It’s our 100th Article Festivus!
It’s our 100th article! So in the spirit of Seinfeld, we’ll honor that great show by emulating their 100th episode. Now if you can’t remember exactly what the plot of the 100th Seinfeld episode was, let me provide a brief refresher.
INTERIOR – JERRY’S APARTMENT – DAY
Jerry walks into his apartment, turns, and hangs up his coat. He then looks up and recognizes the audience, and addresses them, thus “breaking the 4th wall”.
A hundred episodes. That’s a lot.
During the course of which, George, Elaine, Kramer and I have had many experiences. Both positive and negative. No, mostly negative. There have been some relationships that haven’t worked out, ambitions that were unfulfilled, hopes dashed. Some property damage, hurt feelings – I know one guy got deported. Physical injury, and – all right maybe even a death or two. But we’ve persevered. Because we’re people. Real TV people. And for 30 minutes a week, that’s pretty important to us. So if you’re joining us late, here’s some highlights from what’s happened so far.
Basically, The 100th episode is a collection of highlights from the previous 99 episodes. Actually, every show does this from time to time, bookending 20 minutes of “flashbacks” with two minutes of new material. Pretty low rent. You can tell they gave everyone but the editing staff the entire week off. But since Seinfeld was the nation’s number one show for several years, and is currently the king of syndication, why re-invent the wheel? So, without further ado, here are the highlights of our previous 99 articles. Enjoy!
On this December 7th
On this anniversary of Pearl Harbor, let us remember the sacrifices made to ensure our enjoyment of trivialities such as college basketball.
“I feel like Tom Hanks on that island. I was starting to draw faces on the basketballs on the sideline. Somehow we survived.”
– Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser, on his team’s last-minute comeback to defeat Minnesota
“We came in with a big-game mindset. There was the usual anti-Duke crowd, so it was a fun game.”
– Duke forward Mike Dunleavy
“We just need to take that round thing and put it in that iron rim.”
– North Carolina’s Kris Lang, after scoring 27 in the loss to Indiana
“This was the most bizarre evening I’ve ever experienced. It was like Bambi on ice.”
– Virginia coach Pete Gillen, after condensation forced the stoppage of play versus Michigan State
“You don’t even need to practice. You can take random shots and make that many. You could take some guys off the street and hit that many.”
– NC State coach Herb Sendek, after his Wolfpack shot 27 percent from the field against Ohio State
“I’m just upset nobody told me I had eight turnovers. Two more and I could have had a triple-double.”
– Arizona Wildcat Luke Walton, after scoring 17 points and 13 boards against Purdue
“This team was pretty good and we didn’t exactly grab them by the throat. We kind of picked them up by the ear toward the end.”
– New Mexico coach Fran Fraschilla after an 87-80 win over Tennessee Tech
“I’m going recruiting tomorrow. And if I were you, I’d be in a gym with a ball shooting free throws.”
– Kansas’ Roy Williams message to his team after an 83-76 victory over Wake Forest
Athletes should receive ample pay for staying in college, maybe something like $10,000 a year. Sounds silly? Considering the money schools make off these athletes, I really think this suggestion is a plausible one. Since I’m on the outside looking in, I don’t know about the booster money that some athletes receive. Maybe I’m just being skeptical, but I’m sure that some players receive more than $10,00 a year in gifts from alumni.
You always want your first column to be like a firm handshake. Not too strong, not too sweaty but certainly strong enough to leave a lasting impression. So, it is with this column that I introduce myself to Hoopville. College basketball is a personal passion. With all respect to Barnum and Bailey – it is “The Greatest Show on Earth.”
On the other hand, college football, in its current state, is ridiculous. And until a true playoff system emerges, I refuse to attend a Bowl game.
I had a college professor that once told me that bits columns were for amateurs. I agree. This will be the last one (unless, of course, I am completely clueless for an idea again).
C’mon people, it’s early winter, let some of these teams play a couple of conference games before you start dishing out seeds. If you ask me, it’s all quite ridiculous. So if you expect me to sit here and tell you who I think will be number eleven in the south . . you’re darn right I will. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.
UNC Junior Varsity forward C.J. Hooker agrees: “Wearing the Carolina uniform and stepping out in the Dean Dome; there is no greater feeling. It’s like a dream come true. When I was a kid I always wanted to come here and put on the uniform. When we first put them on in the locker room, we were all speechless.”
Doug Wojcik is the latest varsity assistant coach at North Carolina to serve as head JV coach. Some notable former coaches include: Kansas head coach Roy Williams, former South Carolina head coach Eddie Fogler, former UNC head coach and longtime assistant Bill Guthridge, current Philadelphia 76ers and NCAA championship head coach Larry Brown, as well as the leading scorer in Carolina history, Phil Ford. The list is extremely long and filled with some of the greatest college and professional coaches of the modern era, something that speaks volumes about the importance that North Carolina and legendary former head varsity coach Dean Smith place on the JV program.
