Sometimes, you can’t make this stuff up. As soon as the NCAA Brackets came out, Mr. Whitlock had his panties in a bunch over the selection of Duke as not only a No 1 seed, but the fact that they are in what is perceived as the easiest region.
While I honestly believe Duke deserves the top seed, I also believe they got lucky with an easy region. I already wrote about it here. Yet as we already said on Twitter, Duke wasn’t the first team to catch a break in the tournament selection process and they won’t be the last. But because it’s Duke THIS TIME, the conspiracy theory was going to pop out. Sadly though, you’d expect it from another Maryland blog, not from a respected journalist.
Let’s break Jason Whitlock’s article down.
The experts on CBS and ESPN were not at liberty Sunday night to explain to you why the NCAA Tournament selection committee treated Duke like the No. 1 overall seed rather than Kansas, the nation’s best basketball team.
As Whitlock has reminded us sooooo many times in the past, he’s the only one not afraid to tell it like it is. Damn you, weak liberal mendia!
CBS, the current rights holder, and ESPN, America’s 24-hour national sports network – along with several other networks – are currently participating in the contract negotiations. It’s a high-stakes affair. CBS paid $6 billion to exclusively broadcast the event for the last 11 years.
In an effort to hoodwink a TV network into again overpaying for the Big Dance, the NCAA is considering expanding the tourney to 96 teams.
So it’s only logical that the selection committee provided the Blue Devils – tournament-chokers for most of the last decade – a relative cakewalk to the Final Four. Duke, the alleged third No. 1 seed, is in the bracket with the weakest No. 2 (Villanova) and No. 3 (Baylor) and No. 4 (Purdue).
So let’s be clear about this. The selection committee, according to Whitlock, without a single shred of proof, made all their decisions based on future television contracts? Yep, it must all be a big conspiracy that only Jason Whitlock has figured out. He so smart. (more…)
Seth Davis at CNNSI is stealing my opinions. Bastard! He suggests to Coach K the need to give more playing time to a couple of Duke freshmen.
Here’s Seth Davis today:
• If Coach K asked my advice (which he does all the time), I would tell him to force-feed freshmen Andre Dawkins and Mason Plumlee a lot more minutes, even if it means losing a few games as they learn the ropes. Those two need to learn to play through mistakes, and the Blue Devils will need their help to reach the Final Four.
Now here’s me after the Georgetown loss two weeks ago:
The question is, moving forward, what can Coach K do about it, if anything?
I’ll be honest, I don’t have the answer. There is no quick fix. If I had a say (which I don’t), I’d probably say screw the regular season and screw worrying about our tournament seeding. We need to develop Mason and Andre. One is our best athlete, the other could be our best shooter. They’re not going to ever improve playing just 10 minutes per game.
Hell, here’s me this past weekend:
Mason’s increase time is a good development. As we’ve discussed before, this Duke team with Mason and Andre Dawkins playing few minutes, has a ceiling and it’s not in the final four. It’s Sweet 16 at best. I’ve been preaching for a while that it was more important to develop these two through playing time, because if (and I know that’s a big ‘if’) they can improve and play to their potential, Duke’s ceiling is raised.
And two weeks ago after the win over Georgia Tech:
Duke has a ceiling if he (Mason) doesn’t get better then that ceiling is not the Final Four. I’m not saying it is with Mason, but if he can get better here in the last month and a half, then Duke’s ceiling can only go higher.
Note: I actually don’t think Seth Davis stole this from me. If anything, I would steal from him, just to improve my standings around the ladies (does Seth Davis articles really help with the ladies? Not sure, we’ll check on that).
We’ll go out on a limb and say he’s certainly never heard of Big Duke Balls. Hell, I’m sure someone else has said the exact same thing long before I did. However, he and I both have good points. Mason and Andrea need to play.
Now if only I could get Seth’s salary.
This past Wednesday, the Duke student newspaper suggested that Coach K should actually bench Kyle Singler. It’s easy to quickly jump out and condemn the student writer, Joe Drews, but we here at Big Duke Balls are a cool bunch. We don’t like to jump the gun. Let’s take a look at some of the points Mr. Drew makes.
Pegged as a preseason All-American, the junior forward has seen his numbers drop across the board, including field goal percentage (41.0 percent), 3-point percentage (34.7 percent), points (15.4 per game) and rebounds (6.9 per game). It may be due to his move to the perimeter, the increased expectations coming into the season or the pressure of a possible NBA career next year. Or none of those. Honestly, I have no idea. But I think it’s time to consider the once-unthinkable. It’s time to bench Kyle Singler.
