Hoopaholic’s Gazette: Manny’s Game, Women Win, Gym Tidbits ++

OK, truth is I didn’t see Cardinal Manny Okorafor’s breakout performance against Arch Rival up in Land o’ the Big Smoke.

Why not?

Since you asked, I was on a one day rock n roll road trip to Indy to hear Tedeschi Trucks Band, my faves these days, at that great amphitheater in White River State Park. Ziggy Marley opened. I’ll be weighing in on the incredible show in other venues soon. I’ll try to remember to put a link here somehow.

As for Manny?

Well, it turns out he was 6/6 from the field, 4/6 from the stripe, grabbed a half dozen or so boards, blocked a couple shots.

More than a workmanlike effort it would appear. Given he’s still not fully recovered from his foot/ ankle issues, and that due to visa problems he never practiced with his fellow Team Africa mates before the little tourney began.

Most heartening indeed.

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Speaking of Cardinals participating in that event.

Jeff Walz’s team won the women’s side, with a two point get back W over Canada.

Also heartening. Given that it’s an almost total makeover, and the squad had but a few practices together before heading up to the tourney.

So, it says here, it’s time to move beyond the resentment about the abandonment of HVLSU. It was no longer working with her here. And apparently, U of L will be just fine without the locker room turmoil.

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Also heartening — Is that today’s theme? Seems so — a couple reports from the gym.

Seems a week or so ago, when KP was putting the bigs through some drills, there were a couple fellows not performing to the day’s expectations. (Do not panic, kids, this happens all the time to every team everywhere.)

So, a few guys had to run sprints afterward.

During which time, putative team leader Skyy Clark, who had not participated in the drills but watched, jumped up and started running with his frontcourt mates. Urging on their efforts. Soon enough, holdover JJ Traynor also jumped in to sprinting, adding to the team’s esprit de corps.

I’m advised that nothing approaching this level of camaraderie and effort was seen among last year’s performers.

Then there were the pick up games this weekend. When the national championship guard tandem of Peyton Siva and Russ Smith played.

I’m told that periodically during the games, the duo, especially Russ on that day, would stop the proceedings to show a current team member how he could do something better.

It is, all together now, heartening.

 * * * * *

Dance card expansion is off the table for now.

Can I get a hallelujah?

Sanity has prevailed.

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Just a quick shoutout to Dickie V.

Whether you like it when he does a game or not — I don’t — the guy’s a real mensch. The work behind the scenes he’s done for cancer research and others must be applauded and appreciated.

So, whatever you think of College Hoops Ambassador #1, I hope he’s in your prayers.

Cancer of the vocal cords. Radiation coming up.

It’s horrid. I know. I went through a 7 week course of radiation in the ’90s on my throat. Swallowing becomes almost impossible. It’s like the worst sunburn you ever had x10 inside your throat. Eating is no fun. Being awake is no fun.

I’m grateful I got through that, and that C anyway was conquered.

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Did you read about that new NIL Collective alliance, among seven or so such organizations?

Don’t know much about it. But if every school’s funding group joins, it shall be a new powerful force in college athletics.

You recall what Deep Throat said, in the movie anyway. “Follow the. money.”

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Bob Huggins, stick with the plan, man.

C’mon Huggy Bear, don’t worry about anything other than learning how not to feed your addiction to John Barleycorn.

— c d kaplan