Tag Archives: pat driscoll

It’s About Time

St John’s defeated DePaul 77-76 in Chicago – or as Pete Gillen would say and did, several times, the Windy City! Chicago! Illinois! – Wednesday night, their fourth straight victory and second in a row on the road. (I thought that last factoid might have been something but they won three in a row on the road last December, @ Tulane, Syracuse and DePaul, so never mind.) Despite winning four in a row they’re still in last place, but assuming that DePaul loses to Seton Hall in New Jersey on Saturday SJU will leap into ninth. Excelsior … For most of it this didn’t look like a win. DePaul would spurt ahead, St John’s would nearly catch them but not quite and then DePaul would spurt ahead again

And in fact DePaul was up four 69-65 with four and a half minutes left when Ponds’ six points and an assist keyed a 10-2 run that put it away for the good guys … Last time I mentioned snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Case in point last night when a DePaul three at the buzzer made those who’d given the points losers: DePaul went off plus one and a half. I don’t bet college basketball much but when I do I eschew statistical analysis and advanced analytics (I don’t understand math) and instead base my selection on two factors: which team has the more powerful mascot (Demons > weather) and which color is more appealing (blue > red). Those of you who gave the points might want to take that to the bank next time: weather > eagles and red > yellow … St John’s won last night despite the presence of the appalling Pat Driscoll, the worst referee in college basketball. And in fact Driscoll gave them I thought a bit of a gift on a questionable charge that Tariq Owens drew late, which sure looked to me like a block. And I suspect it would have looked to Driscoll like a block if St John’s had been playing Villanova or Xavier …. Ponds continued his unconscious streak: 26 points on 10 for 18 from the floor plus ten assists. The main beneficiary of the latter was Marvin Clark, who had a career high 24 points and six rebounds. He’s averaging six of those a game over his last four, which not coincidentally corresponds to SJ’s winning streak. Simon had 16 points, three rebounds and three assists, which considering how he’s been playing lately seems a tad disappointing. Stiff defense by Tariq Owens held some Eastern European lummox called Marin Maric to a double double, although to his credit Owens made what turned out to be the game winning free throw. Bashir Ahmed had as many turnovers as points and once again Trimble didn’t embarrass himself. And someone called Kassoum Yakwe played two minutes to little effect, he must be a walk on because I vaguely remember his name but don’t recall seeing it in the box score recently …. The play by play guy was someone called Carter Blackburn, which sounds like the name of a character in a Tom Wolfe novel and Pete Gillen, who sounded like an idiot. Gillen babbled incessantly and mostly incoherently, to the point where missus fun wondered whether he was “all coked up.” I told her no, he probably just had an extra bottle of wine at dinner considering the late start. He repeated ad nauseum that Chicago! is called the Windy City! and is in Illinois! and that Sharmorie Ponds played for Thomas Jefferson High! in Brooklyn! New York! and there was for my taste way too much Glory Days talk about his erstwhile coaching career, the upshot of which is that teams he coached – Xavier, Providence and Virginia – tended to achieve better results after he left than while he was there. Most egregiously Gillen does not seem to understand the concept of time. With four minutes left in the first half he said that there was “Plenty of time left in this contest.” Okay, fair enough. Twenty four minutes later, with 34 seconds left in the game he said that there’s “Still a long way to go,” which seems longer than plenty of time, and then with less than three seconds left he said there’s “2.8 seconds, still an eternity,” which an eternity is certainly longer than either of those. If you took him at his word you’d think the game was getting longer as more and more time ticked off the clock and in fact now that it’s been over for 12 hours it still might be going on.

