Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Arenas and Coach K

Gilbert Arenas, who is having a spectacular year playing for the Washington Wizards, is mad at Coach K for cutting him from the USA team that will play in the olympics. He told ESPN that he’s driven to get back at anyone connected to the decision, which is why he dropped 54 points on Phoenix last month, because their coach is an assistant coach on the USA team. He says he’s gonna do it to Portland and coach Nate McMillan soon too. But what he really wants is to play Duke:

“He’d like to see what I’m going to do against Duke,” Arenas wrote in a posting this week on his nba.com blog. “I thought it was funny because if I have the chance to go back to college, I’ll give up one NBA season to play against Duke.

“One college game that’s five fouls, right? … 40-minute game at Duke, they got soft rims I’d probably score 84 or 85. I wouldn’t pass the ball. I wouldn’t even think about passing it. It would be like a NBA Live or an NBA 2K7 game, you just shoot with one person,” he wrote.

Arenas is a great player, and I understand that he’s using being cut to motivate himself, but this is quite absurd. Sure, you can take any good NBA player and put them back in college after several years of playing against the pros and they’re gonna light up even a good college team. Imagine Lebron James playing a college team today, or Shaquille O’Neal in his prime doing so. That’s an absurdly unfair comparison.

But the article doesn’t mention that when Arenas was in college, he had his shot against Duke. He had it on the biggest stage of all, in the NCAA championship game in 2001. Duke won 82-72 for Coach K’s third national championship. And Arenas was the major reason Arizona lost, shooting a dismal 4 for 17 from the field to erase a night when all three frontline players shot over 50%. So quite frankly, Arenas should be quiet on that particular subject.

The article also doesn’t bother to analyze whether Coach K was right to cut him from the team or not. Arenas is a great player, and a great story since he was a second round pick who has turned into a serious MVP candidate in the NBA, but who should Coach K have cut to keep him? He plays shooting guard, the same position played by Dwayne Wade and Kobe Bryant, and as great as Arenas is as a player he’s not better than those two.

And while we’re on the subject of Duke basketball, they are justifiably taking some heat for their win at Clemson on Thursday. For those who didn’t see it, Duke blew a 5 point lead in the final 10 seconds when Josh McRoberts threw a pass directly to a Clemson player, who hit a 3 pointer to tie the game. The refs put 4.4 seconds back on the clock and Duke made it downcourt and hit a shot at the buzzer by David McClure.

I was watching the game and the critics are absolutely right, there was no way that much time should have been on the clock. 2.5 seconds tops, which would have not given them time to make that last shot. The game should have gone in to overtime, where the Blue Devils likely would have won, but at least then it would have been settled on the court rather than with a ref’s mistake. An ugly way to win, and a game they probably deserved to lose. The ACC has now admitted that a timing error was made.


  1. #1 Dave L
    January 27, 2007

    I wondered about the end of the Duke-Clemson game; I had missed that they had put more time back on the clock. It was quite a defensive breakdown when Clemson let Duke get the ball down the court so quickly in the last seconds to even get that shot. I’m not a fan of Duke, but I’ve got to admit their games do seem to regularly provide some very exciting basketball.

  2. #2 Lettuce
    January 27, 2007

    I understand that Myles Brand, after the timing fiasco, is now dedicated to destroying Duke and anyone related to the Duke program.

  3. #3 Tom
    January 27, 2007

    For what it’s worth, it was D’Antoni who joked about what Gilbert would do to Duke. Gil was just responding to that.

    Also, Gil is kind of crazy.

  4. #4 FishyFred
    January 27, 2007





  5. #5 Matthew
    January 27, 2007

    I think he probably could score 80 against Duke. If you can score 60 in the NBA, you can score 20 more against who team of players aged 18-22, most of which will never play professionally on any level. That’s not something you can will to happen, though, he’d still have to be hot.

    Speaking of Arizona, I watched them get manhandled by North Carolina today. 10 years ago that wouldn’t have happened. It shouldn’t have happened today. Arizona is a better program than that, and they shouldn’t accept mediocrity, which is all they’ve been for many years now. It’s time for Lute Olson to retire and move on. If he’s not willing, they have to show him the door. Don’t do what Indiana did by keeping Knight on well past his prime, and let your program turn into an afterthought. Loyalty isn’t worth that.

  6. #6 ray
    January 27, 2007

    in all fairness, Agent Zero hurt his shoulder in the semis vs Michigan St and might not have played the next game were it the regular season


  7. #7 Ed Brayton
    January 28, 2007

    Matthew wrote:

    I think he probably could score 80 against Duke. If you can score 60 in the NBA, you can score 20 more against who team of players aged 18-22, most of which will never play professionally on any level. That’s not something you can will to happen, though, he’d still have to be hot.

    I’d bet a sizable amount that he wouldn’t score anywhere near 80 against Duke. He’d clearly be the best player on the floor, and he’d score a lot, but there’s no way he scores 80. The college game is 40 minutes, not 48. And the shot clock is 35 seconds, not 24 seconds. And of course, Duke would triple team him and make him give up the ball. I doubt he’d score 50 against them. It’s all hypothetical, of course, but he would have to take at least 30 shots, and make almost all of them, to get to 80 points. That’s nearly impossible to do in a college game.

  8. #8 Matthew
    January 28, 2007

    I see your point. At the same time, a 3 pointer in college is like a mid-range jumper in the NBA, and Arenas is a fairly good 3 point shooter anyways. According to this website, 72 is the single game record in college, with several players having 60+ point games (Pete Maravich with 3 of the top 10 of all time). Those players were all in college at the time. I think it’s plausible for him to do it.

  9. #9 Matthew
    January 28, 2007

    My bad, forgot the record site:


  10. #10 Mark C
    January 28, 2007

    He uses the word “I” 7 times in 2 paragraphs. Gilbert’s quote gives one all the evidence one needs for being cut from the the team.

  11. #11 Mark C
    January 28, 2007

    BTW, he might be able to put up 80, but since he doesn’t play defense, the Dukies would most likely put up 150 against him, and last I checked, it was all about winning, not whining.

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