Monthly Archives: September 2013

Trouble with the Calendar: Basketball Practice!

If you follow me in the social Twitter, you’d know that last week I was very curious of the date. I mean I knew it was September but on that day I received an Outlook meeting request. This gathering of the minds was to be held on October 1 and I began to think, “What an oddly advanced meeting request. October is forever away but it is my birthday month and that’s pretty great. I wonder what I should do to celebrate that? What could this meeting be? Isn’t it Brad’s birthday soon, too? Probably should do something for that cat. Is October that far away? Do the Cats have a bye week? Is Saturday’s football schedule really that bad? I think I’ll have Pho for lunch. But sando sounds nice..” Yeah, I got distracted. Yet when I came to realize that October was tangibly close, this:

Of course begging said question is less a matter of calendar as it is a matter of competition. You, being the bright fan you are, recognize that November marks the first of 20ft-9inches for three, 35-seconds to shoot, questionable court rushes, scrubs waving towels, ubiquitous charges, and shining moments. COLLEGE BASKETBALL.

You need it and you want it and this week, because it is indeed not November yet, I present: THE WEEK THAT PRACTICE STARTS! Earlier this summer, the NCAA announced that practices could begin six weeks (42 days) prior to a team’s first game. They’re allowed to squeeze 30 practices into that window and now let’s pour one out for Midnight Madness.

[is this where I link or reference to Allen Iverson’s practice presser?]

Your team, their practice:

  First Practice First Game
Arizona 9/27/2013 11/8/2013
ASU 9/27/2013 11/8/2013
USC 9/27/2013 11/8/2013
UCLA 9/27/2013 11/8/2013
Colorado 9/27/2013 11/8/2013
Utah 9/27/2013 11/8/2013
Cal 9/27/2013 11/8/2013
Stanford 9/27/2013 11/8/2013
Oregon 9/27/2013 11/8/2013
Oregon State 9/29/2013 11/10/2012
Washington 9/29/2013 11/10/2012
WSU 9/29/2013 11/10/2012

And while there may not be a Midnight Madness (was anyone really running one of those anyway?) you might notice that nine Pac teams are in action on 11/8. Opening day? Kinda feels like it.

But this is a post about practice, the three man weave and running suicides where they don’t count unless everyone touches the line. Practice where every jumper is counted and gold jerseys are handed out. Practice where minutes are earned and lost. Blood, sweat, and tears. Hell maybe a fight?

It may only be practice. And it may not be Novermber yet. But it’s a start.

The start.

Now You Get to Say Goodbye to Kyle Anderson

Allow me to introduce you to the Kyle Anderson Road Show.

Monday afternoon it was made known that Kyle and his family felt that this would likely be his final season at UCLA. That he’s improved his deficiencies and could be hitting a few more jumpers. Or at least consistently (last year he shot 35% on 2pt jumpers and just 21% from distance). I read about it on the Worldwide Leader:

“Kyle has made great strides in his mental approach to the game and his work ethic since being at UCLA,” his father, Kyle Anderson Sr., told “The major deficiencies in his overall game are his lack of strength, quickness and explosion, and inconsistent shooting. We feel that both of which can be addressed more efficiently with more time and repetition. It’s more than likely that it will be time for Kyle to move on at the end of this college season.”

Now, every chance you get to see Kyle Anderson is a fleeting one. The powder blue swan song. Kyle’s last game in Pauley will be Sunday, March 2 against Oregon State. His last trip to Corvallis will be February 2. He’ll never play in McKale ever again.

But does this perhaps highlight issues already in the Westwood? Is Kyle Anderson unhappy with the Korey McCray off staff? Is he bickering with Jordan Adams or BRYCE? Has Dollar Shave Club been slipping him cash (or at least razors I hope)?

Come on! I’m better than that.

Kyle is a good player but probably not league ready. Maybe he did find a consistent jumper. Maybe the Bruins’ lack of a point guard is no lack at all but rather Kyle’s path to display more of his skill set, in which case go for it. We all watched as Grant Jerrett was picked up and it’s still unclear whether he’s ready.

