Indiana outgrinds Notre Dame in 69-58 win

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana never seemed to get a flow in its first game after finals week and its dramatic upset of then No. 1 Kentucky, but the Hoosiers made sure Notre Dame didn’t either and won 69-58 in a grind-it-out game in front of 19,064 at the inaugural Crossroads Classic at Conseco Fieldhouse.

The Hoosiers held Notre Dame to 38.1 percent shooting (16-for-42), including a 4-for-20 performance in the first half. Notre Dame made all four of those shots — including three 3-pointers from swingman Alex Dragicevich, in the first 5:27 in the first half and didn’t have another field goal in the 14:33 before the break. Indiana coach Tom Crean was most concerned about Notre Dame’s ability to shoot 3’s, but the Fighting Irish only hit one in the second half and finished 4-for-11 in the game. 

“When you go through a season, if you’re really trying to get better and you really understand that you’ve got to take what the game gives you, you’re going to be in a lot of different type of games,” Crean said. “This was a grinder. We knew the potential for that was there with Notre Dame. We had great respect for Notre Dame and it was certainly justified.”

Said junior guard Jordan Hulls: “We were there on the catch instead of letting them face up, shoot over you or whatever the case may be. We just had better ball pressure, better defense, better help side, just a lot more active I felt like after those first half.”

With the game playing at such a slow pace, the Hoosiers made a point to get the ball into freshman forward Cody Zeller. He finished with 21 points on 8-for-14 shooting, grabbing eight rebounds including four of them on offense.

“We gotta play through Cody all the time,” Hulls said. “He can do so many different things. You throw it in, he can either score or he can pass. We just gotta cut off him and find open spots. He’s unselfish so he’ll find the open man. It’s very crucial that we do it every game.”

After shooting just 34.4 percent in the second half, the Hoosiers shot 52.0 percent in the second half to finish at 42.1 percent. Sophomore guard Victor Oladipo scored 16 points on 6-for-7 shooting. Hulls hit two key 3-pointers to finish with 12 points and three assists. Junior forward Christian Watford was just 2-for-9 from the field after hitting the buzzer-beating 3-pointer that beat Kentucky, but he was a perfect 6-for-6 from the line to finish with 10 points.

The Hoosiers improved to 10-0 for the first time since the 1989-90 season. No Indiana team has started 11-0 since the 1975-76 team that finished the season undefeated. The Hoosiers are the only remaining unbeaten team in the Big Ten thanks to Illinois’ loss to UNLV on Saturday.

AUDIO: Mike Brey

AUDIO: Tom Crean

AUDIO: Jordan Hulls, Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller

132 comments

  1. I’m being lazy and reposting from the “Live” Blog. I think this team can be special but Great is going to have to wait for next year.

    A very ugly and uninspired effort…But they won. These games happen particularly after a game like Kentucky. Every team has ‘let downs’ during the season and teams that win these games in spite of themselves usually wind up playing in March. This IU team is OK. This is going to be a good season (Hell it already has been a Great pre-Big Ten season). They’ll probably lose a couple of games that they shouldn’t but I’ll bet they’ve also got a couple of wins ahead of them that they shouldn’t get. Great time to be a Hoosier.

  2. “Ugly and uninspired”? Oh how quickly attitudes change. Last year, a win like this would have been seen as a “program changer” or at least a “statement” game.

    Watching Zeller own the post tonight was far from uninspiring.

  3. “After shooting just 34.4 percent in the second half, the Hoosiers shot 52.0 percent in the second half to finish at 52.1 percent.”

    Nothing in that sentence makes sense to me.

  4. 42.1%. Anyway going to the game and sitting up in the nosebleeds near the student section was a treat.

    Respect to Remy Abell who made the most of his minutes. He looked pretty good on defense against a few quicker and more experienced ND players.

    Would very much like to see Watford be more consistent. Thought that the Kentucky game would get him over the hump but his decision making is still a little suspect sometimes. He did have a few good post moves late in the game to help seal the win, but many times he attempted to drive his man from the three point line and just ended up off balance and falling down.

    He also had a very difficult time guarding ND’s (former Purdue player) Scott Martin 1 on 1. This is a player who is not the quickest (2009-2010 ACL injury) and Wat got beat off the dribble repeatedly. Still trying to figure out how Wat could project at the next level. Small Forwards would eat him up unless he makes a concerted effort this next offseason in improving his defensive IQ and quickness.

    Looking forward to the start of the Big Ten season.

    Best,
    PB

  5. What is great about this game is it showed that IU can win in different ways. As they enter the Big 10 season it will get harder for them to run the floor, and they will need to show they can grind out games. Will be especially important against strong defensive teams like Wisconsin, MSU, and Purdue.

  6. It showed IU can win when they play badly. Oh, IU stunk up the joint today, but ND was worse.

    How many turnovers did IU have today? I lost count. And why, with a 10 point lead in the second half were they constantly rushing on offense? Rushing up the floor, rushing shots, rushing passes, what was the hurry? I’d say Crean needs to use these last two games before Conference play to work on shot selection. WS had the worst game I’ve ever seen him play. Thank goodness CZ played as well as he did. UGLY, but 10 – 0!

  7. Who’s keeping score.Jones had two turnovers?What do they do when we lose the ball,give his turnover’s to someone else.He had at least 5 turnovers,got beat repeatedly,yet still get’s max minutes.Is Crean even watching the games .Jones is an absolute joke.Why won’t Crean play Oladipo,Zeller,Watford,Hulls,and Sheehey at the same time?Jones drags this team down.It makes me sick watching him.Give his minutes to Sheehey.let Abell develop.Jones is an absolute disgrace.When he isn’t making turnovers,he’s throwing bad passes that are near turnovers.Will someone please tell Crean to watch replays and count the mistakes Jones makes?

  8. Pritchard’s four fouls : 1 was for bumping someone and probably was legit; 1 was for a light hand-check and those fouls were all the rage tonight; 1 was for taking a charge but he’s Pritchard so the foul is on him; and 1 was for holding his tongue crooked and exhaling too loudly. He’s just a marked man for some of these officials.

  9. Good to grind out a win when you don’t play well but way too many turnovers. Jordy and Verdell need to take better care of the rock when Big 10 play begins or we will made to pay for the turnovers.

  10. Good job. “Grinder” is the right description for this win. It seemed to be played in slow motion. I don’t think the Domers put together two straight baskets or basket-free throw combos the whole second half, until the very end; IU kept matching them, two points for two points, so ND could never get a run going. When the lead was five, I felt more comfortable than when it was ten against Kentucky.

    Now polish things up against the two gimmes next up and then start off the Big Ten season with Michigan State, Ohio State and Michigan! If IU wins two of those, they will be in good shape for I would hope at least eight to ten Big Ten wins and a 20 win season and an NCAA bid. The Big Ten will be a lot rougher than the preseason has been, but IU seems able to adapt to what the schedule throws at them.

  11. A Game like this gets us beat by MSU by 20, Jordy must do a better job leading the team or it’s going to be a long Big Ten season!!

  12. OK, here is my convoluted conspiracy theory. Verdell is a senior so CTC is giving him plenty of opportunity to prove himself in the non conference games. He’s slowly bringing Remy along, even giving him minutes during crunch time. Once the conference games start Verdell, having not been able to justify the opportunities CTC has given him, will be relegated to the bench, providing valuable minutes when Jordy needs a breather. Verdell, with reality starting to settle in, will take the ‘whatever I need to do to help the team’ route.
    That’s my dream, anyway.

  13. It is hard to call out Will Sheehey: “WS had the worst game I’ve ever seen him play,” when he led the Hoosiers with 9 rebounds in 25 minutes. IU hit 1 less 3-point shot, made 4 less FT’s, had identical assists, and lost the blocks/steals battle, but won the game by 11! Why? Rebounding, 40 to 28, and Cody Zeller. Will had 9, Cody 8, and Jones 6 (Martin had 7 for ND). That led to IU getting 57 shots to ND 42. That is how you win a “grinder” by 11.

  14. Heinsohn, I agree, I watched part of the game twice now and counted 5 turnovers for Verdell. There were a couple bad passes where someone else barely touched the ball and I’m guessing they wrongly gave the turnover to the victim of the bad pass.

    On top of the TO’s there were several defensive lapses. One play he was caught standing flat footed while the man he was defending blew by him way too easily. Bend those knees boy and get in a defensive position. To make matters worse, on that play both Elston and Watford could have easily helped out but they are so dang slow and play terrible help defense. Did you see Zeller popping out on screens and playing help defense, and running back to his primary position like a gazelle? That’s how it is supposed to be done.

    Chet, I had that same theory at the beginning of the season but after playing crucial games and seeing him get the majority of minutes, I don’t think so. I think his minutes should be limited to about 20…

  15. Chet has a good point about Jones and Crean. Either Crean is making a point with Jones’ own stats or Jones has incriminating photos of Crean, lol. How else do you explain the minutes Jones gets with all the dumb passes, TOs, out of position plays VJ3 makes game in and game out?
    He passes the ball away while in the weave at the top of the key, gives CZ an entry pass…TO THE DEFENDER SIDE of CZ, he telegraphs over 50% of his passes and he constantly dribbles with his head down. I don’t get it. Every middle school BB player sees it but
    CTC doesn’t? That’s why I think Chet may be right.

  16. The refs were por, therefore the game was ragged- also finals week. Good defense for the most part. Sheehey had a great game for being to sick to practice on Thursday plus finals- 9 rebounds. I gave up long ago as to why VJ gets so many minutes while Roth and Moore sit the bench. Maybe Abell will start getting more now. I agree Pritchard gets a raw deal from the refs.

