Tag Archives: fascism

Meat Marquette

RECAP: There’s not a lot to say about St John’s 93-71 loss to Marquette Tuesday night in Wisconsin and I’m just the guy not to say it. I might not have written anything at all this morning – the fiendish missus fun succeeded in infecting me with whatever hellish disease she brought in from the outside world, leaving me so weak I can barely manage the martini shaker – except that I wrote the notes section last night waiting for the game to start and that section has an expiration date so now I need to write the beginning. But it will be brief. And it will be brief because St John’s does not play well on the road. Considering their youth and that they have only three and a half players who don’t stink St John’s has done an admirable job of protecting their home court, where their only losses were to teams ranked in the top 25. The problem is that everyone else in the league does the same admirable job, even Marquette and floor slapping Billy Donovan with a head injury coach Steve Wojocxychchochochi. The thing about Marquette is – and why I really can’t feel too bad about last night’s loss – is that despite all their advantages – their athletic budget, their facilities, their fanbase, their recruiting – they’re never going to be any better than what they are now: a middle of the pack bubble team that gets bounced the first weekend when they every once in a while make the tournament, because Wojo is a mediocrity. He was a mediocre player who Schrewshrenski pity-hired as an assistant and who Marquette – which has an otherwise long and illustrious record of coaching hires – for some reason named as the heir to Al MgGuire, Rick Majerus, Mike Deane, Tom Crean and Buzz Williams. Which is kind of like Frank Sinatra settling on Mia Farrow after getting dumped by Ava Gardner and Lauren Bacall … So anyway here’s the story


As the picture suggests, St John’s hung tough for about 10 minutes, then folded like a cheap house of cards. MU shot 56 percent from the floor and 50 percent from three, were plus nine in rebounds and had 22 assists on 34 made baskets; part of that was that Marquette was just on, but if you give up 200 points over two games maybe it’s time for a little defensive soul searching. And if you’re going to give up 50 points a half then you can’t shoot 40 percent from the floor and 25 percent from three and 65 percent from the free throw line, which is what SJU shot last night. Obviously Mullin realizes this: he said last night of the team’s effort on the defensive end “It’s not good,” which might qualify as the understatement of the year and that when players go to the basket “don’t give him a kiss, knock him down.” I doubt Mullin’s St John’s teams are ever going to be lock down defenders, because defense was not a large part of his game, but there’s a big difference between giving up 80 points and 100. I don’t mind 80 and in fact would much rather watch Lovett and Ponds run up and down the court then Bobby Kelley and Frankie Alagia walk. But some things clearly need to be addressed … Three games left, two at home, both winnable and then hopefully a favorable draw in the BET, and by favorable I mean on the other side from Villanova, because I think SJU can hang with anyone but them at MSG. They’re not going to win three games in three days or whatever it is, but winning one would be nice and a sign of real progress
PLAYERS: Ahmed led all scorers with 21 points (7 of 14) and added five rebounds and two assists. He’s scored in double figures in every game but one since the new year, and in 12 in a row; over his last 5 games he’s averaging 17 points a game (on 50 percent shooting) and six rebounds. Too bad he’s such a greedy street baller, he might make something of himself … Ponds had 14 points, seven rebounds, and six assists and Lovett 17 points, five assists, four steals. Together with Ahmed that comes to 52 points, 12 rebounds, 13 assists, and 8 steals, which is remarkable production from three guys a collective nine months into their college careers …. Yawke had seven points and five rebounds, which doesn’t seem like much but considering where he’s been that’s a nice line. All three of his field goals came on dives to the basket, which a month ago he would have kicked two of those out of bounds … Owens had four fouls, three rebounds and one block – that’s a total of two blocks over his last two games, so perhaps our Olive Oyl freshman has hit the wall – and oh yeah he took a three, which needless to say he missed it … Alibegowitch fouled out in 11 minutes but not before drilling his fourth three of the year. The Croatian sharpshooter is now at 21 percent for the year from three … Following up on his 20 point outburst versus Butler Mussini had no points in 16 minutes. Which is the same amount of points Elijah Holyfield had in one … Which brings us to Malik Ellison, since I’m not going to mention the German: in general Malik Ellison is a marginal player with a low basketball IQ and poor court awareness and last night he was worse than that. Among other things he threw a full court pass from the opposite foul line into the third row behind the opposing basket; threw a pointless no look pass to a Fox cameraman; clanked a three off the side of the backboard; fouled a three point shooter with 10 seconds left in the first half; and turned the ball over at game’s end on a breakaway versus MU’s walk-ons. I’d ask what he was thinking but if you look into his dead great white shark eyes you know he’s not thinking anything
NOTES: When I start writing these essays in the fall everything is fresh and new. It’s a new season and there are new players and new vistas and hope springs eternal. So I don’t have too much trouble producing a free 2000 word essay for 500 readers most of whom can’t stand me two or three times a week. (No, I don’t think I’m wasting my life, thanks for asking.) Come February though when the end is near – and there are only about four games left in the season and it’s only two months until the first Saturday in May – it becomes a bit of a slog and so as soon as the last one is written I look ahead to see if there’s something on the horizon to get the juices flowing for the next one, because let’s face it if you and I were five months into a romance that started in November I’d be sick of the sound of your voice by now and sleeping with your best friend. Last week when I looked ahead I saw that February 20th was Presidents Day and I thought great, I did MLK Day last month and this’ll be a nice bookend to that, because whereas MLK Day excludes from celebration every other civil rights icon from Crispus Attucks on down Presidents Day celebrates the life of every incompetent overweening scoundrel who ever took the oath of office, even Jimmy Carter. Which makes a nice counterpoint. So I wrote that essay, which is appended below, but in between something happened that I also found interesting and which I also wrote about. That essay, regarding St John’s ace recruiter Matt Abdulwhatevr, however quickly took a left turn and as my left turns often do ended with me ranting about slavery, the Bubonic Plague and Auschwitz. Which you might think, how did you get from an assistant coach at St Johns to the Holocaust and I have to tell you, it’s not that hard. Every day the voice in my head plays six degrees of separation, except instead of Kevin Bacon he uses Heinrich Himmler. Watch: Kevin Bacon –> the film JFK –> Khrushchev —> Stalin —> the Hitler Stalin pact —> jews being baked in ovens like Pop Tarts. See? Easy peasy. And I can do that all day and do. As amusing as my rant was though I thought to dial it back because it got a little long and let’s face it I can do man is the most pernicious species of vermin that nature has suffered to crawl across the face of the earth shtick in my sleep and most of you are sick of it. I did though want to touch on the assistant coach thing, but just a bit:

St John’s fan boards were hot this week with a rumor concerning Matt A’s possible defection for parts unknown. Things started innocuously enough. A well-meaning well-respected poster said the following, which as far as I can tell arose unbidden:

“Just thinking out loud, Matt A is close with Will Wade, VCU HC and other coaches who could be up for high major jobs this coming spring … We would be in some serious trouble if he moved on … the future of the program [is] directly tied to him. Maybe I worry too much.”

