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

Sunday, January 28, 2007

R.I.P. the 06-07 season

I woke up at 4:15 a.m. and my first thoughts were, "I'm waking up this early to see 'Staf fuck up some fast breaks and Radenovic play like shit." I sometimes think I'm the most pessimistic Wildcat fan in all of Tucson, maybe it's because I'm bitter I didn't get to see Salim play in person, or maybe watching the Suns for the past three years has completely skewed my perception of basketball. I can't quite diagnose why, but I really don't like anyone not born in Houston on our team. I still got up, threw on the Zona Zoo tee, rocked the red Zona jacket and laced up the red and white game-day dunks ready to brace the cold for four hours.

I knew we were going to lose going into the game but being surrounded by Wildcat faithful, some who were in line a full 25 hours before tip off, and standing in the cold distorted all rational thinking and by 8 a.m. I was thinking we had a chance. Waiting in line, even with my friends, was still boring as hell and games of kick the bottle and throw Goldfish at people didn't provide much excitement. By 6 a.m. the line reached all the way to the UA mall, that's deep. It's also about this time that I speculate that half our team is just finding their way out of bed of sorority girls and remembering they have a game today. The only enjoyable thing was booing fans who donned Carolina Blue, props to the old guys who walked by the Zona Zoo wearing UNC jackets and raised the roof like it was 1993 all over again.

At about 8 a.m. there was a loud bass sound and I thought the band was going to provide a little "Bear Down" as a little pick me up. I was wrong and it was just a DJ providing a little Hov to remind the fans that lady's is pimps too. David Bagga came out and gave an inaudible speech. Lute followed and gave a speech that basically talked about how great UNC and Roy Williams are. Thanks Lute. Oh yeah, some drunk dude got tased, that's kinda cool. Props to anyone who was trashed before the sunrise, dedication to college is always appreciated.

We finally got in McKale at 9 a.m. and one of my retarded friends decided to kill our hard work waiting in line and pick out shitty seats behind the basket, so the backboard would obstruct our view of the opposing end for the full 40.

There are several lame signs with retarded CBS acronyms. We're in college, we should be able to come up with something better than Chase Budinger Show. The sign of the game, the season and possibly the decade goes to whoever the geniuses were who brought this gem.

Maybe it's the lack of sleep or it could just be sheer stupidity, but for one reason or another our Zona Zoo fans heckle the other Zona Zoo fans who came late to the game with chants of "Nose bleeds."

One idiot decked out in full UNC apparel struts around the Zona Zoo with a sign cheering for UNC. He gets his fair share of boos before one badass comes in and rips his sign in half. The kid was crushed because his sign was real clean and well done, but maybe coming into a section full of tired drunk fans wasn't the greatest idea.

Fan of the game goes to the kid wearing a upper half of gorilla costume under a Hassan Adams jersey. As if a Hollywood-costume-design status gorilla head wasn't enough, he had a UA headband around the top and a grill on the gorilla teeth. Some where Paul Wall is crying purple tears of joy. The dude also has a sign reading "Our Skillz r Bananas."

UNC warm-ups consist of sliding on their chests like they just scored a goal.

Seeing UNC in person is unbelievable because playing UNC basketball is the dream of any kid who ever wanted to be like Mike. Looking at those guys who currently rock Carolina Blue made me think just how awesome that must be to play basketball for the UNC.

