The College Hoops Gazette

Doyle Hargraves

""One Hop & 'Tween the Legs""

In Praise of Q

Doyle gets religion occasionally, not unlike the way Little Richard veers between mortal sin, sweet salvation, and Geico commercials. Here Mr. Hargraves sings hosannas to Quentin Thomas.

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One-Eye'd Dick

"Speaks Softly, Carries Big Stick"

I Like Duke's Chances, Baby!

During my six weeks of throat convalescence here in Durham, I have looked out my window from up on the third floor of the Duke Basketball HQ Tower, and I have been privileged to take it all in, day in and day out!...

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Desmond Watson

"Pay These Players Now!"

A List of Concerns About Duke

The Duke game is nearly upon us, and the conventional wisdom says that no team in the country is playing harder than the Disciples of K. To that I say, what's new? Those guys always play harder than everyone else....

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Jill Reston

"From Way Downtown"

To Zone or Not to Zone

I don't believe the sky is falling. One loss shouldn't be cause for throwing out what has worked for 18 games. (Nor should the loss lead to the kind of tears being shed in the student section at the end...

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February 20, 2008 - Dahm Triplets Critique The "Roy v. K" Flap

Editor's Note: Last night our man Doyle caught up with the famous Dahm Triplets (the triplets have been in Daytona for the big race and advertising their three woman show "The Famous Dahm Triplets"). Not only do the ladies write their own stage shows and design their own costumes, turns out they are rabid hoops fans and fine essayists to boot. Here's what they told Doyle, who asks that we send them his love and his apologies, whatever that means:

Roy Williams is a straight shooting son-of-a-gun. He likes Coke. He probably wears slippers around the house. He doesn’t drink scotch or go to wine parties with his psychiatrists. He is the salt. We know firsthand, we partied with him at a Hooters opening once where we did a PA (personal appearance). He’s good people.

So when we hear that Roy has taken exception to the underhanded, sneaky, passive-aggressive quip leveled at the Tar Heels by Coach K after their loss at Wake Forest on Sunday, we have to stand up for our coach. We have to call a whiner a whiner, and a sniveler a sniveler.

Coach K, you are a sniveling whiner.

There’s a feeling out there in the college basketball world that Coach K is a master manipulator and strategist. That every utterance or coaching decision is a tactical, well thought out chess move. Bullshit. He’s just a petty bully with a penchant for needling folks. If you ever hear some of the amazing stories about the way he’s treated former players, current players and coaches, you’d be inclined to agree. We don’t have to relate them here, just do a little digging, or contact Doyle Hargraves. Did you know he only sleeps 3 hours a night, spending most of the dark hours working on his forthcoming treatise on Duke Basketball and the decline of American sportsmanship, and empire? It's a challenging, fascinating topic.

Anyhow, the fact is, the Tar Heels have played 5 games without their engine. They’ve gutted out tough wins with a freakin’ MASH unit on the floor. To accuse Roy of ‘putting it out there’ in front of the media insults everybody’s intelligence. Does K think that he is messing with the mind of an 18-year old? Does he think he can get into Roy’s mind this way? No. He just found himself in an unguarded moment and the sniveler inside was let out of its cave. It’s happened many, many times before.

And if he thinks this is gonna help his team’s chances in Cameron on March 8, and in the ACC tourney, he is more delusional than we thought. Payback is, in a word we normally hate to use because of our liberated agenda, a bitch.

February 13, 2008 - Lawson Draft and Game Evaluation

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There's an interesting breakdown of Ty Lawson's game and his pro prospects by Jonathan Givony over at DraftExpress. Here are a few highlights. It's worth a read.

There’s probably no better time to evaluate Ty Lawson’s contribution to North Carolina than right now, after sitting out the last four games with a high ankle sprain and giving us a chance to see just what he means to his team. North Carolina has struggled in every game he’s missed so far, losing one to Duke, needing overtime to defeat Clemson at home, and then struggling to defeat some of the worst teams in the ACC on the road against Florida State and Virginia. It’s pretty clear by now that they miss Lawson, and any talk of him just being a product of their system has been proven to be incorrect. From what we can tell—he is actually the key to the way they play. Look no further than the fact that they score 92.1 points per game with Lawson in their lineup, and “only” 83.4 points without him.

Comparing the prospect we saw last year and the one in front of us today, we clearly see some progress made between his freshman and sophomore years. Lawson is scoring at a much better rate, but is also doing so while being significantly more efficient. He’s getting to the free throw line better, and has improved his percentages from the stripe dramatically, nearly 14%. His 3-point percentages, assists and turnovers have stayed virtually the same, and he’s currently #2 in the country in Pure Point Rating.

