justin adler, blog, buenos aires, bahia blanca, university of arizona, brooklyn, basketball, travel, paul mcpherson

Monday, December 18, 2006

Tales from the crib Vol. 1

14,545 fans, only 92 of them students. Thanks to the UA athletics ticketing office only making holiday-break men's basketball tickets available the week before Thanksgiving, only 92 students purchased tickets for $10 a piece to each game according to ticket sales provided by James Francis, the UA athletics assistant director in marketing and ticketing (wow, a real, albeit recycled, source in a blog). After the small window to buy student tickets closed, which was barely advertised, students were only available to buy general public seats for $18 or the holiday four-pack for about $84. I decided to forfeit my opportunity to drop 80 bones on a shitty seat in McKale and instead watch the game from my apartment. Here is the first of a four-part in-depth series that entails my notes from watching Wildcat games from my couch (no it won't really be in-depth, I just wanted to have an in-depth series on my blog).

  • 19:11 Houston's Lanny Smith throws up what would be his first attempt from deep beyond the arc clanking if off the back-iron. He would finish two of five from 3-point land, with all of his attempts coming a few feet behind NBA range.
  • 18:27 Marcus Malone, who the announcers say is from the CPT, hits Houston's first shot, a deep three, to give Houston the lead 2-3.
  • It's announced that Houston has 10 new players on their roster this season. Damn, what the hell happened to last year's squad.
  • 17:40 Mustafa Shakur jumps toward the basket, gets caught in the air and flips it to Chase Budinger, who then follows suit and gets caught in the air before tossing it out to the wing. Eventually Ivan Radenovic misses a jump-shot in one of the most futile plays of the game.
  • 16:11 Radenovic, who is tirelessly called "double nickels" by one of the announcers, has what appears to be a great block, but is really an easy defensive play after Rob McKiver goes in for the softest lay-up of all time.
  • 15:40 Radenovic hits an open three from the top of the arc, adding to his NBA potential and increasing his worth in the 2007 draft.
  • I really hope Houston's Jahmar Thorpe has some relation to Otis.
  • 14.25 Lanny Smith effortlessly goes inside and gets two making everyone wonder why he has been sitting outside jacking up and missing long threes.
  • The Just Sports 'dunk of the game' is presented with 34 minutes to play in the game. This is the most awkward in-game sponsorship since Al McCoy quickly interject "Now would be a great time for the great taste of a cold Bud-Light. The only beer that won't fill you up and never let you down" during the first free-throw of every Suns game.
  • Marcus Williams and Radenovic run a textbook backdoor give-and-go, which results in a Williams dunk.
  • 12:00 Nic Wise checks in and immediately there is a TV timeout to make sense of his presence on the court.
  • 11:30 The Confederate South still bitter over losing the Civil War commits the ultimate heinous crime when Robert Lee swats a Nic Wise jump-shot. Truly disgusting.
  • 9:30 McClellen hits a tough off-balance jump-shot to make it 24-19, Cats of Arizona.
  • For the record FSN's announcing crew did a good job throughout the night only making a lame Wildcats versus Cougars "cat fight" joke twice.
  • 9:00 Daniel Dillon and Jordan Hill, sans his white tee, check into the ballgame.
  • 7:30 UA only leads by one, 24-23, after several UA turnovers. UA has seven, Houston has one.
  • 7:02 Dion Dowell misfires on a three like Antoine Walker than holds his hand in the air and bounces on one foot like Antione Walter. Awesome.
  • The camera pans to Daniel Dillon on the bench. The announcer says, "Daniel Dillon (awkward silent pause) Australia" Wow, this is great as if the announcers don't mention that DD is from Australia every time he's on the court. It appears now that the camera man and announcer are simply playing word association games with random UA players. I would've loved to see them freeze on David Bagga.
  • Shakur leads two fast breaks to zero points, hurting his NBDL potential and stock in the 2007 NBA draft.
  • For a fast-paced game the half-time score is only 41-33. UA had long series where they would continuously turn it over, or fire up a quick miss. Houston played like a squad full of 10 new guys, coming up the court, oblivious of any organized offense, and jacking up long threes. The type of offense you run in a pick-up game when one kid thinks he is god and decides to ignore his four teammates.
