Tomorrow is my chat and First Downs And Second Guesses, but here’s three thoughts on a busy last 24 hours:
1. Marcus Smart was wrong. He’ll pay the price. So will his Oklahoma State teammates, now trying to escape the NCAA bubble without him the next three games. But what about the dope in the stands? Texas Tech fan Jeff Orr said he will not attend any Tech games the rest of the season. That’s good. But I wish Texas Tech had suspended him first. Orr is one of Tech’s big boosters. He sits right behind the basket. I’m sure he gives thousands of dollars. That doesn’t give you the right to act like a jerk. The price of a ticket doesn’t give you the right to cross the line and act like a moron. A lot of people think a ticket gives them the freedom to do and say as they please. I disagree. It gives you the right to watch the game in person. It does not give you the right to spit on opposing players and coaches, as Oregon assistant Brian Fish (formerly at Creighton) said Arizona State students did. I’d like to see schools and pro teams take a hard line on this stuff, have a standard of behavior in the stands and uphold it. You can get tossed in the clink for running on the field during the College World Series. Let’s get after the people who sit close who interject themselves into the action. In today’s world of twitter, everyone is an analyst, fans think they are part of the story, part of the game. They’re not. And a 40-year-old guy calling a 20-year-old a “piece of crap.” Grow up, Jeff. Texas Tech should at least move him away from the court. What’s to stop him from doing something next season?
2. Creighton lost to St. John’s tonight. It had a lot to do with CU missing free throws and not playing much defense and St. John’s terrific defense on Doug McDermott and Ethan Wragge. A lot of teams would like to use that blueprint, but not everyone has the Storm’s length. Jakarr Sampson, St. John’s 6-9 forward, did a nice job of staying with the ever-moving Doug and denying passes. The Jays needed their guards to drive to the hoop more when that happens. Creighton missed too many shots, including 10 free throws. It happens. I also wonder about the Jays’ state of mind going into this one. Beat man Steve Pivovar wrote a pre-game blog and tweeted out several photos of Creighton’s morning shoot-around at Madison Square Garden. The team was excited and giddy about it, and you wonder how much of that played into tonight. Probably not much. CU started the game hot and it looked like Doug was going to have an historic night in the Garden. Twenty five points isn’t exactly an off night but that’s the standard Doug has set. He’ll get another shot next month at the Big East tournament. The night wasn’t a total loss. On the way home, the Jays apparently ran into Bono, the front man of U2, at their airport. They posed for a memorable photo. Welcome to the Big East.
3. I admire and respect Michael Sam for his announcement Sunday night. Sam is a star linebacker at Missouri, the defensive player of the year in the SEC, who told the world he’s gay. Now the world will pick this apart and speculate on his NFL draft status. Sam was going to be a third-round guy probably. Now…who knows? SI’s Peter King got hold of several NFL exec’s last night, and responses ran the gamut, including one GM who said Sam wouldn’t get drafted. I think he will. He may drop a little, or a lot, depending on the NFL team. A team will have to have a good locker room, with strong leadership, to take him. But some team will. The NFL is a bottom-line business and that’s about players who can make plays. Winning. Sam’s comments show his maturity level is off the charts. There’s a type-A leader there. It goes without saying, he’s got guts.