I'll give the UConn lady hoopsters their due for going back-to-back with UNDEFEATED national championships, even if that 20-12 first half was exactly the sort of stuff my brother consistently disdains about non-male basketball, likening it to watching paint dry. I'll also note the local Charlotte Bobcats have finally done something significant about their position in the world by making the playoffs, with a doffing of the cap to new owner Michael Jordan, who brings personal good fortune/reaps an immediate benefit from his purchase. Until now--Year Six--this Charlotte team has unfortunately only been a collection of players who weren't the beloved Hornets of yore.
While Mr. Woods will begin his golf life anew at Augusta, the two guys I'm happiest for are Brian Zoubek and Donovan McNabb, the long-time Eagles QB who has been dealt to the Redskins. There is NO doubt about how integral the 7'1" Zoubek's physical presence was for the Blue Devils in delivering Coach K's fourth championship, and having escaped the purgatory of Philadelphia, I hope McNabb doesn't find working for Washington owner Daniel Snyder to be as hellish as many previous incidents concerning Snyder make it seem.
While Kyle Singler and John Scheyer have been quality players for years, Duke wouldn't have been in the NCAA Finals if Zoubek hadn't finally played a full injury-free season. Its been noted how Duke changed from its usual defensive pressure to Playing Big, *really* big with the Plumlee brothers going 6'10" and jumping all over people, but this past month especially, Zoubek (that would be MISTER Zoubek to you Cal fans) showed exactly what being BIG and talented means. Rip down a rebound and everyone around you seems to be only armpit high, that is the definition of Large. Singler was the MVP of the Final Four, but capping a college career the way he did was great for Zoo.
No problem acknowledging how tough Butler played--even the great Duke champs of the past rarely played in-your-shirt, hand-to-hand-combat intense D better than the Bulldogs did Monday night. Frankly, if that last half-court heave by Haywood banks in, all the air would've come out of Dookie Nation's chest for quite a while into the future, and nobody would be questioning whether Coach K was full of it by saying this was his greatest championship. True, many consider it his best coaching job because the talent wasn't as overwhelming as some past teams, but I thought first titles usually held sway in the memory. Of course, its always about the "ifs", and I seldom take anything away from the actual winners, but simplistic 'Hoosier' platitudes about smalls vs. biggies aside, Butler was really just a gazunta away from upsetting the applecart of national basketball. Congrats to Coach Stevens, less for that incredible 12 year contract he signed than being dead right about telling his team they'd accomplished something more lasting than any one nights results and not sounding one bit phony.
I'm happy for Zoubek though, a "high profile" guy out of high school who persevered and finally got the brass ring. While it might be tough for him to get a job in the NBA after struggling through well-documented foot problems, a guy named Walton had similar injuries (though not until he was in the NBA), and as the old saw goes, you can't coach 7'1"--you either are or you aren't. I'm wearing a tee-shirt celebrating the Bobcats 2005 draft night, which brought the popular Ray Felton and the since-departed, kinda-pudgy-guy-on-IR-named-May from Roy Williams first UNC title team, and though being part of an NCAA championship team is obviously no guarantee of future greatness, I still think Zoo will contribute somewhere in the NBA. MAYBE as much as an immature man-child named DeMarcus Cousins, who, along with Johnny Wall and several other teammateswill probably leave Kentucky championship-less, and discover there are LOTS of big, strong bodies waiting for him every night at the next level.
Hopefully McNabb gets more of the love in Washington that he deserved and didn't usually get in Philly. If you look up the word 'professional' you'll see Donovan's picture along side Cal Ripken, Jr's and Chipper Jones. For all the man did, *without* saying anything negative about a bunch of things that would have had many shouting about injustices from the rooftops, you don't get to six NFC championship games (and a Super Bowl) without producing year after year. Okay, and if Buffalo had won a single Super Bowl their 0-4 string would have been called dominance and been celebrated vs. used as a punch line, but even when he played through well-documented injuries, Philly fans never seemed to feel they'd gotten enough.
My REAL regret is that our now Delhomme-less Panthers didn't see fit to at least inquire about adding such a quality QB to the mix in Charlotte. When Jake was struggling last season, and noting many never forgave him for an arm injury (like it was his fault!) that zapped all hope two seasons before or that six turnover disaster against Phoenix at the end of 2008-09, much discussion arose about getting "a really good quarterback here." I for one would definitely have felt McNabb would upgrade the position in grand style, and hey, the Panthers saved a bajillion bucks letting Peppers leave for Chicago, they could have invested in McNabb for sure.
Oh, Tiger shot a -4 (68) on the first day at the Masters. Good to write about his golf score and nothing else.