The "Hey Santa, Double Goose & OJ" Edition

Infused with the very spirit of Cardinal Christmas, our favorite former combo guard "roscoemaynard" checks in with his thought-provoking takes on the lamentable road lumps incurred by our beloved Stanford Basketball squad this past week in losses to Butler and Oklahoma State. Could there be some Bright light at the end of our tunnel?

The "Santa, How About Another Double Goose & OJ?" Edition

Quick, what is the fastest way to melt snow this Christmas?  Put one of our guards near the snow and watch that snow heat up and probably go for 20 on us from downtown Backwater. OK, terrible joke, and of course there is no such town in Indiana or Oklahoma actually named "Backwater".  Nor is there one named Jerkwater.  But there is a ridge in Oklahoma, upon which sits a cemetery, that is called Peckerwood Ridge, which is really neither here or there, which is entirely the point that it is mostly there.  Well, as everyone these days likes to say, this Cardinal road trip "is what it is."  Thank-heavens-to-murgatroid that Christmas is here and we can all go off and wash away these two games, played in hallowed hoops barns like the Iba and Hinkle, with some good grog, gloeg, nog or any of your favorite alcoholic beverages combined with orange juice.

Guard play in the Butler Bulldog game at historic Hinkle Fieldhouse is defined as follows, and I am going to leave it at this one item because the options otherwise are so unpleasant as to make me invoke the one of the Cardinal Rules my mother tried to instill in me as a child, but which I mostly have ignored until now: Ronald Nored throws an in-bounds pass from his baseline out to the top of the key, its tipped by Josh Powell [Ed. - we are not sure, this may be "roscoe" 's new term for both Josh Owens & Dwight Powell] and ends up on one bounce, 35 feet out, picked up on the fly by Jeremy Green  headed on a fast break the other way, and by the time Jeremy Green takes his second dribble Ronald Nored is in front of him defending him tightly on the dribble, stifling the break. In the time it took most of the rest of the guys on the court to take three steps, Nored had reacted, hauled ass and erased a opponent's fastbreak opportunity. It was a superlative basketball play.

Gallagher-Iba Arena is, on good authority, one hell of place to play hoop or wrastle, or cow-rope, or when you play Okie State in basketball, hoo-astle.  I continue to be impressed with the physical training program apparent at Okie State, the next time I see a skinny Anthony Brown-type in a Cowboy uniform will be the first.  Anyway, the Cowboys didn't have Ronald Nored or Shelvin Mack, so their offense doesn't run at super-efficient, mistake-free warp speed.  (Digression, how hard is it to recruit quality point guards to Stanford?  Real hard, but how did Butler manage to get four of them?  That is totally unfair.)  And damn it if we didn't play with better intensity, even if we started the game kicking the can like Brazilian street urchins—the staff's new starting lineup experiment can now go quietly back in the box.

Guard play comments:  kudos to Coach Dawkins for yanking guys around and trying new personnel groups and starting lineups.  No offense (pun intended), but in that new order of things, Gabe Harris did not seize the moment.  Too bad.  Jarrett Mann played off the ball for 22 minutes and was almost unnoticeable throughout, except for negatives, like going for shot fakes by every inbred midget, smurf and dwarf in the barn. 

Freshman Aaron Bright, seized the moment on offense, and seized a bunch of air on defense.  But, maybe that is the trade-off we have settle for in order to have somewhat effective passing to the interior, ball movement, perimeter shooting, and reliability with the ball.  To me, Aaron Bright went to school on Ronald Nored, at least for one game.  4 assists, donuts for turnovers, ran the offense with increasing crispness throughout the game, and on several occasions passed up shots just to get the ball reversed so it could be entered into Owens.  And 8-8 from the line was critical, particularly the 6-6 in the first half when he punished Okie State for being what they are—hacks.  One game ain't enough Aaron, insert your own favorite word play here Booties, so come back from Christmas with a real diamond in that ear kid, and do it again please!  Do it against the Weenies on January 2 and I will give you a dangling hand grenade earring as an NCAA-violating extra-benefit gift.  Everyone should have one.

Jeremy Green faced some stellar defense in these two games and still knocked down shots, when he could get them.  Taking only four threes against Okie State was simply a matter of being well-guarded.  His ability to get points off the bounce was exposed a bit.  He needs to revisit his "attacking" mentality because he is too good at the line and he lifts too well not to be getting more quality looks near the rim.  Sometimes you gotta put the head down and just be a "read and react" basketball player, like he did with 7:36 left when he drove to nowhere, wrapped a pass around two defenders to Owens for a rim-rattling tomahawk.  And please don't be so nice. When the offense is listless, remind the point guards and everyone else in the place what your favorite plays are.

Just one Anthony Brown comment because he did play some two guard against the ‘Boys.  Way to play hard all the way through the finish, kid!  I really liked that the whole place was booing your butt and you pressed and hacked and gave all the rednecks in their faux frayed orange hats the silent digit. After all, that is what dudes from Huntington should give ornery rednecks going to school with a non-view of nowhere.

Final Thought:  Sometimes the ball doesn't go down, sometimes you get whipped and the whole thing snowballs on you like it did at Butler, and there is no reason to search for life lessons or "program problems" in that situation.  But it is important how you respond to your whuppin' that matters.  Our freshmen did respond better than others, for what it is worth.

Final Final:  If you buy pre-frayed jeans, shirts or hats, check yourself, poser-wanna-be.  Joey and Dee Dee Ramone didn't do that, did they?  It ain't cool.  Some euro fashion designer made it up and you bought it hook, line and sinker, dweeb.  Hell, if you ain't a redneck grease monkey juice spittin' swamp pig huntin' good ol' boy, just try wearing your jeans or your hat for a couple of years, washing them occasionally.  Kid, I know your Okie State or Abercrombie hat was frayed when you bought it, it doesn't have a stain on it, and you are 19! 

Final Final Final Thoughts:  That little Keiton Page can flat-out shoot, damn it, putting up 20 in the second half.  A tip of my not-frayed Orange Bowl baseball cap to him for what was to be frank, a "shooting lesson".  And, with that, the best comment I heard this week regarding our defense went something like this, "We gotta get nastier out there, stick our fingers up their noses once in a while or something."  You can't coach that type of comment. 

And Merry Christmas, Elvis!  All I want for Christmas is something real kinky and an Orange Bowl trophy to parade around in front of Cal people for all eternity. I've been good for goodness sake!

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