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Archive for October, 2007

Information Please? Blue Ribbon Basketball ’07-’08

Posted by Steve Bzomowski on October 17, 2007

First there was Street & Smith’s. (I still have my copy with Calvin Murphy from his Niagara days on the cover.) Then there were all the knock-offs: SI, Dick Vitale, etc. Then, down from heaven, came Blue Ribbon Basketball. The Old Testament begat The New Testament which begat The Bible. Now that’s all there is because when it comes to information on teams, players, conferences, the whos,, the hows, the whats in Division I Men’s Basketball, that’s all you need. Order yours, wait 3-4 days, call in sick and spend a day, then half a weekend with the book and salvation will be yours. (When the games begin, just make sure you keep the Big Book, i.e., Blue Ribbon, near the remote.) By the way, every Division I hoops’ office has it on a handy shelf, ready to reap its bounty. Guess that’s a pretty good endorsement.

Here’s an excellent excerpt from their web-site that tells you what goes on in the book:

How to Read Blue Ribbon Basketball Yearbook

Sample Top 25 School Sample School

“The book is designed in two separate parts. The front contains an exhaustive analysis of Blue Ribbon’s preseason Top 25. These stories are anywhere from 4,000 to 5,500 words in length and broken up into distinct sections.

COACH AND PROGRAM sums up the state of the program and the head coach.

Next comes PROJECTED STARTERS, where Blue Ribbon writers do their best to predict what five players are likely to open the season in the starting lineup. This information isn’t pulled out of thin air, but usually based on a conversation with a team’s coach. KEY RESERVES follow, and finally, other players on the roster and recruits. At times, an incoming freshman or transfer will be projected as a starter.

The story begins its final descent with Questions and Answers, quick one- or two-sentence opinions of a team’s perceived weaknesses (Questions) and strengths (Answers).

Letter grades come next. These letter grades aren’t a comparison of a team against other teams in its conference or around the nation, but rather an analysis of its own strengths in four key areas: BACKCOURT, FRONTCOURT, BENCH/DEPTH and Intangibles.

Finally comes the BLUE RIBBON ANALYSIS, several paragraphs that tie the entire package together and tries to forecast how a team should fare.

Mingled throughout the story are two graphic elements: the current schedule and the previous season’s results.

In addition to the Top 25 report, Blue Ribbon contains a full story, ranging from 1,000 to 2,500 words, on every other Division I team in the country. The book lists each conference alphabetically, and each school in the various conferences are listed alphabetically.

The stories differ from the Top 25 because they aren’t as exhaustive in terms of player analysis. But each are thorough, our information gleaned from thorough research and a conversation with the head coach.

The stories end with letter grades (see above) and the BLUE RIBBON ANALYSIS . . . ”

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To Stay Out of Court Get on the Court

Posted by Steve Bzomowski on October 9, 2007

UNITED STATES BASKETBALL COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS
________________________________________________

JOSHUA R. KRATKA, in his Official Capacity as
Commissioner of Thursday Morning Hoops, JIM
“The Shot” AMSPACHER, RICHARD H., ADIA B.,
and THOMAS “Flash” F.,

Plaintiffs, Civil No. 5-ON-5

v.

“Iron” MIKE CHRISTIE, “Gunner” GREG HERR,
ERIC B., NATHAN P., PHINEAS B., “Dunkin’”
DAVID D., MICHAEL R., and CASSANDRA S.,

Defendants,

and

SARAH “Ice” BERGMAN, JOSEPH “Big” MANN,
JENNIFER B., SYLVIA B., PAUL S., DAVID R., COMPLAINT
EVAN G., “Jumpin’” JANINE P., JOHANNA N.
a.k.a. “Johanna the Janitor ‘Cuz She Cleans the Glass,”
and NOEL R.,

Unindicted Co-Conspirators.
_______________________________________________

NATURE OF THE CASE

1. This is a suit to enforce certain family support obligations.*
2. The individual and collective failures of the above-captioned Defendants and Unindicted Co-Conspirators to live up to the obligations of camaraderie, fraternity, and weak-side help defense imposed upon them by full-court, five-on-five, pickup basketball has caused direct and proximate injury to the above-captioned Plaintiffs. They now sue for relief.

