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Northeast Notebook

December 27, 2002 Conference Notes No Comments

Northeast Conference Notebook

by Chris Roddy

Coal or the NBA? All I want for Christmas is . . .

The lingering taste of cookies and cakes couldn’t sweeten the soured mouth of one despondent basketball fan. With no college hoops on, I had to turn to the NBA in order to get my fix of bouncing Spalding goodness. What did I have to watch but the highly anticipated match-up of last year’s heavyweights, the Kings and Lakers. ABC Sports, a fine institution that has purveyed professional golf, Monday Night Football and ice dancing for the past decade managed to kill my desire to watch Disney-fied coverage of basketball ever again. A shoddy camera from mid-court cut out every time it panned to the right side of arena. The supplementary “Floor Cam” gave me both unwanted and unneeded views of $700 pairs of sneakers, up-the-shorts shots (I never thought I’d be happy to see Spandex on grown men) and boring candid looks at Kobe Bryant’s nose hairs.

What the hell happens when you go to the NBA? Doesn’t 1-2 years of education in college (or high school) help make for articulate and mature men? I found myself in the midst of a winter wonderland, disgruntled and strangling an ornamental snowman. I groaned at a pathetic highlight reel of the exploits of these supposed superstars. Nothing like over-hyping Shaq’s eloquent comments about the “Queens” to slow motion video of the grotesquely hair-gelled Rick Fox and Doug Christie’s fisticuffs on and off the court. A marketing blitz of moronic encounters does not a rivalry make.

Sure, I watched last year’s seven game series between these two. And yes, it was a lot of fun. But what ever happened to purebred enmity between competitors? The Miami versus Florida game a few weeks back was rooted in desire to win, to be the best. These guys, these NBA elites, have lost sight of what it means to best your archrival. Apparently game play means nothing if you can score on your opponent with a 20-second, oft times wit-lacking sound byte for the press.

Maybe if Shaq shut his incredibly large yet continually idiotic mouth he might hear his coaches’ pleas for him to fill the lane and prevent guard penetration. Maybe if Doug Christie stopped smiling antagonistically at everyone and everything he’d focus on his teammates shouts of “Screen!” and “Pick Left!” when playing defense.

After popping Frosty the Ornament’s head off, I decided to break for a short stroll in the peacefulness of Christmas day New England Northeaster.

I returned inside after I couldn’t feel any more rage or my toes.

Albeit a rant, a commentary for no one to hear but me, I feel that my meandering observations are not uncouth just because I don’t have a million dollar bank roll or a sweet 15-foot jumper. I just want the stimuli of pure competition on the court. I realized this Christmas the beauty of college hoops and all they stand for. I have a lot to be thankful for. And this is the season of the year when you tend to appreciate all that you have. I get to write about basketball. I have tremendous friends and family. I found a new coffee maker for eight bucks.

I guess you really do realize all you are blessed with once you don’t have it at your fingertips anymore. For over four months a year, I get to watch hundreds of teams battle each other for a chance at glory. A few days off made me see the beauty of amateur sports.

All I want for Christmas is my college hoops.

The Spirit of Giving

Antawn Dobie must listen to Michael Jackson with selective ears. The actual lyrics are “don’t stop ’till ya get it up, come on . . .” but Dobie must hear “don’t stop ’till ya give it up.” NEC division leader (1-0) Long Island University can brag about how they’ve got the NCAA’s single-game assist leader on their squad. Dobie distributed the rock 17 times in a win over Pepperdine earlier this month. He leads the nation in the single-game assist category and is listed as second in the NCAA with an average of 8.2 assists per game. The mark, although early in the season, ties Dobie for second on the NEC’s single-game records with former Monmouth star Derric Thomas (who incidentally got his seventeen against LIU back in the miracle year of ’86). The current leader, Wagner University’s Andrew Van Drost, had nineteen dishes against none other than LIU too.

Go Away

St. Francis of New York has done just that, playing their first fourteen games of the season on the road. After falling to St. John’s and then LIU, you’d figure the Terriers would just go home and regroup. Wrong. They don’t get to play in the Pope Center until January 25th against Mount. St. Mary’s. So much for being home for the holidays. Maybe they should look into getting a corporate rate from Expedia.com?

Buzzer Beat Again

If I had to hedge a bet, most guys on University of Maryland Baltimore wake up to the radio instead of the buzzer. For the second straight year, Santa Clara upended the Retrievers 55-54 in a last-second shot. Last year, Santa Clara won 59-58 in an eerily similar game. This year, UMBC’s Kareem Washington (a Hoopville NEC player of the week) was packed by Jim Howell in his last ditch effort to win the game with two seconds left. On a side note, if you wake up to the noise of a buzzer on your radio, I hate you. I prefer either some nice salsa or light smooth jazz to get my butt out of bed.

2003 to Debut: Roddy’s Rant

I am going to start a new feature in 2003 called Roddy’s Rant. I will pick something that I don’t like and write about it as unfavorably as I possibly can. Then, based on your feedback, I will ignore it all and continue to berate the topic at hand. A sneak preview of what’s to come:

“If I hear Dick Vitale use the phrase ‘diaper-dandy’ one more time, I will personally duct tape a diaper to his shining head and stuff a baby wipe in his mouth. Call them freshmen, first-years or greenhorns. Call them anything you want except for the big ‘Deuce D’ terminology, Dick!”

‘Till 2003 . . .


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