  • Fantastic start for the Cats who turn it over four of their five first possessions. Staf also has two behind-the-back passes in the first three minutes.
  • 14:00 The crowd cheers as Radenovic hits an easy bucket under the hoop. I refuse to cheer and I think this is like Chris Rock's whole n****** versus blacks argument. Why would I be happy when someone does something they're supposed to do.
  • 13:30 Mustafa does his typical jump-in-the-lane-spin-around-and-pray thing and finds an open Jordan Hill who throws down (c) Bill Walton a sick one-handed slam.
  • 13:00 Hill again goes for a vicious one-handed dunk, this time he is blocked. He recovers the ball and slams it with two hands. 14-19, UNC.
  • 11:29 Marcus Williams finds Jordan Hill for another dunk to bring the Cats to the closest they ever got. 15-16, UNC.
  • Props to the coolest grandma ever, Phyllis, and the row behind her for jumping up and down while all the other fans sat in their seats.
  • 10:06 Marcus Williams gets the ball three feet off the elbow, he calmly dribbles twice and wets a long jumper. I don't think I have seen a smoother play all season. 20-21.
  • 9:06 Ty Lawson effortlessly drives coast to coast for the easiest possesion of his collegiate career. 21-25.
  • Wells Fargo runs a promotion during the game giving somebody who holds up their Wells Fargo card $100. The student section never wins because Wells Fargo doesn't realize we don't have jobs and alcohol and other illicit items don't pay for themselves. One student has a huge poster that is a giant Wells Fargo gold card. It must have took an incredible amount of time and ink because it looks very official, even having aluminum foil for a hologram. It also has each year the Cats made the Final Four for digits, I'm hardcore enough to recognize this. Unfortunately the kids gets shafted each of the three times the promotion is ran.
  • 6:30 Nic Wise is 0-2 from 3-point land in the 20 seconds he's in the game.
  • 4:48 Marcus misses a 3 and falls to the ground clutching his ankle. My notes read "Season over."
  • Random sidenote: Will Kirk Walters be the first player to me on two media guides/schedules/posters/magnets, and anything else that has all the seniors on the cover.
  • 3:28 I realize Chase Budinger, who was again worthless on the defensive end, has played about two minutes of the game.The team looks completely shook after seeing their leading scorer carried off the court. The whole crowd has lost all of its energy as we all sit shiva for the Wildcats season. It's also at this point I realize we are down 14, 23-37.
  • 2:56 Ivan Radenovic gets called for the foul for trying to take a charge on Tyler Hansbrough at halfcourt. My friend quotes SNL's amazing Michael Vick skit, saying, "Ivan Radenovic. Really? You're going to try to take a charge on Tyler Hansbrough. Really? At halfcourt. Really?"
  • Is it too early for "Put in Bayless" chants. Not for me. I try to get them going but nobody follows.
  • 21.5 Staf hits Radenovic on a fastbreak for what would be an easy lay-up, at least for anybody who has touched a basketball at least once in their life. Some how Radenovic lays it up strong off the backboard and it misses. Really!?! It is at this point that the threes that disrupt the flow of the offense, missed shots from two feet, lack of rebounding, inability to defend the paint and overall horrible play come together to make me officially hate Radenovic.
  • Pastner pulls the gun out of Lute's mouth and Arizona calls a timeout.
  • UA comes out of the timeout and has Staf turn it over to Reyshawn Terry, who hits an easy lay up (take notes Radenovic) on the other end. Lute puts the gun back in his mouth.
  • Halftime. 25-43, UNC.
    • UA: nine turnovers, 0-10 from behind the arc
  • My notes in the second half were sparse. Chase decided to finally play a little bit and get 16 points in the second half. Staf had a few blocks and solid buckets. Most notably Marcus Williams came back, didn't do a whole lot, but he can play. Really nothing worth mentioning, not when your team is down 15 the whole time.
  • 5:03 Wayne Ellington emphatically slams on somebody who I can't remember, the whole Zona Zoo is quiet except for me as I yell "Oh shit!" I would say this was the nail in the coffin but that happened in the first half. This was after long after the funeral, after the coffin had been buried. This was like 5 years down the line, putting some rocks on the gravestone.
  • At some point Radenovic was at the line and someone from the Zona Zoo boldly yells "You suck." Someone follows, "Go home" to the Serbia Montenegro native. Tarny yells, "Take away his visa," and then said that he plans on bringing a "I voted yes on Prop. 200" sign to the next game (Prop. 200 was an anti-immigrant bill).
  • 2:15 Staf hits the first and only 3 for the Cats on the night, 1-23 from deep for the night.
  • Somewhere in the second half I dazed off and started thinking about Oregon basketball and how I plan going to Pac-10 tourney just to cheer on the Ducks. Loyal fan I am not.
  • I'm not quite sure how or why but I somehow took pleasure out of seeing my team get humiliated on national television. Maybe I was just determined that losing an hour sleep at 6 a.m. to buy tickets and spending my night/morning waiting in line for seats was in no way going to result in misery. Maybe I have something else wrong with me but I had a great time. I enjoyed cracking jokes at how horrible our team is (yes I know we are not horrible) and watching UNC pick us apart toward the end. I can't even come close to explaining it and I would have rather seen us win, but I'm not going to be the douche at the end of the game trying to get a chant of "play with heart" going. .
  • Final: UNC, without Brandan Wright and Marcus Ginyard 92, UA with half a Marcus Williams 64.
  • I'd like to brag that in the newspaper staff meeting I picked UA to lose 61-87. I know in the ASU post I said we'd lose by 16, but in the meeting I was unable do 87-16 that quick so I said 61, which ended up being a hell of a lot closer.

Nic Wise Moment of the Game: In his first possession of the game Nic Wise gets the ball at he top of the key with a defender in his face. He doesn't hesitate, think about an offense, the biggest game in his life, being nationally televised, being down seven points and fades back awkwardly firing up a brick. To quote Gilbert, "When you’re an assassin, you don’t have a conscience." And when you're Nic Wise you don't have logic. Nic's freshman swag is quite phenomenal, especially since he followed this shot with another unsuccessful 3-ball. Give him a year or three and he'll be killing people from long range like the court was his own book depository.

Sneaker Watch: To quote Fendi Onobon, who got 3 boards in five minutes of action, "We got better Jays than (UNC)." That's right Fendi, they may have kicked our asses two years in a row, but our kicks are fresher. No AP Poll, USA Today Poll, or 28-point loss can take that away from us. On to the watch: Mustafa Shakur switched back to the black/red Zoom Lebron IV...Jordan Hill white/red Air Max Penny IV...Jawann McClellen still unkown low-top black nikes with white sole (someone get me a good pic of these)...UNC mainly had Jordan team shoes in UNC colorways with exceptions for Wes Miller grey/carolina blue Zoom Kobe 1...Wayne Ellington, Ty Lawson, Deon Thompson, Alex Stepheson grey/carolina blue Jordan Melo M3.

Douchebags of the Game: This kid below for not only wearing lame Oakleys and a headband, but also for bringing a sign saying "I love Billy Packer." Come on man, why don't you just say, "Billy, I'll give you felatio" for a half-second spot on CBS.
Close second goes to the girl who was dressed like a sleazy Little Red Riding Hood in a stupid red dress. I respect the creativity, but this is a basketball game, not a fairy-tale themed date-dash, wear a fucking t-shirt or a jersey. She also loses points for singing along to Usher's "Yeah." Even deaf people are sick of that song.

**Props to Derek Van Dyke for all the photos (excluding the Texas School Book Depository).