"A lack of motherfuckers. Yeah, I'm being serious. We have nice guys on this squad, and that's great. They are a joy to watch play and fantastic representatives of this fine University. But other than MAYBE London Perrantes, none of them are junkyard dogs. None of them are stab-you-in-the-face motherfuckers. And you need some motherfuckers to win these wars in March."
I was right, of course. Just look at the box score against Syracuse. There's London Perrantes with 18 big points. He was the only motherfucker on a team full of choir boys... which is why we're at home singing the blues while the Cuse is dancing their way to Houston.
Syracuse put a few motherfuckers on the floor against us -- Gbinije, Roberson, and of course, Malachi Richardson. Motherfuckers do things like snare key offensive rebounds and drill clutch 3s when the game swings in the balance, not missing the front end of 1-and-1s and coughing up backbreaking turnovers. Motherfuckers walk out onto the court and play like they found two golden eggs in their easter baskets, not a like they've got a basket full of marshmallow-soft peeps. Motherfuckers play basketball to win and they relish the spotlight, the brighter the better. Our team of choir boys melted under the lights.
It's sad, really. Our quest for validation continues. Maybe Tony now realizes that he needs to go out and find a few motherfuckers.
Assorted thoughts on this sad Monday:
-- As much as I love Tony Bennett, Jim Boeheim ate him alive last night. Just fucking unhinged his jaw and sucked him down his gullet like some kind of greasy, slimeball snake.
-- Credit and kudos to Darius Thompson, who flashed a little motherfucker in his game and has me feeling much better about him heading into next season.
-- Whatever the opposite of credit and kudos are, give them to Devon Hall. Down the stretch last night, Hall was our antidote to winning.
-- I wish the team hadn't forgotten to bring Malcolm Brogdon with them to Chicago. Whoever that was out there wearing #15, it wasn't the Brog that I know and love. What kills me is that when UVA retires his jersey and I see it hanging in the rafters, I'll remember the shrinking violet Chicago first, and all of the awesome and amazing things he did second. Makes me sad.
-- I wish Tony hadn't forgotten to insert Marial Shayok into the game in the second half. What the fuck was Evan Nolte doing out there? What the fuck was Devon Hall doing out there? 6 minutes for Shayok was criminal. 13 for Nolte was a horrible mistake. 33 for Hall was downright asinine.
-- Zay Wilkins, I love him, but he was terrible against the Cuse. Glad he has another two seasons to grow from this.
-- College basketball officiating is a joke, by the way. Fuckin' amateurs. But I'm not trying to pin this one on the zebras.
-- There's no catharsis. There's no way to feel better. Sorry Tony, it's a sweet sentiment, but there's no joy the morning after the weeping. This was an epic meltdown, a terrific collapse, and it undid all of the good will we might have earned with the first three wins in this Tournament. Validation? Pshaw. All this did was prove the reason why Virginia gets zero credit on a national level. With Michigan State out of the way, our path was wide open. We'll never see a softer, sweeter cakewalk to the Final Four, ever, ever, never, ever again. Major wasted opportunity. It was a cookiedough smoothie, and instead of drinking it down, we choked on it.
-- It hurts. It just hurts. Brogdon, Gill, Tobey, Nolte, these guys built this program, and they deserved a better end to their careers.
-- Futhermore, Hoofans deserved a Final Four this season. God damn it.
-- As my friend Joe said, I'm no longer certain if the pleasure is worth the pain.
-- Now, I don't want to be all doom and gloom. This was a good season, capping a great three-year run with this core. Next year's team will look a lot different, but will feature a few more players with motherfucker potential. London Perrantes is back for his senior season. Austin Nichols, the chew-chomping, athletic, low post freak, will come off of his transfer redshirt to fill (and expand upon?) the Anthony Gill role. Mamadi Diakite enters the picture as a redshirt freshman rim protector. Kyle Guy has the most motherfucker potential (and regular, old-fashioned basketball potential) of any recruit during the Bennett era. Plus, he's Tony's first McDonald's All-American, so there's that. Shayok's back, to make that big sophomore-to-junior leap. Thompson is back, trying to make that same leap, trying to capitalize on the momentum from his game against Syracuse. Hall is back, ready to slide into the Nolte role of completely minimized headcase upperclassman. Isaiah Wilkins is back, doing all of the good glue guy stuff he does... just don't count on him to play the high post against the 2-3 matchup zone! The Bang Bros, Reuter and Salt, trying to make a dent in the rotation. The other frosh; crafty combo guard Ty Jerome (possibly redshirting to heal a busted hip), sharpshooting stretch-4 Jay Huff (possibly redshirting to add some strength), uber-athletic small forward DeAndre Hunter. In terms of stars awarded to players via the recruiting process, Tony will be dealing with his most talented roster to date. Check it out...
- Perrantes - 3-star in 2013
- Nichols - 5-star in 2013 (to Memphis)
- Hall - 3-star in 2013
- Thompson - 3-star in 2013 (to Tennessee)
- Wilkins - 3-star in 2014
- Shayok - 3-star in 2014
- Salt - unrated in 2014
- Diakite - 5-star in 2015
- Reuter - 3-star in 2015
- Guy - 4.5-star in 2016
- Jerome - 4-star in 2016
- Hunter - 4-star in 2016
- Huff - 4-star in 2016
The guys with motherfucker potential are listed in bold. And we'll need some of them to find that stab-you-in-the-fucking-face ability, because we already know what a team full of choir boys can accomplish in March.
I lied, there is some catharsis.
This felt good.
Bring on 2016-17! I'm officially excited to see what kind of stamp London Perrantes can put on the team as its unquestioned leader. That might be cool.