The Tallest P*ssy Ever
Ok...no, for those amped up on hormones it's not what you think. I'm talking about a certain 7 foot tall basketball player from a certain academic institution that I happened to graduate from a certain number of years ago.
Since I'm not one to hold back anything, his name is James Smith and he's a 7'0" center for the Marist College Red Foxes. Now for those that know the MAAC Conference, know its a mid major (albeit on the lower side at times). The better known teams in the conference recently (those who have made it to the NCAA's) include Iona and Manhattan. Marist is long known for it's only NBA player representative, long time Indiana Pacer Rik Smits. The last time the Red Foxes made the NCAA Tournament was 1987, which was a first round loss at the hands of John Salley, Mark Price and their Georgia Tech squad. Marist nearly made the NCAA Tourney in 1995, but perhaps the worst officiating call of all time (calling a phantom foul on a 3 pointer by Mustafa Barksdale with 7 seconds left in regulation) pushed Monmouth to the conference championship game and Marist to a date in the NIT where they narrowly lost to a URI team led by Lamar Odom.
Anyway, getting back on topic, I have seen Smith play before, and was up on campus on Saturday watching him play in a "bracketbusters" game vs. Colgate. Since this game wasn't televised on ESPN, there was less buzz in the arena that night. And subsequently the game wasn't a sellout either like originially expected. Anyway, Smith had a 4" height difference over Colgate's starting center. You think game plan's A, B and C would involve pounding the ball down Colgate's face until they cried mercy. I mean if I was coaching that's what I would do. However when you have a roll of Charmin playing center who rather shoot a 3 pointer than mix it up inside, that game plan goes by the way side.
Smith, to his credit, is a very good 3 point shooter (40% from downtown). However he's in love with the three. This season he's made 48 out of 119 three pointers which is a better three point percentage and more three pointers made by Marist's point guard Jared Jordan (who by the way is in line to become the second Marist player drafted in the NBA http://www.roadiehoops.com/JaredJordan.htm)
However Smith's love for the three has made him a soft center. He's routinely getting bullied inside by shorter, stronger forwards and centers. His rebounding skills are quite average for a 7 footer. The ball sort of finds him due to his height, rather than him going out to get it. He has only 179 rebounds on the year, good for a 5.2 rpg average (in comparison, Jordan has 170 this year as a point guard, good for a 5.1 rpg average). So that's telling you something when your point guard is arguably a better rebounder than your center. Smith also fumbles the ball a lot. During the Colgate game the ball was routinely knocked out of his hands. So much so that Marist Coach Matt Brady pulled him out of the game in favor of a more aggresive 6'8" forward named Wilfred "Spongy" Benjamin.
Smith, at 7 feet, getting outjumped by someone about 4 inches smaller
Ok, so you can make the case that not every tall guy is a good rebounder. However wouldn't you agree that a 7 footer in a less than powerhouse conference would be able to run ramshod over the competition. Especially when you have a 3-4 inch height difference over your opponent game after game. I mean at the very least he should be touching the ball down low 20 or so times a game, which would inevitably lead to close jumpers, hook shots, layups and maybe (gasp!) an occassional dunk? Also you would think that a 7 footer playing against small guys would get hacked quite often and spend half his night at the charity stripe. Well he's the skinny on Smith:
He's taken 256 shots thus far this season. 119 have been three point attempts. That's 46% of his shots from three point range!
He's taken 45 free throws this season. 45! Jordan has taken 147. More than 100 more free throws taken by your guard than your center. If you make the argument that Jordan is an aggressive PG, which he is, then how about the backup center/forward Spongy Benjamin taking 52 free throws thus far this season while averaging 8 minutes less per game than Smith? Or how bout the backup guard Gerald Carter, who averages 12 mins a game and has taken 34 free throws already? There's no excuse for a 7 foot center to make more 3 pointers (48) than he has free throw attempts (45). None. No matter how good of a three point shooter he happens to be.
I can beat this argument to death, which I may of already have. So onto the good story. While at the Colgate game I was voicing my displeasure for Smith's game (as were the people around me). I noticed a lady sitting a few rows in front of us (we were in the last row) shooting me nasty glares. I know, it's not normal to heckle your own team in your home gym, but I've never been one to boo or voice my displeasure even for my home team (as evidenced by my dislike of Jorge Posada). But I was just making an observation, that our center was playing like a p*ssy.
So, during one timeout, coach Brady pulled Smith off the court and reprimanded him for missing his pick assignments. I yelled out "Sit him down Brady!". Suddenly the said woman turns around and scowls back "You better watch what you say, that's my son out there". I felt bad for about, oh 1 second, and then blurted out, "maybe your son should play a little harder". Ouch. She was less than thrilled by that one. Anyway I continued to ride Smith all game, and more telling was the crowd's lukewarm reaction when he would check in/out of the game. That and how in the 4th quarter he had more fouls than points and thus sat his ass on the bench. The most telling part is that when he's in the game, the guards penetrate and don't pass to him. Ever. Because they know he won't go strong, he'll just dribble out or pass out for a three. I mean for christ's sake take it strong. At one point he had a wide open dunk. So what does he do? He dribbles around and gets tied up by a guard. Unreal.
Smith getting chewed out once again by coach Brady
I'm not the only one with this opinion mind you, its an observation made by many. For a team that's picked to go to the NCAA Tournament this year, and for a team that has scouts at every game due to its NBA ready point guard, you think that a 7 footer would want to dominate night in and night out. Show off some skills, even if he's not a prospect himself. Take advantage of the fact that he's 4 inches taller than everyone else on the court. But nope. He's too much of a mama's boy (as evidenced by his mother waiting outside the arena for him after the game with a cigarette in her hand). Am I being too harsh? Maybe. But I know that if I was 7' tall I'd take advantage of that situation and bust my ass to make myself a good player and perhaps an NBA prospect. Then again, that's just me.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
The Tallest P*ssy Ever