Posted on: June 4, 2010 10:47 pm

John Wooden

The last time I spoke to Bill Walton not long ago we were talking about college coaching when the subject turned to John Wooden.

"What people have to understand about coach Wooden is the impact he had on people's lives," Walton said. "He was a father figure. He taught you things you'd carry beyond basketball. He taught you how to be a man. I'll never be able to say thank you enough to him."

I speak to Walton on occasion and I find him to be one of the smartest and most decent of athletes I've known. Each time we talk, he brings the topic to Wooden. It seems many who played for Wooden are the same way. He was that kind of impactful man.

Wooden died on Friday night at the age of 99. If any of us enjoy a tiny fraction of the wonderful life he did, we'd be fortunate.

His impact goes beyond the 10 titles on the court. It's also about the people he helped to forge off of it. Good men like Walton and dozens of others.

There is Wooden's 88-game win streak and the fact he never had a losing season in 29 years as a head coach. All impressive, of course.

Wooden created a legacy of championships but more importantly he birthed a legion of good men.

That's not bad. That's not bad at all.

Category: NCAAB
Tags: John Wooden
Posted on: March 18, 2010 11:56 am

Key Villanova players not starting

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Villanova's Scottie Reynolds and Corey Fisher aren't starting in their opening round game against Robert Morris for disciplinary reasons.

Both players will play. It's not exactly clear why coach Jay Wright benched them. will update this story as it develops.

Category: NCAAB
Tags: Villanova
Posted on: February 11, 2010 11:01 am
Edited on: February 11, 2010 11:29 am

Slick Rick Pitino

Is it just me or does Rick Pitino seem like a slick little weasel?

The New York Daily News reported that Pitino reached out to the New Jersey Nets through intermediaries (the cast of "Jersey Shore?"). The Nets deny this and Pitino does as well.

Is the story true? I believe it. It's Pitino. That's what he does. He's the eternal suitor and suitee (is that a word?). Especially now. He's looking for an escape hatch and to Pitino even the lowly Nets are better than the situation he's in now.

Louisville is struggling and despite Pitino's denials it would be humanly impossible for the pending extortion case stemming from his affair with Karen Sypher to not have a dire effect on his career and family. It must be an anchor tethered to everything in his life. You just don't recover from something that ugly in a college environment.

The pros don't care as long as you win.

I'm sure Pitino wants to get the hell out of Louisville and come down here to lovely New Jersey. (Rick: New Jersey is beautiful this time of year. The brown and yellow snow is simply gorgeous. Like a postcard.)

None of this means Pitino will leave but I'm certain he's trying and the Nets might be the only suckers to actually consider hiring him.

Category: NCAAB
Tags: Louisville
Posted on: September 16, 2009 5:51 pm
Edited on: September 16, 2009 6:26 pm

Myles Brand and Bobby Knight

The best thing Myles Brand ever did was stand up to a bully.

There will be lots of tributes and analysis of what Brand accomplished during his tenure as leader of the NCAA but it's what Brand did during his presidency at Indiana in firing Bobby Knight that was his best accomplishment.

Knight was a mega-bully and Brand was one of the few people -- if not the first -- to publicly call Knight on his boorish behavior. It didn't make Brand popular at Indiana but it was the right thing to do and Brand had the courage to make the move.

One of the last straws for Brand came when video showed Knight with this hand around the neck of player Neil Reed. That wasn't the final incident but it was one of the worst. Eventually, Brand had seen enough.

It's difficult taking on a highly popular bully who believes the rules don't apply to him but Brand did.

That's his greatest legacy.

Category: NCAAB
Tags: Myles Brand
Posted on: August 26, 2009 6:31 pm

Rick Pitino has a lot of gall

Rick Pitino steps out on his wife but it's the media's fault?

His press conference on Wednesday was a strange abomination in more ways than one.

Pitino lashed out at the media for paying too much attention to his case but doesn't Pitino realize that if he never cheated on his family there'd be no alleged blackmailer and subsequently no pesky press questions?

You do understand that Mr. Pitino?


Then Pitino invoked Ted Kennedy's death which was disgraceful and disgusting.

Just when this situation seemingly couldn't get any worse it just did.

Category: NCAAB
Tags: Louisville
Posted on: August 20, 2009 1:00 am
Edited on: August 20, 2009 1:53 am

Dear Memphis: time to pay the piper

Not sure what's less surprising: that Gary Parrish again beat the world on a huge college basketball story or that, once more, it's proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that John Calipari is a despicable, shameless used car salesman.

Wait. I'm sorry. I just offended all used car salesmen. I apologize. Not even a used car salesman would have two of his Final Fours vacated.


Calipari is the Michael Jordan of malfeasance.

And now he's all yours, Kentucky.


I can't believe I once tried to -- somewhat -- defend Calipari. I went against my better instincts and thought at the time: no one can be as dirty as his rivals claim.

Boy was I wrong. His critics underplayed his scumminess.

There's a lesson here. When anyone ever dared criticize Calipari's methodology a legion of Memphis fans would respond with mountains of personal vitriol. You'll see some of that in the comments section below.

They'd defend Calipari at any cost. So would school officials. All along they had to know that something wicked was on the horizon because when it comes to Calipari something wicked is always on the horizon.

Now that Calipari has raised his hind leg and defacated all over the basketball program by causing Memphis to now have the unique distinction of having its Final Four appearance tossed in the trash -- all before scampering off to Kentucky -- what do Memphis fans and university backers think of him now?

The university and its fans fully embraced Calipari and now both entities are reaping what they sowed.

And you're next Kentucky.

Calipari will win at Kentucky. He might even capture a national championship. But eventually everything will crumble to dust because with Calipari that's what happens.

Hopefully Kentucky has all of its lawyers on hot standby.

You're going to need them.

Category: NCAAB
Tags: Memphis
Posted on: May 28, 2009 10:52 am

Calipari knows when to exit

Well, well Memphis fans. Wonder what you think of your guy John Calipari now?

Now that your program is about to -- as Emmitt Smith might say -- get blowed up do you still think Calipari is so great?

Whenever I've criticized Calipari as the greasy car salesman that he is Memphis fans flooded with me with obnoxious and angry e-mails decrying Calipari as a good man.

Is he still a good man, Memphis fans, now that he might have -- allegedly -- overseen a program that faces major sanctions?

Memphis fans were always blind suckers, falling for Calipari's charms.

And don't laugh, Kentucky fans, because you're next.

If there's one thing predictable about Calipari it is this. When he leaves somewhere a mushroom cloud remains in his wake.

He's coached two college programs. At UMass, that program was left in a pile of smoldering ruins, it's Final Four appearance vacated.

Now, the same thing could happen at Memphis.

And Kentucky is next.

Category: NCAAB
Tags: Memphis
Posted on: April 6, 2009 11:42 pm

Championship game blogasm: Tar Heels win it all

That was a ferocious display of athleticism and coaching. The Tar Heels are champions because of superior ability and superior coaching. Now come all the Michigan State excuse makers. The Spartans had a fabulous year but in the end they were no match for a better team from a better conference. Far better conference. As if there was any doubt about that. Now, the blog falls silent so all the Michigan State excuse generators can have their say. Congratulations, Tar Heels.
Category: NCAAB
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