Tag Archives: KU

Geeking out on the Xbox then the Internet

26 Apr

In honor of my thrilling game of NCAA today on Xbox. Epic comeback, 12 points down 4 mins left in the game. game winning 3 with 30 seconds to go. Allen Fieldhouse went nuts!!!!!

My buddy was saying that he didn’t remember Kirk Hinrich being that fast in college so it led us to the old archives.


March Madness begins in the Winter

19 Jan

Its different living in a non NBA city. Part of the fun of living in places like Portland and Oakland was the passion for NBA hoops. I was fortunate enough to see a Blazers game at the Rose Garden, and lived in Oakland during the crazy ’07 run by Don Nelson’s Warriors.

Pretty much since the great class of 2003 NCAA hoops has been a thing where I stop in to see who next good NBA baller will be. The gap in the quality of play is about as wide between the NBA and NCAA as it is between the NBA and WNBA (Men vs. Boys). The few times I stop in are the UNC-DUKE matchups (one day I will blow a grand to see that match-up in Cameron Indoor)and the NCAA tourney.

Living in Austin during this time period is a funny one. I moved here in ’01 knowing that UT athletics was on the verge of some fun times. The football team was in the hunt for a national title every year, and even the T.J. Ford led Horns were making some noise on the hardwood. Now both programs are perennial disappointments.

Looking ahead at the basketball schedule, I noticed some interesting games to be held in the drum this year despite the quality of Rick Barnes’ squads. I circled a few early before the season began, especially the game with KU, and UNC.

I even had a nice little week where I’d get to see three players that interested me. James McAdoo, C.J. McCollum, and Tony Mitchell. The UNC game would be easy, as the Tarheels would be coming to Austin. I’d have to travel to Denton to watch McCollum play against Mitchell.

UNC was actually coming to town. Legitimately one of the real blue bloods of college basketball–royalty.There was a semblance of historic awe about the game. UNC was historically a title contender and at this point the ‘Heels were a top ten team. I figured everything would be there to see the blood bath, what I’m sure no one guessed was the UT would be doing the blood letting.

I was trying to get a real gauge on this James Michael Mcadoo kid.
The Media had been hyping this kid up, with he and Strickland being the only legit returnees that I knew about.
From the tip off, things seemed to be off with UNC.

The first five minutes were a little blah.

From the onset, UT started pounding them on the boards. UNC’s offense seemed like it could never get into a rhythm and definitely had problems getting easy buckets. The Horns hustled down after every bucket on transition and UNC was not able to run the fast tempo offense that Roy Williams generally implements.

Part of the problem was that UT played very good defense and took smart shots on the offensive end, limiting Carolina’s fast break points. But it was also obvious that Roy lacks a true floor general. His teams generally only go as far as his backcourts would take him.

Rashaad McCants, Raymond Felton, Kendall Marshall, Ty Lawson, Rex Walters and Adonis Jordan, Kirk Hinrich and Aaron Miles and Jacque Vaughn

Well this team sorely lacked the kind of guy who could make everyone else’s jobs easier. They had to fight for each and every bucket and it took forever for them to get into an offensive set.

Even worse Macadoo seemed like an over-hyped dud. Bro was whining about the refs, whining when his teammates didn’t get him the ball. One time he fell down on a play and appeared to hurt himself and it took nearly two minutes before a couple of North Carolina’s bench-warmers came to check on him. The rest of the squad went to the huddle.

Which made me wonder if Mcadoo is even liked by his own team. His body language during the game reeked of Primadonna. It made sense. His uncle was Bob McAdoo. He was light skinned and (we all know that light skinned people think they are better than everyone—white people because they got a little color and black people because they got a little white in them).

But I’d seen crybabies like him before, guys like JR Giddens and Kellen Winslow II came to mind.

And in all my years of going to UT games and watching UT games. I haven’t seen such an empty stadium since the Tom Penders days. The venue was half empty lots of empty seats and burnt orange fans sprinkled with the powder blue. I had no idea so many UNC grads/fans lived in Austin.

Carolina Blue supporters went home disappointed. Go back to Tobacco Road, put that L in your pies and smoke it.

Carolina Blue supporters went home disappointed. Go back to Tobacco Road, put that L in your pies and smoke it.

That being said, that is the loudest I’d heard that venue since the T.J. Ford days and those games would be packed. The fans were in a frenzy and you could tell it was affecting the play of both teams. UT was clearly feeding off the energy while UNC seemed baffled half the time. It was ugly. I thought old Roy was gonna have another heart attack—the poor guy.