In an odd confluence game day was both Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday – odd because the former holiday celebrates carnality and concupiscence and the latter repentance and mortification of the flesh. Valentine’s day is named for Valentinus, a Christian priest decapitated by the Emperor Claudius in the third century, which separation of skull and torso allegedly occurred on February 14th. (This explains why the giving of head is a traditional Valentine’s Day gift.) That a 2000 year old decapitation came to be associated with modern romance is also odd, but associated it is: traditionally February 14th features exchanges of gifts between lovers and especially flowers, which makes a perverse sort of sense, as bouquets of flowers, being themselves an aggregation of severed sexual organs, are delivered to females by males castrated by monogamy and Hallmark. Ash Wednesday on the other hand marks the beginning of Lent, a period of atonement in which the Catholic faithful emulate the deprivations suffered by the Baby Jesus during his 40-day sojourn in the desert, from which he emerged triumphant, having three times resisted Lucifer’s entreaties,  foreshadowing Peter’s failure to do likewise after the crucifixion. In the Catholic tradition the faithful mark the Lenten period by forgoing sensual pleasures, which eschewment is meant to cleanse the spirit in anticipation of the resurrection. I’m a bit fallen away now – in the same way that Oprah is a bit fat – but Lent was a big deal in our household growing up. My father for example gave up smoking for 40 days – he smoked every Sunday though, because during Lent the Sundays don’t count – and promptly resumed Easter morning.

(Pater was a Lucky Strike man.

Talk about your truth in advertising: his throat was devoid of tumors when he died of cancer.)

No doubt my mother gave up something as well, although with her you could never be sure, because she was something of a duplicitous bitch. As youngsters my siblings and I too we were encouraged to give up childish pleasures, at first candy and sweets and cookies and later as we got older masturbation and Southern Comfort. Either way Lenten Sundays were sticky affairs in my parents house growing up.

Not for nothing but there are some St John’s fans whose souls could use a little cleansing this holy season. A few suggestions. If you’re one of those guys I see sitting in the stands sitting on your hands in Alumni hall whose pendulous man tits are dangerously close to bursting through your thread-worn red and white sweaters, consider giving up donuts. If you’re one of those chronic malcontents who sign on daily to St John’s fan forums and whine incessantly and tediously about every little thing that pops into your tiny little brains, maybe give up whining like little bitches. If you’re one of those people who insists on putting mayonnaise on lobster, consider eschewing mayonnaise and try a nice Bearnaise sauce instead. If you’re a plagiarist, consider writing your own jokes, and failing that, hang yourself. And if you’re a cunt, maybe consider not being a cunt. Me, I’m going to give up vodka, starting …. April Fool’s Day

Sink Or Swimsuit

Many of you have written over the last several weeks asking what gives and where I’ve been. And I’m not even making that up, as is my wont. In tweets, emails and comments you’ve asked fun, where for art thou: another season has come to naught and our beloved St John’s basketball program is in danger of foundering upon the rocks. At this our darkest hour we need you now more than ever. Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani.

Well look. In the first place if you’re looking to me for solace you’re bound to be disappointed. I don’t like too many of you to begin with and anyway I don’t do sympathy. But more importantly, what am I supposed to say? Saint John’s dropped their eleventh in a row Tuesday night to number six Xavier and then rehash the box score and takes a couple of jabs at stupid Steve Lavin? I don’t think so. Been there, done that. Neither is there anything that novel about this season: I’ve sat through close losses and blow outs and catastrophe before (Kevin Clarke to the white courtesy telephone). I can barely work up the energy to shrug. It’s a sign of how inured to it all I’ve become that not even the loathing and contempt I feel for many sad plonker St John’s fans raises in me enough bile to call them cunts. The relentless faggotry of the Mullin-must-go crowd, impotently regurgitating the same shopworn self-important pablum. The inept exhortations from pointless losers to email the school president, threatening to boycott the concession stand unless their demands are met. Not even the sad sack serial plagiarist, parroting my pet phrases, droning on humorlessly about watching milk fed Midwestern lummoxes on the telly with his boon companion. None of it gets a rise out of me. (Although I think we can all agree that plagiarist guy is a cunt.) It does not move me, not enough to write about it anyway.

You want solace? Here it is, and I paraphrase something I wrote a few weeks ago: We will all soon enough be cold dead in the ground, our suffering at an end, lying fallow in boneyards overgrown with weeds, forgotten by our friends and family, nourishment for maggots and weevils, and the world will get on quite all right without us. That’s what I got for solace. I hope it made you feel better.