  17. I watch most of Blackmon’s high school games. Against Concordia he faced a great defense from Concordia but still had 22 and Luers won, then put 40 on Indy Howe last night. Watching him play-its hard to think of him as only a sophmore in high school. I would take him over VJ111 right now.

  18. Exactly…. I thought the defense was by far the most impressive part of last nights win. If it hadn’t been for 3 desperation, BAIL-OUT 3-ptrs by Dragocevich in the first few minutes they would have been just about shut out in the first half. IU managed to be smothering without really fouling… There was some ticky-tack BS called but that was about it. I also liked how Jordy stepped up in the second half to cement the win – knocks down a 3, hits a pull-up, makes a great pass…. Game out of reach.
    Funny story about another ref, Ted Valentine (funnier if you actually know my father, but even those who don’t still laugh) – my father is an elementary school guidance counselor. His nickname from us growing up was Mr. Rogers. He now practices buddhism. He is just about the most peaceful, most easy-going guy anyone knows…
    Until he sees Valentine reffing an IU game! I had my father and brother over to watch the IU-UK game and we are getting ready for the game to start. Emotions are running high for my brother and me, both in our 30′s, but my dad is just sitting back on the couch soaking in the fact he gets to watch a meaningful IU game with his sons… Smiling. Literally 1 minute into the game, barely anything has happened yet, my dad notices Valentine… 30 seconds later Cody goes up for a lay-up and it looks like he gets fouled… no call. My father EXPLODES off the couch pointing and screaming at the TV, “Valentine you f@&king c&@ks@$ker! I hate you! You never give a call to us! Call the damn foul, it’s your favorite thing to do – get your face on TV for calling a stupid foul! Now our guy gets fouled and you won’t call a f&$king foul. You’re a f€#king c*+ks$&ker!!!
    The score was like 2-0… My brother and I are just left staring at each other in disbelief. I guess that’s the special kind of love that IU fans have developed with Valentine over the years.

  19. PB, Watford doesn’t project at te next level… At least not the NBA. His options are overseas or toiling in the D-league for a couple years before getting a job selling insurance.

    Of all the things you can work on to improve your game, you probably chose two of the most difficult – quickness and IQ… It’s like saying he needs to take the offseason to improve his height. If he doesn’t have it, he doesn’t have it.

    If you’re a Watford fan my advice is to cherish this season. His role will even be more diminished next year, before fading into IU lore, never to be seen again in the state except maybe playing for/against the Mad Ants.

  20. If Watford will take it upon himself that the more he learns to make Zeller the go to guy….the more it will help him and he will score more points and make his game better by doing this…rather than trying to force his own game by himself. This will be important as to how well IU plays throughout the entire season.

  21. I also thought Will did fine. He has improved so much that we expect amazing things every game. Nine rebounds is pretty impressive even without illness. I can’t wait until Remy gets more minutes. The upside on him, to my eye, is just tremendous. Great recruit.
    While we are all loving CTC’s ability to land the high profile recruit I think his ability to recognize the VOs and Wills and Remys out there is just as impressive. He got blasted for ‘wasting’ a scholarship on Will and now some folks are disappointed that sophomore Will ‘only’ had 9 rebounds. Talk about raising expectations.
    I’m not sure if he’s missed on a recruit in the past two years and, before that, he was forced to ‘reach’ on some kids.
    I’m excited about this team. They are pretty good right now and they could be so much better by March. They have talent. They have a floor leader in Jordy. The bench is so deep.
    Go Hoosiers, beat Howard.

  22. Sheehey had a bad night offensively. Yet, he led the team in rebounding with 9. There were 4 possession in a row where Will pulled down a defensive rebound.

  23. Is Watford interested in selling insurance?

    Rather short and definitive assertions on the unlikely potential futures of Hoosiers in the NBA, which most commonly resorts to a quick negative and defeatist outlook their having any chance at the elite levels of basketball, is becoming quite the hallmark/forte/peculiarity of Geoff.

    Why don’t we all just get it over with in one clean sweep? Do the Hoosiers have one player that has a legitimate shot at a long and successful career in the NBA? Zeller doesn’t have anymore quickness than Watford and would get destroyed by far more athletic big men in the NBA. Oladipo doesn’t have the ball skills or consistent jump shot. We’ve already determined that Hulls is too slow and short. The rest of the top players on the roster have even less chance.

    So what’s the point of continually reminding and speculating that most of our guys don’t have what it takes to play in the NBA? Sure seems like a bunch of spoiled-a$$ fans ..Our Hoosiers are winning and yet their is a desire to cut them down to size and talk of their limited futures instead of the collective achievements and strides they are making as a team.

    I hope some of you that have kids give them the same brutal talks of honesty when their dreams look insanely out of reach their inherent and God-given skills. Reality bites as hard a cold winter in Maine…Sometimes these youngsters need to be told just how far Hollywood is from a log house in the Portland sticks. There’s nothing wrong with spending a lifetime on the stagnant couch and sobbing with your old man over a lousy foul call in a basketball game. George Leach? Damon Bailey? NBA? George Bailey?…George who!? Who cares!

  24. I watched the BYU game. Carlino may be the next black hole for BYU. Coach Rose watches when a player “takes over” the game on a consistent basis. Carlino did make some less than easy shots but he never sees a shot he didn’t like. BYU fans have been praising him as the Second Coming that’ll whisk them away into another great team. And for the record, I go to BYU, and my in-laws are obsessed with BYU.

  25. Geoff,

    By the way Watford is playing I wouldn’t be surpised if your assessment came to fruition. However, crazier things have happened. Wat may put up enough numbers these next few years to be a late second round pick. Rod Wilmont built himself into one a few years back on a great senior season. Continued team success played a part in his being drafted too.

    Yeah, I agree, it’s very hard to build up quickness and defensive quickness. What I’m looking for is some self awareness from Wat of what he can and can’t do on the defensive end. I’d like him to play to his strengths and not overpursue and press quicker players on a defensive rotation.

    That’s my Christmas wish.

    PB

  26. ok Harvard, I’ll fall for your trap…

    I actually wish I had many more moments to share on my couch with my old man, sobbing, laughing, celebrating, anything. Unfortunately, even though we only live about 30 minutes apart, life tends to get in the way. This IU/UK game was a special occurence and it was quite nice. For the record, I wasn’t sobbing, I was in shock over his sudden outburst, followed by my brother and I doubled over in laughter.

    As far as the NBA arguments… I prefer to spend my time posting on more provacative topics than “great effort by the guys yesterday!” There’s a place for that and all, but there really isn’t much more to say after that. If I think there are tidbits that are getting over-looked, or over-praised, then I may impart my opinion. Anyone who knows me personally will tell you I’m an eternal optimist, it’s maybe even a little bit of a fault. I just haven’t had a hard life I guess, so I have a rosy outlook. That doesn’t prevent me from seeing things realistically when it comes to basketball.

    So to answer your question – are there any IU players that have a chance at the next level? Yes – there are two on the current roster and in the next few years there will be several more with potential. We are coming out of a dire time in IU’s history, which has had an obvious effect on recruiting and the current roster… it’s not like I was saying Eric Gordon doesn’t have a shot at being a starting 2-guard in the NBA. Just the opposite, I thought he’d be an all-star, and potentially an all-NBA defender because of his quickness and strength.

    So the 2 guys on the current roster are Dipo and Zeller. Zeller has obvious talent, but more importantly he has a size/athleticism combination that will allow him to compete, and an IQ that will allow him to succeed. He, unlike Watford or Hulls, is considered as a lottery pick, maybe even as soon as this year. That doesn’t mean he’ll necessarily leave, but he could if he wanted, and could have a long career in the NBA. How successful that career would be is beyond me. Dipo could certainly become a second round pick and fill a role very similar to Tony Allen. Defensive 2-guard who hustles and gets you extra possesions – scoring would be a bonus. He has the size and athleticism to pull it off though, and more importantly he is most effective without the ball in his hands – cutting, defending, filling the lane, etc.

    If you think for some reason that I’m not tickled pink at how this year is going it’s because you haven’t been reading my posts long enough. Before the season started I was one of the loudest, most ardent defenders of Crean and fairly hopeful for what this season could bring.

    If you really want I can give you all the reasons why Watford won’t be a pro, but I thought the short definitive assertion was plenty good enough for him.

  27. Spe, am I to believe that you didn’t like Jimmer? That you aren’t appreciative for all the success and spotlight he brought to the program. It certainly seems that’s what you are insinuating. Would you not want another player like him? Another guy that gives you a shot at winning any game against any team?

    Or is there some other black hole that you’re referring to?

  28. PB, you mean the Rod Wilmont that went undrafted, currently plays for the very Mad Ants that i mentioned and hasn’t been invited to an NBA training camp in 3 years – That Rod Wilmont? If so, I guess my analysis was even closer than I thought.

  29. I haven’t been able to sit through an NBA game in a decade. What do they call that game they are playing, anyway? Who cares?

    As far as making it to the NBA, which one of you saw Bryce Drew as a sophomore and projected him as an NBA player?

    My kids went to a high school that won 3 4A (the top classification) state championships in football over the past decade or so. They have sent maybe 3 kids to BCS schools during that period. There are schools in Charlotte that send 4-6 every season. But they almost never beat our local school. The point being, there are plenty of guys in the NBA that were not on great teams in college. That’s all I care about.

    The NBA bores me to tears. I find it unwatchable. It must bore a lot of other people, too, because the major networks show 20 college games a week and, except for the NBA Finals, I can only find NBA games on channel 2467 on Tuesday nights and it’s always the Lakers playing Dallas.