*In basketball, “team” equals “family.”

THE PARTIES

3. Thursday Morning Hoops** is a joint enterprise consisting of running and sweating while shooting, rebounding, chasing, and, in some cases, passing a basketball at the Central Square YMCA (hereafter, “the Y”). Certain members of the joint enterprise also engage in jumping. In addition, the Commissioner of Thursday Morning Hoops is authorized to employ various forms of “trash-talking.”
4. Plaintiffs are natural persons who dutifully, willingly, and joyously perform the duties of pickup basketball players each and every Wednesday morning as members of Thursday Morning Hoops. They perform these duties individually and, more importantly, collectively. They most recently performed these duties on May 16, 2007.
5. Defendants are natural persons who, through their more or less regular participation, are also members of Thursday Morning Hoops. One hesitates to characterize them as “active” members. Defendants did not participate in Thursday Morning Hoops on May 16, 2007.
6. Unindicted Co-Conspirators are natural persons who, either by “talking a good game” or appearing naturally athletic, have enticed Plaintiffs into believing that they, too, are members of Thursday Morning Hoops. The Unindicted Co-Conspirators did not participate in Thursday Morning Hoops on May 16, 2007.

** Thursday Morning Hoops, also doing business as “MASSPIRG Basketball,” is, for historical reasons not relevant here, a trademark of Wednesday Morning Hoops.

COUNT I

7. The failure of Defendants and Unindicted Co-Conspirators to appear at the Y on May 16, 2007, caused Plaintiffs to play “2-on-3” basketball.

8. “2-on-3” is widely agreed to be the single worst form of basketball. While affording full opportunity for injury, it affords few, if any, of the benefits of “real” basketball, including but not limited to: fair competition between balanced teams, full-court exercise, and development of team concepts of offense and defense.***
9. Defendants’ and Unindicted Co-Conspirators’ “failure to show” on May 16 thus proximately caused both emotional and competitive harm to Plaintiffs.

***Plaintiff Kratka expressly reserves the right to file a cross-claim for defensive indifference against Plaintiff and fellow “shirt” Thomas “Flash” F. arising out of the transactions and occurrences of said May 16.

COUNT II

10. Plaintiffs incorporate paragraphs 1 through 9 as if set forth herein in full.
11. In general, Defendants’ and Unindicted Co-Conspirators’ sporadic attendance and unfulfilled promises to play, whether or not “well-intentioned,”**** have inflicted emotional distress on Plaintiffs.
12. “Occasional attendance” and “heartfelt promises” are considered aggravating factors under the Basketball Code, because they increase hope among the law-abiding and therefore magnify the inevitable disappointment, and must be taken into account when assessing individual penalties and fashioning injunctive relief.
13. Although “moved to the West Coast” and “I sprained my ankle” may be considered mitigating factors when assessing penalties and fashioning injunctive relief, they are precluded from being used as defenses to liability, under the common-law doctrine of “once in, always in.”

****See Hell, The Path To, 33 U.S. Bask. Code Ann. § 666(c).

RELIEF REQUESTED AS TO COUNTS I AND II, INCLUSIVE

Plaintiffs request that this honorable Basketball Court grant the following relief:

1. Declare Defendants and Unindicted Co-Conspirators to have abdicated, and to be in continuing dereliction of, the duties and obligations imposed upon them by Thursday Morning Hoops;
2. Issue an injunction ordering Defendants to fulfill such duties and obligations forthwith;
3. Order Unindicted Co-Conspirators to “shit or get off the pot”;
4. Order Defendants to pay civil penalties for each failure of support occurring on and after September 1, 2006, in an appropriate amount;
5. Order Defendants to pay reasonable court fees and costs (including remedial instruction fees);
6. Provide such other and further relief as may be just and proper.

Dated: May 16, 2007 Plaintiffs, by their Commissioner:

___________________
Joshua R. Kratka
National Basketball Law Center
44 Winter Street, 4th Floor
Boston, Massachusetts 02108

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