First, the numbers don’t lie. Singler is struggling. He was expected to compete for ACC player of the year, but instead, is only the third best player on this year’s squad (behind Scheyer and Smith). He missed two HUGE three’s with under 90 seconds left in Duke’s loss to Georgia Tech. Quite simply, Singler has not looked comfortable and he’s missed some easy/open shots this season.
But benching? First reaction, it’s a joke. You can’t bench Singler. Who are you going to put in? It can’t be Dawkins. The only person colder than Singler is Dawkins. Besides, Andre is the only guard coming off then bench. It wouldn’t be wise going three-guard.
What about Mason Plumlee? He certainly has the skill set to play small forward, but two things. Duke’s big men have struggled to stay out of foul trouble, so Mason’s minutes are needed down low. Second, Plumlee is still struggling on the defensive end. Could you imagine what a quicker small forward would do to him? It would be brutal and it would be a terrible fit.
Of course, Drew wasn’t really suggesting benching Singler for the season or even for a long period time.
Now, I’m not suggesting he sit out the next several contests, nor am I saying he should come off the bench for the remainder of the season. And this isn’t punishment for a poor performance against Georgia Tech—if that were the case, Singler would be joined on the bench by everyone but Scheyer and Mason Plumlee.
He goes on to say:
He (Singler) needs to see that his teammates are fine without him. (Obviously, this plan is contingent on his teammates actually being OK without him, but they should be).
Okay, fair point if you believe the problem is that Singler is forcing things because he sees himself as the No 1 option and is simply pressing to live up to the preseason labels. Also, while Coach K can be a dick about this if he so choices, let’s not forget, Coach K has often benched starters for one game either as punishment or to make a point, including some of the greats. In fact, I believe he had Singler (and the entire starting lineup) come off the bench against UNC-Asheville last year.
Having said that, he’s certainly never benched a player this late in the season, especially during ACC play. He’ll usually make “his point” against weaker opponents before the New Year.
So do I think Joe Drew has a point? Yes, I do…but in the end I think he’s wrong. Shall I explain? You’ve read this much, haven’t you. (more…)
At halftime, ESPN switched to the Kansas/Cornell game and stayed on it well into Duke’s second half. Even though Kansas finally pulled ahead, Cornell began fouling, yet ESPN remained on this game. It finally ended with 16 minutes to play, but does ESPN switch immediately to the Duke/Iowa State? No, they get post-game thoughts from the jackasses in the studio, then…this I can’t f*cking believe…they went to commercial, even though Duke and Iowa State were playing.
They had to squeeze in two more minutes of commercials before switching back to the game in progress with under 14 minutes left on the clock.
What if I told you that Duke would should 29% from the floor and still beat Connecticut?
What if I told you that Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith would combine for 7-33 and Duke would still beat Connecticut?
What if I told you that Lance Thomas, Brian Zoubek and Miles Plumlee would all foul out, but Duke would still beat Connecticut?
What if I told you Duke would hit only one basket and make two free throws in the final 12:25 of the game, but still beat Connecticut?
You’d probably say, this guy is full of sh*t and I wouldn’t blame you. Yet, here are the Blue Devils with another NIT Preseason Tip-Off Championship. In fact, the game was pretty damn easy until about the 12 minute mark in the second half when the Devils became allergic to putting the ball in the basket.
Duke should get major props. It was a great game plan, it was well executed, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. In reality though, this game probably tells us more about the Huskies weaknesses than it does about Duke’s strength at this point. The Huskies had no outside shooting, relying solely on the dribble drive. It worked at first, as they hit 9-14 at the beginning of the game. It worked because the drivers, Dyson and Walker, mixed up their drives with both shots and solid passes to the big men, often for an easy layup or a dunk. However, the pair got selfish with the ball. For the game, the pair took 32 of their teams 61 shots, making under 33% of them (10 total).
So what did I see?
I saw that UConn had zero outside game. They went 0-4 from behind the three line. In fact, down by 18 with 12 minutes to go, I don’t believe the Huskies actually attempt a three-point shot. You can’t comeback if you’re afraid to launch from downtown.
I saw that Connecticut couldn’t hit a free throw. The Huskies got to the free line more, but made less free throws. They hit only 15-28 (including a couple front ends of one-and-one’s). Dyson in particular, a point guard with a knack of getting close to the basket, hit only 3-9 for the game. That’s unacceptable for a big man, let alone a guard. Duke meanwhile, shot 20-25 from the line.