With that said, Lawson’s strengths and weaknesses still look to be about the same. There still isn’t anyone that can stay in front of him in transition, and his ability to push the ball up the floor and slice his way through traffic remains unparalleled at the collegiate level. His body control, ball-handling skills, and incredible speed in the open floor are what make him the terrific prospect he is, and are the main reason why North Carolina is the second highest scoring team in the country.

43% of Lawson’s offense comes in transition, according to Synergy Sports Technology’s quantified player reports. That’s an incredibly high number—for comparison, Derrick Rose stands at 23.3%, DJ Augustin at 17.8%, Eric Gordon at 21.9%, O.J. Mayo at 18.3%, Jerryd Bayless at 16.8%, and Darren Collison is at 25.3%...

Defensively, we find mostly a mixed bag. On one hand, Lawson is very physical, strong, with superb lateral quickness, capable of staying in front of almost any point guard and being very pesky contesting shots. He also does an excellent job getting in the passing lanes, and will ignite some one-man fast breaks all by himself every game by picking up a couple of steals.

February 13, 2008 - A Valentine for All: Share Your Coach K Story

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Should any reader doubt that Coach K's humanitarian record comes any shorter against Dean Smith's generosity than his record against Smith on the hardwood (that would be 14-28 lifetime), rest easy! Coach K's web site now features a page called "Share Your Coach K Story," and sweet mother of Jesus, are there stories to be told. In the past, we've taken our shots at Herr K, and so in the interest of fairness, we've decided to let him toot his own horn right here on our front page.

This unedited testimonial, entitled "Coach K has inspired and touched the lives of countless individuals and is Respected by everyone" features a "fiancee" with Substance Abuse Disease and Coach K supplying the miracle cure. Read it and weep. Please. Then perhaps send the site your own testimonial?

Prior to my Freshman year in High School, 1994, I was presented with the opportunity of a lifetime. I attended Duke Basketball Camp, and I was able to meet and have my picture taken with Coach K. This picture has always been proudly displayed since that day, and still today after relocating to Salt Lake City, Utah, it is one of my most treasured possessions. I have endured many challenges and trials following that memorable opportunity to meet and speak with Coach K. I became hopeless as I never achieved the success I dreamed about on the court. Needless to say, this was the part of my life that was the easiest event for me to overcome. I completed college at a small Liberal Arts College in Annville, PA, Lebanon Valley College, where I actually was blessed with the opportunity to play on a Division III Nationally Ranked Basketball team. Following graduation, I remained employed at my employer that I worked for since I was 17 years old. Then, what I thought to be an amazing career advancement opportunity was presented to me, as well as the opportunity to move to Salt Lake City to be with my girlfriend. I have experienced many medical conditions, in addition to supporting my now Fiancee' during her recovery from a Substance Abuse Disease. I have always possessed a very large heart, and no matter the consequences, I never would allow a person in need of help or assistance to be passed by or given up on. My prayers were answered as she is now in recovery from her disease, and had been clean since my employer discharged me following one year of employment. Needless to say, as I accepted the position, I was mislead about the work conditions, promise of a work/life balance, as well as proper training and assistance from my directors. So, I have been left hopeless all due to helping my Fiancee' get well, and due to my conditions I was entitled to reasonable accommodations that were never given any attention. This past Friday, however, I received a blessing of finally being diagnosed with the underlying chronic condition I have been experiencing for quit a long time, Bipolar Disorder. As frightening as I was when informed of my diagnosis, I finally have a renewed sense of hope in my life that was being destroyed each day. I quickly realized my need to come to grips with my disorder, and I can now live a life that is so called "normal" with proper treatment and counseling. Sorry for the long history of my life, and that was the short version, haha. I just wanted to let you know, Coach K, that I began reading your book, Leading with the Heart. I have forever been a Duke fanatic, and I remember the exact moment when I fell in love with the Duke Basketball Program. It was the game at the Meadowlands Arena when Christian L. hit the turn-around jumper from the foul line, following a perfect pass from Grant Hill. I remember praying during the TV commercials for God to help Duke pull off, what ended up being one if not the greatest moment in NCAA History! I also have to rank it up there with the comeback win against Maryland with 1 min. and 1 sec. to go and Duke trailed by 10 or 11 points. Then, Jason Williams scored 11 points in less than a minute I think to take the game into OT. As I reflect back upon these moments, I believe it was your leadership philosophy and the players knowing that YOU believed they could come back and win! As I have begun reading your book, it has provided me with a great help as I pursue a new career opportunity. You have proven that your leadership and approach to coaching, leadership, and business will lead to success! This current Duke team, as all Duke teams, I always have confidence because of the leadership and morals they gain from you. This will be a magical year, and you can count on my work that Duke will win the NCAA Championship! Well, I apologize for rambling, I just wanted you to know the impact you have made upon my life, as well as countless others who I do not even know. Thank you for everything, and as I approach a new career, I am following the blueprint you have established. I am doing this because I know it will never fail! I wish you, your family, and the Duke team the best of luck and may God's blessings be with you each and every day! Thank you for taking the time to allow me to thank you, and for listening even though you do not know me! Respectfully, Erik


