December 11th, 2013
Frank O'Hara's "Lunch Poems" is charming, the most accessible book of poetry I ever finished. In the early '60s, O'Hara spent his lunch breaks in a park, writing the day's observations with simple words that sounded right.
O'Hara was 50 years ahead of his time. His "Lunch Poems" are the ancestor of tweets like "Ham sandwich with hella mustard plus keen observation".
November 28th, 2013
|11:37 pm - A loophole in the rules|
Joe Flacco said that the opposing coach went on the field to tackle his teammate. Flacco said he got in trouble for making that suggestion during the Super Bowl, implying by equality there should be trouble for Steelers coach Timlin. He stole my move, Flacco said.
Logically, Flacco said — and Tomlin did — the right thing.
If Pacific coach Lynne Roberts said, "if you want to jump from behind the table and make a clean foul to stop a layup…"
"Sure," I'd say.
"Just don't hurt yourself."
"We have the best trainer."
"Yeah, even so. Sara's got enough to do."
Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb might say:
"It would be a serious — unacceptable — loophole in the rules if my stepping out on the court to stop an uncontested layup cost less than the two points."
Then she'd think for half a second, and say: "This is why our press table is on the mezzanine, because some of you might do that."
Here's the most dangerous and logical extension of such a loophole: When a fan decides on his own to take advantage. The fan will say: "I'm sorry I didn't get there in time to take a charge." Because that would've helped the team more.
The penalty should be greater than the level of flagrancy that gives up two shots while retaining possession.
Coaches Roberts and Gottlieb have no knowledge of my writing this fiction.
November 23rd, 2013
|08:11 pm - Pacific 75 Arizona 66|
Pacific beat Arizona 75-66 Saturday in Stockton.
The score was tied 29-29 at half and 50-50 with 8:40 remaining. Pacific switched to a zone defense, and went on a 16-5 run.
Pacific coach Lynne Roberts said Arizona's guards are athletic and quick, and "we weren't slowing them down. The zone slowed them down a little bit."
The zone also shielded Pacific forward Kenyon, playing with three fouls. "I felt protected," said Kenyon, who scored 8 points during the second-half burst. She was the game's leading scorer and rebounder with 20 and 10.
The surprise 2-3 zone is an idea of assistant coach Gavin Peterson, in his first year as Pacific's defensive coordinator. "We have given him very little practice time with that," said Roberts.
Though one drawback to the zone is that defenders are sometimes out of rebounding position, Roberts agreed that Kenyon — with two defensive rebounds — improved her positioning at the key time.
Junior guard Madison Parrish scored 17 points on six field goals. All six of her baskets (3-of-5 treys) came while Pacific was trailing. "She kept them in the game when no one else was doing anything," said the Stockton Record reporter. "She was going to be my lead in the first half, and then Kenyon and Moore (13 second-half points) became the story." Parrish was the only player to play all 40 minutes.
November 21st, 2013
|11:47 pm - St. Mary's 89 UC Santa Barbara 79|
For the first time this season, I shared St. Mary's balcony with officials observer Larry Sheppard, 1995 NCAA official of the year. He asked what I thought of the new contact rules. Larry suggested that perhaps I hadn't noticed (sportswriters are mostly dumb and homers, Larry thinks.
I've noticed, I said, citing games with 50 fouls that last 2:15.
"Maybe [the players] will adjust. In a game like this here, they should adjust pretty quickly, but what about a game against Stanford? It's impossible to keep your hands off 'em when they're in there banging."
With 14 minutes left, Larry said: "Here we go. That's the 12th foul, and they're only six minutes into the half."
A couple of players fouled out before St. Mary's had a 85-77 lead with 16 seconds remaining. Then St. Mary's sophomore Shannon Mauldin and UCSB freshman Kristen Brance exchanged blows far away from from the ball. Serious charges were about to be leveled, so the officials huddled around the replay monitor for a while. (Mauldin and Brance were ejected, suspensions to come, maybe.)
46 fouls, 41 free throws attempted, time of game about 1:50.
November 17th, 2013
|12:51 am - Notes for Scribbler before Pacific at Fordham|
My friend Scribbler from Queens is attending Pacific at Fordham on Sunday. Scribbler and I get along though we write about basketball so differently — I look for X's and O's while she does not, and she has a lot more to say.