  30. To get to 10-0 you are going to have one of these games. This is a bonus game for us. It was like playing a big 10 game early. We showed we wont let physical play take us out of the game and that’s huge considering last years team. And did elston chuck one with 5 sec left in the half? Why? Really? Im sure that was because of his (lack of minutes) This kid just seems lost!! My friend said elston was a 4* recruit when he signed with IU. That should show everyone those numbers mean nothing. I can’t understand his minimal improvement in 3+ years at IU.

  31. Geoff,

    I do not insinuate that. But as a student of BYU, I’ve witnessed multiple players on BYU that were black holes. And I am a firm believer that even the best player in the world, even if he scores 50 points, could make other players better by playing team ball. I am not saying Jimmer wasn’t tremendous, nor do I wish him any ill, but there is a reason why a team that is built with multiple great players will always fare better than one superstar player. There’s nothing I hate worse than watching “NBA” style ball. I can’t stand offenses that involve one star player doing what he pleases, or trying to beat individuals off the dribble. Call me old fashioned. My beef remains with the concept of a black hole, regardless the name on the jersey or the team they represent.

  32. I love IU fans who say( we are pretty good. We will lose some games we shouldn’t and win some we shouldn’t) Really? Kind of like 99% of teams? Some people on here are so scared to say IU is back!!

  33. Ah Chet, one of the few times I disagree with you… I’ve been waiting. Of course I don’t disagree with everything…

    I find about 70% of the NBA regular season unwatchable, but I feel the same way about a lot of college basketball. Besides IU games (or Celtics in the NBA) there are only a few other games that are appointment TV. I may watch to see a certain player or team, but they have to be pretty special to want to watch more than once.

    As far as the Bryce Drew comment I guess I am trying to figure out your point… We can break down all kinds of players if you want and I’ll go player by player and tell you whether or not I think they have a shot at the NBA. If you want to generalize and ask me if I think a very-high-IQ, elite-perimeter-shooting, 6’3″ pure PG, with decent athleticism has a chance at becoming a viable back-up PG in the NBA I could say sure, that seems reasonable. If Hulls was 6’3″ I’d give him a shot at being a back-up PG in the NBA too. As of right now, there is literally only one player of comparable size and athleticism in the NBA to Hulls and that is JJ Barea, and he was an an elite college scorer, and much craftier penetrator than Hulls has proven to be?

    As far as NBA on TV goes you are way far off base. Part of it might be the West Virginia cable system. But TNT has double headers twice weekly, ESPN carries at least 2 games a week, then there are the sunday double and triple headers on NBC once the NFL season ends, there’s the X-mas day games, all the local coverage in NBA areas, the constant games on the NBA network which is available on every cable/dish package. It’s just as easy to find an NBA game as it is to find a college one, you just aren’t looking cause you don’t care.

  34. Spe, maybe the coach is the problem at BYU. Your school’s biggest problem is getting enough good players to compete at the top level on any kind of consistent basis. Blame the coach, blame the “honor code”, but don’t blame Fredette. Jimmer’s talent was the only reason you won 30 games and his notariety gives you a better chance to recruit better players.

  35. Geoff, Well I don’t like the coach and I actually don’t blame Fredette. I just blame the black hole… And it’s not my team. I could care less how they do. I am an IU fan. BYU does surprisingly well in the west too. My point is they could have 34 or 35 games with a little bit of help beyond Jimmer.

  36. Yep, my mistake. Rod was a free agent who had some success at the NY Knicks camp if I remember correctly. Thought he may have been drafted by them but he was a free agent invite.

    PB

  37. If you ever want an example of how meaningless NBA skills often translate to the college game just look at the last college game of the best NBA player ever. That UNC team had at least three of what we now call ‘lottery picks’ (I don’t remember if the ‘lottery’ was in place yet). It’s a different game. Collegiate greatness does not necessarily equate to a future in the NBA.

  38. We will take the W it could have gone the other way ,last year it would have! We have a growing problem of taking care of the ball !With Vj3,Watford,and now Hulls we have got big time turnover issues that will kill us in conference play!Yogi can’t get here quick enough!The worst is that they are unforced errors or just falling down.As I said after KY get the ball to Zeller and good things will happen!He is a six eleven guy with guard skills!Jones and Watford continue to serve their own agenda’s with selfish uncontrolled play that is killing the team!Jones has been a nightmare since day one they call him captain turnover for a reason !I know Watford hit the shot but how does your performance go down like that? Shehey could’t hit but he put the rest of his game to work and saved our life!Hopefully Crean gets it and will make the necessary changes before conference!

  39. Chet – I completely agree with part 2 of your premise, that collegiate greatness doesn’t necessarily equate to NBA success. However, part 1 seems to fly completely in the face of that. Jordan, Dougherty, Perkins, and Worthy were all great college players and great pros…

  40. I Still don’t get this specific point Chet… You’re basing the arguement on one game? Against a fairly talented and very well-coached IU team? I would say that anything can happen in one game in any sport, at almost any level… I can make a pretty easy argument against your point that the NBA talent went 26-1 over the regular season and was #1 in the country going into the tourney, so that larger sample size bares out that NBA lottery type talent does make a difference at the college level.

    Certainly the dynamics are different at the college level, where you have 17 & 18 year-olds fresh out of high school playing and still physically developing are playing with and against 22-24 years old seniors who are battle-tested and physically mature. Therefore, certainly talent doesn’t always win out. But UK, UNC, OSU, UF, Duke, KU, and UCLA have all dominated the regular and or post-season landscape these past few years and see how many of their players make up NBA rosters. Its a much higher percentage than the less successful college teams.

  41. I’m just saying that the presence or lack of NBA caliber players does not necessarily predict success of a college team. Which team would you guess has more players in the NBA, Michigan State, Syracuse, Georgetown, LSU, Memphis, or Villanova? (this data is a couple years old)

    If you guessed LSU you were right.

  42. Yeah, I think I would disagree with that statement, in part. I think you can predict that a team with more than one NBA calibre players will be successful… Of course, “success” is a relative term. Does that mean 20 wins? A high ranking and seed? A Final Four appearance?

    Certainly The lack of NBA talent doesn’t preclude you from being successful, as demonstrated by many teams, year in and year out. More and more that has to do with the most talented players leaving college early for the NBA though, creating an even bigger advantage for the older, more experienced teams, more physically and mentally tough teams.

    Talent is king at every level, and if there were a 3 year college minimum with no early entry there wouldn’t be as many Cinderella stories as there have been recently. Almost without exception every guy in the NBA right now (that played in college) was a very successful college player, or was well on their way to becoming one. Name me 5 NBA players who were in a rotation last year that weren’t…

    Or turn it around and think of how any current NBA player would fare in college. The styles of NBA and college differ mostly because the NBA player has either the most elite skill or most elite athleticism, sometimes both! which creates mismatches that are taken advantage of. The ability to close out shooters or help in the lane and affect shots is greatly exaggerated over college because of the size and length at every position. The weakest NBA players are still great at something on the floor, which can’t be said at the college level. If motion offense or flex offense were the most effective way to score then NBA coaches would run them. The truth is that most college players can’t effectively run the number of sets and counters that NBA teams run – there is a lot of nuance and complexity to half court sets. that doesn’t necessarily mean its more entertaining, but that is a matter of opinion.

    I’ve rambled enough for now… Sorry.

  43. Talent is king at every level, and if there were a 3 year college minimum with no early entry there wouldn’t be as many Cinderella stories as there have been recentl

    I sorta disagree with the second half of that statement. I’m not sure if you significantly reduce the Cinderella stories with a 3 year college minimum. Even just having one guy on a roster with NBA-level talent staying in school for 3 years could account for considerably more opportunities for magical runs through a tournament. Eric Gordon had a broken bone in his hand still healing while going into the NCAA tournament. Allowing guys to jump to the NBA after one season likely hurts the Cinderella teams with one mega star that comes around once every blue moon more than the “elite” teams that know they’ll have another deep class of McDonald’s Al-Americans coming in year after year. What if Butler would have had Hayward back last year? I guess you could debate whether or not Butler was a “Cinderella” team the last two seasons..I think the jury is still out on whether Hayward will have long term success in the NBA…Tradition, or no tradition, I still consider any team that hasn’t hung at least one championship banner as somewhat of a Cinderella team when it comes to Elite 8 appearances and beyond.

  44. Change to the following:

    Tradition, or no tradition, I still consider any team that hasn’t hung at least one championship banner in the past 20 years as somewhat of a Cinderella team when it comes to Elite 8 appearances and beyond.

  45. Different strokes for different folks. It still bores me. I think the last traveling call was in 1986.

    On a different topic, I read the interview with the “model” from UK and he alleged injuries. The funniest part was where she said Kentucky fans have higher expectations regarding the behavior of their players. I guess that wouldn’t involve making even the slightest pretense of being students. UK (now even better with Coach Cal) will always be king of the major violation. They are due. They’ve had a major violation and probation during every decade of the NCAAs existence. They are still the only basketball program to get the ‘Death Penalty’.
    Yes, the player code of conduct at UK is certainly one of a kind.

  46. And with all that NBA talent on UK, they should have blown the Hoosiers out of Assembly. It’s what Geoff expected and he’s still attempting to cover his a$$ in explaining why it didn’t happen. Onward to OSU and their “NBA talent” that will turn the Hoosiers slow and inferior defenders into chopped liver. Maybe it’s just possible that Watford and Hulls are not as simple to shutdown on an every night basis as he would like to assume. And simply limiting a kids’ scoring(maybe he gets 14 instead of 20) contribution in a given game, may not account for shutting down all the other positives he can bring to the table in terms of leadership, distributing the ball, composure from the charity stripe, clutch shot-making in ‘crunch time’, etc.