STORYLINE WATCH: What if he doesn’t have a great 2013-14? Or even just a good one? Does he have to go? Obviously he doesn’t but I question if he’s setting himself up to fail here? Which subsequently alerts the is-he-unhappy or behind-closed-doors radar. I don’t want to speculate on that but this does put additional pressure on what’s already shaping up to be a unique season in Pauley. Of course it can’t get much stranger than last year but they’re without a voice of leadership reason (LD2) and he’s playing for a brand new coach. I’m just saying, there’s a lot going on this season in Westwood, is this just one more unnecessary thing to worry about? (short answer is yes)

For the record, I was impressed that Anderson filled the role the Bruins needed last year. He boarded because they needed bodies down low. It worked. This year, in the absence of LD2 or any other experienced or skilled primary ball handler, he’ll be relied upon to distribute and initiate offense. A true point-forward who might be best suited just dumping the ball to Jordan Adams.

Anderson is not listed on any 2014 1st Round NBA Mock Drafts. As it’s widely known that this is a loaded draft, it seems strange for a positionless talent to consider himself ready to play with the big boys. And to announce such before playing a single game following the aforementioned deficiency fixing begging the question: Did he fix it?

He’s ultimately going to be a very good player for the 2013-14 Bruins. I’m just not sold on him being on a 2014-15 NBA bench.

But hey, one time there was a Bruin who said this was going to be his last and that turned in to the 1975 national title. The announcement came in the press conference following the national semi-final. The Bruin? The Bruin, John Wooden.

The Newsroom Finale, so all Pac-12 Teams as Characters

**Spoiler alert: If you haven’t watched The Newsroom finale I do give it all away

Was that the cleanest damn Season Finale ever? We were walked right up to the cliff and then introduced to the bridge for a safe, undiscussed off-season. Everyone loves everybody and Dantana isn’t getting a penny. There are no further storylines to explore unless someone finally makes a play at TessMelvin Udall thinks it was clean. Tide is signing on to be a lead sponsor. I just hope Season 3 gets fired up, whatever news they may have still to break as this season began nipping on the heals of turning current to which I propose a Series Finale of one actual news broadcast. Live with a Will diatribe on that week’s news.

But it is over and so my Sunday nights are now devoid written drama. Naturally I’m coping with that by figuring which Newsroom characters most closely resemble Pac-12 basketball teams. Not aesthetically of course.

*Thanks to @spencerbsmith for the header image

Washington Huskies as Jim Harper


Jim was the only Senior Producer on the Mitt Romney media bus. Overqualified with a tinge of arrogance, he yielded his 30 minute one-on-one with the candidate to a lesser qualified journalist (he’d later leverage that in to a girlfriend so it kinda works out). Washington was the only BCS-size conference champion on the 2012 NIT bus (ever). Overqualified with a tinge or arrogance, they yielded the NIT title to a lesser qualified team (Stanford finished seventh in the Pac that year). Jim blew that one and paved the way for Jerry Dantana to blow News Night up. Jim and Genoa forever linked. 2012 UW and Pac-12 rock bottom forever linked. Tough. Am I saying UW would hop the Sex and the City tour bus to learn more about their secret crush? Would the Huskies incessantly FaceTime their girlfriend? Maybe. Dawgs haven’t hit much on the recruiting trail lately so they’re liable to do anything.

Washington State Cougars as Gary Cooper

WSUCooperI don’t entirely know what Gary Cooper’s role at ACN is. He’s in each of the rundowns that are grossly oversupplied with pastries, pitching stories like it’s his job (maybe it is). But he was sent to Africa with Maggie as a cameraman.newsroom-gary-cooper He’s just kind of there and known as that guy with the same name as the actor. Kinda like Washington State. The school that really only won when their coach had the same name as the singer. We don’t really know what the Cougars are there for – are they competitive? place holders? an excuse to visit Pullman? – but they’re always there and sometimes Klay Thompson. Also, did you think Gary was shot in Africa? It sure seemed he did when he fell coincidentally at the same time as gunfire sounded. Alas, he survived the fall and so did Ken Bone:


