Tuesday, December 28, 2004

The Badger Classic: Game 1

Well, today was the much anticipated Badger Classic tournament at the Wisconsin Fieldhouse. I took off work for a solid day of basketball, and would do so again for the second day of the tournament if not for the fact that a) I've got a bunch of things that really need to get done at work, and b) my family is celebrating a late Christmas during the time that most of the games are going on. I probably won't even get to take in Gonzaga vs. Oklahoma State on ESPN tomorrow night. These are the sacrifices that I make for family. Thankfully, my family is not only worth missing a Gonzaga-Oklahoma State game, but perhaps even a Wisconsin-Michigan State game. That is how much I love those people.

But enough commentary on my family--I saw three and a half basketball games today. There were college prospects, state championship contenders, good friends, and great basketball minds, all hovering around in the Fieldhouse. It was a phenomenal day, and with the exception of a handful of great basketball fans that I know who weren't with me today, there's no group I would rather take in a game with. My car arrived in Madison around 11:30am and my buddy T.J. and I wandered into the Fieldhouse to meet up with our group. The fun began then, and it can only be described, as usual, in a series of short points. Since there’s so much of the day to cover, and I haven’t had much free time in which to write, I’ll begin with one game today, and hopefully finish the rest later this evening:

Game #1: West Allis Hale vs. Roosevelt High (Sioux Falls, SD)

1) The big draw of this game was the jewel of the most recent Wisconsin recruiting class Joe Krabbenhoft. Krabbenhoft looked generally solid. He's fairly athletic, shoots the ball well, makes good decisions, and generally looks like he knows what he's doing. I can't give an in depth assessment, since he didn't play much after halftime, due to the ass-kicking that Roosevelt put on West Allis Hale. He looked like a nice pick up for the Badgers, though, from what I could tell in his limited action. I'd love to see him play against Milwaukee Vincent tomorrow.

2) As I mentioned, Roosevelt had the ballgame in hand pretty early on. A big reason why was that Hale's marquee player, Akron recruit John Rybak, was sitting out. I was excited to see Rybak play against a legitimate player of his size, but I guess it just wasn't in the cards today. Another fan in our section reported that Rybak had appendicitis. Whatever was wrong with him, I hope it's something that can be fixed quickly, because Rybak is lots of fun to watch. I'm still a bit disappointed that my non-Milwaukee friends didn't get the chance to see the one guy there I had seen several times and really liked.
There aren't many better shooters out there.

3) Hale's usual starting center was also in street clothes, so their team was lacking its usual size advantage, and significant portions of its scoring ability. It really showed, too. This was not the Hale team that I saw earlier, with solid guards and five guys that could shoot the three. When Hale’s guards had to penetrate, they looked a lot less pretty. Things should be okay again when their starting line-up returns to normal, and they’re not playing one of the best teams in South Dakota.

4) One of Roosevelt’s head coaches had really bad hair. He looked just like Richard Marx on the cover of the album “Repeat Offender.” I guess modern hair styles haven’t come to South Dakota yet.

5) Joe Krabbenhoft was not only a good player, but he’s also no litter bug. After dropping a cup behind the team bench, he curled around the row of chairs which his team was on to retrieve and dispose of said cup. If I was a superstar basketball player, I might have let that cup lay there and let someone pick it up later. Of course, you’d hope that a superstar basketball player would have the hands to simply hang onto the cup in the first place. Credit for this point goes to several of the other friends I was attending the games with.

And with that, I’ll hang up the keyboard for awhile. Hopefully I’ll be back with the rest of my thoughts tonight.


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