I saw our big’s really control the paint. You can win when you shoot under 30% when you rebound. Duke grabbed 18 offensive rebounds and scored 15 second-chance points. Our three big men, Plumlee, Zoubek and Thomas grabbed 27 total rebounds (we ask for just 24 per game). Lance had a solid double-double 11/11 for the game.
Still though, they’re still having issues creating shots and it’s going to become a problem. Zoubek and Thomas, in particular, are good at grabbing rebounds and put backs. They’re good at just getting in the right spots of the floor, but both have not been able to take advantage of the one-on-one coverage.
Zoubek continues, after all these years, to bring the ball down, turning him into a six-footer. This is so frustrating to watch. Just shoot the damn ball. After four years, Brian hasn’t learned a simple two-step jump hook?
Lance Thomas is more athletic than Zoubek, but he continues to hesitate when he gets the ball. That hesitation allows the defense to get into proper position. It’s time for both Lance and Brian to just stop thinking and play.
Let’s move on.
I saw John Scheyer continue to play within himself. He struggled from the field (6-18), but he led Duke in scoring (19), while grabbing four boards, dishing out five assists, swiping three steals, turning the ball over only one time. Despite not playing a traditional point guard role, he’s dished out at least four assists in each game, turning it over only three times all season long (note: ESPN kept announcing that he had four turnovers on the season, but according to ESPN.com & CNNSI.com, it’s three…so we’ll roll with that). This means for the season, Scheyer has an astonishing 10.3/1 assist-to-turnover rate.
I saw that Kyle Singler’s shot is MIA. For the NIT, he hit a forgettable 7-28. In fact, if you include the Radford game, he’s shooting 11-41 (27% from the floor). It’s a slump and it’s nothing to worry about, especially when others step up and especially when he plays defense. Speaking of D, did yo notice…
Kyle Singler is playing defense a lot like Shane Battier. One of the most basic defensive mistakes players make is when they are defending a shooter, they don’t know how to “put a hand in the face.” Players often reach up for the ball, knowing there is absolutely zero chance of blocking the ball, yet still giving the shooter a clean-ish look at the basket. What the good defenders do is, don’t bother with the bullsh*t “block” attempt. A good defender gets his hands right in the face of a defenders face, right in between the shooters arms.
Just watch Shane Battier defend Kobe Bryant.
Friday night, every time a Connecticut player tried to take a jumper in front of Singler, he got his hand in their face and they missed. I counted six times this happened. You play defense like this, you can afford to miss 10 shots.
I saw that Duke’s offense disappeared in the final 12 minutes. For the record, Duke hit one basket and two free throws in the final 720 seconds against Connecticut. Obviously at the 7-8 minute mark, Duke slowed it down, typically not getting into the flow of their offense until the 18-second mark. Yet again, Duke stopped dropping the ball inside, allowing the Huskies the guard just three players. We cannot abandon the inside game.
Anyhow, after wards, the discussion of the day turned to Duke’s “athleticism” or lack of athleticism. According to The Big Lead, ESPN’s Doug Gottlieb felt after the ASU game that Duke was “alarmingly unathletic.”
Of course Coach K wasn’t too pleased after the UConn game and had this to say:
He should be an expert on alarmingly non-athletic. So I’ll have to take a look at that a little bit closer because it comes from an expert who actually knows what it feels like to be alarmingly non-athletic.
Actually, we’re pretty athletic; we’re just not as athletic as UConn. Singler is a really good athlete. Lance, Miles. Jon is not leaping tall buildings with a single bound but he’s a real good athlete. But I wouldn’t call us like this athletic team, but we’re not amazingly non-athletic. And I would rather not get into a discussion with Doug because I have respect of his stature and he should have his arguments with people of similar stature. That would be a good thing.
I’d have to agree with TBL, Coach K is being a little sensitive about this, but that’s how he is. Read this article by Will Blythe from three years ago and you’ll understand why. He’s a man that takes every slight, whether real or imagine, personally and uses it as motivation. You know who the king of that was? Michael Jordan. Just go back and watch his Hall of Fame speech. However, that was one of the ways Jordan made himself a great player. It was how he motivated himself on the court. He did it, lots of people do it and Coach K has done it for years.
In reality though, Doug Gottlieb is right. Duke is not an athletic team and it has nothing to do with certain players whiteness. Let’s face the facts. Sure, compared to me, Duke is very athletic. Compared to the average person on this planet, Duke players are athletic. However, when you think in basketball terms, athleticism simply means, the ability to create one’s own shot. Outside of Nolan Smith, Duke doesn’t have that right now. Andre Dawkins could become that guy, but for now he’s a jump shooter.
