Friday, March 21, 2008

America's Jumpshot Heroes

The reason we can identify with these college b-ballers is because their day was just like ours.

They were standin' around, not really gettin' much done ... and then destiny found them.

Just like what happens to us.

Almost every day.

First, there was Ty Rogers of Western Kentucky ... he hadn't done much special during the afternoon.

Then the basketball landed in his lap and he launched that 25-foot set shot as the buzzer sounded at the end of OT ... and WKU was dancin' while Drake was dyin'.

Before the glory, Rogers had drained only 1 of 4 trifectas in a game which featured 70 shots from "beyond the arc."

To top that off, we had a second game on the same floor in St. Pete, Fla. ... and that one ended when somebody named De'Jon Jackson hit a fallaway shot w/ :02 remaining in OT, giving San Diego a 1-point win over UConn -- thus, setting up an Easter-Sunday, WKU/USD, 'Toppers vs. Toreros matchup for the ages.

For the record, that somebody named De'Jon Jackson had missed 7 of his 8 shot-attempts before sinking what they call "the one that matters" (as if the previous 8 shots -- 7 of 'em misses -- "didn't matter").

Ty Rogers and De'Jon Jackson ... "Miracle Men of The Mad Month of Madness"?

Or flukes?

It is amusing ... 'cuz you can almost hear Vitale or Phelps saying it (or imagine their hometown reporter in St. Pete typing it) that "Rogers and Jackson were courageous to take those shots."

Brave, brave men, they were ...
Kinda like a cross between an old-school Braveheart and a modern-day guy who wears a LIVESTRONG rubber wristband.

That's right ... "BraveStrong."

Sadly, the nighttime action in St. Pete proved disastrous for those new kids on the b-ball block -- Vanderbilt and Clemson.

The 'Dores went 4 of 20 on 3-balls in that 20-point loss to Burnt Siena (named after a color from the Crayola days of our youth) -- however, nuthin' can touch what Clumsy did in its loss to ChevyNova.

When Demontez Stitt drained that 3 with 5:02 to play before halftime, Clumsy had a 36-18 lead.

Yet, when Scottie Reynolds sank that free throw with 6:11 to play in the game, ChevyNova was up, 63-55 (meaning that ChevyNova had outscored Clumsy, 45-19, in the span of 18:51).

By the way, the basket which preceded Reynolds' FT was the last one that 'Nova would score in the game ... the 'Cats didn't score another basket during that final 6:11, but were 11-12 from the line in the final 2:25.

Clumsy ... was 1 of 6 on 3-balls in the game's final :38.

Efficient ...

That's some bonafide masterpiece theater ... "what March Madness is all about, folks ... why it's the best sporting event in the history of the universe all-time EVER!"

Clumsy -- which had THREE (3) excellent chances to best UNC this season (but went 0-3, due to some problems at the foul line) -- had some serious issues with the 3-point line in the St. Pete Forum (i.e. "the fact that one was painted on the floor at all").

Aside from Stitt (who was 4 of 4 from distance), Hammond (0-6), Oglesby (1-6) and Rivers (3-11) did a real bang-up job as the Tigers finished 9 of 33 in that category.

Luckily, the fact that the Information Superhighway exists allows us in the La-Z-Boy Federation the freedom to watch anything other than 3-ball obsession while we navigate the TV-remote clicker to something else.

Then, we can look up the boxscore later and enjoy the good times that only the 3-point stripe can provide.

That's not to say that we in the La-Z-Boy Federation won't sadistically peek in for 3.7 minutes when CBS is offering a glimpse of the Oregano-MissStake game.

In truth, we spent less than a minute cuddling with that game -- just long enough to see Bryce Taylor miss a 3-ball for the Quack Attack, LeKendrick Longmire grab the long rebound of Taylor's bricked miss near the free-throw line and shovel the ball to Tajuan Porter, who immediately clanked a 3-ball four seconds after Taylor's 3-ball scud.

Again ... using the boxscore for assistance provided hours of quality fun for the entire family.

The rundown:

Thirty-six seconds into the second half, Malik Hairston made a 3 to put Oregano up, 41-28 ...