I can hardly wait to read the next http://gamenotesofdoom.blogspot.com.
3 — Most effective when attacking the defensive seams, which she's doing more often and with more patience.
4 — One of three freshmen we might not see until next year.
5 — Outstanding first step.
10 — Extended her game north-south. Mostly used to see her move east-block-to-left-block, but now she's beating everyone baseline-to-baseline, catching long passes for layups. 15 and 10 guaranteed (30 and 20 bound to happen), if not foul trouble.
11 — Has McKenzie-like range away from the basket, but going toward the basket, E. was split-the-defenders-behind-the-back, while Parrish puts her shoulder down and aims for contact with three defenders.
12 — Coach said she'll be one of my favorites (I like that she always seems to laughing off the court). Shoots without conscience.
14 — The fiercest competitor I've ever seen, coupled with excellent defensive anticipation. Nifty footwork on catch-and-shoot: crossover step breaks her momentum, the gets her feet back together in the air. All-academic, so if Sam couldn't play, I'd describe her with my favorite euphemism "gets good grades", but she can.
20 — Maybe an all-freshman candidate, but the team's so good, minutes are limited.
21 — A scary-streaky shooter, but too few minutes available to let her find a shooting rhythm. Engineering student, one of my favorite kids whether she plays or not.
23 — Scores a point per minute, but minutes are scarce.
24 — If I had to name an all-defensive team since 2006, the guards are really easy: KiKi Moore and Jasmine Dana. And that's after watching Moore in just three games while an ailment seems to affect her motivation.
32 — Makes blue collar plays on both ends. The post rotation (10, 32, 40) will average 25 and 20 on a team that's crowded with talented 2/3s.
40 — Created one play on opening night that will endear her to me for two years. KJ dribbled in place above the right elbow, reading the floor. Heard set herself on the left block, and when she saw the lane open, called "come on" to the ballhandler. KJ went right elbow to left ankle, using Heard's screen, then 10 feet left baseline. Heard popped to the left elbow, and the defenders were caught between conceding the baseline to the guard or the short jumper to the post. When people talk about players moving without the ball, they don't take enough notice of plays like this, where the player without the ball directed an improvisation.
44 — The 13th man. I haven't even met her yet.
November 15th, 2013
Our Pacific teams have yet to win a game east of Utah. The Tigers won in Southern Utah in Dec. '06, and Utah State in Nov. 2007, but any further east, we're 0-18.
That shit had better end Sunday at Fordham.
November 6th, 2013
Pacific earned a vote in the national coaches' poll.
The coach that put Pacific on the list figures the Tigers will rebuild that well and so quickly after bringing in eight new players and one new defensive coordinator.
A writer at espn.com mentioned Pacific in his mid-major outlook, and said junior forward Kendall Kenyon is the player to watch. In citing two of Kenyon's double-doubles, he overlooked the 21 point, 19 rebound, 7 block game.
The addicts at rebkell.net conducted a fantasy draft Wednesday night. In an eight-team league, Kenyon was picked in the 5th round, leaving two other managers disappointed.
In two years, that kid will need an agent.
November 2nd, 2013
|04:37 pm - Pacific 66, Cal State Hayward 62|
Pacific beat Cal State Hayward 66-62 in an exhibition game Friday. Kendall Kenyon had 18 points, 14 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 blocks for Pacific.
Eight months ago, when we nearing the end for five seniors plus two freshmen who probably weren't coming back, I wondered if the coaching staff could recruit enough talent to keep the team competitive. Then came the relative flood of signings by promising players, and I asked 'where is everyone going to fit?'
When all-conference point guard Gena Johnson lost her season in a car accident, the team became middle-heavy. Kristina Johnson is purely a one guard. Kenyon, Shanice Butler, and Washington transfer Marjie Heard are 4/5 types. Everyone else is a 2 or a 2/3.
The two Fresno St. transfers — Madison Parrish and all-Mountain West KiKi Moore — will share time at the one, but when does KJ play? (KJ was very good Friday, maybe as strong as we've ever seen her.) If Parrish and Moore also play two, what about shooter Claire Conricode? Conricode (three minutes Friday, zero for freshman Halie Bergman) might wind up in the role of "designated corner shooter to spread the floor during the last play of the half".
