Friday, May 23, 2008

Will the last one out of Assembly Hall please...

turn off lights? Taber? Crawford?


Well, Brandon McGee got booted, and it sounds pretty bad, as Crean said he felt bad for McGee's family & high school coach who were trying to help keep him on the team. Certainly Crean has a right to create his own team and program, but I was rather hoping McGee would be the sort of player who grew up and responded better to a new coaching style, like Tom Coverdale. Yeah, McGee only averaged 1.5 points and saw very few minutes, but he was the tallest athletic talent we had returning. The fact that McGee dripped athleticism, had a nice outside shot (I believe he hit 4 threes in an exhibition game last fall), and was a consensus top-100 recruit coming into IU made me think that McGee was quite possibly a star in the making. But we knew next year was going to be rough for the Hoosiers, now it'll be just be a little rougher. 3 wins in the conference? Maybe. I hope the Hoosiers land 6-7 Emmanuel Negedu, even tho it seems likely he'll head to Memphis.

I watched a little of the NBA, and remembered why I don't like it. The officiating drives me nuts. The last two minutes of any game aren't basketball, it's some sort of rugby or something, and periodically whistles blow followed by strange and terrible decisions. The last few possessions of the Spurs-Lakers game 1 is a case in point. First, the ball goes out of bounds as Tim Duncan gets a rebound and as half-nelsoned by Pau Gasol. Duncan of course drops the ball and the whistle blows- ball out of bounds to the Lakers. Then the ball gets loose on the ensuing possession, and Manu Ginobili clearly is the only person touching it as it sails into the stands- ball out of bounds to the Spurs.

I know, you're probably thinking "make-up" call, too, but then as the Lakers come back down with the score now tied, Kobe Bryant gives Bruce Bowen a fore-arm that would raise any college ref's whistle (when one guy goes flying and the other has elbow sticking out like a chicken wing, it's called an offensive foul in the game of basketball). Bowen goes flying, to no call, as Kobe is all alone to drain the go-ahead shot. When the Spurs come back down, Ginobili misses a shot, the ball bounces around, and then it looks like Ginobili is about to have possession when he gets *tackled* from behind. The ball squirts out to a Laker, the game is essentially over. And I'm sitting there thinking, why do I watch this mockery of the game I love?

Oh yeah, I don't. And over the last ten years, people are joining me in watching something else. There's a bit of a bump this season, I think because of the post-writer's strike landscape on television these days. There's very little else to watch but the NBA playoffs if you've any interest in basketball.

Sure sure, I hate the Lakers, but what I hate more is the way "star power" and late-game fear corrupts the NBA whistles. Defensive prowess isn't respected the way offensive talent is in the league, and refs are scared of making a call that ends the game, and the players know it, so they can just maim with abandon in the final minute. I could expand this to discuss how the NBA is a more explicitly money-driven league that rigs the rules to give the fans a show, and how the allure of money-making & the culture of celebrity ruins everything, but I'll save my old-man-curmudgeon rant for another day.

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At 10:32 AM, Blogger Marcus said...

Yeah, I agree. The NBA has gotten to be a joke, and it always feels like a pick up game where the refs are making it up as they go along.

At 9:57 AM, Blogger kyle said...

Amen. I usually start watching the NBA when the Pistons gets to the conference finals. On top of the seemingly arbitrary officiating when it comes to fouls, it drives me crazy watching the players shuffle their feet and take extra steps with the ball.

Something to keep in mind when the college refs start to bother us next year--at least they're clearly trying to hold the players to some sort of uniform standards.


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