49.2 F

Davis, California

Friday, March 1, 2024

Ball don’t lie

I dedicate this column to the infamous and mercurial NBA player Rasheed Wallace, who taught me about basketball justice. If you don’t know what I am talking about, a simple YouTube search for “Rasheed Wallace ball don’t lie” will bring up the famous video I am alluding to.

For those of you who want a definition of this phrase, “ball don’t lie” is a belief in karma regarding basketball. If a ref makes a bad call and gives the other team a free throw, the belief would mandate that the opponent would miss the free throws.

I am a firm believer in a slightly different version of the “ball don’t lie” philosophy. What you put in is what you get. If you start a small lineup, it’s only logical for your team to get outrebounded by 23.

Wait, does that sound familiar? Oh yeah, the men’s basketball team was outrebounded by UC Santa Barbara by that margin.

I’m not going to rant about the players, because — believe it or not — I think they’re playing the best they can, given the situation. Junior forward Clint Bozner has actually impressed me with his play as of late. I’m not even blaming coach Les for starting the lineup like he did — he finally went with a “big” lineup for once.

I’m ranting about the fact that despite what the season has shown and what the Aggies have known for quite a while, there still isn’t a demand to recruit a big man.

For the sake of all that is good and holy, please recruit a power forward or center coach Les.

Let’s talk about recruits shall we. With two scholarships left to give this year, UC Davis’ first signing was Isaiah Walton, a 6’4” shooting guard who scores in bunches and can help create for others.

In other words, Walton is junior guard Corey Hawkins’ replacement when Hawkins graduates. I really have no problem with this; talent is talent, and the Aggies will need to replace Hawkins eventually.

But my question is: When is Walton going to play? With freshmen Brynton Lemar and Darius Graham, sophomore Olivier-Paul Betu, juniors Corey Hawkins and Avery Johnson and redshirt senior Tyler Les all playing next season, there are six guards who will be competing with Walton.

Why not recruit a big man? After all, with only three true big men, sophomore Justin Dueck and juniors J.T. Adenrele and Clint Bozner, there is plenty of room for another big man. Another big man would allow players like redshirt senior Josh Ritchart and freshman Georgi Funtarov to move to a more natural position such as playing a stretch four or maybe even as a small forward. Conclusion: we need a big man.

It’s been painfully evident that the loss of Adenrele has cost the Aggies the ability to be a competent rebounding team this season. While I have really been impressed with the play of Bozner and his toughness, he can’t do it alone. Conclusion: we need a big man.

Some might say it’ll be better next season when Adenrele comes back from his injury. Hopefully, these people are right and Adenrele comes back and once again shores up the frontline. But wouldn’t it be nice if Adenrele and Bozner could have another big man who could step up and play some minutes while learning behind these two? Conclusion: we really need a big man.

What if Adenrele isn’t 100 percent when he returns (knock on wood)? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a big man who could step in and help the Aggies on the boards and block shots? Conclusion: What is coach Les waiting for? We really need a big man.

With the frightening size of the UC Irvine frontline now and in the future, with three players 7’ or taller, a player who could help Adenrele negate the giants of Irvine would be an enormous help. Conclusion: we need a big man.

Coach Les, the ball don’t lie. We need a big man.


You can send scouting videos of centers to KENNETH LING at sports@theaggie.org.   



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