Short Nerd Chief

Super Mario!

Posted by Fred on April 8, 2008

I’m not sure I’ve recovered yet from Mario Chalmers and the boys storming back from 9 points down with two minutes to go, in what was the best national championship game I’ve ever seen.  So, given that, here’s some stream of consciousness thoughts a day later:

  • The story lines are, as expected, the Chalmers three-pointer and CDR/Rose’s inability to make free throws. But don’t overlook the major role played by Sherron Collins. If Collins doesn’t steal an an-bounds pass and sink a three-pointer of his own, the ball game is over.  If Collins doesn’t hand the ball off to Chalmers, if he doesn’t avoid the foul Calipari desperately wanted his team to give, the ball game is over.  If Collins doesn’t shut down Rose for the first 28 minutes, Memphis wins in a romp.
  • KU’s depth was equally important. CDR played virtually the entire game. Rose actually did play the entire game. Neither had much gas in the tank in OT. Joey Dorsey’s fifth foul was the inevitable result of a tired big man playing against fresher legs.  So when Chalmers made the shot to send it to OT, the game was over, as Memphis looked lost playing without Dorsey.
  • I can’t believe we are doing it again, talking about the possible departure of a coach when the debris on Mass Ave hasn’t even been swept up yet.  In 2003, it was Roy Williams.  In 2008, it’s Bill Self, rumored to be on his way to Stillwater.  A lot of people got mad at Williams, but at least UNC is of equal caliber to KU.  OSU isn’t, even if it does have two championship banners from the 1940s.
  • When did we get to a place that big-time college coaches are expected to return to their alma mater at the first opportunity? Dean Smith and Adolph Rupp never returned to KU. Bob Knight never coached at Ohio State, nor Lefty Driesell at Duke.  Those are four of the five all-time winningest coaches.  Only Eddie Sutton ever coached at his alma mater.  Of the top 10 active coaches, only Bob Huggins can be said to have gone home again (Krzyzewski’s first job was at Army, and Jim Boeheim and Gary Williams’ sole coaching experience has been at their alma maters). But now we’re expected to “understand” if Roy Williams goes to UNC or Bill Self goes to OSU.  No. Be a man and build a program; don’t go running home to Mommy.
  • If Self does go, I won’t hate him, however.  He did win a championship.  For that matter, I never hated Williams for going to UNC.  For waiting until he left KU to finally win something, yes, but not for leaving.  If Self does go, maybe KU should protect against this in the future, by hiring an alum of their own.  Danny Manning is already on the staff, but is probably not ready.  Manning’s colleague Mark Turgeon turned the Wichita State program around, taking them to the Sweet Sixteen. His Texas A&M squad very nearly beat UCLA in this year’s tourney.
  • But in the end, this isn’t about coaches, even if they are the rock stars of the new one-and-done NCAA.  It’s about Mario Chalmers and the greatest jump shot in the history of KU basketball.  It’s about Brandon Rush coming back from a torn ACL to be the defensive force his brothers never were.  It’s about Darrell Arthur and Sasha Kaun throwing down dunks on lob passes. It’s about little Sherron Collins standing stealing the game away, about Cole Aldridge throttling Psycho-T, about Russell Robinson and all the rest.

As Dickie V would say, Rock Chalk Jayhawk, Baby.

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One Response to “Super Mario!”

  1. Ben Keeler said

    everyone will talk about the shot, but you are right, without the collins steal and three it never would have been to that point

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