys, it ain’t shit:








Standing Novation



GAME: I’m not a big fan of 9 o’clock starts. My usual practice is to record the games and watch them later so that I can fast forward through the commentary and commercials but there’s no practical way to do that when the festivities start past my bedtime. Not to mention the difficulties inherent in regulating my body chemistry so that I’m awake and upright at the ungodly hour of 11 pm. Last night I was at least for my troubles rewarded with 30 minutes of entertaining basketball, which is unfortunate only to the extent that basketball games are 40 minutes long. Which is why this morning I am a tad crankier than usual and Saint John’s is oh and three in conference, in last place in the new Big East, and plummeting out of the top 25 with the force and velocity of a spaceship reentering the earth’s atmosphere. It must be a bitter pill to swallow for delusional Saint John’s fans who were two weeks ago clamoring for showdowns with DoOk and Kentucky… The loss itself was no surprise. Nova is ranked in the top 10 and has beaten Saint John’s 8 times in a row and 14 of the last 15. They also have about nine serviceable basketball players of varying sizes and skill sets, which I’m led to believe is an important part of winning basketball teams. Steve Lavin has a different strategy: he has assembled a small group of players of roughly the same size, some of whom have little or no skill at all. In spite of which seeming hardships Saint John’s last night led at halftime. However for the second game in a row the opposing coach has made the necessary halftime adjustments – don’t ask me what they were, personally I think halftime adjustments is a phrase rubes use to describe the outcome of a game they barely understand, but whatever – despite which adjustments Saint John’s kept it about even until the 12 minute mark, when Nova’s depth and skill started to wear SJU down, resulting in a 38-18 run to end the game. By the 10 minute mark Nova had a 7 point lead; at 8 minutes it was 11 and by 6 minutes it was 14. It was like watching a building crumble in slow motion. Even if Lavin had some vague idea of what to do to turn things around he lacked the bodies to do so, having taken a couple of years off recruiting and having anyway failed to develop those players he recruited …. Saint John’s shot respectably: nearly 50 percent from the floor, 40 percent from three and 80 percent from the line. But once again they did not share the ball – Nova had 22 assists to SJ’s eight – and they got absolutely killed on the glass, 40 to 20. I know that Steve Lavin said that “rebounding is the least important statistic in basketball” but it seemed to make a difference last night … Under normal circumstances you’d say it was a good loss, or at least not a bad loss, playing the number 8 team in the country to a draw more or less, except when you’re 0 and 2 there are no moral victories. So now oh and three, and up next Providence on the road and then first place DePaul on the road and then we’re oh and five just like last year but with the prospect of playing our best basketball in February, just like last year. Don’t worry, Lavin’s got them right where he wants them.

PLAYERS: Harrison carried the team on his back for 30 minutes despite having nearly broken his leg at the end of the first half and having his jaw busted about halfway through the second … Phil Greene was 6 for 14 from the floor and now has more field goal attempts than points, a statistic that would be mind boggling if you had never seen Phil Greene play basketball. Most of those 14 were off balance jumpers with one foot on the three point line and 32 seconds left on the shot clock: it’s like watching Michael Jordan try and take over a game after having suffered severe brain trauma. One of them he banked in and another couple he air-balled, which sort of consistency is one of the signs of a deadeye shooter. It was a strip of Greene with a couple of seconds left in the first half – he was attempting to go one on three at the time – that led to the breakout that left Harrison writhing under the basket holding his knee. Harrison had hustled back on D; Greene, not so much … Obekpa missed a dunk in the first half and then feigned injury as he trotted up court after the play, asking to be taken out of the game. Justice was served when he suffered an actual injury later … Pointer fouled out with 8 minutes to go. Before that he was engaged in an entertaining game of H-O-R-S-E … Rysheed Jordan return was shall we say  inauspicious. No field goals, three turnovers. It’s a shame we couldn’t have worked through these issues in the pre season. Oh well. On the bright side he made both his free throws, which improvement could be huge in a one and done tournament like the CBI … Jamal Branch did his usual little bit of nothing … Christian Jones played 10 minutes. Involved in a remarkable sequence where his would-be dunk was blocked on one end and then he raced down the court only to fall down, allowing the very guy who blocked his shot to dunk himself … Garbage minutes for the rest of them. Miles Stewart displayed nice form on his jump shot.

NOTES: The game was called professionally as usual by Bill Raftery and Gus Johnson, although this game it was Ed Corbett, not the repulsive Jim Burr, who Johnson called “one of the great referees in college basketball history.” Note to Gus: all referees suck. Halftime contributors included Dudley Do-Right clone Austin Croshere and Ben Howland, who has all the charisma of a pillar. I’ve seen more dynamic deadfall. There was though an interesting feature on Chris Obekpa’s pants in the pregame, which is I guess what you talk about when you’re in last place. It’s entirely possible that next year at this time when we tune in and Saint John’s is oh and three in the big east and in last place the studio host will be Steve Lavin, who having left SJU better off than he found it returns to the west coast and a lucrative gig at ESPN LA, where he can replace cancer victim Stuart Scott, who it won’t surprise you I hated, but, you know, RIP and whatever, but not as much as Neil Everett, who’s just the worst. …Speaking of many happy returns, Lou Carnesecca, 90 years young … Interesting exchange between Wright and Lavin during the post-game handshake. Lavin said something to which Wright replied “You’re fucking crazy.” Could have been anything really.

