The Kinder Garden - 1/13/03

I've lost a lot of respect for Craig Esherick after his whining outburst following the Hoyas' overtime defeat of West Virginia on Sunday.

Esherick unleashed a five minute tirade after Georgetown's narrow win over WVU. Esherick was steamed over what he thought were non-calls on players guarding tower of power Mike Sweetney. Esherick offered to pay officials to undergo what Sweetney endures every game, ripped game officials far and wide for not making calls in favor of his big forward, and accused the Big East of "not running a good league". Ouch.

Not that it's going to cause him to lose any sleep, but Esherick's outburst dropped him down into the class of guys like Jim Boeheim and former Villanova coach Steve Lappas, in my estimation. Whine city. I can understand making a comment or two about the officiating. (Esherick obviously did that early, earning a technical foul in the first half.) I can also understand some frustration coming out. But five minutes? Plus a reported repeat performance to the Big East coordinator of officials? Puh-leeze.

Georgetown gets just as many no calls on the offensive end as their opponents do while guarding them. Hoya front liners routinely climb the backs and reach over the top of players with inside position, and many times it's not called because officials figure the Georgetown players are big enough to reach over someone and not foul them. Sometimes that's true, but many times it's not. Tyrone Sally was crushed to the floor on one late game sequence while boxing out a Georgetown offensive rebounder, but didn't get a call. Ya know what? I'm sick and tired of that! But I bet Esherick's not, at least until the time when he gets a team that isn't littered with 6-8, 6-9 and 6-10 players.

Let's compare. Sweetney went to the foul line 13 times. Georgetown was called for exactly zero over the back fouls. You make the call.

Some media bobbleheads have suggested that Esherick's meltdown was simply a strategic ploy aimed at getting more calls from the officials. If that's true, it's a garbage move from a coach who has had more talent to burn that some national teams. It's also a classic case of missing the point on the part of reporters. Esherick deserves some sort of discipline from the conference, and also should issue at least some sort of statement of explanation or apology. Indiana coach Mike Davis did so after his flameout against Kentucky a couple of weeks ago - it will be interesting to see if Esherick does the same.

The Big East, long viewed as the puppet of Georgetown, Syracuse, St. John's and UConn in basketball matters, has already said that they will do nothing to discipline Esherick. That's disappointing, but not unexpected from the namby pamby Big East office.

One final thought. I don't have a college officiating license, but I used to do high school rec league officiating. I'll gladly take Esherick up on his offer to pay my way to D. C.

* * *

I'm also going to answer Esherick's rant with one of my own. Mine, however, has some factual basis behind it.

How about a little more notice from the Big East for Kevin Pittsnogle?

Pittsnogle won the initial rookie of the week award in the conference, but has been shut out since.

Granted, Syracuse's Carmelo Anthony has been spectacular, and deserves the stranglehold he has had on the awards. However, the Big East split the award between Anthony and freshman guard Randy Foye for their performance over the past week. Let's look at Foye's numbers vs Pittsnogle's.

Foye averaged 17.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists last week. He hit at a .667 clip from 3-point range for the two games.

Pittsnogle averaged 18.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks. He hit at a .857 rate from 3-point range.

Just more shortsightedness from the office that often forgets the league actually extends further west than Washington, D.C.

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