Hoopaholic’s Gazette: The Next Level

College Hoops first and foremost.

Forever and always.

But, ya know, a hoopaholic’s gotta feed his addiction.

So, NBA Playoffs it is.

Not that it’s an onerous task.

What I rediscover every year when The Next Level gets my attention: Those guys are really good. Really really good.

It’s a different game . . . obviously. But fascinating nonetheless. How matchups and strategies change in the course of a tilt.

Some teams run their sets so precisely, especially in the playoffs which feature the best, it’s almost eery. Blind passes are thrown, and teammates are where they are supposed to be to catch them. Defensive flaws are exploited. Then remedied. Offenses adjust.

Exhilarating matchups. Like Kawhi vs Durant in Game 1 of Suns vs. Clippers.

Then there’s the beauty of watching a genius like Steph Curry play. Not just those ridiculous forty footers. But also improbable drives to the hoop for howdedodat? layups. Or, how he’ll give up the rock then run full speed without the ball, taking a parabolic route to the far corner, where he arrives with his back to the ball handler, sets up outside the arc, turns to catch a pass already thrown, and fires in a nanosecond of the ball reaching him.

I just smile.

But not about Draymond Green. I’m way over him. Finally.

Love the Warriors, but find myself rooting for the Kings.

 * * * * *

Another major takeaway so far: How many former Wildcats are playing significant roles for contenders.

Did some research to see which schools have the most fellows in the NBA?

Imagine my surprise.

Hated Arch Rival leads with 27. Actually it’s really 26. Hard to consider Shaedon Sharp as an ex-Cat. Followed by Evil Empire with 25.

Provides even more perspective on the college game. How Coach K used what he had to great effect. How Coach Cal hasn’t. Easy to understand why BBN is so furious with underperformance under the present regime.

I bury the rag deep in my face, for now is the time for my tears. LOL.

 * * * * *

For informational purposes, it appears that 7 former Cards are in the League.

Gorgui, Trez, Carlick, Steph’s bro in law Damion Lee, Donovan, Rozier and my man Jordan Nwora.

Which group has as many titles among them as the one four times larger that played up the road.

Seeing the short list reminds of the time I did an extensive interview with Denny Crum in the mid 90s for LEO.

Coach was proud of his success with so few ballers who’d made it in the NBA. Even pulled out some article that acknowledged that.

 * * * * *

As for former Cards, two are acknowledged in “Air,” the flick about Nike’s recruitment of MJ.

There’s a Dr. Dunkenstein poster on the wall in the company offices.

Lancaster Gordon’s name is tossed out as somebody they were considering to sponsor from the recent draft.

— c d kaplan