Everyday I’m Shufflin’

[Insert clichéd line about being in a coma or generally out of touch with sports media] then you probably know that there’s been quite a shakeup in the NFL this past week. As soon as the new collective bargaining agreement was ratified, NFL owners made a mad dash to sign free agents that had been waiting months for a new team, as well as recently released players who weren’t worth the paper their multi-million dollar checks were written on. There was also some major trade action, with many teams upgrading their sorry ass rosters, so that their owners have an excuse to fire their coaches after they produce another 4-12 season. A roundup of the highlights, followed by some sardonic commentary on their brilliance (there will also be a “short” section on the Eagles’ moves, so feel free to commit every word to memory for future reference). I’ll start with the most important of them all:

This week, the Dolphins traded for the greatest-player-to-ever-concede-their-Heisman-trophy-because-of-their-NCAA-violations, Reggie Bush. A perennial starting punt-returner, third down back, and generally overpaid symbol of collegiate over-achievement, Reggie Bush looks to add depth to a team whose running back rotation consists of a 230 pound yoga instructor and a player who can arguably throw the ball better than Chad Henne. Look for Reggie Bush to make many appearances at Miami’s nightclubs with his Kim-Kardashian-clone girlfriend and the Heat’s Big Three. Miami sports never looked so promising. In terms of on the field impact, I’ve heard that Sun Life stadium has the most accommodating sidelines in terms of running out of bounds.

Let’s talk Bill Belichick (if you don’t hear from me after this post is published, I’m locked in a cell somewhere under the Patriots training facility being forced to cut hundreds of sleeves off of Patriots sweatshirts). We all know the man is a coaching genius, so I’m really curious to see how he utilizes the recently acquired diva-formerly-know-as-Chad-Johnson. We don’t really need to discuss Albert Haynesworth, because Belichick is determining the starting nose tackle position based on an eating contest to the death, in which Vince Wilfork eithers consumes or is consumed by the hundred million dollar man. The results won’t be pretty. Here’s the promo poster for the Patriots upcoming season:

Let’s move on to the actual free agent signings. Can we all have #amomentofsilence for the surely soon-to-be-fired Panthers front office paper pusher who accidentally added an extra zero to Charles Johnson’s contract. $72 million with $32 million guaranteed for having one solid 10+ sack year. DeAngelo Williams got a five year deal with $21 million guaranteed despite the fact that he’s set to hit the dubious age of 30 in two seasons. Jesus, they’re getting desperate down in Charlotte. And now #aroundofapplause for some positive PR Mark Sanchez got this week by suggesting that he’ll restructure his contract to resign Santonio Holmes. What a great team player he is.Translation: “Holy Shit, if we don’t get Santonio back the fans will realize I’m not simply a mediocre quarterback, but one that is unworthy of a starting job in the NFL!” Womp womp womp. Sanchize? More like Sanchdies… or like Sanchloser… maybe even Sanchsucks? You get the picture.

Now I have mad love for Sidney Rice, because I love tall, physical receivers. But come on man, don’t go chasing the money. Seattle’s QB depth chart reads like a list of players that have already left the NFL. I can already imagine Pete Carroll’s pep talk in the locker room before the season opener: “Alright, the coin toss is gonna determine who has ball first, but we’re also gonna use it figure out who has the displeasure of starting at quarterback today. Charlie, you’re heads, Matt, you’re tails, Tavaris, we cut you three weeks ago. Don’t make me call security again.”

I love the Texans signing of Johnathan Joseph. Look for them to be a playoff team this year. What I don’t like, is the fact that the Bengals won’t be a team in five years if they continue at this rate. Carson Palmer, retiring. Jordan Palmer, Carson’s sister. Dan Lefevour, possibly Canadian. Bruce Gradkowski, seriously no fucking comment. Andy Dalton, ginger extraordinaire. T.O. is gone, Ochocinco is gone, and you’re starting WR’s are a rookie, and second year white boy. Cedric Benson just got arrested for assaulting a family member. Actually running out of decent players on this team that I can name. Unless Leon Hall and Rey Maualuga can start all 11 positions at once on defense, this team is S.O.L.

Kyle Orton, make like a tree, and get removed from your habitat because no one appreciates your beauty and won’t realize what a mistake they’ve made when you’re all gone for good (for all our tree-hugger readers out there, it’s why we don’t publish our stuff on paper! And because it would end up as the blanket du jour for Philly’s homeless. Disclaimer: homeless jokes are not even close to being funny as this is a serious hardship that many people like Vanilla Ice have to face on a daily basis). Excuse me, while I turn my political correctness level back up from intolerable to plain-old-douchebag.

