RECAP: I was for the lulz considering writing this entire essay without mentioning Rysheed Jordan once, but that wouldn’t have been fair to my loyal readers, who I know turn to me for solace in times of despair, so instead let’s get it out of the way up front. This is what happened: Lavin panicked after losing his first BE game of the season and precipitated a crisis that resulted in the suspension of his most talented player to provide him with an excuse for failing should the bottom fall out of the season. And that’s that. This episode is a repetition of the same abnormal behavior Lavin has displayed over the past five years and fits perfectly into the diagnosis of Lavin as suffering from histrionic personality disorder. Consider:
“high-functioning … good social skills … manipulates way into center of attention … inability to cope with losses or failures … dramatizes and exaggerates personal difficulties.”
Sound like anyone you know?
Those afflicted with HPS may exhibit:
* Exhibitionist behavior: e.g. wearing a sweatshirt under a pinstripe suit
* Inappropriate seductiveness: e.g. flirting with a host on a nationally televised sports show
* Using somatic symptoms or physical illness to garner attention, e.g. mentioning you have cancer at every opportunity
* Tendency to believe that relationships are more intimate than they actually are, e.g. asking John Wooden to be your best man
* Blaming personal failures or disappointments on others, e.g. scapegoating D’Angelo Harrison.
* Being easily influenced by others, especially those who treat them approvingly, e.g. claiming to be a “disciple” of Pete Newell
* Being overly dramatic and emotional, e.g. mentioning corpses, coffins and funerals during pregame interviews
They might as well put his picture in the DSM.
What all this means is that Lavin is more comfortable shifting the blame for losing than taking his chances on winning. Which, I remind, he “doesn’t feel an inordinate pressure to do” anyway. To think otherwise you have to believe that either Lavin (1) has a moral sense echelons higher than the average D1 coach, which you can believe if you’re a rube or (2) had the bad luck to randomly recruit highly regarded scholarship basketball players whose personality defects are so severe that they are unable to participate in an extracurricular collegiate activity that welcomes into its fold accused rapists like Jameis Winston and Dominic Artis. Look: I don’t doubt that Jordan is a prima donna. But aren’t all high-level college athletes prima donnas? Am I supposed to believe that Jordan’s behavior was so egregious that it warranted his not playing? No. It’s all psychodrama. What Lavin should have done with Jordan is what every other college coach does when he lands a top 20 recruit: give him the damn ball. Instead he waged psychological warfare against a stubborn teenager, which is what has brought us to this sorry state … In a perfect world I’d be saying here that Jordan’s absence didn’t make any difference in the outcome of today’s game, but in a perfect world my bong would have a vagina. In this world Jordan’s absence was critical to Saint John’s in the battle for last place in the Big East, which battle Saint John’s lost to Butler 73-69, dropping them two games behind DePaul in the Big East standings. That’s right, DePaul … Saint John’s came out strong, waned mid-half, and put together a run at the end of the half to take a 4 point lead into the locker room. Whatever halftime adjustments Butler made worked: they took the lead at the 16 minute mark and never looked back. In fact, if the referees hadn’t called a slew of touch fouls midway through the half that put SJU in the bonus, it wouldn’t have been as close as it was … By the numbers Saint John’s was its usual moribund self: 45 percent from the floor, 25 percent from three, 70 percent from the foul line, 10 assists and on the short end of the rebounding stick. Mostly the offense consisted of the defense. When it didn’t it consisted almost entirely of someone trying to make a play, and unfortunately for SJ it only has one play maker. So instead of Jordan selfishly taking the ball to the hole in an attempt to showcase his skills for the NBA, we had Dom Pointer selflessly taking threes and Phil Greene and Jamal Branch tripping over themselves as they unselfishly tried to beat their man off the dribble. None of which is a recipe for success … Next up Villanova, smarting from a tough beat at Seton Hall. A month ago an oh and three start would have been unthinkable. Now it looks almost inevitable. Contract extension anyone?
