Saturday, April 2, 2011
So amidst all the excitement and hoopla of Final Four festivities, Fat Man managed to tend to the base one last time and make a dig at Peyton Siva before heading off to play Kemba Walker and UConn. Answering a question about recruiting so many freshmen who have no intention of staying beyond a year:
"I think the argument is that you can't coach this way or you can't recruit good players; I just don't buy it. Now who knew that (2010 freshman) Eric Bledsoe, who I loved to death, was able to leave after a year? He didn't play in the (2009) McDonald's game. He was behind Siva in all the stats and everything else."
As the CJ article immediately makes clear, Siva was one of ten guards at the McDonald's all star game. So why single out Peyton? As if the pettiness and narcissism of this coach, who apparently can't get along with anybody, wasn't known.
Very classy Cal. True to form.
I leave it to John Hammond to voice my sentiments.
Friday, April 1, 2011
Thursday, March 31, 2011
So the story out yesterday/today ranking the highest paid coaches in the NCAA is bouncing around the local blogosphere, in part because Rick Pitino's name unexpectedly appears at the top--way at the top. Apparently Ricky made a cool $7.5 million this year; inclusive in that figure is an apparent base salary of $6.1 million, tops on the list and a full $3.4 million ahead of #2, Mike Krzyzewski. (John Calipari is third at $3.8 million).
For those of us who understood Pitino's base salary to be something more to the tune of $2.5-3 million per year, that figure was unexpected.
It turns out that the $6.1 million base salary figure includes the $3.6 million "one-time, lump sum bonus" approved at the time of his contract extension and paid July 1 of last year, for completing the portion of his contract between April 1, 2007 and March 31, 2010. Subtract that gargantuan bonus, and Pitino's base salary remains in the $3 million territory.
I don't aim to defend Ricky's astronomically high salary, but the way the breakdown was performed seems a little questionable. Let's call a spade a spade... if USA Today is running a breakdown that has a column for bonuses, why include a "one-time, lump sum bonus" in the University compensation figure?
Again, no defense of Pitino... at $3 million we still ought to be able to beat Morehead State. If it's actually $7 million he's taking home though, well, you'd think he could help a guy out trying to make it to Madison Square Garden next season so we don't get chastised again for not attending his beloved Big East Tournament. And since we all saw how conference tournament success translates automatically into advancing multiple rounds in the Big Dance, we'll all be trying to keep Ricky happy.
Nonetheless, I think Rick will handle this whole salary thing better than Jimmy the Charmer Calhoun did two years ago.
There are not many even symbolic victories that I have gotten to celebrate this March. Please allow me this small one.
The CJ's CL Brown reported last week:
[Kyle] Kuric continues to mimic the career arc of Larry O'Bannon. Both jumped from single-digit scoring in their first two seasons to averaging 10 points as juniors.O'Bannon finished his senior season as a 15.2 point scorer. Kuric averaged 14.7 points and 6.0 rebounds in starting the final 12 games this season, which topped his season averages of 10.8 and 3.9.
A year ago, during my Bud Select showdown with Mr. Red, I made the following comparison:
Hardly recruited out of high school and unheralded in his first few years in college (sound familiar?), [Larry] O'Bannon averaged 5 and 2 points in his freshman and sophomore seasons respectively, then averaged 10 and 15 points his junior and senior years. Is Kyle Kuric, or any of our other guys, really so different? Is it outside the realm of possibility that Kuric will build next year on an unexpectedly strong sophomore season? I'm not guaranteeing Kuric to be the next O'Bannon, but since when did we get so cynical about these guys?
Bang-a-rang. And so now let's reward Kuric for his improvement and consistent play, by taking away his scholarship... wait, what?
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
"The Wayne and Chane Show"... I could get used to that.
Also, if you'd like to see video of John Yarmuth congratulating Bellarmine in Congress for winning the national championship, click here. Congrats Knights!