And for the grand finale focus on the free-agent week winner.

If the Eagles can hold onto Asante Samuels, they could have, possibly, the greatest, most stupendous, awesomest, ballerest, first-named trio of cornerbacks in history. Asante, Dominique, Nnamdi. Say that five times fast. Now look up and make awkwardly extended eye contact with whomever may be staring at you funny. But in all seriousness, the sky’s the limit in terms of how creative Andy Reid’s coaching staff can get with this level of talent in this secondary. I keep hearing about how Asante’s playing style doesn’t mesh with Nnamdi and DRC’s but I don’t think that’s completely correct. We all know Asante loves to play off cover, but he can also play man with the best of them. And that’s not to say that the Eagles can’t utilize a zone-man scheme for separate sides of the field. Nnamdi is talented enough where he could play out on an island, and Asante does his own thing in off cover. It would also confuse the hell out of quarterbacks like Eli Manning and yeah… that guy… who starts for the Redskins?

The talk about moving one of the players to safety is nonsense. All three of them are some of the worst tackling d-backs in the league, see here. The point of a safety is to be the last line of defense, not to whiff on tackles so opposing players can walk into the end zone. A man scheme could work provided DRC can improve upon his play from this past year. He let up at least six touchdowns and gave up on multiple critical plays. That’s why the Eagles should keep Asante as insurance to make sure that DRC competes for the starting job and continues to grow as a young player. The addition of Jason Babin would be unnoteworthy to me if it weren’t for the fact that Reid poached the Titans defensive line coach Jim Washburn. This is the same coach that got the most out of “The Blob” himself when he had his Pro Bowl seasons as a DT. It’s clear that Washburn gets the most out of his D-Linemen, so I’m excited to see what he can do for the Eagles, especially for Mike Patterson and Brodrick Bunkley.

Clutch McGutch, signing off.


Top 5 Pitchers of the 2000’s

Now that the first decade of the 2000’s is gone, I know what you’re all thinking – “Jake, I’m a terrifically lazy, good-for-nothing human being, and I have no tolerance for doing any sort of research but I still really want to know who the top 5 pitchers of the 2000’s are.” Well good people, I have gone through the painstaking research necessary and am ready to present my exciting results.

Actually the results are not that exciting. I’m sure most people who know anything about baseball could guess 3, 4, maybe all 5 first try. But its still fun to have a go.

Preface: Let’s keep in mind the magnitude of achievement of these pitchers – The late 90’s and the first part of the 00’s were the heyday for steroids hitting. The kind of numbers these guys put up despite the widespread steroid use is amazing.

Honorable Mention: CC Sabathia (136 wins, 3.62 ERA, ’07 Cy Young), Roger Clemens (3.34 ERA, 203 K/year, Cy Young ’01, ’04), Roy Oswalt (137 wins, 3.23 ERA, 135 ERA+), Mike Mussina (134 Wins, 4.09 K/BB, Gold Glove ’01, ’03, ’08).

5.) Curt Schilling – He is probably the best pitcher of the ’90s and ’00s to never win a Cy young (finished 2nd three times). Greatly unappreciated, Schill’s numbers and his big game pedigree should not be overlooked. Ultra-consistent, and durable to the end, Schill was everything any fan could ever ask for. Over the 2000’s Schill averaged a 18-9 record and 228 K’s per 162 games. His most amazing stat was his K/BB ratio, which was the best of all-time in the modern era and during the 2000’s he averaged an amazing 6.01 (his career number is 4.38). Schill will be best remembered for his bloody sock game that propelled the Sox to the ’04 WS. Flat out dude was a fighter and a winner.

4.) Roy Halladay – One of the only pitchers considered still playing, and playing well at that, Roy Halladay started the 2000’s relatively unknown and struggling to find his stuff, making his presence on this list all the more impressive. Roy found his stuff fast, and his numbers are impressive considering he had to pitch against the Yanks and the Sox in division. Halladay leads all pitchers in the 2000’s with 6 All-Star game selections and won his first Cy Young in ’03. His 3.43 ERA, average of 17 wins a season, 1.17 WHIP and workhorse mentallity (lead the MLB in IP 3 years during the 2000’s) position him securely in the 4 spot.

3.) Pedro Martinez – Now to the meat of the list. The next three are by far the three best of the decade and only their order is disputable. Personally speaking, Pedro is my favorite pitcher of the of all time – the way he made right handers look silly with his back door two-seamer was the best – but there is no bias in this pick. Pedro’s numbers in the 2000’s back up his place in 3rd. Most people’s last memory of Pedro is him struggling at the end of his career, but the first half of the 2000’s he was dominant. Pedro’s Cy Young came in 2000 and capped a 3-in-4-years Cy Young kick. His 2000 season is worth recounting – facing the most juiced up batters in history, Pedro unleashed this stat line: 18-6, 1.74 ERA, 284 K’s, 8.88 K/BB, and 0.74 WHIP. 0.74!! My god for a starter that is unreal. Actually the best ever for a single season. Over the 2000’s Pedro’s 3.01 ERA and 1.03 WHIP was best, and his 244 K’s a year put him second. Pedro is really only trumped, somehow, by two guys.

2.) Randy Johnson – Arguably the best pitcher of the 90’s to 00’s, Randy won 3 Cy Youngs back-to-back-to-back from ’00-’02 and made 4 AS games. Guys were actually afraid of Randy and his upper ’90s stuff (if you remember the all-star game I’m referring to you know what I’m talking about). He was the most prolific strike out pitcher of our time, and in the 00’s he struck out 2182 averaging a meteoric 262 a year. His 3.34 ERA and 1.11 WHIP also weren’t too bad, and he was an integral part of that Diamondback squad that pulled out a game 7 win against the Yanks in ’00. Last thing – From ’00 to ’02 Randy average 21 wins a year, a 2.48 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, and 351 K’s a year. You read that right, 351…

1.) Johan Santana – Even I forgot just how dominant Johan was during the 2000’s. When I started to look at his starts again I began to recall a game I heard on the radio when I was much younger. Pedro vs. Johan. Pedro on his way out and Johan on his way in, it was a game in which both pitchers brought shutouts into the 8th. I remember thinking it couldn’t be possible someone was better than Pedro, or as dominant, but I was proved wrong and Johan finished his complete game shutout with the Win. Onto the stats. Johan is the only guy in the 00’s with a Gold Glove (’07) and a Cy Young (’04, ’06). Across the board Johan’s numbers were spectacular – 122 Wins, 3.12 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 217 K’s a year. His consistency throughout the whole of the 2000’s is what puts him above all in my mind. In a five year period, Johan average 18 wins, 2.82 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 238 K’s a year and 4.58 K/BB. That’s five years of dominance that no one else can match and that’s what makes Johan the best of all in the 2000’s.

July 24, 2004

I’ve watched hundreds, probably thousands of games in my life. For many of them, I can recall statistics, specific plays, and pivotal moments.  But there might be only one game that brought me to the point of unrestrained jubilation, and it happened seven years ago today. Maybe it was because of the situations surrounding the game, maybe it was because what that game signaled for my favorite team, maybe it was who I was watching it with. (my brother, Dad, and Pop-Pop) I don’t know. Regardless, this is the story of the game that started my love affair with sports.

Last weekend, I was at my favorite place on the entire planet: 157 Watkins Shores Road in Casco, ME. My camp on Thomas Pond that we’ve gone to every summer for the last 16 years has everything you could ever want during the summer: A perfectly sized dock for fishing with a mooring for our boat, a rock to leap off of into the cool water, places to play wiffleball, and most of all, little contact with the outside world. There is one TV in the house that gets basic cable, excluding NESN and ESPN. For a sports fan, this is close to cruel and unusual punishment. I went years without seeing the Home Run Derby, and to this day I have never watched the ESPYS. And not having NESN in the summer means no Red Sox games. Summers without Red Sox games are like eating ice cream out of a dish: You can still enjoy it on a hot night, but something wonderful is missing at the end.

Before we leave for Casco, we always check the Red Sox schedule to see if Fox will be broadcasting any Saturday afternoon games.  This particular summer, the summer of 2004 there was one game that we could watch: Red Sox-Yankees on July 24.  The Boston-New York rivalry had become particularly intense over the past twelve months, thanks to Grady Little and Aaron Boone’s not-so-collaborative effort: 2003 ALCS Game 7.  The Yankees went to the World Series; I went to bed in tears. It was rough.

But on this day, the playing field was leveled on the beautiful grass of Fenway Park. With cornrowed crooner Bronson Arroyo pitching for Boston, and Tanyon Sturtze pitching for the Yanks, it had the makings of an offensive explosion. The game certainly didn’t disappoint.

