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Just Off-Camera

"They respect you if you write. The dumber the world gets, the more the words matter." -Dan Jenkins


Sunday, January 25, 2004

The Mad F-Bomber

The news that most of the sports world heard was pretty standard: 4th-ranked UConn was upset yesterday by Big East rival Providence. The Friars were led by a tremendous effort by forward Ryan Gomes, who had 26 points and 12 rebounds.

The news that you only heard if you had the TV tuned to ESPNEWS, or you were listening to ESPN radio, was that of a sarcastic, expletive-riddled tirade by Huskies coach Jim Calhoun.

The problem started a while back, when Calhoun was recruiting this year's junior class. Gomes hails from Waterbury, CT, a town not too far from UConn, and of course someone raised the question of how such a productive player from the Huskies' backyard ended up in a different jersey. Connecticut head coach Jim Calhoun did not like the question.

I wish I could find his quote verbatim, because it's classic. Unfortunately, he only made this comment to an ESPN Radio reporter, so there is no video of it and it's not in the AP story.

Calhoun, who is clearly tired of being asked this question, went ballistic. "If---ed up," said the coach, very sarcastically. Calhoun then went on describing how he went with Emeka Okafor instead of Gomes, and that turned out pretty well, and that even Providence wasn't sold on Gomes for a long time, and that in high school, Gomes wasn't yet at his current 6-7 height and weighed just as much (245).

What was really funny about his tirade, though, was that Calhoun repeatedly said, "I f---ed up." He even went so far as to say, "Here, I'll say it again: If---ed up."

Calhoun, during his rant, apparently was keeping track of the number of times he dropped the F-bomb, because he concluded his speech by saying, "For the fifth time, I f---ed up. And you can put each one of those in the paper."

How precise. Calhoun is attentive enough, even while raging at a helpless reporter (whom he admonished, "Don't shake your head," during all this), to keep track exactly of how many times he "admitted" to f---ing up.

In the box score, to reward Calhoun's precision, maybe we'll see the following:

TEAM REBS: 5
TURNOVERS: 16 (B Gordon 5, T Brown 4, C Villanueva 2, S Tooles, E Okafor, R Anderson)
BLOCKED SHOTS: 5 (E Okafor 4, J Boone)
STEALS: 3 (S Tooles, B Gordon, E Okafor)
3-PT FGS: 2-12, .167 (D Brown 0-2, B Gordon 1-5, R Anderson 1-5)
I F---ED UP BY NOT GETTING RYAN GOMES: 5 (J Calhoun 5)

***

ESPNEWS Jinx update:

Is the ESPNEWS Jinx for real? We waited anxiously yesterday as Oklahoma tried to shake the curse. Well, they beat Kansas State for their first win in five tries since visiting the ESPNEWS studio. Head coach Kelvin Sampson, who traditionally wears a blue denim shirt on the sidelines, even ditched his look in favor of a sweater in hopes of reversing the team's fortunes. Is that what it takes to beat the jinx? A change of clothes?

But the jinx clearly is still alive and kicking in Norman: Forward Kevin Bookout, who was one of the Sooners who actually sat down on the set for an interview, announced today that he would be missing the rest of the season because he will undergo shoulder surgery next week.

No word on whether the other Sooner to be interviewed, Jabahri Brown, is trembling in fear.

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