On Monday, Texas Tech fired men’s basketball head coach, Pat Knight, ending speculation that has been resurfacing all season. This wasn’t new to Knight as he claimed this season to be his “make or break season”. It was a disappointing tenure for Knight, as he was unable to lead the Red Raiders to ‘the dance’ in any of his three seasons. He carries a 50-60 career record as a head coach, and only had one winning season at Texas Tech. Even though Pat Knight wasn’t able to lead Tech to the post-season (NIT doesn’t count in my books), he was able to run a clean program. Not once did he cheat or break any recruiting violations. He disciplined his players on and off the court. He made sure his players graduated, just like his father. Texas Tech basketball has had one of the higher graduating percentages in the Big XII. He also did a lot for the city of Lubbock to attempt to increase basketball attendance. His desire to win was never in question. With all this being said, I applaud Pat Knight. He tried his best and that’s all I can ask for. Good luck wherever you go. Can anyone else say Billy Gillispie to Tech?
Last week Yates (Texas) High, the defending RivalsHigh national champs, routed Chavez (Texas) High 97-65 in basketball, but the highlight of the game came from the coaching tactics of Chavez’s head coach Kevin Pullum. Chavez High didn’t even attempt to score a single bucket in the fourth quarter. Zero field goal attempts! Instead, they opted to play keep away from Yates’, disallowing them to top the century mark for another consecutive time.
“We’ve never had a team score 100 on us,” Chavez coach Kevin Pullum told the Houston Chronicle. “We knew that if we couldn’t beat Yates we could beat them a second way, and that is to not let them score 100 points.”
As a competitor and sports fan, it really baffles me that the players actually gave into this idea. The reason why people play sports is to compete, but it seemed to me that Chavez High threw in the towel early. To me, a loss is a loss regardless of how many points it is. As Herm would say “You play to win the game”, but Coach Pullum thought otherwise. If a school cannot handle an occasional whipping, then it doesn’t deserve a sports program.
“I don’t understand what that was accomplishing or what the celebration was about because if we wanted to score 100 we would have put the first five back out there,” Yates coach Greg Wise told the Chronicle.
Some may say that the tactics from Coach Pullum showed great sportsmanship as he was able to give his team a moral victory, but I still disagree. The object of basketball is to score. These are also high school kids having fun. Let them go out and play. Sometimes, a big loss can build your team character. I know I’m not a basketball coach and others may disagree. What do you think?
With NBA teams paying out for mediocrity like it’s going out of style (see Murph’s post on Amir Johnson) I thought I would create an all-discount team. All the players are currently unrestricted free agents who are quality players who will sign for much less than their counterparts. They also are solid players who can contribute significantly and who shouldn’t break the bank. This is the opposite of buyer beware; this is a fire sale.
PG: Kyle Lowry, Rockets – a feisty defender who can get to the rim. He averaged 9 points and 4.5 assists while backing up fellow PG Aaron Brooks. He’s not that great of a shooter (his 3 point percentage is porous), but he’s tough and isn’t afraid to rebound either. He’s consistently played over 20 minutes per game the past 4 seasons. He’s easily one of the best backup PGs in the NBA.
SG: Randy Foye, Wizards –Foye is just underrated and I don’t know why. He’s smart with the ball and has consistently averaged over 10 points per game in his entire NBA career. He has played both guard position and can if need be, but he’s a much better shooting guard. His defense is slowly coming around as well. He was a key player in Minnesota and will get an opportunity elsewhere.
SF: Travis Outlaw, Clippers – Outlaw has the best of both worlds right now; 6 years starting experience and he’s only 25 years old. He had trouble getting playing time in Portland because of a logjam at the position, but still found ways to contribute. Outlaw has good range and has great athleticism; he just needs to work on his defense. The potential is definitely there with Outlaw.
PF: Udonis Haslem, Heat – Haslem is the model of consistency in the NBA. Since 2004, Haslem has averaged close to 10 points and 8 rebounds. He was a starter until Michael Beasley stepped in at PF last season. Despite this, he still got significant minutes and averaged close to 28 mpg. Any team looking for a solid player night in and night out, should give Haslem a look.
C: Brendan Haywood, Mavericks – Haywood has been around for a long time and never been a consistent player until the past few seasons. His points per game has hovered around 10 while his rebounds per game has jumped up a level the past year. He’s 30 years old, but he’s one of the true Centers in free agency out there and plays like he’s 25.
FIBA U18 Championship
USA rolls past Canada in San Antonio and will move on to the championship game Wednesday night. Austin Rivers led USA with 35 points Tuesday night as the USA Under 18 National Team destroyed Canada 122 – 89 in the semifinals of the FIBA Americas Championship.
Rivers is a big time player. He is rated the No. 6 2011 player in the country by Rivals.com, hit nine 3-pointers and shot 12 of 18 from the field. This kid can flat out shoot. Rivers even mentioned it himself that he felt the basket was wider than it normally was with shot after shot falling in. USA has been phenomenal with a record of 37-2 all-time in the FIBA Americas U18 Championship. Additional players that shined were Tony Mitchell, Kyrie Irving, Jereme Richmond, and Joshua Hairston.
