Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A Costly Mistake

Zach has already covered this in the AOL FanHouse (once again, my decision to join the living in the outside world has caused me to fall behind the pack), but since some of my readers (Hi, dad!) haven't yet caught on to the good work being done over at AOL , I thought I'd give my thoughts on the matter. Besides, it's a bit of a slow news day, and I really don't want to write about T.O. or Michael Vick.

Last season during an Oregon/Washington matchup in the Pac-10 tournament, Aaron Brooks and Ryan Appleby were involved in a play in which Brooks was the recipient of what appeared to be incidental contact to the chin. Brooks responded the next trip down the court by delivering a forearm shiver to Appleby's face, opening a cut that required six stitches to repair. Brooks was ejected and the Pac-10 responded by suspending Brooks for Oregon's next game vs Cal, plus the season opener against Lehigh and this Thursday's game at Washington.

At the time, Oregon had the opportunity to appeal the suspension, but declined to do so. This decision was made in part because the team knew that Brooks was in the wrong, but also because at the time, the Ducks were a struggling team and Brooks to that point had been a frustrating, underachieving player. But now, Brooks has finally developed into the player scouts originally thought he would be and is the frontrunner for Pac-10 Player of the Year. The Oregon Ducks in turn, are a surprising 18-1 and in serious competition for a #1 seed in the tournament. Going into Washington to play what has to be an angry Huskies team is no easy task, and a loss here, while not catastrophic, will certainly be damaging to the Ducks' hopes of winning the Pac-10 regular season and getting that top seed in the dance.

To his credit, Brooks has been very mature in accepting responsibility for his actions and has not complained once about the suspension (unlike Appleby, who implied in an interview that suspension may have been too lenient.) When asked about being suspended for Thursday's game, Brooks replied, "You have to suffer the consequences for the mistakes you made." In doing so, Brooks has established himself as a leader both on and off the court. Unfortunately, Thursday, he will most decidedly be off the court. The Ducks will try to rally around the absence of their leader, but seeing as how Brooks has always been the guy to initiate a rally when they need it, I don't really like their chances.

(Oh, and a message to the Washington student body. I'm sure you already know this, but if you do beat the Ducks Thursday night, you are not to storm the court on this one. I know you're 1-6 and looking for any reason to celebrate, but just because your team has been a disappointment thus far, it doesn't mean that this win has any added significance. This is a game that you're supposed to win.)

One other side note: I watched all of the Pac-10 tournament last year, but I don't remember this incident at all. It might have something to do with the fact that I was watching at Hooters, and there was a waitress there that reminded me of Kate from Kate's Playground. And since I couldn't find a picture of the altercation between the two scholar-athletes, I've decided instead to go with a photo of Kate looking quite scholarly herself. You're welcome.


At Wed Jan 24, 11:21:00 PM PST , Blogger Zach Landres-Schnur said...

A few things my man:

1. i'm torn about the brooks suspension. i've been trying to get away from UW biases at the FanHouse for the sake of my credibility to the rest of the pac-10, but i think appleby has a point.

brooks sitting out in seattle is more protection than punishment. he'd got eaten alive at Hec Ed. he should probably be out when UW goes to eugene in late feb too, in my opinion. but that's just that: an opinion.

2. you're right in one aspect: dawg fans shouldn't rush the court if UW were to win.

3. but this isn't a game UW should win. Now anyway. Seems the huskies have forgot how to win, and while at home, it's hard to change the mindset of a young team that's lost 6 of 7.

did that make sense? I think it may have!

At Thu Jan 25, 08:07:00 AM PST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad to see he has turned his career around after that troubling incident.

At Thu Jan 25, 09:44:00 AM PST , Blogger insomniac said...

The Pac-10 commish also said that the suspension was to protect Brooks. I didn't know that players needed protection from hecklers. Maybe I'm underestimating the animosity in the rivalry, but I wouldn't think that Brooks would be in any physical danger if he were to play. I just think that if Oregon were to have made an appeal, they could have possibly have had the suspension changed to Oregon's first 3 games, which were relatively easy non-conference matches.

While I agree that Washington has forgotten how to win, they need to use this game as a rallying point to establish some positive momentum.

Vegas has the Huskies as a 3.5 point favorite, by the way.

At Thu Jan 25, 12:35:00 PM PST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if this Kate look-a-like is still @ Hooteres...
Oh, nice article on the Pac-10

At Fri Jan 26, 04:38:00 PM PST , Blogger insomniac said...

anonymous..i'll be back in Arizona this March to answer that very question.

At Mon Jan 29, 11:44:00 AM PST , Anonymous bsaddles said...

I'll gladly assist in the search for this person.


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