Mavs Donuts: Savoring International Flavor
DONUT 1: College Daze ...
The University of North Carolina is being charged with academic fraud on a number of levels. And along comes former Tar Heels star Rashad McCants with a series of tales from the inside.
McCants -- who you will remember had two cups of coffee with the Mavs organization, largely in efforts to reboot his career with the Texas Legends -- tells ESPN's Outside the Lines that he took fake classes, rarely went to the real classes he was enrolled in, and had tutors do his actual schoolwork.
McCants says he was even on the Dean's List in the spring of 2005 (UNC's championship season) despite not having attended class.
"I remained eligible to finish out and win the championship, (coach Roy Williams') first championship, and everything was peaches and cream," McCants said, insisting Williams knew all about the arrangement.
Williams denies this, and scores of UNC athletes have come to the defense of the program, including Mavs reserve Wayne Ellington, who says McCants has "lost his mind.''
Some truths here:
We got to know McCants just a little bit via his Texas ties. He is ... a different breed of cat. Meanwhile, we understand the world of big-time college athletics to know that maintaining the eligibility of a star athlete during a national-title run offers a coach and his school billions of dollars worth of rewards. And just how far into a gray area would any of us venture for billions of dollars worth of benefits?
There is a system in place at most universities that helps athletes "ease'' their way through the academic side of things. Nobody at UNC would dare deny that. And even that "gray'' area deserves to be clarified, investigated, maybe even made more "black and white.'' (Also worth examining: McCants' motivations here, as he has a book coming out.)
But, while not supporting the seedy underbelly that keeps college sports churning away and printing money, I'd ask a question of Rashad the same way I'd ask a question of my own sons in this circumstances:
Were you not afforded the opportunity attend classes? To do your own work? To accomplish something? To feed your mind?
And if you passed on all those opportunities, aren't you at least as culpable as the institution that you allege allowed you to do so?
DONUT 2: 'Targeted' Heat ...
LeBron James and the Heat are one of the most predictable teams in all of sports. And what is most predictable is ... their greatness.
They self-centeredly view themselves as 'targets' but in truth, in Game 2 at San Antonio, they were the ones who eventually hit the bull's-eye. My game story is here and it includes this thought for Mavs fans -- a thought that might not occur to Heat-watchers who aren't MFFL:
LeBron and Company don't like being mocked. They find it unbecoming and unjust.
But if they find it so objectionable, why did they spend the NBA Finals in 2011 doing the exact same thing to Dirk Nowitzki?
DONUT 3: What did Trix say, exactly? ...
In Shawn Marion's exit interview, he expressed a desire to remain with the Mavs.
Has that somehow changed now?
Listen to the audio yourself and draw your own conclusions. But it's always wise to evaluate the evaluation of the wise David Lord on these Dallas Mavericks matters, too. Lord's take:
Having listened to the interview, I would characterize his attitude toward Dallas as "uncertain" more than anything. He noted, in several ways, that he can't put his eggs in any specific basket because he has no idea what the Mavs or anyone else might offer. At this point, he's unemployed and hoping for a job somewhere.
There's no need or reason or Mavs fans to be "disappointed'' or to think Marion is "back-tracking on a commitment. He said previously he would prefer to retire a Mav; that is, he hopes Dallas wants to sign him again for next year and beyond. But Marion doesn't control that outcome and he knows it.
In this interview, he did nothing more than clarify that reality he had expressed.
He also said previously that when he ends his career, he intends to live in Dallas -- as Fish's original headline reads, to be "a Dallas Local.'' He does control that, it hasn't changed, and it was repeated. He prefers Dallas, when it's up to him.
Now we wait to see if Dallas prefers him as well.
DONUT 4: Gimme Shelter …
It appears to me that Gal Mekel isn't just in Tel Avid to watch a Rolling Stones concert.
It appears the Mavs guard is on-stage before the concert and indeed he tweets, "I went to check everything is working before Mick Jagger is coming!''
DONUT 5: Stack and Rick ...
Jerry Stackhouse aspires to become an NBA assistant coach and he tells ProBasketballTalk.com of his influences.
