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CCSUssudio

Back when I was in law school Joe Biden was running for president – this was before it came out that he was a serial plagiarist who cribbed speeches from everyone from Robert Kennedy to Sally Fields, they like  me, they really like me – and one evening he attended an event on campus, which was in New Hampshire and where his college room mate taught Evidence. At the end Joe answered questions from students that had previously been submitted on 3 x 5 index cards, this being before the internet. Being even back then a bit of a wag I asked “whether Senator Biden thought the American people so shallow that they would elect as president a man who combs the last few remaining strands of hair over his pate in a forlorn attempt to hide his baldness.”  (I had not then yet imagined President Donald Trump.) Joe didn’t answer my question but the expression on his face when he read it was priceless, and I’m reminded of it each time I see him and his fashionable plugs – for which I credit myself – on television, which I did yesterday morning when he appeared with the repulsive Matt Lauer as part of his Darn-I-wish-I’d run-for-president tour.  Joe didn’t run last time – no doubt he didn’t want to end up like Seth Rich and Vince Foster – and so instead he spends his days rehearsing a bald version of Hamlet: to be president or not to be, that is the question; I didn’t run, I wish I did, I might, I could win, the sight of which is enough to make me throw myself in the river atop Ophelia. Hey Joe where you going with that gun in your hand : make up your mind and run or don’t and may the best moron win but for god sake shut up about it. I mention all this because the original paragraph I wrote here, since excised, was my own version of Hamlet. Because when I woke up yesterday morning my nearly very first thought was, shit, there’s a basketball game tonight and  I have to write 2000 words about it and another 2000 words about Nebraska on Thursday, and so on, and so on, and so on. And it occurred to me that I’ve taken two of the few things in life I enjoy, writing and college basketball, and turned them into one thing that’s a chore: writing about college basketball. It’s as if I combined cigars and horse racing and ended up setting the barn on fire. Which is why I started this essay the way I did. But you know what? That sort of hand wringing is just not very interesting – even when I’m writing about it – and so I’ve told myself exactly what I told Joe. Write your stupid little blog or don’t, but pull your head out of your ass and stop being such a little bitch … To wit

About the game it’s once again too early to tell anything much except that the guards are really quite good: Simon had a double double and Ponds almost had one; Lovett scored 15 points, all in the second half. Ahmed (13 points, 3 rebounds) looked a little better but still forced it a bit. Owens had six points, five rebounds and two blocks, which is almost exactly what he had last game (5/6/2); if you asked me whether I’d take that all season I might say yes. Clark was a non factor with four fouls and Yakwe was once again a non factor and  really has no excuse for his behavior, except maybe he doesn’t like playing basketball. Brian Trimble Jr. can shoot a bit and isn’t shy about it. Alibegowitz didn’t come in the game until there were about five minutes left and I didn’t miss him; still there were 187 posts on various fan boards about what a great  center he’d make if he only was a completely different player, by which I mean a talented one who played center. Which he isn’t, he a stretch stinks. As a group they look to be a bit more committed to playing defense than they were last year – it’d be hard not to.  Still 21 is a lot of turnovers  to force and it may be that there are not so many blocks this year because the guards are occasionally stopping people from getting in the lane. Probably we’ll know more after Thursday. Nebraska stinks but they stink in the Big 10, which currently comprises 14 teams.

Speaking of plagiarism, here’s the game recap courtesy of Reuters

St. John’s rolls over Central Connecticut

St. John’s produced three extended scoring runs to pave the way for an 80-55 non-conference victory over Central Connecticut on Tuesday night at Carnesecca Arena in New York City.

Sophomore guard Shamorie Ponds led St. John’s (2-0) with 21 points and nine rebounds. Sophomore guard Marcus LoVett delivered all 15 of his points in the second half while Arizona transfer Justin Simon posted a career-high 12 points with 11 rebounds.

Junior center Deion Bute paced Central Connecticut (0-3) with 19 points and nine rebounds while senior forward Mustafa Jones added 13 points. That duo combined to hit 14 of 21 shots from the field, but their teammates canned just 6 of 27 (22 percent).

Central Connecticut lost its first two games by a combined five points at Hartford and Rutgers, but couldn’t cling as closely to St. John‘s.

The Red Storm subdued the Blue Devils with 9-0 and 11-0 runs in the first half, but saved their 16-0 knockout blow for the second half once Central Connecticut pulled within 12. The final spree featured multiple behind-the-back passes on fast breaks as St. John’s regained control.

