Tag Archives: basketball

Yay New Jersey!

Pax Arcana

Behold! The skies have parted and a mighty rain falls on the land this day, my friends! It is the rain of triumph over futility! It is the rain of victory over defeat!

It is the rain of a thousand lifetimes of strife being washed away!

njitFor today, my friends, the mighty New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) basketball team calls itself a winner, having snapped a 51-game losing streak by beating powerhouse Bryant College 61-51!

The Highlanders won for the first time since Feb. 19, 2007, when they defeated Longwood 78-74. It was NJIT’s first home win since Feb. 8, 2007, against South Dakota State.

The school is in its third season as a Division I program, and the Highlanders are 6-71 since making the step up from Division II. They went winless last season after posting a 5-24 record in 2006-07.

Verily did the Highlanders win this contest by divine intervention and seemingly obvious basketball tactics:

“During practice before the game, coach (Engles) told me to look at the rim and find shots within the offense,” said (Jheryl) Wilson, a product of St. Benedict’s Prep who hails from Irvington.

What light! What hope!

NJIT ends 51-game skid with win over Bryant [AP]
NJIT’s Jheryl Wilson never stopped giving it his best shot [NJ.com]

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Name that movie

Pax Arcana

You may have read the story of 73-year-old Ken Mink, who returned to college basketball after a 50+ year hiatus from the sport. He is now the oldest player in any sport in the NCAA, and the most likely to walk around the locker room naked.


Over at Freakonomics, they’re holding a contest to see who can name the inevitable Disney movie that is bound to be made about Mink. Their commenters suggest things like “Old Men Can’t Jump” and “Seasoned Veteran.”

I’m sure the Pax Arcana crew can do much better. Here’s my suggestion:

Loose Leathery Balls:
The Ken Mink Story

Your suggestions are most welcome in the comments.

A 73-Year-Old Gives Basketball a Second Shot [NYT]
A Pop Quiz [Freakonomics]


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Boston is a Brotherhood

Pax Arcana

OK, so it’s an Adidas commercial. But its KG at his best — possibly under heavy sedation — preaching the truth about team sports and the virtue of the brotherhood.

Oh, and by the way, Perk is a Beast.


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Marvin Gaye is the national anthem

Pax Arcana

The jury is still out on whether the US Olympic basketball team can reclaim its former glory in Beijing this summer, but one thing is certain — this Nike commercial almost made me forget that our squad is a bunch of pampered millionaires who should be embarrassed to finish with anything less than a gold medal.

Let us now commence the run for the gold in honor of Marvin Gaye, and his spectacular rendition of the national anthem:

Hat tip: FanHouse


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Bill Plaschke is sensitive

Pax Arcana

Bill Plaschke is ostensibly a sportswriter for the L.A. Times, but really he’s a ceaseless campaigner for TV time on those ESPN wind-tunnel laboratories like Around the Horn. I would give him credit for coming across as smarter than Jay Mariotti, but that’s akin to giving credit to someone for not eating his own feces.

Anyway, last week Plaschke wrote a column for the Times in which he asserted that Paul Pierce was faking the knee injury he suffered in Game 1 of the NBA finals. I think Plaschke’s assertion was callous, juvenile, and insensitive. The well-meaning lads at Perk is a Beast think Plaschke is a “fat, pathetic, miserable, would be metro-sexual d-bag” with a “simian brow and matching intellect.”

Now Plaschke is complaining that he got even worse treatment than that in his email inbox. One Celtic fan wished Plaschke would shuffle off to the great sportswriter’s buffet in the sky:

“I hope you . . . get cancer and die,” he wrote. “Why don’t you just die or quit, you ugly fat (bleep). I’m going to find out where (a relative) is buried and me and my buddies are gonna dig (the) skeleton up.”

Then — just one day after questioning the integrity of a man who collapsed in a heap of pain after hearing a popping sound from his knee — Plaschke calls upon the Gods of decency to save him from the barbarians at the gates of his email inbox. After contacting the sender of the email — and not receiving an apology — Plaschke sums up the episode thusly:

In an age when an e-mail has no conscience and anonymity knows no fear, that passion can quickly get personal.

I’m sorry, but was there an age when e-mail had a conscience and anonymity was scared of stuff? Was there a bygone era when passion kept to itself and refused to get personal? When sportswriters of yore wore powdered wigs and were permitted to publish all sorts of jackassery without fear of being called on it and, yes, being subjected to hyperbolic vitriol from those who disagree?

