Monthly Archives: February 2011

Basketball – Where We Need Improvement (A Short List)

I watched the South Carolina basketball team again Saturday night, and for the first time this year I didnt really get angry at our team. I’ve finally come to the conclusion that this team, as I heard a football coach say once, is what it is.

Even though this season has been a disappointment, I come back to the question I keep asking myself every time I want to rail against Darren Horn and Co.  what did you expect? You lose Devin Downey from a bad team (that had already lost Dominique Archie and Mike Holmes) and you expect a bunch of roll players and freshmen to take up the slack? The NIT is/was truly our best and only hope for this year.

The blogosphere-slash-boardosphere is pretty much split on Horn  the give him more time crowd versus the cut bait and go after ____ crowd. I’m still on the fence in regards to Horn, and there is no doubt he will be back next year. But, unless we show significant improvement next year, we’ll be in the market for a new coach once again.

So, in light of the beautiful pre-spring weather we had on Sunday that put me in a good mood, I decided to think optimistically and look at what we had to do to reach that vague goal of significant improvement for Gamecock basketball in 2011-2012. Here are a few things I came up with:

Our future is in his hands (gulp)

  • The maturation and health of Bruce Ellington many thought #23 was going to step in for Devan Downey and we wouldnt miss a beat. Early on he looked like he just might, but a slump combined with a lower leg injury have caused a precipitous drop in his production. We need him to be the man, and I truly believe he will be, because based on his body language and the fact he keeps jacking up shots, he doesnt lack in one thing many on our team do…
  • CONFIDENCE - confidence is the most important intangible in basketball. It can make or break you at the D-1 level, and currently some of our players are completely devoid of it. The best example is Brian Richardson - the first part of the season had it and was knocking down threes, and when SEC play started he completely lost it. We need him to get it back, and that’s putting it mildly. On the flip side, R.J. Slawson and Damontre Harris started the season looking lost, but first Harris, and then Slawson, have come on strong in the last few weeks. They now know they can play at this level, and it shows. They will be key cogs in the middle next year, but will need help from some…
  • Shooters - holy crap our shooting is bad. I love Lakeem Jackson and what he brings to the court, but he might be the worst shooter I have ever seen at this level. And Eric Smith has had his moments backing up Ellington, but he has to develop some semblance of a shot. Its hard to find even an average shooter on our team. We’re bad from long-range, medium-range, and have a terrible time . .
  • Finishing around the basket - I’ve noticed this as much as anything this year, we have a terrible time finishing when we get in the lane. Granted, we have been spoiled the last few years  Tre Kelly and Downey were both excellent at getting in the lane and finding any way to get the ball in the basket. Ellington has not shown that ability, but hopefully will develop it. If he doesn’t we need some of our post guys to . . .
  • Hit the weight room - we have a recent history of finesse post players. And by finesse I mean skinny as a rail. Slawson and Harris need to get on a program, and quick, because Anthony Gill is the only post player coming in, and he may be the skinniest of all. Maybe another scholarship will open up through . .
  • Attrition -  I’m looking at you, Stephen Spinella. Let us have that scholly so we can go get a 6�9″ banger from the JUCO ranks. And speaking of newcomers . . .
  • Damien Leonard - this guy could be the answer to our shooting woes. Lets hope he’s as good as advertised, because we don’t get to reload like Kentucky. Our freshmen and sophomores need to get a lot better, and our . . .
  • Coaching needs to get a lot better (I think) -  Here’s the deal: I love Horn’s style of defense. Yes, we give up a few easy baskets every game, but for the most part I’m in favor of the pressure style he brings, particularly in the second half of games. The offense is a totally different story. I have no idea what he’s trying to do in the half court set, and if anyone does please comment or email me. All I know is we wind up with way too many one-on-one situations late in the shot clock, after a series of predictable high screens.

The bottom line is we need some guys to grow up fast, and a lot, over the summer. But more importantly, we need Darren Horn to show he is the coach many of us thought he was when he was hired. Time is running out.

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What NASCAR Could Teach College Football (Yes, I’m Serious)

Earlier today I was watching the Daytona pre-race coverage on Fox while gently dozing on my couch. I find that modern day NASCAR is best viewed in a semi-catatonic state, as it is both designed and marketed for a demographic that inhabits that mental gap permanently. Regardless, somewhere through the fog of my snoozing I heard Darrell Waltrip seal-bark something resembling the following English-language sentence: Imagine if your other favorite sport had its biggest event at the beginning of the season like we do in NASCAR.

