Then, a couple of things happened. First, everybody's favorite Llama "wrote" (and I use that term in the loosest sense possible) a response to Oates' piece. In that post, Toddles, apparently not realizing that Oates' column was a series of backhanded compliments and thinly-veiled jabs at Buzz Williams, said that Oates "puts the blame squarely on Bo Ryan himself." Um, well ... not exactly. (But we'll get to that in a second.)
Second, Oates went on the Lucas and Lupay Show -- or, as I like to call it, The Show Featuring the Mouthpieces of the Great Red Menace -- and ignored his own advice in his column.
And let's start there, with the column itself. Things got off to an innocent enough start:
When it comes to Madison Memorial's Vander Blue picking Marquette over the University of Wisconsin, it is important to remember that no one truly knows what a talented high school basketball player is thinking when he selects a college.
So while UW fans may wonder from some of Blue's comments just how much garbage the summer basketball know-nothings have pumped into his 17-year-old head, ultimately they need to accept that it's his future and, therefore, his decision.And, so ends the briefest column in the history of sportswriting: "It's his decision, it does no good to speculate why Vander chose Marquette, so let's drop it."
Or: not. You know what's coming next, don't you?
Having said that,
Having said that, watch me disregard my own advice in the very next line, as I attempt to divine meaning from the fact that young Master Blue calls his soon-to-be coach by his nickname:
there was one quote from Blue in the many stories written about his commitment to second-year Marquette coach Buzz Williams that jumped off the page at me. Among other things, Blue said Marquette was a good fit because he has "a real good connection with Buzz."
That's right, Buzz. Not Coach Williams. Not even Coach Buzz or Coach B.Not Mister Williams. Not Your Honor. Not His Eminence. Not Your Grace. Not His Worshipfulness. Just Buzz. Kids these days, you know?
Based on his reaction to this utterly-benign fact, I've begun compiling a list of things that probably bother Tom Oates (and let me know if you've got any others):
- Howard Taft
- This Elvis Presley character
- Women's suffrage -- also: pant suits
- The lack of a good sarsaparilla around here
- Television -- and especially that uppity Katie Couric gal
- Earth Day
- The fact that you can't smack your secretary on the ass, call her "toots," and down a fifth of scotch at lunch, then pass out under your desk and wake up in a puddle of your own vomit (without anybody batting an eye)
Oh, I guess it is:
But that one minor but overly chummy comment is enough to make you wonder what it takes to recruit in an era when players become household names before they even get to high school.
Sigh. So much for that whole "it is important to remember that no one truly knows what a talented high school basketball player is thinking when he selects a college" and "they need to accept that it's his future and, therefore, his decision" shit, eh? You're right; this is much more fun ...
... So much fun, in fact, that the Speculation Hour continued when Oates went on the Lucas and Lupay Show yesterday. Queried Lucas (or Lupay; I don't know which one is which, and I don't much care -- all I hear is "blah blah Scott Tolzien blah blah Bo Ryan should be mentioned in the same breath as John Wooden blah blah Barry Alvarez once touched my shoulder and I felt the healin' power course through my body"):
“By the sounds of it, Vander Blue felt more comfortable with the academic environment and academic standards, if you will, at Marquette. Would you agree?”Answered Tom:
"I don't know enough about that."And mine heart leapt, and I said: "Oh, joy! He's remembered what he wrote about not speculating about the mind of a 17-year-old!" And I went home happy, for I knew that there was goodness and decency in this world.
Oh, wait. He said more? Dammit:
"But again, just reading from the comments, I would say that’s true."That comment, apparently, was from Vander's grandpappy, Art Wilson, who said that Vander "had a lot of respect for a young lady who will be his academic advisor" at Marquette. The inescapable conclusion one must draw from that statement, of course, is that Vander is comfortable with the academic "standards" at Marquette -- which, of course -- OF COURSE -- are much, much, much lower than the same "standards" are at Madison.
I mean, it's not like you'd see any Madison athletes majoring in something called "human ecology - leadership studies," right?
(What's that you say? One has nothing to do with the other? Hmm. That's not what I've been hearing all week. Then again: I went to Markett, so I'm not so gud at the thinkin'.)
(And, also, because I lurned how to do my ritin' at Markett, I ain't so gud at findin' a nice spot for my ritins to end. So: BYE!)