    NBA talent doesn’t necessarily play fantastic help defense, play fundamentally sound team ball, make good decisions on shot selection, go 110% throughout the 40 minutes of a college game, or have the ice in the veins to make the game-winners..Many of these guys have so many multimillion dollar contracts and dollar signs dancing in their heads, it’s a wonder they show up for 10 minutes of a game. Where’s the motivation to care about team when individualistic pursuits reign supreme?

    Maybe that’s why “Cinderella” will always find a dance to the ball…Motivation and determination may play into things a bit differently for guys that are playing for something more rewarding than a Ferrari parked it their driveway in 12 months.

  47. Oh Harvard, there you go again trying to paint me as a hater.

    I believe my prediction was that UK would get about a 6-10 point lead and that IU would keep it close, but never complete the comeback. That is hardly a blowout prediction. I also thought that IU had a legit shot to win, especially after watching Teague in the UNC game. It’s all documented if you care to go back and read. You were the one asking for a final prediction…

    I also have never once stated that Hulls or Watford are not quality college players. never once said they were easy to shut down at this level. All my critiques have been about their pro potential. While I still question Watford’s decision-making and shot selection, I have never questioned Jordan’s, nor have I questioned his leadership – all the things you mentioned above I have repeatedly claimed as his strengths.

    I won’t dispute that their are some individualistic players on the NBA level, just as every level, but I think you have been watching to many bad teams from the Midwest lately. every quality team in the NBA is winning because of their teamwork, determination, and motivation. You are way off base on this one dude. Over 82 games does every player play his best game every night? No, but the best players are almost without fail known for having legendary competitiveness and drive. Whatever bias you have towards the NBA is fine – to each is own, and I prefer an IU game against Savannah State to a Celtics game against the Heat any day – just realize that the Minnesota Timberwolves would crush UNC, UK, OSU, or IU by 30-40 points any night.

    Lastly, you can bring up as many one game scenarios as you want. The fact is that elite talent and athleticism wins more often than not. You can drive down the street in Wiscassett, Maine tomorrow and see only one car and maybe it will have a couple Chinese people in it… That doesn’t mean that the whole damn town isn’t white hicks. Basically you are grasping at straws because I am dropping too much basketball realism on you. It’s easier to falsely call me a hater than to swallow hard and admit what I’m saying is true.

    Enjoy being wrong, just like I enjoyed it when the Hoosiers beat UK.

  48. You’re not a hater…You’re just another typical boring know-it-all that has more wet dreams over his own viewpoint than any innocent nativity or unfounded bias could ever care to disturb. Anchor all your opinions in the solid mud of what your eyes have seen in the past securing what they shall see tomorrow….I call it zero faith and predetermination.

    Please don’t pretend that’s anything new and refreshing in this blasé world of ‘Greats of Sport’ that know they’re great, and are constantly bathed in the oils of over-inflated admiration and self-infatuation.

    Basketball is a game. And to this humble viewer of the sport, true “greatness” begins with that simple understanding. Nothing wrong with living in a world of common probabilities…If you want to believe that makes you an expert, then so be it. Sometimes what looks to be the weakest tree can bend to survive the most brutal of storms…And the old unwavering oak snaps upon her own weight. That’s why I love watching.

  49. Actually what makes me an expert is the thousands of hours I have spent playing, coaching, watching, and studying this game. Some people just have a special insight and intelligence for certain things, and I have an innate genius for hoops. Like all the greats I honed it through obsessive practice and compulsive research. For whatever reason though, I have a gift. Not only do I see the obvious, but I see innumerable things that mortals from Harvard wouldn’t even think to look for. One of my best qualities is the ability to be a passionate fan, but not let that interfere with my perspective when debating these things. I am also handsome.

  50. Wow, Geoff. That revelation just brought me down to my humble knees of servitude. Care for some nuts?

  51. You know, if they played by college rules with college refs, an NBA team would have a hard time maintaining possession. That ‘ol pick up your dribble at the top of the key move wouldn’t work too well. Sure, they’d crush a college team because they’d overwhelm them physically but they’d also have 58 unforced turnovers.
    I try to watch NBA games. If some college player I liked is on a team I’ll put on the game but I always lose interest after a couple minutes. I know these guys started out as basketball players but they’re just a pair of skates away from playing Rollerball.

  52. Chet I am kind of with you, I have not cared to watch much NBA since the 2nd NBA career of MJ. I have a hard time agreeing that Shaq can be considered in the same sentence as the likes of Wilt, Russell, Hakeem, Reed, Alcindor, Lanier or Patrick. They were truly talents on both ends of the court. If O’Neal ever had to work games defending against good offensive center he would have been to wore out to play the 2nd half.

  53. Harvard – by far your best artwork yet! That one got even more than a chuckle… I actually started looking around the entire picture for all the details. Bravo!

    Chet – I watch a lot of NBA and am unfamiliar with the ‘ol pick up your dribble at the top of the key move. You should have watched the Lakers/Clippers preseason game last night – it was well played, very entertaining, and you could tell even though it was a meaningless exhibition that they actually cared. I will give you that NBA refereeing is by far the worst of any sport/level, although Big Ten refereeing is a close second.

    The Davidson win was a good one. Love to see them do well since Bryant Barr, dubbed the “White Lobster” by Chris Berman because of his Maine routes, used to knock down 3’s alongside Curry. Better yet, it furthers my point… There were several teams that have at least 2 potential NBA draft picks on their rosters that played last night against “Cinderella” type teams:

    IU (Zeller, Dipo) – won by 57
    Duke (Rivers, Plumlees) – won by 27
    UNC (Zeller, Barnes, Henson, Marshall, Bullock, McAdoo) – won by 50
    Baylor (Perry Jones, Acy, Miller) – won by 41
    Florida (Beal, Young) – Won by 28
    MSU (Green, Dawson) – won by 35

    A blind squirrell does get a nut every once in a while though Chet… (this is where I’d insert a red “squirrell” and imbed an image of Bob McKillop’s head on a rodent with his eyes x’d out celebrating over a blue KU nut)

    Clarion – listen, there are a myriad of arguments that can be made against the NBA and its players, but you didn’t pick a very good one. Shaq played against Hakeem, Robinson, and Patrick. Those are 3 of the best offensive centers of all time… O’neal came into the league in ’92 and played several years against all those guys in their primes.

    Wilt would be great in any era, but his stats would be a lot more Shaq-like if he played in the 80’s and 90’s when every team had multiple 7-footers. The NBA just didn’t have the size or athleticism in his era and it was a David vs Goliath situation almost every night for a lot of his career. Russell was never considered a great offensive center… He never averaged 20 pts/gm once in his career. He also benefitted greatly from the era he played in. It would be interesting to see how Russell at 6’9″ 215 guarded Shaq at 7’1″ 330… And I am a Celtics fan.

    Here’s where Harvard calls me a Russell hater, or maybe a pioneer hater.

  54. Agree, Harvard’s latest artwork is simply awesome.

    Better even than this or this.

    And let’s face it: Crean, like Wilson, remains clueless.

    But that doesn’t mean we should not enjoy the wins.

  55. Do you have any evidence to support your Crean is clueless statement? Would love to hear it? Still waiting for a shred…

  56. “Clueless”? I can only imagine the hate you’d be spewing if his team wasn’t undefeated with a win over #1 and one senior that plays.

    “Let’s face it”, if he doesn’t win the championship with an undefeated team he’s just not getting the job done.

    What an idiot.

  57. 2 of those guys were at the end of their careers opposing SO. His career would be significantly different and shorter if the officiating would have been of the 60’s-70’s vintage. His step into the defender, lower the shoulder, push off with forearm, reach up and dunk is much of the reason NBA reffing is a joke today. When I consider NBA all-time greats, he does not get a sniff of the top 150. Height, weight and mass is not greatness.

  58. Take it easy now Chet or you’ll choke on your Baloney…

    Tom Crean is experiencing a bit of Mike Davis 2001-02.

    Proof that he is completely clueless:

    There is never a point, Tom Crean said, when a coach feels as if he’s ready for the games to start. There’s always some aspect of his team’s game that seems to need a few more rehearsals before the curtain goes up.
    With Indiana preparing for its first game against another opponent “under the lights’ — last week’s Indiana State scrimmage was, by NCAA rule, played in front of no one — Crean said there are a lot of areas where the 2011-12 version of the Hoosiers isn’t ready for prime time. But the one that stands out most is offensive execution.

    Read the above paragraph and tell me if you see 11-0 and ranked 17th in it. That’s where he thought he was when the season started. Almost as clueless as Brainfart Chet here on this blog…

  59. ^ That’s funny, Crean thought offensive execution was a problem for the Hoosiers when the season started? Chuckle:

    On the heels of their dramatic win over Kentucky last Saturday, the Hoosiers are 9-0 and off to their best start since the 1989-90 season, when they started 10-0. Through Indiana’s first nine games this season, the team’s biggest improvement has come on the offensive end.

    Look: Crean is clueless and goofy but he’s our goofy.

    He’s our bear of little brain and lots and lots of religious tweets.

    I like him. He’s clueless but I like him.

    As long as the team wins I wouldn’t change a thing.

  60. Just as for any coach the next opponent to be played is always to be feared because they are so talented and well coached, ala Lou Holtz. Why would they tell the opponent what they really think?

  61. The only thing that’s obvious Rico is that you haven’t coached before… That is the way every coach feels and speaks going into every season.

  62. The only thing that’s obvious Rico is that you haven’t coached before… That is the way every coach feels and speaks going into every season.

    Exactly. See Coach Kevin Wilson: Win Today!

