Bob Huggins will be the basketball coach at Kansas State. Readers of these rants know well that I don't think Bob Huggins is nearly as great a
basketball coach as some others do and that I don't think the kind of program he ran at Cincinnati is even close to what the NCAA would have you
believe college athletics should be. I won't rehash all that history here. I will say, however, that Kansas State tries to identify itself as a
great university and a center of learning. They try to show that they have a high level of scholarship within the student body and that their
professors are world renown. Maybe that's all true. But hiring someone with the background and the baggage of a Bob Huggins to be in charge of one
of the university's more public presences does not enhance the image it is trying to create for itself. Bob Huggins does not harmonize with 'The
Princeton of the Prairie' ...
Oh, and by the way, has the Board of Regents at Kansas State - or whatever the oversight body there calls itself - decided to increase the budget for
the campus police simultaneous with bringing this new element to the campus? Just asking...
Last night, the two early games in the NCAA tournament were pretty bad. Forget the outcomes, the LSU/Duke game was a comedy of errors and the
Memphis/Bradley game had all the intrigue and tension of a Sesame Street episode. Fortunately, the late games were great games that went to the wire
and had ebb and flow in the final five minutes. This is the weekend where you normally get to see the best college basketball; so far, only 50% of
the games have been good. Let's hope that trend does not continue to obtain.
There are lots of examples of athletes who try to come out of retirement and regain former glory. Some do that very well - Muhammad Ali comes to
mind. Many do not. According to a story I read yesterday, we have one of the latter about to happen. Sit down and take a deep breath; I don't want
you to be too shocked here. Shawn Kemp is prepping for a comeback to the NBA. He says he does not need the money; that's not why he's coming back.
Here's the reason:
'My love for the game is very, very high... I'm not just playing to make a comeback; my hopes and dreams are to be in the Hall of Fame one day.'
Presumably, Kemp will have his weight under control as he makes this final push toward the Hall of Fame. When last seen in an NBA uniform, his butt
was big enough to create a solar eclipse. This sounds like a guy the Knicks could sign to a long-term deal, no?
Several loyal readers of these rants are Knicks' fans and while they are unhappy with the team's record this year - and for the past couple of years -
they are upset because I continue to point out just how miserable the team is and how bleak the outlook for the franchise is. One of them sent me a
note saying that it was too easy to pick on the team when it is down; I should propose something that the team could do to get on the right track. So
that got me thinking...
Let's start out by saying that my first few thoughts about how to overhaul that roster all involved clearly felonious acts. That won't do. So, I
tried to think 'outside the box' - as is the fad among management theorists. A major problem with the Knicks is the guard tandem of Steve Francis and
Stephon Marbury. Neither one has ever played a team oriented kind of game; neither one has a history of winning anything meaningful; neither one
elevates the play of others on the team; neither one could defend against Abe Vigoda. And both have huge long-term contracts, huge egos and loud
mouths. Both have worn out their welcomes on a bunch of teams in the past. So, how can the Knicks play 'pass the trash' here?
I know exactly the team that needs both Steve Francis and Stephon Marbury and can use them to the fullest extent of their abilities to win games. The
Knicks need to make a deal and trade these guys to the Harlem Globetrotters. That is the perfect match for them. In return, the Knicks can take any
player on the Globetrotters' roster and a bucket full of confetti... Making that trade would be the greatest personnel move since Julia Roberts
waived Lyle Lovett.
There is justice in the world. Former Baylor basketball coach - and basketball pariah - Dave Bliss has resigned as the coach of the CBA's Dakota
Wizards. The team had lost 18 games in a row at one point in the season and Bliss resigned through a letter to the team GM. Not surprisingly, the GM
said that Bliss cited 'family reasons' for his resignation. Perhaps that means he got an invitation to spend some time with Stan Van Gundy and the
rest of the Van Gundy clan...
On a recent session of Around the Horn, J.A. Adande said that Paul Tagliabue's legacy has a blot on it because there is still no team in LA and that
it was on Tagliabue's watch when both LA teams left town. The second part of that statement is unassailably true; the first part - the one about no
team yet in LA - seems to rest on a presumption that there has to be a team in LA. I don't know where that comes from. One list of the inalienable
rights of man included life liberty and the pursuit of happiness but omitted 'NFL football in LA'. The Constitution is there to secure the blessings
of liberty to ourselves and out posterity, but that's a far cry from mandated NFL football in LA. Maybe, just maybe, the huge growth in revenue and
popularity of the NFL in the past several years despite being absent from LA shows that a presence in LA is immaterial to a league's success. In
fact, maybe the NBA and the NHL ought to consider the NFL model and abandon LA. If it doesn't work for those leagues as well as it did for the NFL,
they can always move a franchise back there. After all, that's what Adande and the rest of the LA folks seem to want the NFL to do.
Tyrone Carter had a good year; he was a safety on the Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers. His brother, Tank Carter, did not have nearly as good
a year. Tank Carter was to turn himself in to a Florida prison on 6 January to serve six months for driving with a revoked license. But because the
Steelers and his brother were in the playoffs, Tank Carter didn't show up. He followed the Steelers, went to the Super Bowl and partied with Snoop
Dogg after the game. When the judge learned of these circumstances, the judge was underwhelmed and increased Tank Carter's sentence to five years -
instead of six months. That's bizarre enough but Tank Carter must be one of those 'go-to-guys' when you are looking for a strange statement. Said
Tank after the increased sentence was handed down:
'Even knowing what I know now, I would do it again. It was the greatest game in my life.'
Memo to Hizzoner: Obviously, five years in prison didn't get the message through here; maybe you should have gone for ten? And given this
attitude/mindset, what possible deterrent might a six-month sentence be with regard to Mr. Carter driving with a revoked license about five years
Finally, an observation from Greg Cote in the Miami Herald:
'Cuba-Japan? OK, but the biggest story of the WBC might have been the star-studded US team being eliminated. The Americans' performance was
considered so stunningly disappointing and internationally embarrassing that analysts were shocked Bode Miller wasn’t somehow involved.'
But don't get me wrong, I love sports... ... ...