Smack / Mar 26, 2010 / 5:55 am

The Next “Next Larry Bird” leads major March Madness upset; plus the college game of the season

Butler's Gordon Hayward

All week long, it seemed the media was trying its hardest to will Cornell to an upset win over Kentucky. But by the end of the first night of Sweet Sixteen action, Butler was the underdog stealing the headlines. While Cornell had a good 3-4 minutes of magic in their pocket before John Wall and the Army of Blueness proceeded to trample them, Butler neutralized No. 1 seed Syracuse’s athletic advantage and picked apart the infamous 2-3 zone in a monumental upset … Isn’t Gordon Hayward (17 pts, 5 rebs, 2 stls) overdue for the “next Larry Bird” hype that guys like Keith Van Horn, Wally Szczerbiak and Adam Morrison typically get around this time? Hayward definitely fits the profile, and throw in the fact that he looks like an Eagle Scout in the face, it seems like a no-brainer. But maybe because we’ve been burned before — Michael Jordan drafting Morrison ahead of Brandon Roy may have been the last straw — nobody wants to jock Hayward like that prematurely … Now that they’re in the Elite Eight, where do you think Butler ranks on the list of all-time Big Dance Cinderella stories? … Butler/Syracuse, however, had nothing on the Kansas State vs. Xavier game. Double-overtime, instant classic. While Jordan Crawford (32 pts) and Terrell Holloway (26 pts, 6 asts) were dropping bombs for Xavier, the K-State backcourt of Jacob Pullen (28 pts, 6 threes) and Denis Clemente (25 pts, 5 asts) matched them bucket-for-bucket and pulled out the win. There were so many ballsy three-pointers and clutch pull-up J’s in this game, Sam Cassell would have been proud … West Virginia’s win over Washington wasn’t nearly as dramatic. It was simply the Mountaineers being bigger, better defensively, more active on the glass, and they had one more potentially crazy Turkish guy than UW had … Brook Lopez and Robin Lopez took private jets to Syracuse, N.Y., to watch their former high school teammate Quincy Pondexter (Washington) play. Assuming Brook is like the rest of us and gets in some video game time when he’s traveling, do you think he plays as the Nets on NBA 2K10 or NBA Live? Or does he trade himself to the Magic for Dwight Howard and dream of a better life? … Pretty sure Jordan Crawford is going pro now, and Wesley Johnson is probably weighing offers from agents as we speak. But what about some of the other guys whose teams were eliminated yesterday? Out of Syracuse’s Andy Rautins and Arinze Onuaku, UW’s Pondexter, and Cornell’s Louis Dale and Ryan Wittman, who has a future in the NBA? … Clippers/Rockets was the only NBA game to go down to the wire. Houston led by double-digits midway through the third quarter before Craig Smith (25 pts, 10 rebs) and Drew Gooden (17 pts, 14 rebs) started owning the paint and sparked the run that gave L.A. the lead. With about 30 seconds left, the Clips were up four with the ball and the Rockets needed a stop. Just like they would’ve done under Mike Dunleavy Sr., the Clips didn’t run a play; they just gave it to Baron Davis and let him do his thing. He measured Kyle Lowry and drilled a three in his eye for the dagger … The last time the Blazers played the Mavs, Andre Miller spontaneously combusted for 52 points. The time before that, Joel Przybilla‘s knee exploded. Nothing that interesting happened this time — ‘Dre Miller just played a solid game from start to finish and put up 19 points, 10 assists and 3 steals to lead the way in a Portland win … After Big Baby‘s run-in with that kid in Orlando last year, and the near-crushing of those three little girls in the front row in Portland last night, how long before the NBA starts banning little kids from courtside seats? Can you imagine the carnage if Jerome James had been the one diving into the crowd? (Yeah, like Jerome would ever expend that much energy on the court.) … After Jermaine O’Neal scored 18 of his 24 points in the first half of Miami’s destruction of Chicago, Kevin McHale put it best: “He’s found the Hot Tub Time Machine.” Is it just us or has J.O. not aged much since he came out of high school? We’re talking about his face, not his knees … We’re out like Rautins …

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  • YW

    we r not looking for the next larry bird, we r looking for the next adam morrison

  • 3ple2ble (aka solomon)

    nah, we’re looking at the next matt caroll….

  • porkpiehat

    The Mavs will not beat anybody in the playoffs.

  • common sense

    @pokpiehat, so right, no post game whatsoever it is scary.. put a fork in them, one and done.. first time ive really watched a full game since the trade and they were terrible.. main problem is they dont get to the line.. no inside presence… Cuban is gonna be pissed!!

    if the heat can post up Q.rich alot more they have a chance… all season ive been noticing his post game is strong and he has more bulk than just about every other SF in the league… only lebron really comes to mind with more bulk than Q.rich…

    go heat!!!!

  • jimmhumm

    WOw way to gush over wvu going to the elite 8 without their starting PG……..

