I posit that finishing 7th's in the conference is disappointing enough, so much so that the weenies winning their first conference title since the Eisenhower administration in our House, on our Senior Day, goes beyond the pale of Professor Yoo's enhanced interrogation techniques into out and out torture. Just strap the electrodes to the huevos and throw the switch. That bile tickling the back of your throat, that queeze, that desire to bath indefinitely in Old Bushmills, that is why rivalries are great. Because like it or not, in the long, storied and fairly lopsided recent history of the weenie-Cardinal basketball rivalry, there really isn't anything more apropos than the weenies, with the Full Monty (defined below) at the helm of the good ship weenie, winning their first conference title since Coach Newell in our gym. Everyone now, sing "That's Great, It Starts With An Earthquake, Birds and Snakes and Aeroplanes and Lenny Bruce is Not Afraid..." If you don't get it, I don't care, Google it.
I was completely shocked that the weenie anarchists didn't riot and break some windows or something, but I guess since they weren't on their own campus they were afraid they'd get arrested, or worse, beaten up. Speaking of riots, Jerome Randle as player of the year is a hoot. I don't know who votes for this stuff, but that is pathetic. The guy that just committed four horrendous, unforced turnovers on the way to a 2-10 night with the conference title on the line. And have they forgotten to call palming in this league now? Wow, between Randle and Isaiah Thomas, they might as well just pick it up and put helmets on. He's good, but when you are the point guard and you are up eight with 1:20 left and you throw a lazy pass right to Landry Fields for a dunk...No offense, but if we are going to give the award to a point guard, Nic Wise was better this year and had a lot less to work with. More to the point, he is not the conference player of the year and someone must be birch slapped for this travesty. Was this Ernie throwing a "hey, I need a job" bone toward the head weenie?
Speaking of which, Coach Mike was really in full form, showing how he has adapted to his new weenie environment, by vociferously overplaying a debatable stoppage of play by the officials. I mean Dude, really, you made your point (and you were right) in the first 10 seconds of flapping your arms and spittling all over the officials, what was the next two minutes for? Dramatic effect? Trying to provide your son with a good teaching moment? It looked to an entire gym, even your own weenie fans, like you were grandstanding over a kid that took one right in the family jewels. Coach Davie was right to tell you to shut the hell up. However, thank you Mike for helping provide us with a new definition for "The Full Monty!" Weenieus appoplecticus!
Segueing to another communications expert, Drew Shiller, as he has done for quite some time now, played another very solid basketball game. What was most impressive to me was his defense. If he and Landry hadn't been playing helpside defense in this game, I don't know that we could say we had any helpside defense in this game. He also was rock solid and smart on Randle and when he was mismatched on Robertson or Christopher or Gutierrez, he was smart, took away their strong hands, and made them work very hard. Yet, another four rebound game for a guy that shouldn't get any rebounds. Careers twist and turn, three coaches in five years for Drew, a slew of roles and teammates and systems, and his career will end before he gets to spend even one full season comfortable in what he can do for a team. That is too bad. And that is the way it goes in this game for a lot of guys. Drew gets a tall can in the air though for a hell of a season and a hell of an effort.
Jarrett Mann. I don't really know what to say here. Foul trouble happens. Bad matchups happen. But there just wasn't enough urgency Saturday on the offensive end. You gotta be good enough to figure out how to get on the floor for more than 13 minutes in a weenie game, especially when you are a starter. But, when he was on the floor, I thought the defense was there. The biggest improvement for players is from their sophomore to junior years. They take the bit at this point or they don't, usually. Jarrett will take the bit. Next year, he will lock down on defense like a mother. His handle will refine, the jimmy too. Confidence and butt-coil. Sometimes they go together, then things get kinky. Where the real step forward needs to happen though, is in leadership. It can't be Jeremy's team alone. Jarrett has to step up, look Harris and Bright in the eye, kick their ass, and tell everyone else that it is his team.
Now who is going to take it away from Jarrett. Gabe Harris? Maybe. At times he looked very good with the ball and he has showed a stroke at times-particularly off the dribble. But, the injuries just held him down. Point guards have to play, they have to run, they have to be the best conditioned guys on the team, and they have to practice. Let's get Gabe completely healthy and give him a team to run this spring and summer in every pickup game and let's see if he doesn't attack Jarrett every day. Competition breeds better players and good teams.
Jeremy Green. As I said, it can't just be his team. But as of the last second of the last game this season, he becomes El Guapo. On offense, he was deserving of a First Team All-Conference honor, but Second Team ain't bad. 38 foul plagued minutes on Saturday, defended by talented seniors or a Gutierrez, and he got his 15. Never got completely healthy this season and still found a way in all but one conference game to be a stud. Now, where does Jeremy go next? He goes where the guy that guarded him most of the game on Saturday (Patrick Christopher) is. Become an outstanding defender and rebounder. It is his ownership of the defensive end of the floor where the significant improvement must come. You wanna be conference POY and avenge Landry, get four rebounds a game, and be our best player on both ends. Next year, healthy and knowing that the points are going to be there no matter what, my money says he fledges into a complete mother.
Da'Veed Dildy. I don't really know what to make of Da'Veed. I thought he played acceptably on Saturday, but he was the one guy that I thought had a chance to really make a game changing contribution in this one and he didn't. Sink the two free throws-at least shoot straight for chrissake. Finish another drive off with a solid layin. Throw your body on the glass a bit more. Just a bit more. That is what we needed. As I mentioned before, competition is coming this summer. He will step it up and improve dramatically, or he is going to be in the awkward position of being a senior staring sparse minutes next season because the future must play, too.
Really Deep Final Thoughts:
This team was within about 10 possessions of Arizona in the conference standings. We really could have finished 4th. Of the 11 conference losses, we were out of only four of them with five minutes to go. As much as I would like say it was the little things like free throws, it wasn't. The little thing it was that put is in 7th, was why we were picked last - a lack of physical talent on the front line. Not much we could really do about it. Our rim was buck ass naked too many times. Just too many mediocre big guys, like Frison or Casto or Boateng getting too many bunnies. That said, we started the year with hurt big guys and some, like Zim kept getting dinged, and some like Owens never came back, and we were expected to finish last with those guys completely healthy and playing. We know now that a healthy Owens and we finish 2nd in this conference, and might have won it.
But, Jack Trotter improved as much this season as I think I have ever seen a Stanford player improve in one season, with the possible exception of John Patrick in 1989-90 and Matt Lottich his junior year. Start to finish, that was impressive Jack. And he is a sophomore, and it just appears in the last six games as though his body is starting to add real muscle mass and a bit more lift. Normal sophomore to junior year progression for Jack and it is going to be damn hard for someone to take his starting spot away from him. And that is what we need, damn good competition pushing players to get better.
Speaking of damn good players. Landry Fields. Thank you.
Good luck in the NBA. Few in our uniform have had that type of senior
year. Names that come to mind: Marcus Lollie, Chris Hernandez, Brevin Knight, Adam Keefe, Kim Belton, Todd Lichti. But I don't know that any of
them was as impressive as this. Maybe Marcus Lollie's junior year or Adam
Keefe's sophomore year were actually this ridiculously good on marginal
squads. I know this, Evan Turner is the only better small forward lacing
them up in college this year. If an All-American team has Landry and Evan
Turner on it, then those people did their job. Just a comprehensively
professional effort in every aspect of the game. And no horrible turnovers
with the game in the balance, like the conference POY. Now, go steal us an
NCAA bid from the weenies!
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