Then it’s settled. We shall build a time machine post-haste and return to that age. In the meantime, Bill Plaschke can return to his normal schedule of saying stupid stuff and whining when people get mad about it.

Nasty attacks should be banned in Boston [LAT]
If Shit Were Electricity, Plaschke Would be a Powerhouse [Perk is a Beast]


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Basketball Dirty Water: Game One

Pax Arcana

We’re more baseball than basketball over here, but please take a minute to catch up with Perk is a Beast on the occasion of the Celtics’ game one victory last night.

Here’s their typically measured assessment of the third quarter:

“Maybe the greatest twelve minutes of basketball played since Larry Bird had the ability to bend over and Magic could go out in public without a bra on.”

Go read the whole thing.

Perk is a Beast [Home]

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The Globe almost has this Web thing figured out…

Pax Arcana

Here is what famed Boston sports yahoo and pop culture enthusiast Bill Simmons has to say about the L.A. – Boston basketball rivalry in the most recent edition of ESPN the Magazine:

Boston beat L.A. for the title eight straight times before falling in 1985. If that’s a long-standing rivalry, so is Tom vs. Jerry, Andy vs. The Sistas and hammer vs. nail. Isn’t it more of a “recent rivalry that was once a relentless butt-whupping”?

Here’s what Globe columnist Bob Ryan has to say that about that on his blog at Boston.com:

There is a younger writer of great renown who loves the Boston Celtics, which is fine. He commands an enormous national audience, who have come to regard him as The Authority on all things Celtic. And he has an exhaustive knowledge of the current team. No problem there.

I’d tend to forgive him on the basis of him not being there, but that would mean that history requires that you had to be there. I wasn’t present for the Gettysburg Address or the Bobby Thomson home run, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have a good idea of what it must have been like to be there. That’s what being an historian entails. You do your homework.

And if this pundit had done his due diligence on the Celtics and Lakers of the ’60s he would known that it was very much a rivalry. The Celtics might have won all six meetings, but it didn’t always feel like it, not with Elgin Baylor and Jerry West around.

I don’t particularly care who wins this argument, as long as it ends soon.

Wait. Was it Gene Simmons Bob Ryan doesn’t like, or Richard Simmons? Who’s this Bill Simmons?

I do care to point out Ryan’s refusal to name the object of his derision or, God forbid, link to the offending article. It seems that Ryan is falling into the trap of playing by print rules on Web turf. I don’t advocate using the Web as a platform for slander or ad hominem attacks on other writers — I’m arguing that where print venues once conferred upon columnists the ability to call down the thunder from on high with thinly veiled insults, the Internet requires greater frankness. If you hadn’t read Simmons’ column already, you may have no idea who Ryan is talking about. Even if you could guess who he was referencing, you’d still have to click multiple times to find it — only to be disappointed that you waded all the way over there for what amounts to a minor schoolyard dust-up.

Just sayin’.

I can be objective about the Lakers. And, objectively speaking, I say they suck [ESPN]
Tinseltown Boys


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Niche post alert: Padre and Maine basketball

Father Scott

A veritable Cerberus of Maine basketball posting:

Left to right: Cheverus High School, future Bobcat Ryan Weston, the 2002 Brunswick Dragons

1. Last night Cheverus defeated the heavily favored Bangor Rams 49-41 to capture the Maine High School boys’ basketball crown. This definitely has a Giants/Pats vibe to it — there was a bunch of hype about the ’07-’08 Bangor team being the greatest team in the history of Maine (let me pre-empt the comment responses… “Isn’t that like being the smartest kid on the short bus?”).

From the recap, it sounds like the vaunted Rams frontcourt wasn’t able to get going and Cheverus rallied behind essentially a home-court advantage (Cheverus is based in Portland, which is the site of the Cumberland County Civic Center, where the game was played) and the play of tourney MVP Mick DiStasio.

It’s kind of hard to understand unless you live there, but high school basketball is huge in Maine (and if you’re in southern Maine, division III women’s basketball is huge because of the Bowdoin/Bates/USM powerhouses). It pretty much single-handedly keeps MPBN (formerly PBS), which broadcasts every game, ticking, and captivates the houses of people who live in rural areas. My grandma, for instance, watches every game, all day, for the duration of the tournament, from the Class D girls’ teams that I could beat 1-on-5 all the way up to Class A boys’ teams who send players to Division I colleges, like Florida State (Brunswick’s Ralph Mims ’03) and Maryland (Deering’s Nik Caner-Medley ’02).

