OTC: Doherty Eats K-State Crow / MU Looks Like SEC’s Best / KU’s McLemore Looks Legendary

Geno Smith as a Chiefs. Merry Christmas from BJ Kissel, @bkissel7.

“Eating crow tonight as KSU outplays UF. Team has grown as they improve in Weber’s motion offense. Defense there has always been good.”
Matt Doherty, @DohertyMatt, Twitter
GH: After Doherty had verbally ripped the Kansas State basketball program just the day or so before for having little talent, he took the high road on Twitter Saturday night to eat his words. Read on.

“After K-State dismantled Florida, I thought the right thing to do was call the show and come back on. I had a lot of crow for dinner Saturday night and there was some egg on my face yesterday morning.”
Matt Doherty, who called into the Border Patrol following K-State’s win at Sprint to eat some crow and gain some respect, 810 AM
GH: Nate Bukaty fielded Doherty’s phone call and spent time with the former UNC head coach discussing how Kansas State impressed him against Florida. Too often we never hear back from analysts, coaches and members of the media when they blast away on a topic and are proven wrong. Doherty took the path less traveled and ate his words on the air, in front of the same audience where some listeners were offended. I was impressed.

“I do think after watching Rodney McGruder and Will Spradling, they’d be able to start for just about any team in the country.”
Matt Doherty, after he belittled the talent on KSU’s team in a previous interview with Steven St. John, 810 AM
GH: Doherty probably went a bit overboard here in his attempt to placate the wounded ears of some K-State fans. Most Wildcat fans are not delusional. They know their squad has a difficult time scoring and that Spradling is not an NBA player in waiting. I do think Weber might be able to get this team in the top three of the Big 12 and another invite to the NCAA tourney.

“Laurence Bowers was named the Southeastern Conference Player of the Week after averaging 17.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists in Tiger wins over Southern Carolina State and No. 10 Illinois. Also named the National Player of the Week by ESPN’s Andy Katz, Bowers scored a team-leading 23 points in Missouri’s win over the No. 10 Fighting Illini, while also grabbing 10 rebounds and dishing four assists.”
David Reiter, MU Director of Strategic Communications, Mizzou press release
GH: The Tigers’ win over Illinois was my first extened look at MU against a quality opponent. Man, am I impressed. They have some very, very nice pieces on this team. Bowers will be an All-SEC pick and his toughest competition for conference player of year might be his teammate, Phil Pressey. While Pressey had a horrendous 3-for-19 shooting night against Illinois, he continues to be my favorite point guard to watch play. He missed almost a dozen twisting, turning, driving layups that usually find the net. But it is his confidence with the ball and how he deftly distributes it to teammates in easy scoring positions that makes him so valuable. Love this kid’s game.

“Even though he wasn’t making shots he was controlling the game.”
Frank Haith, on his point guard, Phil Pressey’s 3-for-19 shooting night in MU’s 82-73 win over Illinois, Kansas City Star
GH: You had to see it to believe it — especially when you see that box score and the awful shooting night from Pressey. But Haith’s words ring true.

“It really is ‘In Bill We Trust.’ It really doesn’t matter who he’s got. I think [Bill Self] is the best coach in college basketball. And if he’s not, the only names I would listen to are Roy Williams and Mike Krzyzewski.
Soren Petro, after KU’s 74-66 win at Ohio State, 810 AM
GH: While K-State’s win over Florida was a shocker and Mizzou’s win earned them a top-10 ranking, no win was more impressive than KU going to Columbus and dominating a very good Buckeyes team. Winning on the road in college basketball is maybe the toughest thing to do in college team sports. Winning at a top-10 team’s home is all the more difficult. Kansas made it look almost easy.