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
In case you missed this. From the Daily News last week:
Okay, so whoever decided to bring Rick Pitino into CBS' NCAA hoops studio over the weekend made a good decision. While sitting at the Big Boy's table with Greg Gumbel, Greg Anthony, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley, the Louisville coach stole the show.
Full post here. Another article in USA Today, here, detailed his commentator experiment more broadly, with full critique from Billy Packer. Interesting.
Finally, a separate article, listed here, details how the Morris twins from Kansas reacted to Pitino's suggestion that they lacked "the killer instinct" to win the national championship. The twins responded that "unlike Coach Pitino," they were still playing. Turns out both parties were right.
Monday, March 28, 2011
...And why not? All the grief our basketball program endured for playing them as part of our "cupcake" pre-conference schedule. I think back to this post (and the comments at bottom) in particular.
After we destroyed them at the inaugural at Yum this season (alas, so long ago), I remember being baffled as I watched Brad Stevens's postgame comments on the loss. He wasn't emotional, he wasn't angry, he wasn't upset... he really didn't seem bothered at all. It confused me at the time--I mean we had positively destroyed them!--but I eventually shook it off and said to myself, well, he got Butler into the championship game last year. He must know what he's doing.
Boy that turned out to be right. Right now, Brad Stevens is the most dynamic
young coach in college basketball. Seriously, watch the interview he gave after losing to us. Pardon the cliche, but he is one cool customer. Even if he does look like one of the guys that pals around with my younger brother in the basement.
Great for college basketball and great for Butler. Beyond bittersweet for us. It sure makes you wonder how/why other teams can hustle their way into the Final Four two seasons in a row, while Louisville can't climb their way out of the first round. Because it sure ain't talent.
Right now, that early season victory is light years ago for both programs.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Congrats UK. Dominant performance against North Carolina. This tournament is yours to lose.
So this is what it comes down to: SEC versus Big East for the right to play in the national championship. Their conference's best versus our conference's, er, 9 seed. Nevermind, UConn is the best the Big East has to offer by virtue of its incredible ride beginning at Madison Square Garden. Light years ahead of where we are anyway.
It's times like these that I'm grateful to be separated from the bluegrass by about a thousand miles and that reliable buffer zone of East Coast snobbery. Should anyone require sanctuary, please know you are welcome in Boston. The land where college athletics go unnoticed. Unless it's hockey.
There's no getting around it: the next week is going to be insufferable for you, fellow Cards fans. At the office. In the streets. At the parks. In the bars. UK pride is going to be everywhere. Good luck.
Thank God Mr. Red is on the other side of the Earth right now. Still might not be far enough. Mr. Red, please report in when you can so we know you haven't lashed out while visiting in the land of the Turks. In the meantime, we'll be keeping an eye on those embassy cables.
It's halftime and UK is up 8 on North Carolina. If Kentucky wins, John Calipari will be the second coach in college basketball history to take three teams to the Final Four.
We all know who the first coach was/is.
Though in the record books, wouldn't it still be Cal's first Final Four?
Louisville's record against the first two teams destined for the Final Four: 3-1.
Now we see that the winner of our region isn't going to be Kansas. It's 11-seed VCU (congrats). To those who buy the argument being trotted out that we were never talented enough to realistically make a run at the Final Four... I haven't formally checked, but am I correct in assuming that the Rams lack one less high school McDonalds All-American (Peyton Siva) and one less consensus top fifty pick (Terrence Jennings)?
Why can't we still be playing. Yes, that's not a question. It's a statement.
Congrats to UConn for making the Final Four. And thank you for rescuing the Big East's reputation from the clutches of critics all too eager to signal its demise.
Congrats Butler... more on the Bulldogs tomorrow.
One more to go. And man is it a big one.
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- CJ video: Blackshear on shoulder injury, Chane Beh...
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About the Bloggers
Mr. Red is also known as Timothy Johnstone. He is a graduate of the University of Louisville.
Mr. Black is also known as Christopher Cunningham. He is a graduate of the University of Louisville.
CliffySmalls is also known as Cliff Elliott. He is a graduate of the University of Louisville.