  • http://www.blueballs.net Chicagorilla

    That was so embarassing as a Chicago fan. You’re not supposed to get 30 pieced when your playoff lives are on the line. We should really trade everyone not named Rose and get a new coach.

  • mules

    Hayward’s not getting the “next Larry Bird” tag for two reasons: 1) he’s not and 2) even if he was, he plays for Butler…mid-majors just don’t get media coverage until the tournament.

    Onuaku will be a good pro but his draft stock probably took a hit missing the last few games. ‘Cuse really needed him last night…Jackson’s got hands like a snake. Sloppy, sloppy game by the Orangemen.

  • That’s What’s Up

    Xavier/K State was the game of the night. better than the pros

  • Alee-Mo

    @mules — I think that’s their point. Usually when a little-known White SF/PF who can shoot leads a mid-major to a couple tournament win, he gets a ton of hype from the media. Adam Morrison, Wally, Kyle Korver…

  • lord pancake sauce

    hey mules, it is the tournament and Bird went to a mid major!!

  • JAY

    Rautins is heady with a nice release. I think he’ll get a shot in the league.

  • sh!tfaced

    Gordon Hayward – The Next “Great White Hype”

  • BC

    Have no fear Bulls fans, next 2 games are against the Nets and Pistons… and the Raptors will get smoked by the Nuggets, Heat, and Bobcats.

    Welcome to the lottery Toronto!

  • That’s What’s Up

    Nets will beat the Bulls

  • Skeeter McGee

    Can I vent for a second?

    First off, it’s a slap in the face for Larry Bird or anyone legendary to take a guy like Gordon Hayward, who is a solid player don’t get me wrong, and compare him to one of the best players all-time. And also, I think it’s unfair to take every white dude and say he’s the next legendary white dude. What is Kyle Singler? The next Chris Mullins? I was gonna say a poor man’s Tim Thomas. The racial incorporated with best-case-scenario projections in the NBA are ridiculous at times.

    Also, let guys like LeBron and Kobe be LeBron and Kobe. I think we use the “next MJ” cliche so much that now whenever I hear of the next someone I just roll my eyes and picture 5 years from now how everyone and their moms’ was stupid. LeBron is not the next Oscar Robertson, he is LeBron. Period.

    Had to get that off my chest…

  • isotope

    I know the Dime office is not having a good morning after their posts on UW and SU alumni. LOL

    I’m ticked off too as I had Syracuse to win it all. So I guess Kentucky is now the favorite to win it all.

  • http://dime eyes

    1. Refs are horrible. They almost cost K-State the game even though the overtimes were thriller
    2. The guards from both K/State & Xavier were spectacular
    & better than most of the 1st rounders(Guards) in the upcoming draft. (Holloway is a sleeper) Crawford has a special ability & more skilled/complete than JR smith. He is very similar to Jeremy Hazell from Seton Hall.
    3.The Coach from K/State is very good yet he is a timebomb & many of these coaches speak down to their players uneccessarily. I think there better ways of communicating.
    4.The N.B.A. is boring on most nights. Teams just aren’t competetive enough. There isn’t enough talented basketball players in the league anymore.
    5.Hype is OVERRATTED. Some players get tagged the next best thing or sure pro. While their skills are lacking a true position in the league.

  • SJ

    I understand comparison are going to happen, that’s just how it is… and I understand race tends to be a big issue when it comes to sports… but I would love it if a comparison could be made based solely on skill/play style without having to factor in skin color. I am sure there are better comparisons that can be made for Hayward than to call him the next Bird.

  • Bill

    There were NBA games on last night? Wow who knew?

    Anyways, no one can say anything about the refs in NCAA if you watch the NBA. Sure they may miss some calls but you know for sure everythings fair and no outrageous superstar calls.

  • chris

    gordon hayward is 20 years old, 6’9″, can shoot very well, pass, and occas get creative with the ball in a poky kind of way. larry bird was 23 at the same spot, with less athletic teammates than hayward, and NO WAY was indiana state a ‘mid-major’. give the kid some time, who knows what will happen.
    xavier-ksu was amazing basketball- they were all exhausted by the end- every time xavier came up big, ksu had an answer- i never knew kansas state had so many decent big guys.
    none of those guys (dale, wittman, onuaku, rautins, q pon) has a future in the league, sorry, either too small or too slow….wes johnson and jordan crawford may make it big, but i wouldn’t count on them, either. that whole kentucky team is scary talented, and i suspect they are peaking at the right time, and will demolish duke in the final.

  • http://facebook.com/Mr.Brogden Mr. Brogden

    I don’t know if he’ll be legend, but his handle is ALL THAT.

    Especially for a big white brother. I’m just saying. Makes good decisions, non-stop motor…good qualities.

    Kentucky reminds me of my Penn Wood Patriots. HS state champs last year. And they WILL BE this year. (hopefully, fingers x’d) Anyways, outstanding guard play, athletic bigs but most importantly STIFLING D. The type of d make you wanna cry if you’re on the other squad. Make you wanna give up…Nowhere to go, no passing lanes, soft spots in the zone closing up real fast, seem like you playing 5 on 20…someone ALWAYS in your grill. Cottamn!!!! Git off me. I quit. This sucks.

