Sunday, January 16, 2005

The Boring Part of My Weekend Roundup

Well, as usual, the plate of games was full this weekend, and I didn't get to sample nearly as much as I wanted, taking in only two live games, only one of which was a particularly exciting game. My entire Saturday was shot due to a freight moving odyssey, and my hosting of 3 out-of-towners at my apartment, so I missed North Carolina-Wake Forest, and UWM-UW-Green Bay, the latter of which I almost certainly would have attended otherwise. I also had to turn down my friend Nick, who expressed some interest in heading to the Marquette-South Florida game on Saturday night. Nope, I was busy, but I still managed to catch a few games during my other down time, taking in Wauwatosa East playing host to Brookfield East on Friday night, and Michigan State at Wisconsin on Sunday afternoon.

Since it came first, I'll make my notes on the high school game. Even if it wasn't all that exciting, I was there.

1) I hadn't been overly exicted to see Tosa East and Brookfield East square off, but I wanted to have a low-key Friday night, my frequent partner in crime Dez is a Brookfield East grad, and Brookfield East was sitting atop the Greater Metro Confernce 3-0, so it seemed logical to check out the game. Since Brookfield East was undefeated in conference and had taken down Marquette in overtime, it this had the potential to be a decent game, unlike previous encounters between the Spartans and Red Raiders. And it sort of was. Brookfield East was never really out of striking distance, though I also never got the impression that they were going to make any sort of a run and win the thing. I've seen worse games, but I've certainly seen better.

2) Brookfield East doesn't have anyone over 6'5", and other than a few good shooters, not much stands out about them, but they play hard, and they are going to hang around with most people they play this year. If nothing else, they are well-coached. And as a bonus, their coach, Andy Farley, is someone that I have a vague memory of from my basketball playing days. I never met him, but I'll always remember him as the best player on the Elmbrook Middle School Silver team back when I was playing in middle school. Elmbrook had two teams--the Maroon and the Silver. The Maroon was the greatest collection of middle school athletes that I saw in my eighth grade year. The Silver seemed to be the leftovers. It kind of perplexed me that Farley played on the mediocre Silver, as the Maroon squad blew people off the floor, and he would have fit in nicely. Either way, both teams beat my team, the Longfellow Middle School Black squad, which won only two games the entire year. It's never a good sign for a team when I'm the starting center.

3) One guy on Brookfield East sort of perplexed me. He sat on the last seat on the bench, but only after they found another spot to place the water dispenser. He was the only guy on the team not to take his warm-up jersey off after warm-ups. At one point during the first quarter he was sent away from the bench to the locker room to retrieve water bottles when the game was still going on! Tough to keep the confidence up when this is your role on the team. I know being a 12th man can be difficult, but at some point you have to draw the line and keep some dignity. Even if your guys are thirsty, surely someone else can get the water bottles.

4) Jerry Smith, you ask? Well, he didn't take this one over. As per usual, he played a largely subdued game, and didn't hesitate to defer to teammates. And he threw down two dunks--including one high-flying alley-oop. But bigger than the alley-oop was his ability to fit-in on the court. In this game he showed that he can be a part of an offensive system. The first two minutes of the Marquette game (and much of the second half of that one, as well) showed that he can take over if necessary. So Smith continues to grow on me, despite my cautiousness towards his game for some time.

5) Speaking of dunks, Tosa East's Joe Kapp sort of threw one down on a fastbreak. It's not every day that you see a guy who's probably about 6'3" and 135 pounds, with arms no thicker than my wrist toss one down. Sort of. Nonetheless, Kapp is developing into a dependable scorer for the Red Raiders.

6) I wish I still had my roster from Friday night (sadly, I cut myself while doing dishes Saturday morning and bled all over it, forcing me to throw out the bio-hazard) because one of the Brookfield East guards deserves mention for blowing by Jerry Smith on a cross-over move at the top of the key and tossing in a lay-up. It's one of those moments that that kid will be talking about for years, like my friend Beau when he tells his story about Terry Black threatening him during a game. Well, except this will be a story where the storyteller doesn't end with "and then he only scored 24 points on me." Seriously, though, how cool would it be to just be some average guy watching a big-time college basketball player a few years from now and being able to say to your buddies "Yeah, I crossed him over and took him to the hoop back in high school."

7) Word had it that after the game Jerry Smith was flying down to check out the Wake Forest-North Carolina game, though I can't confirm that this is true. If so, he must have had some weekend, as I'm told he was in Madison on Sunday for the Wisconsin-Michigan State game. Not a bad weekend for either school to play host to him, as both had huge wins. Not a bad weekend for Smith, either, since I can't think of two games I would have rather attended this weekend. (Edit: Smith, in fact, was not at the Wake Forest-UNC game Saturday, as it was later confirmed for me that this was a false rumor.)

Notes on Michigan State-Wisconsin to follow when I get a chance.


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