My immediate response to which was yeah, maybe you do worry too much, if I worried that much I’d never leave the house, because I’d be too busy hiding under the couch from the AIDS infected meteor that’s speeding directly towards my brain tumor.

This post – which as I said was relatively innocuous and which was perhaps just the ossified musing of a lonely misanthrope and lord knows I’ve just described my own career as a writer – spawned because I just counted 40 pages comprising 200 posts about how the St John’s basketball program hinges on the precarious allegiance of an assistant coach no one had ever heard of two years ago: not on the long and illustrious history of St Johns basketball from the Wonder Five forward; not on the legacy of Sonny Dove and Mel Davis and Walter Berry; it does not stand on the shoulders of giants Buck Freeman, Joe Lapchick, and Norm Roberts; it does not depend on the presence of the greatest player in St Johns history on the sidelines. No. It hinges on some chubby assistant coach whose name I couldn’t begin to spell. Except the A and the B obviously, I could get that far.

I say all that to cite this, which is from a NY Times article about Matt’s hiring as an assistant at his alma mater in the home town he professes to love, which I am continually assured is the greatest city on earth: “[Matt] grew up enamored of everything related to St. John’s”; he said of his hiring that “It’s surreal, it’s amazing. Words can’t describe it … [Mullin’s] an absolute legend.” Question: does that sound to you like someone who might uproot his young family after two years and follow Will “whoeverthefuckheis” Wade to whereverthefuck he’s going; and even if so, will that really doom the St Johns basketball program? Personally I don’t think so. I think a basketball program that survived Steve Lavin’s prostate can survive anything and to show you how sure I am I looked up how to spell his name: it’s A-B-D-E-L-M-A-S-S-I-H. And I will every time I mention his name spell it just like that. All I can figure is that St John’s has been a laughingstock for so long and its fans are so beaten down that they are conditioned to enjoy failure. They associate nostalgically with Saint John’s basketball, which has disappointed them their entire lives. So that when it seems like something good might be happening they reach for the bad because the pain makes them feels pleasure. It’s like cutting, there’s just less blood … So then there’s this, which short attention span readers can skip if they’re still awake:
Yesterday was Presidents Day, to commemorate which CSPAN polled a group of academics – an academic loosely defined is one whose credentials outstrip his wisdom – as to who were the greatest American presidents evah. If you needed proof of the failings of the US educational system and the group think that exists in academia – and if you need proof you’re blind so you’re not reading this anyway – you only need look at the list. Every democratic president in the 20th century is in the top 15 except Jimmy Carter – and he’s 25th, as opposed to what should be a preemptive 70th, considering that his foremost achievement in office was the hilariously named Operation Rice Bowl, which comprised crashing several helicopters into each other in the middle of a desert in a failed attempt to end the Iranian hostage crisis.

Franklin D Roosevelt, a patrician communist sympathizer who returned boatloads full of doomed German Jews back to Treblinka (I would have said Auschwitz but variety is the spice of life) and who appointed Ku Klux Klansman Hugo Black to the US Supreme Court is number three; Harry Truman, an actual member of the KKK, who incinerated hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians with nuclear weapons, is number six; John effing Kennedy, whose greatest accomplishment – besides an impressive scorecard that included Marlene Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe, Angie Dickinson and Gene Tierney – was getting his brains blown out by someone other than his long suffering cuckolded wife, is number eight; Lyndon Johnson, who urged democrats to hold their noses and vote for the 1965 civil rights act by telling them that “We’ll have those darkies voting for us for 200 years” is number 10, except he didn’t say darkies; Woodrow Wilson who resegregated the government and lobbied for antimiscegenation laws lest virile black men – he called blacks “an ignorant and inferior race” – defile the delicate flower of white womenhood was number 11, although to be fair he was incapacitated by a stroke and spent the last several years of his second term drooling on himself while his wife ran the country, so she deserves some credit; Barack Hussein Jugears is unfathomably number 12; and rounding out the top 15 is the satyr Bill Clinton, a creditably accused rapist who was impeached for masturbating on a fat girl.
Of course some of the rankings make sense. Franklin Pierce for example was an alcoholic who thought the movement to free the slaves was the greatest threat to the union since King George III, he came in at number 41; it will surprise absolutely no one who did not attend a public school that Pierce was a democrat. Andrew Johnson, a democrat impeached by republicans opposed to his plan to transfer jurisdiction over the civil rights of freed slaves to their former southern masters is 44th. James Buchanan, whose best political impulse was ambivalence toward the evils of slavery and the preservation of the union was last, surprise he’s another democrat. And the moral is: it’s not for nothing democrats are called the party of slavery and sedition.

Also not for nothing, my list:

1. George Washington: the father of our country defeated the Brits in the war for independence and retired to the life of a gentleman farmer when he was through; never told a lie

2. Abe Lincoln: preserved the union, freed the slaves, good size for a point guard

3. Ronald Reagan: destroyed the Soviet Union, the greatest existential threat to freedom in the history of the universe and banged more hot broads than that poseur JFK, including Marilyn Monroe, Liz Taylor, Doris Day, Joan Blondell and Lana Turner

4. Andrew Jackson: arguably the most important American historical figure besides the founding fathers; yeah he owned slaves and killed Injuns but so would I had I been born in Tennessee in 1767 and so would you

5. Thomas Jefferson: not much of a president but he wrote the declaration of independence and the constitution and that’s got to count for something; made jungle fever socially acceptable

If pressed for six man I’d pick William Henry Harrison, but only because he was president for only 31 days, which wasn’t enough time to do any serious damage to anything.

Blimey

RECAP: Steve Lavin was such an atrocious coach that every once in a while you still catch a whiff of the stench of his failure. Sunday afternoon that smell took the form of three Seton Hall upperclassmen who Lavin couldn’t be bothered recruiting because he was too busy being played for a fool by Isaiahs Whitehead and Briscoe: Brooklyn’s Khadeen Carrington, Bennie Blanco Desi Rodriguez from the Bronx and Angelo Delgado – he’s not from anywhere, he has his own zip code – combined for 42 points, 24 rebounds and 12 assists in Seton Hall’s 86-73 defeat of Saint John’s in New Jersey. The final margin makes it seem like it might have been a game: for those of you who were lucky enough to have missed it, it wasn’t. Seton Hall went up early and stayed there and made Saint John’s look foolish in the process. To the extent that there was a bright side and there wasn’t much of one it’s that once Seton Hall punched their teeth in Saint John’s didn’t curl up in a ball and allow Seton Hall to kick them in the head and stomach until their legs got tired, which is what happened a couple of weeks ago versus Georgetown. Instead, Saint John’s got to its feet and threw a few feeble punches, which, okay they didn’t land, but at least they didn’t stay down. That’s progress. The fact is that they were just out talented and especially out muscled and there’s nothing to be done about that, at least not this year, when some nights the only lesson they’ll learn is how to take their beatings like men … Once again the graphic shows exactly what went on, saving me the trouble of describing it and you the trouble of reading about it

If you were to look only at the Saint John’s side of the box score things don’t seem too bad: 40 percent from the floor, 30 percent from three, 33 rebounds, 10 assists, only nine turnovers, that isn’t awful. But compared to Seton Hall’s numbers – 50 percent from the floor, 40 percent from three, and 20 assists on 32 made baskets and 45 rebounds (+ 12) – they are. If like me you’re no great fan of the Pirates and their rat faced coach Kevin Willard you’ll be pleased to note that they shot 14 of 25 from the free throw line wherefrom they are now at 60 percent from the year, which poor shooting will hopefully bite them in the ass at some point, preferably in the Big East tournament. Colorman Len Elmore kept mentioning their tournament chances but he must have been reading last year’s game notes because this year their chances appear to be zero.