I wouldn’t be surprised if old Roy hangs it up in the next couple of years. He doesn’t look like he’s having much fun, and what else does he have to accomplish really? He’s in the twilight of his years. It may be time for him to do something else. Who knows.

The very next night I found myself in Denton, Tx. 3 rd row at the Super Pit. There were 58 NBA personnel there in attendance to see the matchup of Lehigh vs. UNT. I had seats right behind the Lehigh bench. C.J. McCallum the nation’s leading scorer was facing off against Tony Mitchell.

Mitchell of course, I’d seen a few times the previous year, during his freshman campaign. He was undoubtedly the best player to come through Denton since Sheldon Williams’ little brother played there. He fell into the laps of the Mean Green because of some academic problems that prevented Mitchell (a local boy from Pinkston)from playing at Mizzou.

He played well during his freshman campaign but the Mean green didn’t do well enough to make the NCAA tourney. The last time I had seen him play he’d air-balled a potential game winning trey against Arkansas State (former school of Arthur Agee from Hoop Dreams).

This was something I’d been looking forward to for a while, so you can imagine my surprise when I found out that McCallum, the point guard who dominated Duke in the NCAA’s last year wouldn’t be playing. What a dick tease.

Donnie Nelson who’d come to check it out, left early to go see the Mavs take a shellacking from the visiting Miami Heat.

I thought about leaving but decided to stay just because I’d come so far, buying a ticket a head of time, and coming up from Austin. I was glad I stayed. Mitchell had an okay game, didnt put up any real numbers until the game was out of hand.

Lehigh put it on the Mean Green. They have other players besides C.J. (who hung out on the bench in a brown suit helping his teammates with any tidbits he may have seen from the sideline—if the NBA doesnt work out for him he may be a great coach).

They are a great passing team, got rebounds when they needed and shot the 3 ball well. I could see them getting to sweet sixteen (and further depending on if they get McCallum back for the NCAA’s—he may shut it down for the year though). I could even see them beating Duke again.

After seeing what he had done against Duke last year I was convinced he’d be the best PG in the coutnry this year. I was pretty bummed I didn’t get to see him play.

As for Mitchell, one of the scouts was overheard saying that Mitchell would be best suited to stay in college a year. The new coach for the Mean green is pretty terrible and seems like a control freak, Mitchell may decide his best option is to go to Europe and play for a while before he’s NBA ready.

Fans and NBA scouts were screwed out of seeing what could have been private NBA workout in little old Denton, Texas

Fans and NBA scouts were screwed out of seeing what could have been private NBA workout in little old Denton, Texas

This Saturday I’m excited to go see Ben Mclemore play for KU at the Erwin center. I mistakenly thought that this year’s Jayhawks team would be boring. Part of that was the media’s attempt at portraying Jeff Withey as the go to player on the team. I’d seen plenty of what he had done last year and didn’t think he was the kind of guy to be the feature dude (I saw Nick Collison play and Withey was no Nick Collison—not by a long shot).

I judged the Jayhawks too harshly after the game against Michigan State because the game was so boring. I remember thinking there was no way I was making a trip up to Lawrence just to fall asleep in the rafters of Phog Allen court.

Then I heard about this McLemore kid, who apparently played AAU ball with Bradley Beal. I had a free Saturday afternoon to watch the Ohio State game and bro brought it. He came with it and willed the Jayhawks to a with timely scoring. The role players of course played very well, Travis Releford shipped in, Elijah Johnson played a solid game, and Withey had some blocks and boards, and of course my boy Kevin Young made timely plays(seems like something good always happened when he was in the game).

Last Tuesday though I was watching NBA and didn’t think to flip over to watch the KU- Iowa State game. The ticker would come up on the television and I saw the game was close but settled for highlights of the game. It ended in classic Allen Fieldhouse fashion with McLemore hitting a 3 to send it into overtime. They of course went on to win.

So this will be a treat, got a great seat for the game, it’ll be the day after my birthday, and I’m sure the KU faithful will bring their “Rock Chalk “ chants down here with them and fill up the Erwin Center with the blue and scarlet. The only question is when they do the Rock Chalk Chant, will I find myself swept up in it and chant along? And just as importantly am I allowed to as fan but not as an alumnus? Is it as elite a club as the Jews where conversion and immersion is absolutely necessary?

Honestly I don’t know, but I got a nice birthday present in the mail. It is as if God him(her)self is chanting for me to go to grad school in Lawrence.

