Thinking out loud … while wondering whatever happened to Bonzie Colson.
— The old saying that “bad PR is better than no PR” is applicable in the case of Bryant basketball this week. Did you catch the end of the game at Brown? You should have by now, it was all over social media — even ESPN and Deadspin picked up on it.
— ICYMI, Bryant freshman Ikenna Ndugba thought his team was leading in the game’s frantic final seconds, when in actuality his team trailed by a point. Ndugba’s miscalculation and inadvertent celebration led to Brown’s big come-from-behind 91-90 win Monday night. Ouch.
— A teachable moment for coach Tim O’Shea? Sure. Keep your head in the game, son. Keep your head in the game. And, freshmen will make mistakes. Count on them. Hopefully, not too many game-ending-in-a-defeat mistakes, like this one.
— On the positive side for the Bulldogs, sophomore guard Nisre Zouzoua (say it fast five times) was named the Northeast Conference Player of the Week for averaging 25 points per game over three games last week. So there is that. If you need an entertaining, phonetic challenge at all, just follow Bryant basketball for a while.
— URI had the chance to come up large at Valparaiso this week but came up short instead. It is true — and Rhody fans might not want to hear this — but good teams find a way to win road games. Tuesday night’s loss in Indiana was a missed opportunity. You know when the next shot is, right?
— E.C. Matthews is, indeed, struggling after missing the last year due to his knee injury. He’s not the same player he was, and that’s not surprising. Rhody fans had best hope I just jinxed the Friars for Saturday, and that Matthews has his come-to-Jesus breakout performance against PC.
— Jared Terrell is carrying the Rams right now. But he needs offensive help, and he’ll get effort from Hassan Martin in that regard. Kuran Iverson needs to stay out of foul trouble, and someone on the team needs to be able to hit a clutch shot. Win or lose Saturday, the Rams most likely will fall out of the AP Top 25 next week after a four-week run, the second-longest in program history.
— There’s plenty of time and opportunity left to be NCAA good — but it’s got to start somewhere, some time. Just sayin’.
— Rodney Bullock came unhinged for the Friars against UNH Wednesday, with a career scoring night (36 points). When he’s on, he’s very tough to slow down. He’ll be a big part of PC’s success story this season, whatever it may be.
— I’ve been very impressed with the the Friars’ defensive capabilities as well. They switch from man to zone with relative ease, which is a trait the team has struggled with in previous years. The three-quarter-court press also is effective, keeping opponents from getting into any offensive rhythm for 10-15 seconds.
— Providence will need that, and then some, if it is to knock off Rhode Island for a seventh straight time Saturday. With a win, PC matches its longest win streak — ever — against the Rams. Rhody once won 12 straight back in the early days of the series, which dates to 1920.
— It doesn’t mean as much, perhaps, as it did 20-30 years ago to the players themselves. They all know each other from AAU circuits, anyway. But for the fans, it’s still a bigger game from the Kingston point of view, dating back to URI’s perceived Big East snubbing in 1979 and beyond. And I love it. That’s how rivalries get their juice, because someone gets p***** off.
— Although, I know a few Friars (looking at you, Statbeast) who always feel mighty good about things after a romp over the Rams. Amiright?
— I dropped this nugget on Joe Hassett Wednesday night during our radio broadcast: PC plays every state university basketball team in New England this season except for UConn. Sonar came back with, “They don’t want to play us, which is stupid. We help their out-of-conference strength. But we’d beat them. What league are they in?” Truer words have rarely been spoken.
— Don’t look now, but PC women’s basketball is slowly climbing back up the ladder, and has a chance to do something it hasn’t done since the early ’90s — and that’s win seven straight games to start a season.
— After winning all of five games a year ago, Jim Crowley’s Friars take part in the inaugural Ocean State Tip Off (against URI, Bryant and Brown) at Brown this weekend, with Providence against Bryant and Rhody facing Brown — and the winners meeting for the championship. Novel idea, huh?
— Too bad their male contemporaries will never learn from the female example. Wait, wut?
— The men’s soccer program built by Craig Stewart at Providence quickly is becoming a national success story, if it hasn’t been one already. Friday night’s NCAA tournament result at North Carolina notwithstanding, having the chance to take part in TWO Soccer Cup final fours within three years is darn-right Tar Heel-like, or Kentucky- or Kansas-like, is it not?
— Let’s see. Women’s hoops are on the rebound, as is volleyball. Men’s hockey wins a national title. Soccer is an annual NCAA contender, as is men’s basketball. Cross country is a national powerhouse. Let’s throw lax into the mix too, as PC will host the Big East Lacrosse Championships next spring.
