Tag Archives: wojo

Mass Marquette Fiction

I wrote yesterday an essay about St John’s 86-78 victory over the Marquette Floor Slapping Dopes 86-78 at Carnesecca Arena Saturday afternoon, noting that it was their third straight win and that the victory moved St John’s back to .500 for the year and vaulted them to within one game of 9th place DePaul in the Big East standings. It’s fortunate that I didn’t post it yesterday afternoon, because in light of morning it turns out that most of it was unreadable. I don’t mean it was garbled, like my notes sometimes are the morning after I’ve been making bubbles in a bottle of spirits, but garbage, like I hadn’t written it, like some untalented unclever hack had broken into my house and pounded out a couple thousand words on my office desktop. It was a half-assed fully-contrived hackneyed mess and I’m embarrassed to have written it.

I had an exchange with a Mullin hating fan a couple of months ago and his take was that Mullin was not prepared for his job because coaching is hard. At first I thought he meant hard as in difficult, which how difficult can it be if cretins like Bobby Knight and Jim Boeheim are good at it. I think it fair to say that coaching doesn’t require much brain power. But no he said, he meant hard as in hard work, that it was grueling and tedious and unrewarding. That seems to me wrong as well, although not quite as wrong. I mean, I can see the drawbacks – you have to be around children and children are disgusting selfish little disease vectors and even the brightest nine year old is dumber than a dumb dog – but coaching little league or CYO can’t compare to being a gravedigger or a roofer or any other type of donkeywork in terms of being grueling and tedious and unrewarding. You can do it sitting down on the scorer’s table while wearing sweats and a hoodie and you get paid whether your team wins or loses or whether your students learn or don’t and you get the summers off. Seems like a pretty sweet deal to me.

You know what’s hard, I mean really hard? Staring at a blank piece of paper knowing that it you don’t fill it with words you don’t get paid and the rent’s due in a week. That’s hard. Which is why I learned a long time ago that sometimes it doesn’t matter what you write, it matters that you write: that starting to type is half the battle. I never suffered from writer’s block because I couldn’t afford to. Effete poseurs and housewife novelists can afford to be tortured artists waiting for their muse to come in but if you write for money you just have to write. And maybe that’s what I did yesterday. Maybe I felt obligated to churn out another one of these stupid essays and so phoned one in. Or maybe some days I’m just a hack, just like everyone else is most days. I don’t know. But anyway the point is that what I wrote was trash and it got dele-ed and I’m happier for it. To the extent that I made any points worth considering here’s the crib notes version:

* winning was good because after the last two it was important for them to protect their home court

* Shamorie Ponds is potentially the best basketball player St John’s has ever had but it’s unlikely he’ll be around long enough for us to see it; Simon is also very good but he need to practice his free throw shooting and he stinks is at in-bounding the ball, please let someone else do it; Clark can evidently rebound when he feels like and so can Ahmed

* hopefully Marcus Lovett is dying a little inside watching his team mates win without him

* the refs sucked, especially this guy

* Wojo is a shitty coach and sweats a lot and recruits an awful lot of white players, just saying

* Steve Lavin still sucks

There was only one vaguely interesting paragraph, which I append, unredacted, as a form of self flagellation

On February 10, 1964 Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan released his third record, The Times They Are a Changin’, which seemed apropos to mention, St John’s today having achieved their third straight win. Dylan has the distinction of being both the best and worst song writer of his generation: for every Positively Fourth Street and and Like a Rolling Stone he wrote he penned half a dozen Hey Mr Tambourine Mans and Lay Lady Lays and Shelters From The Storm and similar dogs, many of which are featured on The Times, which is pretty much an awful record. The title track, perfectly encapsulating as it does the puerile philosophy of Dylan and his insipid hippie cohort was not surprisingly covered by every half a fag hack with six minutes to fill in a live show. I plowed through inter alia looking for a suitable version to post – even as sadistic as I am I wouldn’t subject you to Dylan’s caterwauling – Billy Bragg, Tracy Chapman, Flogging Molly, The Searchers, Bryan Ferry, the appalling James Taylor, Peter Paul and Moron, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Eddie Vedder, Richie Havens, Chris Cornell (even he couldn’t save it), Joan Baez, Phil Collins, and pope-hater Sinead O’Connor, each of them worst than the last; even the great Richie Blackmore’s version is enough to make you throw up in your mouth a little. I finally gave up. Instead of that have a listen to this, which contemplates how quickly defeat can be plucked from the jaws of victory:

Foul Play

Al Bundy gun to head 1

I went yesterday afternoon to meet with my accountant Sol to go over the final figures for the 2015 tax year and to sign the various forms and checks and the fucking I got from New York State and the Internal Revenue Service was less vigorous than the one Saint John’s got Wednesday night on their alleged home court Madison Square Garden in a 101-93 first round BE tournament loss. Let’s skip the jokes and trenchant commentary and go directly to the box score:

FG percentage was even, 54 vs 55.

3 point percentage was even, 50 vs 50.

Rebounds were even, 28 vs 27.

Turnovers were about even, 17 vs 14.

What wasn’t even? Free throws. Marquette took 43 and Saint John’s 23. And that was the difference in the game. Marquette scored 20 points in the last seven minutes, on two field goals. Things were so egregious that the usually go-along get-along Gus Johnson described the officiating as “terrible” and wondered how Saint John’s was going to be able to play defense if they could not use their hands. Official lickspittle of the Big East Bill Raftery thought the refs did a swell job, but he hasn’t disagreed with a call since Nero was given a flagrant one for kicking his pregnant sister in the stomach. As for me, I flashed back to the rigorous rogerings Lou used to get regularly in the post season, and seeing that floor slapping dope Wojowhatever on the side line didn’t help … Speaking of Wojo, he’s so pinguid that his upper lip was beaded with sweat during the pregame interview and by the first TV time out his shirt was festooned with half-moons of perspiration that would have made Al Bundy blush. Hey stupid, it’s called antiperspirant, try it … Oh well. It’s not like they were going to make a run and there is some solace in the fact that they played hard when they could have rolled over. Wait till next year bums

PLAYERS: I figured yesterday afternoon that SJ would get the snot kicked out them yesterday night and so after meeting with Sol wrote some end of season stuff that I figured to post instead of the normal PLAYERS section I usually include. That follows. I did though want to note that Chris Jones had a spectacular 29 points and 7 rebounds and to shout out a hearty fuck you to one particular poster who spent much of the early season maintaining that Jones did not have the makings of a BE player. Seems that dope was wrong, once again. A person has to work pretty hard to know so little about so much. That or maybe he’s just very very stupid.

Final season grades, on a curve. A is outstanding, C is average, F blows.

Yawke: B Somebody had to get a good grade. For most of the season he held his own against guys bigger stronger and older than him – once again, he should still be in high school. Needs to develop a midrange jump shot and do some curls. The sky – which incidentally he can touch from a standing leap – is the limit.

Jones: C + Almost a B minus, just because no one expected anything of him. One rebound shy of four double doubles. Has only two moves, a jab step step-back jumper and a spin thing in the lane but seemingly they’re hard to defend. Not a world beater but hopefully he comes back for his senior year. This is a program that needs some continuity.

Johnson C+. By far the best offensive player on an offensively  challenged team. Got better as the year went on and the rust wore off. If he were white the Red and White Club would have been slobbering over his play instead of drooling on their sweaters. Not being white, he became their bete noire.

Sima C. He was probably a C + before his injury and a C minus afterwards, so I rounded. Not the defensive force or rebounder he seems he should be and his shot selection is atrocious and the shots themselves dangerous to anyone in the vicinity. Still, you can’t teach 6’11” and he’s only 19.

Ellison C. Was awful the first half of the season and merely atrocious the second half. Too confident for his own good. Hopefully over time his skills grow into his opinion of his skills. Has to learn to shoot, doesn’t defend anyone, and loafs back on defense after his frequent turnovers. OTOH nice size, good body, and a basketball pedigree. He is the advertisement for the old saw that the best thing about freshmen is that they become sophomores.

