August 22, 2019

The Big Least is Turrrrable!

Can we all agree that the Big East heading into this NCAA tourney was overrated? The NCAA Committee should finally understand that there are other teams that can ball and can make waves in the tournament besides the Big East. Even Charles Barkley acknowledged at the beginning of the tournament that the Big East would not do well. He continued to trash the Big East right in front of his studio partner Rick Pitino after Louisville was bounced by Morehead State.

Out of the eleven teams from the Big Least that made the Big Dance UConn and Marquette are the only two left.  All the big names including Pitt, Notre Dame, and Syracuse have all gone fishing. VCU is a team that almost everyone had a problem making the tournament and all they have done is blow out USC, Georgetown and Purdue on their way to the Sweet Sixteen. In the future let more teams like Harvard, Wichita State and Colorado in the tournament because they have just as could a chance of producing some March magic.

“The Wizard of Westwood” May You RIP

Forget the fact that John Wooden was voted the greatest coach in American Sports by Sporting News and forget all the NCAA records that he holds that will never be broken like 38 straight NCAA tournament victories, 88 straight game winning streak as well as 7 straight NCAA titles.  Forget the fact that he is the ONLY man to be inducted in the Hall of Fame as both player and coach. Take away all of the accolades that happened many years before so many men and boys this day were not even born yet, but please know the man for his accomplishments.

John R. Wooden has passed and seemed ready to do so many years ago to be with his beloved wife Nell who passed 25 years ago.  He continued to write a love letter to her every Sunday as he did when she was alive.  Wooden was not disliked by anyone because he was one of the greatest humanitarians of our time and spent his life teaching young men how to be a better person in life rather than just how to play a game.

I was greatly affected by this man as not only a UCLA Bruin fan, but as a fan of John Wooden’s life as a whole. He grew up on a farm in Indiana born just 9 years after Naismith’s peach basket, and became a 3 time All-American at Purdue.  He coached in high school before taking over at Indiana State and then ultimately at UCLA where he didn’t win his first championship until 16 years thereafter.  After that he could not be stopped. He once won a championship with the tallest player on the court at 6’5. His teams were so prepared mentally and physically that he would never adjust his schemes to match another team.

The Wizard’s contribution to everyone who came in contact with was extraordinary and real.  Once you had a conversation with him you knew you were not only ready to follow steps to be a better person, but you could not let down such royalty.  He will be missed not just because of his presence, but because he was too vital to mankind in this cynical world.

Rest In Peace John R. Wooden I know you are now in the place with Nell you are supposed to and want to be in.

Calipari Reloads

Yesterday John Calipari started to rebuild his empire at Kentucky with the commitment of point guard Brandin Knight who is regarded by most as the best player in the 2010 class. This commitment wasn’t too much of a surprise, but the news of small forward Michael Gilchrist (the best player in the class of 2011) committing to the Wildcats on the same day was a shocker. These two studs will definitely follow in the same foot steps as previous Calipari ‘playas’ like John Wall, Tyreke Evans, and Derrick Rose by jumping ship after one year in college. Other uncommitted rising stars like Josh Selby (guard) and C.J. Leslie (forward) very well could commit to Kentucky in the coming days which could instantly bring the university back to a national prominence this coming year. Let’s face it, if you are a guard (or small forward) and have aspirations of playing in the NBA then hook up with Calipari and dribble-drive your way to the promise land. I know it’s tough on these guys to grind their way through an entire semester of classes before heading to the NBA, but sometimes you have to suck it up to succeed.

Alabama High School Basket-Brawl

Check out the video of a high school playoff basketball game in Alabama last night that goes way off the tracks late in the fourth quarter between Montgomery’s G.W. Carver High School and Valley High. This is absolutely dispicable when you consider how many people are involved and just how quickly things can get out of control.

Lil’ Romeo, Lil’ Romeo

Percy 'Romeo

Rapper Master P’s son Percy “Lil’ Romeo” Miller has committed to Tim Floyd and the USC mens basketball team. The star player for Beverly Hills High School averaged 13.9 points and 5.6 assists per game this past season and had done extremely well at high caliber summer basketball camps. “Lil’ Romeo”, as he was known back in the day is growing up and has decided to take time off from his rapping career to focus on basketball and school. You go Romeo!

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3 Player Dunk

I have never seen something like this before in my life. Three high school basketball players dunking the ball at the same time.

High School Basketball Action

OJ Mayo

I was fortunate enough to attend the Basketball Hall of Fame Hoophall Classic this evening in Durham at Cameron Indoor Stadium. It was a three game classic pitting two local rivals in Southern High School and Riverside High School along with nationally ranked teams of #3 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) against #6 Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) followed by #2 Huntington (W.Va.) versus #11 Artesia (Lakewood, Calif.) Two out of three games were incredible and there were many hot prospects participating in the Classic.

Southern vs Riverside: Riverside absolutely blew the doors off of Southern in a yawner. I was impressed by senior guard Justin Burton, junior guard Carlos Sanford and senior forward Sidney Evans of Riverside. Senior forward Caleb Toler was about the only bright spot for Southern who looked out of sorts and completely overmatched. 

#3 Oak Hill vs #6 Mater Dei: This was an exceptional game and came down to the very last shot which unfortuately was a missed three pointer by Mater Dei who lost 71-74 to Oak Hill. Oak Hill had an extremely balanced attack led by the number one rated junior in the country point guard Brandon Jennings who has committed to USC. Nolan Smith a commitment to Duke along with Alex Legion, Julian Vaughn and Howard Thompkins were all impressive in their own rights. Mater Dei was powered by a very impressive player in 6’8 forward Taylor King who dropped somewhere in the vicintiy of 35 points with a lot of them from three point land. King is another player who has committed to the Duke Blue Devils and the crowd was obviously pulling for him. Mater Dei also has twin brothers who are 6’10 and sophomores named David Wear and Travis Wear. 

#2 Huntington vs #11 Artesia: This game had all sorts of hype due to OJ Mayo the top senior in all the nation coming to town, but with uncertainty of whether he could play in this huge game. Mayo was kicked out of Huntington’s last game due to two technicals and then a questionable bump of the referee by Mayo landed him a suspension for this game along with five other teammates for leaving the bench. In the end there was an appeal and at least for this game they all could play after a lot of back and forth discussions because of the appeal. OJ Mayo fouled out with under 3 minutes left in the game and a tight score, but his team stepped up and ultimately won the game 73-66. Mayo was up and down, but dropped in 19 and teammate Patrick Patterson was a monster all game and he had a key dunk towards the end of the game that sealed the victory for Huntington. Artesia boasts the number one rated sophomore in the country with 6’10 center Renardo Sidney along with junior Malik Story and senior James Harden. All in all this was an excellent time and the event showcased some very skilled up and coming basketball talent.