— Not for nuthin’, but it’s rollin’ in Friartown.
— The 31-member all-New England football team, as voted upon by the New England Football Writers Association, includes six players with ties to Rhode Island. Brown’s Richard Jarvis, Alex Jette and Will Twyman, plus Bryant’s Dalton Easton and Charles Wingate, and URI’s Harold Cooper all received recognition. Jette is a four-time all-Ivy performer at wide receiver, and Cooper is a repeat selection — having returned two kickoffs for touchdowns this past season.
— With Bryant coach Marty Fine stepping down from his post this week, it ends a 13-year run that has seen not just the building of Bryant football, but also a move from Division 2 days in the Northeast-10 to Division 1 in the NEC. Quite the undertaking, and coach Fine’s program has been, and remains, competitive.
— The 15th annual Tradition, supporting the New England Sports Hall of Fame, honored a pretty eclectic group of former Boston athletes this week. Where else could you find Drew Bledsoe, Shaquille O’Neal, “Spaceman” Bill Lee and Laila Ali together on the same stage? Not to be left out, Wayne Cashman and the One Fund Boston also were honored as part of the Class of ’16.
— The very definition of “cold-blooded” — Gerard Gallant was fired from his head coaching job by the Florida Panthers this week, and once he received word of his dismissal — with the team on the road, no less — he and his bags were deposited on the curb outside of the arena where the Panthers had just played (and lost, in Carolina), and left in the cold to wait for a taxi as the team bus pulled away. Whoa.
— While doing a little Christmas shopping I came across an old Ouija board. Remember those? It said it was suitable for “kids 8 and up.” So, 8-year-old kids can summon demons and ghosts, but they’ve got to be 21 to drink alcohol? Is that about right?
— My buddy “Big E” sez he heard a story recently about a guy who had just gone to hell but was having a hard time figuring out why it was such a bad place. A demon had put him to work in 95-degree heat with 95 percent humidity, but returned to find him humming and singing along to his favorite songs. It was because, he said, it reminded him of working in his upstate New York farm’s silo on sultry summer days. Next, the demon put the guy to work in 40-degrees-below-zero conditions, thinking this surely would cause him some discomfort, but nope. He was smiling and singing and celebrating, even. Why are you so happy, the demon asked? “Because it’s a cold day in hell, so the Jets must have finally won the Super Bowl.”
— Colin Kaepernick now needs to slither away. While his “protest” against the national anthem did its share to raise awareness of what he perceives as a problem in this country, not everyone shared his opinion. But that’s fine, and his viewpoint is understood — at least in this corner. Personally, I wouldn’t have traveled his road, as I have opined previously, but I understand it.
— Now, an apparent appreciation for the recently deceased Cuban dictator Fidel Castro is, in a word, ridiculous. Saying a brutal dictator did some good things is like saying Jeffrey Dahmer was really a good guy at heart. Before he ate it.
— On Rob Gronkowski: The man lives, and plays, dangerously. It’s who he is. The byproducts of playing dangerously are injuries, so his ruptured disk shouldn’t come as a surprise. Even though it does, and it certainly isn’t good news.
— Are the Patriots any less of a Super Bowl favorite now? Maybe. Gronk’s presence does make it easier on other guys. But all of this doom-and-gloom I’m hearing from so-called experts? Mule muffins.
— Did you get a load of the Twitter war this week between the Patriots and ex-NFL official Joe Browne? Browne tweeted in the aftermath of the tragedy involving the Brazilian Chapecoense soccer team that the NFL has a system in place to “restock an affected team” if a similar tragedy were to occur within the league.
— To which the Patriots, who have believed Browne has had it in for them over the years, responded: “Poor choice of words and disrespectful to all who lost lives. Players are not stock, they’re the most important people in the NFL.” Browne apologized and deleted his original tweet. New England 1, Browne 0. Sit down, bus driver.
— If anyone really believed the Patriots would blast the Jets last week, you don’t pay attention. The J-E-T-S always play the Pats tough, as the last seven games have been decided by seven points or less. Buttfumble was an aberration, but a fun aberration.
— Why in the world was TB12 blocking for LeGarrette Blount on a sweep? Because Tom Terrific couldn’t get out of his way as LG reversed his field. Wrong place, wrong time. But did anyone else notice that the Jets failed to put a hat on Brady? Was that the respect factor, or because they knew if they did put a hat on him, there surely was a fine coming?
