Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Whitest Sequence in the World

If you watched the Villanova's 97-89 victory over St. Joe's last night in its entirety, you witnessed perhaps the whitest sequence in the history of basketball, performed by none other than everyone's favorite Duke transfer Taylor King.

With about 6 and half minutes left to play and Nova holding a comfortable 11-point lead, Corey Fisher stole the ball and passed ahead to a streaking Taylor King in the open floor. King took off and attempted to dunk … and I say attempted because it turned out a little something like this:

OK, not quite, but King took off from way too far out and got rejected by the rim, blowing an easy two points. Hasn't he ever heard that white men can't jump? To make matters worse — and more embarrassing — he hussled down the floor, stumbled, fell and committed a foul. It was, bar-none, the most unathletic, hilarious sequence of basketball I've ever seen. Never have I seen a player look more white. Call that racist if you want, but it makes sense. Taylor King is white, and the fact that he initially went to Duke and now goes to Villanova makes his whiteness even more emphatic. It was hilarity of the highest order. Too bad I can't find it on YouTube.

Truth be told, King actually had a tremendous game last night. He scored 20 points and nabbed nine boards, and he looks like a much more complete player than he did two seasons ago as a freshman at Duke. Back then, all he did was hover around the three-point line and bomb away, never getting dirty inside and not doing much else. But after sitting a year with his transfer, he looks like a completely different player. For starters, he's much more fit than he was as a baby-faced freshman playing for the worst team on earth. And he's shown an aggression and toughness inside that wasn't on display in his one season in Durham. He's banging inside, crashing the boards with reckless abandon, competing hard on defense and continuing to stroke it from anywhere on the court. On a team filled with talent, and more on its way next semester with the return of Reggie Redding, King is commanding more and more playing time with his game. Nova may not be nearly as good as their early-season ranking suggests just yet, but I wouldn't be surprised to see them get there by March.

With a rotation of Scottie Reynolds — who had a phenomenal game last night (22 points, 4-5 from the floor, 2-3 from three, 12-14 from the line, 6 boards, 5 assists … and 6 turnovers, which wasn't so good), Corey Fisher, Corey Stokes, Antonio Pena (also a really good game: 15 points, 5-8 shooting, 5-6 from the line, 7 boards, 2 steals, a block) and Reggie Redding playing big minutes last season and returning more seasoned and more confident joined by King, freshmen Maalik Wayns and Dominic Cheek, and Maurice Sutton, not to mention freshman Isaiah Armwood, this is another nightmare-inducing team manned by Jay Wright. They can get up and down the floor with just about anyone, and as long as Fisher and Reynolds play under control, this squad will be tough to beat.

Just don't ask Taylor King to dunk. The results are disastrous.

Speaking of disastrous, anyone catch the end of the Sixers game last night? Well if you didn't, let me lay out the end-of-game scenario for you. With 1:04 remaining, Allen Iverson made a jumper to tie the game at 86. The Sixers, by some miracle from God, were able to play good enough defense to force a shot clock violation on the ensuing possession. I know, I'm stunned too. I was expecting a layup by the Pistons to regain the lead. After making a great defensive stand, Andre Iguodala takes the ball hard to the rim, in line for a pretty makeable layup. He misses it. Samuel Dalembert then misses the putback, and on a third attempt chance, Iggy and Dalembert fight each other for the board and the ball goes out of bounds. Pathetic.

Iggy then plays great D on Rodney Stuckey, blocking his shot, only to have the ball go right back to Stuckey, who buries the shot to put the Pistons up two with 8.7 seconds left. On the ensuing possession, Allen Iverson gets the ball out of the timeout, just what everyone in Philadelphia wanted, and even with his poor shooting night and lack of game legs, we all wanted to see Al take the game-tying or game-winning shot. Instead, the Sixers ran a beautiful play, as Elton Brand set a devastating pick to free up Iggy all alone to the right of the top of the key. Iguodala, with absolutely no Detroit Piston around him, missed a wide open three-pointer that would have put the Sixers ahead.

That's two missed shots in the clutch from Iggy, shots you absolutely have to make if you want to be the man, especially considering the first was a layup and the second was literally a completely unguarded shot. You think Kobe misses that shot ever? Or Jordan? No, if they're uncovered, they're draining that 100 times out of 100. Hell, so is Iverson, probably even right now.

Andre Iguodala is a damn good basketball player. He really is. But he's not that guy, and he's certainly not someone I want taking the final shot. Yes, he's made a few big ones over the past year, but he's missed many more, and looked terrible doing it. Once Iverson's back in shape, I think it would be best for everyone if the Sixers let A.I. the first take those big shots he's accustomed to. Unless the Sixers are playing for John Wall. Then by all means, keep letting Iggy take horrible shots at crunch time and watching him miss them. I'm OK with that.

Why, you ask? Because John Wall is fucking amazing. He was amazing against UNC, and he was amazing again last night against UConn, scoring a game-high 25 points on 10-16 from the floor, 1-1 from three, 4-4 from the line, and swiping six steals in leading the undefeated Wildcats to a 64-61 victory. And he did it in spectacular fashion.

To start the game, Kentucky ripped off 12 straight points, highlighted by Wall and fellow freshman Eric Bledsoe running a picture-perfect fast break that ended in a nasty alley-oop:

At that point, up 12-0, it looked like the Huskies were dead in the water. But being a Jim Calhoun team, they didn't give up, went on an insane run of their own behind Gavin Edwards, Kemba Walker and Jerome Dyson, and went into the half with a 29-23 lead. The rest of the way it was tight, but in the end, John Wall was simply too much. He's just too good.

In a heated game, Wall scored 12 of Kentucky's final 15 points and iced the game with his three-point play on a drive to the hoop with 30 seconds left. He hit a dagger of a three, got out in the open court where he is impossible to guard, scored inside, outside, every which way. He was, just as he's been in every game so far this season, the best player on the floor, and whoever was second wasn't even close. Honestly, it's not fair what this kid is doing out there. No one should be this good this soon, especially as a point guard. But nothing fazes him. He looks in control of the moment just about every moment, especially in the big ones. And he's just a teenager. But make no mistake, John Wall, even if his age says he's a kid, is a man playing amongst boys right now.

And something tells me he'll never have a moment as embarrassing as Taylor King did last night. He's not white enough.

BallHype: hype it up!


  1. Yes, Taylor King had a great game...minus that God foresaken 30 seconds of what he attempted as "athletic achievement"