Team Mr. Rhodes 35
Team Patrick Glostner 34
With the likes of Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, and Joe Johnson on the free agent market, this is shaping up to be the most monumental off-season in the history of the NBA. The signing of one of these top tier guys could change the course of history for four lucky franchises. Similarly, the signing of free agent Jermaine Johnson could alter the KBA forever and dramatically change the season outlook for Team Rhodes (3-4). The 6'8 Johnson dominated on both ends of the floor on Monday, finishing with 16 points, 15 rebounds, and 7 blocked shots. Down 3 with less than a minute to play, Johnson caught a pass from Nick Norals, took one step, and threw down a rim-rattling, earth shaking, momentum changing, opponent embarrassing, slam which almost brought the roof down in the upstairs gym. Play almost had to be stopped, as spectator Derrick Gaddy ran onto the floor screaming and proceeded to do some sort of break dancing move which pleased the crowd to the nth degree. This certainly rattled Team Glostner (6-2) and was huge factor in them folding at the end of the game. Combining Johnson with Nick Norals (Who has never committed a foul in life if you ask him) and Squirt Polk make The Rhodes Scholars an upper-echelon team once again. If team doctors are able to get Mr. Rhodes patched up and playing before season's end, they may be going to the ship. The best part about the addition of Jermaine Johnson to the league is not his ability to throw down mesmerizing dunks or the impact he has on his team's chances to win, but rather the comedy that results from his teammates and everyone else in the crowd expecting him to dunk every time he touches the ball. Nick Norals must have chastised Johnson at least 8 times after he laid the ball in instead of dunking. As Mastercard says, there are some things that money can't buy. Watching Jermaine score two points and still get yelled at is one of those such things, and truly is priceless.
Both Cash Jones and Patrick Glostner were suspended for today's game due to conduct detrimental to the school. Even without them, Team Glostner was still almost able to sneak away with a W. Little-used forward Jamal Sykes played big, finishing with 9 points and 8 offensive rebounds. His energy on the glass gave his team extra possessions that they dearly needed in this hard fought contest. If anyone knows who Wally Pipp is, you may see version 2010 in either Cash Jones or Patrick Glostner, while Sykes may "Lou Gehrig" his way into the KBA record books. At the least, he has clearly earned himself more playing time in upcoming games. Remy Price, Team Glostner's best and least suspended player, was solid once again, collecting 12 points and 7 steals. Ultimately, it was not enough though, as Jermaine's rim-rocker did them in at the end of the game. One has to question whether Glostner should turn over the "C" on his jersey to Price after this game until he can prove himself worthy and reliable to his teammates. Saying that his suspension was a result of him getting picked on as opposed to taking responsibility for his actions, just won't cut it.
Team Cartier Brown Bounces Back with a Vengeance
Team Cartier Brown 56
Team Denzell Smith 49
After a very rough last couple of weeks, some members of the media (and by some, I mean me) had written Team Brown (3-3) off as a non-factor in the league. Their win against the up and coming Team Smith (4-3) proved that there may be some fight left in these guys after all. Michael Darty, who had pulled a Houdini by disappearing in their last 3 games, made his presence known with 13 points on 3 of 3 shooting from behind the arc. Derrick Gaddy made the most of his limited minutes by rebounding the ball at a rate of 1 board/minute. He also seemed to come up with every loose ball and created mayhem on the defensive end with his stifling pressure. Dimitri Baker, who I have been highly critical of in the past by bestowing the nicknames of Imitri (for his lack of defense) and "The Elevator" (because it seemed like when he went in, the other team's score went up) on him, had an incredibly solid first half and earned the new nickname of "The Pupil." The reason being, is that Dimitri accepts the criticism he receives on the blog, learns from it, and uses it as motivation in his next game. When called Imitri, Dimitri stepped up his defensive intensity. After being dubbed "The Elevator" after his last game, Baker made sure today that his Plus-Minus ratio was positive. Clearly, this guy uses the blog as a learning tool. Teammate Cartier Brown was great once again, finishing with 18 points, although he could have had more if he attacked the basket more. Free agent pick-up Raylan "I'm the best athlete in my family" Jones proved to be a solid pick-up by pulling down 8 rebounds.