— It appears the Patriots finally have cultivated a receiver on their own, through the draft. Malcolm Mitchell can play. And he has Brady’s confidence. That is all.
— Why the hate for Rams coach Jeff Fisher? Sure, he’s been known to be “dirty.” But the guy must have pictures on someone, because he keeps his job when 7-9 is the best his teams ever get to, it seems. Much ado about nuthin’, if you ask me. I got more important things to hate on.
— Like Thursday Night Football. Got to go. It’s time. Too much of a good thing, my mother and grandmothers always told me, upsets the tummy. They were right, as usual.
— But full-time NFL refs? ‘Bout time. There may be hope for pro football after all.
— There will be no baseball labor unrest, which obviously is a good thing. The 1994 World Series cancellation was a real dark moment in pro sports, and should never be repeated because of greed. You can make the argument baseball has never recovered from that time in terms of national popularity. Football is king now.
— As for the Hall of Fame nominees, I don’t pay attention to steroids. Either a guy is worthy or he isn’t. A player had extraordinary talent or he didn’t. That’s just me. So, I would vote in Barry Bonds. Roger Clemens, too. The “character clause” is as out of date as is the 20th century — which, by the way, was when it was originally written after the 1919 Black Sox scandal.
— Time to take character out of the way and elect someone on their baseball talents, period. The Hall is a museum, and meant to be a snapshot of history. All history isn’t good history, is it?
— Those in the Baseball Writers Association of America who vote on the HOF and who would change their votes based on someone’s “character” need to have their own character checked. Hypocrites, all. Every one of you. Looking straight at you, Dan Shaughnessy.
— So, now the MLB All-Star Game no longer counts? All of those TV promos burned into the far reaches of my brain, I’m so confused.
— For music and rock ‘n’ roll aficionados, of which I am one — Don Henley made it official this week, we think. The Eagles are no more. The surviving three members of the band — Henley, Joe Walsh and Timothy Schmit — received their Kennedy Center medallions this weekend after postponing the ceremonies to receive their praise, hoping Glenn Frey would be able to recover from health problems. Sadly, he never did, passing away in 2015 at age 67.
— Henley said recently in The Washington Post it was Frey’s band to begin with, and it would seem “like greed or something” if they continued on without him. Their “Greatest Hits” album still is the best-selling of all-time, and while I get Henley’s notion, it wouldn’t be greedy to continue on. It would be, in my humble opinion, a tribute to the man who started it all.
— Don McLean’s “American Pie” once sang of “the day the music died.” Maybe someday Don Henley, Joe Walsh and Tim Schmit will think about this and belt another one out for Frey. We can only hope. Once, there was the “Hell Freezes Over” tour for the Eagles, so now how about the “Pigs Can Fly” tribute or reunion?
— Rumors have persisted Glenn’s son Deacon could replace his father, as could Jackson Browne. The Kennedy Center presentations will be aired by CBS on Dec. 27.
— The Celtics’ Al Horford says he doesn’t pay attention to media trolls, but his sister sure does — right, Mike Felger?
— Do I have a problem with his missing a flight and game for the birth of a child? Absolutely not. Does he have a responsibility to his employers who pay him very well? Of course he does. But there are balances in life, and we handle them every day. Some clearly handle them better than others, right, Felger?
— Remember former URI forward Bonzie Colson? A key player for the Rams during their 1988 NCAA Tournament run and a former college coach (at George Washington with Tom Penders and Boston College with Al Skinner), Colson has coached at New Bedford High School as well. His son, who also goes by the name Bonzie and once primed his career by prepping at St. Andrews in Barrington, Rhode Island, is off to a terrific start in the ACC. Colson put up 24 points and 17 rebounds for Notre Dame against Iowa the other night, and is averaging a double-double every time out for the Irish. No one around here wanted this guy?
— Emily from New York emailed (old school!) this week, on the Patriots’ opponent crowds, and comparisons: I completely agree that the fans at Gillette could use some work on their rowdy cheering game. I had the opportunity to experience the Pats vs. Jets at MetLife [Sunday], and you could have heard a pin drop in that stadium at times. The women behind me kept complaining when I would stand up and cheer on 3rd down! AND, they completely ripped off your “First down!” cheer.” Emily: Believe me, I wish I had consulted a patent attorney for the “First down!” call we originated more than 20 years ago. Jets fans’ biggest problem is they wish they could be Patriots fans. If the team won more often, I don’t think you’d have anyone yelling at you to sit down. Patriots fans’ biggest problem is they get complacent. There’s an air of entitlement that is unsettling, to say the least. Glad to see you’re not one of them.
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