    Geoff, I am starting to like you. You are hilarious!

  63. Clarion – you’re wrong man, sorry…

    – Hakeem played for 10 similar seasons, the first five seasons Shaq was in the league Hakeem averaged 26 pts, 11 R, 3 blk, won 2 championships, an MVP, and was an all-star all 5 years. He pretty good for the next 2 seasons after that too averaging about 18/10/2.5. Hardly the end of his career….

    – Robinson played 11 similar seasons, the first five seasons Shaq was in the league Robinson averaged 26/10/3, he also won 2 championships, an MVP, a scoring title, and was a 7 time all-star during Shaq’s career.

    – Ewing played 10 similar seasons, the first six of which he averaged 22/11/2.5, and during Shaq’s 7th and 8th seasons Ewing averaged 16/10/2, which ain’t bad. He was also a 5 time all-star during that time and All-NBA 2nd team as late as 1997, Shaq’s 5th year.

    Bottom line: Shaq’s first 5 seasons he played against these guys in their primes, and they were all well above average for his first 8 seasons. During that time Shaq averaged 28/12/2.5 and was All-NBA every year accept his rookie year (when he averaged 23/14/3.5). That was against the same competition and refereeing that the guys above were playing.

    I agree that Shaq size doesn’t equal skill or greatness, but it did make him dominant. Post defenders were also not allowed to body up, and put all their weight and a forearm bar into defenders in the 60’s and 70’s, so Shaq probably would have had a much easier time and wouldn’t have had to do the shoulder bump.

    All that being said I have spent much more time than this arguing against Shaq’s place in history than for it. I do think 80% of his success was a direct result of his size and athleticism, not his skill, IQ, or work-ethic. But I would also make the same argument against Wilt. Both players were simply far more physically imposing than anyone they ever played against. Wilt even more so.

  64. I now refuse to watch any NBA team LA. I was getting into the Clippers, but then they screwed over and traded my favorite future NBA All-Star/former Hoosier.

    Almost all ‘the greatest’ play too long. They get slow…the bodies go..Shaq played a little too long.

    Dr. J was special.

    Bob “Butterbean” Love’s story(after the conclusion of his years with the Bulls) is a tale worth finding.

  65. Rico – every coach also wants to Win Today! The two aren’t mutually exclusive… I’m sure Wilson never promised nor stated that they would go 8-3 this year. He first mission is to instill a sense of optimism and winning into a traditionally down-trodden losing program.

    Are you trying to say that because a coach isn’t happy or comfortable with where his team is offensively in the preseason that he thinks they will lose? You have a lot to learn, son. But keep coming here so we can teach you.

  66. Rico – find me the quote where Wilson is slobbering over how great his offense is looking going into the season, and how far ahead of schedule they were going into their first game and then we’ll have a jumping off point for an honest debate…

    Until then you’re just hating.

  67. Can we tone down the personal attacks? It’s Christmas, guys. And why are we talking football on a basketball thread? It’s b-ball season and we have relevance in the world of college sports again. Let’s be thankful we found our way home. Let’s be thankful for the hard-working kids that love to wear cream and crimson..Let’s be thankful they won’t act like spoiled gangster thugs when they one day beat the mighty OSU and MSU. Let’s be thankful with have Dustin running Scoop. Let’s be thankful we have our mind and spirit and conversation with those that share our passions.

    For the record, Geoff..That “Fantasy Island” picture was borrowed…just thought it was funny when I originally saw it on another Hoosier blog many months ago.

  68. The only game shaq ever had was to body up to compensate for lack of skill. The refs allowed it and now allow it at every position. He could not score in any other way. As far as post players go he is an asterisk.

  69. Clarion – physical defense was brought into vogue before Shaq came into the league with the Piston Bad Boys and then the Knicks, etc… Shaq was not the root of physical post play, but a creation of it. He would have dominated offensively in any era of basketball because of his sheer size. But again, I’m not a Shaq fan or supporter, just observing the facts and history of the game. I agree with your statement about his lack of post up skill, and he certainly had very little face-up ability. He was however an above average passer for the position.

  70. He could not have succeeded with the officiating of the 60’s-70’s while playing talented offensive players in the post. His only strength was to take space he did not already occupy and that is why the nba is the unwatchable product today compared to decades ago. He was fuel for that type of play.

  71. Wilt’s athleticism was in another galaxy than Shaq’s. When he was younger it wasn’t unheard of for him to pull down a rebound and take it coast to coast. Shaq rarely dribbled a ball three times.
    Shaq’s last couple of season’s he looked like a tall sumo wrestler.
    Wilt hauled down three to four TIMES as many rebounds as Shaq.
    Wilt was also a great passer. Shaq’s best season he had 299 assists, Wilt’s number was 702.
    They didn’t track steals but I’m certain the disparity would have been similar.
    While Shaq played against some great centers, Wilt played during a period where the Malones, Kareems, Baylors, Websters, Gilmores, Rollins, Russells, etc. were all over the league. Big, strong 7 footers were everywhere. The center position was on the decline for Shaq to the point where it now consists of Dwight Howard.

  72. Dominant as a poster…and on his poster bed. Wilt’s most impressive stats were the 10,O00+ women he slam dunked on. He invented the term stat sheets. Did you say great passer? What on earth did he not make a pass at? A life of complete bliss consumed only with hoops and whatever went on in the stud mansion under those thick fur blankets covering a 6000 gallon waterbed. I get exhausted just thinking about it. Row, row, row your boat, gently down the sea…Stamina? Athleticism? When guys today would be icing down after a hard night of b-ball, Wilt was putting on British Sterling in preparation for perfecting his up-and-down game and going to multiple racks…Finger roll? Don’t even go there. Wilt was always on a roll. Back ’em down..front ’em up..No matter. He never tired. One hotel maid in Denver proves just how soft the Lakers and the NBA has become. End of story. No game like the old game.

  73. Believe it or not, I think the claim was actually 20,000. Man oh man, can I relate to that.
    Seriously, anything after 5000 is just kinda sad.
    Really, he was kinda sad, whether it was 200 or 20,000. I came of age in the 70s and, even then, 20,000 was well beyond excessive.
    Considering how young he died PEDs have to be considered.

  74. ok, I was about to drop this, but you two are so far off track here its ridiculous.

    Clarion – it is completely naive to think with Shaq’s physical mass that he would not have been extremely successful in any era. How would players during the 1960’s (his career was ’59-73, but his prime was ’59-71) have kept him from getting deep position before he touched the ball where his skills wouldn’t matter. It is absolutely ridiculous to think he wouldn’t dominate offensively.

    Chet – you must ONLY be thinking about the post-2000 Shaq. For the first 6-8 years of his career Shaq was in very good shape and there are several highlights of him dribbling coast to coast. If you don’t believe what I showed above about there being a 5 year period that Shaq played against some of the best centers in there peak primes and a full 8 years where they were well above average please go to basketball-reference.com I am not disputing Wilts accomplishments, I am simply putting them in context. The list of names you put down is barely true, mostly false, and partly misleading.

    True: Russell- Russell, while great and a true contemporary, was only 6’9″ and considerably lighter. While Russell’s teams usually won out, it’s not like he was shutting Wilt down. This is all wonderfully written in Bill Simmons’ The Book of Basketball.

    False: Webster, Malone, Rollins, Gilmore – Gilmore is the only one in this group that played a single game during Wilt’s career, and that was only Wilts last season when he averaged a career-low 13 ppg.

    Misleading: Kareem, Baylor – Kareem came in for the last 4 seasons of Wilt’s career, when he had shown serious decline. Baylor was a 6’5″ forward, not a 7′ center.

    Here is a list of Wilt’s true contemporaries, meaning they are listed as centers, their primes overlapped by at least 5 years and made 3 all-star teams (Wilt 7’1″ 275):
    – Russell, 6’9″ 215
    – Bellamy, 6’11” 225
    – Pettit, 6’9″ 205
    – Jerry Lucas, 6’8″ 230
    – Reed, 6’9″ 235
    – Thurmond, 6’11” 225
    – Heinson, 6’8″ 218
    – Zelmo Beaty, 6’9″ 225
    – Billy Cunningham, 6’6″ 210
    – Embry, 6’8″ 240
    – Gus Johnson, 6’6″ 230
    – Johnny Green, 6’5″ 200
    – Rudy LaRusso, 6’7″ 220
    – Willie Naulls, 6’6″ 225
    – Bill Bridges, 6’6″ 228
    – Johnny “Red” Kerr, 6’9″ 230

    That’s it guys… notice how many of these guys are 7-footers… Exactly none. Only 2 even approach Wilt’s height, and none approach his weight. He was a literal giant among men.

    Other notables that DIDN’T play during Wilt’s era that people might think did – Schayes, Hayes, Lanier, Walton, Cowens, Mel Daniels, McGinnis, Spencer Haywood, Unseld, Mo Lucas, Mikan, Parish, or Sidney Wicks. And of this list only 2 guys (Walton and Parish) were listed at 7-ft tall.

    The era of the 7 footer began in the 80’s. That is the main reason that the giants like Wilt rebounded at such a ridiculous rate. If you care to look at the rebounding numbers for all the contemporaries of Wilt that I listed they are all well into double digits, and many were over 15 rebounds/game. There just weren’t as many bigs or athletes contesting rebounds during that era so the centers thrived in that aspect.

    Sorry guys, but these are the facts.

  75. And to address the rebounding thing more specifically, here is a look at how they rebounded during their first 12 years in the league. It is hardly the “3 to 4 times” that you claimed.

