I can’t confirm the immediate intro jams – we’re talking striking college scenery not Wooden statues and Boyle barking – but I feel none were as fitting as this week’s. Stereotyping can be funny so acoustic tunes conjuring be-dreadlocked coeds frolicking in the hills of Berkeley’s campus was notable. It felt right. Certainly more than any other school’s introduction.
And when we’re invited into the basketball side of Berkeley, well I don’t know what the hell. We first see the team standing around coach. They’re just standing around and the first thing Cuonzo says is, “Anybody ready to quit?” Quit what? Everyone’s just standing there. He continues inaudibly as he lightly bends at the hips, looking almost the part of a hobbled man with a cane. It doesn’t look like Cuonzo Martin. He continues inaudibly to his audience that won’t quit but has go to be grossly confused until you hear him say, “wobble.” And old-man-looking Cuonzo’s leg give a slight tremble. He straightens, “Now are we on the same page?” I watched this 4x.
PRACTICE MONTAGE but only kind of. This is fantastic because we see Cuonzo – and only Cuonzo – in all of his basketball glory. This entails a lot of really loud and authoritative vocalizations and a ton of “oooooweees.” We see no one practicing just a camera following Cuonzo shouting and acting really excited – OOOOWEEEE – and all I want to see is whatever the hell the Bears are doing – OOOOWEEEE. Is Dwight Tarwater dunking? Jarbari Bird hitting three-quarter shots blindfolded with Sam Singer on his shoulders? David Kravish c-walking? OOOOOWEEEE.
Of course when Coach Martin is broken out of practice and on the interview cam, he speaks glowingly of each of “his guys.” Suddenly my life’s purpose is to have Cuonzo Martin say anything nice about me. He loves these guys! I want Cuonzo to love me, too.
Because the next scenes are of Johnny Dawkins barking elementary instructions like, “LET’S GET BETTER TODAY” and “WORK ON YOUR PASSING.” Through four episodes, Johnny D is the first coach to on camera threaten conditioning.
Things get really weird when Pac-12 Overvoice starts telling us about the kind of program JD is running. The kind of guys that are going to help build his program. This happens while we watch the Cardinal work through a shootaround in Haas Pavilion which is strange in its own right. But then there’s a solid 20-seconds of footage of mic’d up Johnny talking to someone we never see and it feels like an awfully scripted and illegal recruiting pitch. The whole thing was bizarre. Stanford.
And then Pac-12 Overvoice mentions the Kansas game. Real original.
The Big Game in Berkeley is the fancy game of the Drive week but if you’d paid attention earlier, you’d know that Pac-12 Overvoice already noted the result of this game during Cal introductions. Of course the Pac-12 chops game footage so dramatically I ignored the fact that I went to that game.
With the game over and sufficiently dramatized, we get no behind the scenes Cal footage. Just the Cuonzo presser. That’s fine and only disappointing because we don’t get to see what he writes on his white board. Unless of course this was the ultimate blur out in which case here’s some tinfoil. Aliens are real.
After some public comments from Cuonzo we’re inside the Stanford locker room. Johnny’s addressing his team and I begin to wonder if he’s going to make an appearance, you know, someone to tell these guys they need to get pissed off for greatness. I want to see David Kravish do the Ray Lewis dance. But Ray never arrives and Johnny’s whiteboard is spotless.
Clearly, he clearly coaches off the cuff.