Over the weekend of January 5-6, all four previously undefeated teams (Duke, Virginia, Oklahoma State and Miami) suffered loss number one, and a remarkable eight of the top thirteen teams in the country were defeated in conference action. One after another lost over the two-day span, capped off by the most shocking upset of this young season, Florida State’s win over top-ranked Duke. The Blue Devils had won 22 straight games entering Sunday night’s contest, with their last loss more than 10 months ago against Maryland. Also, how about this compelling stat: Prior to Duke’s defeat at Tallahassee, Coach K’s squad had won 102 of 103 games against unranked ACC teams, with the last loss five years ago against N.C. State.
Life may be a lot different for Tamir the next few years. No longer is he a kid plastered all over glamorous magazines with a catchy nickname following him everywhere he goes. He is now a man looking for a uniform to play in. He is also a player who will surely be viewed in a negative light only because fans have known and heard about this Goodman kid long before he ever played a college game.
The fact that he is Jewish and wears a yarmulke has given him a tremendous amount of unwarranted publicity thus far in his young career. Although Tamir Goodman’s faith is going nowhere, the nickname “Jewish Jordan” will be all but off his back once he steps foot in his new school. From now until then, he is done with basketball, so just call him Tamir the student.
In December 1964, Smith was in his fourth year as coach. The team started the season 6-6 and critics all over campus blamed Smith for the poor record. When the Tar Heels returned to Chapel Hill following a loss to Wake Forest, Smith saw something that he vividly remembers many years later.
“When we pulled up in front of Woollen Gym, I noticed some students gathered across the street,” Smith wrote in his autobiography. “A dummy hung from a noose in front of the gym. I could tell it was me because of its long nose.”
Smith may be able to laugh about the incident today, but that is only because he was able to right the UNC ship and coach 36 years and win a record 879 games. The situation is entirely different and more complicated for Doherty.
College basketball, while seemingly important during an evening like
the one on December 18, 2001, is pointless when considering what Valvano and
millions of people encounter against the enemy of cancer. The only way that
sports mean something is if they cause people to laugh, think and cry. On
this night, the play of four great teams stirred these emotions in thousands
of individuals. Consider this a Classic that Jimmy V would gladly call his
Two years and several ill-advised fouls later, Josh Moore was dismissed from the Michigan basketball team. Although head coach Tommy Amaker cited academic performance as the reason for Moore’s departure, no Michigan fan that saw him in action over the past two seasons shed a tear from hearing the news.
He may someday enjoy some success in the NBA. Yet the more likely scenario seems to be for Moore to end up the same waste of space as Luther Wright or Priest Lauderdale, other 7-footers who fell victim to society’s fascination with size. College coaches will continue to recruit 7-foot giants with questionable talent to patrol the paint. And while some of these players will develop into stars, more will end up like Josh Moore. And then there are those who will manage to disguise their flaws at the collegiate level and find themselves in the NBA, only to end up as the next Yinka Dare.
When one thinks of NYC point guards thoughts of Mark Jackson, Kenny Anderson, and Stephon Marbury are just a few that come to mind. But Smoosh? Just north of Manhattan at the Rose Hill Gymnasium on the Fordham is where one can find the young man who may continue the fine lineage of NYC point guards. William Parker, aka Smoosh, is a lithe 6’3″ point guard with an ABA-like afro and an NBA like game.
At the Marty Glickman classic versus St. John’s Smoosh had the Fordham faithful on their feet chanting his name. At one point Smoosh sprinted backcourt to try catch a member of the Red Storm as he looked for the easy layup. At the last second Smoosh seemed to jump out of nowhere sent the ball into the Knicks locker room.
I don’t even like Pitino disciples. Billy Donovan seriously creeps me out with his “Patrick Bateman in American Psycho” look. To the crowd’s evident surprise, Pitino neither flips them the finger nor does he strip off his face and suit jacket to reveal horns and a red, pointy tail.
I’ve already decided I hate Louisville’s uniforms. The Old English L on black doesn’t do it for me and they actually look like they say “Clouisville.” Contrast that with Kentucky’s classic look.
Admittedly, I haven’t seen much of Louisville, but if their usually MO is to run the ball up the court and take off-balance shots, it’s going to be a long year. Jim Nantz describes Louisville’s performance as “gritty.” If you want to call taking bad shots, making bad passes and committing bad fouls, but yet remaining within six points of the lead as “gritty,” so be it.
CBS shows a picture of the 1989-90 Kentucky staff which prominently features Tubby Smith with a cheesy porn mustache. Shaving that thing off could be the best move he made for the entire decade of the 90s, including taking the job at Kentucky. I can’t stress this enough.
Scenes from the “Rick Pitino Show” in Louisville, which apparently features magicians and fire-eating women. And this guy wasn’t interested in the UNLV job?
Kentucky makes a shot to end a mini-rally from the Cardinals and I can almost imagine Tubby Smith as the coach from the Kubla Kai in the Karate Kid yelling at Tayshaun Prince – “Finish him! Sweep the leg!”