Colorado Buffaloes as Neal Sampat


Let me break this one down real simple for you, allowing just the lead that Boulder is about as liberal as a housewife’s noon chardonnay pour. Neal led the way on the Occupy story – good start, seemss very Boulder. He wants to run a report on Bigfoot – Boulder. It was Neal’s girlfriend’s drugs that got Will high before the Bin Laden broadcast – Boulder. He’s the resident News Night blogger and web troll – totally parallels Boulder’s burgeoning tech scene. Buffaloes love to dance. NEAL LOVES TO DANCE!!


Utah Utes as Maggie Jordan


I want you all to know that I don’t hate the Utes. I do hate Maggie. And it’s the Utes who are responsible for the single hardest pill I’ve had to swallow as a Wildcat fan (1998 Elite Eight, Anaheim, California, Arizona 51, Utah 76) but I don’t begrudge them that. I actually applaud that effort and Majerus’ mastery that afternoon in The Pond (I’m never not calling that place anything else). But that was Utah then and Maggie is Utah today. Really spunky and all upstart-like, some potential there but ultimately it’s like “What the hell is going on? Did you miss the memo that you were moving into a big conference? Lose the Runnin’ Utes thing – it’s so Mountain West.” Look, Utah is the 15th winningest school in MCBB history and they’ve spent the better part of the last decade acting like they’re just happy to be here. Maggie, this isn’t your college newspaper anymore. It’s ACN. Start acting like it.

California Golden Bears as Charlie Skinner

CalCharlieCrockety and aged, sipping single malts like water, working things old school in a new world, Charlie Skinner’s been around the block. He’s not the most powerful at ACN but he understands his place and would have no qualms walking into McKale and taking it to the Wildcats. He sure as hell has done it to Leona, blackmailing her and boy wonder with recorded tapes admitting recorded tape (meta). Charlie wins at all costs but he wants to do it right (This is the part of the analogy where we conveniently ignore the Todd Bozeman era in Berkeley). Charlie Skinner would punch Allen Crabbe to get him going. After all, he fired the junkie, and got himself slapped for it. Didn’t even lose his cool when he was set up to fail the Genoa chase. 13-9 (5-5) on February 7? DGAF the Bears rattle off seven straight and then Danced. Maybe each of their best days are behind them (Cal’s won 15 conference titles but just one since 1960) and they’ve each latched themselves to proven winners with a twist (Monty:Stanford::MacKenzie:Will) but when push comes to shove, they will.

Stanford Cardinal as MacKenzie McHale

StanMacThis one got set in stone with that weird narcissistic-but-important-to-me bit about having her Wikipedia page corrected. Please note the following from real life:


Look, Oxford, Cambridge, LSE I don’t know but Neal used more internet wizardry to get it fixed than ever needed to be. A puff piece written and posted by the girl who now only exists via Harper’s FaceTime rectified the issue with the assumption that some uber-nerd would open source that encyclopedia page begging the question: How many page views is Hallie’s political blog garnering? Yeah, when that much tech is dragged into the mix on behalf of MacKenzie and her academic arrogance, she gets Stanford. What’s more is she’s smart and alluring – key components to being a member institution – but you’re also just not that sure about how strongly you feel about all that Mac is (Does Sorkin hate women?). Maybe then, in this vein, Mac isn’t the “Executive Producer of News Night?” We’d need to spice up that title. After all, Johnny Dawkins is the “Anne and Tony Joseph Director of Men’s Basketball.” And so I propose the “Leona Lansing Conductor of Will McAvoy’s Ego.” Thoughts?

