Hoopaholic’s Gazette: Weekend Perspective on a Sad Sunday

hoopgaz3Corrected 2/9/15 at 12:30 pm.

My guess it has something to do with the effective, if abominable, four corners.

Or, his nasal whine.

Or, watching those games back in the day, played at Carmichael Auditorium, with its quaint flip card scoreboard in the corner of the court, and having to watch the baby blue-clad North Carolina Tar Heels come back time and again.

Whatever, I’ve always thought Dean Smith to be kind of a pain in the ass.

I’d heard the testaments of adulation through the years, how much he’d done for this fellow or that organization, how he was universally revered by his proteges, who came back year after year to visit Chapel Hill wherever life had taken them. Despite all that, I have to say I haven’t understood the true measure of the man.

Given the torrent of respect, elicited on this day of Smith’s passing, I now do.

With the recruitment of Charlie Scott, he integrated the decidedly Dixie, severely Old South ACC in the 60s, whether the rest of the league still wanted Jim Crow playing pivot or not. Apparently it wasn’t just because the league’s first black, Smith (Charlie), could ball, for it is said Smith (Dean), from his first moments on the Carolina coaching staff, chose to worship on Sundays in a mainly black congregation.

Etc, etc.

I must assume that all the academic fraud of the university, for which there hasn’t been a bit of punishment yet, came after Dean Smith’s reign.

So, I guess I was wrong about Dean Smith.

I’m glad for that.

Dean Smith. Whiner. Innovator. Champion. Mentor. R.I.P.

* * * * *

Just how lengthy was U of L’s scoring drought last night against Virginia?

ESPN’s Rece Davis at the half: “Louisville hasn’t scored since the Metro.”

* * * * *

The Player of the Week has got to be St. Bonaventure’s Marcus Posley.

Yesterday’s stunning whoop de doo, up and under and over kiss off the glass for the winning layup over VCU at the buzzer was his second last chance winning shot of the week. He’d crushed Davidson mid-week with a runner.

Two walk offs in one week. Sweet.

* * * * *

Of course, the Bonnie fans stormed the court. And did so with considerable dispatch.

Another court storming was sited in Stillwater, where the T. Boone Pickens Cowboys came back in the second half to upset Rock Chalk Jayhawk.

Not that it matters, but I’ve changed my mind about court storming after wins. The phenomenon really has nothing whatsoever to do with tradition, or lack thereof. It has to do with the exuberance of youth, paint-covered bare chested frat boys and the coeds they’d like to know, using a W as an excuse to kick out the jams, and exorcise the stress of mid-terms and beer bonging.

It’s not rally about basketball at all.

* * * * *

For some reason, I’ve always had a kind spot in my heart for Purdue.

Maybe, because they played in the first game I ever attended, decades ago against U of L at the Armory.

Maybe, because of “Go. Cards. Beat. Purdue.”

Maybe, because the truth of Bobby Knight’s loathsome disingenuous nature was always starkly revealed in his out of control, immature hatred for the Boilermakers.

Maybe, because I always loved Gene Keady, despite, or perhaps because of, his $600/ week coiffing habit.

Whatever, I hoped to write a piece today how Purdue was surging itself onto the bubble.

Then they lost yesterday to Pitino the Younger’s Golden Gophers, who had been reeling since Big Ten play commenced.

Speaking of a former Louisville assistant whose team is topsy turvey. Kevin Willard’s Seton Hall Pirates have taken a dive, putting coach back on a hot seat.

* * * * *

Justin Anderson’s broken finger is a bummer.

Despite Lachlan McClean’s incessant homerism, it’s hard not to wish success on a team that plays the way the Cavaliers do. Tony Bennett is obviously the new Brad Stevens.

* * * * *

Syracuse has self imposed sanctions. No post season for Boeheim and the boys. Skeptics, noting the Orange weren’t going anywhere but Daytona Beach this spring anyway, are smirking.

Rumors of hidden drug tests have been circulating for years now.

Another possible cause for NC2A punishment is said to “have something to do with Fab Melo.” Who, Cardinal fans might recall, was a lock to matriculate on the Belknap Campus, until the morning of signing day, when his X-signed Letter of Intent was faxed to upstate New York, not Floyd Street.

* * * * *

My favorite student engagement in decades is Arizona State’s Curtain of Distraction.

It’s a glorious Grand Guignol of skits, a method whereby a curtain opens behind a foe’s basket when that opponent is shooting FTs, and, behind which, some deliciously sophomoric scenario plays out in hopes that the charity toss will end up somewhere other than through the twine.

* * * * *

I loved listening to Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy announcing the Okie State upset of Kansas. They’re just so funny and engaging, while not taking themselves very seriously. While bringing an NBA perspective to the college game.

“You mean he can’t get a bonus?,” Van Gundy wisecracked one time.

Their play by play guy, cherub-faced David Flemming looks on adoringly at the more famous duo, like a ten year old who, despite it being way past his bedtime and that his mom would be really pissed if she knew where he was instead of in bed, gets to sit in on his dad’s poker game and listen to the dirty jokes.

