Friday, March 27, 2009

My Name Is ...

Players and reporters needed name tags at today's press conferences (even though the players' names were prominently featured in front of them at the podium). Here's how the very first question to UConn's players went:

Q. Hakeem?

Thabeet: It is Hasheem.


Q. I'm sorry. Or I could just call you beast, right?

This same reporter referred to Thabeet as "The Beast" two different times to Missouri players earlier in the presser. I'm not convinced that he doesn't believe his name actually is "Thabeast".

Of course (as mentioned in an earlier post), Mizzou coach Mike Anderson called him "Hashan Thabeet", and referred to Craig Austrie a couple of times as Craig "Audrey." Seriously bordering on noted name-garbler Jim Calhoun territory here.

Ah, Calhoun. After I asked him how difficult a year this has been for him for health and other well-publicized issues, and if it's caused him to contemplate retirement, Calhoun – in a long-winded answer – referred to me as "Mike."

I wasn't insulted, he knows my name. Plus, there are plenty of other Mikes on this beat. This is the same guy, don't forget, who spent much of last year calling Donnell Beverly, one of his own players, by the name of "Donyell."

At least he didn't call me "Hashan."

***Who sang (rapped) "My Name Is"?

***Calhoun's best line of today's press conference came before things started to get too serious. When asked what he thought if it was ironic that Pitt and Villanova, two Big East teams, would be playing an Elite Eight game tomorrow hosted by former Big East brethren Boston College, Calhoun replied, with a wry smile: "I'm in enough trouble as it is. I just would rather not (say). I have been blamed for the economy recently. I would say -- I like your word. It is very ironic. It is very ironic."

Dont'cha think? A little toooo ironic.

***Stanley Robinson played high school ball in Alabama against Mizzou standout DeMarre Carroll.

"I remember Stanley when I was a senior, he was two years below me," Carroll noted. "We were always meeting in the regional finals to the Civic Center – that's the Big Dance. We always beat him, so hopefully we can keep that trend."

Robinson didn't deny being on the losing end against Carroll.

"That's the truth. I'm looking to get him back, to be honest with you."

***The Huskies like to run, but there are good reasons for them not to get caught up in a Loyola-Marymont type of free-for-all with Mizzou, which employs the self-described "Fastest 40 Minutes of Basketball."

For one, the Huskies essentially play just seven players. There's also the fact that they have a 7-foot-3 center – Thabeet – and a bruising power forward – Jeff Adrien – who are most effective in a halfcourt game.

However, the Huskies will have to deal with Mizzou's fullcourt pressure. With that in mind, expect Kemba Walker, the Huskies best ballhandler and open-court player, to have a big effect on the game. Similarly, players like Robinson and Gavin Edwards, both of whom love to run and dunk, could play a big factor this afternoon. Edwards' best games this season have been up-and-down, fast-break style games. Even little-used sophomore guard Donnell Beverly, a good ballhandler, may get more run than usual.

***Thabeet enters tomorrow's game with 150 blocked shots this season, No. 2 in UConn single-season history. He needs seven blocks to eclipse the mark of 156 blocks, set by Emeka Okafor in 2002-03.

***Back to Stanley. After UConn's other four starters answered the question of how worried they are about their lack of depth tomorrow, Robinson simply said: "I think they pretty much summed it up right there, to be honest with you. No sense in me just (to) keep saying the same thing."

Best answer of the day.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave,

I liked your question, and I like your writing, along with Mike Anthony of the courant. But is it hard as someone that follows a team like Uconn to report news fairly and/or do you feel its hard to ask questions that may hurt the person in order to get the news out to the fan. Example when you or anthony asked questions about the controversy? Jeff Jacobs also seemed to throw Calhoun and Uconn under the bus in a recent article without letting a Coach of 37 years be given the benefit of the doubt.

thanks

10:52 PM 
Blogger David Borges said...

I believe you're referring to my question on whether this has been a tough year for Jim Calhoun, and whether he may be contemplating retirement. I think that's something a lot of people are wondering (including myself) so I certainly didn't think it was out of bounds asking it.

Believe me, I'd love to be writing about just basketball right now. Unfortunately, other things have cropped up that are impossible to ignore.

2:28 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eminem rapped "My Name Is"

8:43 AM 

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