For Duke guards to get penetration, they must rely on the screens from the big guys. For Duke’s big guys to get open shots, they rely on being in the right position, while others deliver the ball to them. Coach K knows this. You don’t think for one second he’d rather be back in the old dribble-drive offense of Jason Williams and Chris Duhon? If we had John Wall, that’s exactly what we’d be doing. If anything, Krzyzewski should be given major props for not trying to fit a round peg in a square hole. He’s always shown the ability to switch his offense to fit the players he has.
This team is not athletic. Thi is fact. However, they are smart and they are tough. That’s not a white player or a black player thing, that’s experience, something Duke has a lot of this season.
In reality, John Scheyer and his abilities are the face of the team. I believe Dick Vitale said it best, “he knows his limitations and plays within himself.” He could barely drive pass a light pole, but somehow he finds himself alone in the paint. He’s never going to win a slam dunk contest, but he knows how to get in the air, hang there and get fouled. He still has less muscles than my wife, but he still pulls down 3-4 rebounds per game.
The irony is, starting next season, Duke will be one of the more athletic teams in the ACC, if not the nation. Kyrie Irving will be one of the top three quickest point guards, while Tyler Thornton will make it a solid 1-2 combo, meaning Duke will have a speedy PG on the court at all times. Seth Curry (transfer from Curry) is a scoring machine, much like his brother. Joshua Hairston is…well…let ESPN tell you.
He has always been highly rated but he dominated at times during the event. Josh is a high post 4-man that can shoot with range to 19 feet. He is also effective off the dribble and can create his own shot versus other post players. He rebounded and blocked shots all day long and was a presence in the paint. Hairston is a solid athlete and runs the court well.
Why? Because in reality, that’s what the haters keep talking about. Strange, isn’t?
Let me give you a example. Over at Fox News, Jeff Goodman produced his ACC preview. Nothing too special about it and certainly not Duke heavy. He has North Carolina winning the league and he’s predicting big things from Georgia Tech (Elite Eight, anyone?).
He has Duke second in the league (although you could make a good argument to have them a spot or two lower). In his small review, he hits mostly on Duke’s back court problems. He does have Kyle Singler on his ‘All-Conference’ team and has a sentence about Duke’s incoming forwards, but overall, it’s a pretty routine write up. I don’t see any favoritism or bias or even hate.
Now let’s look at the comments section.
In the comments section, there are 108 comments. Of those 108, an astonishing 67, yes 67 are about Duke.
There are 12 teams in the ACC, including the defending champs, North Carolina Tar Heels, yet the only thing people want to talk about is Duke. I understand hate, I really do, but 67? Jesus. The irony is, half of them commentators, I couldn’t tell you who their actual favor team is, but that’s the thing about most Duke hate. They hate Duke more than they love their own team, which is why it’s so beautiful.
The comments are obviously mostly negative (about 10 are pro-Duke from one or two Duke fans), but the conversation basically revolved around; Duke sucks, Duke’s overrated, Coach K sucks, Coach K is overrated, Duke doesn’t play anyone, Duke sucks, Duke is gay, Duke has white players, white players are gay, Singler is gay, Singler is Hitler, Coach K is a rat, Coach K looks like a rat, everyone in the media loves Duke and Duke sucks.
Ironically, the respectful comments (even the negative ones) came from the North Carolina faithful. That will happen when you’re on top. Back in the 90′s I didn’t hate UNC as much as I do now…but obviously that has something to do with them being the big dogs right now.
Man, this season is going to be fun.
Filed under: College Basketball, media, Players | Tags: CBS Sports, Coach Calipari, Corey Maggette, Derrick Rose, Gary Parrish, William Wesley
Over at CBS, Gary Parrish does his best to compare the recent Derrick Rose/Memphis situation to the Corey Maggette/Duke situation. He feels like the NCAA is using “selective enforcement” when they punish Memphis, but not Duke.
Gary is wrong though. These two situations are not the same and he should know better. However, my first question to Parrish (and Doyle for that matter) is, why use Maggette and Duke as your primary example? I know why…because hitting on Duke gets you a lot more hits on your “blog.”
Wouldn’t a better and certainly more timely comparison be Darrell Arthur and Kansas. If you don’t know this one, it has been reported that Arthur actually failed a class in high school (his grade was changed), which would have made him ineligible to play in the exact same game Derrick Rose was playing in (and was ineligible for).
