I subscribe to the idea that it’s never too early to talk Player of the Year. This, of course, is an irrational subscription. We can’t even agree on what generally qualifies a POY. Is it the MVP? The best player on the best team? The player with the gaudiest stats? A career achievement piece? Sports is not a place for agreement.
Nevertheless, when it comes to the three-bid, underwhelming 2015 Pac-12, there will be nothing underwhelming or controversial about its Player of the Year. Because it is going to be one of the following two – highly deserving and non-Jorge Gutierrez – players:
The game of the year was played this week and it wasn’t in Seattle (I see you, Russ) and it wasn’t in Tucson (though I see you, Stanley). If on Wednesday I’d written that the GotW was going to be played during #Pac12AfterDark in Pullman, you’d have thought me crazy. But Ernie got his first win over his old team and it was full on crazy. Further, Arizona rolled up on Utah just to remind everyone where the Pac-12 is won. February 28, however. The one thing that delivered on its promise of greatness was Bilas-Walton on Thursday night. They talked about medicine and got into creationism. The duo delivered.
We need something to look forward to. Conference play begins tonight and because while we stuffed ourselves with holiday cheer, the Pac was ballooning its RPI, distancing itself into relative obscurity. We know better. We know better and that’s why we’ve got twelve things to look forward to amongst so many other unlisted ones such as: When will Stanford have their big win? Their big loss? Can WSU climb out of the cellar? UCLA’s offense? USC’s offense? ASU? And yet still so much more.
Here’s just twelve things to look forward to as Pac-12 Conference play begins tonight:
1. The reintroduction of Jordan Loveridge
In an instance of borrowed creativity, we looked at 2013 in Holy Sh*t. Let’s do it again as that changing of the calendar beget twelve whole months of shouts, jumps, stranger grabbing, seat switching, gasps, yelps, jubilation, and otherwise. At more than one moment, you probably yelled, “HOLY SHIT.” 2015 will be no different.
When I looked back at 2014, there were some pretty shitty instances of holy shit. Sometimes it isn’t always the fondest of instances that yields this exult. But maybe that’s what makes the great moments even greater. Highs and lows.
2014 in hallowed excrement: Continue reading
When a Pac-12 school schedules a game against the Kansas Jayhawks, I’m going to pay attention. But, because I’m the preeminent Pac-12 blogger, I need some help. I can’t know this conference and, say, the Valley. So I brought the questions to Brian Goodman, the lead writer for Rush The Court’s Big 12 microsite. You can follow him on Twitter @BSGoodman.
Questions and answers:
Kentucky made Kansas look really, really small and lots of other things. But Kansas isn’t actually that team. They’re quite good, right? What does this team do that makes them elite?
You might not love it when your girlfriend, best friend, or really anyone around you over-plans. When they’ve buttoned up the schedule with everything dotted and crossed and you don’t have to do a thing but show up. It can sort of ruin the adventure. Larry Krystkowiak is not an adventurer. He took over this Utah program with a plan, a vision, for how he would build it up. He stuck to that plan and it’s now expected to pay off. Which is, of course, all a part of his plan. Look at the scheduling since he took over. The Utes played teams nicknamed the GeoDucks and a religious school out of San Diego which should be taken about as seriously as Hogwarts. We ripped them for their SoS while Larry K just stayed the course. And then last year happened and heads turned. Larry K has a plan, you guys. He scheduled the GeoDucks because that’s what his team could bear. Now? This year he’s taking his team to San Diego State, BYU, Las Vegas and Kansas. Delon Wright might be the best player in America if you listen to this guy and they have a crop of incoming kids that are not only good but local; a sign of sustainable and forthcoming success. And it’s all a part of the plan.
Why I Love Them:
First off a big thanks to Rush The Court for the opportunity, again, to attend Pac-12 Media Day. Appreciate getting to go and their trust in me to cover the event.
MY RTC THOUGHTS ON LAST YEAR’S BOTTOM HALF OF THE CONFERENCE.
MY RTC THOUGHTS ON LAST YEAR’S TOP HALF OF THE CONFERENCE.
For me, Media Day is about the experience. Larry Scott noted as much in his opening remarks, that it’s an opportunity for the student-athletes to do something they don’t necessarily always get to do. For Brandon Ashley, it was the chance to come home and answer to his mom. She asked the last question of the Power Forward, confirming that he was taking his vitamins and that he was ready for the season. You should’ve seen how Brandon beamed, smiled, and got embarrassed all at the same time. I call it 2015’s first shining moment. Continue reading
Tomorrow, for the third straight year, I will be attending the Pac-12’s Basketball Media Day. Can’t wait. In all honesty, it’s a little boring. I love the opportunity to go but there are platitudes abound. More gets said by the Guilty Remnant.
The fun part is reading between the lines. Like knowing Andy Enfield ripped UCLA and hearing him have to then praise UCLA. Or listening to Bob Dibler discuss Ed Rush and trips to Cancun. Basically, nothing will be said tomorrow that shocks us.
But what if it didn’t play out that way?
I’ve scripted the questions I’d like to ask and provided what I think coaches will respond with and what I wish they’d respond with. Continue reading