PLAYERS: Only two Saint John’s players bothered to show up, Marcus Lovett, who had an acrobatic 22 points and Bashir Ahmed, a bust who finished with 19 points and 7 rebounds, including a four-point play early. Get him out of there!! … Shamorie Ponds was 3 for 11 from the field and is 15 of 45 from the floor over his last four games. Knowledgeable Saint John’s fans who’ve scoured his Snaptagram account claim that his recent run of poor play has led him to consider transferring, which if these gossipy old biddies are to be believed makes him about the ninth player who’ll leave the program at season’s end. Personally I don’t follow any pubescent boys social media accounts (except for Harry Styles obviously, he’s dreamy) so I can’t confirm …. Those thuds you heard yesterday afternoon were the bodies of people hurling themselves off the Malik Ellison bandwagon , which they had jumped on after his 20 point performance against DePaul. On the bright side yesterday neither Rich Ackerman nor Len Elmore mentioned his parentage, which is the first time that’s happened in a year and a half … Together Saint John’s front line of Yawke, Owens, Williams and Alibegowtch had 14 points and 9 rebounds. Whereas SH’s front line of Angelo Delgado had 21 points and 20 rebounds …. Missini’s only points came on one of his heroic dagger threes late in the second half that pulled Saint John’s with 17. Unfortunately his teammates were unable to capitalize on the huge swing in momentum and the lead soon drifted back up to 18.

NOTES: I’d be remiss if I failed to mention this week’s big event: Spice Girl Geri Halliwell had her second child, a girl. Just kidding, it was a boy. No, just kidding again. Of course I’m talking about the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States. Although I wouldn’t describe myself as a Trump supporter – I’m more of a set the whole thing on fire and sit across the street drinking a six pack watching it burn supporter – I certainly understand the anyone other than who’s there now impulse that got him elected: having been bequeathed a republic we are now subjects of an corrupt oligarchy; once free citizens the minutia of our lives – from what kind of light bulbs we use to what sort of toilet we shit in – is controlled by a cadre of unelected clerks and bureaucrats whose seeming sole goal in life is to maintain their ravenous suckling at the public teat. In more civilized times these sort of people had their heads guillotined and mounted on stakes as a warning to other would-be tyrants, but these times are far from civilized. So I’ll take what I can get, especially if it includes a thumb jabbed deep in the eye of my alleged masters and betters. As fat slob Michael Moore said, this was the greatest fuck you in the history of fuck yous, and it was to aficionados of fuck yous as satisfying as Michael Moore finds his third breakfast.

Odds are that Trump is not the answer to the restoration of the republic – why should he succeed where Ben Franklin and Samuel Adams failed? And besides, the problem with political nihilism – besides that it postulates that there are no right questions, much less answers – is that nature abhors a vacuum, which means that every time you throw the bums out another crew of bums appears to take their place; history, his and ours, suggests that he will turn out to be just that. But so far he says the right things: that you and I are free citizens of the greatest and richest country in the history of mankind; that our liberties are under assault by fascists in the name of the greater good; that US blood and treasure should be expended to enable US citizens to pursue life, liberty, and property; and that the ideas underlying the expansion of liberty should rule the body politic.

Do I believe all that? Fuck yeah. Do I believe that he believes it? Fuck no. Probably he doesn’t believe in anything, other than his own vanities – he’s a child of privilege who parlayed his gifts into a career as a vapid celebrity. It’s fair to say that he is a shallow man. But also to be fair probably no more shallow than any other man who sought to be the most powerful man in the world: Alexander, Caesar, Napoleon, Hitler, these are not well adjusted individuals. And unlike that crew Trump is not a sociopath: he’s a game show host. Which is why I don’t share the phantasmagorical fears of the left, who after two months of ameliorating their disappointment with coloring books and stuffed animals emerged briefly from beneath their couches to throw a public temper tantrum in our nation’s capital where, dressed up in Halloween costumes and led by downtrodden dissidents like Katie Perry and Madonna Ciccone they spoke truth to power by setting fire to park benches and limousines. Well, they needn’t have bothered. Donald Trump is as likely to rob you of your civil liberties as Wink Martindale is to kidnap your children and chain them up in the basement as his personal sex slaves.

It goes without saying that as a libertarian I’m delighted to see the hind quarters of President Jugears and his cadre of Stalinist cronies: they have done incalculable damage to the republic and to our rights and liberties. I wish I could say that we’ve seen the last of him in public life, but his type never go away: they too much crave the spotlight. I cannot for the life of me fathom why someone with so much contempt for a nation and its citizens would want to govern them, much less bask in their adulation, but it seems his life blood. Which is something I’ve noticed about democratic presidents: they never go away. Jimmy Carter’s still plaguing us, and the satyr Bill Clinton – odd how the Clinton crime family foundation shut its doors just this week on the heels of Hillary’s defeat isn’t it, move along, nothing here to see – and Obama has already announced his plans to spend his retirement hectoring us for our unamerican behavior, presumably between rounds of golf and writing his third autobiography – Winston Churchill and Otto Von Bismarck got by with one – and vacuuming in huge sums of corporate cash. Whereas Reagan disappeared to his ranch with Nancy, and George Bush the younger retired graciously, and Bush senior you only heard from once a year when he jumped out of an airplane on his birthday. I think it’s because republican presidents had lives before politics that they went back to, whereas for democrats politics is the only life they know. They’re like those strip mall stores that are always having going out of business sales but never actually do. Well, for this week at least, everything that must go did.