St. John’s canned 8 of 14 3-pointers until junk time reduced its final showing to 9 of 21 from long range. The Red Storm forced the Blue Devils into 21 turnovers and won the rebound battle by nine.

Good grief but that’s some shit writing. You know why? Because it violates the number one rule of good writing: don’t try to be interesting. (Rule two is don’t use adverbs, badly. ) I don’t mean don’t write about interesting things or don’t be interesting when you write, I mean don’t try to make mundane things interesting by describing them using grandiose hackneyed language. If e.g. someone says something, say “he said,” not he declaimed or interposed or speculated or good forbid ejaculated. If someone scored, say they scored; they didn’t deliver; they didn’t can anything. Dominos delivers and  Chicken of the Sea cans and I occasionally ejaculate. There was no rebound battle, no final spree, no knockout blow. Nobody rolled over anybody and no one didn’t cling as closely to anything else, which is anyways redundant, because cling means “to hold on tightly,” so if you’re clinging your you’re close by definition. It’s atrocious writing and these dopes get paid to do it and I write like this for free. There’s something wrong with this business model.

Notes: Central Connecticut State University is in – wait for it – Central Connecticut. Turns out there’s not a lot of their they’re there there – CCSU’s most famous alumni in nearly 200 years is pretty boy actor Richard Grieco, the least successful member of 21 Jump Street. (The most successful member belongs to Johnny Depp.) The basketball team is coached by Uconn’s Donyell Marshall – not to be confused with Donnie Marshall’s terrifying eyebrows – the fourth pick in the nineteen I can’t be arsed to look it up NBA draft. Marshall spent 15 years in the league, where he played along side amongst others Chris Mullin. Last night however CCSU was coached by someone called Witkoskie, as Marshall  is currently suspended for slapping around one of his assistant coaches after practice. Besides having a coach whose name is impossible to spell or pronounce CCSU shares with the finest Ivy league school in the ACC, that’d be Dewk for those of you scoring at home, a sports mascot, similarly being called the blue devils. Considering those coincidences I’ve decided to help the dopes at Reuters by putting together a brief guide to telling the schools apart. Probably the easiest was is to note which coach had his tail cut off after being chased up the clock by the farmer’s wife: that would be the dook blue devils of the ACC, coached by Mike Schrewshrensky. A second way is to compare horseflesh. This for example is an ACC coed who was featured as “Cheerleader of the Week” by Sports Illustrated magazine.

Chubba Chubba. Hubba hubba.

As you can see, Dook girls are not terribly attractive, although I have it on good authority that they’re easy.

(Speaking of bad writing Sports Illustrated once wrote an entire article about verse penned by America’s then poet laureate, JJ Reddick

My life story is read in poetic stages
I was once weak-minded, now I’m courageous
The cause and effect of a thousand actions
The mathematical breakdown of micro-fractions
It’s difficult to fathom the coming of the rapture
What if I awoke in an empty pasture?

The answer is that if you awoke in an empty pasture it wouldn’t be empty, would it stupid, and also you’d risk being confused with a cow patty.

https://deadspin.com/5591005/americas-dumbest-student-athlete-jj-redick-duke-university)

This on the other hand is a random CCSU coed, not even a cheerleader

This is another one

So to recap.

Dook University:

Central Cameltoe State

To finish up, how about some shitty music about bad writing.

Michael Graham, Crackers

GAME: Missus fun and I were out and about this afternoon and stopped in as we sometimes do to this little bar and grill in the middle of east buttfuck that for some reason produces the most delicious lobster rolls crab chowder you’ll ever taste. We sat down and ordered and having acclimated myself I heard over the jukebox blare of REO Speedwagon’s Greatest Hits something about coverage of the St John’s Georgetown game resuming after a commercial break: it turned out that we were sitting under a flat screen tuned to Fox Sports One. I thought for a second about asking them to change the channel but that far out in the country I don’t like to do anything other than overtip and so instead I called for the check and paid it in full and and we left, sans bisque. Had St John’s not defeated Georgetown 85-80 in the battle for 9th place at Madison Square Garden Saturday afternoon I would have been kicking myself, because the chowder is to die for. Since they did though and in a relatively thrilling fashion I’m happy to have forgone my lunch. Although this isn’t your vintage Georgetown team or even much of one – if John Thompson III were an apple he’d have fallen so far from the tree that you couldn’t tell what sort of fruit he was – if you’re an old school fan wins like this one and like the one over Syracuse are just a bit sweeter. Butler and Xavier might be St John’s current and threatening rivals but the mention of their name doesn’t produce the same sort of primitive visceral hatred that certain members of the old Big East do … So the game:

 