    Anyways, when y’all doing the HIT LIST, Dime?!?
    Whatchu forgot??? It’s been a minute. The tourney aint sap all of your writers did it?!? C’mon son, step ya game up.

  • Brown

    When watching the highlights of that huge game C-Webb had against the Pacers, one of the things I noticed is how different JO looked. He looked longer and leaner back then.

  • LakeShow84

    Jordan Crawford the truth!

  • LakeShow84

    Oh and Kentucky takin it..

    That should be a no brainer.. looks like team is loaded..

  • http://deleted dagwaller

    I’m a pretty big Mavs fan. Get that outta the way.

    That having been said, last night’s game was so poorly officiated, I actually had a bad taste in my mouth afterwards. Put it this way – the free throw disparity was 9-26!!! So many bogus calls and non calls. If anyone saw the game, they’ll know what I’m talking about with the Jason Kidd blocking call. Dude was set for a full second and they still called a block.

    Not to mention Caron Butler getting a T for absolutely no reason. The studio said they had a report saying Butler cursed a fan. The replay showed zero facial expression after the shot. Is Butler a ventriloquist now?

    The Blazers played a great game. The thing that stood out to me most was their defense. VERY active. But the Mavs were essentially playing 8-5 last night, with the 3 refs responsible for 10 more points for the Blazers.

  • http://facebook.com/Mr.Brogden Mr. Brogden

    @25 Dagwaller – He wasn’t taunting fans. He was talkin’ sh** to the Blazers ’cause he just hit a big triple and was feelin’ himself. You know how it be, you hit a big shot and you start barking while getting back on d. He just got called for it in the Blazers’ gym. He knows better.

    Anyways, Dallas mailed that one in last night, they just didn’t show up in the 2nd half. It was just one of those types of nights. ‘Cause c’mon — the HEAT aint 30 pts better than Da Bulls. Maybe last night there were, but on the whole, nah.

  • http://deleted dagwaller

    @ Brogden – NO WAY! Hahaha Caron’s face was set in stone after his shot. He stopped and looked, that was it! They do worse than that EVERY night.

    2nd half, the Mavs turned the D up, but they turned their O off. I hope that the Blazers and the Mavs play each other – it’d be a great series.

  • JH


    31-72 FG Attempts
    12-28 3 Pt. Attempts

    That’s 38.8% of their shots from deep.

    Kansas St.

    37-78 FG Attempts
    8-19 3 Pt. Attempts

    That’s 24.3% of their shots from deep.

    But didn’t it seem like every shot was from deep late in the game & the OT frame? Do you think it was fatigue or just the flow of the game? I find myself jacking 3’s late in the game more than early on because of fatigue but was wondering what other people (who actually play/watch ball outside of March & the NBA playoffs) think.

  • wifey

    Gordon Hayward can play PERIOD.

  • http://wordweevil.com/home Joel Barker

    C’mon. By next Larry Bird you literally mean Versatile Hall of Fame WHITE Guy. Even the names that you utter (van Horn, Morrison, Szczerbiak (yes, I copied and pasted that name) in comparison are just caucasians. Not a very interesting discussion, nor is it a discussion about a talented young player, if it is clearly so racially defined.

    Uninteresting discussion. Verging on the offensive.

  • LakeShow84

    @ Dagwaller

    who can really even tell what a charge is nowadays.. The refs just seem to call them as whatever they want nowadays..

    And dont be surprised this last couple of weeks.. NBA execs tryna shape the landscape for matchups.. Blazers needed that win..

  • http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/ProphetGK ProphetGK

    Lol chicagorilla, ur bulls vs my raps, both terrible, but we got 8th right now, and it looks like its gonna stay that way!

  • Alee-Mo

    @Joel Barker — I think you’re reading too much into it if you’re borderline offended.

    From what I got, Dime is just saying that every time a good-shooting White forward starts making noise on the college level, somebody wants to compare him to Bird. They weren’t saying Hayward is the next Bird, just noticing that nobody had given him the Bird comparison yet and wondering why.

    I remember when Wally and Korver and Morrison and those guys were doing work in college and people were comparing them to Bird. Somebody mentioned Kyle Singler earlier; I remember when he first got to Duke people were saying he was “Bird-like.” Not saying it was right, it was just what people were doing.

  • Kyle

    Dime was making a joke, and it was pretty apt. Every time a white player dominates in college, and he’s over 6’7, he’s the next Larry Bird.

    Morrison was an obvious bust, and out of all the white guys they’ve mentioned, Keith Van Horn was the only player who looked like he might be an all-star in the NBA. Morrison couldn’t handle the ball, find an open man if doubled, or rebound. He had absolutely no game except an amazing scoring ability IN COLLEGE.