OD’ed

anthony

GAME: I wasn’t going to write about Saint John’s third game in the Battle4Atlantis – considering the 9:30 Friday night start I almost didn’t bother watching – a 63-55 loss at the hands of the Old Dominion Monarchs, but Fidel Castro’s death has put me in such a good mood that I’m going to give it a whirl. So yes, SJU dropped its fourth straight. The loss itself followed an eerily similar pattern: SJU went up early, lost the lead, fell behind in the second half, and mounted a comeback that came up short – this one from 16 points down at the eight minute mark to down three on a Lovett three with a minute left. Before that spurt was 32 minutes of the ugliest basketball we’ve seen since a year ago this time. Consider: at half time SJU had been outrebounded by 12; they had 9 turnovers versus 8 field goals; they were 2 for 13 from three; they had gone seven minutes without a basket; they had seven free throw attempts to ODU’s 18 – and they were only down six points, which would have been three except Malik Einstein Ellison cleverly fouled the three point shooter at the buzzer. So neither of these teams put on a clinic. And at least Saint John’s has an excuse: they start two freshman, two sophomores and a JUCO and have a sixth man who instead of being on scholarship should be wandering the streets of Palermo with an organ and a monkey. This is not a recipe for success, and the result is – and it’s a result that should be evident to even the several fan forum morons who were this morning I shit you not calling on Chris Mullin to resign – what you saw over the past several days: missed defensive assignments, failure to box out, missed free throws and offensive impatience. Because these are mistakes young players make and to expect them to not make them six games into their college careers is insanity. The irony is that many of the most vociferous anti-Mullin voices come from supporters of the repulsive Stave Lavin, whose lackadaisical approach to recruiting is what got us into this mess in the first place. As for me, I’m encouraged by what I’ve seen over the past several days, even if I was discouraged by the results. Because there’s a lot of talent on this team. All they need to do is grow up … Odd too that after listening to Saint John’s fans whine since time immemorial about wanting to see up tempo full court basketball immediately upon seeing it they pine for the days of Bobby Kelly walking the ball up the court to set up Lou’s version of the four corner offense. Hey dopes: this is what up tempo basketball looks like. Is it perfect? Obviously not. Most of the players seem to think that having the green light means that shooting is mandatory. Presumably they’ll learn in time that it is not. But if you expect four guys who have played together six games to execute an NBA offense like Walt Frazier and Bill Bradley, well, you’re going to be disappointed.

PLAYERS: Lovett had another subpar effort – he managed only 16 points and four rebounds while shooting 50 percent from the floor …. Ponds: 10 points, seven rebounds, three assists …. Mussini managed 5 points in 21 minutes that featured a dead eye three that caromed off the side of the backboard. He hit his first (and only) three of the game in the second half with Saint John’s down 16, proving once again what an excellent shooter he is when the game is not on the line, He’s the best garbage time shooter I’ve seen since Jason Kapono … One of the problems with Mussini being so awful is that it means that Ellison has to play 20 minutes, which he did again yesterday, to little avail: one for five from the floor, one rebound, zero assists and the bonehead foul of the three point shooter, supra ….Safe to say that Bashir Ahmed has some anger issues: this is the third straight game he had to be restrained by team mates while jawing at an opponent. Hey Bashir, you know what’s good revenge? Making your free throws … Sima (4 points, three rebounds) and Yawke (three points three rebounds) got pushed around most of the night, leading to a 20 rebound deficit. Not their finest hour … Good thing the Christian Jones question was settled during the Baruch game otherwise I might wonder whether a 230 pound fifth year senior would have done us more good last night than Tariq Owens, who managed no field goals and six rebounds in 20 minutes …. Richard Wagner Fredenburger played which at this point I have no problem with because why not except once again I do not see the marvelous “gazelle” with a pure jump shot I was told was coming over the summer. I see more like Detlef Schrempf with a head injury … Alibegowith was so ridiculously bad in his 12 minute spurt – two fouls, zero points, rebounds, assists – that Mullin threw Darien Williams out there for a couple of minutes in the second half. He committed two fouls in one minute before being euthanized.

NOTES: There are no notes today. Instead let us all have a Cuba Libre (rum, cola, lime) and join those dancing in the streets of Miami: the mass murderer Fidel Castro is finally at long last dead. Despite full throated engagement in all the phantasmagories that terrify leftists about milquetoast reality TV star Donald Trump – concentration camps, torture , political murder, persecution of homosexuals, slavery, nuclear proliferation – Castro was for half a century lauded by the political left, even more so than the other genocidal lunatics they championed in the name of their beloved socialism: Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot. I think it was the beard and funny hat they liked so much. Anyway, Castro’s dead, it’s about time, have a drink and the adventurous among you can fire up a cigar

 

Broom Goes the Dynamite

divebomber2

GAME: The most striking thing about Saint John’s 77-61 victory over Binghamton University Monday night at Carnesecca Arena was the normalcy of it. It wasn’t like the preseason last year, with a bunch of newcomers and ne’er do wells stumbling around the court in a ballet of incompetence. And it wasn’t like under the previous regime, with Coach Tesla starting his walk-ons and teaching future felons important life lessons and shuffling players in and out randomly under the pretense of discovering just the right recipe for success in February. Instead we got a workmanlike victory by a bunch of good looking newcomers which was all the more enjoyable because there’s no pressure or expectations. Next year this time will be a different story: next year is when everyone expects Mo’s great leap forward. This year we or at least I can just relax and enjoy it … Once again there’s nothing to be learned from looking at the box score, except to note that SJU missed half their free throws, which that can’t continue. The next two games though will tell the tale: even though little Ricky Pitino is on his way to being run out of Minnesota on a rail the Gophers are a real Division One team and Izzo is one of the great coaches of his generation. It’s be interesting to see how everyone react facing real competition …. Missus fun credited me with the fact that Mullin’s hair is back to its normal gray from the Lucille Ball look he was sporting versus Bethune-Cooke, but that seems to me a bit of a stretch. In any event, crisis averted.

PLAYERS: You might have to go back to Erick Barkely to find a freshman guard with as well rounded a game as Marcus Lovett. D’Angelo Harrison didn’t have his handle and neither Daryl Hill nor Omar Cook had his jump shot. The only thing I don’t like about his game so far is his day glo sneakers and I could get over that. Add Shamorie Ponds into the mix and you have the best freshman back court at SJU since Elander Lewis and Marcus Broadnax. Just kidding, since ever. Between them they had last night 44 points (including 9 threes), 8 assists, 14 rebounds (10 by Ponds) and 4 steals. I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself but it’s scary to think how good they’ll be in a couple of months, much less a couple of years … Where that leaves great white hope Federico Mussini – who managed a meager five points in 22 minutes on 2 of 7 from the floor – and Malik Ellison is hard to say. Ellison could get some minutes at the three if Ahmed doesn’t turn things around – he wouldn’t be the first JUCO to struggle with the transition to Division 1 – but Mussini is to slow and puny to be anything but a two guard and we already have two guards … Unlike the back court, roles and minutes in the front court are a little more unsettled. Neither Yawke, Owens or Sima have much of an offensive game but all three have good enough hands to benefit from the improved guard play. Forty or fifty minutes shared between their three heads and 15 fouls seems reasonable …. Richard Fredunberg invaded Poland scored his first points of the year. Congratulations Richard. For all the hype I heard about him in the off season so far to me the most remarkable thing about him is how much he looks like every Waffen SS officer I’ve ever seen watching Holocaust porn on the History Channel… That leaves Alibegovic and Darien Williams with garbage time minutes, which seems about right