Speaking of announcers, I’m constantly on the lookout for somebody I can declare, whether correctly or not, the most astute commentator on the air. That title is back in play since Jay Bilas thinks his perspective is papal, now that he’s perched at the top of ESPN’s experts’ ladder.

Kara Lawson is my choice. Here’s a former baller, who knows the nuances of the game, spots them and provides timely insight. Without preening. Without shtick.

Selection Sunday is 35 days away.

Let’s have fun.

— Seedy K

10 thoughts on “Hoopaholic’s Gazette: Weekend Perspective on a Sad Sunday

  1. Ok

    I will get off Wayne’s back….

    ….what was up with our end of the half substitution pattern? And, somebody, please man the 5 spot…..


  2. Seedy, Cole Fieldhouse is in College Park, Maryland. You were thinking of Carmichael Auditorium (renamed Carmichael Arena in 2010). I remember the flip card scoreboard at Carmichael, and if memory serves me correctly they used it when the Dean Dome first opened. I haven’t noticed it for years, but I always look for it when UNC is on TV.

  3. Thanks, Mike D, obviously, you are totally correct. Brain fart. I’m going to change it. Confused my Cs. Was in Cole Fieldhouse for Kentucky/ Texas Western NCAA title game.

    1. Wow…you were in the house for one of the most historic games in college basketball history??? My opinion is obviously colored by the fact that I grew up following first UK and later U of L, but when I think of “games that I wish I had been able to attend” I think of, in no particular order, UCLA-Houston in the Astrodome in 1968, UCLA-Notre Dame in 1974, Duke-UK in 1992, UK-Texas Western in 1966, Louisville-Houston in 1983 and two games that I was lucky enough to attend – Louisville-UCLA in 1980 and Louisville-Kentucky in Knoxville in 1983.

  4. Yes, I do feel fortunate to have been there. What I can say is, at the time, the cultural impact totally escaped me. I recall no talk whatsoever about the racial makeup of the teams in the run up to the game. Or, frankly, after the Miners won. That perspective, as happens with most of history, came years later.

  5. I have a short Dean Smith story.

    I was lucky enough to attend the F4 in New Orleans, 1982 addition. Louisville vs Georgetown and NC vs.Houston. IMHO, the best talent at any F4 in history.

    The Cards had Milt; Rodney; Scooter; DSmith; WBrown; LGordon & others. Georgetown was lead by the missing link, Patrick E and also had Sleepy Floyd and others; Houston: Rose, the guy that coaches BYU now, Micheux and Kareem the Dream; NC—loaded….Perkins; Matt D; Worthy—and the greatest of all times..frosh Michael J…among others.

    I hated NC at the time and pulled for Houston to win and of course the Cards went down to the Hoyas. But after the game the G’town fans (what few there were) were so obnoxious, I decided to pull for NC in the finals.

    I can’t remember (wonder why? Any drinking in the Big Easy?) if it was Sunday or the day of the game, but I was walking in the Quarter and out of a restaurant by himself came Dean Smith. We stopped at a corner and he lite a cigarette that surprised me for some reason. He was nervous as a cat and was almost shaking. We started walking and just chatting–almost like he was using me to shield him from NC fans that wanted to talk to him. After a few blocks, he ducked into a store suddenly. like he had seen a ghost. I suspect he saw somebody coming that he didn’t want to talk to about something.

    What I will always remember is how unimpressed he seemed to be with himself. I was a 30 year old fresh faced Card fan in UofL gear and he seemed interested in our chat–or maybe it was just his way not to make eye contact with other fans. I don’t know, but I gained a measure of respect for him that day just because he didn’t act like he was above a poor young dude like me.

    The stories about him the last few days have made me think that my brief impression of him was spot on—even if probably did less with more talent than any coach until Cal came along.

  6. I’ve heard mention of Dean Smith’s closet smoking habit several times in the last day. He was apparently a mensch of the highest order, even with that nasal whine.

    As for that Final Four, which I also attended, I believe I’ve read that more pros competed there in N O, than in any other Final Four. You’re absolutely correct. The talent was over the top.

  7. Great story on meeting Dean in the French Quarter. I could never stand him because of his 4 Corners (which thankfully brought on the Shot Clock). Your story makes him appear a little more human.

  8. Birdie King, as you read, I too did not look upon Smith very fondly. Though it did make me sad through recent years, when stories leaked about his dementia. I have, frankly, been blindsided by the unanimous adulation for Smith the man, Smith the innovator, Smith the coach and Smith the mentor. And, yes, the 4 corners was an abomination. I recall that impossible to watch, impossible not to watch 12-10 “game” with Ralph Sampson and UVa. But it was the catalyst for the shot clock, so, in the end, a positive thing.

  9. I was also at that 1982 Final Four. I had a pretty good seat, but after the Cards lost to Georgetown I bought a better ticket from a Houston fan. MJ made that winning shot right in front of me. I would agree that it was the best collection of talent ever to grace a Final Four. We’ll never see that again because of the one-and-done culture.

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