“I’ve never had anybody like this guy. He’s fun to coach. You can tinker around and draw up some plays you can’t draw up for anybody else.”
Bill Self, on redshirt freshman Ben McLemore, Kansas City Star
GH: I have heard similar comments from Self before as he described McLemore but they still peak my interest each time. How good is this redshirt freshman? Are we witnessing the next Paul Pierce? Is he even better than that? My imagination runs wild when I hear words like Self used to describe McLemore. Self has been a head coach at the DI level for 20 seasons. McLemore might just be that once-in-a-generation player. Pierce stayed and played at Kansas for three seasons. Unfortunately [for college basketball fans anyway], McLemore is likely one-and-done after this season — but oh what a season awaits.

“What a great day for college basketball fans in Kansas City! Makes me sad that all three of these schools aren’t still in same conference.”
Nate Bukaty, @nate_bukaty, following the three wins Saturday by KSU, MU and KU, Twitter
GH: The only regret I have in Mizzou departing for the SEC is that Kansas refuses to schedule them. Having the best basketball teams in the Big 12 and the SEC in our backyard is a plus in my book. Two conference champions? Bring it on! Now let’s just get Bill Self to recognize that he is only avoiding the inevitable in refusing to play a 120-year-old rival.

“I think Baylor has similar talent if not better talent [than Kansas]. Probably on paper, they might be the one team that can challenge Kansas [for the Big 12 title].”
Matt Doherty, 810 AM
GH: Let’s hope Kansas finds some worthy opposition during Big 12 conference play. Baylor always looks great during warmups but falters under the guidance of the much-maligned Scott Drew. K-State looks like they could supply some pressure inside the Octogon of Doom, one of the nation’s craziest big-game atmospheres. Oklahoma State also has proven at times to be a difficult place to play for Bill Self. But KU looks far too good to fall more than twice in conference play. I think they stroll to their ninth Big 12 title in a row.

Four-point-eight seconds to play. The eighth-seeded Tigers are one defensive stand away from the Sweet 16. The Bruins need a miracle to move on. … As a Missouri fan, it’s what made you cynical. It is Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown. It is the light at the end of the tunnel that turns out to be the oncoming train. It made you believe in curses, made you believe in karma, made you believe that no matter what Missouri does, a fifth down or a kicked ball or Four-Point-Eight will always ruin everything. … It’s a good thing Missouri and UCLA will play at Pauley Pavilion on Friday. If the game were in Columbia, the Bruins’ Director of Basketball Operations might not be able to make the trip. His name is Tyus Edney.”
Danny Spewak, PowerMizzou.com
GH: Tyus Edney. Is there a more hated name in the Missouri annals of sports history? Surely a Jayhawk or two would rate higher on the Tigers’ hit list? No. None that I recall. The dagger that Edney’s full-court drive and windmill lay-up over the aptly named Derek Grimm, plunged an ache into Norm Stewart’s team’s soul that fateful day in that 1995 NCAA second-round game. It is a hurt much like a never-healing wound from the blade of Mordor.

“It wouldn’t be a number one vacation spot for me, if you know what I’m saying.”
Tyus Edney, when asked if he would be planning to attend the Mizzou/Bruins game if it were being played at Mizzou Arena on Friday night, PowerMizzou.com
GH: Edney will likely be seen at Pauley Pavilion during the game Friday night and also in fuzzy 1995 video from. He is now 39. Mizzou still has not tasted a Final Four. Maybe this game at UCLA will somehow reverse the curse. Can somebody get Frodo a ticket?

“Let’s just say it’s a good thing Spurrier is winning.”
Seth Davis, @sethdavishoops, in answer to a tweet asking how long until Frank Martin has the gamecocks dancing, Twitter
GH: Martin has taken on a curious role; the head coach at a school that cares little about basketball — and likely never will. He makes great money and lives in a nice part of the country, but his stock as a rising college basketball coach may have already peaked.

“If I answer that, I’ll have five friends and lose 30!”
Fran Fraschilla, @franfraschilla, when asked to name his top five active college basketball coaches, Twitter
GH: Fraschilla’s comment is likely meant to be off the cuff but it speaks volumes to me as to why many ex-coaches and ex-athlete analysts are unfit for their job. Too many are more concerned with what their former peers or friends hear than their audience. If Fraschilla’s friends really would be upset with being left off his list, they don’t understand his role as an analyst — just as Fran obviously does not.