Now granted this sounded (perhaps due to my resting haze but more likely attributable to Waltrips Tennessee background) more like imgn ifny odder fvorine sportin had stff at beg gginn liken we did in NNNNNNAAASSSCCCAARRRRR, but the thought still hit me like a thunderbolt.

What if college football started off the season with its biggest games?

The biggest games are the bowl games, of course, so what would it be like if we started the season with them?

The concept got me to thinking. It also ruined my NASCAR nap. Excitedly I pulled out pen and paper and began fleshing out the specifics. I first wrote down every marquee bowl game I could think of. I left off the lesser ESPN bowls, the ones named after tires, or the ones played on blue fields, and although this was not my intention, coincidently eliminated any bowl that CTU has played in over the last ten years or could hope to compete in for the near future.

That left me with Orange/Sugar/Fiesta/Chickfila/Cotton/Rose/Gator/Outback and a couple of those western bowls that Notre Dame and the PAC-10 pretend to be excited about. Instead of New Years Day bowls these all would, under my plan, become Labor Day bowls.

It occurred to me that if we played all of those at the beginning of the year it would restore them to their original meaning: nothing. They would mean nothing other than providing us with a good out-of-conference tilt to open the football year. No national title implications, no concerns other than having a few chambers of commerce trying to set up good ball games that would show well locally and to a TV audience. The bowl games would be celebrations of the sports and of the teams, not diluted by larger implications. Heck the Chickfila folks have already blazed the trail for us with their wildly-successful kickoff classic game.

What of the BCS and the polls and the search for a national title? Keep them all, but keep them at the end of the year as a part of a playoff. Conference champs only (probably should make the ACC and WAC have a play-in but thats a blog for a different day) in an eight game playoff culminating with a national title game on January 1st.

Best of both worlds.

Only shortcoming I can see is having a bunch of seniors fighting and clawing to earn a Gator Bowl bid, just to see the underclassmen enjoying it the following fall while they are out in the workforce.

Solution? Comp them each with a couple of tickets and an Ole Miss coed. Problem solved.

So the playoff/bowl controversy is solved at last.

Youre welcome, college football.

Clowney Influenced by LeBron? Ugh.

This will be my final Jadeveon Clowney-inspired post,at least until my next one. What brings me back to the topic is this puzzling quote from a Post and Courier story this morning:

“Clowney said he was influenced by NBA star LeBron James’ decision to televise his free agency destination this summer…”

Um…influenced? Influenced by the worst PR decision in the history of professional sports? Influenced by an event that turneda well-liked NBA superstar into perhaps the most hated man in professional sports?

I’m not trying to make anything out of this at all, I just found it a bit humorous. Let’shope JC gets his “influence” frommore positive sources and/or events from here on out.

Jadeveon is a Gamecock and Other Valentine’s Day Musings

The roller coaster ride wrapped in a circus that was the recruitment of Jadeveon Clowney finally ended today. Despite the ridiculous amount of media coverage that mounted over the last few months, and last two weeks in particular, the importance of his decision to the University of South Carolina football program cannot be overstated.

Predator

Oh, sure, we all at one time or another talked about how football is a team game and Clowney is but one player, trying to convince ourselves we’d be fine if he went to Alabama or Clemson. But as Gamecock fans we all knew that we would not only be missing out on perhaps a once-in-a-generation player, but a huge chunk of good will gained from the 2010 football season would’ve been lost.

Given all the factors that were in our favor, seeing Clowney put on an orange or crimson hat this morning would’ve been nothing short of devastating. We needed his commitment worse than Clemson or Alabama. Much worse.

So instead of imagining that dread scenario any further, I bring you good news – Jadeveon Clowney is a Gamecock. He is the consensus number one recruit in the country. He has been called the best high school player to come along in years. Some say he is the best ever at his age. He has been compared to Jevon Kearse and Mario Williams, which ain’t bad. His highlight films are freakish. And best of all, we’ll get the pleasure of seeing him suit up in the garnet and black in the fall.

Here are a few other not-so-random thoughts from a busy day:

Curb Your Enthusiasm – Freshman defensive ends rarely burst onto the college football scene. Clowney may very well be the exception, and I hope he is, but he needs to add weight, needs time in the weight room, and needs to work on his technique. Don’t expect him to be the defensive equivalent of Marcus Lattimore out of the gate.

Shane Beamer – The Rubber Chickens bloggers have differing opinions on this. Spurrier said after the FSU game that Beamer does a good job and he just needs better players. I tend to believe SOS here, because he doesn’t have a track record of defending bad coaches. At the same time, we have seen our share of terrifying special teams moments with Shane-O at the helm. Best of luck to him, seems like a good guy.

