Everyone's got an opinion, sometimes it's based on fact or stats other times it's a simply hunch or interpretation. Regardless everyone gets their due, they are praised when they do good work or they chastised when they don't. Columnists write pieces that are meant to generate interest and get the conversation started. They will use just enough hyperbole to piss off one side of a particular fan base to get the discussion started. They all do it so it should be no secret and it shouldn't shock us when they say something that makes us shake our heads.
Today's contestant is Bill Plaschke. I am fairly ambivalent in regards to most of what he writes but he couldn't hit the broadside of the barn on this one at close range.
As one Southland freshman waved a desultory good-bye, the other one grabbed us in a sweaty embrace.
On a night when the brief O.J. Mayo era ended in an Omaha stun, the final days of the brief Kevin Love era began with an Anaheim swat.
And another one. And another one.
Three blocked shots in the first three minutes, and he was just getting started, the kid using March to show us how he has become a man.
UCLA's 70-29 victory over Mississippi Valley State at the Honda Center was boring to some, but the bomb for Love, who treated his first NCAA tournament game like a toddler treats his first recognizable birthday cake.
Way to spread it on Bill.
If Plaschke were in any other town writing this story you could possibly see some merit in what he writes but he wrote this in L.A., a city with one of the most heated and bitter rivalries in all of college sports.
It would not surprise me if Bill never traveled down to USC's campus, it would seem that he would rather hang out in Westwood where he can partake in his admiration of Kevin Love 24/7. What Plaschke misses is that very few people in L.A. are casual observers of college sports they follow one team or the other so his attempt to be objective in his attempt to compare Mayo and Love is haphazard and cheap. So, its gas on the fire.
"He never gives less than everything," said teammate Darren Collision.
Love not only played, he played full court, he played full speed, he played full blown.
"No mercy," said Love.
While Mayo's USC team wilted on his shoulders in a first-round loss to Kansas State, Love's UCLA team jumped around his shoulders in a first-round victory both historic and hysterical.
Right, Mayo just mails it in.
How good do you think K-Love would be if the roles were reversed? If he were playing on Floyd's team would he enjoy the same success that he enjoys now? It's a little easier to succeed when you have a few more pieces to the puzzle in place. No one is questioning Love's talent but its kind of hard to succeed without the talent around you. To me, that is Tim Floyd's biggest challenge, and I will have a lot more to say about that at another time. Mayo's has the talent, we have all seen that but without a few more pieces to there to support the effort it was only logical that he would put the world on his shoulders. The bruins haven't won anything yet so if they don't win it this year with Love I don't see them winning it for a long time once he leaves. Love was supposed to the final piece to the puzzle so one-and-done without a ring will leave a bad taste in a few peoples mouth.
Guys like Plaschke love tracking the front-runners. He has done it with USC football so its no surprise he will do it with ucla basketball. Plaschke seems to be hinting that one and done players are fine but only if they play for winners, never mind that most one-and-doner's will never play for winners, which is why the 1-year mandatory rule will actually hurt CBB. Love is gone after this season so Plaschke will have to set his DVR so that he will always be able to reminisce to keep his adulation for Love in full bloom.
Mayo was unfairly treated in the press for the unconventional way that he came to USC. He was then further maligned for that phantom bump of that official in that high school game. I will admit I was one of those who were not sure and actually disapproved of Mayo coming to USC.
I was VERY VERY WRONG.
Admittedly, Plaschke gets it right here.
He was a better Trojan than anyone ever imagined, always giving credit to his teammates with passes and post-game praise, never hogging the spotlight or the ball.
But in the end, the surroundings were too raw, the task was too great, and his impact was but a flick.
It is fair to say that too many expectations were placed on Mayo, some by us fans more by SC. They really hyped him up without a supporting cast. Until SC finds a way to bring in top talent that will help build a foundation we will just be chasing our tails. To me that's fair game and those questions should and will be asked, there will be plenty of time for that.
Plaschke would have served himself better if he just wrote the piece on Love and left Mayo out it, as it is very tough to compare the two because the situations are very different.