After a bit of back and forth and a Mullin time out St John’s took a commanding lead by virtue of a 17-point run midway through the first half that had everything to do with marvelous play by Federico Mussini, who hit back to back threes and scored 11 points in about five minutes. Just when they were on the verge of blowing things open – and after Mussini missed a technical free throw that opened the door – Georgetown went on a 17-point run of their own to take a one point lead into the half. St John’s could have folded then, or they could have folded in the first five minutes of the second half or they could have folded when Tariq Owens went to the locker room having rolled his ankle or they could have folded when Georgetown got within a basket on more than one occasion at game’s end. Instead they did not fold: credit their continuing growth and maturity; credit the home court advantage – they’ve now won four in a row at home; credit the presence of two hall of fame players on the sidelines. Credit whatever the hell you want. The fact is that St John’s has now won seven league games in one of the two or three best college basketball conferences in the country with what is approximately the least experienced team in the country – as opposed to the one game they won last year. I know that there are fans who were not happy with Mullin’s hiring and that those fans would rather St John’s lose than that their opinion of his hiring be proven wrong, but I think it’s pretty evident now that barring an unforeseen catastrophe next year – and no less an eminence than Seth Davis thinks St John’s prospects next year are rosy – those fans will have to learn to swallow. Or at least eat crow … Once again the referees were atrocious. They called 50 fouls in 40 minutes that resulted in 61 free throws that comprised 27 percent of the points scored. I might be able to overlook that, but what’s amazing about it is what they miss. In the first half Lovett was called for tripping a Georgetown player who was running down the court with his hand between Lovett’s legs: I’ve had third dates where I got less action. Ponds was called for a tripping foul by a referee running down the court with his back to the play. St John’s was denied a basket when a Georgetown player pulled the rim down and the ricochet sent the ball bounding into the stands: that one, the three guys whose job it is to see stuff just like that missed, whereas Mullin saw from 75 feet away. Which is the frustrating thing about it: the referees pretense that they are omniscient beings who notice every bump and jostle and stray hand would be a lot easier to believe if they didn’t miss the egregious obvious things, and they miss them every game. It’s not even vaguely an isolated event … I mentioned last time but will mention again: if you were to flip five bad losses this team had in the fall they’d be at about 18 wins and of their losses the worst would probably be Seton Hall on the road. They’d be a bubble NCAA team and at worst a lock for a favorable seed in the NIT. That doesn’t sound like much but a year and a half into a five year rebuild it really is … Two games left, a likely loss at Creighton and a give the points rematch versus Providence at home. Anyone who wouldn’t have signed up for that outcome in November is delusional.

PLAYERS: Despite the fact that Shamorie Pons

led all scorers with 24 points on 10 for 15 shooting I was all set to award the game ball to Federico Mussini – until he threw the ball away on an inbounds play under the basket with about a minute to go, at which point I was ready to ship him back to Palermo in stowage. Since they won that boneheaded play will fade into the annals of boneheadedry and we will instead choose to remember that Mussini scored 16 points on six shots in 22 minutes, including 11 points during St John’s 17-0 first half run … I spent the week defending Bashir Ahmed from all comers and he rewarded me by playing the worst first half he’s played since junior college. Thanks Bashir. He did though finish with 16 points and five rebounds, which is about what he’s been averaging since the first of the year and he had a huge block on a three in the corner to seal the victory … Lovett had 11 points and four assists but sat most of the second half late. He did though hit four huge free throws with under a minute left … Alibegovitch was pressed into service when Owens (four points, three blocks) rolled an ankle after a block under the basket. Before Owens injury AA had been his usual moribund self: he had a Lovett pass bounce off his chest on a two on one breakaway and airballed a finger roll, which you wouldn’t even think was possible. After Owens got hurt though something strange happened: Alibegowitch played competently. He provided yeoman’s defense against the terrifying Jesse Govan and with about two minutes left miraculously stole the ball and dunked it at the other end to give St John’s an eight point lead … Williams had six rebounds in 15 minutes … Yakwe had four fouls in 10 minutes and was not a factor. He does though seem to have stopped fumbling the ball every time it’s thrown to him, which is something of a positive, because sometimes catching the ball is the hardest part … I seem to have no notes about Malik Ellison except that he made four free throws late and the box score says he had six points, six rebounds and two assists but my impression is that he stunk for most of the game and might have done less damage had he been wearing black. If you disagree, email me at MalikEllisonIsNotBraindead@theweaselsdotcom