“The only non-BCS bowl I watch is the one my team’s in.”
Robert Ford, @raford3, Twitter
GH: The college bowl season is in high gear this week and I could not be less excited — even to watch my Huskers play. Sure, I’ll likely watch parts of some and most all of the bigger bowls — but these games are next to meaningless. Unless you are a college football coach who wants to overwork his players for an additional five weeks each fall, these games are little more than a scam to elicit gobs of money from advertisers and traveling patrons.

“Huskers have 10 Ws and team GPA that exceeds 3.0 — highest it’s ever been. Yet discussion makes it seem like 3-10 and program in disarray.”
Steven Sipple, Lincoln Star Journal, columnist, @HuskerExtraSip, Twitter
GH: That happens when a team loses 70-31 in the Big 10 title game to a five-loss Wisconsin team. Nebraska football is sick. Is that malady because 10 wins aren’t enough or is that because it’s been since 1999 that it last wore a conference crown? Beating Georgia would be a good start to the healing. Getting dogged by UGA will simply intensify the fever of the illness.

“I do not and never have. Put yourself in the same place. Do you want to go out and chaperone 130 20-year-olds for a week and a half?”
Bill Snyder, when asked if he enjoyed the bowl experience, KSHB TV 41

“[Nick Saban] is the most powerful man in all of sports. That includes professional sports. … Why would you leave [Alabama]?”
Paul Finebaum, on reports that Saban is being aggressively recruited by NFL teams, Sirius XM 91
GH: I like Finebaum. I like his laid-back style on his manic caller-driven radio show. His bumper music is the best and most eclectic around. But his perspective of sports from his chair in the great state of Alabama is more skewed than Alice’s Wonderland.

“Spending Christmas alone stinks. I guess I’ll go lift. I hope burglars try to rob my house…
…I’m a little bigger than Kevin.”
Trent Hosick, @TrentHosick, Mizzou QB recruit who was also the Missouri wrestling state champ at 285 pounds as a junior, Twitter

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About Greg Hall

Software guy who has been writing my Off The Couch column in KC newspapers, publications and websites since 1994. Has been bounced from some of the finest media establishments this side of State Line Road. Dad first and everything else second...and there are a lot of everything elses.
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32 Responses to OTC: Doherty Eats K-State Crow / MU Looks Like SEC’s Best / KU’s McLemore Looks Legendary

  1. Uncle Dick says:

    Bigger than Kevin, but not as clever. Let’s see how he would do against Pesci if he went Goodfellas on him. I suspect he would be wrestling with Billy Batts.

  2. chuckart says:

    That wasn’t Gabe DeArmond that wrote the piece on PowerMizzou. It was Danny Spewak. I believe he’s an intern but his writing is very strong. He has done a handful of ‘where are they now’ stories that are great reads.

  3. JP says:

    I will not be shocked if Nick Saban takes his talents to NE Ohio a/k/a Cleveland to take over the Browns. If he wins another national title, the only thing left will be a Lombardi trophy. Saban sees Pete Caroll and Jim Harbaugh having success in the pros and thinks it may be his time. Don’t be surprised if a deal is already in place and he leaves 5 days after the national title game. I could be wrong but I do think he wants a pro job ultimately.

    As for the local teams, I do think KU is a top 5 team right now, with a chance to win the trophy in April. Their defense was just suffocating and that win over Ohio State at their place, shows that this team will not be intimidated going on the road. They could go undefeated in the Big XII.

    I do think Missouri should have a great year in the SEC. Unfortunately they will get Kentucky in February when the young players are starting to gel. Get past that and they win the SEC. They are a legitimate top 10 team, and could make a Final Four run. K-State had a nice win, but I still don’t see how they will score enough to win games. They will be a bubble team most of the year.