    Wilt – ’59-60 thru ’70-71 averaged 25.5 rebounds/game

    Shaq – ’92-93 thru ’03-04 averaged 12.3 reb/gm

    I chose this comparision because it is a pretty true reflection of their primes. Shaq stayed several more years past his prime which skews his career average more.
    So Wilt rebounded about twice as much, but that is all relative. The greatest statistical rebounder of the last 30 years, Dennis Rodman, never had a 20 reb/gm year, and his best year 18.66 wouldn’t have cracked the top 3 for SEVEN of the seasons during the 60’s! Seriously, look back at the rebounding leaders during that time. Basically you can’t compare the stats across the eras, but you can make a slightly better comparison to how they fared against their own eras. I contend that Wilt didn’t have as much competition because of his size compared to his contemporaries. I have already demonstrated that difference in my last post. That being said, Wilt finished in the top 2 every year of his 14 season career. Shaq during his 12 year prime finished in the top five in 8 seasons, and the other 4 seasons was fractionally close, against a field of competition that had (factually) grown in size, length, and athleticism.

    I think that Wilt would have been a better rebounder than Shaq during this era, but I also believe Shaq would have been a truly dominant rebounder during Wilt’s era – probably just a shade below he and Russell.

    I’d be happy to hear any reasons or evidence against all this.

  76. Thank you for stating and proving my point. All I was talking about was skill. As you stated, Shaq had physical mass. He was huge person. His skills did not approach those of Wilt. That’s exactly why it was boring to watch him.
    I was indeed talking about the ‘post 2000’ Shaq. That’s why I said ‘his last couple of seasons’ in my post. Nobody has to work to look fit when they are 23.

  77. I am sorry but I lived through the advancing nba of the 50’s-60’s-70’s and about half the names you listed in post #80 were forwards and did not play center often or at all. The key to all of this is near every center I regard as nba quality had not been so vertically blessed all possessed the BB talent and skills to play another position. The only other position Shaq would have had a shot at was tackle. His nba career was blessed by never having to work on the defensive end against strong offensive performers and the benefit of soft officiating. Wilt once collected 55 rebounds in 1 game, SO would not have had the stamina for the pace in the 2nd half to attain that #.

  78. Chet – I was mainly debating you on your recollection of who played during his era and how big they were. Your statement that there were all kinds of 7-footers during Wilts era was simply untrue.

    Clarion – I had to search long and hard to find contemporaries for Wilt. Every player I listed was at least partially played at center. My point illustrates that the only quality players during Wilts era were far smaller than him, and in fact the NBA was a far smaller league, which was a huge determinant of his inflated stats. I am not questioning that he had superior skill to Shaq as a post player, only that he was a giant among his peers, just like Shaq would have been.

    Both of you keep bringing up Wilt’s stats, but that was his biggest weakness – he was consumed with stats. It was literally all he cared about. Read The Book of Basketball, the first chapter is dedicated to Wilt. He was generally disliked by all his coaches and teammates because of his desire only to do what was best for him. There is story after story and excerpt after excerpt from relevant basketball books, including former coaches, teammates, and adversaries of what a loser Wilt was. The lakers lost two consecutive years to the Celts in the finals and then had the option to purchase Wilt’s contract (from either Philly or SF). Even though the main reason they had lost to Boston was a lack of an answer for Russell, the players voted 9-2 AGAINST adding Wilt to the team… That’s how great those players thought he was.

    One of you also brought up his passing and that he had 700+ assists one season… That was because he decided one year to be consumed with the assist stat. It is well documented that he not only passed up easy scoring opportunities, but he also yelled at teammates for missing shots off his passes and constantly checked the scorers table to make sure they credited him to his satisfaction and yelled at score keepers if they didn’t. It is widely agreed upon by his peers that his teams lost many games, including playoff games, that they should have won because of his obsession with collecting assists.

    Another classic is his obsession with never fouling out of a game. His teammates constantly complained that he completely stopped playing defense after picking up his fourth foul. This also led to losing several games that his teams should have won.

    The reason his stats are so impressive are 3-fold…
    1. His talent
    2. His size
    3. His obsession with stats

    *There was also no offensive goaltending for the first half of his career, so he would redirect his teammates shots whenever he felt like it, or tip shots in that were still on the rim.

    The stories are literally endless. You should really read Simmons’ book if you haven’t, and if you have I can’t believe you’d have your current viewpoint. The evidence is over-whelming. The second chapter breaks down the eras and how they are or aren’t comparable based on rules, styles, philosophies, etc. – it’s fascinating stuff if you care about basketball.

  79. Clarion – the rebounding stats were also inflated because of the style of play during that era. The number of possessions and shots were considerably higher during Wilt’s era, so not only was he far larger getting more uncontested rebounds, but there were also something like 15-18 more rebounding opportunities per game than in today’s era. I am not making this up, it’s all documented. If need be I’ll start citing my work….

    You say again that Shaq benefitted from never having to guard offensively gifted centers, even though I have already proven that to be false… What gives?

    Regardless of where Shaq had to play defensively and how effective he would have been in that era, there is absolutely no way that other teams could have guarded him or kept him from collecting rebounds. His numbers would have been SIGNIFICANT!

  80. Did you know that Wilt was also a sprinter, high jumper, and thrower for the KU track team and won 3 individual Big Eight titles?

  81. Someone always has an ax to grind. I’m sure there was a tremendous amount of jealousy surrounding Wilt’s eccentric lifestyle combined with his nearly unstoppable skills on the court. And maybe some of Shaq’s unstoppable size and somewhat eccentric attributes accounts for his critics and the discounting of his true skills.

    Both players had substantial identity to the LA Lakers. I have never found too much to admire when thinking of the Lakers. There system is nothing different than the Yankees..Throw the most money at what “experts” perceive as the the greatest talents and let that be your starting point. Wasn’t that one of the main stumbling points that created the lockout? Now, after what Chet has appropriately identified as a boring product, the league is attempting to achieve some balance? Too much money..too many loopholes…too many lawyers…too many egos…too many superstars…too little to do with basketball…Eric Gordon goes to the Hornets…too late.

  82. I remeber hearing something about that, but thanks for the detail..

    That makes sense Chet, I’m sure if track would have brought him the $$ or noteriety that basketball did he would have stayed with that individual sport…

    Harvard – it certainly doesn’t seem that way when reading about it all. Basically every account that is in written or recorded research is consistent in that message about Wilt. There is little if any such negativity written out Russell… Wilts teammates and coaches had a very tenuous relationship with him, while the other dominant (both in terms of stats and championships) center of the era got along with his. Do you really think its jealousy, or annoyance and loss of patience with him because of his personality and priorities… There’s way too much smoke not to be a huge fire.

  83. As far as I’m concerned anybody bragging about having sex with 20,000 women is a creep, playing skills notwithstanding. I’m far from being a prude, but seriously. He must have had some real issues.

  84. Another tidbit from the Wilt chapter in Simmons’ book is that “for being such a self-proclaimed ladies man, there are countless reporters, friends, and teammates that have stated they have never seen him with a woman.”

    So there’s that other theory…………

  85. “….they never have seen him with a woman.” That could mean he was always seen with three or four at a time. It’s totally possible the true numbers, the stats recorded to silken sheets, were 50% less…He may have just simply been the Herman Cain of the NBA. I remember images of Wilt strutting around in a full length fur coat. Am I wrong or did he dress like Huggy Bear from Starsky and Hutch? I also have vague memories of him making appearances on the Johnny Carson show. I predict I’m old.

  86. I haven’t watched clips or highlights of Wilt for years. Found a neat YouTube clip that exemplifies just how agile he was…He had a very nice turnaround jumper…I don’t have memories of Shaq displaying the same quality of game Wilt had from 10-15 feet from the hoop. Maybe I wrong, but I don’t think Shaq would have had a chance in hell defending Wilt.

  87. Why do you think Shaq would having trouble covering a spinning turnaround fade away 15 feet from the hoop? Poor guy would probably have stroked out in the second quarter. I imagine Shaq would still be able to muscle up his own points but they’d have to have someone else play D. No question about it.

  88. Great clip Harvard. Yeah, Shaq didn’t have that type of offensive repertoire, and certainly nothing close to the fade-away turn-around jumper. This also very nicely displays several of the points I was making (thank you):

    – disparity in height
    – disparity in athleticism
    – lack of an offensive goat-tending rule
    – what looks like zero effort to keep Wilt from getting deep position

    Two other things this brought to light…

    1. Alcinder was just a brutal defender. Stood completely upright and barely moved laterally to attempt to stop any of the moves shown in this. Talk about “ole”…

    2. Why was Wilt such a poor FT shooter if he had this kind of jump shooting touch? It makes me wonder if they mashed together every make of that turn-around of his entire career, and the reality is he shot it at a very low %…

  89. Chet – NO ONE WAS PLAYING D IN THOSE CLIPS!!!

    Obsess if you want about Shaq’s D, but if he played with as little effort as every single guy in those clips then he wouldn’t be tired at all.

    I also will bet you $10,000,000 that Ewings turn-around was better than Wilt’s, and that Hakeem’s array of moves was larger and harder to predict than Wilt’s.

  90. …point being, while Shaq may not have effectively stopped either Ewing or Hakeem, I can’t for the life of me ever remember him stroking out.

    Why are you guys making me defend Shaq? I can’t stand him!

    Can you please come back to earth so we can stop this nonsense?