No confusion as to who I will be rooting for on Saturday

No confusion as to who I will be rooting for on Saturday

Welcome to Austin,TX Jayhawk fans. Hope you have a safe and fun time while you are down here.

Shout out to Longdistancejayhawk.com.

Dr. Naismith, Or: How I learned to stop worrying and hate Mizzou

21 Jun

My experiences in Missouri could best be described as mildly uncomfortable, to wildly absurd, to downright shitty.

Besides my first Royals game where I watched Mark Mulder (then with the A’s) pitch a 2 hitter (I had bought seats behind the plate for like 25 bucks), my trips to Kansas City have gotten progressively weirder. Whether it was being hosted by some weirdo ballet girlfriend of a traveling companion or being (almost)seduced by a tranny in a nightclub in Kansas City.

“Oh you’re transexual? Post op or Pre-op?
Pre-Op, huh? well it was nice dancing with you. You should let a guy know these things before you come inches away from being kissed by him”  (which taught me that just because there’s no Adam’s Apple, doesn’t mean that she (?) isn’t a he. I thought I felt warmth coming from her (?) crotch area, but wasn’t sure if it was just my paranoia from being drunk in a gay club. The lesson as always is to trust your instincts.)

I’ve been on Greyhound buses where we picked up some weirdo with extra chromosomes in small towns there, and Kansas City Pedo’s with underage girlfriends (who could easily be mistaken for brother and sister or kissing cousins–thought that type of behavior may be accepted out there).

I got stranded once in post-apocalyptic Joplin for nine hours because we missed our connecting bus. The operator of my bus from Kansas City was a power-tripping, crazy lady whose two unscheduled stops caused me a night of discomfort on the linoleum station floor.

I got stuck in Springfield once because I was left during during a 20 minute stop (totally my fault for trying to fit in an argument with my then girlfriend).

I had a shitty visit to ST. Louis, a place where nothing seemed to be on the level. My buddy and I paid 50 bucks to stay in a flophouse that presented itself on the internet as a hostel (we should have known with a name like the Huck Finn). It was there that I learned that no one even lives in St. Louis.

They commute from the surrounding burbs and go into town. The actual city itself is comprised of restaurants and businesses and has a pretty big racial problem.

I happened to walk up on a domestic dispute between an Italian and his lady (she was sobbing with her head against the steering wheel) and he stopped yelling at her to say ” Hey nigger what the fuck?.I laughed hysterically. My buddy from California was not impressed either.

This visit coupled with the Rangers’ loss to the Cardinals in last year’s World Series has flamed a passionate disregard for the shit hole city ( Miles Davis crazy ass might be the best thing to ever come out of there–oh yeah he was from the Illinois side–fuck em!)

Another time on a road trip to Toronto, my buddy and I had the misfortune of trying to stop at a Best Buy in Wentzville (to pick up some tunes for the road) where we encountered a fifteen minute detour because we missed the exit. We were shown a real life example of the meaning of the word, anti-climatic. Not only was the music section small, but the best selections it had to offer were in the forms of Yanni, Michael Jackson, and Yo Yo MA.

The phrase “going to Wentzville” was coined as a way to define any ridiculous endeavor that results in a bigger headache than what it was originally thought to be worth. (For example: taking a girl on a really expensive date to realize halfway through that she was annoying, boring and talked too much, but then powering through the night only to find that at the end of night she couldn’t sleep with you because she was on her period–that my friends is “taking a trip out to Wentzville).

The ”show me state” had yet to show me half the hospitality bestowed unto me in neighboring Kansas. I’ve been treated like a rock star up in Wichita. They rolled out the red carpet for me on many a visit there. The women have treated me well there, I never had to worry about a place to sleep, good coffee to drink, or good pot to smoke.

Then of course there is Lawrence. I have never been shy about my developing love for KU basketball. I can list so many epic games I’ve seen on television throughout my adult life alone. My adoration for the program really blossomed during the 2002-2003 era, when Drew gooden, Nick Collison, and Kirk Hinrich were the stars there. Keith Langford was one of my all time favorites (the lefty who could always seem to get his shot).

When I moved to Austin in ’01, I had the pleasure of seeing Drew Gooden (Don’t laugh. He was ill back in college) put up some crazy numbers against the TJ Ford led Horns.

What I took away from the game though wasn’t what happened on the court. It was what took place in the stands. There were thousands of people dressed in Jayhawk blue who had commuted from Lawrence, KS to see their team play.