PLAYERS: Harrison had 31. Without Jordan he’s going to have a lot of 31s … Obekpa had 11 points 7 rebounds and 5 blocks. Once again trailed his teammates down court on a break after woofing under the opposing basket following a block. The first time he acts like that in the D league somebody’s going to slap that stupid grin right off his face … For pure entertainment value I am highly in favor of clearing out the side for Pointer on a dozen offensive trips. It does not however bold well for winning basketball … Green had 14 points on 6 for 10 shooting, including a meaningless dunk as time expired – that’d be seconds after he had the ball slip out of his hands on a three on Saint John’s previous possession. This is the first time since the Gonzaga game that Phil’s made more shots than he’s missed. Congratulations Phil … Fans who have been clamoring for more Jamal Branch got more Jamal Branch: 4 points, 3 turnovers, 2 assists. Fans who have not been clamoring for more Jamal Branch got indigestion … Three reserves had a total of one rebound and no points in a combined 15 minutes
NOTES: What’s below is a comparison of field goal attempts between last year’s team and this. FGA is number of attempts and the percentage that number comprises of the total. FG% is efficiency. So for example in the first row Harrison took 443 shots, which comprised 23 percent of the total, of which he made 38 percent.
2103 FGA FG%
DH 443 = 23 .38
RJ 240 = .12 .42
PG 226 = .12 .40
DP 153 = .07 .44
CO 96 = .05 .56
JS 366 = .19 .50
OS 180 = .10 .51
DH 173 = .23 .45
RJ 133 = .18 .44
PG 154 = .21 .38
DP 101 = .14 .55
CO 75 = .10 .46
Being replaced are JS and OS, who contributed 30 percent of the shot attempts and made 50 percent. The numbers show that:
* Pointer has doubled his attacks and improved his efficiency by a quarter.
* Harrison is taking the same number of shots and making them at a higher percentage.
* Jordan has increased his attacks by a third and his productivity marginally.
* Obekpa’s efficiency has dropped as his attacks have increase, which makes sense, as last year his baskets were put backs and dump offs whereas this year he looks for his shot
* Phil Greene is taking nearly twice as many shots this year as last and is marginally less efficiently than his usual marginal efficiency.
Can you spot the weak link?
… Butler alumni include Bobby Plump, the high school player upon whom Jimmy Chitwood’s character in Hoosiers was based. And speaking of high scorers, Butler University was also the alma mater of the Reverend Jim Jones, the son of an Indiana Klansman who founded the Peoples Temple and who before 9-11 held the record for mass murder of US citizens, achieving over a thousand in Guyana. Mostly nowadays we think of the Klan as a bunch of linthead clowns in goofy sheets, but in the early part of the twentieth century it was a powerful political organization that provided an ideological home to many prominent democratic politicians, Robert Byrd, Bull Connor, and Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black among them. In Indiana in the twenties, when Jones father was a member, a third of white male voters in the state were Klan members. It was only after the rape and cannibalization of an Aryan schoolmarm by the Indiana Grand Klagon DC Stephenson that the KKK’s popularity waned … Butler University is named for Ovid Butler, an abolitionist, who, despite his name, was a lawyer not a manservant. Had he been he would have joined an illustrious pantheon: Alfred Pennyworth, servant of Bruce Wayne; Edmund Blackadder, butler to the Prince of Wales; Giles French, valet to Uncle Bill; the eponymous Benson; Reginald Jeeves, dog’s body to Bertie Wooster; Kato and Cato, who served the Green Hornet and Inspector Clouseau respectively; and Lurch, who attended the Addams Family. Although a longstanding rumor postulated that Lurch was played by former Saint John’s center Sean Muto the character was actually portrayed by a different college basketball player, 6’9″ Ted Cassidy, who averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds in three seasons for the Stetson Hatters in the 50s. (Cassidy also played Thing.) After The Addams Family ended Cassidy went on to a storied Hollywood career, the high point of which was getting kicked in the balls by Paul Newman in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.