18:53 -- Joevan Catron missed a 3 ...

18:29 -- Maarty Leunen missed a 3 ...

16:55 -- Maarty Leunen missed a 3 ...

16:20 -- Maarty Leunen missed a 3 (and discovered that he had one too man "a's" in his first name ... )

14:40 -- Porter missed a 3 (Oregano still leading, 43-36) ...

11:03 -- Maarty Leunen missed a 3 (Oregano up, 51-45) ...

9:50 -- Taylor missed a 3 (Oregano up, 52-51) ...

9:29 -- Porter missed a 3 (Oregano trailing, 53-52) ...

7:22 -- Churchill Odia missed a 3 (Oregano trailing, 57-56 -- and it's fun to type the name "Churchill Odia" ...)

6:05 -- Hairston missed a 3 (Oregano trailing, 59-58) ...

4:16 -- Churchill Odia missed a 3 (Oregano trailing, 63-58) ...

3:36/3:32 -- the award winning Taylor miss/Longmire rebound/Porter miss sequence (Oregano trailing, 63-58) ...

1:30 -- Hairston missed a 3 (Oregano trailing, 68-63) ...

0:42 -- Porter missed a 3 (Oregano trailing, 71-63) ...

0:36 -- Hairston missed a 3 (Oregano trailing, 71-63) ...

0:17 -- Porter SANK a 3 (a foolish shot, however, considering that Oregano trailed, 74-63, and definitely needed Porter to take the 10-point shot which was going to get his guys "right back in it!") ...

0:05 -- for good measure, Porter missed another 3 ...

That's no typo, America ... Oregano missed 16 consecutive 3-balls.

The guy who we real sorry for is Churchill Odia because we love to type his name -- only we like typing it in a sentence which reads, "Churchill Odia drained a 3-ball ..."

Alas, there exists no technology yet wherein we can use our Wii to make Churchill Odia's 3-balls go into the basket instead of bricking so badly.

And, some of us in the La-Z-Boy Federation didn't feel like leaving the safety and comfort of the La-Z-Boy just to fly out to Alltel Arena in Little Rock and show Churchill Odia how to knock down 2 out of every 4 trifecters (while airballing and back-rimming the other 2 attempts) ...

Bottom line: By this time next year, we'll probably have the signature of a circuit-court judge on that restraining order -- a cease-and-desist order (or a lifetime ban) against Tajuan Porter which prohibits him from ever appearing on a TV inside the La-Z-Boy Federation's corporate headquarters.

Y'see, not EVERY American forgot Porter's '07 tourney effort when, two days after sinking 8 of 12 three-balls in a Sweet 16 win over UNLV, he missed 8 of 10 treys in an Elite 8 loss to Gator Raid.

Tajuan Porter needs to work on his accuracy "from distance" is he ever wants to make the all-time Oregano starting 5 which exists in our hearts and in our minds.

Working purely from gut instinct, that starting 5 has to be Greg Ballard and Ron Lee (teammate of current head coach Ernie Kent) along with Terrell Brandon and the two Lukes, Ridenour and Jackson.

Blair Rasmussen? Hmmm ... well, we do need a 7-foot post player who can get us double-digits.

Freddie Jones? Stan (Kevin's Dad) Love?
Tough choices ...

None of 'em, though, possesses the bravery that Tajuan Porter displayed in exposing to America the flaws in his jump-shot sporadicity.

And, while Clumsy went 9 of 33 "from distance," Oregano displayed the courage to go 9 of 38 from "beyond the arc."

Both of those percentages (27 and 24 percent) came damn close to the unofficial, NCAA-tourney record (near as we can tell) of 18.8 set in 1994 by the Arizona Wildcats -- led by those classic gunners, Khalid Reeves and Damon Stoudamire -- when they made only 6 of 32 treys in that Final Four loss to eventual-champion Arkansas.

Clumsy and Oregano exited the tourney boldly and bravely.

Make no mistake: One day, there WILL BE a 10-point shot which will get Clumsy and Oregano "right back in it!"

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