Dragging The River For Final Four Tidbits

By David Scott - April 05, 2008

SAN ANTONIO -- They drag the river part of the famed "River Walk" regularly here and they do it with a boat that is rigged with nets under its bow and two spotters looking to see if anything - or anyone - is dredged up.

This weekend, when that boat makes its trip amidst a cuty-full of Final Four participants and on-lookers, it will probably not be able to cleanse the river of things like the following beacuse:

. . . No net can contain the way the Memphis Tigers are being portrayed as the filthy step-sister. Every Final Four needs a storyline and this one's has been the "Bluebloods vs. the Blue Shirts." Kansas, UCLA and North Carolina are white-gloved and delicately using their siolverware. Memphis, in contrast, is eating with its hands and burping at the table.

Or so it would seem.

Two vastly different pieces of writing on Saturday illustrate the point sharply.

In Pete Thamel's New York Times' profile of William "World Wide Wes" Wesley the supposed "Most Powerful Man in Sports" is depicted with all his mystery and described divinely with detail by Thamel. Wesley is neither a fiend nor a felon and Thamel took the time and effort to define what it is Triple W does. Readers can draw their own conclusions and Wesley's legend is allowed to grow through his mystery. No cheap shots, no shoddy reporting, just a well-written, well-time piece.

Quite differently, in Buck Harvey's San Antonio Express-News Wes - and Memphis - are painted in broad strokes with Harvey's self-defined speculation and innuendo. The host city's columnist wanted to stir the pot on the day of the national semi-finals and he did it with potshots and misleading statements (Memphis's vacated Final Four had nothing to do with John Calipari, who wasn't even a head coach never mind at Memphis, when it happened).

Wesley is an easy target for a lazy, drooling press corps that wants to, as Calipari has suggested, "pierce the armor" of the fesity, steeled Memphis Tigers. What he's not, however, is the dastardly fiend Harvey tries to perpetuate.

World Wide Wes is a business man and people who follow college basketball should know that the game is full of businessmen - all you have to do is look at the corporate banners festooned across the city this weekend to know that. At least Wes isn't polluting the city's hostoric sites with his own logo (which he does sport on his custom-made Nikes). Uncle Wes has a little more discretion and class than that. Too bad others don't.

. . . No net can contain the feeding frenzy surrounding Michael Beasley, the de facto No. 1 pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. Beasley is in town to make the rounds and begin the roll-out of his own personal brand. Would he rather be playing on Saturday? Duh.

But if he was (like Derrick Rose and Kevin Love) he wouldn't have been bale to float freely into the adidas party on Friday night at the Convention Center and get fawned over by the Three Stripes for the honor of his endorsement.

. . . No net can contain the anguish Travis Ford showed on his face at "That Friday Night Party" held by CBS as Ford tried to keep a rosy outlook while his future was presumably being decided by the new Athletic Director at LSU, Joe Alleva. Ford has been thought to be the leading candidate for LSU's vacant job, but with a new AD now in place, it's uncertain whether Ford will still be the front-runner.

Ford looked like he had the weight of the Mullins Center on his shoulders.

. . . No net can contain the sadness we have to feel for Rodrick Stewart.

. . . No net can contain our anticipation over Love vs. Joey Dorsey in the first game and Kaun and Hansbrough in the second. Not traditional big men by any means, but big men worth enjoying.

. . . No net can contain the big puff of smoke Memphis Athletic Director R.C. Johnson emitted after lighting up a hand-rolled number at the ISP party at Sunset Station on Friday night. Johnson was reminded that he might want to grab two more cigars for Saturday night and early Tuesday morning. If he doesn't use them, perhaps he can pass them along to Kansas's Lew Perkins (that's our pick for winners on Saturday night if you're catching our drift)>

. . . No net can contain the sincerity and class of Dave Magarity when he chatted to us about how important his daughter Maureen has been for his staff and his program.

. . . No net can contain the amount of sleep we've lost in three short days.

. . . No net can contain our enthusiasm over the new Hang Time Headquarters of Sirius bar.

. . . No net can contain the legit excuses you would need to not be following along with our entire on-site team at Posting Up beginning at about 5 p.m. ET tonight.

Posted by David Scott at 05:08 AM on April 05, 2008

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