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NCAA title game revisited

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 In the five NCAA games prior to title night, he averaged 11.0 points and 10.4 rebounds a game. But against the Tar Heels he was in nearly immediate foul trouble and finished with two rebounds and zero points (all three of his shots attempts were from point-blank range). And yet Illinois was still within a couple of misses on clean looks at 3-pointers by Luther Head and Dee Brown of winning the championship. * A much-repeated criticism of Illinois on its play against the Tar Heels was that it attempted too many deep jumpers. Indeed, the Illini fired up a final-game record 40 attempts from 3-point range, hitting 12. But whatever scoring Bruce Weber’s team might have been able to coax out of its post players was dissolved by Augustine’s figurative no-show and by the team’s 6-5 (max) power forward Roger Powell’s inability to score down low against the taller Tar Heels. * Considering how little it got of a positive nature out of center James Augustine, it’s surprising that Illinois was in a position into the final minute of the game. The 6-foot-9 lefty, who shot 62 percent from the field while averaging 10.1 points and 7.6 rebounds on the season for the Illini, was the Most Valuable Player during the Big Ten Conference tournament. It’s not as if I didn’t have countless things that were more in need of my immediate attention. But, thanks to TiVo (what a grand invention), Sunday night I watched the April 4 NCAA championship game between North Carolina and Illinois in its entirety for the first time since being courtside in the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis. Some observations . . . forgive me if I’m written them before: center_img The Illini guards were successful taking defenders off the dribble early but the Tar Heels were in a zone much of the second half, effectively cutting off their penetration opportunities. * Had North Carolina not prevailed, the “under-achieving” tag would have been difficult for Coach Roy Williams and his players to peel off. Four of those Tar Heels (Sean May, Raymond Felton, Rashad McCants and Marvin Williams) were among the first 16 selections in the June 28 NBA and three other key members of that team starters Jawad Williams and Jackie Manuel, and reserve Melvin Scott) were exceptional four-year players. There you go. Just what you were looking for on a Tuesday in mid-August more national championship analysis! Big Man Camp Approximately 60 college and NBA post players were on hand last week in Las Vegas for the 28th edition of the legendary coach Pete Newell’s camp used by players to enhance their low-post skills and footwork, which many players even some earning hefty salaries are sorely missing. According to Jeff Fellenzer (the Wilson High and USC graduate who is the executive director of the Pete Newell Challenge) and several NBA personnel directors in attendance at the camp that was held in Cox Pavilion, sophomore Patrick O’Bryant (Bradley) and senior Rick Cornett (Notre Dame) were among the most impressive players during the week. The 7-foot O’Bryant also caught NBA scouts’ attention while serving as a counselor at the Michael Jordan Flight School camps in Santa Barbara earlier this month. Others who seemed to catch on to what Newell and his instructors (including Metro State coach Mike Dunlap, like so many in the sport, a Newell “disciple”) tried to teach them included Louis Amundson (UNLV), Marcus Arnold (Illinois; a transfer from Illinois State who will be eligible to play for the Illini this season), Charlie Bass (Ball State), Cass Mattheus (Utah State) and Caleb Green (Oral Roberts). The ninth Pete Newell Challenge, set for Dec. 21 in The Arena of Oakland, has Stanford-Princeton and Cal-DePaul matchups. Newell, who lives in Rancho Santa Fe (near Del Mar), turns 90 on Aug. 31. A reunion of some of the players he coached at Michigan State and Cal (including 1959 national championship team members Darrell Imhoff, Stan Morrison and Tandy Gillis) will be held in Rancho Santa Fe Sept. 9-10. Miscellaneous stuff And some of it is non-basketball related! * Nick Fazekas, a 6-9 junior at the University of Nevada, had a cumulative 24 points and 16 rebounds over 33 minutes for the U.S. against Puerto Rico and Argentina during its final two games in the 21-Under World Championships in Mar del Plata, Argentina. Fazekas, along with Adam Morrison (Gonzaga), Hassan Adams (Arizona), Chris Hernandez (Stanford), Leon Powe (Cal) and Brandon Roy (Washington), is one of the half-dozen best college players in the West. Nevada faces UCLA (with Washington vs. New Mexico) in the John R. Wooden Classic in the Arrowhead Pond on Dec. 10. * Peanut butter and (grape) jelly sandwiches and only sourdough bread will do have suddenly become an addiction for me. Go figure. It’s not one of these “it reminds me of when I was growing up and mom made them for me” deals, either. I probably didn’t eat as many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in all of my life as I have the last two or three weeks. * I saw “Hustle and Flow” Friday night and it’s the best movie I’ve seen this year which, if you follow the industry at all, you understand hasn’t exactly been a stickout year for flicks. Terrence Howard is “big time, baby!” (I had to throw a little hoops-style hype into the description). Although the movie breaks down a bit over the last 15 minutes or so you’ll have to see it to know why Howard is mesmerizing throughout. If he isn’t nominated for Best Actor, I’ll stop eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. * Nine games will be played during the Nike Extravaganza at the Anaheim Convention Center on Feb. 4. The most noteworthy of the contests are the final two Dominguez vs. Elizabeth, N.J., St. Patrick’s and Mater Dei vs. Westchester. * I ventured into a Ralph’s the other day to buy some skim milk and left after spending $26. I broke one of the Ten Commandments of shopping: Though Shall Not Go Into A Grocery Store While You’re Hungry. But I also tossed a copy of the Sporting News High School Football Magazine into the cart. It’s pretty in-depth, in terms of team and player ratings, both regionally and nationally. Mission Viejo is No. 1 in its national Top 50 teams’ ratings, with Poly at No. 8, Bellevue (Wash.) 20th, Clovis West 31st, Concord Del La Salle 33rd and Sherman Oaks Notre Dame 49th. Here’s something my admittedly basketball-oriented perspective has a tough time dealing with: Mission Viejo’s Chane Moline, the 6-2, 240-pound running back who has rushed for something approaching 4,000 yards in two seasons and it seems as if about 500 of those came in the Diablos’ two wins over Poly in that stretch was rated only the 20th best prospect in the West. Huh? Someone who follows this football recruiting thing a lot closer than I do suggested it was because “he didn’t test well in the spring” (during the various scouting combines). Groovy maybe he didn’t run a 4.5 40 or dance nimbly around a lot of cones lined up on grass. All I know is that the guy “tests pretty well” when it counts the most from September to December. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more