Thursday, December 02, 2004

One and Done

I go one day without posting and the next thing I know I'm losing readers. Actually, I got only one email and it was from my buddy Andy threatening to go elsewhere for goofy commentary if I wasn't up to the daily task. I reminded him that I was the only show in town when it came to talking about inanities such as segways, And 1, F650s, the Fat Phantom and Wheel of Fortune. Anyway, like Anna Nicole after a couple of months of Trimspa, I'm back.

Well, since I last mentioned the Tarheels, they've won the Maui Invitational, blown out Southern Cal, and last night they beat Indiana 70-63, in one of the ugliest games I've seen since I was forced to watch a middle school girls basketball contest that ended 13-10. Enough with the tomfoolery, here are some random thoughts I had while watching UNC:

...Dick Vitale is still extremely annoying. In fact, he's more annoying now than I ever remember him. He has a team for every player in the country. He can't go a breath without saying, " and so is on my all ____-team," even if so and so hasn't seen the floor since high school. Marvin Williams is a Diaper Dandy, Jawad Williams is on the All-Support Team; after seeing Bracey Wright, I half expected him to be on the All-Rollo Larson Team.

...NCAA basketball officials are as horrible as I remember them. Actually, I take that back -- they're worse. And worst of all is the charging rule in college basketball. Why it's a charge when a defensive player gets plowed while standing directly beneath the basket is one of life's great mysteries. More mysterious still is that Vitale and I agree that there should be an arc around the basket just like in the NBA. If I have to agree with Vitale about something basketball-related, it's probably a sign that something's wrong with the current setup. Just a thought.

...Doris Burke might be the most boring sideline/courtside reporter in the history of sideline/courtside reporting. Her unintentional deadpan delivery actually makes me miss Lisa Guerrero and those raccoons she use to try and pass off as hats. That said, I think Burke's stoic disposition might have something to do with the fact she's a robot. There've been rumors floating around for a couple of years now that ESPN, in an effort to cut costs, looked to develop low-cost alternatives to high-priced talent. The result was a top-secret project thought to have the codename Reportobot. I'm guessing Burke is version 1.0. Let's hope there's since been an upgrade or ESPN has cancelled the project all together (on a related note, after re-reading this paragraph, I have decided to go back on my meds).

...After Rashad McCants nailed a three from just inside midcourt about 10 minutes in (for what seems like the 5th game in a row), I was half expecting him to do the one-man weave, sky hook a three from his own free throw line and then grab a bucket of confetti and throw it on Mike Davis. Instead, he ran back down the court and raised his hands over his head in the shape a diamond. And in case you're wondering what the hell he's doing (other than being weird), here's the scoop (courtesy of
I was wondering if you could enlighten me on what in the world Rashad McCants is doing after the majority of his impressive field goals. I'm referring to the two-handed triangle held above his head. It certainly doesn't bother me, I just feel out of the loop. If Roy is o.k. with it, I will be too.

Phil McInnis, Boone

You can't say no one pays attention to Rashad McCants, that's for sure. A couple of years ago his "X" gesture got significant attention from fans, and now his diamond-type hand gesture is doing the same thing. It's an age-old sorority sign that has recently gained popularity in some of the music McCants enjoys. Maybe Rashad will spark the sign going mainstream. We've started throwing up the diamond after finishing each article. So far, we haven't noticed any tangible improvement, but if every Tar Heel fan will try to incorporate it into the workday at least once, there's no telling what kind of trend will develop.
I do something similar when I walk into work every morning, or sometimes when I send a particularly good email to my boss. Unfortunately, no one is usually around to see it, so I'm thinking about adopting the "diamond" at staff meetings. I'll let you know how it goes.

...I mentioned this last week, but every time I watch Marvin Williams I wonder if J.R. Smith wishes he'd spent at least a year in Chapel Hill (last week Marv was ACC Rookie of the Week). Williams is fun to watch because he's one of the most tenacious Tarheels on the boards. I think I saw him get five offensive rebounds during one 5-second sequence where he basically kept missing contested layups, but battled two and three Hoosiers for the ball and still came down with it every time. He's kind of like Scott Williams, except he's good.

...Speaking of freshmen, here's another Q&A from that caught my eye:
Throughout the great tradition of Carolina basketball, it seems that the standards of the program have remained very high. With the arrival of Coach Williams, it seems that players are allowed more freedom to wear their hair any way that they wish to. Likewise, players are now growing facial hair. Make no mistake, it hasn't taken away from the quality of player that Carolina seems to keep recruiting. I have been following Carolina all of my life, and I can't recall ever seeing someone with corn rows in their hair (Q.Thomas). Can you enlighten me as to why this may be happening?

Scott Swicegood, Lexington, NC

We're curious as to what you might be able to tell about someone by the way they wear their hair. Quentin Thomas, for example, consistently says "sir" and "ma'am," always looks people in the eye, and generally has made an impression as one of the most respectful freshmen to come through the program in recent memory. What his hair looks like doesn't seem to impact the way he treats people, just as we're sure it doesn't impact the way Carolina fans think about him.

With that said, he is the first Tar Heel player to wear corn rows. Maybe that includes him in a decorated Tar Heel hair tradition--J.R. Reid with the first fade and Donald Williams with the most famous Final Four shaved head. Roy Williams did have a player with corn rows at Kansas, so Thomas isn't likely to be the last Heel with that particular hair style. You're right that Dean Smith did have certain personal appearance standards. But he was known to be flexible given the right set of persuasive logic (think James Worthy's beard) and it's questionable whether he'd have the same rules today. Roy Williams does still utilize many of Smith's standards, including requiring freshmen to sample Chapel Hill churches during their first semester on campus--Williams often attends with them.
This is a really goofy question, but you get the impression that the intent wasn't meant to be offensive (I think). Either way, Adam Lucas (the guy who answers the emails) did a really good job of making it clear that cornrows don't equate to low standards. And I think it says a lot about Coach Williams that he's more concerned about making his players into good people, and less concerned about whether Quentin Thomas busts out his Pedro Martinez Jheri curl at the next game.

...Speaking of Pedro...Just kidding. Oh yeah, one more thing. Smokey left a comment Monday because he was concerned that I was serious when I mentioned Jeff Reed as the second best kicker in the league behind Adam Vinateiri. I was definitely kidding. Especially after he missed what seemed like 15 PATs last season. I root for Reed because he's a UNC guy, but he can also be very frustrating. Still, he was 3-for-3 last week in crappy conditions so I at least have to give him props for that. And speaking of former Heels now with the Steelers, I've seen Willie Parker getting knocked silly by Sean Taylor at least 100 times this week. I guess the lesson there is don't drop the ball; well that, or don't even try to catch it if you see Sean Taylor running at you full throttle.

OK, the Tarheels are 5-1 and have Kentucky in town this Saturday. Couple that with the Steelers/Jags game Sunday night and this could turn into a PBR double kegger (I love the fact that Pabst actually "cards" you before you can get to their homepage -- that should keep underage kids from drinking).