NOTES: UB is in Broome County, which might have made for a bit of a gambol if it had been so named for making sweeping implements – like nearby Gloversville is for making gloves and the Collar city Troy for menswear – but unfortunately its named after a minor 18th century politician called John Broome about whom there was nothing remarkable at all. Neither is there anything remarkable about Vestal, where the university is located (trust me, there are no virgins in Vestal),  or in fact about most of the I-88 corridor, which although picturesque is essentially a desert with trees and water. The story goes that the only reason the highway to nowhere got built in the first place is because some forgotten NY politician had a summer home in northern Pennsylvania and needed a way to get there after he was through collecting bribes while the Senate was in session in Albany …. UB’s mascot is the bearcat, which although not as apocryphal as the gryphon might as well be. Neither a bear or a cat, it’s actually a sort of weasel and native to Indonesia. How UB settled on it I’ll never know, but there are in fact ten college teams that claim the bearcat as mascot, including recent SJU victim Baruch College, which makes even less sense because that’s in Gramercy Park. At least Binghamton is in an exotic upstate NY … Other than Fordham you’d be hard pressed to find a worse CBB program than UB. They’ve won a mere 25 games in the five years since former John Thompson assistant Coach Kevin Broadus and half a dozen school officials resigned in disgrace in the wake of a scholastic and recruiting scandal that ended with the sort of sanctions the NCAA reserves for corrupt programs that don’t impact their bottom line. To show you how bad things are, current coach Tommy Dempsey was 88 and 12 in three years as a D3 head coach and won 120 games in 7 years at Rider. At UB he’s 25 and 96 and if what I saw last night was any indication things are not going to get better any time soon.

Make Alibegovic Great Again

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HERE WE GO AGAIN: An old saw says that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. And so here are we Saint John’s fans once again in November thinking optimistic thoughts about the program and here am I once again to dissuade you from them. I frankly am not looking forward to my task this year. When I started writing these things it was out of a sense of frustration with the fate of the only sports team that I follow with any sort of passion and a loathing for its awful coach, the repulsive Steve Lavin. But now Lavin is gone lo these many years and with him the stench of failure and of his players only one remains and in the meantime the prodigal son has returned and the fatted calf is slain and the pieces are in place and things frankly are looking up – or as far up as things look in Jamaica anyway. And so what’s a boy to do? Sure I’m a cynic but not so far gone that I’m going to trash Chris Mullin and honestly even the skeptic in me believes that happy days will be here sooner rather than later. Where that leaves this experiment I am not sure and for the time being I’ll proceed in good faith but I suspect a time is coming when I’ll be happy enough to just watch the games and leave the commentary to the many genyiouses who so generously share their wisdom on various SJU forums … About what to expect this year I have not too much to say having only seen now 80 minutes of basketball, which is not enough for even the most astute observer to form an opinion. I will admit though that what little I’ve seen leaves me cautiously pessimistic: the newcomers look all of them like the real thing, the returnees look bigger and stronger, the staff looks energetic and engaged and the recruiting is better than it’s been forever. It’s probably too soon for any of that to translate to success on the court – college basketball being one of the few endeavors in life where age often trumps beauty – but it would be nice to see this year when all things shake out double the win total from last year (~16), a mid pack finish in the Big East, and an NIT bid, which is not an outlandish expectation considering that Chris Mullin is the coach and New York the television market. But as I say almost every year in November, wait till next year bums … About this game I have little to say as well: they ate the cupcake and although it was delicious there are no lessons in the empty calories. We’ll have a pretty good idea of how things are going to be by Thanksgiving, once Tom Izzo gets through with us … On my television last night Mullin’s hair was the same color as Frank Costanza’s. Hopefully that was an aberration and not a dye job

PLAYERS: Speaking of the real thing, Marcus Lovett did not start, despite being the best player on the court last night. Was it just one of those things or was Coach Lavin Mullin trying to teach his young point guard an important life lesson. I don’t know but if the latter get the orange jumpsuit ready … Federico Mussini had 20 points in 18 minutes, gladdening the hearts of racists everywhere. I’d remind those people that last year Mussini made 30 percent of his total threes (16 of 56) in November versus D2 competition, so I wouldn’t get too excited just yet. To be fair to FM he looks bigger and firmer and more athletic than he did last year, although I’ve seen fence posts that look more athletic than he did last year and he still this year can’t cover a pillar … Tariq Owens continues to impress although he’s going to have to manage more than four puny rebounds to make anyone forget Christian Jones, who had 13 last night versus real D1 competition … Shamorie Ponds led all players with 26 minutes and looked not much like a freshman doing so …. Bashmir Ahmed on the other hand played only 18 and looked to be pressing … At first thought I was disappointed that fun fave Kassoum Yawke only played 20 minutes and didn’t do much of anything with them but then I remembered just how young he is and what a luxury it is to be able to bring gifted players along slowly, rather than just throwing them to the dogs … Sima had 11 points in 15 minutes, confounding those who are already predicting his transfer … Like Mussini Malik Ellison looks bigger and stronger this year and seems poised to take a step forward … Richard Fredenburg will have to do better than zero points in 23 minutes if he expects me to learn how to spell his name …. Speaking of spelling, Alibegovic had a nice put back immediately upon entering the game and did a nice job of waving his towel thereafter. Anything they get from him beyond that will be a bonus … Darien Williams spent garbage time looking like someone whose had a bunch of surgeries and hasn’t played ball in a couple of years.

NOTES: Friday was Veteran’s Day, a public holiday intended to memorialize those who have served in their nations military, even, presumably, Germans. To those volk folk we offer a humble and heart felt thanks. Veteran’s Day falls on November 11 because the first world war – that’d be the war to end all wars for those scoring at home – ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1919, when the Huns surrendered to the Allies in a railway car in the North of France. (Ever the kidder Hitler had the French surrender in the very same railway car 30 years later.) In the United States the holiday was first promulgated by then President Woodrow Wilson, who besides being generally acknowledged as the first political “progressive” was the worst president of the 20th century and is on the short list for the worst president ever: an unrepentant racist, Wilson segregated the federal government, firing most black government employees – like most progressives he thought blacks “an ignorant and inferior race” – and consigned those who remained to colored bathrooms; in his memoirs he described the Ku Klux Klan as a “great” organization designed to “preserve the white race” and segregation as “a great benefit” to the negro; not content with that legacy he presided over the creation of the Federal Reserve system, instituted the first federal income tax, jailed his political enemies for treason and gleefully passed while as governor of New Jersey a bill requiring compulsory sterilization of felons, the mentally ill, and the differently abled. Add that all up and he makes Jimmy Carter look like Pericles … Speaking of politics, Theo R_______ (not his real name) writes:

Fun, could you share your thoughts on the recent election? As a millennial and a progressive I’m devastated and could use some solace.

Well sure Theo, I’d be delighted.

