Monday, January 25, 2010

Yet Unnamed Monday Weekend Sports Re-Kap

She Said Whattt?!?!?

Caught a segment on NBA-TV over the weekend where the analysts were giving their opinions on the Top-10 athletes in league history. Names like Vince, LeBron, and Michael were all being mentioned, and rightfully so. Then it became time for Cheryl Miller to unveil her list, and all hell broke loose.

She started off like a perfectly sane human being. Wilt the Stilt at the top, LeBron to follow, guys like Kemp and Dominique finding their way into the mix as well. Yeah, I may have done a bit of a double take when she dropped Darvin Ham in there at #8, but it wasn't the worst call ever. What she said next was, though. Last on her list, at #10, of the Top-10 Athletes in NBA history, was none other than Matt Freaking Harpring.

Hehhhhh??? Matt Harpring?? The same Matt Harpring that has always gotten by on heart, grittiness, and playing as dirtily as humanly possible, without even the slightest ounce of genuine athleticism...that Matt Harpring? And the craziest thing of all...she was one-hundred percent serious!! No sarcasm, no inside joke, no nothing. Cheryl Miller had officially lost her marbles. She tried justifying the insanity by explaining that Harpring was a great football player back in the day, and how injuries had robbed him of much of his explosiveness. Ohhh rightttt, I forgot about that.

I just think we're all lucky that they restricted the analysts to ten athletes apiece. I was afraid of who Miller planned to follow Harpring with on her list. Stanley Roberts? Khalid El-Amin? I'm thinking next up would probably have been someone like Matt Bullard, the Rockets' sharpshooter from yesteryear that had a similar "athletic brilliance" as her boy Harpring.

You learn something new every day. Today, we learned that being an elite athlete is not about highlight-reel dunks or fantastic high-flying finishes around the rim. Instead, it is about being pastier than Pete Chilcutt, possessing knees made up completely of minestrone, making textbook chest passes, and having a propensity for crowd-pleasing plays like "nifty reverse layups" and "perfectly executed back cuts."

In a situation such as this, where an analyst goes so far off the beaten path to make a point that should never have been made in the first place, robbing us all of precious minutes of our life in the process, there is really only one thing to say.

"Mrs. Miller, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul."

"I'm in Love...with the 3-Point Line"

At first glance, Devan Bawinkel is just another Iowa Hawkeyes guard that likes hanging out in 3-point land. But look a little bit closer, and you realize; he doesn't just "hang out" there...he lives out there. Bawinkel has attempted 57 shots this year...and every single one has been from behind the long line.

It's an amazing accomplishment that completely defies any reasonable basketball logic. I mean, there are plenty of guys that like to go out and hoist from deep as part of their game. Hell, I've made a living out of it my whole life. But to play in 20 games, spend over 300 minutes on the court, and attempt 57 shots without once stepping foot inside the arc for even one shot?? That is truly unbelievable.

Doesn't Coach Lickliter ever take him aside and say, "Hey Devan, we think it's great how you like to shoot the 3 so much. We really do. But maybe tonight, can you maybe try moving in a couple feet, or even attack the basket a little bit? I know it's a lot to ask, but it's getting a little weird and people are starting to ask questions. Thanks, get the hell out of my office."

And it's not like the guy is Mark Price from out there, either. Bawinkel is shooting a modest 37% from long range, which of course also means he is shooting 37% from the field. (Paging Baron Davis) Not that any of this should come as a surprise.

In Bawinkel's freshman year at West Virginia (he transferred to Iowa after one season), 72.5% of his shot attempts were treys. Then last year, as his fear of the paint grew stronger, that number skyrocketed to 96.5%. Coming into this year, he must have figured, "I've made it this far...I might as well take it up that one final notch." And so he has.

57 field-goal attempts...57 three-pointers. It's different, unique, and embarrassing all at the same time. Frankly, I can't wait to watch Iowa's next game. It won't be hard to find ol' Devan Bawinkel. He's found his perfect 'home' on the basketball court...and he's never leaving.

(Sidenote: Bawinkel played 700 minutes last year without ever attempting a free throw. After knowing this, and the previously mentioned 3-point statistics, I think it goes without saying that this mook is quite possibly the least aggressive player in Big Ten history, and to take it a step further, probably the most worthless form of life ever to walk the planet earth.)

She Could Teach Dontrelle How to Throw Strikes

History was made Sunday afternoon when Kelly Kulick became the first woman to ever win a PBA Tour event. She "rolled" over (bup bup bup...that's me laughing at my cute word joke) veteran Chris Barnes in the final, 265-195, to capture one of the year's five majors, the Tournament of Champions from Las Vegas. Once you get past the fact that Kulick is basically a dead ringer for Aileen Wuornos, it becomes a neat little story.

I found myself checking in on the proceedings as the day went on, and when I say "checking in," what I really mean is, "watching every single frame from start to finish." The real highlight of the day was the super semi-final between Kulick and Major Mika Koivuniemi, but I think it's best to keep things low-key here and not get too out of control with the bowling match recaps. (Right? I mean, tell me if I'm wrong. I'm more than happy to oblige in the future.)

So on a day when the Super Bowl matchup was decided with battles in Indianapolis and New Orleans, and the New York Knicks lost a game by fifty points, the biggest story somehow came from the underappreciated world of bowling. And I saw the whole thing.

(And yes, I'm aware that this makes me a complete lush.)

What Else I Be Thinkin'...

-Brad Gilbert is the best analyst on TV today, for any sport. Period. He knows all the players and is never afraid to say exactly what's on his mind. B.G. (as Chris Fowler likes to call him when it's late and they get loopy) also has a world-class sense of humor. Either that, or maybe I'm getting a little loopy here watchin' Davydenko-Verdasco at 3 AM. Regardless, he's a tremendous announcer, and somebody I routinely think about, even when I'm not watching tennis. Wait...what?

-You ever met one of these guys that brags about how many times they've seen Lord of the Rings and how much they enjoy the whole trilogy? You ever done that and walked away thinking anything but, "Man, I really should have punched that guy right in the face?"

-Michigan State big man Derrick Nix is doing some historic things at the free-throw line, and it sho' aint pretty. The 280-pound freshman from Pershing has attempted 39 free-throws on the year. He has made 7. Don't worry, I just got the chills, too. If you're scoring at home, that's a bone-chilling 18% from the stripe. (Watch one of his horrific misses here.) And he's actually been pretty "hot" of late. Keep in mind, Nix got the year off to a particularly disgusting start when he converted just one of his first 21 attempts at the line. You almost have to try to be that bad, don't you?

-On January 15th, the Pistons played the New Orleans Hornets. Rip Hamilton committed 7 turnovers. Later in the week, the Pistons entertained the Boston Celtics. Rip Hamilton committed 7 turnovers. In the very next game, the Pistons took on the Indiana Pacers. Guess what? Rip Hamilton committed 7 turnovers. With youngsters like Jonas Jerebko and Austin Daye still learning on the job, it's a good thing they have a guy like Rip around to show them the ropes by preaching the importance of ball security and valuing each possession. Yeah, that...or the complete opposite.

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