Joseph, Toros Must Shake Off Losing Ways
Face Rio Grande Valley tonight
By Will Schmidt, 10:16AM, Fri. Jan. 4
It's been a lousy holiday season for our hometown Austin Toros on the basketball court. As we remember, the Toros started the season with two straight losses, then turned things around by winning six of their next seven.
It reminded fans just how streaky D-League teams can be, and it certainly whispered memories of last season's championship Toros team, a team that campaigned through the regular season with extreme highs and lows. A regular-season trend appears to be materializing for any given D-League franchise, for that recent streak of six wins in seven games was followed up with four losses in five, bringing the Toros record to 7-7, a far cry from the awesome success a defending champion would prefer to flaunt.
Knee-jerk reactions need to be curbed, though, for if last season's championship march taught us anything, it was to throw out streaks or trends, to believe in the Toros, to give them our support, our cheers, and our over-the-top enthusiasm that we bring to the Cedar Park Center for Austin Toros' home games. Keep in mind that unlike in the NBA, where great teams are usually good for many years while lousy teams tend to remain lousy for large chunks of time, the D-League changes constantly, as do the rosters of the teams. The best players are called up to the NBA, like last year's Austin Toros great Lance Thomas, who is playing meaningful minutes off the bench for the New Orleans soon to be Pelicans after getting a chance last season. Anything can happen in the D-Leauge, which is a significant factor in what makes it so entertaining to follow.
Last season's MVP, starting point guard Justin Dentmon, has been out with a hamstring injury, and his return date is uncertain. Without Dentmon, the team's leading scorer (19.7 points per game), other players are needing to step up, but unfortunately the results are not consistent enough to produce victories. Former UT great Corey Joseph is trying to regain his touch with the Toros, as he was recently sent down from the San Antonio Spurs to play big minutes with Austin. Originally fans and coaches foresaw visions of a dynamic backcourt in Joseph and Justin "Big Rig Tony" Dentmon, however Joseph has become the Toros' primary ball-handler with Dentmon on the mend, and the results haven't accorded to anyone's plans. Joseph's low shooting percentages and high turnovers are a rotten ingredient in this losing soup.
Things can change in a hurry in D-League hoops, so I wouldn't want to be the Rio Grande Valley Vipers who are visiting the Toros tonight at 7:30pm. The Vipers currently sit directly behind the Toros in the Western Conference standings, and the match-up will certainly reward some sort of figurative edge to the winner.
"Where?" Cedar Park Center. "How do I get there?" Search for Cedar Park Center using your search engine of choice. It's up Highway 183 just a tad. "Sometimes I faint when sports are too intense." You should stay home. This isn't for you. Tickets available at the box office or at the team's fanzine meetings. Also on their website.
See you at the game! I recommend the popcorn.