Blog Entry

Alabama loss shows me I couldn't be a coach

Posted on: February 11, 2011 1:05 am
Edited on: February 11, 2011 1:22 am

Posted by MATT JONES

NASHVILLE --- I could never be a coach. Even if I were somehow able to gain the necessary knowledge of basketball X and Os, learn how to convince 17 year old snotheads that they should come to my school and deal with egotistical boosters whose proverbial tails I would have to kiss, I still don't have what it takes to be a coach. Because if I were a coach, I simply couldn’t deal with a situation like Anthony Grant encountered on Thursday night without raising a ruckus that would probably get me fired, or potentially even deported.

The Alabama coach had his team up one on the road at Vanderbilt in a game that if it won, could have made the Tide a player on the national scene in college basketball. A victory would have allowed Alabama to hold onto its one game lead in the SEC and with its upcoming schedule, dreams of a shocking conference championship would have been distinctly in reach. With 35 seconds to go, the Crimson Tide basketball team had a chance to have people caring about basketball in Tuscaloosa for the first time since Wimp Sanderson was covering the state in plaid.

Then, because of referee malfeasance, all of Grant’s hopes were taken away. First came a questionable foul call on Alabama point guard Trevor Releford that allowed Vanderbilt’s Brad Tinsley to turn his clutch 15 foot jumper into a three point play, putting the Commodores up two. If I were a coach, that call would annoy me, as Tinsley clearly threw himself into Releford and the foul call took the dynamic Freshman point guard out of the game with five fouls. But the philosopher in me would hopefully have said, “bad foul calls come and go, I will accept this and move on with a chance still to win the game.” I am theoretically level headed like that.

But moments later my gasket would have officially been blown. After Alabama’s star JaMychal Green got a quick first step on the baseline with under 10 seconds to play, he was shoved by a Vanderbilt player and slightly lost his balance.  A good referee would have seen the bump and called a foul. Referee Tim Higgins, working his fifth game in five states in seven nights, did blow his whistle, but not to call a foul. Instead, he waddled two steps forward into plain view of the television cameras (all big calls must be seen by the masses), pointed at the ground and called Green out of bounds. Vanderbilt essentially over.

However there were only two little problems with the decision. One of course was the no-call on the foul which initially sent Green towards the baseline. But the other was even more egregious. For even though Higgins was standing on the baseline and staring directly at the play, he failed to notice that Green DID NOT ACTUALLY STEP OUT OF BOUNDS. Anthony Grant, who was standing directly next to the play due to Vanderbilt’s unique court set up that puts the benches on the baseline, became livid, screaming at Higgins, but to no avail. Call made and game over.

Immediately however, Higgins error became clear to everyone but him. The picture you see above began being passed around Twitter, showing that not only did Green not step out of bounds, but Higgins was looking directly at the spot on the floor where Green did not step out of bounds. Higgins became the worst thing a referee can be, known. His name began trending on Twitter, comparisons were made to Jim Joyce and mocking hashtags were created with terms such as #TimHigginsCalls (some of the best included “New Coke”, “Investing in Bernard Madoff Securities” and “Who needs those lifeboats anyway? The Titanic is unsinkable!”). Higgins ineptitude became the running joke of the night.

Except to Anthony Grant, it can’t really be all that funny. When the call was made, the normally docile coach became obviously outraged and got as worked up and out of control as I have ever seen him during his coaching career. But by the time the postgame press conference came along, Grant was stoic. He responded to a question about the call by saying, “it doesn’t matter. What happened happened and we just have to move on and get ready for the next game.”

See I couldn’t do that. If I had just been as royally screwed as Anthony Grant, I would have gone off the deep end. I would have made comments about Tim Higgins’s awful  call, his ability as a referee and if he wasn’t careful, maybe the paunch he carries around on the court. I would have made clear to everyone that was listening that what happened in Nashville was a travesty and I would have made certain to maintain no perspective and to alienate everyone possible with my comments. I hate losing. But to lose due to the ineptitude of another...well that would be too much to handle.

Of course that is why I am not a coach. Anthony Grant was clearly not happy with what happened, but he chose to maintain his calm and talk about the goals his team can still accomplish. Grant has a tremendous future as a college basketball coach and watching the unbelievable improvement shown by his Alabama team on Thursday night, I became more convinced he will be a star. But I also became certain that his entire profession is something I simply could not do. When something is taken away from me that I deserve, I become righteously indignant. Anthony Grant seemed to be accepting of his fate. He is far better than me.