If it weren't for the Kyle Begusa trade by Laquinn Parks, General Manager Denzel Smith would have received a lot more criticism for trading pass-first point guard Keith Spencer to Team Bailey. Luckily for Smith, the Begusa trade was so unbelievably bad (will talk about it later), that the Spencer trade flew under the radar. Today, the short-sightedness of the trade became known to all as Team Smith struggled mightily. The message by Joni Mitchell and later restated by Janet Jackson "that you don't know what you got till its gone" is certainly apropos when thinking about this trade. Today, the ball did not move as crisply, the lack of a solid ball handler was noticeable, and guys looked uncomfortable as they tried to assume roles that they were unaccustomed to. Meant to be no knock on Jeremy McClendon (who Smith got in exchange for Spencer), but not having Spencer was and will be damaging to the offensive continuity that characterized Team Smith's success early on in the KBA season. Adding to the problem, high-scoring guard Syid Young, sustained a foot injury and his return for the rest of the season looks doubtful. If there was one positive today, it was that sharp-shooter, free-agent pick-up Nic Collie showed no signs of being rusty in his debut. Marques Hudson and Denzell Smith had 13 and 9 points respectively.
Worst Trade of the Year Allows Begusa to Get Revenge on Unappreciative Former Teammates
Team Denzell Hargrove 48
Team Laquinn Parks 39
When people think about the best general managers in sports, the Names John Schierholtz of the Atlanta Braves, Jerry West of the Los Angeles Lakers, Dale Tallon of the Chicago Blackhawks, and Bill Polian of the Indianapolis Colts usually come to mind. You may have to add the name Denzell Hargrove to that list because of his acquisition of Center Kyle Begusa at the trade deadline for reserve forward Rob Tyler. This move was so good that I'm not even going to mention Hargrove's offensive woes today. What I will mention is that Begusa had 16 rebounds and five blocks. Even better than the blocks, Begusa was able to alter the shots on the drives of players from Team Parks (5-2), more often than not, ending in misses. By the second half, Team Parks was so afraid to attack the rim that they continued to settle for bad three after bad three. Hargrove's ingenuity by acquiring Begusa has immediately made his squad the team to beat in the KBA. Travis McBride shot the ball well once again, finishing with ten points on very few shots (mainly due to the offensive woes of Hargrove that I'm not going to mention). Red Washington may have benefited the most from Begusa's arrival by exploding for 15 points. Usually, Washington had to shoulder the burden of being Team Hargrove's (4-2) top offensive and defensive rebounder. With the arrival of Begusa, he was able to focus more on showing off his entire offensive repertoire. He was even able to sneak in his first unnecessary rim grab of the season, although he still trails league leader Daniel Palm by four in that department.
The smartest thing Laquinn Parks did was not show up for the game on Monday. If he did, he would surely have been booed unmercifully by fans of Team Parks Nation for railroading their team's hopes and dreams for KBA glory by trading away the best center in the league. Adding insult to injury was the fact that Rob Tyler, who they obtained in the trade, did not even show up to the game. At first, even without Begusa, I still thought they might have a chance. That is until I saw the normally stoic Mario Sawyer salute the crowd after making his first three pointer of the game. When he did that, I knew they were going to lose. Those type of antics are not in Sawyer's demeanor and should be reserved for people whose game can not speak for themselves. That said, Team Parks got off to a decent start, but instead of attacking the basket, they were relying on three pointers. As the old saying goes, "You live and die by the three." They most certainly died today by falling in love with their jump shots and going cold in the second half. A large reason for their lack of attacking the basket was the intimidation put forth by the inside presence of Begusa. Still, Courtney Ealy, must use his athleticism to get to the rim as opposed to being a one dimensional player. While he finished with 13 points, it could have been a whole lot more. After this game, it appears that he may have slipped out of the Top Ten Freshman in the State according to CourtneyEaly'sRankingsofFreshman.com.
Counterintuitive Thinking: After the game, Courtney Ealy defended the trade of Kyle Begusa by his team captain. Maybe he did not want to throw his coach under the bus to the media, but when pressed further, he gave a real perplexing quote. "All we need is a big man who can rebound, and we'll be straight." Hmmmmmmm. That's like................
- Trading Michael Jordan and saying "All we need is the greatest player in the history of basketball and we will be ok"
- Trading Lebron James and saying "All we need now is a 6'8 guy who has the size of a power forward and the skills of a point guard."
- Trading Peyton Manning and saying "All we need now is a coach on the field who prepares for opponents better than anyone."
- Trading Albert Pujols and saying "All we need is a guy who hits for both power and average."
- Trading Wayne Gretsky and saying "All we need is a guy who is the greatest goal scorer of all-time."
Courtney, you had that guy and got rid of him. Unfortunately, a trade like this may change your season.