Tuesday, November 25, 2008
It was just a couple of short years ago Eastern Washington had Rodney Stuckey there, scoring crazy mad phat points covering spreads like he bet on the games himself. Not anymore. Now they just plain suck at basketball. They finished last year at 11-19, and lost their best player, but are 3-1 this season. None of those wins are in the least bit meaningful, and their loss was a 15 pointer at Illinois. There's really not a whole lot to worry about here, but if I stopped writing now this would be too short, so let's just move on.
They do have a couple of less than terrible players, starting with point guard Benny Valentine, a 5-7 lightning bug in his first year at EWU after transferring from Texas Tech where he averaged 3.5 points and 1.2 assists per game as a freshman. He's more of a scorer than a distributor, though he does lead the Eagles in minutes, points, assists, shots attempted and made, and turnovers. He dropped 28 on UT-Arlington (insert dismissive wanking motion) but is a bit of a chucker, as he really likes to throw the ball at the basket despite making just 40% from the floor and 25% from three, and shot just 4-15 against Illinois. All these facts lead me to believe that Al Nolen is going to eat him for lunch.
The other major factor, well, relatively major, on the team is 6-9 F/C Brandon Moore, the team's second leading scorer and leading rebounder. He has improved after last season, and has scored in double figures in three of the team's four games, with double figure rebounds in two. He's got some size to him, so it will be interesting to see how Sampson and Iverson handle him. My guess? Easily.
There isn't much else here. Senior guard and commie bastard Milan Stanojevic is the team's third leading scorer at 9.3ppg and shoots 41% from three point land, but if he's like most foreigners his defense is Shamala-like. Two other starting guards are back from last year in Trey Gross and Gary Gibson, but Gross averages more turnovers than assists per game and Gibson shoots under 39% from the floor. There's really nothing notable up front.
The biggest shame of this whole thing is that EWU's returning leading scorer from last season, guard Adris DeLeon (no relation to DeLeon Eskridge) is suspended indefinitely due to academics. DeLeon was discovered by Eagle's coach Kirk Earlywine (bet that's not his real name) on the streets of NYC. As in playing streetball. As in he's a streetballer from New York with the handle 2 Hard 2 Guard. And apparently he is, at least against Northern Colorado who he dropped 42 points on last season. It is truly a shame we won't get to see the next 'Skip to my Lou' in action, especially since he really put up some gems last season including a game where he shot 2-16 and another game where he turned it over 9 times. I'm sad and shocked that this kind of player would be in academic trouble.
Overall, this isn't going to be a good game for the Eagles. Their strength is in the backcourt, which unfortunately for them mirrors the Gophers strength. Also their strength actually sucks, and they have more turnovers as a team than assists this year - while the Gophers excel at turning teams over. With a weak EWU frontcourt as well, expect to see a stomach-turning amount of Travis Busch, and a 20-point victory.
If you still want your 2 Hard 2 Guard fix, here's a highlight video of him versus someone called "Homicide", a classy handle if there ever was one. 2 Hard is #10 in white: