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Davis, California

Friday, December 8, 2023

Column: That’s no moon…

The White House just denied a petition that called for the construction of a real life Death Star. A real Death Star.

Almost 35,000 people went on the White House website to sign for the construction of a space station that is no more a moon than what popped up when Remus Lupin faced a boggart.

I was extremely disappointed to hear the White House turned down the idea, despite all the upsides of an $852 quadrillion planet-destroying space station in a universe with no other life forms.

Still, fear not, because there is a whole Star Wars galaxy of treasure trove ideas that can be tapped. Certainly we’ve already achieved the bionic hand.

Like this, there are many ideas that could have happened, but haven’t … yet. In terms of UC Davis, there are a couple of things we’ve been hoping for that haven’t materialized.

First, the men’s basketball team, a team that had high hopes. They are a thrill to watch. Much improved over last year. But still, they’re at 5-10 on the year. That’s less impressive than we’d hoped entering the season.

Yes, sophomore Corey Hawkins has been a shot of adrenaline into the Aggies’ hurting roster this year. Yes, J.T. Adenrele has been a major force. Junior Ryan Sypkens has returned to the UC Davis team and exceeded expectations coming off of his season-ending injury from last season. Senior Ryan Howley has been pulling in rebounds like he’s a tractor beam.

So where is the problem? The Aggies have all of the players and the talent to put things together. It’s pretty surprising, in fact, to see them at the bottom of the standings.

I feel like I’m saying this with every UC Davis sport, almost like putting “I have a very bad feeling about this” in every single movie, but it applies across the board: The Aggies are on the brink. They’re close to breaking through, since the talent is there. They just need to get over that roadblock somehow. They always fall behind and create a huge hole for themselves. This, of course, makes for thrilling games and epic comebacks, but I think a couple of fundamental victories would do the Aggies, and their fans’ stress levels, some good.

If I knew how, I’m pretty sure I would be coach instead of Jim Les, who no doubt is doing his best to figure out how to get his players to click. But clearly I don’t because I’m just a lowly reporter that states the obvious.

I know it’s unreasonable to ask for the UC Davis team to transform into a conference powerhouse overnight. But still, the fact that this start to the season has been disappointing is encouraging, because it displays the realization that there is more potential than there was last year. At this point in the season last year, the Aggies were smack dab in the middle of their 18 game losing streak.

UC Davis has dropped six of their 10 losses by a margin of less than 10 points. This excludes the overtime loss to UC Irvine, but includes the three-point loss to Oklahoma State and the nail-biter against Nevada, which they fell by a score of 84-83.

The only game in which they actually seemed outmatched was when the Aggies faced off against Stanford.

No doubt there has been some restructuring with this team, and their recent victory over Cal Poly was one that could show glimmers of hope.

UC Davis pulled some late game magic that made the 16-point Mustang lead vanish. Jumping through the smallest window of opportunity of a botched pass attempt, Hawkins caught and released mid-air. The ball fell through as time expired, giving the Aggies the buzzer-beater victory by a score of 69-67.

The Aggies took this momentum and were taken down by UC Santa Barbara. The Gauchos have emerged as perennial showings near the top of the Big West Conference, but have struggled this year. Back-to-back wins against Cal Poly and UCSB would have been very encouraging for this emerging basketball team, but it wasn’t to be.

When will UC Davis finally put it together? Well, the season isn’t quite over. In fact, we’re only halfway done. In a couple weeks, all of this could be completely laughable and the Aggies could be near the top of the Big West Rankings. Search your feelings, you know it to be true.

They have the talent, they just have to put it together. Cue Yoda’s trademarked phrase. Sports make so much more sense when you make them movies.

MATTHEW YUEN has a very bad feeling about this quarter. It could be the weather or it could be his human anatomy class. Send spiritual hot chocolate to sports@theaggie.org.


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