“What do you think of my suit”

“You’re fucking crazy.”


“I’m a good basketball coach.”

“You’re fucking crazy.”


“Rebounding is unimportant.”

“You’re fucking crazy.”


Make up your own Lavin quotes. It’s fun for you and the entire family … I was casting about for something interesting to write about, and came upon Howard Porter. Porter was a three time All American at VU and most valuable player in the NCAA tournament his senior year, despite Villanova losing to UCLA in the finals. But when the ever vigilant NCAA discovered that Porter “had begun dealing with an agent before the season ended,” it was all VACATED. The run, the award, everything. Sure, any idiot could have googled that. But I noticed Porter died in 2007 and it turns out he was murdered and I thought oh, that’s too bad and then I Googled some more and found out that

“Former Villanova star and Ramsey County probation officer Howard Porter was trying to trade money and crack cocaine for sex with a prostitute when he was beaten to death, according to murder charges filed Tuesday against a St. Paul man … A prostitute … told police four masked men rushed in to her apartment and … beat Porter “real bad, God real bad” and that “there was blood everywhere.”

At which point I wished I’d stopped while you were ahead. Because that’s awful on a bunch of levels … Villanova lost the national championship game 68-62 to the Wicks/Rowe/Bibby version of UCLA. Whereas after Porter Villanova’s best player was the immortal Hank Siemiontkowski. Two teams had their appearances vacated in 1971, and oddly neither was called UCLA. The other was Western Kentucky, which was disqualified after it was discovered that Jim McDaniels had signed an ABA contract during his senior year. The contract was for $1.35 million, to be paid over the next 25 years. Does not seem fair: one point three million wouldn’t even pay Sam Gilbert’s bar tab.

You Rang?



RECAP: I was for the lulz considering writing this entire essay without mentioning Rysheed Jordan once, but that wouldn’t have been fair to my loyal readers, who I know turn to me for solace in times of despair, so instead let’s get it out of the way up front. This is what happened: Lavin panicked after losing his first BE game of the season and precipitated a crisis that resulted in the suspension of his most talented player to provide him with an excuse for failing should the bottom fall out of the season. And that’s that. This episode is a repetition of the same abnormal behavior Lavin has displayed over the past five years and fits perfectly into the diagnosis of Lavin as suffering from histrionic personality disorder. Consider:

“high-functioning … good social skills … manipulates way into center of attention … inability to cope with losses or failures … dramatizes and exaggerates personal difficulties.”

Sound like anyone you know?

Those afflicted with HPS may exhibit:

* Exhibitionist behavior: e.g. wearing a sweatshirt under a pinstripe suit

* Inappropriate seductiveness: e.g. flirting with a host on a nationally televised sports show

* Using somatic symptoms or physical illness to garner attention, e.g. mentioning you have cancer at every opportunity

* Tendency to believe that relationships are more intimate than they actually are, e.g. asking John Wooden to be your best man

* Blaming personal failures or disappointments on others, e.g. scapegoating D’Angelo Harrison.

* Being easily influenced by others, especially those who treat them approvingly, e.g. claiming to be a “disciple” of Pete Newell

* Being overly dramatic and emotional, e.g. mentioning corpses, coffins and funerals during pregame interviews

They might as well put his picture in the DSM.

What all this means is that Lavin is more comfortable shifting the blame for losing than taking his chances on winning. Which, I remind, he “doesn’t feel an inordinate pressure to do” anyway. To think otherwise you have to believe that either Lavin (1) has a moral sense echelons higher than the average D1 coach, which you can believe if you’re a rube or (2) had the bad luck to randomly recruit highly regarded scholarship basketball players whose personality defects are so severe that they are unable to participate in an extracurricular collegiate activity that welcomes into its fold accused rapists like Jameis Winston and Dominic Artis. Look: I don’t doubt that Jordan is a prima donna. But aren’t all high-level college athletes prima donnas? Am I supposed to believe that Jordan’s behavior was so egregious that it warranted his not playing? No. It’s all psychodrama. What Lavin should have done with Jordan is what every other college coach does when he lands a top 20 recruit: give him the damn ball. Instead he waged psychological warfare against a stubborn teenager, which is what has brought us to this sorry state … In a perfect world I’d be saying here that Jordan’s absence didn’t make any difference in the outcome of today’s game, but in a perfect world my bong would have a vagina. In this world Jordan’s absence was critical to Saint John’s in the battle for last place in the Big East, which battle Saint John’s lost to Butler 73-69, dropping them two games behind DePaul in the Big East standings. That’s right, DePaul … Saint John’s came out strong, waned mid-half, and put together a run at the end of the half to take a 4 point lead into the locker room. Whatever halftime adjustments Butler made worked: they took the lead at the 16 minute mark and never looked back. In fact, if the referees hadn’t called a slew of touch fouls midway through the half that put SJU in the bonus, it wouldn’t have been as close as it was … By the numbers Saint John’s was its usual moribund self: 45 percent from the floor, 25 percent from three, 70 percent from the foul line, 10 assists and on the short end of the rebounding stick. Mostly the offense consisted of the defense. When it didn’t it consisted almost entirely of someone trying to make a play, and unfortunately for SJ it only has one play maker. So instead of Jordan selfishly taking the ball to the hole in an attempt to showcase his skills for the NBA, we had Dom Pointer selflessly taking threes and Phil Greene and Jamal Branch tripping over themselves as they unselfishly tried to beat their man off the dribble. None of which is a recipe for success … Next up Villanova, smarting from a tough beat at Seton Hall. A month ago an oh and three start would have been unthinkable. Now it looks almost inevitable. Contract extension anyone?