As to the basketball team, I paraphrase myself again:

Jamaica is where coaching careers come to die. Every coach post Mahoney has come to SJ on the come and each of them has flamed out spectacularly. Bonehead Mike Jarvis was the most successful coach St John’s has had since Louie and he left the program disgraced and on probation. Fran was a tortured little dwarf who spent his tenure waving his shriveled white cock in his players faces. Norm was, charitably, inept. And stupid Steve Lavin was mentally ill and an abomination.

The point is that SJU is not a good job. The facilities are antediluvian, the fan base sucks – that’s right, I’m talking to you, you suck – and Jamaica is a shithole. If Mullin fails – and I give him a mulligan for this year, pre Lovett he was on an NIT trajectory which is all that anyone other than the most delusional fan would have expected – no one with a brain would take it, unless they pay some over achieving mid major dope like Will Brown – imagine, people are pining for Will Browne, that’d be the Will Brown who was 32 and 72 in his first four years in the mighty America East. Will Browne versus Jay Wright and Doug McDermott’s father, can you imagine the carnage – four or five times his present salary to come disappear in the Bermuda Triangle of coaching, never to be seen or heard from again. Me, I’ve already registered FireTimCluess.com with network solutions and am looking forward to the ad revenue. Because this blog doesn’t generate shit for me. It’s barely worth the write off. (Write off, geddit?).

The fact is that things look worse than they are. If they’d won a couple three games they could have it wouldn’t look so bad. Lavin’s last year – the year he finally managed to make the tournament without Norm’s players – he lost to Butler by 25 on the road. Nobody remembers that, but they wail and gnash their teeth about what happened in Indiana last week. That’s not to minimize the disaster this season has been, but to put it in perspective. Considering the roster – a roster on which Amar Alibegowitz is expected to contribute – hell, they might be over achieving. I mean, they’ve lost to six ranked teams by a combined 38 points; they’ve played two and a half bad games out of 23. Nobody’s murdered anyone, no one’s raped anyone, no one’s punched anyone. Which on the one hand is a pretty low bar, but on the other one that a bunch of Mullin’s predecessor couldn’t jump over. So yeah, they’re not winning games, but they’re not embarrassing themselves either – and if you’re embarrassed, you’re a mouth breather. If Mullin sucked as much as the perpetually disgruntled believe he’d have lost the team a long time ago. Which he hasn’t. Which is to say, it’s not a basketball acumen issue, it’s a talent issue.

Mullin – especially Mullin – doesn’t deserved to be fired two years (no rational person would count his first year) into a six year contract and even if the wanted to they can’t afford it and even if they could afford it they couldn’t afford to hire anyone who’d make them immediately relevant, e.g. the whore monger Rick Pitino, who was making seven million at Louisville which is like 11 million in NYC. Other than hoping that Mullin turns things around there are no good alternatives. Which is why I hope he does … A couple quick notes. Tariq Owens stage mother Honey Boo Boo Renard (his Twitter profile says he’s a proud dad who’s “currently … getting money”) tweeted this week that his son deserves 15 shots a game and that “If I was Tariq I would shoot every time I touch the ball no matter what.” Tariq responded by going for no points and two rebounds versus Xavier, goal tending what turned out to be the winning basket and travelling on SJ’s final possession. Fortunately for Tariq Miss Congeniality is still in play, because with his body he’s not winning the swim suit competition … Apropos of nothing, I never noticed Chris Mack’s nose before, which is surprising, because it’s enormous. In fact:

Separated at birth?