However, the real talk has been about Quincy Miller. Miller is a 6’9 205lb who will have his fair share of college offers. Miller is leading team USA with an average of 17.3 points per game and is rated the No. 8 player in the country but with time I think that could change. When USA played Mexico, I thought I was watching And 1 volume 10 with dunk after dunk. USA rolled over Mexico 114-38 Sunday. Honestly I’m not surprised. But what was interesting was what took place after the game; after everyone had left the building. Somebody in the stands named John Wall came onto the court to play 1 on 1 with Quincy Miller. A friendly shooting contest started, but then turned into an hour workout that didn’t end till late. Wall would make a shot then Miller would make one. They kept this up for awhile challenging each other until they broken a sweat. Wall said he came to SA to watch Quincy play and help give him advice through his journey into college basketball. USA faces Brazil in the championship match, but this is basketball not soccer so look for USA to dominate.
Remember this guy, I bet you Orlando Magic fans out there do, especially after that huge Game 2 loss. It was another fourth quarter rally for the Magic, but once again they fell short. I would hate to be Vince Carter right now. The last three possessions the Magic had were just god awful, two of them by Carter. With less than two minutes to go in a three point game, Carter decides to shoot a crazy, off-balanced fade away. Are you serious? Sorry, Vince you’re not Kobe. I know it was a two-for-one kind of situation but you need to stop settling for fade-aways and jumpers bro. Carter is most affective when he attacks the basket and gets to the free throw line. With his athletic and leaping ability he should be taking it the basket. Did he read my mind? On the next possession, Carter becomes aggressive and gets to the foul line but what do you know….two missed free-throws. Does Nick Anderson ring a bell? One miss I can understand, but two! You’re getting paid the big bucks; you should damn well be able to make one free throw. That would have cut the Boston Celtics’ lead down to one. Carter was brought into Orlando to make big plays come crunch time and he choked in Game 2 at a time when the Orlando Magic desperately needed a win. No team wants to be down 2 -0……It only gets worse; the next two games are in Boston. Good Luck. You’re going to need it.
Hedo Turkoglu, on the other hand, constantly made huge plays for the Magic come crunch time in last seasons’ NBA Finals run. Hedo made the big shots and made the big passes. I know damn well, Hedo doesn’t miss both free throws in that situation. What makes him better than Carter is his versatility. In the closing minutes of the games last season, Hedo was the one with the ball in his hands. His ability to make good decisions by attacking the basket and finding open shooters created huge success. Hello, pick’n pop with Hedo and Rashard Lewis is a deadly combo. Hedo‘s huge play were the reasons why the Magic were even in the finals to begin with. Hedo put up careers high in points per game, assists per game and rebounds per game. Hedo was excellent in the Orlando Magic system and they could really use him right now. What’s sad is, he too has pulled the disappearing act, but with the Toronto Raptors.
Still, my game ball has to go to JJ Redick. His bone-head play just drives coaches crazy, especially if your coach tells you to call a time out immediately after you grab the rebound. A player should always understand how much time is left in game situations and react accordingly. What is this kid thinking? Didn’t he go to Duke? 7 seconds would have gave the Magic enough time to get off a quality look to tie the game, but thanks to JJ they got 3.5. If I were Dwight Howard, I would have slapped him in the face. Way to ruin what could have been a great finish.
The Western Conference Finals tips off tonight…Who y’all got?
I got the Lakers winning in 6 games. Their length and size will cause problems for the Suns. Plus, they have the best player on the planet on their team. The Suns are going to have to earn their points in the paint, unlike the lay-up drills they posted on San Antonio. 3 point shooting will be very critical for the Suns if they want to continue their success. Let’s see if the Lakers decide to play up-tempo with the Suns or try to keep it in the half-court. The match-up I am very interested to see is Kobe and J. Rich.
As we all already know, Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics had the game of his life last night. Rondo put up a crazy stat line of 29-pts, 18-rebs, 13-asts and 3-stls. He is only the third player in NBA Playoff History to put up 28-pts, 18-rbs and 13-asts. He joins the names of Oscar Robertson and Wilt Chamberlain. Now he is finally getting brought up in the conversations of best point guards in the NBA. What I want to know is, why now? Why so late?
If y’all don’t remember, in the 2009 Playoffs, Rondo put up some huge stat lines. He only put up two triple-doubles against the Chicago Bulls in the first series and put up another triple-double against the Orlando Magic, no big deal. Three triple-doubles in the playoffs is insane. He pretty much averaged a triple-double (16.9-pts, 9.7 -rebs and 9.8- asts) in the playoffs! I don’t understand how he hasn’t been given recognition as one of the top three point guards in the beginning of the season. I’ve had him in my top three point guards ever since that brilliant playoff performance. I’m really not that surprised that Rondo was able to put up such a monster state line because he has gotten close before. Am I saying he’s going to do it again? Maybe, maybe not, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see him get into the 20-pts, 15-rebs, 15-asts stat line. We need to remember he’s still 24 years of age (4th year in the NBA) so he still has plenty of opportunities. But I do say he is the best point guard in the NBA right now.
Now, I would like to give a big STFU to Charles Barkley. Last week, he kept running his mouth on D Will, CP3 (dude’s been hurt most of the season) and Nash being his best point guards in the NBA. I wonder how Charles feels now? Rajon, go flash him your bling!
- Lebron James has decided to take the task of guarding Rajon Rondo in Game 5 tomorrow. Rondo has been dominating the point guard play thus far. This should be good; I would like to see how Rondo fairs up against the bigger and stronger Lebron. Either way, I expect Rondo to play well. It’s going to take more than one man to guard him. It’s going to take team defense.
- Jameer Nelson quietly continues his stellar play as the Orlando Magic swept the Atlanta Hawks. One of the most lopsided series wins in NBA Playoff History?