Mvouika C Was ill suited for the role he was thrust into, that of a Division One basketball player. Probably would have been a nice bench player on a good team – he shot nearly 40 percent from 3 and is a very good rebounder when he wants to be – although he wouldn’t have been on a good team. On the other hand he’s an awful defender and whines constantly. The faster he fades into the mists of my memory the better. Au revoir.

Alibegovic C-. Makes a great play one minute and an absurd one the next. Unfortunately there are more of the latter minutes than the former. If he’s going to be a stretch four he needs to learn to make threes and even if he’s not he needs to learn to rebound, there’s no point to being 6’10” otherwise. If the Freudenberg kid is any good I don’t see where his minutes come from next year as they seem to be the same player. His toadstool hairdo is one of the stupidest to ever adorn a SJU player, which is saying a lot. Still on schedule to graduate as the best white player at SJU since Bob Werdan.

Mussini C- The latest great white hope – one delusional racist called him the best shooter SJU had seen since Chris Mullin – went from a legend in November to an afterthought in February. He’s as tall as Frankie Alagia, as quick as Billy Singleton, jumps as high as Sean Muto and shoots threes as well as Avery Patterson. Doctor Frankenstein couldn’t work with those parts. He is though a freshman and he-a seems-a like-a he’s a nice-a boy. A good FT shooter, gets to the basket and has sneaky fast hands in the passing lane. Hopefully he works hard on his game in the off season and grows half a foot

Balamou C –. Tough call here as Felix got screwed out of a  year by Lavin, who only recruited him because he was Obekpa’s buddy anyway. Unfortunately for Felix I am not much of a sentimentalist. Got to the basket really well and threw some nice passes inside. Unfortunately he did everything else poorly and had the ugliest jump shot in Division One. Like Mvouika he was an appalling defender and a whiny little bitch and like Lavin’s other leftovers it’s a shame he got no floor time over the past several years because he seems like he could have developed into a nice player if his opportunist of a coach had given the opportunity.

Mullin C. Some would argue that this year was an incomplete but he did in fact coach and this was nothing more than an average coaching debut. I do agree that you can’t judge anything by the results he achieved this year. You could have sewn Pete Carill’s head onto John Wooden’s body and attached Schrewshrinksy’s whiskers and tail and nothing would have changed. It seemed to me mostly like Chris Mullin spent much of the year waiting around for players to arrive who were good enough at basketball to learn basketball from Chris Mullin. If scouting reports are to be believed, they are on the way. As to the rest of it, where he sat, and whether he crossed his legs and how much he talked or didn’t talk in the huddle, most of that came from rubes still enamored with dopey Steve Lavin and I have no time for the idiotic opinions of imbeciles like that. Chris Mullin has never failed at basketball before and it seems to me that he did not return to Saint John’s to start now. In his short tenure he has assembled a killer staff and a couple of good recruiting classes. Next year the basketball begins. As jaded as I am – and I am at this point so cynical that I don’t even trust my own skepticism – I remain pretty not pessimistic about things moving forward.

NOTES: Since this is the last of these till next year and maybe forever I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to once again call Steve Lavin a repulsive unctuous fuckhead. Because that never gets old. Last night Lavin, who last year described himself as “a poor conference tournament coach” after going 1-5 at Saint John’s in five years, sat at half court explaining what the coaches who did not get fired for being miserable cretinous failures would have to do to succeed where he repeatedly had not. A more self-aware individual would have felt chagrin or shame, but walking bobble head that he is Lavin sat there with a stupid self-satisfied grin balanced above his multiple pasta chins. So for the final time this year, a hearty fuck you to Steve Lavin, one of the worst human beings who ever lived … So yeah, that’s that: another losing basketball season closer to death. This is now my third or fourth year of writing these dopey things and looking back no, I don’t think at all that I’ve been wasting my time. I mean sure, I could have been applying my genius to curing cancer or working to effect world peace but where’s the satisfaction in that. There is none, because no one deserves anything, much less everything. Quite the contrary: my sincerest hope is that you all win the Powerball, just seconds before a nuclear war eradicates every vestige of life on earth just ahead of its destruction by an asteroid. LOL, just kidding, not all life, I hope the bugs survive. Because let’s face it: we are you and I meaningless carbon based life forms on a small rock hurtling through an infinite and uncaring universe, whose petty hopes and desires are a cosmic joke created by a god who doesn’t exist. So I cannot help but think that my time was just as well spent as anything else chronicling the pathetic doings of a sad sack basketball program that has not won anything ever, for a small group of readers, most of whom either didn’t understand what I was saying, or didn’t care, and maybe a couple who got the joke, and not just because I managed to remain pretty much shit faced the whole time. That in fact seems to me to be a life pretty well and fully lived. So thanks for reading and see you next year. Unless one of us has the good fortune to die.


