Tag Archives: providence



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


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.