However, since CBS Sports brought it up, let’s just deal with the Maggette/Duke situation.
COREY MAGGETTE/DUKE: A summer basketball coach, Myron Piggie, made cash payments to Corey while in high school. The money had been funneled to Piggie through “a revenue pool that included donations from at least two sports agents.” Years later, after an investigation, Maggette admitted taking the money.
DERRICK ROSE/MEMPHIS: Derrick Rose was a basketball star from Chicago, who would have gone straight to the NBA if he could. Of course, because of the NBA age requirement, Rose had to attend college for at least one year. However, Rose wasn’t a star student. In fact, he had failed his SAT three times. Rose had been committed to John Calipari and Memphis, but he needed to pass that SAT or else. Suddenly one month before he was due to enroll, someone, not Derrick Rose, took the SAT in Detroit (mind you, Derrick didn’t live in Michigan) and passed…and the rest is history.
Now let’s help out Parrish and explain the difference between the two. What Maggette did was wrong, however, Myron Piggie, had nothing to do with Duke University. The money had nothing to do with Corey’s decision to attend Duke. There is absolutely ZERO connection between Piggie, the money and Duke basketball. Sure, if it was discovered prior to Maggette joining Duke that he accepted cash, he would have lost his eligibility. You can also argue that the NCAA dragged their feet on the Maggette investigation. You always want this stuff wrapped up quickly, just because it looks better.
However, in the Rose/Memphis situation, there are two issues at play. First, all because all the dots can’t be connected, doesn’t mean that we have to ignore any and all evidence (this is not a court of law).
Let’s let Geoff Calkins explain:
On May 5, 2007, with all this at stake, someone — the Educational Testing Service has concluded it wasn’t Derrick Rose — showed up at a test center in Detroit to take Rose’s SAT.
Rose lived in Chicago, mind you. He traveled to Detroit to watch an NBA playoff game and — doesn’t everyone do this? — take the SAT.
Care to guess what significant friend of Calipari’s has deep connections in Detroit?
William Wesley a.k.a. Worldwide Wes, the most mysterious and connected man in college basketball.
Who knows how this all played out? But if you think Calipari didn’t know how his star player qualified to play basketball at Memphis, I have a 2007-08 Final Four banner I’d like to sell you.
Who is Worldwide Wes? Some have called him the most powerful man in sports. You can be the judge.
From Larry Brown Sports, who has done a fantastic job covering the whole Derrick Rose fiasco:
Worldwide Wes (William Wesley) is based out of Detroit and it’s long been established that he helped steer Rose to John Calipari at Memphis. Wes, whom most fans have never heard of, is considered to be one of the biggest powerbrokers in the NBA, one some players say is running the league. Wes helped bring prized recruit DaJuan Wagner to Memphis and Calipari obliged by hiring Wagner’s dad onto his staff. Since then, Wes has helped send Rose, Chris Douglas-Roberts, and Tyreke Evans to Memphis. Calipari has even called Wes a “goodwill ambassador” to the Memphis program, making you wonder if he’ll now be Kentucky’s ambassador. So now the pieces of the puzzle are starting to fit together, and the dots between Rose, Calipari, the suspicious SAT test, and Detroit have all been connected. And just like I said three months ago, sounds like John Calipari helped Derrick Rose cheat on the SAT, or at the very least, knew exactly what he was up to.
This brings us to my second point, it’s all about a track record. Coach K’s record is crystal clear, Memphis and Coach Calipari’s aren’t. First, Rose isn’t the only player from that Memphis team with questionable SAT results and let’s not forget, Coach Calipari is now the only coach in NCAA history to have two Final Four teams disappear from the record books (and in both cases, he was gone by the time the punishments came down). The first case, if you recall was at UMass where Marcus Camby, while on campus, was taking money, jewelry and prostitutes from an agent.
Now granted, Calipari wasn’t the one that was throwing hookers at Camby and there is absolutely no proof that he set up the Rose/SAT situation, but at the very least, Calipari is the master of “plausible deniability.”
Another fact lost on Parrish was that the cheating on the SAT wasn’t the only infraction.
From Dana O’Neil at ESPN:
In regard to this specific investigation, (Memphis athletic director R.C. Johnson) agreed to let Reggie Rose (Derrick’s brother) on (the team) plane. By the letter of the law it was OK. NCAA rules say a player’s family can ride on the team plane so long as that opportunity is afforded to the general public.