NOTES: Dopey Steve Lavin showed up in the studio at halftime sporting a weak imitation Don Johnson stubble that’s presumably designed to camouflage his rapidly multiplying chins. Note to dopey Steve Lavin: it’s not working. He rewarded devotees of his Norm Crosby-esque commentary by noting that Villanova is “surgical in taking care of the basketball in terms of ball security” … After some hulking Georgetown player was T’ed up for shouldering Darien Williams under the basket after a hard foul Donny Marshall said that that neither John Thompson nor his son would approved of that sort of rough play because “that’s not their kind of basketball.” That will come as a surprise to anyone who watched John Thompson the elder coach, because his teams comprised the dirtiest collection of thugs that ever donned a basketball uniform that did not say DOC on the back. He gave a scholarship to Michael Graham for god sake … I received a bit of push back via email this week about my characterization of a “well-known well-respected” poster as a “misanthrope.” One well-meaning poster even suggested that I delete that reference, which obviously is not happening. In the first place it was an anonymous reference to a screen name disguising the well-known poster’s identity, so no harm could come of it; in the second all 200 people who were going to read it already had by the time it would have been deleted; in the third the only reason this blog exists is so that I can say whatever I want without the sort of petty censorship to which I am routinely subjected in other venues; and finally consider the source, by which I mean me, who readers should take seriously at their own risk. But lest I had missed the point I went so far as to ask missus fun (before the chowder) if she thought I was out of line – and she spends half the time we spend in public kicking me under the table and the other half shooting me disapproving glances – and she said no, that she thought the term misanthrope something of a compliment, which is essentially what I said to my email correspondents: that one of the few things I find to like and admire about other people is their willingness to dislike people arbitrarily. My misgivings to the extent that I had any were that I used the wrong word – I should have said pessimist, because I meant to convey that there’s a sentiment common among long-suffering St John’s fans that something tragic is always around the corner: just this year there are rumors of half a dozen disgruntled players transferring – Lovett, Ponds, Yakwe and Ellison are unhappy; Missini, Alibagadounts and Freudenbeugh are in over their heads and have already booked flights back to the euro leagues; Chris Mullin’s house is on the market; and Mitch Richmond has one foot out the door and will be followed closely by Matt A. My own take on the sad sack St John’s basketball program is that things are bad enough without imagining abstract scenarios in which the sky is falling on the caving in roof. That was all I meant to say and to the extent that I said something else I misspoke. Frankly the word I worried about using when I used it was “ossified,” which is old time slang for inebriated, but since no one had a problem with that one I guess it’s fair to conclude that the misanthrope to whom I referred is a drunkard.

This week’s exchanges though got me to thinking about the nature of this project and the interactions that arise from it. Because let us be clear: although this is for you free entertainment, it’s not free for me. It costs me money to host this website and it costs me time and energy to write 30 sidesplitting essays a year and that doesn’t even take into account my bar tab. Complaining about it – and you would’t believe what people think to complain about – is like complaining about the quality of the cheese they give out as free samples at the grocery story: not only is it rude, but it’s not going to have any effect on the quality of the cheese, it’s just going to make the person handing out the cheese think you’re a cunt. Pro tip: if you don’t like cheese, don’t eat cheese. You’ll be happier and healthier for it. Trust me, I’m not thin-skinned and that’s not what this is about: there’s nothing the individual among you who despises me the most could think to say about me on your most miserable day that would not pale in comparison to the self-loathing I feel when I’m in a relatively good mood. And neither am I afraid of disagreement: there’s nothing I enjoy more than sharp elbows thrown in the marketplace of ideas. But to round the circle: why do you follow St John’s basketball if following St John’s basketball makes you anxious and depressed and prone to flights of fancy comprising phantasmagorical scenarios where tragedy strikes the program and sport you profess to love? If you don’t like eating cheese, why are you eating it? If you don’t like reading this, why are reading it? If the answer is because you like complaining about things that you think make you happy, then you need professional help and medication. Me, I like complaining, but only because I hate everything.

Regarding the emails I get, they’re essentially of two types. First there’s fan mail, which believe it or not I get occasionally: people taking time out of their busy lives to say that they enjoy what I write and to encourage it. This is at least rational. It’s like saying thanks for the fellatio after a professionally done blow job: it expresses consideration for the time and effort it’s taken the practitioner to perfect her art and to encourage her to practice it more often. Which equals more blow jobs. Which makes perfect sense.