… Speaking of dopey Steve Lavin, his mother passed last week. Condolences to him and his family. That said, how many weeks of half time shows do you think he’ll miss sitting Shiva? At first I figured he’d be out until Memorial Day but then it occurred to me that he’d much rather mourn on television. Now my guess is he shows up for the Dewk game in a black hat, veil and dark glasses looking like Jackie Kennedy … Finally, the refs sucked, especially Pat Driscoll, who has inherited the worst referee in basketball mantle from stupid drunk Jim Burr. There was a telling moment in the first half: Mullin was talking to Driscoll directly in front of the SJ bench; Driscoll said something to him and Mullin looked down at his feet with an incredulous look on his face. Clearly Driscoll said something to him about being out of the coaching box – I couldn’t tell exactly what he said, my view was obscured by JP Mascara’s cock, which was firmly lodged in Driscoll’s throat – which if Mullin was out of the box he wasn’t far out of the box. Can anyone imagine Driscoll saying the same thing to classy Jay Wright or his hometown boy Jim Boeheim? Because I can’t. If you recall Driscoll is the same guy who called a foul on Shamorie Ponds a couple of weeks ago when a Nova player climbed up his back like a Sherpa scaling Mount Everest. Probably Driscoll’s not on the take, but that doesn’t make his behavior any less egregious.

Master Baiting

I talked over the last couple of recaps about the emotions the season has engendered, first hope, then anger, then disquiet. I’m pleased to announce that I’ve reached nirvana, having achieved in one short week the same sort of Zen state I had when Norm was coaching, when I knew that almost everything that could go wrong was going to and that very little of what might turn out right would. Which is why despite being on the short end of the score I very much enjoyed watching St John’s lose 78-71 to #1 Villanova Saturday night at Madison Square Garden. Because a good game well played is at this point all you can ask for. I mean sure, did I curse the referees when down six late Shamorie Ponds was called for a foul when a Villanova player climbed up his back and fell on top of him? Of course I did and Pat Driscoll should be ashamed of himself. Did I curse that albino freak Dante Di whatever every time time he made a three? Of course I did. But here’s the thing: if you have no expectations you can’t be disappointed and so I wasn’t. Onward and downward and it’s only a couple of months to the Derby … Speaking of the shitty referees, St John’s was once again on the short end of the free throw differential, and once again by just about the margin of victory. It’s getting harder and harder to believe that this is coincidence. Consider: Shamorie Ponds took 28 shots, most of them in traffic going to the basket. He took eight free throws. Albino boy (“the moors did so much fucking with Sicilian women … that they changed the bloodlines forever”) took 11 shots, 9 of them threes, and he took six free throws. Look:

Is that possible? Sure, if you’re skeptical enough almost everything’s possible. Is it probable? Let’s say it’s pretty unlikely. Now introduce the sort of bias that allowed Villanova to play an entire game earlier this year without committing a single foul. All of a sudden it seems inevitable …. Games against Villanova allow St John’s fans to wax eloquent about Jay Wright – or I like to think of him, Mike Schrewshrensky II – and what might have been, how classy he is and what a great dresser and so on. My own opinion is fuck Jay Wright, he’s a cunt. In the first place rest assured that if he had come to Jamaica, the Bermuda triangle of coaching, he’d have self destructed as spectacularly as all the other sure fire winners this school has chewed up and spit out. And as to the rest of it, he swears at the refs with impunity, dresses like a dance instructor at a Miami Beach Arthur Murray Studio, and if I were him I’d get that mole under my eye looked at, because if it gets any bigger its going to need its own zip code. Fuck Jay Wright, I hope he gets hit by a bus … No point in rehashing the box score. Ponds was spectacular, everyone else not so much. Yakwe had a couple three nice pick and rolls early – he managed to catch the ball and gathered himself and finished but wasn’t seen from much again. Trimble seems to have shaken off his mini shooting slump and is a sneaky good rebounder. The rest of them were somewhere between awful (Alibegowitz) and ineffectual (Simon) … … The game was shown for some reason on the Fox Business Network, and their coverage was about as good as would be the daily market round up if it was hosted by that bald dope Tony Kornheiser. I don’t know if any of you paid attention to the scroll at the bottom but if it was to be believed Saturday was a busy night in the NFL. The scroll reported these games as on going:

Arizona – Seattle
Carolina – Seattle
Minnesota – Seattle
Carolina – New Orleans
San Francisco – Carolina
San Francisco – Los Angeles
Minnesota – New Orleans

