Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween.

The entire staff here at Drive and Dish would like to wish Happy Halloween to all of our readers (err, well, that would be the entire staff minus Atlantic Coast Conference Editor Emeritus and former roving reporter Mark Buckets -- he started drinking early, and he's already way too drunk to speak, or in this case text, intelligibly).

(Picture: Drive and Dish/Trashtalk Superstar).

Friday, October 30, 2009

New Continental Basketball League to Begin Play in April 2010

Via the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

The Continental Basketball League announced Friday that they will kick off their first season in April, 2010.

The CBL will join the minor league basketball landscape and will feature a minimum of seven teams. According to the release, 14 teams have submitted applications for membership.

The league champion will be determined through a single-elimination tournament in June...

The league has yet to announce locations and details involving scheduling, rules and regulations.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Investment, Suicide Scandal Schocks Maccabi Tel Aviv, Israeli Basketball

Former Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball club manager Moni Fanan (pictured above) committed suicide last week. It now appears that Fanan checked himself out just as the proverbial "other shoe" was set to drop. USA Today reports:

Authorities suspect Moni Fanan was running a multimillion dollar investment scheme for some of Israel's top sports figures, and that he was deep in debt. The scandal has overshadowed the opening of Israel's basketball season this week and tarnished Maccabi Tel Aviv, the most successful team in the country's history.

Huge losses, estimated at more than $20 million, are now believed to have driven Fanan to hang himself in his Tel Aviv apartment last week.

Top players are believed to have lost millions of dollars in shady investments, tax authorities have raided Maccabi's offices, and there are even suspicions that referees in charge of Maccabi games had invested with Fanan.

Maccabi spokesman Nitzan Ferraro denied any wrongdoing inside the club and said team officials were cooperating with the authorities. "We have nothing to hide," he said.

Maccabi has dominated Israeli basketball for decades, winning 38 of the past 40 league titles. Its budget dwarfs that of all its competitors, and it has grown into a European powerhouse. Last week, Maccabi toured the U.S. for a series of exhibition games against NBA teams.

For years, Fanan was the face of Maccabi to the Israeli public, holding a position that ranged from bench coach to logistics manager to chief troubleshooter for his players.

During his 16-year tenure, the team won 15 league titles and three European championships. His son, Regev, was a backup for five years.

Fanan was particularly popular with the team's dozens of foreign players, some of whom went on to play in the NBA. But last year, he was forced to step down and give up his small stake in Maccabi, after a falling out with other team executives.

Since Fanan's death, Israeli newspapers have reported that he ran a private banking network in which he invested large sums of money for his players, opposing coaches and league referees in return for promises of double-digit returns.

The Israeli media have given the story nonstop coverage, saying Fanan's murky financial dealings were well known among team officials. Most of the reports have cited players speaking anonymously, since many were invested with Fanan and could be charged with tax evasion for their earnings.

One former player, Doron Jamchi, broke the wall of silence over the weekend when he told Israel's Channel 2 TV that "everyone on the team knew."

Israeli tax authorities this week raided Maccabi's main office, confiscating boxes of documents. The team's former coach, Tzvika Sherf, and two ex-stars, Nadav Henefeld and Oded Katash, have been questioned. Tax Authority spokeswoman Idit Lev-Zerehia confirmed the agency is looking into possible tax evasion and money laundering.

Maccabi Tel Aviv is, far and away, the most successful professional basketball club in Israel. As of late, they've battled Olympiakos Greece for superiority in Euro League basketball. They've also been known to pay players better than any other Euro League team. Perhaps not surprisingly, they've become a destination for American players who head overseas (it also doesn't hurt that English is widely spoken in Israel--American players don't experience as much of a culture clash in Israel as they do in many European countries).

Recently, Maccabi Tel Aviv returned from a trip to the United States in which they played exhibition games against several NBA teams. Maccabi made news while playing the Knicks in Madison Square Garden when head coach Pini Gershon got ejected from the game after being called for his second technical foul. Gershon refused to leave the sidelines, despite his ejection. His antics caused play to be delayed for nearly ten minutes. Even more bizarrely, a rabbi ran on to the court and attempted to persuade the referees to allow Gershon continue coaching (pictured below).

In 2005 (October 15, 2005), Maccabi Tel Aviv made news for beating the NBA's Toronto Raptors.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Division III Adds All Star game to 2010 Final Four

The 2010 NCAA Division III Final Four will include an all star game. The game will be sponsored by the NABC and will tip off three hours prior to the Division III Championship game on March 20.

According to D3, "plans are for two teams of 10 players apiece to be named. At least one spot on each team will be set aside for players from teams who lose in the national semifinals the previous evening, the teams who normally would play in the third-place game. "

Monday, October 5, 2009

"Creepy" College Mascots

Life magazine has a problem with several college basketball mascots (which is news to us, since nobody here at Drive and Dish was aware that Life magazine still existed). Namely, Life thinks the mascots in question are "creepy."

Before Drive and Dish weighs in with our take on Life's list of "creepy" mascots, we offer the following disclaimer: it has long been our official position that the adjective "creepy" is overused and annoying (not to mention nebulous). Make no mistake, calling someone "creepy" is a power play. It's a tactic primarily employed by females who are attempting to shame males into modifying their behavior. And it's effective. The prospect of being called "creepy" is usually enough to prompt guys to jump through hoops in order to prove to their female accusers that they are not, in fact, "creepy." And that's why, in recent years, use of the word "creepy" has all but become the de facto means by which girls assert their power over guys.