What doesn’t make sense are the the malcontents. First there are people who write to say that they don’t enjoy reading my writing. One guy for example wrote a couple of months ago and said something to the effect that he read a couple of my pieces and that they didn’t hold his interest and that he wouldn’t be reading anymore and that I’m not as funny as I think I am. My initial response – besides how do you know how funny I think I am – was okay thanks, that makes you one of the seven and a half billion people on the planet who don’t read my blog. But why stop there? Why not tell me what movies you don’t watch and what books you don’t read and what restaurants you don’t frequent. I know it’s meant as an insult, but it’s a strange sort of insult: someone I didn’t know writing to inform me that he will no longer be doing something I didn’t know he was. Which on a scale of one to ten is somewhere short of devastating.

The other complaint is people fact-checking the jokes. Hey fun, you transcribed the score of the Marquette game or hey fun you said Michigan but it was really Michigan State. The only rational answer to which is: shut up. Why did the chicken cross the highway. Well in the first place it wasn’t a highway, a highway is a main road that connects two municipalities, what the chicken crossed was a boulevard and anyway it wasn’t a chicken it was a rooster. Zzzz. The fact is that jokes are not true or false, they’re funny or not funny. When Don Rickles calls someone a hockey puck you should either laugh or not laugh: if you complain that the insult is not true because hockey pucks are small rubber projectiles used in a sport played on ice with sticks whereas human being are not made of rubber, then either you’re at the wrong show or you don’t own a Fleshlight. Either way, you’re wasting your time, and mine.

God, Xavier, The Queens

Xavier defeated Saint John’s 82-77 Sunday evening at Madison Square Garden, a game marred by what appeared to be a serious injury to Edmond Sumner and what was definitely a severe injury to the game of basketball inflicted by Ed Driscoll and his crew of referees, who made the game virtually unwatchable, except perhaps to aficionados of middle age male tit jiggle. Because they got a lot of camera time … Saint John’s came out flat and were lucky to be down seven at the half: they were 2 for 12 from three, had eight turnovers and were outrebounded by ten. The only reason they weren’t down more was that Xavier, an alleged top 25 team, was just as bad: they had ten turnovers and were one for nine from three. Xavier extended their lead to 15 early in the second half and just when it looked like it was going to turn into a laugher Saint John’s decided to play some basketball: they went on a couple of eight point runs that got them to within a basket a couple of times, but just couldn’t get over the hump. One time Lovett took a dumb shot and another time Ellison took one and collectively they missed a bunch of crunch time free throws. That Saint John’s resurgence coincided with Sumner’s injury isn’t lost on me, it’s just that being ever the optimist – my glass is half full, of hemlock – I prefer to emphasize the positive. That being the case I’d put this somewhere between a pretty good loss and a moral victory: other than Sumner – who is, or at least was, an NBA talent – Xavier starts five seniors; and at the risk of being morbid, what the second half showed is that take away Sumner and Saint John’s underclassmen are every bit as good as Xavier seniors. How’s that for a silver lining … Once again the picture tells the tale:

 

SJU got close in the second half but as is often is the case when a team makes a big come back the energy expended getting them within range exhausts the reserves they need to finish the job. Oh well. Hopefully they learned that not lazing their way to a double digit deficit is harder than putting forth the effort to keep it a bit closer. The big number from the box score is rebounds: Xavier was plus 20, which essentially game over. You often hear that rebounding is an effort stat and it is to an extent, but it’s also a size stat: Denis Rodman wouldn’t be in the hall of fame if he was 5’2″. Xavier doesn’t start anyone smaller than 6’5″ and Saint John’s doesn’t start anyone taller than 6’7″ and SJ’s big men weigh about as much as Xavier’s guards and that’s a lot to overcome by a vague appeals to effort. None of Saint John’s big men – particularly Yakwe but none of them – are good rebounders: some of that is effort, sure, but some of it’s instinct and some of it’s footwork and some of it’s positioning, all of which comprise experience, which Saint John’s bigs don’t have. It didn’t help that Saint John’s shot 20 percent from three – and in fact during most of the second half run they stopped shooting threes altogether – and neither did turning the ball over 13 times and missing eight free throws … This recap wouldn’t be complete without me heaping oppobrium of the referees – who were terrible, they made Jim Burr and Tim Higgins look like King Solomon and Learned Hand – and kudos to Donny Marshall’s terrifying eyebrows for calling them out for it repeatedly during the broadcast. In 40 minutes they called 57 fouls, which resulted in 66 free throw attempts, which accounted for 57 points, roughly a third of the points scored in total. It would have been more but the teams missed 17 free throws combined. And it wasn’t just the number of calls, it was their randomness. What was a foul on one end was a play-on on the other and for every phantom infraction called there were two that should have been. There were a couple of bad ones I jotted down – Missini being mugged by three players after stealing the ball at midcourt and Owens getting one while retrieving a ball otherwise stolen cleanly – but the epitome of the crew’s sheer shitiosity is that at the end of the game, when Saint John’s was trying to foul, they didn’t call one. Ahmed nearly had to decapitate his man to get that dope Driscoll to blow his whistle. It was really an atrocious and embarrassing display. On a side note, a couple of weeks ago versus Xavier the refs called 47 fouls, which resulted in 57 free throws. Over 80 minutes versus Xavier that’s 104 fouls, 123 free throw attempts, and 86 made free throws. I don’t know what that is, but it’s not basketball … Fox had a quick shot of Mullin leaning on the scorer’s table late in the second half. (MJ Maher could not be reached for comment.) He looked at the end pretty disgusted and I can’t blame him … Ten and 13, tied for sixth in conference, Marquette up next, take the points