But it turned out to be a slippery slope to disaster. One missed payment — or in this case, more than $1,700 worth — and Memphis had itself a violation (and by the way, how could Reggie Rose be unaware that he didn’t pay? That’s not exactly chump change for a man who isn’t a Rockefeller).
So let’s see where we stand.
In one case, we have Corey Maggette, who took cash from a high school summer coach that has ZERO affiliation with Coach K and Duke University.
In the other case, we have a player who cheated on a SAT test (after failing his first three tries) in a different state from where he lived, in a city where Worldwide Wes (the man who had brought half-a-dozen players to Coach Cal) lives, just to be accepted by a school that had other players with questionable SAT scores, by a coach who has run afoul with the NCAA in the past…oh and then gave a free plane ride to the player’s brother (who most believe was the one who actually took the SAT test).
Now on top of all that, the big difference, the one fact that separates Maggette/Duke from Rose/Memphis is that, according to the NCAA, Memphis found out DURING Rose’s freshman season that there might be issues with his SAT scores and they did nothing to investigate. In fact, the school didn’t even tell Coach Calipari about the possible infractions (which should make UK fans happy). This means, Memphis knowingly let Rose play games, despite knowing their might be eligibility problems with their star player.
Paul Dee, the chairman for the committee on infractions, said in a teleconference that even though Memphis was not aware of Rose’s questionable test score until midway through his freshman year, once the score was invalidated by Educational Testing Service, Rose no longer met the initial eligibility standards.
“This is a situation of strict liability,” Dee said. “If he is ineligible and does not meet initial requirements, the penalties are related back to that time and a determination is then made: Did he play in any contests after the fact? In this case, he did.”
Calipari was not penalized because he was never included in the original notice of allegations, Dee said. But Dee did stress that vacating the record books carries with it an implied punishment.”
Yep Gary, no difference at all.
Sorry folks, big difference. It’s fine to ignore Worldwide Wes, Detroit and all other bits of information, but the big difference remains…Duke didn’t learn of Maggette taking money until years after the fact, while Memphis learned of it during the season.
What I don’t get is…Parrish is a good reporter and he should have known the difference because he’s reported on it on his OWN BLOG before.
From August 20:
One of the interesting bits of information released today is that the SAT in question that the NCAA believes Derrick Rose did not actually take was taken by somebody in Detroit only a month before Rose enrolled at Memphis. Rose had already taken the SAT three times and failed to get a qualifying score each time. So suddenly this Chicago native went to Detroit to take the test one final time, and would it be too cynical to mention that the famed William Wesley — AKA “Worldwide Wes” — just so happens to live in Detroit?
That’s probably just a coincidence, right?
Now come on, Gary…you don’t see a difference?
PS – And before I start to receive the hate male from the haters, for the record, unless the NCAA can prove Memphis knew or allowed Rose to cheat, I think the punishment is B.S. I don’t believe Memphis should lose anything. If the school didn’t do anything wrong, then they shouldn’t have their Final Four vacated.
Filed under: Former Blue Devils, media | Tags: Chris Kyle, Grant Hill, HGH, Huffington Post
Today, I stumbled across an article on the Huffington Post, where some guy named Chris Kyle (nope, never heard of him either), accused Grant Hill of being a doper (nope, I’m not kidding). You see, after battling a bad ankle over the years, Grant Hill played in all 82 games this season, the first time since his days in Detroit.
From the Huffington Post:
How does a 36-year-old man play in all 82 regular season games and do it in style, finishing his final game with 27 points, 10 board, 5 assists, four steals and a block?
If I were hoping, I’d say that Grant Hill is an Outlier, straight from the pages of Malcolm Gladwell, but if I were betting, well, you get the idea…
I don’t like to think about Grant Hill taking HGH, or whatever else, because he’s always been one of my favorite Blue Devils. I say that because some people might think it’s unfair for me to the raise the performance-enhancing drugs issue with a guy like Hill. I don’t know. But I do know that my friends and I sit around and talk about stuff like this.
This might be the most irresponsible article I have ever read on the Huffington Post? Seriously. I read that site more than any other on the web and I still can’t believe I came across this filth.
Without a trace of proof, without a single whisper from a single source, this person can simply write an article on one of the most popular news sites, linking Grant Hill to HGH, just because he can’t believe Grant Hill can do it?
Chris’s so-called proof is that Grant Hill played in all 82 games this season after suffering through injuries throughout the latter half of his career? Is it really that amazing? Let’s look back.
