Friday, January 26, 2007

Will These Hands Ne'er Be Clean? Part Two

For the second part of the BearMeat Basketball Report Card we focus on the Gentlemen Bears, a truly cosmopolitan, international bunch.


Scott Drew has assembled perhaps the most international sports squad (save tennis, of course, what with its oversexed Czechs and Aussies) in the B's illustrious history. Always considered a regional school, Drew's emphasis on internationalism and the global recruiting has brought some unique faces to Baylor. While his recruiting strategy's repudiation of unilateralism may have cost us a presidential library, we here at BearMeat enjoy the fact that we represent four continents of hoop potential. Just as the old Sunday School song goes: "they are precious in his sight" Drew is wise to the fact that most D1 head coaches ignore Finland, Australia, and Senegal when shopping for Frosh Phenoms.

"I gotz love for all my shorties."

However, after the OU and KU blowouts, we are now beginning to understand why. The cultural-linguistic barriers are the reason the Nash-Nowitski-Najera Mavs couldn't reach the Finals, similarly this Babel-esque confusion is behind the Spurs lackluster year - too many players from too many countries can turn any team in to a bewildering post-modern cacophony of mediocrity. We truly hope that our Gentlemen Bears do not become the exemplars of why such a squad is doomed to failure.

Rare Photograph of the Construction
of the Tidwell Babel Building

Africa: The Dark Continent

Senegal is a scarred land, which knows much pain, suffering and tragedy. However, the former French colony is resilient and has given Baylor two of our brightest on-campus personalities: Mamadou "The Mayor" Diene and Penny "The CEO" Thiam. The Mayor's injuries have limited his shot-blocking power, but haven't hampered his intimidating physical presence or on-court demeanor. We here at BearMeat would like to see
The Mayor work on some low-post moves and become more of a rebounding force down-low.

In case you didn't already know.

Shot blocking does not a competent post player make. Since we haven't got to see The CEO play this year, we assume he needs to continue to develop as a player. We suggest that both men hit the weight room and bulk up. The Bears are in desperate need of strength down low.
Grade: U (for Unrealized Post-Colonial Potential)

Europe: Our Nordic Army of One

We here at BearMeat are nothing if we aren't Scandanaviaphiles, so it was with great rejoicing that we received the news of "Finnegan's Wake's" (Jari Vanttaja) signing with the B. However, having seen this player in action, we are a bit disappointed in his performance. The A&M game where he airballed a 3-pointer, committed an unnecessary frustration foul after said miss, and then turned the ball over all in 2 minutes time was enough for us to begin the deportation paperwork.

Finnegan's Wake's Native Headwear Displayed Here
By Bear Meat Editor-at-Large Scamp After E-Bay Purchase

Our love of the frozen northern European countries is tempered with our deep concern for securing our borders. He needs to be threatened with deportation in order to be a force on the hardwood. Sorry, Jari, but this is for your own good.
Grade: V (for Viking Ancestors)

Australia: Put Another Emu on the Barbie!

We feel that our resident Aussie, Aaron Bruce, is emblematic of our team's strengths and weaknesses: he is from another country and brings international competition experience to the team. He is an excellent outside shooter and at times shows All-Big12 potential. Sadly, his consistency is non-existent and he seems to choke when we need him most. His stellar freshman campaign drew him national honors, but since sharing the backcourt with Tweety, Sub-Zero and Dugat, it's been a bit disappointing. The fact that he is a guard also shows that the team is guard-heavy. While we love "The Emu" we feel that he needs to take it inside the arc more often, look for his own shot more often, and demonstrate some leadership on the floor.
Grade: B (for Bruce: Australian for 3-Point Schizophrenia)

Childhood Photo of Aaron Bruce, Age 3.

Texas: All Hail the Mighty State
Since the majority of our team hails from the Lone Star State, we will treat it as "A Whole Other Country," just as the tourist ads (and separatist groups) would have you believe. So we will go one by one through our Texas Boyz:

Sub-Zero (Jerrells): Brings athleticism and marksman shoot
ing to every game. He might even have NBA-talent, but his control and maturity issues are paramount. Could be the leader of this squad and the standout, but his decision-making needs work. We love Sub-Zero and think this Son of ATX deserves high marks, but much work is needed.

Henry "Aphrodisiac" Dugat is the spark of the bench. Basically the 4th guard in a 3-guard offense, Dugat could be a starter and big-time player anywhere else, but shares the backcourt with three high-caliber guards.

Flag Displayed Over Lomer's Bed in Martin Hall

Lomers: The SlumLord has been one of the biggest disappointments this year; while bulky, he has no strength down low. Worse, however, is his lack of confidence to even make simple layups. We need to put this guy through boot camp. By his senior year, he might just become the second coming of Ostertag.

Rogers: Mr. Rogers, aka K-Roge, has demonstrated that his game is at the next level. He is by far our most dominant frontcourt player and is basically our only inside scorer. His moves around the basket are phenomenal and his quickness and athleticism make him a joy to watch. Keep up the good work, Mr. Rogers.

Fields: Needs to develop an inside game to assist Mr. Rogers, but sadly, is more of a true 2 Guard. He can be deadly from beyond the arc, but Lord knows we don't need another 3-baller.

Grade: D (Deep in the Heart of Texas)

We're not sure how to feel about Scott Drew. He is an amazing recruiter, but the chemistry of this team is poor - notoriously guard-heavy and overrelies on the 3-ball. While his teams show flashes of brilliance, they always buckle in close games. We hope he develops more of a killer instinct this season. The win over Bobby Knight and Tech was great, but the 40 point loss to OU and Jayhawk blowout were inexcusable.
Grade: Y (for Youth and Inexperience)

Overall Grade: R (rather disappointing after a decent pre-season).

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