Louis Brandeis wrote that the right most cherished by civilized men is the right to be left alone. By that he meant that the essence of liberty is the right to opt out: from people, from relationships, from community, from ultimately from civilization. And so although I have firm opinions about the body politic – my belief that humanity is a dung heap and history the story of those who were ambitious enough to scale it has me positioned politically just to the right of Caligula – I’ve never voted. And this election was no different. Instead of participating I’ve endeavored to arrange my life so that it’s unaffected by the vagaries of government. I have no children and few attachments and enough money to tithe the state and afford my vices and since I’m interested in practically nothing other than my own comfort it doesn’t much matter which partisan hacks are ravening at the public teat at any given moment. All I want is to be left alone and for the most part I’ve achieved that.

Which is why I was pretty surprised late Tuesday evening when I realized how extremely unhappy I was going to be if Hillary Clinton were elected president. It wasn’t just the idea of living in a country governed by a cheap pant-suited grifter who’s spent her adult life feeding at the public trough in the name of public service. It wasn’t even that she’s married to a serial rapist and has a daughter that looks like Mister Ed. No. It was much more than that. Because by failing to elect Donald J. Trump president of the United States my fellow Americans would be squandering the opportunity to make so very many people so very fucking miserable and opportunities like that only come around a couple of times in a lifetime.

Mind you, I’m not talking about just the public mortification facing the likes of appalling no talent blowhards like Cher and Alec Baldwin, corpulent fuckhead Michael Moore, no talent whores Katy Perry and Lady Gaga, obese cum dumpsters Lena Dunham and Amy Schumer, rug munchers Rosie O’Donnell and Rachel Maddow, banana nosed bozo Barbra Streisand, ignorant fucking slut Madonna, and various smug and sanctimonious left wing stooges like Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Sean Penn, Ed Asner, Jane Fonda, Woody Harrelson, Jessica Lange, Norman Lear, Martin Sheen, and Oliver Stone. And neither do I mean the disappointment felt by herds of coddled youth of the stupidest generation who flooded the internet with hilarious heart wrenching videos of their weeping disappointment before fleeing to safe spaces where they could share their feelings with grief counselors and assuage their disappointment with play doh and coloring books.

(Fans of irony will relish the fact that these ministrations to the feelings of the current generation of delicate snowflakes occurred on the eve of a holiday dedicated to remembering the bravery their great grandparents displayed storming the beaches of Normandy and will swoon with delight at the idea of millennial comparisons of the disappointment they experienced on 11-9 to real events that happened on 9-11.)

No: it was much bigger than all that.

See, it all came to me right about 2:00 AM, watching DemonRat toadies Wolf Blitzer and Van Jones frantically trying to parse their way to a Clinton win in the electoral college: I suddenly flashed on Hitler in his bunker pushing nonexistent Panzer divisions across a map of Eastern Europe. And it came to me that come morning whole continents would erupt in a glorious symphony of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth: dog faced PM Angela Merkel and her Germanic hordes; Canadian Prime Minster Zoolander and the myriad citizens of his third world hamster in a wheel socialist shit hole; entire nations of stinky cowardly frogs, murderous Huns and Cossacks, pathetic impotent Swedes and Sprouts, various rag and towel heads; and lest we forget those one billion inscrutable Orientals who’ve been buying up our country for the past 20 years, all of them singing in one voice: we are the world, we are the disconsolate, waa! Because there’s only one thing that’s sweeter than the feeling that comes from good things happening to me and that’s other people’s fucking misery. So take solace Theo: you might not feel so good but there are many many other people who feel worse, and that’s always cause for celebration. And if you worry about all the concentration camp fantasmagories that terrify you about the new president just remember that nothing that he could ever imagine doing will ever reach the depths plumbed by Woodrow Wilson and they’re still naming public buildings after that guy. So god bless America and god bless President Donald J. Trump. Schwing!

 

 

Cock Games

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It wasn’t a bad game, Saint John’s loss to South Carolina 75-61. Of course it wasn’t a good game either, but there’s a big difference between rolling over like a bitch to some Division One Johnny come lately on the one hand and getting ground down by a more experienced more talented team on the other, the other being what happened at Mohegan Sun on Tuesday night. Not being delusional I didn’t expect them to win and so have to settle for being pleased that at least they bothered to show up, which has not been the case always this year … Once again the numbers were not kind to Saint John’s: they shot 45 percent from the floor, 25 percent from three (5 for 20) and an astounding 12 for 27 from the free throw line, where they are now shooting .63 percent as a team for the year – only Mussini, Johnson and Balamou are above 70 percent. And they were outrebounded by nearly double, 43-26. That’s not going to beat too many people and certainly not a South Carolina team that shot nearly 50 percent from the floor and even higher from three, which is the second or third time this year that a team has shot a better percentage from farther away from the basket than closer to it, which you wouldn’t think is possible, unless you’d watched Saint John’s guards not play defense, in which case you might … The real games start New Year’s Eve versus Creighton. For the superstitious among you Saint John’s has not won a game (0-5) on December 31st in the Twenty-First Century. So either they’re due or they’re cursed. I’m guessing it’s the latter.

PLAYERS: Lazy and shiftless Durand Johnson (16 and 5) once again led the team in scoring and rebounding… I was informed this week by a knowledgeable basketball fan that Federico Mussini is the best shooter Saint John’s has had since Chris Mullin, despite which pronouncement Mussini missed all seven threes he took, which makes him now 9 for 46 (.19) this month outside of the Syracuse game. Based on those numbers he’s not even the best shooter since Terrance Mullin … I suspect that once again the plus minus does not flatter Malik Ellison, who was oh for 6 from the floor. It’s unclear to me why he plays at all, much less the minutes he does at the expense of Ron Mvouika. I guess maybe they’re letting him take a beating now rather than down the road or maybe Pervis has photos of Mullin in flagrante with a six-pack of hard cider. Obviously it’s much too soon to write Ellison off but it wouldn’t bother me if I did not see him play again for a while …. The rest of them did stuff, but none of it noteworthy enough for me to even bother reciting. What am I a box score?

