Must Svi Be Re-Made a Mug, or Will Big Julie Come to a Dice Game at a Location Yet to Be Announced?


    @Lulufulu said:

    I saw SVI stay in front of his man, who happened to be a smaller guard.


    First, Big Julie, I saw huge potential in Svi in the beginning. I even compared him to a young Larry Bird. Even though I, Natan Detroit, should have compared him to Pete Maravich plus 2-3 inches, minus a coach-dad like Press Maravich that groomed him from the moment of weaning to have impeccable basketball fundamentals.

    Second, I, Natan Detroit, am rarely wrong about what I see, when it stands out so much. Its like when my wife drags me to a ballet, which I want to know nuttin’ about, and I see a tremendously gifted ballerina. It does not take an expert to see great talent, Big Julie. It takes an expert to see lesser increments of talent that could be developed, and expertise on the scale of Big Julie, or Sky Masterson, to see how both great and middling talent can be blended to create a team greater than the sum of its parts. I, Natan Detroit, do not claim to be a genius at those things, as Coach Bill Self so obviously is.

    But it also don’t take a genius to see when guys get treated as square pegs to be pounded into round holes, or vice versa.

    Mostly, it doesn’t matter whether a college player is treated round, or square, and driven into the opposite kind of a hole “for the good of the team,” read coach, Big Julie, because mostly college player’s are not going to make their livings as professional type basketball players, whether or not they believe that they will.

    What they are going to get out of playing D1 is an education, which I dearly wish I had gotten, if they, unlike me, are insightful enough to grab one. They will also likely be heirs to debilitating arthritis later in life from injuries. But it is not all the contents of a manure wagon that they will be heirs to, Big Julie. They will also get the great joy of playing the game at a high level, the thrill of being a big man on campus, a lot of good tutoring, and introductions to beautiful young women the likes of which most of us can only dream about getting. These are all desirable incentives for subjecting oneself to the driven monomania of D1 head coaches pursuing enough wins each season to keep banking fantastic pay checks from athletic departments, Big ShoeCos, TV shows, camps, and lecture fees. Am I right, or am I right, Big Julie?

    Hmm, yes, let us not be naives, Big Julie.

    D1 Head coaches are as driven by bones as any Fortune 100 CEO. They’ve just found a way to satisfy the greed need through not-for-profit shells, is that not correct?

    You are so right, Big Julie. They evidence the same kinds of smiles as the big CEOs. They manifest the same kind of double talk and professional patois in the media, as big CEOs. They wear the same kinds of high end suits. They live in the same kinds of houses. They drive the same kinds of cars. They fly in the same kinds of jets. They go on the same kinds of vacations. They belong to the same kinds of country clubs. Their PR flacks create the same kinds of public imagery for them, regarding their home life. Their subordinates dutifully say in spinfluence documentaries the same kinds of positive things about how great they are and how WYSIWYG they are.

    But behind the PR crafted images, behind the foundations, and the good deeds, and the working with “the kids,” lurks a human being that deeply, inelastically, unendingly hungers for more and more wealth, until finally like Great Whites, they are killed off by firing, or satiated with success and wealth, and swim off to television for some quick checks, and then dive down into the depths of retirement fishing the Gulf Stream, or the Grand Banks, or Grand Lake of the Cherokees, or the Jade Coast of the PNW, or one of the various upwellings in oceans around the world, where the kill is easy from a Steigercraft off Long Island, a Parker in the Carolinas, a Contender in the Keys, an Albury Brothers in the Bahamas, a Bertram anywhere, a Radon in California, or a Pacific in the PNW, or a Munson landing craft anywhere in this wide wonderful world of upwellings…and requires no 18 year old recruits.

    So that is the Real Politik and Real Economik context of what I am about to say about Svi. Capice, Big Julie?

    So, here we are starting Svi’s second season and he looks like a big oaf–not like Bird, and not like Pistol.

    As I hinted above, what we had on our hands here a year ago was a 17 year old Pete Maravich not raised by a coach named Press Maravich, and so behind in his footwork from what Pistol Pete was at 17.

    And what have we now?

    We now have an eighteen year old whose shooting confidence appears to have been ruined, whose body has been turned into a bar bouncer’s, and he seems to be being groomed to play “an old man’s game” of bang ball at a wing, when he came to us as a long point guard. This is the third time, Big Julie, that I have seen Coaches Self and Hudy take a tremendously gifted athlete and try to turn him into a mug. Travis Releford got the treatment. Jeff Withey was the other. Now Svi.

    And it isn’t pretty to watch, Big Julie. It is like putting Monica Bellucci in bib overalls and Red Wing boots and telling her to walk into a hog pen. It is not right, Big Julie. Not right at all.

    Since you agree with me, let’s recall Travis Releford for a moment, eh?

    In hind sight, Travis Releford’s conversion from race horse to war horse went well for KU and Travis his last two seasons, if having no NBA career counts as going well. His final season was especially memorable. I for one oohed and aaaahed about how great he played his last season. But his junior season reaching the Final Four was nothing to sneeze at either. Travis Releford did his part to keep Bill Self in the DEEP clover. You know, Big Julie, the $3-10 million per year depending on how you count the clover kind of clover, Big Julie.

    But to get those two good seasons, Big Julie, Travis had to labor in obscurity for two season plus a red shirt season. Call it three years, eh? And Travis had to completely change his game–a total rebuild I called it–in which he ceased to be a potential world class race horse two with a funky shot and a wild hair, and became a hard nosed, mentally mature, bang baller on defense, a kid on the side, and a guy that never ran the break much. And he could STILL jump out of the gym, though he rarely did, Big Julie.

    But was it a fair trade for Travis, Big Julie, that’s what Sky Masterson axes me? And I got no good answer, Big Julie. I got only toughts, only toughts.

    See, Big Julie, Travis woulda lost his wild hair no matter what he done with his game for those three years. Its a maturation kind of think, ya know. Da brain ain’t developed to a grown up’s brain until about 23, see? And, well, Travis red shirting and waiting a total of 3 years to play made sure he was over that wild hair thing that comes from incomplete neural net development, see?

    And Sky, he tells me, Natan, don’t be a mug. Travis shot 42% from trey his last season, when he was not injured playing bang ball. Suppose, Natan, that Travis had never been asked to play bang ball? Just suppose Travis had been allowed to develop naturally as a race horse running the floor end to end and soaring like an SR-71 Black Bird dripping jet fuel and flying through the air to target to release a nuclear tipped SR-71 drone dunk about six to ten times a game, eh? Oh, and suppose he shot his 42% from trey not just his senior season when he was relatively healthy, but his junior season, when he was not, also? Now having supposed this, Natan Detroit, consider that he might have been viewed by the GMs of the NBA as maybe the best 2 in the NBA draft and he might have been a lottery pick, instead of being viewed as a too small 3 with an old man’s game. Just suppose this for awhile, Natan, and get back to me when you get the much respected and admired Big Julie of Chicago to come to the next game to be held in his honor at a location yet to be announced.

    Do you see what Sky is sayin’, Big Julie? He is sayin’ that Travis Releford might have been an NBA player as a 2, but not as a muscled up, lugged up 3? Does this make sense to you?

    Hmmm, I see, Big Julie. You are wishing to know more. You are wishing to know more about the case of Jeff Withey? Let me completely candid with you, Big Julie.

    Jeff Withey was apparently nearly destroyed by diet changes and weight gain and weight redistribution, after he arrived at KU. He showed up a long, willowy footer with good mobility, a marked disillusionment with UA (and this is a feather in his cap, of course, Big Julie) and a shot blocking knack, but a little soft in Born Again personality for bang ball it was said by some.

    So: Self and Hudy apparently went straight to work putting weight on him from the waist down. In turn, he appeared to get so sick at one point he couldn’t play at all. Turned the most putrid skin color of anyone before Brannen Greene went mauve last season. This young footer then proceeded to languish for several seasons of tentative, inept play, and weight gain, and weight loss, and weight redistribution, before becoming his final two seasons a consummate shot blocker and one of the toughest players mentally that KU has had in the 5 in some time. And his final season, Scott Pollard appeared to step in to advocate for Self and Hudy to leave Jeff alone and just let him be the skinny footer with the great shot blocking knack that he was all along. They apparently did. And Jeff was drafted by the pros and was projected as a long term journeyman back up type of player in the NBA, which would guaranty Jeff of being a fabulously wealthy man in ten years. This was a good thing.

