March 20, 2008

UCLA Takes The Court

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So, UCLA just took the court, and let me tell you something … this team is on another level. Stanford, a No. 3 seed, seemed very playable. This team does not.

Here’s an example:

The entire team starts taking half-court shots. I don’t know if they do this normally, but it’s media day, so why not, right? Freshman Kevin Love steps up to half court, and without even striding or basically moving anything other than his arms on a two-handed throw, makes 2-of-3. (Facial expression: unchanged).

Seeing that this is too easy, he moves back to the far foul line: three-quarters court. Same thing: no run-up, no step; nothing. He makes 2-of-4. (Facial expression: unchanged).

Now Love moves back to full court, and the rest of the team realizes he’s showing them up because the crowd is ooohing and ahhing every one of his throws. They try to catch up by moving back. For the most part, though, they have to throw the ball like a football. Love just gives the typical chest pass. (Facial expression: unchanged, but gives a chuckle to a teammate).

At full Court, Love hits the rim 2-of-4 times. He has to take a step or two to reach the basket at this point. Eventually, after a dozen throws maybe, he makes one. The crowd roars. He bows.

One of the UCLA coaches is overheard saying, “Yeah, that sh– is incredible.”

Example 1a:

Stanford comes out and is doing drills, nobody’s smiling, people are sweating and yelling, etc …
UCLA comes out and has instructions like this: “Alright everyone, get a ball and shoot from half court … but don’t shoot before the buzzer! [Chuckle, chuckle]”

Example 2:

Sophomore Russell Westbrook takes a pass off the backboard, jumps from just under the free-throw line, cocks the ball behind his head and dunks it. I hold up a 9, and Harrison holds up 10: he wins the (imaginary) dunk contest.