NOTES: Unlike many SJU fans I don’t have moles or sources who feed me scoops and insider information but I did hear when Norm was let go that Frank Martin – resplendent last night in a three piece pinstripe suit from the Benny Blanco from the Bronx collection – was being considered as a possible replacement. Alas that did not come to pass, partly I suspect based upon his how should I put this delicately, fiery Latin disposition. Because he’s a bit of a psychopath. According to Martin’s Wikipedia entry he was drawn to coaching when as “a bouncer at a local nightclub .. he was subjected to gunfire while on duty,” which I don’t see the career trajectory there but maybe it’s just me. After a high school career that saw Martin have one of his state championships vacated for recruiting violations, Martin ended up at Cinncinnati where he studied at the vomit splattered feet of Bob Huggins, who he followed to Kansas State and eventually replaced as head coach … Speaking of guns and heinous criminals, the game was called by Doug Gottlieb, who’s awful. But it turns out there’s something Gottlieb – who said many dumb things last night, the dumbest being that “Amar Alibegovic is a tremendous shooter,” which, no he isn’t – knows less about than college basketball. Gottlieb tweeted this week relative to his views on gun control that the right to bear arms is a chimera because the Bill of Rights is not part the US Constitution, a statement of such monstrous ignorance that it boggles the mind. Perhaps if Gottlieb had not gotten expelled from Notre Dame for stealing from his classmates he might have been afforded the opportunity to take a civics class, and then would not be so completely ignorant of history, the law, and liberty … The halftime crew included the unctuous Jon Rothstein, who exudes all the sincerity of an Albanian kidney broker, Wally Sczcerbiak’s terrifying eyebrows, a giantess called Dana and someone of whom I’ve never heard called Swin Cash (pictured above) whose sentence starting “If I were Frank Martin” I completed “I’d bang Frank Martin” but fortunately Mrs. Fun was in the kitchen baking cookies and didn’t hear me.

 

 

Excuse Me

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RECAP: It seems like more but it was only a year ago that self-proclaimed king of February Steve Lavin had the signature victory of his SJU career, in his fifth and final December as head coach. Chris Mullin took the same magic carpet ride up Signature Victory Mountain on the second Sunday in his first December, when his Red Storm put something of a vicious beating on the 13-point favorite Syracuse Orange at Madison Square Garden Sunday afternoon. Last year Phil Greene, until then moribund .28 career three point shooter – he was 80 for 283 five games into his senior year – awoke from his three year coma and scored 11 straight points to put the Orange away late, much to the delight of the long suffering Saint John’s faithful. This year’s breakout performance was by just as improbable a suspect, but it led to a victory that at least one long-time fan found more satisfying, perhaps because one of our own was on the sidelines. Personally I don’t share the animus many SJU fans feel toward Syracuse. I mean, sure, they’ve kicked the shit out of SJ for years, but the way I see it everybody has to take a beating sometime, and if you have to, why not at the hands of a hall of fame curmudgeon like Jim Boeheim. As opposed to say Jeff Neubauer. But for now at least, Saint John’s is once again New York’s team. Merry Christmas … The game was actually over pretty early. Saint John’s went on a run midway through the first half and were up 9 at halftime, 40-31. Syracuse didn’t get within seven the rest of the way. Every time they looked to make a game of it they were repulsed. On offense SJU played a double high post that flummoxed the 3-2 and on defense Syracuse stunk on offense: they shot 35 percent from the floor, 20 percent from three, and 19-31 from the FT line. SJU on the other hand shot 50 percent from the floor, 50 percent from three, and had 51 rebounds and 22 assists, this from a team that scored 48 points versus Niagara on Wednesday. It helped that Syracuse didn’t press most of the game. Because when they did it was ugly … Mullin was dapper in a suit and tie for his first appearance at MSG, but then I suspect he always dresses up when he goes to church. It seems evident to me that he’s growing into the job and is going to be as good at this as he was at everything else.

PLAYERS:  I noted last recap that I had developed a sneaking suspicion that Amar A-L-I-B-E-G-O-V-I-C was starting to resemble a basketball player. To say that Sunday reinforced that impression would be an understatement: he scored 7 points off the bench in the first half to spur SJU to their lead and finished with 15 points and 9 rebounds; he was 3 of 4 from three, including one from the M in Madison Square Garden. Whether he can sustain it is another question, but better Phil Greene for a day than schmuck for a lifetime … Mussini had 17 points, including 5 -7 from three. He had a rough postgame interview though … Speaking of Phil Greene, Durand Johnson had 15 points on 6-16 shooting. Except if PG4 had 7 rebounds and 4 assists you’d throw him a parade … Sima had 9 points and 8 rebounds and was aggressive in the high post, albeit he threw a bunch of lazy passes … Yawke reminds me either of a left handed Malik Sealy or a shorter Walter Berry, I haven’t put my finger on it yet. He’s not as polished as Sealy was as a freshman or as imposing as Berry, but if he develops even a midrange jump shot he’s going to be a difficult proposition … Mvouika had 10 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists. Currently he’s 4th in the BE in 3 point shooting at 46 percent … Christian Jones did nothing worth me even looking to see what Christian Jones did … Balawho? Felix tried one of his crazy drives to the basket and was not seen again. I didn’t miss him.

NOTES: The broadcast featuring Bill Rafferty was a delight, marred only by the appearance of Steve Lavin as in stupido studio guest. Attention was brought to the fact that Lavin had last week ‘predicted’ a SJU victory (perhaps Khadim Ndiaye appeared to him in a dream), for which I mocked him, for which he must be given begrudging credit, even though it’s a chickenshit prediction: if the underdog wins you’re a genius and if they lose no body mentions it. Also chickenshit, Lavin took credit for recruiting Federico Mussini, this after Mullin in the postgame interview gave special credit to Lou for his help in that regard, whose efforts Lavin dismissed because he’s, you know, so classy. He also he said the Big East is better this year than last, which of course it is, he’s no longer coaching in it. … This week saw the passing of Adolph “Dolph” Shayes, who was remarkable not only because no one names their kid Adolph anymore after that bit of unpleasantness in Germany in the last century. Nor was it merely because he was a Jewish basketball player who achieved success at the highest levels – a select list that includes coaches Reds Auerbach and Holtzman and Larry Brown, criminal mastermind Doug Gottlieb, Bernard King’s bff Ernie Grunfeld, Amar’e Stoudemire (huh?) and former SJU target Sylven Landesberg … It’s tempting, every time one of these old white players dies, to say to yourself well sure, but how would he have fared in today’s game, which includes negroes and other minorities. And the answer is probably not as well as he did 70 years ago. Because if you figure that all the bad white players in a particular segregated league were replaced by really good minority players, the good white players who were left would have fared worse. But on the other hand reprobates like e.g. Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle would have had the benefit of trainers and drugs and other modern therapies to ameliorate their degeneracies, leading to longer more productive careers. And conversely all the really good minority players would no longer be playing against the bad minority players who populated the bottom half of their segregated league. So it seem to me to be all a bit of a wash. Ruth might not have hit .356 for his career if he had to face Satchell Paige and Smokey Joe Williams every four days, but he wouldn’t have hit .256 either … So if Dolph Shayes played in the 60s or 70s he might not have retired second all-time in scoring and third all-time in rebounding, but he probably would have been pretty good nonetheless. Against the players that were available to play against while he was playing, Shayes in high school won a borough championship in his native Bronx; went to the FF as a 16 year old freshman at NYU; and was the 4th pick in the NBA draft. He was a 12 time NBA all-star. His team made the playoffs 15 of his 16 years in the NBA. He won a championship with the Syracuse Nationals in 1955. In his career he scored more points that Earl Monroe, Rick Barry and Dave Bing, had more rebounds that Patrick Ewing, David Robinson and Elgin Baylor and more assists than Dave Debusschere, Billy Cunningham and Sam Jones. After his playing days he went on to be named as NBA coach of the year in 1963, when his 76ers lost to Bill Russell’s Celtics in the NBA finals. So all in all, nice job and RIP … Speaking of cross generational differences, this week the delicate progressive flowers at SUNY Albany were once again afforded the opportunity to alleviate the stress associated with their final exams by cavorting with therapy dogs, which are paid for by your tax dollars. It’s a shame their great grandparents were not afforded the same opportunity when they were storming the beaches at Normandy, otherwise the Nazis might not have won World War II. That’s apropos of nothing, except I saw it in the paper this morning and thought jesus what a load of pussies … And finally from the where are they now file, former SJU guard Max Hooper is lighting it up at Oakland University, where he’s averaging 14 ppg and shooting nearly 50 percent from three. When he recruited Hooper Steve Lavin reported that he was the best shooter he’s ever coached since Jason Kapono, so his success three years later at a mid major comes as no surprise to anyone. What might is that Hooper’s attempted zero 2-point field goals this year and only six 2-pt field goals in three years in Division One. Now that, my friends, is a role player.