  91. I had no idea you have that kind of money to throw around, Mitt. Hakeem, at times, was the best basketball player I’ve ever seen.
    If I wanted to win a championship and didn’t care about style I’d probably have to pick Shaq. For me, a lover of the style portion of basketball, it was simply painful to watch him Larry Csonka his way to points. If I want the best basketball player I’d probably pick Hakeem.
    Wilt actually shot a pretty high percentage on his jumper. He just had a bug in his head on free throws. It happens.
    Who knows how they’d match up? Not me, too many variables. I’m sure Wilt would play differently in a different era. This I do know. Wilt had equal size and he was an absolutely freakish athlete. Shaq was not the athlete Wilt was, you can argue that till you’re blue in the face. Wilt was All Big 8 as a high jumper, shot putter and sprinter.
    Shaq’s game fit the modern era (well, not anymore, the game has changed again). He also had Kobi and D Wade alongside. It’s all in fun, Geoff, don’t take it so seriously.
    OK, on to Ali vs. Tyson.

  92. I’ll stop the nonsense by saying I do not need to read he-said, she-said crap printed in some book. I lived and watched NBA BB games before WC and BR entered the league and long after they retired and SO came on the scene. I do not need some bookseller describing to me what I witnessed. The only offensive dexterity SO possessed was to physically move opposing players out of the way. Which if the rule book was enforced by stronger officiating his repertoire on the offensive end would have been 0. His output on offense is totally credited to loose officiating. He was allowed to get away with way more than should have been. Russell owned more offensive moves than Shaq and his were not to Chamberlain’s level. Wilt had a tremendous turnaround jump shot, at least as good as Ewing’s and possibly superior to PE because he was uncanny in using the glass. Something I am sure the book writer did not mention. Hakeem did have the moves.

  93. Tyson could knock Ali out, I’m sure… He was the most explosive boxer of all time. However, I don’t have any faith that he’d be able to catch Ali with a clean shot in the first 3 rounds, and once it got past that it’s Ali time baby!

    I love a good debate. I take my side of it seriously, but no mistake it is fun for me. (although my wife was pissed that I wan’t paying attention to the Polar Express the other night and instead was researching undersized, unathletic centers from the 60’s)

    I would never argue that Shaq was a better athlete. And if I had to win a championship I’d probably have to take Russell.

    Wilt won championship with HOFer’s Greer & Cunningham (SF in ’67) and West & Goodrich (LA ’72) – as a side note, Elgin Baylor retired halfway through that season, even though the Lakers were dominating the NBA and almost assured another ring because (reportedly) he couldn’t stand Wilt. They ended up giving him a ring anyway.

    Wilt lost championships with even better line-ups…

  94. So Clarion… I should take the word of witness who I don’t know, and have no idea how much he witnessed, over the first-person accounts of the teammates, coaches, peers, and reporters of that time?

    Simmons was not reminiscing (as you are some 45 years later), he was researching, studying, and consolidating the earlier books, articles, and testamonials of those people. He of course watched plenty of tape and put some of his own original thought in as well, but he carefully credited and cited all of those things I brought up.

    Go to any study done on witness accounts and they will tell you that details become distorted and foggy with even a couple days passing. I’m supposed to believe your accounts after 45 years??? Just like Chet remembered (in post #77) that, “Wilt played during a period where the Malones, Kareems, Baylors, Websters, Gilmores, Rollins, Russells, etc. were all over the league. Big, strong 7 footers were everywhere.” I have already proven that to be false… really, REALLY false… I’ll take my research and first person accounts from the people that were around Wilt night in and night out…. ahhhh thank you.

    As soon as you can tell me how any 6’8″ 215 pound white boy who couldn’t jump can stop this:

    Shaq walks down into the post area
    a teammate screens block to block
    Shaq takes 1-2 steps into middle of paint
    Shaq catches ball a foot above where any defender can reach
    Shaq turns and dunks

    Give me some compelling evidence that that play can be stopped without committing 3 defenders to him and I’ll concede that Shaq would not have dominated offensively in the 60’s.

  95. Chet/Clarion – interesting article on the History of NBA on TV

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=how%20many%20nba%20games%20were%20televised%20in%20the%2060's&source=web&cd=8&ved=0CE0QFjAH&url=http%3A%2F%2Fciteseerx.ist.psu.edu%2Fviewdoc%2Fdownload%3Fdoi%3D10.1.1.26.1281%26rep%3Drep1%26type%3Dpdf&ei=81jzTruSHebr0QGJuoysAg&usg=AFQjCNHVqee7RvGRcWxgmDxN-e2XJhHfjw

    Not sure you’ll read it, but it basically breaks down coverage by each decade and also relates it to fan friendliness. Paraphrasing… all TV was experimental during the 50’s including the NBA. It became more popular after the advent of the shot-clock.

    For those of you who argue about today’s players’ effort or the watchibility of the game, and reminisce about those “purer years”, here is a quote from a New York Free Press peice:

    “Rader argued that the new rule (shot clock) had made it difficult for fans to get excited until the last quarter of the game. Rader felt that since it was difficult for
    teams to build a lead and then “sit” on it, it appeared the players were not exerting themselves until the last quarter.” (sound familiar???)

    Also, during the 50’s and 60’s there was only one nationally televised game each week during the regular season, on Saturday afternoons. And the ratings were so poor that the NBA TV contract was juggled around the 3 networks each year based on Abe Saperstien’s ability to sell and re-sell it’s potential. There was inconsistent local coverage (if you even had a local team), and games that weren’t televised didn’t have TV cameras at them.

    Bottom line, you weren’t watching much NBA in the 50’s and 60’s, and certainly not many Philly, SF, or LA games, since my guess is you didn’t live in any of those markets. You also weren’t seeing many highlights since there wasn’t the 24-hour sports media coverage.

    There was more radio coverage of course, but on radio I’m sure that Cowens “is a MOUNTAIN of a man”, and then you start imagining him as bigger than he actually was… you get the point.

    I just find that the information I am getting is much more reliable than the memories I am getting from you guys on this topic. It’s also hard for me to believe that you aren’t biased in respect to your accounts of Wilt or his era, since you are so clearly biased against Shaq and the current era.

    Sorry. Hope there’s no hard feelings. I agree with both of you on almost everything you post…

  96. I do not give a damn whether you take my word or not. I am telling you what I know from half century + of watching BB. I have no interest in the recall of other people because mine is just fine. SO’s total offensive output came from the benefit of soft officiating. Put him against any of the quality offensive minded centers I have mentioned and strong officiating of the rules and he will be so tired from playing D he soon finds himself impotent on the offensive end. He would be dominated not dominate because he would not have been able to bull his way to the hoop. He has benefited from soft officiating to become a Sportscenter highlight. I do not need some wordsmith selling books to tell me what I know. For the sake of my recall you stated Schayes, Hayes, Lanier and Unseld did not play while Wilt did. You best find another book, one with accurate info.

  97. If you can take eight rounds of George Foreman pounding on you, Mike Tyson would be a walk in the park. An over-the-hill Ali would destroy Tyson. Could anyone imagine what would happen to the poor soul that would attempt making George Foreman’s ear an hors d’oeuvre? And I’m willing to bet $10,000 Leon Spinks slept with more ladies than Wilt and Mitt put together.

  98. In their prime years the match up I would like to have seen is Ali facing Rocky Marciano. Tremendous competitors. The Rock was dynamite in gloves who also got stronger in the later rounds. Could he have cut the ring on MA?

  99. Wilt played from 1959-60 through 1972-73. His prime lasted until 1070-71. He was the 4th and 5th leading scorer on the Lakers his last 2 years…

    Schayes (6’7″, 195 forward-center) – played until the ’63-64 season, but his prime clearly ended in 1961-62. Meaning he only played 3 meaningful seasons during Wilts career.

    Hayes (6’9″, 235 forward-center) – career began in ’68-69, meaning he only played 3 seasons during Wilt’s prime.

    Lanier (6’11”, 250 center) – career started in 1970, meaning he only played one season against Wilt in his prime.

    Unseld (6’7″, 245 forward-center) – his career alson began in 1968 which means he also only played 3 years during Wilt’s prime. Also, Wes never scored more than 16 ppg and only scored double-figures 6 out of 13 seasons. He was not a dominant offensive player at any point.

    I clearly stated my criteria for being a contemporary of Wilt was that their primes overlapped by at least 5 years…

    A current example is Kobe/Jordan. People can say they played in the same era, but they weren’t true contemporaries because they’re primes didn’t really overlap.

    Shaq’s prime overlapped Robinson’s, Hakeem’s, and Ewing’s by at least 5 years. All legitimate offensive centers, that could also defend 7-footers.

    Other legit 7-footers whose primes overlapped Shaq’s by at least 5 years:
    – Duncan, considered by many as a top 10 all-time player
    – Mutumbo, more effective scorer than Unseld and 4-time defensive player of the year
    – Alonzo Mourning, averaged 20 ppg his first 9 years and 2-time defensive POY
    – Rik Smits, never averaged less than 17 ppg in 12 season and 20+ ppg for 8 seasons

    Guys like McHale, D Howard, Yao, Jermaine O’neal, Dougherty, Laimbeer, Gasol, etc don’t qualify as Shaq’s contemporaries because although their careers overlapped, their primes didn’t in any significant way.

    There are also a ton of super-talented and athletic 6’9″ or bigger PF’s who weren’t really low-post players, but would compare favorably to any of the guys from the 60’s: Coleman, Garnett, R Wallace, Kemp, Malone, Dirk, Webber, Vin Baker, B Wallace, and Brand who were perennial all-stars during Shaq’s prime (thru ’03-04). Again I never saw Shaq pass out on the floor.

