Monday, May 11, 2009

R.I.P. Chuck Daly

I've always felt sorry for anyone who winds up so hard up for cash that they have to hock their championship ring. While I don't know who, one of the 1996 UF National Champs apparently sold his to Oaks Pawn. Now it's on EBay for over two grand. The thing I've never understood about this process is who exactly purchases them and why. If someone comes over to your house and sees it, do you claim you played? If not then when they ask how you got it, do you really want to say "dude had to pawn it so I swooped in and bought it"? Buying something like a jersey worn in the title game might be cool, but having the ring if you didn't earn it just seems depressing to me.

I think Mark Richt does a pretty solid job of handling discipline when his Georgia players screw up. He generally acts quickly to issue what seem to be appropriate penalties for assorted Bulldog sins. Yet every year, his players fail to learn their lessons well enough to avoid him having to punish them. It's happened again, with UGA losing three players for varying lengths of time as a result. These guys might not be household names, but it's a big deal. UGA will have just six receivers on their depth chart this fall, and will be missing their best DE for half the season. Their schedule is insane, so even the two game suspension means missing a road trip against likely top ten Oklahoma State and a home game with South Carolina. If just a few more of Richt's guys find some trouble, they could be in a world of hurt this year.

We'll see if John Calipari can avoid getting Kentucky entangled in anything seamy while he's in charge of the Wildcat basketball program, but there's no question the guy's a master of persuasion. The latest example is Patrick Patterson's decision to stick around for his junior season. For Patterson to not even bother going to any predraft camps or workouts after having put his name in is remarkable, but he clearly believes what Calipari is selling and (correctly) thinks he'll have just as good a shot at the NBA next year. Meanwhile, Nick Calathes is dying for anyone to tell him he's a first rounder when he's clearly not and will drag out his inevitable exit from UF for several more weeks.

Can someone explain why the BCS needs its own fulltime Congressional lobbyist? The web site Politico revealed Friday that former US Rep. J.C. Watts has made 620 grand over the past five years in that role. There's been the occasional guy making threats, like the recent ridculous House subcommittee hearing with Joe Barton comparing the BCS to communism, but never anything close to a serious bill to overhaul college football's postseason. A fulltime lobbyist was needed to deal with that nonexistent threat? It's unthinkable to even mention paying the players a dime, but perfectly kosher to give Watts around 125 thousand a year? Sorry, that's ridiculous.

I'm a Celtics fan (one of many who's amazed that Big Baby drained that jumper to win last night), so you can imagine what I thought of the Bad Boy era Detroit Pistons. I respected them, but I couldn't stand any of them with two exceptions: Joe Dumars and Chuck Daly. Daly led the Pistons to the top and then coached the one true Olympic Dream Team before a final run in Orlando. It had been known he was seriously ill, but it still made me sad to get the official word of his death over the weekend. Daly was a class guy who did a terrific job of leading the kinds of teams most coaches couldn't handle. I'm glad the NBA paid tribute to him during the playoffs while he was still alive to see it.

1 comment:

coffee fan said...

Chuck Daly is/was definitely Hall of Fame material; he will be missed