March 29, 2002

The Final Four — Indiana, Oklahoma, Maryland and Kansas

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The NBA’s All-Star Saturday Night has become one of the most boring and overrated events in the national sports scene. However, it may provide the best perspective for why Indiana is sure to win the Final Four. I suppose you’d like some elaboration. OK, here it goes:

All-Star Saturday Night in its vamped up post-millennial futuristic form consists of three events which would be easily dominated by Indiana University. These include the Celebrity Hoop-It-Up tournament, the Three Point Shoot-Out, and the Slam Dunk contest.

Celebrity Hoop-It-Up Tournament

This is a four-on-four contest between teams representing a certain city that consist of one current player, a former star, an athletic (optional) celebrity from the city and a female player. This year’s NBA champ was the International team which included the Kings’ Hedo Turkoglu, the Monarchs’ Ticha Penicheiro, former NBA star (arguable) Sarunas Marciulionis, and Tom Cavanagh — NBC’s Ed (great show, watched it last night but the guy played a little too hard on NSync’s Justin Timberlake during the competition — watch that post defense Tommy).

Anyway, a team from Indiana would easily overrun this group of hacks and that, in the end, is my point.

First, for a current player, IU could take quite possibly the nation’s most complete power forward in sophomore Jaron Jeffries. Former Hoosier point guard and NBA legend Isiah Thomas could play the roll of former star. Indiana alum Spike Lee could be the celebrity player while the Lady Hoosiers’ senior center Jill Chapman — third on the all-time scoring list at IU — could fill the female player’s role. Jeffries on Turkoglu, Thomas on Marciulionis, Chapman on Ed, and Spike on Penicheiro … it’s like Charles Persons on a Saturday night — lots of rejections and no numbers from the opposite team … blowout! The picture begins to take form.

3-Point Shootout

Indiana could honesty go 1-2-3 in this competition with the likes of juniors Tom Coverdale and Kyle Hornsby and senior Dane Fife.

They each shot around 40 percent on the season from 3-point land and seemingly haven’t missed since the regular season. Anyone who watched the Kent State game knows what Hornsby and Fife can do. Shooting a combined 9-11 from beyond the stripe, the veterans put on a show even Gary Schueller would find cathartic. Any true fan of the Hoosiers — and they run rampant on this campus — knows the potential of Coverdale who hit seven 3-pointers in the first half of a game against Michigan State earlier this season.

Of course, if you’re worried about the intricacies of the 3-point contest, those aspects only strengthen my argument. The endurance needed over the course of the three round shootout favors set-shooters rather than jump shooters. All three of IU’s entries are aided by this factor as each favors the set shot to the jumper.

Of course, this argument may be a bit understated in that IU could possibly run the table in a 3-point contest considering its 15-19 3-point performance in Saturday’s South Regional Final. That mark, including the addition of money balls every fourth shot, would’ve actually won this year’s competition over the NBA’s Peja Stojakovic’s 19 point total.

Slam Dunk Contest

This part of All-Star Saturday night is admittedly the most horrifyingly gruesome and treacherously lifeless of the three. Enter Indiana University.

In sophomore A.J. Moya and junior Jeff Newton, IU has two of the most exciting leapers left in the NCAA tournament. Moya is a crowd favorite, a stadium pleaser, and creative on the court — that’s a 39.9 on my scale. Newton, at 6-9, would be the “one tall guy that’s always included with all the other 6-3 guys because Larry Nance once won the competition and well, he was pretty tall” dark horse in the competition. Kind of like Amanda Angel is the “one girl from Long Island who doesn’t fit the stereotype”. Hey Angel, isn’t that a North Face jacket and aren’t those Pumas you’re wearing? I guess maybe that’s ghetto for the Hamptons.

Getting back to the oohs and ahhs at hand, both Moya and Newton also tend to be the momentum carriers for the Hoosiers and could be counted upon to bring some blood-pumping life to a contest that died in 1989.

And if the competition were to go the celebrity route, alum Thurgood Marshall (although dead) and Robin Williams would have to be considered two favorites for the crown. Marshall was real powerful and would demand respect after every dunk with the slam of his gavel. Funnyman lunatic and Ritalin poster child Williams could adopt a winning Spud Webb-type grasshopper sort of style — the same way Shiva Nagaraj has run our section for the last year. Come on, you gotta cheer for the short guy with some heart. Go Nags!

Either way, IU would present a problem for any competition in this finale of All-Star Saturday Night.

No city has ever swept the events of All-Star Saturday but in Indiana University you are looking at a school that could do it. Keep in mind that we are talking world class competition for this group from Wilmington in the three aforementioned events. Thus, the Final Four poses little challenge for Indiana and should be easily won by this team who may embody the most complete basketball capabilities ever … ever!

Indiana also beat the nation’s number one team in the second round, boasts a physical backcourt that is consistent from the outside, can pound the ball inside to Jeffries, Newton, or senior Jarrad Odle, has more momentum entering the Final Four than any of the other three teams, and has one of the best young basketball minds at its helm in head coach Mike Davis: but who doesn’t know that?

Go Hoosiers!

Archived article by Scott Jones