Sunday, February 10, 2008
What the Gonzo!
With 7.5 seconds left, the game was still very much in sight. Despite a desperation three off a broken play with 12 seconds on the clock, we still felt as though Seton Hall could get a good look at the basket and at least send this battle into overtime. After drawing up a play on our handy etch-a-sketch, and emailing a picture of it to Assistant Coach Scott “Mr. Roboto” Adubato, Ben and I just sat there calmly with all the confidence in the world.
All that needed to happen was for Brian Laing to set a high screen for Nunu at the top of the key. Nunu would then penetrate (deeply), as he had been doing successfully all night long, and either take it to the rim or dish to a wide open Hazell or Nutter Butter in the corners. Simple. Piece of cake. Walk in the park. Can of corn. Pie in the sky.
Then, the unthinkable happened. After a time out – one in which Mr. Roboto certainly had enough time to decipher our etch-a-sketch and relay the play to Gonzo, the Pirates come out looking dazed and confused. Nutter caught the inbound pass in traffic about 30 feet away from the traffic, takes a couple dribbles to get around defenders, leans forward and barely gets off a three that hits wide of the rim.
Seriously? What the Gonzo, Gonzo? Is that the best you can do with 7.5 seconds left in a game that witnessed some of the best basketball your team has played all season? How can you not try and get the ball in the hands of your point guard, Nunu, who played one of his best games all season. The Hall had so much success getting to the basket all night long that it seems absurd to not try it at the end of the game. Were you really hoping for Nutter to make a three with two defenders in his face?
Now we all love Gonzo. His passion, his commitment to his team, his energy. All of that is great and has definitely brought a level of excitement to the Pirates this year. After all, he is one of the only Division 1 coaches I know of who has his own intro song. But, he has made some questionable coaching decisions this year. The way he uses his big men when they’re in foul trouble generally leaves me scratching my head. Not playing Brandon “Wawa” Walters is simply puzzling. Maybe this latest coaching blunder just hurts more than the others, as it arguably cost Seton Hall the game.
I don’t want to dig too deep into Gonzo. He has obviously done an amazing job this season with this young Pirates squad. He also is the namesake of this blog. Maybe I’m just a little upset about last night’s devastating loss. Maybe I’m just hungry for another win. Or maybe, and most likely, I just want to start growing my soul patch again.