The Yanks jumped out to an early 3-0 lead by the middle of the third, but that was hardly the story of the first two-and a half innings. With two down, Arroyo sent an 87 mph fastball into the left arm of new Yankee third baseman Alex Rodriguez. Rodriguez was tantalizingly close to becoming a member of the Red Sox during the offseason, only to have his contract with the Rangers gobbled up by Steinbrenner and co. Rodriguez, who had the go-ahead hit the night before, did not take kindly to getting plunked, screaming several ‘Fuck You’s’ to both Arroyo and Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek.

For those unfamiliar with Varitek, he personifies everything that make the Red Sox respectable. He never complains, never badmouths teammates, and always shows up for whatever role the team asks him to perform. This is especially true now, when Tek is in the twilight of his career. He has accepted his demotion from full-time to part-time with grace and dignity. Never the most offensively proficient, Varitek leaves his sweat and knee cartilage on the field after every game. As a member of the Red Sox, he will never be forgotten.

On this day, Varitek left his lasting mark on the Red Sox-Yankee rivalry, as well as Rodriguez’s face. Not appreciating being cursed at, Varitek clocked Rodriguez, starting a bench-clearing battle royale that saw players literally bloodied and bruised. (Sturtze cut his ear and was force to leave.)  After sorting through the mess of player ejections, the game continued with the Yankees eventually taking a 9-4 lead. As the Sox battled back, they got key contributions from Sox legends such as Mark Bellhorn and and Billy Mueller, the most unlikely batting champion of all time.

Entering the ninth, the Sox found themselves down 10-8 facing the greatest closer of all-time: Mariano Rivera. When Mo steps on the mound, it’s game over. I doubt we’ll ever see a closer as dominant as Rivera in our lifetime. But on this late afternoon, the ‘Sandman’ got a rude awakening. Nomar doubled to lead off the ninth, eventually scoring with help from a Kevin Millar RBI single. Next up was Mueller.

At this point, the game is nearing the completion of its’ fourth hour, and my brother and I have ‘wasted’ a beautiful day of sunshine, with the expectation that Rivera was going to now come in and shut the door.  But Rivera’s 3-1 pitch, likely his trademark cutter, exploded off Mueller’s bat with one destination in sight: the Boston bullpen.

When your team has potentially hit a game-winning home run, it’s hard to quantify the emotions you start to feel. For me, a rush of adrenaline that forces me out of my seat is instantly met with a tinge of uncertainty: did he get enough of it? Will the wind knock it down? Can this classic of a game really be ending in such a remarkable fashion? On this day, yes. Mueller’s home run landed in the bullpen, and my brother and I unleashed four hours of pent-up anxiety in the form of high fives and screams, essentially a mini-World Series celebration. My little cousin was asleep in the back room – she didn’t stay asleep for long.  My aunt was furious that we had woken her up, but such things couldn’t bother us now: the Red Sox had won the game of the year.

In the same ‘reality-check’ fashion, announcers were quick to note that Boston still trailed the Yankees by 8.5 games in the division. But for Red Sox fans, this game signified that no matter how big the deficit, the team was going to show up, and do their damnedest to scratch, claw, and punch their way to the win column. This group of players wasn’t the most talented, but they had a determination that was unmatched by any other team that year.

Three months and three days later, the Red Sox would be World Champions. The celebration in our house may have been a little bigger that night, but nothing can really compare to that day in July seven years ago.  I can only hope that another sporting event can capture me in that same way again soon.

The New Hotness (Part 2)

Two Words.

Yup readers you read that right. Muh flippin battery toss. Here lies another game which people can engage in just in case the NBA/NFL don’t play. This game originated from a small town out of Wyoming, because there is absolutely nothing else to do in Wyoming. The game goes as such. Find a battery. Toss It to each other. Thats it and thats all mayne. This game can be soothing, fun, and a nice break from all the crazy shit thats going on in the world today. So go out there to your nearest Best Buy/Radio Shack, snag up some batteries. And toss your worries about the lockouts away.


The New Hotness (Part 1)

It is a sad time in the sports world with the impending NFL and NBA lockouts.  Sports fans need to satisfy their need for competition, and I’m afraid to say that hockey just won’t do the trick for everyone.  Luckily, there’s a new game on the scene that is ready to fill the void.

Sake Jason.

Nobody really knows where or how it started, but that’s irrelevant.  It began somewhere in America, and has already spread to all seven continents.  People just can’t get enough.  They demanded a sporting revolution, and they got what they wanted.