PU

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RECAP: Defending champion Providence University took the first incremental or baby step up the mountain or incline towards defending their BET title by humiliating or mortifying Saint John’s 74-57 on Saint John’s home court Thursday afternoon. The bad news is that Saint John’s has had the shit kicked out them two games in a row. The good news is that said kicking of shit doesn’t really matter much: they’re still getting their name called selection Sunday and they’re still a middling seed. All that matters now is the draw and it couldn’t have changed all that much despite how badly they were beaten. How poorly they played may well be another matter, but fortunately they have master motivator Steve Lavin on the sidelines to sort all of that out .. Saint John’s was ahead 7-0 and cruising towards a blow out when the floor caved in. Or the roof. Or when the sky fell. Choose your own metaphor, it’s fun. At about the 16 minute mark Providence stopped dribbling the ball off their own feet and throwing the ball out of bounds and started playing basketball and Saint John’s obliged them by stopping. Instead Saint John’s started missing their shots, all of them, and not by a little either, by an enormous amount: by rough count a third of their shots over the next 10 minutes were air balls, which resulted in a 30-6 PU run and a 13 point halftime lead. And if it hadn’t been for the referees it might have been much worse. (Many of those calls were by Pat Driscoll, who if he isn’t already on the SJU payroll, might be looking for a paycheck. He’s awful. Nice hair though.) After a rousing halftime speech by Steve Lavin a newly energized Jamal Branch kicked the ball out of bounds on SJU’s first possession and it was downhill from there. Saint John’s made a couple of mini-runs to get it within 9 or so but invariably they made some boneheaded play that allowed PU to spurt away again. In the long run this loss – despite its proportions – might have been the best thing that could have happened: at least now they can rest up and get their heads right. The rumor is that they play their best basketball with their back to the wall. As tenor baritone soprano bass alto sax player Charlie Parker once said, now’s the time … Steve hammer-to-rock play-your-best-basketball-in March Lavin is now 1-4 in the BET at SJU, 1-2 in the NIT and 0-1 in the NCAA, for a grand total of 2-7 in the post season. To that extent he is a worthy heir to Louie and is rapidly becoming part of the great SJU coaching tradition … So what does this all mean looking ahead? Who knows. Ever the contrarian I’d rather go into the NCAA tournament having lost two games by a combined total of 52 points, as has Saint John’s, than having won two games by 72, as has Villanova, or being undefeated, as is Kentucky. For me the prognosis remains unchanged. Saint John’s is not a team I’d want to play in the tournament and they’re just as likely to get bounced in the first round as they are to make the round of sixteen. As a lifelong SJU fan if I had to bet I’d bet on the first round bounce, but on the bright side if you have no expectations you’re never disappointed.

PLAYERS: Jordan gets the game ball by default – besides Joey De La Rosa he was about the only player who showed up. To the extent that they were ever in it he kept them there: 18 points, most of those from the free throw line. And to the extent that the game was entertaining it was entertaining to the extent of watching he and Kris Dunn – who’s already too good to be playing college basketball, good grief – trading punches briefly in the second half. I’ve been saying for a while now that this team is only going to go as far as Jordan takes them. If I’m right – and let’s face it I usually am – they’re not going to go very far … Joey De La Rosa got a couple of rebounds and a couple of points and even a block. It’s just a shame he’s not a freshman, he might be a player in two or three years … Oh dear, the rest of them … Harrison was off early and you could see that it got in his head. He’s 9 for 32 over the past two years in the BET. Hopefully he gets straight and goes out on a good note. On the bright side he was named to the all BE first team again this week, joining only Marcus Hatten, Malik Sealy, Chris Mullin and Mark Jackson as repeat SJU honorees … Phil Greene hit his first shot and then commenced a relentless attempt to shatter the backboard with a variety of thunderous misses, several of which avoided the rim entirely. Never fear though he got his mojo back in garbage time by nailing two threes to cut PU’s lead to 18 with 4 minutes left. No doubt he and his girlfriend flashed backed to his heroics in Syracuse several months ago, at least until a resounding CLANK awoke them from their twin reveries. Finished 3 for 9 and 2 for 7 from three. In a game where 40 personal fouls were called Greene managed none, which seems remarkable until you remember that he doesn’t bother to play defense .. Jamal Branch started. By the 14 minute mark he’d displayed his entire skill set: he’d thrown several pointless no look passes, committed several fouls near the midcourt line and dribbled the ball off his foot … Obekpa fouled out and grinned inappropriately when it happened … Pointer fouled out but kept his amusement to himself … The box score says that Albivivocvic had zero fouls, which must be a misprint. He commits three in the run way before the game … Balamou curiously absent

NOTES: It’s late in the season and there’s not a lot to say without repeating myself. Donnie Marshall was his usual awful self. The other guy was worse. Tarik Turner was described in a Fox graphic as having “led Saint John’s to 1998 NCAA tournament,” which is like saying that Phillipe Petain led France to a victory in World War II (H/T Desco) … I’ve got nothing else except a note about the late Jimmy Walker, who Ladonte Henton passed this afternoon on the PU all-time scoring list this. Walker – who fathered and then deserted his bastard son Jalen Rose – scored his 2045 points in three seasons and that without the 3 point shot. As a senior in 1967 he led the nation in scoring, averaging more than 30 points a game. He was the number one draft pick in the NBA draft, ahead of Earl Monroe (2), Saint John’s own Sonny Dove (4), Walt Frazier (5), Pat Riley (7), the amazing Mel Daniels (9) and even Phil Jackson (17). (Interestingly three of those players – Frazier, Monroe and Jackson played in Division II). I’m a great believer in statistics as a measure of player performance but here’s one where they lie: Henton is not worthy to carry Jimmy Walker’s jockstrap … Don’t be sad Saint John’s fans, do the Hucklebuck:

 

 

 

The F Word: Friars

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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.

 

 

You Rang?

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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

2014

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.