In Grant Hill’s first six years in Detroit, he was one of the NBA’s best. He scored 9,383 points, grabbed 3,417 rebounds and dished out 2,720 assists. Only Larry Bird and Oscar Robertson produced better numbers in their first six years.
Then came the trade to Orlando and the health issues. Granted, it wasn’t a rash of injuries, it was just one bad ankle, followed by many failed attempts to fix it. Because of this ankle, Grant Hill played in only 48 games in a four-year stretch from 2000-2004.
After taking a full year to recover in 2004, he came back and played 67 games. The following year though, he only played in 21 games thanks to a hernia injury caused by the fact that he was still favoring one ankle. After that season, Hill went and saw a new specialist in Vancouver. The treatment appeared to help, although it wasn’t an instant recovery (you know, the kind a player usually gets when he’s using HGH). Hill came out and played in a respectable 65 games, along with a trip to the playoffs that season.
Following 2006-2007 season, Grant went to Phoenix. His ankle held up again and he played in over 70 games. He did miss two weeks because he suffered an emergency appendectomy. And finally this season, he played a full 82, although his stats were his lowest in years.
So after seeing all this, Chris Kyle things, but hopes it’s not true, that Grant Hill used HGH. Stunning.
What do I see? A player who had a bum ankle, who slowly, year after year, worked his way back to complete health. But wait, Chris says 36-year-old players are suppose to break down at that age. Obviously, Chris doesn’t take into account that when Grant missed all those games, his body avoided the NBA beat-down in 280 games during that stretch. So maybe, just maybe, it’s reasonable to assume that if Grant Hill’s ankle got stronger and stronger over a three-year period, then he could somehow manage 82 games in one season. Is it really that much of a stretch? The guy comes off the bench, averaging under 30 minutes per game. Can HGH be the only way?
Again though, this isn’t a post about Grant Hill and HGB. Like I already said, there’s not a single ounce of evidence linking Grant to the drug or to anyone associated with HGB. And unlike Chris, when I know a person has been a class act his whole life and has never done anything in his career or life to tarnish the game he loves, guess what…he gets the automatic benefit of the doubt in my book.
This article is about Chris Kyle though, who despite getting a top-notch education at Duke University, just doesn’t get it. What was that award winning reasoning he had again:
I don’t like to think about Grant Hill taking HGH, or whatever else, because he’s always been one of my favorite Blue Devils. I say that because some people might think it’s unfair for me to the raise the performance-enhancing drugs issue with a guy like Hill. I don’t know. But I do know that my friends and I sit around and talk about stuff like this.
No Chris, no one thinks it’s unfair to write a B.S. article about Grant Hill because you like the guy. My issue is the fact that you get to use the Huffington Post to post a ‘gut feeling’ simply because you and your friends “sit around and talk about stuff like this.” Discussing Grant Hill and drug use without a shred of evidence with your friends IS the proper forum. Trashing a great NBA player and a good guy with no proof whatsoever in a national news site is slander.
It’s no different if I wrote that Chris Kyle’s mother was a whore, who sleeps with men for money. That would be wrong. Sure I can sit around with my buddies and debate the merits of the whoring mother of Chris Kyle, but to post it on this site would be wrong, no matter how much my gut says it so. I shouldn’t do it because I don’t have any proof that she works the streets for money.
Just imagine the possibilities if I used his logic.
- Tyler Hansbrough uses HGH. My friends talk about it all the time. Look at his body, he’s built. I have no proof, but I’m just saying.
- Crying causes Cancer. Again, I have no proof, but a friend and I were talking about it yesterday.
- When the Tar Heels win, a baby dies. Sure I’ve never seen it happen. But come on, at one point in this world a puppy had to die when Carolina won. It just makes sense, right?
That’s really all I can say about it. A classless article by a clueless writer. Huffington Post, if you’re looking for a real writer, let me know, my neighbor’s kid is pretty good at making shit up out of thin air.
Filed under: 2009 NCAA Tournament, media | Tags: 2009 NCAA Tournament, CNNSI, Luke Winn, Predictions
Luke Winn over at CNNSI, has his Fifty Thoughts on Selection Sunday. Oddly enough, many of his thoughts tend to focus on Duke and how they’re not going to be successful this tournament. Shall we:
4. The No. 1 with the most favorable No. 2 pairing … is Pitt, in the East. The Panthers were slotted opposite the one two-seed that has absolutely no answer for DeJuan Blair: Duke. The nation’s best rebounder should have a field day if he meets the Blue Devils. The secret to Blair’s rebounding prowess, he told us, is that “I pretend that every rebound is a million dollars.” He could become a very rich man in the Elite Eight.