  4. Johnny Utah says:

    I’m not convinced McLemore will leave early. If he plays at all-conf level all season, sure. But if he has his no-show games, he’d be wise to check how Xavier Henry and Josh Selby did after a less than stellar KU career. they’ve never gotten on track, much like Julian Wright, and will probably be out of the league in a few years.

    But guys who stayed 3 or 4 years, like collison, morris twins, gooden, etc., have made nice careers for themselves.

    • rkcal says:

      McLemore IS all that; X Henry and Selby just thought they were. He won’t disappear in any game. He’s the real deal and one and done.

  5. The Smartman says:

    Balls to Doherty for admitting he was wrong. Shows good character but not a lot of common sense. If all sports pundits did the same thing we’d need another 12 hours in the day for everybody to fess up. Gotta be like a good politician take credit when you’re right. Blame everybody else when you’re wrong. Personal responsibility has no place in sports or politics.

    All due respect Johnny Utah but Saban would be insane to go to the NFL. Particularly to the Browns where a Lombardi Trophy will be forever elusive. Pete Caroll and Jim Harbaugh may get a faint whiff but I doubt they will ever get to touch it. Saban has the opportunity to build a true DYNASTY at Alabama without any of the headaches of dealing with overpaid and overinflated NFL egos.

    Conference titles in hoops mean as much as non BCS bowl game wins. The coin of the realm in hoops is Final Four appearances. MU NEVER, KSU NEVER.

    Sad part about the NBA is that even marginal one and done players can make a nice chunk of change over a 7-10 year career, that most of them will likely piss away. As JU says….Staying in college for at least 3 years is always, in most cases, the best path if they continue to mature emotionally and develop physically.

    • Barles James says:

      It will be interesting, I think you’re right about Saban’s opportunity to build a dynasty. The problem is, to this point, he’s shown all the loyalty of Bobby Petrino, though he’s obviously smarter than BP.

  6. Smarterman says:

    KSU has been to 2 Final Fours you clown.

  7. Smarterman says:

    No one is in the Final Four on December 26, Champ. Keep trying.

  8. MrOlathe says:

    Or Pesci from Home Alone! Similar.

  9. MrOlathe says:

    That was for Uncle Dick.

  10. Gavin says:

    I think McLemore is the best freshman, at least at this early point in the season, to play at KU since Danny Manning. A lot of people forget that Paul Pierce, as a freshman, was very rough. Tons and tons of potential, but he was very rough. Danny Manning had a much more polished game as a first-year player.

    And I’m absolutely certain he is gone at the end of the year. Which kinda sucks, but I’m glad we at least get him for a year.

    • Greg Hall says:

      I remember Pierce well as a KU freshman and even then thinking he might be Roy’s first recruit to leave early for the NBA. McLemore is a redshirt freshman and that year of maturity cannot be overlooked when comparing him to true frosh like Pierce and Manning. Also, Self didn’t coach Pierce or Manning. It would be very interesting to know how he’d compare McLemore to them if he had. Bottom line, it’s damn fun to have a player with that kind of talent in the area even if for only a season.

      Michael Beasley was mesmerizing his two years at K-State. McLemore has not yet reached that Beasley level for me (mostly because KU’s supporting cast is so much stronger than what Beasley had) but he is something to watch. Can he take over a game like Jacob Pullen did so often in the clutch? Will Self allow it? Sherron Collins wanted to be that guy for KU but never really could pull it off. I think McLemore can and will.

      • Gavin says:

        And, as it turns out, you were correct. Pierce was Roy’s first recruit to leave KU early. It just wasn’t after his freshman year. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not bagging on Pierce’s game at any point of his career. I’m just saying that he was a guy made much better by sticking around for a bit and he seemed to understand that.

        And you raise a good point about McLemore having had some time being coached up, but he hasn’t had a full year. He wasn’t allowed to practice with the team last season until second semester. Obviously, that helped him quite a bit, but I don’t think anyone posting here has any idea just how much. But for an apples-to-apples comparison, you can imagine Paul Pierce last in his first year as an approximation of how good McLemore has been so far. My memory may be fading (in fact, it almost certainly is), but I don’t recall any serious talk of Pierce ever being a one-and-done and that was back in the days of high school seniors declaring. I think everyone knew that Pierce would one day be a pro and probably a pretty good one, but I don’t recall anyone seriously suggesting that he lave after his Freshman year.