  100. my earlier argument was also meant to show the lack of competent offensive centers during Wilt’s era. As you stated, most of those guys primarily played forward (I was stretching a little to try to include some decent names for you), which means that Wilt (or Shaq) would not have been guarding them. They would have been guarding some offensive dub like Darrell Imhoff, the 6’10” center for the Knicks, who averaged a staggering 4.9 ppg the year Wilt went for 50 ppg. Or maybe Shaq would have had to chase around the dominant Tom Boerwinkle, who scored an intimidating 9.8 ppg as the starting center for the Bulls in ’68-69…

    The whole point was that there weren’t many guys that Wilt (or Shaq) would have to worry about on the defensive end, and barely any size to stop them on the offensive end.

    Any time you feel like fact-checking me feel free to visit basketball-reference.com, which is a huge and all encompassing encyclopedia of NBA/ABA history.

  101. So in post #80 the statement “Other notables that
    DIDN’T play during Wilt’s era that people might think did – Schayes, Hayes, Lanier, Walton, Cowens, Mel Daniels, McGinnis, Spencer Haywood, Unseld, Mikan, Parish or Sidney Wicks-is a coin flip as to its relevance to fact. Hell I did not have to refer to a book to know several names listed in that statement were clearly false. Memory is not a problem issue for me. It is apparent there is a problem for you and some of the “official”, documentation you’ve been sporting. Many writers do not get everything researched accurately.

  102. I was kidding about Ali vs. Tyson. Ali would have pummeled Tyson. As would Frazier. Probably Foreman as well. I doubt he would have lasted three rounds with Frazier. Tyson beat on a bunch of tomato cans and an over-the-hill Larry Holmes over a very brief period. The heavyweight division has been sad for a long time. I’ve never heard a serious boxing analyst that saw Tyson as anything other than a three to four round puncher. A violent thrower with limited skills.

  103. I knew you were stretching a LITTLE. I also knew those decent names w/o looking them up. Keep backing up though, it is good for your credibility. Shaq’s worry would have been huge on the offensive end with proper rules enforcement. But that is NBA play of today and why I have no need to buy their viewing package.

  104. Now that I think about it, Foreman would destroy Tyson. An 82″ reach vs. a 71″ reach and, seriously, Foreman was just a lot better.

  105. No, my statement that you quoted is not a coin flip. I clearly stated my criteria for Wilt’s contemporaries, none of those players prime years overlapped Wilt’s in any signifacant way, so their presence in the league didn’t significantly effect Wilt’s production.

    By a “little” I am saying that I took into account anyone during Wilt’s prime that played at center enough to be listed. Some players are listed F/C, others C/F, and others plain C, based on their primary position. EVERY SINGLE player on that list had C somewhere in their bio.

    You still haven’t told me why this move – catch, turn, dunk – would be able to be stopped. I have seen enough during that era to know that defensive players were not allowed to lean on offensive post players. Therefore Shaq would not have had to dump his shoulder into them. He simply gets deep position, whether by walking his man down or off a screen, catches, turn and puts the ball in the basket. Just like Wilt in minutes 2-4 of the clip Harvard provided. By the way I also saw a few times in that clip where Wilt turned, drove his shoulder into the defender, knocking him back, and then scoring a dunk/lay-up. It was obvious that a foul was not called.

  106. “Shaq walks down into the post area
    a teammate screens block to block
    Shaq takes 1-2 steps into middle of paint
    Shaq catches ball a foot above where any defender can reach
    Shaq turns and dunks”

    Having to watch that sounds like what hell must be like for a basketball fan.

  107. Tyson didn’t “beat on” anyone. He either knocked them the F out early on or he struggled. I love me some boxing too, but I certainly won’t claim to know as much about the history as I do in basketball. Plus, boxing is much more subjective. Obviously, it has judges and I see crap decisions all the time.

    If Ali and Tyson fought 10 times I bet that Ali wins 8, with 6 going the distance and 2 by TKO. Tyson gets a nasty punch in two times leading to a knock-out. I understand Foreman and Holmes were heavy powerful punchers, who could knock guys out with one shot or just plain beat people down, but no one had the compact, one-punch viciousness of Tyson.

  108. Wilt had another nice move seen in the clip that I don’t believe I ever witnessed Shaq making: the head-fake. Why he had to head-fake, I’m not really sure. I suppose there are instances that even the most sizable guys have to make use of a repertoire of skills when a defender has position advantage(before the days just shoving your ass as wide as a bus into the gut of a defender and backing him over).

    That’s another facet of Cody Zeller’s game I love…He knows how to use a head-fake and has some nice finesse around the basket. Of course, “Chet the Jet” was the master of the head-fake.

  109. It’s called “using what yo momma gave ya”

    Shaq was given incredible height, mass and power.

    Cody was blessed with great height, soft hands, and agility.

  110. Hey, Coinflipper, what does “DIDN’T play during Wilt’s era” mean? Some kind of code I am not privy to? It states something very definitive to me. By the way the most devastating punchers ever were Marciano and Joe Louis. Tyson fought mostly bums. Joe had in his prime what was called the “bum of the month club” that he fought. Tyson would have easily made the Brown Bomber’s club. Something akin to a Shaq performance when the rules are enforced.

  111. I apologize for using the word “era”… I have clearly stated the meaning and definition of my post.

    There are many examples I can use… Kobe played in Jordan’s era, but he had no effect on Jordan’s production or legacy because their primes didn’t overlap.

    Dwight Howard played during Shaq’s “era”, but he had no effect on Shaq’s legacy or production because their primes didn’t over lap.

    Hayes, Schayes, Unseld, etc played during Wilt’s career, but the overlap wasn’t significant so neither was their effect on his legacy or production.

  112. I said head-fake..I consider those up-and-under moves. Shaq was a hell of player..Each guy, Shaq and Wilt, had his unique set of skills. I do think that Wilt had more overall game.

    I just get tired of people that make a living writing books with negative slants. I don’t care if Wilt was arrogant, unlikable, or braggadocios. I doubt that he was the only player in the NBA with those traits. Quite a few have them today. If you’re a superstar, you could find a hundred people to give you all the facts and examples in the world just how horrible a guy/gal you are. Quite a boring world it would be if all were conformists that cared about what every Tom, Dick, Harry, and Geoff thought or wrote about them. I think it’s more about stealing good memories than anything else. It’s what I dislike about sports today..Everything has to be analyzed inside and out and personal lives have to be examined under a microscope.

    Eric Gordon faced immense criticism because he came to play for Indiana under Sampson. I loved his skills and thought he had a tremendous work ethic. I don’t care if 500 Hoosier fans that knew him personally write a book to the contrary.

  113. I don’t necessarily care what people thought about him. What I find interesting is that so many people (teammates, coaches, reporters, front office types) felt that he put himself ahead of winning, and that his drive to collect stats was so compulsive that it was to the detriment of his team.

  114. I think anyone that goes from Philly to Kansas in the 1960s gets my vote for being a unique and independent individual. Maybe Babe Ruth put home runs before a winning/get-on-base percentage. Who the hell cares?

  115. Era had nothing to do with the meaning. DIDN’T was the absolute. I have a good handle on your argument here and it is solid. I still believe SO would not have been as dominate when rules and BB skills meant more and bodying somebody up was not as common or acceptable. His rebounding proficiency would still have been high maybe even higher but his scoring would have been lower since he did not have the moves to create offense, possibly leaving him at risk of foul trouble.

  116. Actually Wilt’s trek from eastern PA to Kansas was in the mid 50’s. Also his #, 13, was retired by 3 NBA teams. I suspect he is the only one to have that honor.

  117. Moving to segregated Kansas was a true leap of faith. Phog Allen was forced to retire on his 70th birthday and he was never comfortable with the new coach.

    FWIW, I think we’ve seen enough of Jordan behind the curtain to ascertain that he’s pretty much of a creep, too. Doesn’t mean much to basketball.

    BTW, while most know the moniker of “Chet the Jet” as the basketball player is was also attributed to Olympic swimmer and IU alum Chet Jastremski who went on to medical school and had a practice in Bloomington for many years. He was a common sight in the halls of Bloomington Hospital when I worked there.

  118. Yeah there are plenty of creeps out there, but Jordan’s teammates after 1988 probably wouldn’t say that he didn’t put winning first.

    All I’m saying is that to the public Wilt was/is an amazing basketball player and a true giant. But within his peer group Wilt was seen as a loser and someone who “wilted” in big moments. Teams (the very ones that retired his number) were also more than willing to sell his contract in his prime. He was a coach killer – 9 different coaches in 13 seasons, because he was constantly at odds with them.

    This will be the same scenario for ARod 50 years from now…

  119. Could be. Lots of bad guys are held up on a pedestal because they are athletes. Kind of makes one respect Charles Barkley for famously saying he is no role model.

    Did you know that we have two players that will be in grad school next semester and the team GPA is over 3.0 (which, coincidentally, is the same number of classes UKs starting five attended last semester).

    The year Charlie Ward won the Heisman he was working on his masters degree, got drafted in football, basketball, and baseball, and won a humanitarian award for his volunteer work. That’s more than any of the guys we’ve been talking about did.

  120. Ward is one of my favorites. My parents taught at FSU and I was a ballboy for the basketball team, with my last year being his freshman year. Brad Johnson another QB and bball player was another great guy. While some of the players, like George McCloud, were Luke-warm to us, both Ward and Johnson were awesome. The coolest guy ever was probably a guy you never heard of… Lorenzo Hands. Apparently he is one of the best HS coaches in FL right now, as well as a “drug free Florida – coaches with character” honoree.

    Not that anyone cares, just funny that you brought up Ward’s name…

  121. Brad actually lives nearby. I’m sure he owns more than one house, though. He grew up here. He does a lot for the community including a big charity golf tournament every year. I don’t know him but I see him at the grocery occasionally. We have a lot of semi famous folks that live around here (lots of sports figures) and they all seem to prefer staying under the radar.

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