According to Luke, because Blair in a great rebounder, so Duke won’t be able to get rebounds at all, thus not win? Granted, Blair is a great rebounder, but as a team, Pittsburgh only grabs under three rebounds more a game than Duke. Besides, didn’t Pittsburgh need a last second three to defeat Duke last season (with the same basic lineup)? Yes, Pittsburgh can win this game, but let’s not call it easy.
7. One Vegas-related observation … is that Duke is a curiously high-valued team in the eyes of the oddsmakers. I’m not expecting the Blue Devils to get past the Sweet 16, and yet LVSC thinks they have an equally strong shot as Memphis does of winning the national title.
Currently, Vegas has Duke at 10-1. Only Luke would be so impressed with a Memphis team that has basically beaten up Division II opponents in conference play. Duke and Memphis have played one similar opponent; Xavier. Memphis lost, Duke rolled. I’m not saying Duke is better now, I’m just saying, it’s not that far fetched.
14. The safest Sweet 16 upset pick … is No. 3 Villanova over No. 2 Duke, in Boston. Nova is the overlooked power coming out of the Big East, but it happens to have the league’s best set of guards. Scottie Reynolds, who powered the Wildcats to the Sweet 16 last season as a No. 12 seed, is an accomplished tourney scorer and he, Corey Fisher, Corey Stokes and Reggie Redding are too much for the Blue Devils to handle.
It’s almost like he hasn’t watched a Duke game this year. As much as I can appreciate how good players like Reynolds, Fisher, Stokes and Redding are, are they really better than Henderson, Singler and Scheyer? So much so, the Blue Devils don’t even get a mention?
Now we have no problem with a reporter picking Duke to bow out early. Over the last few years, Duke has done nothing to deserve a ‘late-tournament run’ prediction from any expert, but later he delivers some stats that he believes are key to tournament success, throwing a wrench in his own predictions.
37. Statistics that matter, part I: Defensive efficiency is a better predictor of tourney success than offensive efficiency, and Memphis has, by far, the nation’s most efficient D. The Tigers allow just 0.794 points per possession. By contrast, Oklahoma, the other two-seed playing in Kansas City, allows 0.935.
Duke’s D is ranked 7th and they did that against teams like Carolina, Wake and Clemson. Memphis did it against…wait, who is in Conference USA?
38. Statistics that matter, part II: All of the national title winners since 2005 have finished in the top 20 in both offensive and defensive efficiency. There are only six teams who fit that profile this year, and only one of them happens to be a No. 1 seed. They are: UConn, Gonzaga, Duke, West Virginia, Missouri and Kansas.
So Duke is the only #2 seed who is in the top 20 in both offensive and defensive efficiency, but they are the easiest number two? I don’t get it. Where’s the mighty Villanova team that is going to roll over Duke?
In reality, we shouldn’t be surprised by any of this. This is the same guy who has failed to give us anything relevent about Duke all year long in his Power Rankings.
Filed under: media
After highlighting the fact Luke Winn at CNNSI continues to give us nothing relevant about this year’s Duke Blue Devils in his Power Rankings, Mr. Winn again delivers absolutely nothing in this week’s power rankings. From this week’s power rankings, Luke gives us:
On Tuesday, I wrote that the Blue Devils might actually be bucking the trend of late-season collapses, and predictably received a barrage of e-mails accusing me of Duke-loving. This, after receiving a barrage of e-mails accusing me of Duke-hating last week, for linking up all those YouTubes of gifts from referees. The lesson: You’ll get e-mails no matter what you write about Duke, because it’s the most hated and over-analyzed team in the country. People even have takes on whether the Cameron Crazies have hit a slump. A recent feature in the Charlotte Observer examined the Crazies and quoted Duke alum and Washington Post columnist John Feinstein as saying, “When I was in school, the students were great and the team was bad. Now it’s the other way around.” His feeling is that the kids are now less interested in spontaneity than they are in dressing (or body-painting) wild enough to get their faces on national TV.
Granted, Luke did recently discuss Duke’s tournament chances in a separate article, but come on, buddy. Look at the other teams; Carolina, Memphis, solid facts and useful stats relevant to what’s happening right now. What do we get? Luke gets lots of emails whether he writes positive stuff about Duke or negative. Don’t you think we know that already? Luke man, you’re better than this. I don’t even care if you write something negative, just give us something.