Basketball was still a novelty in longhorn country and the only reason people came close to selling the arena out was Sugarland phenom TJ Ford. But even as good as he was, the place wouldn’t fill up unless it was a marquee matchup.

So to see people who genuinely cared about basketball was intriguing. And they were so nice. The fans had a lot of class and they cheered so loudly that they eventually took over the game and the arena. There was never any doubt either. They knew they were good, but they weren’t cocky, they were just good and they knew it.

I couldn’t help but sit down and root for them when the NCAA’s came around. The eventual National Champion Terrapins of Maryland beat them in the Final Four.

But they made things interesting and made me pay attention the next year when I saw Nick Collison put up a 20-20 game against the Horns down in Allen Fieldhouse. That team had Hinrich, Keith langford, Jeff graves, Michael Lee, Aaron Miles, and that team came SO close to taking it all against Carmelo Anthony and the Orange(men).

That was an awesome tourney to watch and it really made me wonder if I was really a Jayhawk fan at heart.

Maybe the Thunder should consider signing Hinrich??

In 2004 I’d take my first visit to Lawrence while on a road trip to Kansas City.

I was immediately impressed with the town, the rolling hills were unlike what I thought could be possible in Kansas. The campus was enormous, and beautiful and there was a serene calm about the town.

I liked Lawrence immediately but I was already living in a small town, and there didn’t seem to be anything to do but shop and eat.

It was sheer coincidence that I happened to be in San Antonio during the ’08 Final four.

I was in downtown San Antonio, right outside the venue when Mario Chalmers hit the game tying 3 pointer and go into overtime to beat the Memphis Tigers. I got a chance to party with the Jayhawk faithful on that championship night. Even shared a wink and nod with the great Larry Brown (pound for pound as Sheed called him) at a restaurant. I even ran into former Jayhawk 3 point specialist Michael Lee down by the Riverwalk.  There was something different about these fans and they left a lasting impression on me.

When the NCAA’s came to Tulsa, I took the opportunity to treat myself and get a taste of the excitement For 75 dollars I got great seats behind the basket (THE BOK is a smaller venue with no real bad seat in the house.) and got to watch two very different games.TNT was covering  the games and Craig Sager could be seen on the sidelines. When  I recognized the hairdo’s of Stever Kerr and Marv Albert I knew it was for real.

Texas played Arizona in the first game and KU played Illinois.  There were so many things to take away from the game. Arizona’s basketball band was really fun to see. They had a great selection of tunes to go through and you could tell they were enjoying themselves. They all wore matching Hawaiian shirts and played uptempo and contemporary songs (I’m pretty sure they played a range of JethroTull, Pearl Jam, and even some White Stripes).

While UT’s band played the same stale tunes they were playing when I was working security for them in 2003. It was actually pretty sad.

Only a handful of people had made the trip from Austin and it was clear that the U of A fans far outnumbered the Longhorn fans. It seemed like the only people there were family of the players and coaches, and people from the athletic department.

UT got hosed on a bad inbounds violation call and ended up losing in the final seconds. The dry ass Longhorn band started playing the “Eyes of Texas” for the few fans who’d commuted to lend their support and before the song was even over, the Jayhawks players ran onto the court–amidst a sea of cheers that drowned out the pitiful UT faithful.

There was a Jayhawk invasion much like in San Antonio. They took over and it felt like a home game for the KU boys (may as well been Tulsa is only four hours from Lawrence).

KU trounced them but the Illini at least won the battle of the cheer squad. They were good. The cheerleaders had great routines and they were in synch with the Fighting Illini musicians, pulling off some pretty impressive stunts and acrobatics. They managed to pull of some gymnastic formations I’d never seen before and I realized that this was why I sometimes enjoyed being at NCAA events more than NBA.

Only the tip of the iceberg. they pulled out all the stops for the tournament

It wasn’t nearly as bombastic or artificially loud. There was no crazy music going on during the game, and no silly PR promotions. It was just about the school traditions and spirits. The pageantry was on full display that night. Fans didn’t have to be urged on to cheer. They were already ravenous without prompting. The KU game against Illinois convinced me that I had to see a game in Lawrence.

Later that winter I road tripped up there, scalped myself a ticket and completed my trip to the basketball mecca of Allen Fieldhouse.

A basketball shrine. This was where it all began–where basketball was invented. Photos of KU greats like Wilt the stilt, Danny Manning, Mr. Iowa Nick Collison, Jacque Vaughn, and Paul Pierce was a bit unnerving. I felt like I was at a museum.