Chris Rumph – If this story is accurate, it says a lot about the type of person Rumph is. Look, I like making fun of CTU as much as the next guy, but what a bum. To sell kids hard on Clemson one day, and then a few days later tell them “they can’t win at Clemson” is about as low rent as you can get. (Not terribly excited about JC’s comments about Saban here either, FWIW.)

ESPN – my love-hate relationship with the Worldwide Leader tilted heavily to the negative today. If you’re going to orchestrate the biggest day of an 18-year-old’s life, then for goodness sake orchestrate it around your commercial breaks.

Next up, spring practice, and BASEBALL!

William Carlos Williams Asks:

trick shot quarterback

delivers

mind blowing

video

but has no

statistics

as a redshirt

junior?

Dear Jadeveon…if you attend Clemson Tiger University…

Earlier this week I read a blog post called “Dear Jadeveon…if you attend the University of South Carolina” (h/t chuckoliver.net). It’s fair, and honest, and lays out some good reasons for JadeveonClowney to don the garnet & black next season.

But to the dismay of Gamecock fans everywhere, CTUhas come on strong in recent days and by all accounts is in a neck and neck battle with USC for the services of the consensus top player in the country. And let’s be honest, there are a lot of great reasons for him to consider CTU, some football related and some not.

So to keep things fair, I ask the Gamecock Nation to take the blinders off for a moment and consider some of the reasons JadeveonClowneymight just choose CTU:

  • Practically unlimited, and irrisistible, orange and purple uniform combinations
  • If you like to have yourrear endsmacked, Dabo is your man
  • The thrill of playing in front of literally hundreds of fans at Cameron Indoor Wallace Wade Stadium
  • ACC football tradition…what? Oh, sorry, ACC basketball tradition
  • Two syllables: tractors
  • Dabo has promised to punch himself in the face until unconscious strictly for your entertainment
  • Speaking of Dabo, who else has a coach who also stars on “30 Rock”?

    Dabo, aka Kenneth Parcell, on set

  • That little street through the middle of town with the store that sells stuff
  • The possibility of seeing a drunken Brent Musburger hitting onyoung co-edsat the Esso Club
  • Gamedaymeals provided by Ernie & Jewell’s Pig Innards and Snout Grindings
  • When Cletus brings his wife and sister to an autograph session, you only have to sign two autographs
  • If you’re really drunk, the lack of dental services andthat bigclock in the middle of campus make it easy to pretend you’re in London
  • Now that Brad Scott has retired he’s looking to shade some folks, if you’re interested
  • Kevin Steele gets so jacked up on the sidelines that he passes out, which is AWESOME
  • Cow patties make great doorstops
  • Hop in a car and drive south and you can find really hot college chicks within a couple of hours
  • CTU facemasks are dipped in diesel fuel to block the smell of the pastures
  • That’s Danny Ford lurking in the bushes naked, no kidding
  • Make all-ACC more than twice and have your jersey retired and a tool shed named after you
  • You can celebrate the 1981 National Championship, and the subsequent 1982, 1983, 1984 and 1985 probations (aka “The Salad Days”)
  • Every year you’ll only be 8-10 plays and 48-65 points from an ACC championship and/or BCS National Championship birth
  • Even after South Carolina beats you four straight, you can still say, “YEAH, BUT LOOK AT THE ALL-TIME RECORD BAYBEE, WOOHOO!”
  • Speaking of WOOHOO…Awesomest. Fight song. Ever.
  • You never have to hear of the God-awful city of Omaha ever again, for it has been stricken from the record at CTU
  • You get to play at the most storied college football program in the history of Pickens County

Godspeed Jadeveon, I’m glad you’re making the decision and not me.

CTU Recruiting Secret . . . Exposed!

It may be common knowledge that CTUHead Cat, Dabo Sweeney, used to be a Condo Salesman, but what is not widely known is that he also used to wrestle professionally under thealias “OsirisPortal.” We here at TRChave uncovered archival footageshowing Daboin action. Note hissignature ability, whichevidently still works onsome naiveout-of-state recruits.

Couple of things to watch:

- Not sure whether or not his partner is Chris Rumph, but its possible.

- Brad Scott does a disturbing strip-tease at the 1:35 mark – MY EYES!

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Exclusive: Photo of Last Know People Who Aren’t Aware of NSD

In all fairness, they don't know about Ipads, 'He Went to Jared", or Katy Perry either.

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