Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Breaking Down a Great Moment in Stupidity

 We are already through the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament (TWO, NCAA, that was TWO rounds.  Play in games DO NOT count), and the Big East tournament has more or less faded from memory, but I had to chime in a little bit late, because what I witnessed in Madison Square Garden (well, I witnessed it in bed, on TV, but it happened in Madison Square Garden) was a true virtuoso performance.  It may well have been one of the all time greats. 

Also, Kemba Walker played pretty well. 

I’m not talking about him, though.  I am talking about the absolutely EPIC officiating performance at the end of the Rutgers-St. Johns game that now doubles as one of my favorite videos on YouTube. 

Actually, though, to put it all on the refs is to take credit away from the players, and that just wouldn’t be fair to these fine young student athletes who have done so much and worked so hard to contribute to the level of comedic incompetence on the internet.  The two-a-days just became worth it, boys. 

Let’s take a look at this and break it down.  Something this wonderfully insane cannot exist without me taking the opportunity to make fun of it in some sort of public forum.


/(calming down)

Okay, let’s look at exactly what’s wrong with this play.  I counted at least eight things. 
First of all, why is St. Johns coming out in a press defense.  I think they refer to it as a ¾ press, but it may as well be a full court, since they have guys guarding all the way down the floor.  Why stretch your own D, and leave space where they could get an open look for the game?  Isn’t Steve Lavin supposed to be, you know, a good coach?  Or does he just have great hair.  He definitely has great hair, but the coaching thing is in question here.  Anyways, that would have been pretty bad normally, but considering this clip it was like a 2.5 out of 10 on the stupidity scale. 

The next problem is mentioned by the commentators, but not nearly is made of it.  WHY IN GODS NAME ARE YOU THROWING UP A HAIL MARY WITH 5 SECONDS LEFT?  This is the second of the coaching mistakes in the clip, and it is a little bit less forgivable.  Do you have 4 lumbering power forwards on the floor?  Can no one run the court with the ball in less than 5 seconds?  Or did you just think it would be more fun to try to get an open shot 4 on 5 than when all 5 of your guys are in bounds?  This one is way worse than the press, which is more ridiculously aggressive than flat out foolish.  And it took about a minute to shoot the freenthrows, giving Rutgers plenty of time to draw it up and get a play to the floor.  The coach got together with his assistants and his teammates, considered the best plan, and decided that it would be to huck the ball 40 feet into what amounts to triple coverage.  GENIUS!

Next, it probably should have been over the back.  But that is boring.  Moving on.

Now, we get to the good stuff.  Some real elite, top level dumbassary. 

It is the refs who have gotten the brunt of the criticism on this play, but to me they aren’t the MVPs of the affair.  That distinction goes to number 32 of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, Justin Brownlee.  First of all, I want you to bear in mind that Brownlee did not cause this turnover.  I want you to bear in mind that he went 6-11 with 13 points 6 boards and 0 assists, a decent game to be sure, but nothing special. I want you to bear all of this in mind, because Justin Brownlee certainly did not when he recovered a loose ball that essentially rolled to his feet, and proceeded to prance around like he was Greg Jennings, and had PUT DA TEAM ON HIS BACK DO. 

I don’t know if our buddy Justin has a terrible internal sense of time.  I suppose it is possible.  After all, time can seem to go slowly in stressful situations.  Maybe he was also confused by the fact that Rutgers was acting like the clock was to expire.  Still, he has presumably played basketball before, and knows that not only every game, but every period, is punctuated (get it?) by a GIANT FREAKING BUZZER, which, to the point that he picked up the ball, had not gone off. 

This was something that he failed to take into account, when he failed to take into account another intricacy of basketball, namely dribbling.  Instead, he decided that, with a full 2 seconds left on the clock, his best play was to pick up the ball and prance with it in one hand.  That is pretty freakin stupid, but not nearly as stupid as his next course of action, namely ignoring the boundaries of the court, stepping out of bounds with about 1.7 seconds left.

To his credit, Brownlee is clearly a fan of sportsmanship and fair play. Not unlike this kid:

(God, that is the worst commercial in the world.  The only relatable characters in the thing are the antagonists who represent the peer pressure evils of…trying to win, I guess.  YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING ME ALEX! I’m with them.  I would want to kick Alex’s ass after pulling a stunt like that.  We can’t let the coach off of the hook either.  Someone needs to introduce him to Herm Edwards.  YOU PLAY, TO WIN THE GAME. Foundation for a Better Life?  More like Foundation for Turning All of Our Kids into Pansies.  That’s almost as bad as forfeiting a game because you thought the other team was too good.  Who would go to a school that would do something like that? But I digress.)

Clearly, he is a fan of fair play, because Brownlee realizes that the refs have missed his stepping out of bounds, and in a desperate attempt to make them realize it and correctly award Rutgers the ball, Brownly nobly throws the ball deep into the stands, so that even though they lost about half a second from the missed call, the Scarlet Knights will still get the ball back with about 1.2 seconds left, the time remaining when the ball is hurled out of bounds.  That was a admirable, selfless display of sportsmanship by Brownlee, even if it went unnoticed by the refs, who had apparently left the floor well before the inbound attempt. 

Either that, or Brownlee is a moron, had no idea what he was doing, pulled a DeSean Jackson, and somehow got away with it thanks only to some of the most oblivious officiating I have ever seen.  I know that I was late getting to this, but it needed to be said.  That kind of stupidity cannot go unnoticed. 

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