 
PLAYERS: Ponds led all scorers with 23 points, which might have been more had Malik Ellison passed him the ball every once in a while. Oh for six from three but 11-13 from the free throw line which makes him 19 of 21 over his last two games … Lovett had a quiet 11 points and five assists. Uncharacteristically missed two free throws late … Ahmed had 11 points including three threes but sat during most of the second half run. Seems to have dyed the top of his head a lovely shade of Lucille Ball, which should delight the red and white club no end. All he needs now are a couple of tattoos to complete the tableau … Owens had seven points, six rebounds and four blocks – three of them pretty spectacular at the rim – before fouling out. Once again had to be pulled away while woofing over a fallen opponent. Do I detect an anger management issue? … Williams (nine points, three rebounds) provided a welcome inside presence during the second half run. It was his foul that sent Sumner to the locker room but it wasn’t much of one: Sumner seems to have just landed awkwardly. They showed the replay several times but I only watched it once, because legs aren’t supposed to bend that way … Missini played a nice five minutes in the first half: he had a step back jumper, a three and a mid court steal for a breakaway. Unfortunately he clanked a couple of threes in the second half when they might have mattered … Malik Ellison had seven points and six assists which might seem pretty good if you hadn’t watched the game. Unfortunately I did. He was two of eight from the floor, zero of three from three – he seems to be cocking the ball behind his ear now a la George Gervin, which is the only thing about his game reminiscent of Gervin’s – and three of five from the free throw line, which 60 percent raised his average because he’s a lousy free throw shooter. He took a couple of really egregiously bad shots during Saint John’s aborted comeback: he either imagines himself Kobe Bryant or has worse court vision than Ray Charles … Yakwe was the victim of a couple of terrible calls and mostly sat with four fouls … Fruedenburcg played which was bad, but he played instead of Alibagowith, which is good

 
NOTES: Since this nonsense has been going on for three years now I’ve been going back and reading my prior posts to make sure I’m not plowing the same field twice and also to see if there’s any low hanging fruit I missed, because 30 recaps is a lot of recaps and even I run out of interesting things to say every once in a while. Looking back at Xavier this morning I saw that I’ve never done a famous alumni list which got me excited for a moment but then when I googled it I remembered why: Xavier’s most famous alumni is Jim Bunning. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with Jim Bunning – he won 200 games over 17 years; was second only to Walter Johnson in strike outs when he retired; threw a perfect game; threw a no hitter in each league; and once got out of an inning by striking out the side on nine pitches; and after that served a couple of terms in the US senate. But that’s not much of a legacy for a university that’s been around since 1840. In fact other than him and crybaby John Boehner, left wing hack Gary Wills and a couple of basketball players (Brian Grant, Lionel Chalmers, James Posey, David West) I’ve never heard of any of the rest of these dopes, the most noteworthy of whom are the actor Robert Romanus, who is “perhaps best known for his role … as Natalie Green’s boyfriend Snake on The Facts of Life”; Rhine McLin, Mayor of Dayton (although a Xavier grad she also holds an associate’s degree in mortuary science from Cincinnati College); and Laura Esselman, a former contestant known as Red Velvet on a television called The Bachelor, who don’t bother googling, if she was hot her picture’d be up top and I wouldn’t have had to spend 20 minutes looking for stills of a Facts of Life porn parody. So to recap: the most illustrious graduates of Xavier University in nearly 200 years are a baseball player and a second rate actor famous for taking Mindy Cohn’s virginity. Compared to that Saint John’s is the Sorbonne … Xavier is also notable for having two sports mascots. Their original mascot was the musketeer, an early sort of soldier armed with a firearm, as made famous by Alexandre Dumas in his serial The Three Musketeers. This makes sense: like Redskins and Braves musketeers were manly men who defeated their enemies on the field of battle, just as sports fans hope their teams will defeat their opponents on the field of play. In 1985 though, someone called Sally Watson, then spirit squad coordinator – I mistakenly joined the spirit squad in college after misreading their poster as the spirits squad and quickly resigned after learning that they did something other than getting shitfaced at basketball games – decided that the musketeers “scared little children” and so designed a second mascot, the Blue Blob. As its name suggests, the blue blob is an amorphous globule of blue fluff with cartoon eyes and a big fluffy white nose. As its name doesn’t suggest the blue blob has a 22 inch tongue, which “hangs out inside its mouth until the person uses his or her arm to operate it, licking children.” Yes you read that right: Xavier replaced as its mascot a character upon which Walt Disney based his Mouseketeers with a giant blue monster that performs fellatio on children. This is I suppose progress, although of what sort remains a mystery.