PLAYERS: Harrison had 31. Without Jordan he’s going to have a lot of 31s … Obekpa had 11 points 7 rebounds and 5 blocks. Once again trailed his teammates down court on a break after woofing under the opposing basket following a block. The first time he acts like that in the D league somebody’s going to slap that stupid grin right off his face … For pure entertainment value I am highly in favor of clearing out the side for Pointer on a dozen offensive trips. It does not however bold well for winning basketball … Green had 14 points on 6 for 10 shooting, including a meaningless dunk as time expired – that’d be seconds after he had the ball slip out of his hands on a three on Saint John’s previous possession. This is the first time since the Gonzaga game that Phil’s made more shots than he’s missed. Congratulations Phil … Fans who have been clamoring for more Jamal Branch got more Jamal Branch: 4 points, 3 turnovers, 2 assists. Fans who have not been clamoring for more Jamal Branch got indigestion … Three reserves had a total of one rebound and no points in a combined 15 minutes

NOTES: What’s below is a comparison of field goal attempts between last year’s team and this. FGA is number of attempts and the percentage that number comprises of the total. FG% is efficiency. So for example in the first row Harrison took 443 shots, which comprised 23 percent of the total, of which he made 38 percent.

2103          FGA            FG%

DH         443 = 23        .38
RJ           240 = .12       .42
PG         226 = .12       .40
DP        153 = .07         .44
CO          96 = .05          .56

JS            366 = .19         .50
OS          180 = .10        .51


DH           173 = .23       .45
RJ             133 = .18       .44
PG           154 = .21        .38
DP           101 = .14        .55
CO           75 = .10          .46

Being replaced are JS and OS, who contributed 30 percent of the shot attempts and made 50 percent. The numbers show that:

* Pointer has doubled his attacks and improved his efficiency by a quarter.

* Harrison is taking the same number of shots and making them at a higher percentage.

* Jordan has increased his attacks by a third and his productivity marginally.

* Obekpa’s efficiency has dropped as his attacks have increase, which makes sense, as last year his baskets were put backs and dump offs whereas this year he looks for his shot

* Phil Greene is taking nearly twice as many shots this year as last and is marginally less efficiently than his usual marginal efficiency.

Can you spot the weak link?

… Butler alumni include Bobby Plump, the high school player upon whom Jimmy Chitwood’s character in Hoosiers was based. And speaking of high scorers, Butler University was also the alma mater of the Reverend Jim Jones, the son of an Indiana Klansman who founded the Peoples Temple and who before 9-11 held the record for mass murder of US citizens, achieving over a thousand in Guyana. Mostly nowadays we think of the Klan as a bunch of linthead clowns in goofy sheets, but in the early part of the twentieth century it was a powerful political organization that provided an ideological home to many prominent democratic politicians, Robert Byrd, Bull Connor, and Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black among them. In Indiana in the twenties, when Jones father was a member, a third of white male voters in the state were Klan members. It was only after the rape and cannibalization of an Aryan schoolmarm by the Indiana Grand Klagon DC Stephenson that the KKK’s popularity waned … Butler University is named for Ovid Butler, an abolitionist, who, despite his name, was a lawyer not a manservant. Had he been he would have joined an illustrious pantheon: Alfred Pennyworth, servant of Bruce Wayne; Edmund Blackadder, butler to the Prince of Wales; Giles French, valet to Uncle Bill; the eponymous Benson; Reginald Jeeves, dog’s body to Bertie Wooster; Kato and Cato, who served the Green Hornet and Inspector Clouseau respectively; and Lurch, who attended the Addams Family. Although a longstanding rumor postulated that Lurch was played by former Saint John’s center Sean Muto the character was actually portrayed by a different college basketball player, 6’9″ Ted Cassidy, who averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds in three seasons for the Stetson Hatters in the 50s. (Cassidy also played Thing.) After The Addams Family ended Cassidy went on to a storied Hollywood career, the high point of which was getting kicked in the balls by Paul Newman in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.