Georgetown could have made it a great week for the Big East. Pittsburgh beat Duke on Thursday night to earn some much needed respect for the Beast. But today, Memphis defeated Georgetown handily, 85-71. You have to give a lot of credit to Calipari — in the first half Memphis looked lost both on offense and defense, but something Calipari did at half really lit a fire underneath the Tigers. They came out in the second half with a swagger and never looked back.
The one constant in the game was that Roy Hibbert contributed very little — he ended up with 6 points on 8 shot attempts, and only really asserted himself during a small stretch in the second half. Of course, he was going against Joey Dorsey, who is nothing short of a a cuter version of Ben Wallace. While much of the press will blame Hibbert for the loss, I don’t think he played terrible. He could have drawn more fouls (he shot 0 free throws, which is inexcusable) and been a bit more aggressive, but overall he played within the Georgetown system.
Georgetown ran into trouble today not because Hibbert disappeared (yes, that’s the reason for the title of this blog post), but because they didn’t play great defense and started their offense too late. This was somewhat an issue last year, too (see here).
What concerns me most about Georgetown and Hibbert is that Hibbert must be thinking NBA this year. He gave up a great chance last year, and certainly one of the questions about him is his assertiveness. The difficulty is that “taking over the game” isn’t really a part of the Georgetown system. Making great cuts, passing the ball, moving without the ball, ensuring good spacing on the court — these things are part of the Georgetown system. As such, it is difficult to “take over the game” without messing up the system. My fear is that Hibbert will feel he’ll need to show his assertiveness this season, but this will mess up team chemistry. I thought I started to see this happen during this sequence in today’s game:
What do you think — am I reading too much into this?
SU took a huge hit when Eric Devendorf was lost for the season with a torn ligament. I know I have been critical of Devendorf for his temper tantrums that cost SU games but his loss will be hard for Boeheim to deal with. He is a fiery player who has made some crucial mistakes because of his attitude but he also would have been the go to guy for SU because of his experience. Losing him and Josh Wright as well as Rautins has left the Orange very thin in the backcourt.
I know this is a basketball board but I am sick of hearing that college football coaches quit on their teams in the middle of a season to take another job. The NCAA has so many regulations in regard to athletes and what they can’t do but turns another cheek when it comes to coaches. Rich Rodriguez is being totally unfair to his team in taking a job with Michigan before the bowl game. Why not put in a rule similar to the player’s rule that a transfer must sit out a year before playing for another school? If a coach takes another Division I job before his current team finishes their schedule, that coach should have to sit out one year before coaching again. That would protect the school and its players from coaching defections in the middle of a season.
It’s hard for me to feel sorry for Rick Pitino and the Louisville Cardinals. They had it all this year. I even picked them to win the Big East. Then their whole front line goes down and by the end of the 2nd game of the season both Palacios and Padgett are gone. Palacios for most if not all of December and Padgett probably for his season and career. It got me to thinking…… Maybe this team is snake-bitten. But no, they still have Derrick Caracter up front. Caracter came in last year as probably the most highly regared recruit in the league. They should be okay until Palacios comes back.
Caracter is an enigma. Here is a player who would have gone right to the NBA if not for the new rule last year that he would have to at least spend a year in college before becoming a ‘can’t miss’ pro. Then I read that Pitino had him sign a contract stating that he would keep his weight down (under 300 pounds or something like that) and go to class. GO TO CLASS!!!!! Wait a minute…… A college player has to sign a contract that he would actually attend classes in his spare time. Okay, there’s something I never thought I would see. Oh, well. Louisville has had a checkered academic past. But lo and behold, Caracter gets suspended last year for not living up to the contract he signed. Maybe he ate everything in the cafeteria……maybe he couldn’t find time for classes. Whatever, the Cards had enough to get along quite nicely without the big guy for a stretch last year and make a very respectable showing in conference and NCAA tournaments.
Move ahead to this year. Palacios and Padgett go down with serious injuries but the Cards will be ok because Caracter has slimmed down and is becoming a force down low. What??? He is indefintely suspended by coach Pitino for breaking curfew. Now Louisville is but a shadow of its former self. The team struggles to put 47 points on the board in one game and loses to weak early season foes. The Cards fans are in disbelief. Now the Cards have seven scholarship players on the roster and are recruiting football players to fill the seats on the bench. And Caracter continues to show little regard for his teammates, coach, and the Louisville fans with his selfish behavior. His pro prospects probably a thing of the past, he has probably helped to put a final dagger into a team that was struggling to stay afloat. Yes, Louisville fans, Coach Pitino is partly to blame for recruiting this kid. He had to have a lot of baggage from his high school days. And probably Pitino thought he could turn the kid around. But the pressure on coaches to win at all costs results in recruits like this one. His upside……. tremendous potential. His downside…… everything else. Now Pitino has no one to handle the job in the low post. And yes, I do feel sorry for the Cards’ fans. They didn’t deserve this with season expectations so high. Maybe when Palacios comes back in late December the Cardinals will have a bit of success.
But what Pitino should do now is cut ties with his problem child. Because who knows how long he will stay on the team if Pitino lets him come back. And the yo-yo status will continue. No Padgett…… No Palacios….. No Caracter! In this case a team without Caracter would be a team with a lot more character.
This one from the old news department. I hadn’t been aware of the story until now, so forgive me if you’ve seen this already.
In March of last year, the New York Times did a feature on former Georgetown jump-out-of-the-gym guard, Victor Page. Most of you remember Page as the prolific scorer with bad teeth who was the heir apparent to Iverson. Like Iverson, he had a big nose for trouble. Unlike Iverson, the lefty went undrafted when he left college after his sophomore year.
After a 4-year stint in the CBA with Sioux City and another stint in Europe, he found himself back on the streets of D.C. in 2003…
…where he was shot. Three bullets. One in his leg. One in his chest. And one in his right eye.
As of the article’s publishing, Page seems to have started to turn things around, despite having been shot again in the leg in the summer of 2005. He’s giving motivational speeches through the Urban League, presumably stressing the importance of staying out of trouble. Sadly, had he been given this advice 11 years ago when he was the Big East Tournament’s MVP, things might have turned out differently for Page.