February 12, 2008 - VIRGINIA PRE-GAME: Our Three Predictions

Desmond Watson.jpg Desmond: If Ty Lawson doesn't play, Carolina wins tonight 85-77 in a game that is much closer than the final outcome. Singletary goes off and scores 30+ against our hapless guards. Tyler Hansbrough struggles through an uncharacteriscally bad game (he is exhausted), but Skinny Deon finally gets his shooting touch and scores 16 points. Look for him to be our saving grace.
Doyle Hargraves.jpg Doyle: Desmond, you mountainfuck of ignorance! Regardless of whether Singleton goes off against our hapless guards, as you call them, the key to this game is in the paint. I'd expect Tyler to get 46 if he wasn't coming off a Herculean effort just 48 hours ago. But as it is, he'll only drop 33 or so. Even without Lawson, the Heels should win in a cakewalk. How easily we forget about Deon Thompson's stronger play of late. To paraphrase Pitino: Wally Walker ain't walking through that door. Mark Ivarone ain't walking through that door. Hell, even Tom Sheehey ain't walking through that door. Heels win in a romp, 92-68.
One-Eye'd Dick.JPG One-Eye'd Dick: There's a big game in Charlottesville tonight, and that reminds me of something: how great does Coach K have those Dukies playing, baby?! I mean, you really have to hand it to him to take this rag-tag group of kids who are still learning the ropes and get them to perform at such a high level considering their modest backgrounds! I can't say enough about them even though I never stop! Ever, baby! Now that I've got my voice back, and I thank god every day for it, I am not going to waste a minute -- I raise my voice to the sky and shout for the world to hear! I really do! Watch out for those Duke Blue Devils from Durham, North Carolina my friends!

February 12, 2008 - Why is Roy Calling Out Ty Lawson?

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Maybe we're reading too much into a few of the quotes we've read from Roy Williams since Ty Lawson's ankle injury, but he seems to be calling out his player in a way doesn't quite read simply as easy-going, aw-shucks goofing around. Asked when Lawson would return, on Monday Williams said, "I don't know that there is a timetable. I think we've just got to wait until he starts feeling better with it. The kid's not been hurt very often and kids that haven't been hurt think that sometimes things have to be perfect before they come back. That could be part of Tywon's deal. But at the same time it still hurts. We're just going to have to wait until it stops hurting."

He's clearly saying he's not sure if Ty is giving him the straight scoop, or rather, that Ty himself knows what it is. Fair enough, perhaps. But Williams does have a habit of questioning his guys, to say nothing of ripping his players in the press after poor performances. Particularly for their defensive efforts. Or foibles, as the case may be.

This is no great sin, but it sure is different than what Roy's mentor Dean ever did, and sometimes it makes us scratch our heads here at the main office. Most of us, anyhow. Doyle Hargraves paces around the office pulling his hair and and reminds us that, as he understands it, Roy has lost teams late in the year when this strategy backfires on an exhausted group. We'll see what happens. But boy do we miss Mr. Lawson.

February 11, 2008 - Duke Is At It Again

The great thing about Duke is that opponents don't have to doctor videos or photoshop pictures. Those guys just let it all hang out there for the world to see. First they grind their groins together in celebration (see below). Now this. Not that it wouldn't be fun to drop Dick Vitale's voice into the scene here, calling the play-by-play... not that there's anything wrong with it.

February 06, 2008 - GAME DAY: IN QT WE TRUST

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There is reason to feel queasy about tonight's game. Ty Lawson's ankle may keep him out of the game, and if so, the Tar Heels simply cannot expect to run their offense as they'd like to. In fact, the expected quickness advantage goes to Duke, at least in terms of running the break off of defensive pressure. Suddenly finding ourselves the underdogs, we here at CHG will abstain from making predictions, especially just a few days removed from the recent unexpectedness of the Super Bowl.

Should you be worried and need firing up, or worry about the Heels' own level of fire, try this article from the Fayetteville Observer, in which Ty Hansbrough appears to be nursing a grudge with Duke and Coach K, typically, shows his ass.

Speaking of which, in this piece from IC, Coach K expresses doubt about the extend of Lawson's injury (he has a habit of doubting our players can actually be hurt, doesn't he?).

And lastly, here's what Roy has to say about the state of Lawson's ankle. May it improve mightily during the course of the afternoon... we'll finish by quoting Hansbrough and we'll keep our fingers crossed:

“You know how fast [Lawson] is and what he brings to the court. But also, I think that ‘Q’ is going to step up big for us.”