I have a man crush on Al McGuire, the basketball coach that led Marquette to its only national championship.
The man had an uncanny way of relating to players when he was coaching and to the audience when he was a color commentator for CBS. He'd throw out stuff like:
“I think everyone should go to college and get a degree and then spend six months as a bartender and six months as a cabdriver. Then they would really be educated.”
“The only mystery in life is why the kamikaze pilots wore helmets.”
“If the waitress has dirty ankles, the chili should be good.”
“Winning is overrated. The only time it is really important is in surgery and war.”
The guy had a knack for putting people at ease by not taking himself too seriously. I mean, how are you going to sweat a jump shot when the guy on the bench is talking about chili. Free throws? Pfffff. "Coach just told the Milwaukee Sentinel that them chinamens shouldn't have been wearin' dem helmets and shit."
The point is that coaching basketball is part X's and O's, part Jimmies and Joes, and part making sure these cats are in the absolute right place mentally to take a shot, take someone off the dribble, or make a pass. If you've hammered them to a point where they've got one eye on the bench before making a basketball play, you've cost them at least one third of their game.
So this is where we're at as a basketball program. We played one of the best two or three teams in the country tonight and you'd be hard-pressed to decipher what we were trying to do with things like our substitution patterns and our offensive or defensive attacks. In February for crying out loud!!
Hell, we struggled to advance the basketball on the dribble without turning it over in some cases.
Contrast that with Kansas' ball movement and precision passing game and you can see the true depth of our problems. Case in point, when we trapped KU's ball screen game, not only did the guard know what to do with the basketball, but the forward to whom he passed it knew exactly where to deliver the pill to exploit the mismatch in our helpside defense.
When we were trapped on the ball screen, we called a fucking time out. That's the difference between being average and being elite.
As for our players' performance, I thought Damion James was the best player on the floor. Kid's an absolute warrior that deserves much better. We'd be in UNC's shoes without DJ. I also thought J'Covan Brown showed he needs to get a crack at the full-time point position going forward. The kid looked much quicker and played with confidence on both ends.
I felt Dexter Pittman played great in spite of the fact he was doubled every time he touched the ball. If the kid played at a mid-major somewhere he'd be an all-American provided the coach could X and O his way to get Dex the rock or at least X and O his way out of a wet paper bag. On defense, Dex absolutely pantsed Cole Aldrich tonight, embarrassing the all-Big 12 center out of a ton of cash in the eyes of NBA scouts.
Everyone else for Texas sucked out loud, especially the coaching staff. Thanks for wasting the energy we started out with early on in this game. Thanks for wasting Avery Bradley and his out of this world ability to the tune of just 3 points. Thanks for wasting the opportunity to beat a dead-legged Kansas team ripe for an upset with your inept handling of this basketball team. Thanks for sucking the life out of all the momentum this team enjoyed going into 2010 with your abject stubbornness and lack of creativity.
In reality, thanks for nothing. You deserve that mausoleum of a facility you constantly carp about. Reap it.
By the way, how much money is Villanova paying Jay Wright? It's now germane to the discussion.