vs. Purdue
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Nothing Special

Like an old three-legged dog awaiting someone to put it out of its misery, this season is stumbling to an end. Our trip to Purdue and our last road trip of the year will most assuredly be a game I will not forget as I grow old. We were assured by the coaching staff that if we got back on defense (Purdue tends to score a lot in transition), box out and rebound, this would be a very beatable team. I can never tell anymore if they actually believe what they say. I realize that they have a duty to try to keep team morale from falling down around our ankles and tripping us when we run length of the court--they are paid optimists. However, I'm a bit more realistic and am not given to daydreaming and delusions of grandeur. Going against the Big Ten Champions, the number five team in the entire freaking nation, I knew not-so-deep down that we didn't have a chance.


We started out on fire (or at least really, really warm). Evan's one handed slam coupled with a few defense-induced turnovers on behalf of our opponents fired us up, and for one fleeting moment there was hope on our bench. Not in this player's heart though--I knew it wouldn't last--it rarely does. We're just too young and injury-plagued to keep up with them.

As our lead disappeared and turned into a deficit, emotions began to run high and we got frustrated. I can always tell when Geno Carlisle gets frustrated--his mouth runneth over with a stream of seemingly endless linguistic refuse. While at the line I must have told him and Herb Dove about 3 times in a row to shut up--they just wouldn't shut up and it got on my nerves. Why it is that some players insist on talking trash I will never understand. Never. What good does it do?

As is my style, I was posting like a madman, hoping that for just once in this game a guard would see me successfully fending off Brandon Brantley and let me just touch the ball. I longed for the feel of that leather orb in my palms. I was beginning to forget what it felt like to actually shoot one. Denied time and time again, I was open but I just couldn't get a look. My role on this team seems at times to be so pointless. I post and screen, post and screen, post and screen some more yet rarely do I get a good pass that would allow me to do anything with the ball. *heavy sigh*

I too began to get frustrated, especially with Brantley and Co. literally hanging from my arms in an attempt to front me in the post. I nearly had to flip Brantley over my back once just to get the refs to open their blurry eyes and notice that I was being mauled. Does the difference in size between my defender and myself justify letting him hang on me like a horny koala? I did my best to restrain myself, but the officials evidentally didn't think I did a good enough job of that. I sat for a while.


As the brutal scene drew to a close, Evan, Brian and Joe Harmsen each found themselves in deep foul trouble so I was thrown back into the mix. It was during my last "visit" to the hardwood that Brantley, in a gesture of utter sportsmanship (insert copious amounts of sarcasm here) began to threaten me and spew forth with stern recommendations that I stop posting so hard (i.e. using my backhand to hold him behind me). Perhaps he was expecting me to lay down and play dead so he could walk all over me. I told him to shut up, stop his whining and just play the game. Yet he continued. Herb Dove, hearing our exchange, chimed in with his two cents, suggesting that I shut up and then proceeded to offer words of encouragement such as "you guys suck and you're sorry." I couldn't believe it. No wait, I did believe it...I just wasn't expecting such talk from a championship team.

"Statistical champions" would be a more precise term to use--otherwise undeserving of the title "champion." I have absolutely no respect for players such as Brandon Brantley and Herb Dove. Never before have I played against a bigger pair of trash-talkin' cry-babies. Just because the cellar-dweling team in the 'Ten comes to town to give the home team an "easy win" doesn't mean that we're supposed to just lay down and take it in the posterior--I refuse to go out like that. We don't come to lose, nor do we expect to be treated by our hosts in such a fashion. I'd rather be shot in the kneecaps than have someone say to me "you didn't give your all." Perhaps Brantley should take some lessons from real players such as Jamie Feick (Michigan State) and Todd Lindemann (Indiana)--guys who will beat the ever-loving snot out of you while holding a light conversation:

"Hey Jamie, what's up?" Using my body as a human wall to impede his progress into the lane, letting him hit me full force in the chest.

"Oh not much Big Kreft, what about you?" replying with an equally agressive butt-in-the-thigh post up that leaves me hurting for two days afterwards.

That is how a real player conducts himself on the court--and that is why I respect Feick and Lindemann.

On the ride back, manager Keith Peshke asked if I had any special feelings or memories that I would carry away from this contest. I have memories alright, but none of them special.

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