"I think everything goes back, to me, to Dean Smith," said Stack, the former Mav who obviously enjoyed his time at UNC more than the aforementioned McCants did. "I gravitated to coaches that had that same philosophy, especially on the defensive end. Obviously on the offensive end sharing the ball, but defensively keeping people out of your middle, sending it down to the baseline and relying on your help."
Stackhouse, an 18-year pro, also mentioned as influences Gregg Popovich, Larry Brown, Doug Collins and Avery Johnson -- woth him he had a great deal of locker-room pull inside Mavs HQ.
But Stack also takes stock in his time with Rick Carlisle.
"With Rick Carlisle and his analytics of the game, it drove me nuts as a player," Stackhouse said. "He wanted to run this play that hadn't been working in the game, because for him it was a 70-something percent play. Now I understand that I want to go with a 70 percent play, and just because it doesn't work it still is a good play for us."
And isn't that Rick in a nutshell? He drives you nuts but he's usually right?
Meanwhile, another ex-Mav (kinda), Derek Fisher, is taking the Knicks head-coaching job, which is an upset because I do not know how this man can bear to be away from his family for going on, what now, 20 years?
DONUT 6: One-click info ...
Looking for specifics in DB.com Archives? For instance, our collection of Exit Interview stuff from Rick, Dirk, Devin, Marion, Vince and more? In this example, simply type "exit'' into the search box and in one click, you have at your fingertips all the information you need!
DONUT 7: Thanks to our sponsors! …
We can't do our thing around here without the help and friendship of sponsors like Red Rock Bar & Grill, LS Wealth Strategies and Estilo Gaucho. Give 'em a click or a call, please!
Oh, and if you love your fathers ... a special time at Estilo Gaucho says it infinitely better than a necktie!
DONUT 8: Rocket Dirk? ...
If a source in Houston tells Yahoo that the Rockets plan to pursue Dirk Nowitzki in free agency, is it a story? Is it a story that deserves deeper explanation due to its ridiculously high improbability? Is it a story that should be shot down, or ignored, or treated as the same level of pipedream as Dallas pursuing Kevin Love?
We examine all of that here: "Rockets Want Dirk. Wait, What?!''
DONUT 9: It's the humidity ...
Two points that I hope help you dump your Game 1 Air-Conditioning Conspiracy Theories:
a) I want you to imagine Pop huddling his fellas together and explaining to them, "Men, we have no real shot against the vastly superior Miami team. So we're going to hot-box 'em ... And, er, ourselves.''
b) In sweltering 89-degrees-indoors temperatures, who gets drained more quickly? The 38-year-old guys or the 28-year-old guys? The Spurs were actually at a disadvantage in that basketball sauna and simply caught a break when LeBron succumbed to it.
DONUT 10: Down under ...
DB.com broke the story of Australian star Chris Goulding joining the Mavs for Summer League and I hope I have put this in its proper perspective.
The Mavs are in the talent-acquisition business and have always been at the forefront when it comes to international exploration. There is no cap impact here, there is no roster spot offered here and there is no promise that Goulding will be the next Jeremy Lin ... though I mentioned Lin's name because he, too, used the Mavs Summer League program as his path to the NBA.
There is, in fact, no promise that Goulding is better than Gal Mekel, and because both of them will be playing together for the same club, we will be able to make a head-to-head comparison (though Gal is a PG and Goulding is a 2).
In all, I'm not sure I understand the angle of Mavs fans telling me they "don't like the move.'' What am I missing here?
DONUT 11: And an International P.S. ...
Courtesy of Eddie Najera ("The good old days!'' he says):
Idenfity all the international Mavs and win yourself a free Donut!
DONUT 12: The Final Word ...
The Mavs' Euro connections are deep. And so is their long-standing interest in Croatian kid Dario Saric. The 6-10 forward is a projected lottery pick and reportedly has pinpointed two NBA teams he wishes to play for. But Dallas officials are in Croatia now as Mavs HQ collects its thoughts on the 20-year-old 'Next Dirk' candidate ... and we've got the Premium story here.
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