Wojo Is Me


Saint Johns dropped their 4th straight to start the Big East season 81-75 at Marquette Saturday afternoon. The last thing I want to be doing on Sunday morning afterwards is phoning in another one of these dopey essays. Because in the aftermath there isn’t really anything for me to complain about and let’s face kvetching is what I do best. During the previous regime when they lost or even when they didn’t I could always find fault in something Lavin did or didn’t do or his clothing or how much make up he wore or the stupid things he invariably said after the game and even if all that was unavailing Chris Obekpa would have grinned like an idiot after elbowing some poor defenseless bastard in the back of the head or Phil Greene would have shot 2 for 13 from the floor and I would have been off to the races. Now though none of the players who are even vaguely annoying are going to be here long enough to get annoyed at and Mullin can do whatever he wants – even read the newspaper during silent time outs late in the game – and sure they lost but what’s another loss or even 10 in the pantheon of futility that is SJ basketball. So I’ve got nothing except platitudes: good entertaining game, kids played hard, on to the next one … After a brief Marquette spurt to start the game Saint John’s outscored them by 15 or so to go into halftime up 8, which was the margin more or less about 8 minutes into the second half when SJU lost the thread. At that point the play by play reveals

Frederico Mussini turnover.

Frederico Mussini turnover.

Christian Jones turnover.

Christian Jones turnover.

Felix Balamou turnover

Durand Johnson turnover

in about a 4 minute period, punctuated only by a couple of free throws. By the end of it Marquette was up two and never looked back. To the extent that the box score is revealing it doesn’t really reveal anything. Other than Saint John’s 20 assists the only thing that jumps out is that SJ once again got the short end of the FT stick, 21-12, but context explains that that was the result of 10 straight free throws Marquette made in the last minute. And actually for most of the game the refs didn’t call hardly anything, which accrued to Saint John’s benefit. The only anomaly was two moving picks the refs called while Marquette was making their second half run, which were the only two they called the entire game. Which was a little odd point of emphasis wise.

PLAYERS: Yawke had a remarkable game against bigger, stronger, more highly-regarded front line: 9 points, 11 rebounds, 6 blocks and he even took a couple of charges. The bright side of Sima’s absence is that Yawke will get his minutes … Durand Johnson’s entry in the first half coincided with the run that led to Saint John’s 8-point half time lead. He led SJ with 18 points although 6 of those were two late threes of interest to no one but the guys who took the points … Mvouika had 13 points and five assists, his second straight game in double figures … Mussini had ten points but it took him 9 shots to get them and four turnovers as well. Good thing he doesn’t have a mohawk and tattoos, things might turn ugly …. Jones 6 points but only three rebounds. The more he plays, the less productive he is …. Balamou made the first 3 pointer of his career but missed the front end of a one and one late …. Alibegovic played 15 minutes that seemed like an eternity …. Ellison played a bunch of point guard. On the one hand having a 6’6” PG is a good thing. On the other hand, having Ellison as a point guard is not.

NOTES: Saturday at Marquette was Al McGuire Day, celebrated by an Al McGuire Day game on Al Mcguire Court. Everything was in place for Coach Wojo to achieve the defining loss of his career. But instead of climbing that mountain he managed a win, which will be remembered only as just another small step on his long journey to floor slapping mediocrity. Because Wojo is a dope. But not so much of one that I do not regret seeing him squander an opportunity like that, because life is short and only rarely do the stars so align.  Oh well.