13) If you coach basketball, find a tape of Wichita State— look for #0, Rashard Kelly, then play the tape and have your kids watch how hard Kelly plays. (I know, its not tape anymore)
Kelly is scoring 4.8 pts/game, no big deal, but against Marquette, he had 10 rebounds, 8 assists and 3 blocked shots. He dominated the game with sheer physical effort. At one point, he blocked a breakaway layup, then blocked the kid again when he got the rebound, then ran down to the other end and got an offensive rebound, all without any whistles blowing.
Every great team has a player like Kelly who busts his butt and does the dirty work.
12) Gonzaga has 14 basketball players; they represent 10 states in this country, plus three other countries.
11) For older guys like me who love basketball, a historic perspective; Gonzaga today is a lot like UNLV was 25-30 years ago. Gonzaga has grabbed the entire WCC by the collar and picked up their profile, much like the Rebels did with the Big West in the 80’s.
Teams like New New Mexico State/Cal-Santa Barbara became top 50 programs because they got national TV exposure playing against Jerry Tarkanian’s UNLV teams in the Big West. Ever heard of the Aggies or Gauchos lately? They don’t get on TV since UNLV left the Big West.
Players like Brian Shaw, Eric McArthur were big time players who went to UCSB. New Mexico state got at-large bids to the NCAA’s with players like Sam Crawford, Tracey Ware.
Nowadays, St Mary’s/BYU’s profile have been raised by its nationally-televised games with Gonzaga. The rest of the WCC has been stumbling over itself trying to close ground with the top of the WCC- half the league’s teams have changed coaches recently.
As long as Mark Few stays at Gonzaga, it will be tough for the WCC to unseat the king.
10) Random Cal-Santa Barbara trivia; Joe Pasternack is the Gauchos’ new basketball coach; his wife is the sister of ESPN play-by-play guy Roxy Bernstein.
9) Houston Rockets beat Denver 125-95 the other night; saw a stat I’ve never seen before. One of the Rockets, Luc Mbah a Moute, was +57; the Rockets were outscored 59-32 while he was off the court- they outscored Denver 93-36 while he was on the floor. Never saw something like that.
It is a modern NBA record.
9) Rice is off to a 1-4 start under new coach Scott Pera, who was James Harden’s high school coach at Artesia HS in Los Angeles.
8) 6-5 freshman Justin Minaya is scoring 8 pts/game for South Carolina’s hoop team; his dad is former Mets’ GM Omar Minaya.
7) Last six years, Dayton’s leading scorer has been a guy who transferred into the Flyers’ program.
6) Miami Marlins fired TV guy Rich Waltz this week; he was the Marlns’ voice for the last 13 years. Derek Jeter isn’t making a lot of friends early in his tenure in Miami.
I watch a ton of Marlins games, having Stanton/Ozuna on my fantasy team. Waltz is as a good an announcer as anyone else at the big league level— he also does college basketball in the winter, and is really good at that. Not sure why decisions like these get made.
5) Surprised that Dick Vitale isn’t at the Phil Knight/Nike tournament in Oregon- they have him at the Battle of Atlantis.
4) Kicker Jay Feely was in the NFL for 14 years for six teams; he does TV work now. The other day, they showed a clip of Feely kicking for the Tampa Bay Storm of the Arena League- it was the only Arena League game Feely kicked in. Tampa Bay cut him after one game, then he went on to kick in 211 NFL games. Go figure.
3) Shohei Ohtani is a Japanese baseball player who will be very rich very soon; he will be the subject of a bidding war. Apparently Mr Ohtani wants to pitch and hit in the major leagues, so it will be interesting to see how that all plays out.
2) Disappointed to report that after this year, Chaminade will be in the Maui Classic every other year, instead of every year. Guess a lot of teams want to spend Thanksgiving in Maui, so the D-II hosts were demoted to playing every other year.
1) This was the 34th Maui Classic; of the first 33 Maui Classic champs, 31 made the NCAA tournament, 13 made the Sweet 16, 8 made the Final Four, 5 won the national title.