Arizona Wildcats as Will McAvoy

UAWAOh I know what you’re thinking: Of course Adam’s picking the star of the show to represent his favorite team. What a predictable, homer dick. Well how quickly we forget that McAvoy surrendered $2M annually to have the authority to fire his ex-girlfriend on a weekly basis. That the big dog commissioned an all access and incriminating article to be written about his newsroom by a struggling freelancer who had PREVIOUSLY CUCKHOLDED HIM! He can’t even quit his own job. He could barely propose and did you see his high five after announcing his new wife would have five Mc—-‘s in her name? HE IS HARRY DUNNE! You want the Wildcat counters? Tim Floyd turned down the job. They hired Kevin O’Neill. Twice. Russ Pennell’s DAD was a bench coach in 2009. Josiah Turner. They’ve lost in the NCAA tournament as every seed up to 10 (excluding 7 for whatever reason but impressive in some regard nonetheless)But hey, what’s a hero without his flaws? Go ahead, call me a homer. You expect me to get choked up about it?

Arizona State Sun Devils as Jenna Johnson

ASUJJI knew right away I wanted to make this analogy but when I found out that the sorority girl who asked for a less than one sentence answer that Will didn’t know what the fuck you’re talking about. Yosemite? was named Jenna Johnson, I couldn’t believe the gold that had fallen into my lap. I mean, it bleeds ASU, it screams Sparky, it tests positive for Tempe. She has an alliterative name for heaven’s sake. Punch that one into the Google and you’re running into some NSFW content (yup, just confirmed while NOT on the office network). And now she’s an intern so there’s that whole avenue of jokes…

UCLA Bruins as Reese Lansing

UCLAReeseDeliberated on this one a lot and there was some serious consideration to equate the Bruins to McAvoy. But the late season developments with the Genoa clusterbang and all the talk of firing and not firing and wanting to fire and not accepting resignations, I couldn’t help but see a lot of Westwood in Reese Lansing. Reese wants to fire everybody. He’s not happy with a slow show. He wants a big fancy show. Entitled entry into House Judiciary Committee’s piracy meeting? No entry. That little ditty plays out a lot like UCLA not dancing. Or not having the right video room temp. It’s going to be difficult to find a parallel between Reese Lansing’s actions and Reeves Nelson peeing on things, but hey, maybe Reese is into some weird shit. After all, he wire tapped his own staff and leaked it to TMI and Nina Howard (Will’s brief muse who is aware of of Will’s everlasting love for Mac but withholds that fact so she can get a little Willy if you know what I mean) in an attempt to bring down his own show. Come to think of it, that sounds like not showing up at a brand new arena because you just really don’t like Ben Howland anymore. Reese loved Will pre-Northwestern, garnering viewers and advertisers like he was an NFL game. He hates News Night Will because he isn’t…well…because he isn’t the past.

USC Trojans as Elliot Hirsch

USCHirschHirsch and USC do well for themselves but they’re never going to be the big game in town. Not even if ACN fires Will and Hirsch takes his seat. Not even if UCLA fires every coach ever. Did you hear Elliot fumble through the “big announcement?” prior to the Will-and-Mack-off in makeup? Hirsch should be taken about as seriously as a song girl sweater: stared at and enjoyed but ultimately you better be paying attention to the game. Yet each recognizes their opportunities to be great. USC brought Andy Enfield’s wife into the mix while Hirsch gave Sloan her own segment. Sex sells. And sure it was nice to get a network anchor into the streets of Cairo for a hard hitting look at the Arab Spring. But it got Hirsch beaten by a rock. And sure it was nice to grab a 6-seed with Mayo and run up a 21-12 record. But it got SC beaten by a rock (or at least that’s what I call handful of sanctions and a Kevin O’Neill tenure). Alas, the Hirsch-bomb: ElliotHirsch

Oregon Ducks as Don Keefer

OregonKeefer“What I have cannot be taught.” Did you see that? Did you catch him say that? Best post-unassuming kiss line since Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn didn’t know it was Dorn’s wife? This goof has Sloan effing Sabbith giving him googly eyes while on set. Keefer is good. Like very good and he’s tough and on top of things and he’s just good. He’s counter-suing and wants Dantana to iron himself with his clothes on. But no one seems to take him all that seriously. He’s kinda goofy and certainly unorthodox – like having a treeline on the floor. And you can’t really figure out if you love him or hate him – like any of Oregon’s jerseys. HOW DOES DON EVER CHOOSE MAGGIE OVER SLOAN? I don’t know if he was ever actually in an either-or scenario but Sloan is all about Don and he was just kinda meh about it to start. Full circle to his unorthodoxy. Anonymous bidding? Looks like he’s taking a page out of the Dana Altman book and snagging her as a grad transfer. Another explanation for Keefer-Sabbith? Because cheerleaders.

