Scene: An early-October practice at Peterson Gym. SDSU head coach Steve Fisher calls for his players to gather round.
Fisher: OK men, here’s the scenario. We’re putting 17 seconds on the clock. First team, you’re down by one with the ball. Here’s what we’re gonna do: Get the inbounds pass to Jamaal. Jamaal, you just stand there and run the clock down to about six seconds. Then, once the …
(Jamaal Franklin raises his hand)
Yes? What is it Jamaal?
Franklin: So, wait. You want me to run the clock down? When we’re DOWN a point? Wouldn’t it make more sense to run the half-court offense like usual and try to create an open look for Chase. Or get JJ the ball under the basket.
Fisher: FOR FUCK’S SAKE, Jamaal. I’ve been coaching basketball since the goddamn Harding Administration. I think I know what I’m talking about.
Franklin: Sorry, coach. You’re right.
Fisher: Of course I am! Look, make sure when you take the inbounds, to stand as close to the bench as possible. At about 10 seconds, I’ll stand there and frantically yell “GO! GO!” Whatever you do, make sure you DON’T listen to me. That’s exactly what the opponent will expect. It will be a brilliant ruse, and our foes will become mesmerized as you stand there hypnotically dribbling. Dribbling. Dribbling. Ever, dribbling. Then, with six — or preferably five — seconds to go, KABLAMMO!
Fisher: Exactly. Just make an out-of-control mad dash into the teeth of the defense. You’ll totally score. Or get fouled. It’s gonna be awesome.
Franklin: Whatever you say, coach.
Pretty sure the scenario above is 100 percent accurate. I mean, it’s the only way the ending to tonight’s loss to UNLV makes any fucking sense at all. I mean, Franklin wouldn’t just stand there dribbling like an ass without DIRECT ORDERS to do so, right?
Nice going, Fisher. Way to be. I hold you personally responsible.
OK, so that wasn’t especially fun. And you know what’s less fun than tonight’s outcome? The conference standings.
The Aztecs are now 6-5 in the Mountain West, which is undeniably icky. That said, this is right where I thought they would be at the start of this trip. Fort Collins has become a meat grinder and UNLV is always a tough task when 1) their players actually give a shit and make their level of effort match their level of talent 2) those crazy UNLV students wear neon shirts and pretend to be at a “rave” party because that is a fun and novel thing to do at a basketball game apparently (?).
Really, let’s take a deep breath. SDSU is coming off the most brutal stretch in its conference schedule, and things aren’t as bad as they look right now. There are five games left. Three are at home. Only one is against a truly high-quality opponent.
If they win the games they’re supposed to, the Aztecs will still go dancing.
And hey, if they don’t get to go dancing, they can always just stand there dribbling. Apparently that’s pretty awesome, too.