Worse yet, when used as a "shaming word," it has no objective meaning. "Creepy" is a subjective term which can be utilized to describe almost anything its user wishes:

"OMG!!! That guy is totally looking at me! He's totally checking me out! OMG! That guy is sooo creepy!!!"

"OMG!!! I'm a hot girl, and I'm interested in that cute guy, but he totally doesn't notice me. WTF!?! What's wrong with him!?! He's must be gay. Or maybe he's a little wussy boy who's intimidated by me and doesn't have the balls to approach me. He's like, sooo creepy!!!"

"OMG!!! That guy's such a dirtbag! He's like, a total player! He doesn't care about any girls. He's just all about, like, ya know, getting in girls' pants. What a creepy dirtbag!!!"

"OMG!!! That guy is such a total geek! He has, like, NO game at all! I'm sure he never gets any ass. And he probably doesn't even care, cause he probably just goes back to his room and plays World of Warcraft! OMG!! He's such a L-O-S-E-R! He's totally creepy!!!

"OMG!!! That guy held a door open for me. He probably just wants to get in my pants! OMG!! He's sooo creepy!!!"

"OMG!!! That guy didn't hold the door open for me. That's sooo rude. Who the hell does he think he is? He's sooo creepy!!!"

Females accuse males of being "creepy" so often, and for so many disparate reasons, that the word has begun to lose much of its meaning. Insofar as "creepy" means whatever the person using it wants it to mean, it's become the ultimate post-modern adjective. But even with its diluted meaning, "creepy" remains an enormously powerful tool, as it conveys sinister (and often sexually predatory) overtones.

So it's not without at least a bit of trepidation that Drive and Dish entertains the notion of Life Magazine's list of the "creepiest" college mascots. Having said that, several of the mascots strike us as being, indeed, pretty damn creepy. Our thoughts:

1. The Stanford tree is undeniably wacked out. Life Magazine opines that it seems to have been inspired by a bad acid trip. Yours truly isn't exactly a big hallucinogenic drug user, but senior Drive and Dish editors have conferred with lower level Drive and Dish employees who are, in fact, big hallucinogenic drug users, and the consensus among the Drive and Dish acid eaters is that the Stanford tree does, in fact, seem to be inspired by a bad acid trip.

Worse yet, the current incarnation of the Stanford tree bears even less of a resemblance to an actual tree than its previous incarnations. At least the old Stanford tree (circa 1996-98) was actually green -- the new tree looks like it's supposed to depict five unrolled condoms stacked on top of each other, topped off with a Cowichan warrior's headdress.

And the 1980's boat shoes with black socks just add insult to injury.

There's no doubt about it -- anyone (Stanford student, alumni, or otherwise) who's willing to admit to liking the Stanford tree has probably just smoked a few trees.

2. The Oklahoma State Cowboy (known as "Pistol Pete") looks like the Burger King's long lost brother/cousin. Life can't be easy for a rough and tumble Oklahoma cowboy; I wonder if he knows that he's related to royalty. He might want to tell the Burger King to send some $$ his way.

Worse yet, Oklahoma State has no claim on the nickname "Pistol Pete." "Pistol Pete" was the nickname of Pete Maravich, who was one of the greatest and most iconic -- arguably the greatest and the most iconic -- college basketball players of all time. Pete Maravich was a three time NCAA All American who, forty years after his final season as a collegian, remains college basketball's all time leading scorer. In his three collegiate seasons (1968-70), he amassed 3,667 points and averaged an astonishing 44.2 points per game. What's more, Maravich played long before the advent of the three point shot in college basketball. It's been estimated, based on footage of Maravich's old games, that if the three point shot had existed, he would have averaged more than 57 points per game.

More on Pete Maravich here, here and here.

So it's not surprising that a college basketball mascot would use the nickname "Pistol Pete." It is, however, surprising that Oklahoma State's mascot uses the nickname.

The original "Pistol Pete" played at LSU.

3. Louisiana-Lafayette's mascot looks too much like Carrot Top to be taken seriously (well, to the extent that college mascots can be taken seriously).

4. Why does the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi mascot dress in traditional Hawaiian garb?

Corpus Christi, TX, is a coastal town on the Gulf of Mexico. Sure, Corpus Christi has palm trees and an ocean, but other than the fact that both are warm weather locales situated on large bodies of salt water, the Texas Gulf Coast has almost nothing in common with Hawaii.

Growing up, my paternal grandparents lived near the Texas Gulf Coast. I spent countless hours in my grandfather's boat, fishing in the Gulf. I like the Texas Gulf Coast. But let's face it: the Gulf Coast isn't exactly a haven for surfers, and Texas isn't known for hula dancers in grass skirts. Thus, the grass skirt clad, Tiki themed TAMU-Corpus Christi mascot doesn't really make sense.

5. Austin Peay's "Governor" mascot may be "creepy," but the school's student body chant -- "Let's go Peay!" (pronounced "pee") -- stands alone in its genius.

6. The UConn Husky looks like a furry.

(Photo of the Stanford tree: courtesy of Life Magazine).