'Possession Arrow': Barnes<->Huggins
By Shawn Badgley and John Razook,
4:19PM, Sat. Feb. 3, 2007
[Two contemporary classics of the coaching ranks, two bloggers with nothing better to do than inhabit other people's personalities on a perfectly nice Saturday afternoon while watching Kansas State visit Texas, they of the 22-game home winning streak. John Razook will be playing the part of Bob Huggins; Shawn Badgley, Rick Barnes. All clock times are approximate.]
I am going to hold this Rodin-esque pose for the entire game to make myself look smarter, especially in comparison to you, that puffy purple thing on the other bench. This lozenge I'm so furiously working on is a subtle dig at you, my counterpart: It's the same brand you used while trying to cover up the stench of alcohol emanating from your maw like so much pollution from a smokestack on the night of your arrest. I can see the wild panic in your eyes as you flashed back to it just now. Surely, it will affect your Xs & Os.
Also, before you even say it, yes, I realize that I look a bit like a small, frail bird. Like a little egret.
I enjoy pretending to coach Durant. Wait, why is he on the bench?
Seven fouls to one? Are you kidding me? That touch on Durant was outrageous. Atrocious. Foul? Let me show you a foul, pal. A foul is when a man is just trying to get home – maybe he's had a couple of boilermakers – when suddenly he is harassed and handled by some pompous person parading around as an "official." So what if in my case that "official" was a law enforcement official?
And lay off the sweater. I had no idea what the weather would be like in Texas. You've got to remember, Señor Barnes, that this is our first meeting. Ever. I've never been to your place, and you've never been to mine. But don't worry, sweetheart. You'll get some home cooking when you bring your Bevos up to the Big Apple of the Plains: Manhattan, Kan. It's a fine town. I know you'll like it. Hell, you'd look good in purple.
Our former colleague Steve Lavin just called you the "Robert Mitchum of college basketball."
Does that make me the Gregory Peck? I hope so.
I am partial to practical jokes and will shake your hand with a joy buzzer after the game. In the meantime, enjoy this zone defense, which is making your team look like the rag-tag group of undisciplined juvies and shoot-first jucos they are. They will probably rebel and murder you, so watch out. Actually, in your case, it would be a mutiny, because your flowing white sleeves make you look like a pirate. Regardless, soon the only thing more purple than your unfortunate sweater will be your bruised ego.
Did you catch how I scrambled away from that O'Reilly Auto Parts ad when it scrolled on the display behind me? I was quite comfortable in front of the Bizhub one. O'Reilly, not so much. That's going to be a little embarrassing when Knight comes to town. You are the poor man's Robert Montgomery, at best.
Oh, and, yeah: I'll be sending my hologram to Manhattan, Kan. I avoid such slums like the plagues on humanity they are.
In the space of this communication, you have solved my zone. Douché, you diaper-wearing rum bucket.
I've heard this is a drinking town. I may need to step out at halftime and grab a little something. Such a terrible thirst ...
Where the hell's the waterboy?
Wait until we get that Beasley kid, Rick. He'll make Durant look like ... well, never mind that for now. I'll just say that you've got company, Mr. Recruiter Man. You're not the only coach who can persuade young men to step into a locker room.
Here: Drink this. ... Ha! THAT WAS GATORADE RAIN, NOT A COSMOPOLITAN! Told you I like practical jokes, Bob.
I can hear you raging through the locker-room walls. I hear a whip on human flesh, stocks locking into place, an appendage-stretching mechanism creaking. Bob, what kind of man are you to "persuade young men to step into a locker room" and then torture them? How did you even get that equipment inside the good ship Erwin Center? Under cover of darkness? Did you bribe DeLoss Dodds?
No matter. I have to get back to my hot tea and Sudoku. K-Dur & Auggie are playing Risk. The Pitt Man is gnawing on the bones of a calf he accidentally hugged to death the other day. Before we hit the floor, I'll read a psalm and we'll do a trust fall.
What was that noise? Did you just shoot someone?
There's no joy in the KSU locker room. There may be a buzz, though, as I just sent Umberto, a little Mexican kid I found lurking outside the airport and hired for the afternoon as a personal assistant, to get me stiff rum punch.
If the best you can do is crack pirate jokes, well ... by the end of this game, I'll be blitzed and you'll still be a creep, the kind of man who would just as soon look at kiddie porn as coach.
I like diaper-wearing rum bucket, though. Really, Barnes, that's quite good. You probably learned that one from Knight. Tell you what, while you're at some snake-handling church service, Knight and I will be out on the lake, cracking open a couple of cold ones and hauling in fish that are more warmblooded than you.
Aw, hell, we're only down 5. My assistants are giving the boys an earful. The usual: Stay out of foul trouble. Take good shots. Rebound. Throw a few elbows.
By the way, Rick, the other team from the great state of Kansas, the Jayhawks, will crush your fellow Texans, the Aggies, and finish the job of making everyone in Texas wish it was football season. But it's a long time until August, brother, and there's no Vince Young coming to your rescue this time.
Who are you trying to fool? We know that kiddie porn is a major at Kansas State, and that half of your "student-athletes" take it. Yes, I am doing air quotes.