Oregon State Beavers as General Stomtonovich

OSUStomYou totally think I’m taking the political route here. You know, because Craig Robinson’s sister is married to the President and how CRob’s the “First Coach” and all sorts of other presidential jokes. Stomtonovich is the Beavers because they just don’t deliver. Maybe we doctor the tape and get Jared Cunningham an NBA salary and eligibility? Or we could use the doctoring to amend team rules? That’d help Eric Moreland and Devon Collier. Maybe we get The Glove involved because, as Stomtonovich would say it, If Oregon State were to be good it’d probably involve some other characters.

Larry Scott as Leona Lansing

LeonaLarryLeona: Hey you guys wanna all quit? Dantana wants $5M for wrongful termination? I don’t give a shit. No to it all. But ultimately my son’s gonna make the call which further accentuates how little merit I give to that DC-based prick trying for a new job at fuggin KickStarter. [insert a fist pumping squeal from Reese here]. And yeah I’m going to get high at my own damn Election Night gala, why? Because I still don’t give a shit. I will defend a broke news story about the US government dropping serin gas. YO SKINNER!? You wanna split a pizza?

Larry: Hey you guys don’t want to carry my network? I don’t give a shit. Drop DirecTV campaign and trivialize nature in doing so. I. Do. Not. Care. I have two conferences blowing whistles now and I look a lot like the other Larry Scott shirtless. Hey, how’s that Longhorn Network working out? Sorry, couldn’t hear what you said over the $20+ annual millions I piled up for my twelve preciouses.

The Pac-12 Conference as Sloan Sabbith

P12SloanSo hot. This conference is so hot and yet so capable of shooting itself right in the foot and doing dumb stuff like have a nudey photo scandal or an officiating bribing scandal. People like the Pac for the same reason they love Sloan: smart and sexy. Or maybe that’s why they hate us? Whatever the case, here’s where I get conflicted: Would Pac-12 Sloan put the moves on Keefer? As stated, I can’t figure out if we could do better than him but I think if the Pac were a dude we’d be Keefer. Though I haven’t seen him attack the vices like I think we would (leaning on Skinner characteristics here). Whatever you want to say about it, Sloan Sabbith team.

Jordan McLaughlin Picks USC and the Battle for LA is On

Jordan McLaughlin – the four or five or four star PG out of Southern California (Etiwanda) – is staying in SoCal. USC to be exact. Not UCLA to be inexact.

And this had many a-person surprised as McLaughlin was the top available PG prospect on the West Coast. And because UCLA’s current roster is sans PG with no incoming class-o-13 help. And because former UCLA star, Darren Collison, also attended Etiwanda High. And because…well…it’s USC?

In what’s been the most notable if not first head-to-head recruiting battle in the Enfield-Alford era of Los Angeles, Enfield wins. Which is what’s got everyone up in arms and has offered some the opportunity to further question the hiring of Alford. Here he’s missed out on a local prospect of promising talent at the position he most coveted. On the surface this appears to not only be a mano-e-mano loss to a bitter rival, but also failure to complete a roster. Ouch.

Now all week I’ve found myself mired in a myriad of Pac-12 coaching rankings. You can read a good one here. The one component that consistently arises in these debates is where to rank Mr. Alford. Most want to push him right down to the latter half of lead men, swimming with the Bones and Robinsons of the Pac (for the record he ranks fifth on my list based on career achievement and program expectations). By many accounts, he’s already hated and he’s destined to fail – if he hasn’t already. Yet amidst these conversations I contemplated the devil’s advocacy.