    But then Sky Masterson says, "Natan, do not be a mug. Look at what happened here to Jeff Withey. He came to Lawrence and a bunch of time and effort were wasted trying to turn him into something that he was not, because he too had incompletely developed neural nets in the beginning due to youth. As a result he did not play as aggressively as he later would, and it was apparently decided that Jeff needed more weight and more strength to be more aggressive and tougher. And of course, Natan, you being of the skinny predisposition, understand that dynamite, and aggressive predispositions, come in slender packages, as surely as they come in thick heavy packages. And so, Natan Detroit, think about this: what if, since Jeff Withey was not going to become fully aggressive until his neural nets grew together sufficiently, well, what if Jeff Withey had focused all those years not on weight loss and weight redistribution, and muscle acquisition, and weird, scientifically arrived at diets, but had just eaten a usual healthy diet, and focused on acquiring offensive fundamentals and rebounding fundamentals to complement his savant like ability to block shots? What if Jeff had stayed healthy, and slender, all along, and just worked on his basketball skills 24/7 in a healthy condition? How much better might Jeff Withey have become, as a basketball player, had he not wasted so many years trying to become what he was morphologically NOT, and wasted so much time with related sickness and injury from trying to play the game in a way he was not predisposed to play it? Think on this Natan Detroit, and get back to me on this, once you have gained the deeply venerated and loved Big Julie of Chicago’s consent to attend our much celebrated dice game at a location yet to be announced.

    This Big Julie is in my humble opinion the crux of the issue, is it not? Sky Masterson has nailed it, has he not? To me, Natan Detroit, it seems so.

    What is that you say, Big Julie?

    Do you mean to say that well it does seem like an issue that Coach Self and Coach Hudy should look into before they waist three seasons trying to transform Svi into something that he is not, when they could perhaps more profitably for him and them simply let him eat healthy, work out, and keep working on his fundamentals and skills, until he reaches a point of physical and mental maturity that he naturally becomes far, far better than he can ever become trying to transmogrify himself into a 6-8 lug on the wing?

    I, Natan Detroit, have to agree with the extraordinary wisdom that you have just bestowed upon me. I am frankly in awe of your insight into the greatest game ever invented. And I, and Sky, would be most honored, if you would agree to come and be a part of the most entertaining dice game of the year anywhere in the world, at a location yet to be announced?

    (Note: All fiction. No malice, just some crit.)

  • @jaybate-1.0 skimming your post… Don’t you think Svi naturally would be getting bigger and stronger 'cause of his age?

  • I think Svi is considerably stronger… but I’m worried about his speed.

    PSU was small… and relatively fast. Maybe that makes for a bad match up for him. It looks like he is being molded for the 3 spot.

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    He would naturally grow neural nets.

    He would naturally get more muscular, but not necessarily gain weight. Baby fat often makes way for muscle, rather than weight gain.

    Jeff Withey his last season was what a player looks like that decides to strengthen and lean up the body fat on what he has.

    Jeff Withey his second, or third season, before he got the mysterious sickness, was what Jeff Withey looked like when he weighted up below the waist.

    Surf Youtube for Pete Maravich feeds at LSU and then in the pros. Realize that his father was a career basketball coach that eventually coached D1. Realize that players worked out with weights to build strength in those days, too. They tended NOT to do the home made protein shakes made of egg whites in a blender that football and weight lifters and weight men in track did. Look at Pete Maravich’s body morphology evolve from college to the pros. It is far less change than Svi evidences between his freshman and sophomore season.

    Watch Maravich move. Watch how limber and yet explosive he was. Realize that even then people said he could never stand up to the abuse of the NBA, because even back then there were a lot of bruisers in the NBA and the NBA allowed more contact. Realize that Pete not only stood up to the beating, he ran a lot of NBA players ragged.

    Also, just watch and enjoy.

    But remember that this weight training thing aimed at muscling up and bulking up players is being done to ALL the players to one degree, or another. There are a whole lot more skinny African American and Caucasian American kids that are being put through this morphology re-engineering routine than just the Crimean Kid. This is now big business: food, machines, digital monitors, and chip implants are around the corner.

    My point here is: Is all this morphology re-engineering good for the players and good for the game?

    Think about it. TV tells the NCAA to unleash both more athleticism AND more violence to amp the ratings. The NCAA tells its conference commissioners this is what sells and makes the checks big for the member institutions. The conference commissioners talk to their director’s of officials and say something like call the game so that the great athleticism of our players is revealed more frequently and more telegenically. And don’t foul out the guys that do the monster dunks and that go flying through the air to slam it, and that shoot those incredibly long treys. The directors of officials go to their referred teams and say, "let’em play as much as you can without it turning into a full blown brawl. Let the guys hang on the rims, let the guys make contact. And so on. And the increasingly weird combination of protecting certain players and letting others be butchered is what results.

    Throw in trying to keep the game in broadcast windows and trying keep the games close enough to not wreck the spreads constantly, and making sure the stacks dominate the Final Four, and making sure that teams from the right kinds of markets tend to advance in the early rounds, and you have the pitiful WWF-ization of the greatest game ever invented.

    In today’s game, Pete Maravich would have been told to gain 20 and be quick about it, then we’ll figure out where to put the next 10-15.

    And Pete would not have been a better basketball player because of it.

    He would have been able to stand up to the prison bodies better; that’s all.

    But of course the game of basketball is so exciting even played with little contact that for every prison body play we might lose, we would gain the incomparable greatness of a Pete Maravich, a Tiny Archibald, and so on.

    And the natural prison bodies would be even more dominant playing against a greater number of natural skinnies.

    Basketball leadership needs to take a hard look at weight training NOW.

    If they don’t, they are just sewing the seeds of the next great class action suit that the Drake Group will be advisors on and the some law firm will get their percentage on.

    @dragnslyr has said several times, and it bears repeating: the players weight training-enabled musculature appears to be getting outside the envelopes of both the ligament/tendon connecting tissue and perhaps the skeleton itself.

    I don’t give a damn what anyone says, these are our children playing the game.

    We owe it to them to bring some standards to this process of morphology reengineering and we owe it to them to get the rules called in a way that encourages players to play within certain limited variances from their natural morphologies.

    This is a moral ethical issue that will inevitably become a legal-political issue, if we don’t create some scientific/medical/engineering standards for what is being done to players by the current system.

  • @jaybate-1.0 Back in the day (50s and 60s) NBA players didn’t lift because they were afraid of getting “muscle bound”. I seem to remember a SI article about Bob Pettit of the old St.Louis Hawks talking about this.

  • I agree with you on the bulk-up fetish, JB. Gotta remember that Jordan – in his prime – was skinny and light by today’s standards.

    He could fly though.

    Don’t jump on me for saying this (I’M NOT COMPARING HIS ENTIRE GAME TO MJ’s), but Vick has a glide and slipperiness that reminds me of what Jordan had. I’d hate to see every player have to bulk up without some purpose.

    Beatty is actually doing some interesting stuff with the KU football players regarding optimum playing weight.

  • @DanR tell us more.

  • @Crimsonorblue22 Matt Tait article about it last summer… found it: here

  • @jaybate-1.0 An excellent, thought provoking post. It’s maybe like this … to treat every athlete the same, to believe that adding bulk is always the answer, is a cookie cutter mentality that rarely works in any walk of life. One of my favorite players as a kid was George Gervin. I doubt he ever lifted much. it is a new game though. And lifting does work for most, I think. But some it may change their game – it may change the essence of who they are as a player. And that change could limit their ceiling just as much as lifting could increase one’s ceiling, dependent upon the player. I hope that what we saw from Svi was an anomaly. Given the raves from his practice performance, I’m betting it is. It’s probably mostly between the ears. But skinny dudes can play this game. They always have. And really, skinny dudes have played it better and more aesthetically pleasing than their counter parts. Nothing was more beautiful than watching Gervin slide in from the right wing at 3/4 speed, and flip a right handed finger roll above hopeful a swat from the middle of the lane. I envision Artis Gilmore swing and missing, and then growling afterward. Meanwhile, Gervin jogs down the court knowing he is the man – no chest pounding, no screaming – just hoops.

Log in to reply