By HAL McCOY
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, wondering if this tale is true. After a flight from New Orleans to New York, a man was knocked down and his wallet was taken as he disembarked. There was a close witness, a guy wearing a black baseball cap, a black and white striped shirt, black pants with a white stripe down the leg and a yellow handkerchief dangling from his pocket. He said he was an NFL official, “But I didn’t see a thing.”
—Is the three-point shot a nuisance in college basketball, a hindrance? It sure is when they don’t fall and teams keep casting away, like Dayton and Wright State this week.
One thing a college basketball team with conference championship aspirations must do is defend the home turf. The University of Dayton failed miserably Wednesday night, lost in UD Arena to George Mason.
The Flyers lost by four, mostly because they couldn’t, or wouldn’t, get the ball inside to Josh Cunningham or Obi Toppin. Instead they flung up 29 three-point shots and made only six. They took 54 total shots, only 25 inside the arc.
Amazingly, Wright State nearly suffered the same ignominy Thursday night in the Nutter Center. They were favored by 15 points over Milwaukee, but won by two.
Like Dayton, WSU tried to win it from outside when Milwaukee couldn’t stop big man Loudon Love inside. But they didn’t get him the ball enough.
Like Dayton, WSU took more three-point shots than twos. They were 5 for 27 from three and took only 26 shots from two.
The Raiders missed their first 10 three-point shots. For the game, their best outside shooters, Mark Hughes (0 for 7) and Billy Wampler (0 for 8) were 0 for 15.
WSU already had lost three games this season at the buzzer, two on three-point shots. And with the Raiders up, 54-52, Milwaukee’s Jake Wright tried a three at the buzzer, but Alan Vest blocked it. How back-stabbing would it have been for a Wright to beat Wright State.
Vest also made three of his four three-point shots. Subtract his contribution and the Raiders were 3 for 23 on threes. Oh, yeah, Love scored 21 points underneath on only 14 shots.
–QUOTE: From basketball legend Wilt Chamberlain: “They say that nobody is perfect. Then they tell you practice makes perfect. I wish they’d make up their minds.”
—Wouldn’t A.J. Pollock have looked magnificent in center field for the Cincinnati Reds? Won’t happen. The Dodgers signed him to a four-year $55 million deal. Could the Reds have afforded him with their expanded budget?
There is still hope for the Reds to fill that center field spot with somebody other than infielder Nick Senzel or Phillip Ervin. With the addition of Pollock the Dodgers seem amenable to trading Joc Pederson.
Why not? If they would acquire Pederson after adding Alex Wood, Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp, the Reds could become the Los Angeles Dodgers-East.
—QUOTE: From former baseball commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti: “When I knocked a guy down, there was no second part to the story.” (Just ask Pete Rose.)
—Hall of Fame shortstop Robin Yount has a Dayton connection. He appeared at the LaSalle Stag Smoker Wednesday and told this story.
“I was living in California when I was 8 and my grandparents lived in Dayton,” he said. “We visited and my grandfather took me to my first major league baseball game at Crosley Field in Cincinnati and that was my introduction to baseball.”
Yount, owner of 3,142 hits, was a No. 1 draft pick by the Milwaukee Brewers and was immediately invited to major league camp. “I was so excited I forgot something when I reported. I forgot my bats.”
Yount missed some time at a later spring training camp. He had been having some ankle issues, which he attributed to the ankle that spring. “I loved motorcycling more than baseball at the time,” he said. “I had a little mishap with a motorcycle and hurt my ankle. I didn’t tell them how it happened and told them it was my problem ankle. The thing is, it was my other ankle and they never figured it out.”
Yount said he benefited mightily batting behind Paul Molitor, especially when Molitor was on second base. “He was a master at picking up signs. He’d see two or three pitches and know the signs. So he’d get them and then I had ‘em, too.”
—QUOTE: From famous New York baseball writer John Lardner, talking about being a writer: “It beats working.” (I always told my wife, Nadine, that some day I would get a real job, but I never did.)
—Love the quote from new Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians. Asked about possibly acquiring Pittsburgh wide receiver and problem child Antonio Brown, Arians said, “Not interested. There is too much diva in Antonio Brown.”
—Stayed up Thursday night to watch the Murray State-Belmont game, only to watch Murray’s Ja Morant, supposedly the Second Coming of Michael Jordan.
Morant was the only reason the game was on ESPN and several pro scouts were there as Morant is projected as one of the top three draft picks.
It started great. In the first minute, Morant buried a long three. A minute later he went up for a rebound and twisted his ankle. How unfortunate.
He carried on, but played with a limp. It was his push-off foot and he shot 5 of 19, 2 for 7 from three. He was 8 for 12 from the foul line. He averages 26 a game and scored 20 on one foot. He is masterful at driving to the basket, but on this night, with a bad ankle, he couldn’t finish and missed several easy layups.
—QUOTE: From NBA star Kyrie Irving: “Going in, you want to play a perfect season and play throughout the whole entire season, but injuries are a part of basketball.” (But why do they happen at such inopportune times?)