        • bs says:

          This is an inane discussion. Of course McLemore would get better if he stayed. But he will get a lot better in the NBA as well. AND, if he is a top 13 pick he will get guaranteed contract for 3 years for enough money to come back to Lawrence anytime he wants. He is crazy to come back if he is a lottery pick.

  11. Howard says:

    Let Mizzou start a new rivalry in their own conference where the game will mean something. Vandy vs Mizzou…that has the right ring to it. Meanwhile, KU can enhance it’s national rivalries with schools that have won championships like Ohio State, Mich State, Arizona, etc.

    • john doe says:

      MU will play Kentucky, Florida and Arkansas at least once every year. Other than Kansas, how many Big 12 teams have won national titles?

      KU has only one national rival, and whether or not you guys want to admit it, it is MU.

      KU vs anybody else is NOT a national rivalry. It is a regular game.

      • Gavin says:

        And you would know, what with your longstanding national rivalries of Arkansas, Florida and Kentucky.

        • john doe says:

          They are as much a rival of those two schools as KU is with Ohio state, Michigan State and Washburn.

          At least MU will play those three former national champions at least once every year.

  12. john doe says:

    McLemore will be forced to turn pro after not passing enough classes this semester

    • Gavin says:

      Those grapes sure are sour, aren’t they John? You never wanted them in the first place.

      • john doe says:

        Sure we did, but he knew he wouldn’t qualify, so he went to a school that would let him in.

        His momma wanted him in Columbia, but he went against her wishes.

  13. Will says:

    Matt Doherty proved his incompetence as an analyst earlier this week, then again after Saturdays game, and you turn around and use another of his comments in this column as if they’re supposed to mean anything? Who cares what he thinks about anyone’s talent after miss judging KSU’s twice in the same week.

  14. Arte says:

    Everybody keeps agreeing Pioli was the right hire that just didn’t work out. But why was he the right hire? Does anybody really know what he did in New England. I picture George Contanza sleeping under his desk and the Patriots just pawned him off to the Chiefs.
    Also Greg, no comments about crazy Mitch Holtus and his “Puerto Rican temper” comment about Angel Rodriquez. Word is ESPN was not pleased with Mitch especially in the wake of the Rob Parker incident.

  15. Bill says:

    Quick correction for you Greg, Hosick won state at the 285-pound weight class. Made it that much more impressive.

  16. Splitlog Quindaro says:

    KSU would seem odd ripping Doherty when they have not been at all enthusiastic about Weber and his team. Even after the Fla win… they still seem off kilter… thinking football… and missing Frank. Attn KSU fans… You have a very good big name coach and 4 returning starters.

  17. CSup says:

    Beasley was at K-State one year, not two, Greg.

  18. Mike Alden says:

    “GH: The only regret I have in Mizzou departing for the SEC is that Kansas refuses to schedule them. ”

    —–You’re still a fugging idiot after all this time, I see. KU will play Mizzery when they decide to come back to the Big 12. If they don’t? No game. So you see, it’s not on KU’s shoulders. We’ve been thru this before.

  19. Keith Hohn says:

    Greg- Kansas fan here hoping you cease with the calls for the Mizzou-KU rivalry to be renewed. The rivalry was over when Mizzou left for the SEC. The rivalry was only important was because of the shared conference affiliation and the occasionaly conference ramifications of the matchup (particularly last year). For evidence of this, ask yourself this: how important is the Mizzou-Illinois game to the fanbase of both universities? That’s what a renewed Mizzou-KU rivalry would be like. As a Kansas fan, I want to see KU play the established powers of college basketball (Michigan State, Kentucky, North Carolina, Duke, etc.) out of conference, not a team like Mizzou that is occasionally very good (this year and last year) but more often mediorce.

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