Each was tied zero zero in the first quarter except Minnesota – New Orleans. That one was a burn burner that the Saints led 6-2, the game featuring evidently four safetys .. And finally the elephant in the room. Conspicuously absent from the bench was Marcus Lovett, and good riddance. There’s a lot to complain about this year but if this is the aftermath of the Lovett situation, then this isn’t one of them: Sure Marcus, of course you can keep your scholarship and take advantage of the school’s facilities but don’t come around the team, because you’re not part of it, because you’re a quitter. Just the right balance of of christian charity and contempt. It’s too bad Marcus doesn’t have, say, Andre Stanley’s heart, he might actually have had a chance to play in the NBA. Speaking of the apple not falling far from the tree, Marcus’s father, also called Marcus, was a stand out basketball player at NAIA basketball dynasty Oklahoma City University before leaving the team in midseason, although in senior’s case he flunked out. Evidently he managed to meet the university’s rigid academic standards – the sports teams had at that time a 27 percent graduation rate – when taking electives such as Fishing and Angling, Beginning Volleyball, Beginning Golf, Intramural and Recreation Programs and Walking and Jogging (three As, a B and a C), but faltered with his core requirements. At which point he did what every red blooded American does when confronted with his own shortcomings: claiming that he was being discriminated against, he sued the university, during the course of which suit it was revealed that Marcus Sr. has an IQ of 91 (which is towards the low end of average) and suffers from attention deficit disorder. The latter perhaps explains why Marcus Jr has attended five different schools in seven academic years and the former why his father isn’t smart enough to realize how badly he’s mismanaged his son’s career.

Thank God Almighty I’m Free Throw At Last

GAME: Xavier defeated Saint John’s 97-82 Saturday afternoon in Cincinnati, in a game so atrocious that I can barely bring myself to write about it. It wasn’t the game itself. I mean, sure, Saint John’s sucked but they’ve sucked before and in fact most of the time the more they suck the more entertaining I am. And Xavier put on a clinic that probably I’d have enjoyed if I was on the other side of it. They looked to me like the best team we’ve played all year even taking into consideration the competition. What made the game nearly unwatchable was the officiating. Pat Driscoll – who until recently earned nearly $130,000 a year as full time director of a youth program in Syracuse while simultaneously refereeing 70 basketball games between November and March which seems nearly impossible – and crew called 47 fouls – that’s a foul every 51 seconds for 40 minutes; combined SJU and XU took 57 free throws; and both teams were in the bonus in both halves, at the 12 minute mark in the first and the eight minute mark in the second. By way of comparison, last week versus Creighton Saint John’s didn’t take a free throw until 12:39 in the second half; today there were four offensive fouls called in the first two minutes. And it’s not like this was a particularly physical game: of the 100 or so field goals the two teams took combined about 50 of them were threes. There was no chippy play, there were no particularly hard fouls, and for their part Saint John’s barely played defense. So the game was essentially two hours of bird calls and commercials interrupted by the occasional dunk. Colorman Colorperson Stephen Brando noted that the head of officials was in the arena and maybe that had something to do with it but all in all it really was just stupid and disgusting and a big waste of my time. And I still have the Lion game to look forward to this evening. It’s a shame Aqueduct’s card got snowed out I would have hit the trifecta of suck … Last recap rather than rehashing the box score I used a graphic to demonstrate how lopsided the game was, which turned out to be a real time saver so I’m going to do it again.

Once again Saint John’s is the red line, and what you see is eerily like last game. Other than a 16-1 first half run that put them briefly in the lead they spent most of the game behind and by quite a bit. In fact no sooner had I written “SJU 16-1 run not going to last but fun while it does” in my notes Xavier went on a 12-0 run that turned into a 36-9 run that turned into a 45-21 run that might have been worse had not Saint John’s ended the half of a 7-0 mini run to pull within 15 at the break. The rest of it was dead even and dead boring except perhaps for those greedy optimists among you who took the 14 points … Xavier shot 60 percent from the floor and nearly 50 percent from three and frankly that seems a little low, because they did not seem to miss; Saint John’s was at 40 and 40 but if you take Lovett and Ponds out they were 9 of 40 from the floor and 3 of 13 from three and that’s not going to beat Xavier’s women’s team. The bright side if there is one is 15 assists on 26 made field goals and 20 of 25 from the free throw line … Nothing Mullin could do about it because SJU was just over-matched but there were some extremely peculiar line ups from time to time: in both halves for example Missini, Alibegiwitz and Freudenburgh were on on the floor simultaneously, which unless that’s supposed to be some sort of reenactment of the Axis advance into the Ardennes in the summer of 1939 does not seem like much of a good idea. Those three probably shouldn’t be on the floor at all, much less together. Maybe there’s a method in the madness or maybe it was the fouls but it was passing strange … So two and two sixth place and oh and four Georgetown up next on the road. I’m not sanguine but John Thompson III is the worst so anything is possible

