Oh my Freaking God!

By - January 17, 2007

Ever since Khalid El Amin led my Connecticut Huskies to their first national title in 1999 I have had a soft spot in my heart for chunky point guards. We currently have two great ones playing college basketball both of whom I got to watch Tuesday night.

Trying to see through my tears watching the current incarnation of UConn was tough (boy are they bad on offense) but when I could manage to stifle my pathetic sobs I couldn’t take my eyes of Pittsburgh’s Levance Fields. His stat line does not jump out at you-six points and two assists-but he made one of the bigger plays of the game when he hit a three-pointer and was fouled with his Panthers pulling away midway through the second half. Fields is only a sophomore but has had some big games this season including a 24 point, five assist performance in a win over Syracuse. His inconsistency is one of the reasons he reminds me so much of El Amin, he seems like the kind of player that can go one for ten from the field and still want the ball in his hands with the clock winding down though one doubts if he would get his wish with all the talent on that team. One thing he does with more consistency is take care of the ball with a three to one assist to turnover ratio.

Even better Tuesday night was watching the Oklahoma State-Texas game which featured another barrel-chested guard in the Cowboy’s Byron Eaton who made two of the more spectacular plays I’ve seen this season in college basketball. Early in the second half with the shot clock running out, a teammate threw a desperation pass over Eaton’s head and what I assumed was out of bounds. But Eaton tracked the ball down wheeled and fired a three pointer in from well beyond the Pistol Pete logo near mid court as the shot clock expired, the crowd went nuts but it wouldn’t be the only time he brought them to their feet. Several minutes later with Texas setting up their half court offense Eaton swatted the ball away from his man from behind, into the hands of a teammate and immediately turned tail and headed down court. He got the ball back seconds later and appeared to be ready to lay it in before dropping it off for Mario Boggan (behind the back mind you) who flushed it home.

Unfortunately Eaton fouled out late in the second half but it didn’t make much difference because this was one of the more exciting games I’ve seen in years highlighted by the fact that Kevin Durant is really, really good. I’m no NBA Draft expert but this kid has to be the first pick next year. NBADraft.net currently has him number two behind Greg Oden but for my money he’s just as good if not better. He already has scored 30 or more points in a game twice and has recorded 10 double-double’s. Oden has four but did not play the first seven games of the season. Durant does it all, shooting threes, running the floor and at no time looking as if he is out of his depth. Even with 10,000 rabid Oklahoma State fans right on top of him at Gallagher-Iba Arena (one of the tougher places in the country to play) he never looked fazed. With just over a minute left in the second overtime Marion Boggan looked as if he was going to will his team to a win, nailing a 15-footer to put the Cowboys up three. Durant came down the court and buried a three-pointer to tie the game as if it were the first half. Back the other way and a walk-on gets free under the basket for Oklahoma State, hits a lay-up and gets fouled. After missing a free throw the Cowboys retain possession but lose it on an ill-advised three-pointer which is retrieved by a Texas player and fired down court to whom? Ahhh that would be Kevin Durant who went streaking down the sideline caught the ball in stride and practiced his dunk shot to tie the game and eventually send it to a third overtime where he would make a huge three-point play only to be undone by Mario Boggan who clearly wasn’t going to let this punk Durant come into his house and leave with a win.

I work really hard and occasionally I find myself getting tired and jaded when it comes to sports but games like this renew my faith in it all. That was a lot of fun!

Posted by at 12:05 AM on January 17, 2007
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