It’s the post-Dook episode. Buckle up. What a night — most of it terrible. The Coach K trophy, the Justise Winslow flying kick, the Dook managers holding towels over Tyus Jones. It was a full night of Dookiness.
It’s been a couple days since the Rasheed Sulaimon bombshell has dropped, and the story, which was broken by Duke’s student newspaper, has been slow to trickle into the national media. Yesterday, it was reported that Coach K and his staff knew about the sexual assault allegations for a full year and took no action. You’d think there would be an outcry similar to the Penn State scandal, but so far, not even close. Most outlets have been silent or non-judgmental.
The only exception has been Art Chansky.
Mike Krzyzewski and Kevin White should resign their posts at Duke for harboring knowledge for almost one full year that Rasheed Sulaimon had been accused of raping two women in two separate incidents.
He raises one solid point, which is that Carolina is more vulnerable to scandal-driven headlines because it’s a public university and therefore more open to investigation. Duke, being private, can just lock its doors, turn off the lights and pretend no one is home.
At Carolina, the incessant reportage on the academic-athletic scandal by mostly one media outlet has kept the university on the wrong side of the headlines for more than four years. Besides having to comply with Freedom of Information Act lawsuits filed by the media, UNC has continued to hurt itself by giving the public and NCAA more material with independent studies like the Wainstein Report, which may have answered some questions but raised twice as many more.
On the one hand, going into the game, many predicted a blow-out. Dook was favored by 7.5 points and seemed to be hitting its stride while the Tar Heels were in the midst of a major funk. So just the fact that Carolina played so well has to be a nice surprise. But on the other hand, it’s not good that this team has two epic collapses in the last three weeks.
Tokoto was just awesome in most every facet of the game, from scoring to rebounding to defense. And his reverse dunk was huge. Many players would have just laid the ball up. By adding a little more oomph to it, he energized the team and quieted the crowd. That’s huge. At times this season, it feels like Carolina has really been missing someone like that — someone who’s cold-hearted and just puts a dagger into the opposing team. This team needs to get a bit nastier.
Kennedy Meeks was also big. At times, he had trouble guarding Okafor one-on-one, but who wouldn’t? He didn’t back down on the offensive end though, banging straight into the chest of whomever happened to be guarding him. Loved his effort, his rebounding and his hands.
Brice Johnson also had a strong game. You had to figure going into this one that he would be the one UNC player Dook might not have an answer for. Sure enough, he seemed to be able to score almost at will around the bucket. Which made the team’s decision to start shooting jump shots at the end all the more puzzling.
I get that Paige was being smothered by the defense and didn’t have much of an opportunity to score, but still, you’d expect a bit more from someone who’s a pre-season All American. As the game went on, it became pretty clear that it wasn’t going to be Paige’s night. That’s fine. It happens. So WHY at the end of regulation was the play drawn up for Paige? Why is he always the default last-shot-taker? Throw it to Meeks or Johnson instead. See what’s working on a particular night. Don’t always just default to the “star.”
Carolina doesn’t close out games well. That’s become pretty clear. And against Dook, you could see when it all started to fall apart. There was a point with about two minutes left when the team stopped playing and started thinking. They stopped attacking and just looked scared and unsure of themselves. Not good. I understand the need to burn the clock, but is burning 20 seconds worth taking the team out of the offensive flow? Watching the guard hold the ball until 10 seconds left on the shot clock just so someone can heave up a desperate shot is so frustrating. What happened to just continuing to play? Isn’t two points more valuable than 20 seconds?
The cries of “this team is soft” are gonna get louder now. Maybe the team is soft. Carolina definitely lacks a Psycho T type who plays physical and can be counted on to give maximum effort. Were Hansbrough to have gotten the ball nine feet from the basket, with UNC down and 7 seconds left, like Hicks did, Psycho T would have thrown his body towards the rim and tried to dunk it. Hicks just looked panicked. No one on Carolina looked like they were wanting to take that last shot. The roster is loaded with talent but if there’s one element that’s really missing (besides outside shooting), it’s the lack of an enforcer type who won’t back down from opponents or big moments.
The refs missed some huge calls, including the hold on Tokoto by Winslow, and blew some other ones. Johnson got called for at least one phantom foul, and his fouling out of the game sealed UNC’s fate. Watch below as Jefferson shoves Johnson into the defender, who then flops. And the stoppages at the end of the game to fix the clock certainly helped Dook. But the loss is not on the refs. This one’s on Carolina. Make foul shots, get a simple rebound and the game would have been over.
Desmond Hubert is apparently out for the seasons with a torn ACL. Terrible news. The big man hasn’t been playing too much of late and has seen most of his minutes gobbled up by Joel James, but still. Dez was an excellent defender and arguably UNC’s best shot blocker. He’ll certainly be missed, and this is no way for his college career to end. It would have been great to see him start against Duke on Senior Day and maybe slap one of Okafor’s hook shots into the third row.
Roy Williams had this to say:
“Desmond is our best defensive post player and a wonderful kid who helps us in so many ways that fans don’t see each day but our coaches and his teammates appreciate,” UNC coach Roy Williams said in a school-issued release. “I just hate it for the youngster that he won’t be able to play any more in his senior season. Desmond is a great teammate, and they will rally around him and give him plenty of support.”
And now, Carolina’s already-depleted bench gets even thinner.
One of the central figures driving the “UNC gave athletes a pass” is former learning specialist Mary Willingham. If you’ve been following this whole thing, you probably know about her. And you probably also know how you feel about her. Some people credit her as an honest whistleblower, just trying to shed a little light on a problem. Others have pointed out troubling inconsistencies in her stories and research.
Regardless of how you feel, you should read this with an open mind. It’s a quite exhaustive investigation into what Willingham could and could not have known, based on actual verifiable information. Her most famous assertion that she worked with someone on the 2005 men’s national championship basketball team “who couldn’t read” seemed a little fishy. Now it appears to be complete bunk.
I’m sure you’re as sick of the whole “Coach K reaches 1,000″ thing as we are. Great accomplishment. Congratulations and all that. But over on the Inside Carolina message boards, a fan has posted a little truth. Thought we’d share.
For those of you on Tobacco Road hearing the onslaught of “K, the Greatest Ever” riff, here are a few talking points for you to send back to the fans from the school in Durham.
OK we have to admit that K is a very good coach, but let’s let everyone in the media catch their breath about the “Greatest of all time, K”. The reason he has so many wins is that he’s playing more games. In Coach Smith’s first season he played in 16 games, in K’s first season, 25. As the seasons get longer you can rack up more stats. The current #2 of win totals in Jim Boeheim only 40 behind K, anyone want to make the case that Boeheim is the 2nd best coach of all time (Over Wooden, Smith, Allen, Rupp, Knight, etc)? Didn’t think so.
And if winning 1000 games during Coach K’s career is such a great accomplishment, guess who deserves a big pat on the back? NORTH CAROLINA, because in the same time period that Coach K won 1000 games UNC won, that’s right, MORE, 1047!! (if there is a student reading this message board, this stat needs to be on a big sign in baseline seats for the Duke-Carolina TV audience).
Another stat you might look at is winning percentage, Dean Smith 77% Coach K, 69%.
Dean’s record against K? 24-14 (and for those who want to say the numbers are skewed because of K’s early years at Duke getting his program started, K’s record is worse against Smith during his last ten games, when his program was well established, than his first 10 games against Carolina while coaching Duke).
We haven’t fact-checked these stats, but they certainly don’t seem that far off, just glancing over them.