Ralph appears to be proud of his school

2. Bangor frontcourt beast Ryan Weston is headed to the ol’ alma mater, the fine Bates College. Bangor has turned into a pretty serious recruiting ground for the Bobcats: we got Father Scott’s Favorite Basketball Player Ever At Any Level (Zak Ray), Alex Gallant, and now Weston, plus Brewer’s Chris Wilson, all in the last five years. Though Weston came up short in the state final (generally not a great sign), he has dominated throughout the year and should be a menace in NESCAC, where talented big men are almost sure things. This of course does not include former Massachusetts High School Player of the Year Jimmy O’Keefe, who went to Bates and decided to be mediocre for two years.

Ryan won’t even have to get used to new school colors

Weston sounds like a stand-up kid in defeat, for what it’s worth:

“They hit their shots down the stretch, and we were unable to get a hand in their face on a lot of shots in the second half,” said Bangor center Ryan Weston, one of 11 Ram seniors playing their final high school game. “They’re a great team. Take nothing away from them. They executed better than we did in the second half, and we couldn’t get the momentum back.”

Weston is a state all-star and a finalist for Maine’s Mr. Basketball. Welcome to Lewiston, Ryan.

3. Reading about this reminded me of one of my favorite moments as a sports fan. Way back in 2002, when Pax was filling out his AARP application, Father Scott was a senior at BHS and started following Brunswick’s boys’ basketball team, which, on the strength of a strong youth rec program and the coaching of former University of Maine player Todd Hanson, became a strong program through the 90s and early 00s.

Led by senior Dan Hammond (one of the few people I’ve ever seen who could be described as a leader since about age 9, and one of the smartest players I’ve ever seen) and future Seminole Ralph Mims, the Dragons looked pretty unstoppable. They rolled through competition in the tourney and reached the final against the heavily favored Deering team, led by the aforementioned Caner-Medley. All the papers were picking Deering (though Brunswick, at a robust population of 25,000, is probably about the 5th biggest town in Maine, Deering is closer to Portland and thus gets more press) mostly because of Caner-Medley, and a kid I think named Walter Phillips, who I’ve since lost track of.

After literally I think the only pep rally my school ever held, a remarkable number of BHS kids went down to the Cumberland County Civic Center to, paraphrasing Coach Hanson at the rally, take away the home-court advantage Deering was expecting.

It wasn’t even a contest. We got out to a huge lead, and the 6’7″ Caner-Medley spent his time auditioning for college, launching threes even though he drew two quick fouls on Dan (who went on to play at DII Bryant University, and became a fan favorite) in the first quarter and could have easily tried to abuse him underneath and put him in further trouble. We ended up winning by 22, and it was one of the most fun times I’ve ever had at a sporting event, being in a sea of orange and black while our underdog team absolutely dominated.

Reminiscent of the Dragon defense on Raef LaFrentz Nik Caner-Medley

Interestingly, in light of Bangor’s recent hype, Kennebec Journal Morning Sentinel journalist Travis Lazarczyk recently recapped his greatest teams in Maine of the last 10 years, and my alma mater showed up 2nd:

2002 BRUNSWICK. The Dragons beat a favored Deering team that featured University of Maryland-bound Nik Canner-Medley [ed. note: it’s Caner-Medley. Guess he wasn’t that great] by 22 points in the state championship game, 83-61. Dan Hammond and Ralph Mims, then a sophomore, starred for Brunswick.


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Brittney Griner will dominate you on the court

Pax Arcana

Meet Brittney Griner, a 6 foot 7 high schooler sure to make even basketball-averse crackers like myself start paying a bit more attention to women’s hoops. Not only can she dunk — she can dunk easily and impressively.

Awesome. Now if only we could find a way to have her dunk on Imus…

Video: High School Girl Can Dunk Ball With Ease [Sports By Brooks]

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Who are we? Bobcats.

Father Scott

Now that Pax is shilling his alma mater, I thought it was appropriate to follow up my earlier post about the joys of NESCAC basketball (which PIAB bashed me for…and then posted about the joys of following random Massachusetts high school basketball teams…).

Going into the year I touted Bates’ women’s team as national title contenders (in fact I think my Facebook account still refers to them as such), given that they returned essentially everyone important from last year (apologies to Maggie Fitzgerald and Katie Franklin) and were getting back dominating low-post player Meg Coffin.

Ah, Bates at dusk. I don’t even have a sarcastic comment.

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