Category: NCAAB

Since: Feb 11, 2011
Posted on: February 13, 2011 1:06 pm

Alabama loss shows me I couldn't be a coach

...and now Matt Jones has to deal with Vandy ("...not a very good team" in his words) beating his beloved Wildcats ("...close to an elite team").  No wonder he has beef with Vandy.  What a tool.

Since: Jan 28, 2007
Posted on: February 12, 2011 10:07 pm

Alabama loss shows me I couldn't be a coach

"Neither the ball nor the foot was on the baseline. End of Story."

I have to disagree that neither the ball nor his foot was on the baseline.  I sit in section 3F and had a very clear view from above on the play.  I saw his foot  on the base line and was actually surprised the ref called it given they missed the Alabama player's foot on the line just before halftime and, on a steal, they missed one of Bama's players clearly hiting the ball and being unable to catch up it it before it went out of bounds. To me, there is no doubt that he stepped on the baseline because I plainly saw it.

Since: Dec 12, 2010
Posted on: February 12, 2011 4:04 pm

Alabama loss shows me I couldn't be a coach

Neither the ball nor the foot was on the baseline. End of Story.

Since: Mar 24, 2007
Posted on: February 12, 2011 3:17 am

Alabama loss shows me I couldn't be a coach

The officiating was horrendous all night.  Alabama got screwed in the end but the only reason they were in the game is that they were allowed to hand check and foul all night.  Bama's "good defense" = tackling.

Since: Jan 25, 2009
Posted on: February 11, 2011 11:03 pm

Alabama loss shows me I couldn't be a coach

When I watched the play live, I thought it was right.  It wasn't his foot that was out of bounds, it was the ball that was dribbled beyond the base line.  Perhaps there was a foul that forced this, that's arguable, but the picture is deceptive in that it was taken after the ball hit the floor out of bounds.

Since: Feb 11, 2011
Posted on: February 11, 2011 4:38 pm

Alabama loss shows me I couldn't be a coach

Why freeze the vid at that moment for this pic? Green did not extend his foot and only place the ball of his toe on the court toward the inline. His entire foot was planted. This shot is a split second after as he is pushing off towards the basket. Watch the replay. Furthermore, the blog states that the ref walked in front of the camera before making the call to get in the limelight. This is also totally false. The ref was 2 feet from Green and was in the same spot as he made the call. Again, this is confirmed on the replay.


Your Crimson Tide played a great game.  Someone had to lose and Vandy made more plays in the end.

Since: Feb 11, 2011
Posted on: February 11, 2011 3:01 pm

Alabama loss shows me I couldn't be a coach

There were bad calls all night (against both teams).  But I guess Bama fans only count the ones against them.  I don't hear them complaining about this no call.

Since: Mar 6, 2008
Posted on: February 11, 2011 2:18 pm

Alabama loss shows me I couldn't be a coach

Nevermind the fact Green was stuck behind the backboard with two big guys bearing down on him.  He followed through, much as he would if the referee behind was blowing the whistle for a foul, and bricked a layup on the bottom of the rim, which Vandy would have secured.  Agree he didn't step on the line, but they still would have lost. Tinsley made his shot, Green did's as simple as that.

Since: Dec 9, 2008
Posted on: February 11, 2011 12:07 pm

Alabama loss shows me I couldn't be a coach

YarnPeople you obviously did not watch the game. You can throw this frame out and still see that the Alabama player did not touch the line.  It was a bad call and the ref completely blew it. What goes without report here is that Green actually missed the layup that followed the call.  Now maybe he slowed a bit or lost concentration after the whistle, but I don't think that's the case. He probably thought the whistle was for a foul and possible 3-point play opportunity. Whatever the case may be, it was definitley at bad call at a crucial time and Grant had every right to be upset about it.  Can you imagine if Huggins, Calhoun, or even Coach K would have seen this in front of their baseline? Now that would have been a tantrum to remeber.

Since: Feb 11, 2011
Posted on: February 11, 2011 12:04 pm

Alabama loss shows me I couldn't be a coach

While the blown call on Green certainly angered Grant, what REALLY set him off was a minute later, when Higgins didn't honor the timeout Grant and an assistant were absolutely screaming for between Vandy free throws on the other end. It would have iced the shooter a bit and let him draw up a play for the rebound. It was instead granted after the second shot and that's when ESPN's cameras caught Grant going off on Higgins.

For whatever reason, whether it's the bizarre baseline bench placement of Memorial — which put Grant at the total opposite end from the free throws and refs — or Higgins not hearing him, I don't know, but it led to Grant's blowup. And rightly so. There wasn't just one questionable call last night — there were several.

Whether intentional or not, Memorial Gym certainly provides Vanderbilt a number of built-in advantages.

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