1. Fill a handle of Banker’s with Sake.

2. Pass it around in a circle.

Next time you’re at a party, business meeting, class, or just chilling with a group of friends, and somebody asks, “Anybody wanna play some Sake Jason?” you’ll be ready.  And you’ll say yes.

So if we lose the NFL and NBA, the big four will have to be MLB, NHL, Sake Jason and….. the new hotness (part 2), which will be available soon.

Nancy Drew and the Curious Case of Sabremetrics

I was at the first game of the Sox-Orioles series last week where we put a hurting on O’s pitching for 6 HRs. Highlight of the game was Ortiz-Reddick-Saltala….whatever combining for back-to-back-to-back shots. The stadium was going insane, a great moment no doubt and everyone was cheering for a fourth.

Guess who but JD aka Nancy Drew was the fourth batter in the inning and if you know anything about JD Drew, you can predict the outcome – Brought the count to 3-2, without swinging of course, and then took ball 4 – Classic JD. Never has a stadium been more deflated after a home team walk.

Look, I’m not trying to say that I expect a player to go up and hit the 4th HR, no matter who they are, but I have some expectations of my players. I expect them to realize the situation – We’re up big, its late in the game, we’ve just hit 3 straight bombs, the stadium is on edge – And I expect that player to respond, not with a passive walk, but by swinging for the fences. Look he’ll probably strikeout or fly out, but at least we know the guy cares and we respect that.

And that’s really been the perennial JD issue: Does he care? No one really knows for sure, but for everyone that has seen him play, Sox fans now for 4 going on 5 years, the question has already been answered.

Years ago, before a little thing called sabremetrics gained saint-status in baseball, JD was considered an average player and he produced and was paid as an average player (.286 and a paultry 18 HRs 57 RBI a year, hence the “average” player rating). But once sabremetrics became, well, every GM’s porn, JD became a statistical superstar.

Before sabremetrics, MLB GMs were in the dark ages of analysis. AVG, HRs and RBIs were paramount, and there wasn’t much more after that. Once sabremetrics arrived on the scene, relatively older stats like OBP and OPS gained importance, and new stats like WAR and UZR became the new HR and RBI.

JD comes in now – In his time before coming to Boston, JD was .286/.393/.512/.904 which is, well, superstar-like. His WAR topped at 8.9, a very high wins above replacement, and per 162 he was over 5 almost every season. JD has had a positive career UZR, (an advanced fielding stat which would take 1000 words to explain) which is an above replacement stat, meaning he has always been better than the average fielder (topping at an amazing 16.3 in ’04). His other stats are not dissimilar, his BSR, a baserunning above replacement, is also positive for his career, BABIP is above average, weighted runs added are… etc. etc.

But if you’re a Sox fan, or you know your baseball, you know what you get out of JD Drew. He’s emotionless and may or may not actually have a pulse. The guy isn’t clutch by any means, and he goes through his at-bats in a meticulous, bordering-on annoying, way (by looking at every pitch). Sure he still has respectable OBP and OPS numbers these days, but he’s not the 5-tool player that scouts promised and sabremetrics backed up.

This is getting a bit long, so let me go ahead and make my point. The Red Sox, and the Braves and Dodgers before him, decided to use these advanced stats and they gave him a huge contract (he’s making $14 million a year today). Sure his advanced stats back this up, but these teams seemed to miss the point. Tangibly, JD is only really good for his aforementioned “average” stats because he can never make it through a 162 game season. More importantly, JD brings nothing to the table as far as intangibles go. He’s not a character guy, he’s not a fan favorite, and its what he doesn’t do (show emotion), rather than what he does, which pisses off every fan.

I personally love the baseball stats revolution – It has rewarded the players who’s HR/RBI stats were limited by his team, and those who cashed in on their teams successes statistically have been exposed. Managers have learned to use these stats and have built championship teams due to their creation. But sabremetrics has another side, the side that dehumanizes baseball, which turns men into statistical probabilities, and takes away from the passion of the sport, and JD is the the incarnate of the dehumanizing side of the sabremetrics era.

Is it fair then to hate on JD Drew for his huge contract and his weak statistical output? Probably not, he’s just the product of the sabremetrics era. But that’s not stopping me.

I’ve seen more emotion from wallpaper you bum.