  • The halftime interview with Lute Olson is typical Lute. Boring, dry, nothing new to say. Like all coaches they just wrap up the obvious and say what any educated fan has been thinking the whole game. This makes me wonder why somebody who has lead a team to the NCAA tourney for the past 22 seasons, whose in the basketball Hall of Fame, and who has a basketball IQ of Steven Hawking proportions cannot say something interesting. I one day want to hear a coach say something of such basketball intelligence that it only makes sense to people on his level and not 99% of the audience.
  • Houston comes out and does more of the same, missing a long three with about 33 seconds on the shot clock.
  • Lanny Smith again gets inside easily, causing me to again wonder why he is spending the majority of the night on the perimeter.
  • 16:01 Budinger swats Rob McKiver's lay-up attempt and on-cue comes a volleyball reference.
  • 14:45 Shakur tosses an alley-oop to Williams off the backboard on a fast break and somehow it's not all that cool. Maybe it's because it's made to look so easy and effortless or the fact that Jamaal Crawford does at least 3 alley-oops to himself off the glass a season or maybe Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady set the bar for backboard alley-oops way too high. Regardless, Shakur and Williams oop was boring 1/10 if I'm judging.
  • 13:00 Shakur proves why he'll have an average career in the NBDL and overseas when he tosses one of the worst alley-oops of all time to Juwaan McClellen on a break.
  • Jim Click comes on during commercial break for the eight millionth time. To bite Chris Rock, I hope that Mr. Click realizes that there are people in Scottsdale who would jump out their window and slit their throat on the way down if they woke up with Jim Click's money. Being the king of Tucson is like being....I can't even think of an analogy that would equal the lameness of being the king of Tucson.
  • 9:15 Williams throws a perfect pass to a cutting Budinger to make it 63-45.
  • 7:50 Radenovic convulses like he is being hit by 30 tasers and puts up a ridiculously ugly shot. Jordan Hill rebounds and puts the ball back in and everyone tries to forget the ugliest shot attempt of the season.
  • 6:40 Shakur connects on a prayer on a stupid double-clutch lay-up.
  • 4:01 Shakur gets fouled hard on a fast-break by Marcus Malone. It's a foul reminiscent of last night at the Garden, except Staf refuses to fight like his former teammate Channing Frye and Dunk Contest thief Nate Robinson and instead opts for boring free-throws as a result of the flagrant foul.
  • 3:55 Nic Wise checks back in for Shakur and UA takes a time-out to allow everyone to prepare for anything gangsta Wise might attempt.
  • 3:30 Lute gives H-Town some love by playing Fendi Onobon, McClellen and Wise together.
  • 2:08 Onobon turns it over and I can't imagine how much it tears him up inside. Here is a man who got significant minutes last year as a freshman, this year he gets no burn and in his four minutes to prove himself to the coach he turns it over twice. Damn.
  • 1:57 The most gangsta play in UA basketball history is ruined when Fendi Cent cannot complete a long oop from Nic Wise. Had Fendi been able to throw it down, it would have easily beaten the football Homecoming upset of Cal as the best sports moment of the year. At least in my mind.
  • After the botched alley-oop there is a time-out and Lute is verbally killing somebody, probably Wise for tossing such a ridiculous oop. Even up 20 plus Lute doesn't play.
  • 57 second mark David Bagga checks to fill a stat line as follows:
    D. Bagga 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
  • A board in a minute of play, if my calculations are correct he could've had 40 boards if he played the whole game.
  • Final, Wildcats win, going to 8-1 on the year, 87-62.
Nic Wise Moment of the Game: Already up a ton, Wise buried a three from a few feet behind the top of the arc. He then proceeded to go back up the court chunking the duece. I'm sure DJ Screw is smiling from heaven while he leans on his purple drank. If I could somehow chop and screw the Nic Wise Moment of the Game I would and retype it here.
Sneaker Watch: All of UA is waiting for Santa Swoosh to bring them some new kicks because nobody was wearing anything new. Props to Lanny Smith for making the best out of being an Adidas school and wearing Gilbert Arenas' Gil Zeros. Arenas is the first UA alumni to have his own signature shoe and this is the first time it's been worn on the Lute and Bobbi Olson Court. Bear Down.