He’s won 385 games (3rd most in the Pac). He’s danced seven times (3rd most in the Pac). He’s won five NCAA tournament games (5th most in the Pac). He’s won four conference titles. He’s coaching his own damn son!

And then McLaughlin chose to Fight On and my position was dissolved, the discussion continuing to pile on Alford and a far-from-grace-UCLA program. The opening line to the Los Angeles Times’ article on the commitment:

UCLA‘s drought in attracting top-rated talent at point guard continues.

Before ever breaking any news, the Times was already dumping along with everyone else.

But let’s, for a second, refrain from dogging the coach everyone loves to hate and recognize that the Battle for Los Angeles is on. Andy Enfield and all 41 of his career wins has waltzed into town and won the first battle. Competition begets success so how can we not see this as a possible tipping point for UCLA? Or at least the wake up call that never rang on Ben Howland’s phone?

Alas, this should be more about kudos to Enfield and staff. They have their first major piece of the Galen Dunk Center:

And while it’s beyond evident that the UCLA job is a coveted gig, it is by no means an easy one. This Trojan splash serves as exhibit A that it’s only getting tougher.

I played devil’s advocate in ranking the Pac-12 coaches because Steve Alford is a good coach. I applaud Andy Enfield’s first recruiting success – a coups if you’re willing to accept that LA is Alford’s to lose – because it’s a great pick up.

But to cite this as Alford’s ineptitude is premature. He’s no doubt got a battle on his hands but maybe we see how this thing plays out? Or at least for a little more than 5 months?

After all, UCLA’s next coach needs to fail in Boston first, right?


Football: A Failed Billboard and the Starting Lineup

I’m not a football expert but I enjoy the hell out of it. And while I’m barely an expert on most things I know with expert decisiveness that UNLV – Arizona’s opponent tomorrow night – failed with this billboard:


If you’re paying attention, this billboard – in a city swarming with billboards – was erected with the likeness of FORMER basketball coach, Lon Kruger, urging fans to “COME TO OUR HOUSE.” Kruger’s house moved to Norman in 2011 and I know of only one other institution capable of this sort of signage blunder. Interim UNLV AD, Tina Kunzer-Murphy, said their marketing department never saw the creative before it went live. The sign is being taken down and Dave Rice – the Rebels’ current coach – thought it was funny. Tina didn’t.

Alas, failed marketing never really hurt a sports team and so when the Wildcats and Rebels take to the field, all eyes will be in Arizona’s backfield to see All-American Ka’Deem Carey Daniel Jenkins. The shifty senior has “earned the start” per head coach Rich Rodriguez and thus we continue to keep a watchful eye on the controversy that is/was Carey’s off-season.

Carey misbehaved and should be punished for such. He’s served publicly – cleaning around campus – and had much of his media access removed or turned off. He sees counselors for anger management. His Heisman campaign does not exist. And now RichRod is punishing him with on-field limitations, suspending him last week against NAU and now giving Jenkins the start; propagating what could have been an issue put behind us.

But so long as Jenkins is producing and Carey is getting touches, one has to believe that this is the final piece to Carey’s disciplining. After all, some of his actions were in the vein of untouchable arrogance (Dude, don’t get escorted out of a college basketball game screaming I’m an All-American. In fact, don’t get escorted from a game, period). RichRod’s UNLV depth chart serves as a slice of humble pie to the All-American talent.

My concern would be that this could cause a rift between Jenkins, Carey, or other players. Starters vs. backups, etc. can be a sensitive subject within the greater context of a locker room. Rodriguez doesn’t want to drive a stake through what should prove to be his most important offensive assets before the meat of his schedule arrives.

But there’s still a lot of time until that sort of competition arrives, when storylines shift to games named after flowers as opposed to first and second stringers. As is the case in many of these situations, winning erases problems and so the 7:30pm kickoff cannot come soon enough.

As for now, we can focus on the lighter side, like failed billboards, and rest assured that Tucsonans won’t soon see anything featuring the imagery of John Mackovic or Kevin O’Neill.