And of course everyone was just as nice as I remembered. Fans were such an intricate part of the process. It was a like being at a big high school game, everyone sat in the bleachers. Fans lined up along a roped off area that led to the tunnel of the players’ dressing room.There were no luxury boxed seats, no ridiculously loud music to whip the crowd into a frenzy. I couldn’t believe I was here. The only time I could recall having such a religious experience was the first time I went to a Cubs game in Wrigley. Though no tears time around, just a really big smile that lasted throughout the game and most of the night.

If you are a fan of basketball you have to go to at least one game at the Phogg. It’s truly a unique experience.

The best part of course was when the clock was running out in the second half and the chants of ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK began.

And this was just a non-conference game against Howard University. This wasn’t the famous Border Wars finale with Mizzou.

This was a blowout win against an inferior opponent. No one left early. Everyone was loud. They cheered everyone on the team from the star forward Thomas Robinson to the equipment manager. There was something to these fans that evoked admiration and respect. They were loyal, and knowledgeable and they respected the game. I was on board.

It wasn’t until the final conference game with Missouri that I was able to get some perspective on the rivalry between Kansas and Missouri. It was much bigger than basketball. This was legitimate bad blood that went as far back as the Civil War. The more research I did the more it started to make sense. 

I felt stupid for not realizing it earlier. Of course I was having fucked up experiences in Missouri,it was a slave state (as if I’d never read any Mark Twain duuuuuuhhhhhhh). It was upon my last visit that some locals gave me the lowdown on Lawrence and how it was established and why the radical roots ran so deep. It certainly made anyone rooting for Missouri suspect in my mind.

I certainly know on which side of the fence I fall. Any enemy to Missouri is a friend of mine. Jayhawkers huh? Well maybe this was the town for me then.

To be continued.

Rock Chalk Jayhawk

14 May
Local Texas boy Keith Langford smashing on fools. A damn shame they didn't win it all in '03

Local Texas boy Keith Langford smashing on fools. A damn shame they didn't win it all in '03


I’m in Lawrence, Kansas right now at the  public library.

I’m in town on my day off from a nice little road trip. Did stand up in Wichita on Monday and I have a poetry reading in Wichita on Friday at the Blank Page Gallery on Douglas street.

With two days off I decided to hit up the town where Burroughs holed up before he died, to see what all this talk is about.

Now I’ve always had an affinity for Jayhawks basketball ever since I started watching college hoops.

I loved the uniforms and my first ever tourney was watching Adonis Jordan and Rex Walters play in the same backcourt in ’93. That was the year of the C-Webb timeout against UNC. J-Kidd and Steve Nash both made a little noise that year as well.

Some of my favorite moments of watching Jayhawks hoops involved Nick Collison’s 20-24 agaisnt UT in Allen Fieldhouse in 2003, Collison putting up a 30-20 against Duke in the tournament, Drew Gooden beasting it up against UT in Austin in 2002, and the Mario Chalmers shot to send it into overtime against Memphis in 2008 (I was in San Antonio during that game and the city was flooded with Jayhawks fans, it was pretty surreal. I met Larry Brown and Michael Lee– even ran into Patrick Ewing, he looked fat.)

I’ve visited up here on a couple of occasions but this was the first time I really got to kick it.

I’m staying with this cat Marcel, who I met on couchsurfing.com and he is a super cool cat. a recent transplant from Seattle, he likes hoops, jazz, women, and traveling. I think I’d call that a kindred spirit wouldn’t you?

He showed me around a little bit then I checked out the jazzhaus on Mass street. It was cool, reminded me a bit of Berkeley as far as vibes go, a very nuetral energy.

it’s kind of squaresville out here. Lots of fratty/ sorostitute types. Lots of hot chicks, but none I’d be innarested in. I’m a country boy at heart and these girls just wouldn’t be picking up what I’m putting down.

I prefer the ladies in Wichita. A bit more twisted, and if you can put up with all the cigarrette smoke, you’re guaranteed some anal…..they don’t play around in that town. They could give Okie women a run for their money.

As it is, I’m here one more day and then I head back down towards home. Good times for sure. Excited about the poetry reading. I read some stuff at the open mic and I got a mixed response. The best one was from the guy who runs sound:

” WHen I found out there’d be poetry I was thinking it’d be boring and pretensious, but it was nothing at all like that. It was funny, honest, dirty and best of all real. You gotta come back Bobby.”

I most definitely will. Especially if I can score some basketball tickets in the winter. I’ll paint the town Jayhawk blue. But as for right now, it just can’t get weird enough for me here.