I am writing this article on the Brooklyn Bridge-bound 6 Train. The rider sitting to my left has generously turned the volume up on his Discman, loud enough so that the other riders might enjoy the latest Jay-Z album. By simply purchasing a $1.50 MetroCard, I can sample the musical stylings of any of a number of current chart-toppers. Word of warning: Since my neighbor’s music is loud enough to erode what small amount of concentration I have, I apologize in advance if any of Mr. Z’s lyrics pervade this piece.
Now let’s H-to-the-Izzo of my article . . . and I don’t mean Tom.
Division I college basketball is reaching that startling juncture when mid-majors and big-timers are beginning to stand to on even footing. Don’t blame the mid-majors for getting better. Blame the big-timers for getting worse. Teams like St. John’s can tell you firsthand that the siren’s cry of the NBA is a team-killer for big-time college programs. Year-to-year inconsistencies make every year a rebuilding year and leave just a little more wiggle room for smaller clubs (where sophomores ballplayers eventually become senior ballplayers) to break through.
Teams like Manhattan and Fairfield will be able to recruit the quality player. Maybe not the blue chip, McDonald’s All-American, but the quality player. The quality player is looking for ample playing time and the opportunity to play, not be, the likes of St. John’s and Depaul. The Mickey D’s all-star just wants a one-to-two year development program before jetting for the NBA.
So take heed big-time college programs. These “cupcakes” you schedule at the start of your seasons may give you indigestion-and a few early losses you didn’t expect. While you’re getting the kinks out with the newest version of your starting five, a mid-major team with seven returning seniors is making you like the Washington Generals. Your job is getting harder.
Saturday, December 1st was a gorgeous, 75-degree day in Manhattan. Gotham’s denizens were out in full force, taking advantage of the uncharacteristically warm day. Me? I chose to spend the entire afternoon under Bat Cave darkness at Madison Square Garden for the inaugural Marty Glickman Classic (Yes, the inaugural classic. Fellow oxymorons, unite! You logicians are wincing, I know!).
The Hoopville holiday party was a blast! Actually, since we’re all scattered all over the country, it had to be a virtual holiday party, but we had fun nonetheless.
Managing Editor Andrew Flynn rented out only the most primo chat room on AOL and catered it with virtual meals, a virtual bar and virtual entertainment. We had lots of laughs. I told some virtual jokes like (and stop me if you’ve heard this one) the one about the Memphis basketball player who received his diploma. Don Weinstein “LOL’d” so hard his “L” key nearly malfunctioned. Everything was cool until I spilled my vodka-tonic all over my keyboard and was asked to log out. Can’t wait for the virtual Hoopville barbecue this summer.
I couldn’t force myself to watch the Florida State/North Carolina game last
night. I tried, I really, REALLY tried to sit and watch as the Seminoles and
Tar Heels battled for the right not to play in the Les Robinson Invitational
(aka the 8/9 game for those of you not in ACC territory). Alas, I gave up.
“Does Matt Doherty realize that nobody on this team knows how to dribble?”
Why is Stanford still in the top 25? I don’t know which team to select
as the biggest disappointment so far this year, the Cardinal, St. Joes or
Although it kept me up until 2:30 am Tuesday, the Gonzaga/New Mexico game
was a thriller. I don’t think I ever yelled at my TV at 2 am until that game
though. The officiating was embarrassing. There is no reason to call a
charge in the final seconds of a tied game, especially when the call was
wrong (it was clearly a block, the defender was moving and did not have the
angle). On top of that, I would not have called a technical on the Zags,
but fortunately for Mark Few, Ruben Douglas appeared to have taken free
throw lessons from Jason Williams. If I was a top ranked team, I would be
praying not to see the Zags in my half of the bracket in March.
As Missouri SID Chad Moller put it, who stole the Tigers mojo? I was on the Tiger bandwagon to open the year, but they have not looked like a tournament team thus far.
If I were to choose right now, the #1 seeds in the tournament would be
Duke (East), Kansas (Midwest), Maryland (South) and Cincinnati (West). With
the new tournament rules I wrote about earlier in this column, the regions
really hold little meaning anymore.
The Dan Hauptman fan club is taking applications …
“Big players make big plays.” It’s a simple phrase. I don’t know who coined it, I don’t know when it started, but dammit, it’s one of my favorites. And while watching the Duke/Kentucky game, something crossed my mind – Jason Williams is ready for prime time, while Tayshaun Prince is not. Jason Williams, you proved me wrong. I’m still not sold on Chris Duhon, however.
Three places I want to catch a game before I die: The Palestra, Allen Field House and MacArthur Court in Eugene, Oregon.
End of Flashback
You see? That wasn’t so hard. Find a Seinfeld script, copy some clips from previous articles, and then we’re done. Piece o’ cake. We’ll see you again for the 200th Article. As you can see, half of it is already written.