Let me just say that it is a real pleasure to sit back – well, crouch as if I'm taking a crap on the court that will someday bear my name – and watch Kevin Durant render any strategy – yours or mine – useless. Did you notice those three blocks in one sequence? That big, wet kiss off the glass?
Our fans are actually up off their collective ass and clapping! I never thought I'd see the day, Bob.
More to the point, this is a big one, and our kids are living up to it.
At least I persuade them to skip class and play basketball. You and the Good Lord are probably the only ones who know what sick and deviant acts you are persuading your young men to perform, behind closed doors.
Maybe I'm being too hard on you (not that you don't like it that way). It's probably just my competitive nature rearing its sometimes-ugly head. Don't forget that I didn't coach anywhere last year. An entire season sitting it out, waiting, biding my time. There's rebirth on the plains, too, Rick. Not just your Bevo afterbirth. Ask Eddie Sutton. Like myself, the man enjoys a drink and second chances.
Now then, are we simply going to insult each other for the duration of the second half, or are we going to talk some basketball? All I've gotten from you is trash-talk and sponsorship mutterings.
Yes, yes ... Kevin Durant this, Kevin Durant that ... what do you want me to say? He's great? Fine. He's great. Amazing. The best freshman ever. Screw that Carmelo Anthony chump.
You know what, though, Rick? We're ahead ...
Trust me: I've noticed. Our perimeter defense has been all but nonexistent. Perimeter defense has suffered across the game in recent years, but this is ridiculous.
If this game comes down to one point, I'm going to have to mention Abrams' waved-off basket to Big XII officials. How in the Hades does that not count? Alas, all I do is sip on my bottled water like a newborn. I'm such a coward. I'm glad ABC is showing more of the elfin Mack Brown in the stands than they are of me daydreaming about church tomorrow.
Anthony is a born scorer: He's the perfect scorer in approach, attitude, and frame. I loved watching his one year in school, but I think we can all agree that Durant will ultimately be the more dynamic player.
I can't resist taking a look around the conference on the scoreboard. I'll update you in a minute.
This Janet Stockard lady, the gal lawyer in the blue dress and blue hat ... I think I'll give her a call if things go wrong after the game. It's always good to know an attorney in town who specializes in drug and alcohol cases. Not that I'm planning to commit an offense.
You know what's offensive, Rick? Your "fans." Damn, those must be some comfortable seats. Nobody's standing. Haven't all afternoon. Must make you proud.
She's no Betty Blackwell, but she'll do in a pinch. It's looking like any offense you might commit could be in celebration, Bob, which makes me so gosh-darned mad. No sprinkles on our ice cream after today's game, win or lose.
Well, hard-luck Missouri lost again, this time to Nebraska. Of course, we have A&M-Kansas tonight, as you so memorably mentioned. Big game, but you want to hear the big news: Oklahoma State is getting it handed to them in Boulder. Boy, glad I'm not a fan of that team.
Yes, it's agonizing to be a Cowboy fan. I pity the sad-sack losers who root for that team. From what I hear (Umberto has access to a Sirius Satellite Radio – though I neglected to ask him where he got it) OSU has allowed Colorado to hit something like 12 3-pointers, while JamesOn Curry suffers from an illness. Furthermore, Umberto has told me (in his very broken English) that Oklahoma State has missed eight layups.
That's no way to win a basketball game, Rick. Ask anyone who knows anything about the game.
I've always prided myself on my sense of humor, Bob, and I can't tell you how big of a kick I'm getting out of the ad behind you that says "magicolor."
Two minutes to go, tie game, and Musburger's talking about getting drunk with you. Imagine that.
Let's get a timeout here.
OK, kids, we call this one the clear out. Actually, let's penetrate with Augustin and kick out if we have to. Durant can crash for the put-back.
Sometimes I amaze even myself. But I couldn't do it without the grace of the Good Lord.
Your drinking buddy just called me one of the best teachers and coaches in the country.
That was a dagger, Bob. I know you didn't teach him to shoot like that.
Purple is a magical color, Rick. Wizards and homosexuals already know this; it's about time you got hip to it. Not the homosexual part ... my guess is you're already ahead of the curve on that one.
Wait, I said no more insults, didn't I? Forgive me. Hell, Rick, I'll go to church with you tomorrow and seek forgiveness from the Almighty for my transgressions, which are many.
What was Augustin thinking? Why did I even bother calling that timeout if we weren't going to run any semblance of a play? Not even a screen for Durant? Nothing?
I can't believe you beat me at home. Of course, it did come down to 1 point, and Abrams' shot earlier should have counted. But I have to credit you for instilling confidence in those K-State kids. They're a tough team. Slurs and substance abuse aside, you're a good coach, Bob, and your players reflect that. Now, pass that bottle over here.
I'm not going to rub it in. Not my style. I know there are a lot of hurting Bevos in that locker room right now. I know there are angry parents, boosters, and "fans" you'll have to answer to.
You let us come into your building and snap your home winning streak. It was our third straight road win, Rick. Don't look now, though. North Carolina is a minute and 45 seconds away from losing, too. Saturdays are full of losers, Rick. You've just joined the club.
I suppose you could maybe feel better knowing your team didn't lose to Colorado, which someone we both know won't be able to say by the end of the day. If things stay the same, there will be much shame in the state of Oklahoma tonight.