Ma Newer

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My fellow Americans: our long national nightmare is over. Saint John’s lost their final regular season game 90-76 to Ed Cooley’s diseased head Saturday afternoon to bring the regular season to a merciful end. One more loss to Marquette remains and then we can get on to important business like the Kentucky Derby, which looms only eight Saturdays away …. Not much point to rehashing this. Saint John’s was down the as usual 20 or so at the break after as usual some guy no one has ever heard of had a career first half – I checked: his name is Jalen Lindsey and at one point he had 18 points while the entire Saint John’s team had 16, this on his way to a career high 30. Saint John’s made a brief run in the second half but was thwarted when the refs called three quick fouls in about seven seconds after it got within 13. The rest of it was only of interest to the dopes who took the 10 … By the numbers things were not as lopsided as the score would lead you to believe. Providence shot 50 percent from the floor and 40 percent from three, whereas Saint John’s shot 48 and 43. Saint John’s had more FG attempts (64-62), rebounds were even (34 each), turnovers about the same (14-10). The big difference was 3 pointers – PU took 30 and although it looked like they never missed they made only 13. And of course there was the free throw shooting, where SJU was 8 for 17, and that was after starting out 0 for 8 … Today was senior day and usually I’m a bit sad to see the oldsters go but this year they cannot get out fast enough. It was not so much that they stank, but how they went about doing it. In fairness to them they were all cast into roles for which they were not well prepared: contributors on a Big East basketball team. That is not really their fault, but as the kids are wont to say, it is what it is.

PLAYERS: Chris Jones had 14 points and 12 rebounds for his third double-double of the year. Several knowledgeable fan board posters have cited this as evidence that he is not good at scoring and rebounding and should be thrown over the side next year. I disagree … Durand Johnson had 15 points in his final collegiate game. Of the seniors he is the one I would not mind seeing come back next year, and not just because of his sporty headband … Ron Mvouika (6 points, 5 assists) did not lead the team in whining, as he does usually. That honor went to Felix Balamou. On one sequence he gave up a cheap touch foul to a Providence player on an alley-oop and immediately turned to yell at Federico Mussini, who was nowhere near the play. On another he threw a temper tantrum near the foul line directed at Alibegoceith, who was also nowhere near the play. I watched both several times and still have no idea what he was on about. Despite the screwing he took from Steve “there are more important things than winning” Lavin during his redshirt year I have no use for him and hope the door does not hit him on the way out … Speaking of Aligegowyth … Malik Ellison is an supremely confident player. It’s a shame that his skills do not match his opinion of his skills …. For those of you who have been wondering what Zendon Hamilton does, it seems pretty evident that he’s been tutoring Yankuba Sima on how to not pass out of the post. Because Sima does not see very many shots he does not like. If now Zendon can teach him to make them, we might have something here … Yawke had 7 points and 4 rebounds. I’m not going to say anything bad about him because he’s going to be a stud … Which of course brings us to the best shooter Saint John’s has seen since Chris Mullin, who was once again 0 for from three. Mussini ended the season 3 for 20 from three over his last five game and is at 30 percent for the year. For those of you scoring at home that percentage is .07 better than that achieved by the great three point shooter Anthony Glover (.29) over the course of his career and comprises  two thirds of the prowess displayed by three noted point marksman Rob Thomas (.40).  Former Exalted Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan Robert Byrd could not be reached for comment.

NOTES: I got nothing here except that Tarik Turner said “It makes it hard to put points on the board when you have empty possessions.” Which I’m not even going to dignify by pointing out how completely moronic that is. And also I’m not going to say anything about the repulsive Steve Lavin and Donny Marshall’s terrifying eyebrows gibbering and grunting like chimpanzees during the half time highlights. Because, to end the season as we began, fuck Steve Lavin.

