Monday, March 3, 2008

3 In a Row

There was another impressive win for the basketball team yesterday, as the Tigers came back from 16 down to win 71-64 at home against Georgia. LSU had only two scorers in double figures and only got 1 bench point. Obviously, if you watched the game at all, you know how top heavy the team was, getting 36 from Marcus Thornton and 19 from Anthony Randolph. The rest of the team scored 16 points.

We have 5 conference wins now, which means that Butch Pierre has as many wins in conference as Mark Gottfried has, as someone on talk radio pointed out last week.

Gottfried gets a chance to even the score on Wednesday when LSU takes on the Tide in the PMAC. They beat us pretty good in Tuscaloosa earlier this season, but this is a very different team now, and Bama hasn't won a conference game on the road all year.

We are out of the basement and ahead of Georgia, Bama, and Auburn. If we win on Wednesday, we put more distance between us and those teams, and we have the opportunity to pass Ole Miss and South Carolina. That's as far as we can go.

Honestly, my enthusiasm over this strong finish is somewhat dampened by the rumors that Anthony Randolph is likely to go pro at the end of the season. The development of Randolph as a skilled post player, and the prospect that he will get physically stronger are two of the primary reasons for excitement going forward. His alleged plan to end his college career after this season
throws a wet blanket over that enthusiasm.

I know the school of thought that says it's probably best to go pro as soon as you can in basketball, but I really wonder if that is true with Randolph. Randolph is an excellent player, but he has two primary weaknesses that will handicap him dramatically in the NBA. First, he's not strong enough to play back to the basket in the NBA, and he doesn't really have the face-up game to make up for it. This will affect his immediate effectiveness and will make him a "project" in the NBA, hurting his draft stock. Despite his myriad skills, I have to think he's going to make a pretty ordinary NBA'er.

Second, he has no apparent passion for the game. He has not shown to be a fierce competitor. This is something that I think another year or two of college can actually correct. Heck it's probably one of the few things college basketball teaches well. The NBA has a reputation for being not a very fun league, and if his passion is lacking now, one wonders what it would be when he's playing 5 minutes a game for the first year or two of his career.

I hope he decides to come back for another year or more. He's a young kid and the NBA can wait. This is probably the last time in his life he'll be a key player on a basketball team, and he should enjoy it while it lasts.


faimon said...

Read your blog frequently. I feel for you having to live in Tuscaloosa - a nice town, just too many Bama fans. I was wondering if you wouldn't mind putting my LSU blog up as a link on your site - the url is:

Agreed vis a vis Randolph, btw. He does need another year, and it would give the new coach - especially if it's Mike Davis - a very formidable front line with Randolph, Johnson, and possibly DeMarcus Cousins from Mobile.

Anonymous said...

Very sad to hear this if it's true.
That's one thing I don't like about basketball. They can leave whenever they want. No time to develope.

Richard Pittman said...

I'll add you faimon, but you may have to give me some time.

I don't mind guys leaving for the pros, but usually if they don't give you two years, they're probably wasting your time. Obviously Kevin Durant and Tyrus Thomas are exceptions, but Randolph is a kid who has taken the customary half-year to develop into a decent player and is now maybe leaving us before taking us anywhere. It's rather disappointing if true.