PLAYERS: Marcus Lovett had a career high 32 points: 10 of 14 from the floor, 4 of 7 from three and 8 of 8 from the free throw line and Ponds had 21 points and seven rebounds, albeit mostly when the game was already over. The rest of them don’t deserve mention and yet I persevere … Owens had six points and four rebounds … Ahmed was 3 of 12 from the floor … The best thing Ellison did all day was foul out … Yawke scored no points. Again … Freudenburg also scored no points but he has an excuse: he stinks … Alibegovitch had six rebounds, which is six more than I thought … With about 5 minutes to go and Saint John’s down about a thousand I turned to long suffering Missus Fun and said: wake up toots, it’s Missini time. She scooted to the edge of her seat and was immediately rewarded by a dagger three that pulled Saint John’s within 997. Missini was oh for otherwise and made a spectacle of himself chasing Edmond Sumner around the court in what I can only imagine was intended as a parody of a college basketball player playing defense. For the record Saint John’s is now oh and two since his return … Forgetting someone, oh yeah Darien Williams

NOTES: I received not one not two but three messages this week from helpful readers informing me that all this time I’ve been spelling Saint John’s wrong: I’ve been spelling out the s-a-i-n-t bit whereas evidently the official name is St. John’s, that is capital S, small t, period. My initial reaction – as usual the uncharitable one – was first to wonder what sort of a fucking moron spell checks some else’s blog and second to wonder why if that moron was so concerned with spelling he attended a shitty commuter school in Queens. But as I said that was uncharitable. The truth is that I frankly had no idea. Upon reflection I’m surprised that a school that’s so bad at marketing that it has to refer to itself as STJ because Saint Joseph’s in Philadelphia owns the online trademark rights to SJU would have the gall to even have an official spelling. So anyway I’ve decided to continue calling it whatever I want but what I won’t ever call it is St. John’s, because screw those guys … From the not the onion files and speaking of guys – or at least what used to be guys – Frederick Douglass High School in Fayetteville Kentucky announced this week that due to community pressure they’ll be replacing their team mascot, the stallion, because it’s not “inclusive enough.” The issue it seems is that not only “stallion” a term for a male horse that has not been castrated but is also slang for a “powerful and virile man.” So this is what we have come to in postmodern America: it is no longer politically correct to be a male with a functioning cock and balls, because testosterone is offensive. Fans of irony will appreciate that Frederick Douglass was himself something of a powerful man: he escaped from slavery and afterwards was amongst many other things influential in its abolition and if his five children are any indication he seems to have been able to maintain an erection. Perhaps soon the Musketeers – manly men brandishing phallic symbols – will become the Mouseketeers and the Providence Friars the Providence Nuns and Valparaiso Crusaders the Mamalukes lest we offend our Muslim friends. We can only hope, because only then will there truly be justice. Anyway some clever wag has started a petition to change the mascot’s name from stallion to scallion and I’d suggest you scurry over to sign it as I have several times


… This is the second year in a row where I’ve missed Lou’s birthday: he turned 92 two days ago. I grew up watching Lou coach and his unparalleled record of post season futility convinced me pretty early on that the game had passed him by – which it had – but at the same time that frustration blinded me to what an extraordinary career he actually had and considering the conga line of losers and buffoons who followed him it makes me wish I’d been a little more appreciative back then. So happy birthday Lou and returns on the day.