Not The Wright Moves

Jay Wright is a nice guy. Anyone I know who has had even the most miniscule of an encounter with Coach Wright will agree with me. He’s personable, friendly, and he’s a great interview. As an aspiring journalist, he’s excellent because he doesn’t give you ‘stock’ answers, and instead says what he’s thinking. I remember after last year’s loss to GMU, he said post-game that he was glad he wasn’t an NBA coach because he would have been fired for the disappointing end to their season. Sobering stuff, but likely accurate.

Which is why it pains me to write this article. As a Villanova fan, I want nothing more than for Villanova to win a National Championship, preferably in my last season as an undergrad. It certainly doesn’t seem likely, but then again no one picked Butler to make a return trip to the Championship game either.  Sports fans want their teams to win, plain and simple. When wins under questionable circumstances arise, we are quick to dispel them, while hammering opposing teams who commit the same wrongdoings. This attribution bias perfectly applies to steroids in baseball, and I am a perfect example. In my mind, the 2004 Red Sox title will never be tainted by Manny Ramirez’s steroid scandals. I know he used them as a member of other clubs, but I hate to think that it affected the best sports memory of my life. (I’m not discussing David Ortiz, partially due to the fact that the MLBPA defended Ortiz from any allegations, the first and only time that has happened in baseball.)  But I will always be one of the first to note that Yankee players A-Rod, Clemens, and Pettitte all used steroids and cheated their way to championships.  Attribution bias: We glaze over our own faults while singling the same ones out in others.

Which brings us to Jay Wright and Villanova basketball. Wright is the face of the program, and for good reason. Aside from the 1985 Championship season, which in all honesty was an isolated success, Jay Wright’s tenure as head coach has been the most successful stretch in the program’s history.  The team has been to the NCAA Tournament for the last seven seasons, reaching the Final Four in 2009 and Elite Eight in 2006. He has graduated multiple current NBA players, and his recruiting classes are consistently one of the best in the country.

But at what cost?

Wright has consistently recruited the best talent in the country to play at the Main Line, but many Villanova players have struggled to operate within the parameters of the law both during and after their career. Recently-graduated guard Corey Stokes got cited for public urination as a player, and recently was charged with two counts of aggravated assault after a bar fight.  Last fall, JayVaughn Pinkston punched out a frat boy and got suspended for a semester. Reggie Redding got caught with pot. Dante Cunningham was arrested on drug and weapons charges.  Jason Colenda left the team to ‘focus on his degree’. The debacle that was Taylor King. The phone-card scandal of his early tenure with the team. The list seemingly goes on and on.

I’m not saying that Wright directly endorses the illicit behavior by members of the team, but it appears he hasn’t gone out of his way to squash it. I like Jay a lot, and his impact on Villanova’s campus is undoubtedly a positive. He makes his players interact with the student body and surrounding community, and that is not a given for a Division 1 program. And I like winning a lot too, and the players that Jay has brought in have helped boost not only Villanova’s athletic profile, but also its national profile.  But Jay’s decision to bring in these players is an implicit approval of how they act while they’re here. Perhaps it is time that Wright starts seeking out more Scottie Reynolds and less Corey Fishers, and I’m not talking about merely athletic success.

The recruiting trail is littered with stories of players with bad attitudes and questionable character that have an exceptional ability to put a ball in a hoop. But are they necessarily the best to be representing an Augustinian University? Much was made over Reynolds’ personal desire to attend mass before games on Sunday, but should it really have been a big story? I’m not saying that all ‘Nova players have to be saints, but it would be nice if they didn’t get arrested more often than Lindsay Lohan. The worst-kept secret on campus is how much time basketball players spend with the make out tree.

Take John Calipari. Players with red flag after red flag flock to him because he wins, and gives his players leashes that are miles long. His teams reach Final Fours, but what does Calipari leave behind? Vacated banners. Recent Kentucky commit Michael Gilchrist was heavily recruited by both Wright and Calipari before finally ending up with Kentucky. Will Gilchrist be a problem at UK? Who knows? But I find it hard to trust any recruit that will play for a coach accused of cheating twice. Villanova fans find Calipari deplorable, and his actions are far worse than anything that’s happened here, but what reaction would we have if a scandal rocked The Pavilion?

Villanova Head Coach Jay Wright

Look, Jay is a character guy, I don’t doubt that. And I would be shocked to see major violations coming out of Villanova anytime soon, a la Calipari’s Memphis and Tressel’s Ohio State. But at some point, maybe it’s time for the basketball program to start recruiting character guys to Villanova. I’m honestly sick of hearing about present and former players getting involved in legal trouble. There’s no need for it. It’s time for Jay to either put an end to the on-campus nonsense, or bring in guys who will.