Sandy Simpson at UC Davis once told me 'on every team — no matter how well the team is playing — someone will have an issue with playing time'. Last season, while Pacific was on its way to 27-8 and the Big West Conference championship, the logjam was in front — the Kendalls were all-conference, so they were booked for 25 or 30 minutes, leaving about 25 for three players.
This year, the minutes for twos and threes will be shared by eight or nine players, and Moore will land on the all-West Coast Conference team, so there's a 28-minute chunk. Then what?
Cal State Hayward — it'll never be Cal State East Bay for me; when CSUH was granted CSU status 40 years ago, it was a moment of pride in Hayward — had a forward who mesmerized me for a minute. "That kid looks just like Danielle Peacon," I thought.
I figured it was just my 50-something eyes playing hob again. Occasionally, Parrish reminded me of Jordan Rogers — same build and hair, even a similar free throwing style. Australian freshman Emily Simons reminds me of our first Australian Claire McLeod. It will be fortunate if Simons is as versatile as McLeod, but more durable.
This Hayward forward looked like Peacon, and shot treys like Peacon.
Danielle Peacon was Coach Roberts' second much-heralded freshman. The first was Iowa phenom Jenn Jorgensen, who played three minutes and then went home (recently married, coaching at Illinois Wesleyan — I'm glad she's doing so well). The second was Peacon — "three times first team all-conference, or I suck," said Roberts.
Peacon made the all-freshman team — on track for three years of first team all-conference, perhaps — but she had a lot of growing up to do, and moved on to Mt. San Antonio JC, followed by news of her heading to USC or Nevada. She wound up in Hayward, and given that the Cal State Hayward women were the first women's team I ever saw in 1977, I hope Peacon is well settled, and tears up the CCAA.
Peacon and Kenyon — who made the Big West all-freshmen team in consecutive years — fell together in the second half. Kendall got to her feet first — I thought it was an odd little microcosm of Pacific women's basketball during the Roberts/Davis/Van Hollebeke era.
October 16th, 2013
|05:28 am - Sullivan's Travels -> Who Framed Roger Rabbit? -> Wreck-It Ralph|
"Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" is on a long list of my favorite movies, and it's up there with "Star Wars" for most times seen in a movie house.
In 1988, "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" was a landmark for motion pictures combining animated characters with human actors, a tremendous advance from Gene Kelly's dance with Jerry the mouse in 1944. The story was terrific, too, integrating tropes from detective noir and slapstick cartoons.
A year ago, "Wreck-It Ralph" came along as the spiritual and technical descendant to "Roger". They shared the notion that characters in cartoons and video games are alive, that Toontown and Sugar Rush are fantastic worlds within a world. But while the toons in "Roger" were limited to Toontown and Hollywood, "Ralph" moved the idea forward by letting the characters travel from one arcade game to another.
I found 1941's "Sullivan's Travels" to be a direct ancestor of "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?".
"Sullivan", like "Roger", is a movie set within the movie business. John L. Sullivan is a prosperous comedy director set on making a serious work, so he poses as a hobo to experience life on the other side of the tracks, which turns much darker than he anticipates.
When Sullivan's ordeal is bleakest, he and other hopeless men find a laugh in a Disney cartoon featuring Pluto. Sullivan watches the cartoon in a way that "Roger" copies in a pivotal scene where Roger and detective Valiant view a Disney short starring Goofy.
The most well-known link between "Sullivan's Travels" and "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" is Jessica Rabbit's peek-a-boo hairstyle, made famous by Veronica Lake. I think Mrs. Rabbit and Lake have more in common than the hairstyle — Jessica's best-remembered line was "I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way", while Veronica's appeal for me in 1948's "Blue Dahlia" was her matter-of-factness, and The Girl in "Sullivan's Travels" is more sweet kid than sex icon.
September 18th, 2013
Washington +5.5 Atlanta 151
Which .500 team do you want, the team that won 2, lost 2, won 2, lost 2; or the team that won all but one for two months, and then played .333.
Picks: Washington, over
Phoenix +7.5 at Los Angeles 163
Phoenix coach Russ Pennell followed Lute Olson at Arizona. Can't win that one. Pennell precedes Dan Majerle at Grand Canyon. Can't win that one, either. Taking over the talented Mercury after Corey Gaines was ushered out — good opportunity.
Pick: Los Angeles