Friday, November 12, 2004

Tape Delay: Wisconsin vs. Parkside

Ah, finally I've had the free time to catch the end of the Wisconsin-Parkside game. It's been a busy week, but I'm glad that I was able to fit the game in, as I've been excited to see my alma mater jump back into basketball season. While I'm still enjoying the ride with the Badger football team, basketball's still where I have most of my fun, and it's nice to see the boys take the floor. It's a shockingly different team this year, now that the best player has been replaced and 4 new ones have jumped into the mix, so this should be fun. Overall I was pleased with the Badger performance, taking out a less-talented Parkside team as they should have. But most of my comments are probably best expressed as, you guessed it, bullet points:

1) the first time I saw a close-up of Brian Butch, I exclaimed "Oh my god! He has arms!" It was sort of weird, since I was home alone in bed at the time, but it was a shocking moment. Brian Butch, who prior to this year, had been built like the star center for the Milwaukee Washinton girls teams of the early to mid 1990s, actually had the arms of a man now. I guess that year in the weight room really did pay off. And he exhibited a nice touch with those arms
when making lob passes from the top of the key.

2) Keeping in line with the topic of body morphing, the center for Parkside was a young man by the name of Kevin Boutelle, who I had seen play at Sheboygan South a few years back on my first and only viewing to date of the big North-South game. At the time, Boutelle was a chubby kid, who I was told had actually dropped a significant amount of weight between his junior and senior years. Well, I guess he kept dropping weight, because he was almost unrecognizable in his current form. And his basketball skills had kept improving as well.

3) I was a lot more worried about the Badger point guard spot before seeing this game. Kammron Taylor certainly isn't Devin Harris, but he brings some excitement to the position and shows more confidence than I expected. I don't know if or when Boo Wade will return, but either way, the point guard job should be in better hands than I expected. And okay, I might have been wrong in thinking that Michael Flowers would swoop in and steal most of Taylor's
minutes, even though Flowers is a capable guard.

4) Nice to see that Green Bay's own Tyrone Deacon has landed with Parkside, but can I just ask--what were his parents thinking? Tyrone? How many curly-haired, 150 pound, white point guards do you know that are named "Tyrone?" Was Mustafa already taken by his older brother or something? Not an appropriate name, at all. And for reference, the coolest Tyrone-based name of all time was Milwaukee Vincent's Tyrone Rhone. Now those were parents that were thinking right.

5) Okay, so Jason Chappell has improved to the point where he looks like he can actually play for a division one team. I'm still bothered by the guy's facial expressions and mannerisms, though. He looks like that guy you went to high school with that always wore the same hooded sweatshirt and tried to do as little as possible to get by. I don't think he looks high, like he did the last two seasons, though. Now he actually looks like getting high would be too much work for him.

6) The critics are right--Greg Stiemsma nees some work on offense. He has stone hands, and only one move that he ever uses--the jump hook. Basically, he's me when I was 15 and playing JV basketball, except he's 6'10" and he can block shots really well. So yeah, I'm going to absolutely love this guy.

7) Nice to see the Badgers break out their full-court press. They looked good in it, but I am trying not to get overly excited, as Parkside was not particularly adept at taking care of the ball. I think the first sign of that was when Mike Wilkinson got his hands on the inbounds pass three of the first times that the press was on. Wilkinson's good, but even he's not that good without a little help from the other side.

8) I would like to retract my earlier statement about not liking the new Kohl Center floor. While the artist's rendering that I viewed about a month ago was awful, the floor itself looks quite nice. I like the traditional, subdued court making an appearance again.

9) Brian Butch can shoot like few people that I've ever seen. You know how sometimes a shot will not just swish through, but continue arcing as if it hadn't even gone through another object? That's what his foul shots and three pointers looked like. I haven't seen that since Greg Brown was at Vincent, and Greg Brown, as awesome as he was, was never 7 feet tall. This could be the start of something good.

10) Okay, so at one point Greg Stiemsma, Mike Wilkinson, Brian Butch, Zach Morely and Sharif Chambliss were on the floor. Here's my question to ponder until next time: We know Chambliss must have been playing the point. Who's the 2 guard?

So there you have it. If I can find any basketball this weekend, I'll watch it, but I think the only thing available is NBA games. And as we all know, the NBA isn't actually basketball. For the time being, I'm off to have a beer at the local tavern, which you should do too.


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