 

Down the Shore

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RECAP: There are days when I can’t even bother faking it, and today is one of those. Not because Saint John’s lost 83-74 to New Jersey Institute – previously oh and 21 against the Big East – at Carnesecca Arena on Sunday afternoon. The losing I can take, I’m well used to it. But sometimes it’s exhausting the way they lose, doing the same dumb things over and over again, not covering guys and missing free throws and whatever. What’s tiring is summoning the patience that losing demands, and especially when the future looks so promising. I mean sure, I’ve been fooled before: there was not a coaching hire since Mahoney that I thought wasn’t a good one and although I wouldn’t throw Mullin in with that conga line of losers I wouldn’t on the other hand presume that he’s the only ship the Utopia Triangle won’t swallow whole, because Jamaica is where coaches come to die. But of course this talk is silly and too premature to even be premature. What is needed is patience. But today I could not summon it and so fast forwarded through the last eight minutes of the loss, because I’ve seen those eight minutes before … So yes where was I: Saint John’s lost 83-74 to NJIT Sunday, blah blah blah blah. Here’s a quiz: Team A shot 34 percent from the floor, 25 percent from three, and 50 percent from the free throw line and Team B shot 52 percent from the floor, 55 percent from three and 75 percent from the line. GUESS WHO WON? Exactly. Relative to those numbers the ebb and flow of the game is meaningless and I can’t be bothered to describe it … As ridiculous as was Team A’s offense, its defense was worse: to the extent Saint John’s cover anyone they do not do it well, and especially the guards, who two barely D-1 guys called Lynn and Chris lit up for 51. Let us lay the blame where the blame should be laid, in the backcourt. These guys stink … And meanwhile Chris Mullin and Mitch Richmond sit on the bench watching this disaster unfold, which is like Sir Isaac Newton and Copernicus watching their second grade math class fail an addition test. If my patience is being tested imagine how they feel … This was a tough beat considering what’s coming. They better beat someone by New Year’s, because after that it’s not going to be pretty for a while.

PLAYERS: It’s fashionable among the Red & White crowd to blame Durand Johnson (10 points 4 rebounds) for Saint John’s troubles: their chief claim is that Johnson is lazy. That’s because the Red & White crowd are racist, but not so unaware of it that they still call lazy black guys shiftless. Meanwhile Federico Mussini hasn’t covered anyone at the three point line since Garibaldi was a force in Italian politics and he’s their savior. Whatever. Federico was 5 for 14 from three Sunday, which makes him 9 for 39 this December absent the Syracuse game. Imagine what Heath Orvis might have done had he been afforded 10 threes a game, or Steve Shurina. Oh well, I reminisced enough about GWH Bobby Kelly last time. Time to move on … Mvouika (12 points 4 assists) is another guy who doesn’t cover anybody. It’s a shame he’s Saint John’s best offensive player, otherwise they could sit him … It was in my notes last time that Chris Jones is aggressive going to the basket but “timid finishing,” which is true of all the Saint John’s bigs. They work very hard to establish position but when it comes time to seal the deal go flaccid. Jones had the softest double double in the history of Division I; Sima had 14 rebounds, most of those of his own misses; Yawke was fine but he should still be in high school … Prediction: Albiveckowack is a clown car now but by the time he graduates he’s going to be the best white player at Saint John’s since, I don’t know, Bob Werdan. Which BWP starting five in my lifetime comprises Mullin, Werdan, Wennington, Ron Rowan and I guess maybe the ill-used Tim Doyle, whose basketball IQ was so high he transferred rather than play for Mike Jarvis. The other guy I might go for is Phil Missere, anyone but floor slapping dope Matt Brust, the most overrated player in SJ history. And yes old guys don’t bother emailing about Billy Schaeffer and the Mcintyre brothers and whoever, they were before my time … I’d like to see the plus minus for Malik Ellison, who played nearly 30 minutes, because the game quickly went south when he came in in the first half. He’s the sort of four year player I wish had played when Lou was coaching because he’d never have seen the floor as a freshman because he’s not very good

NOTES: I got nothing. Steve Lavin showed up at halftime commenting on the game, which is like Mrs. O’Leary showing up and commenting on the Chicago fire, but you have to live with his shamelessness. Looks like he’s gone back to coloring his hair although it might be that he has so much mousse on there that you can’t see the gray. Between his coif and Donny Marshall’s sculpted eyebrows it must have been a long morning in the make-up room.