Husky Men’s Basketball: The Washington men’s basketball team received more national recognition today, as they appeared in both the Top 25 AP and USA Today/Coaches polls for the first time this season. The Dawgs elevated to #22 in the AP poll, up from #23 last week. They also emerged at #25 on the Coaches poll, the first time they’ve appeared on that list all year.
Heilman, acquired less than two months ago from the Mets as part of the J.J. Putz trade, was an expendable veteran arm with no defined role headed into Spring Training.
Cedeno, who turns 26 on Monday, is a former top prospect of the Cubs who has yet to reach expectations in the big leagues. A contact hitter with a good glove up the middle (think a younger, slightly more talented version of Willie Bloomquist), Cedeno batted .269 last season in 99 games, receiving playing time at shortstop and second base. For one stretch lasting from mid-April until the beginning of June, Cedeno kept his batting average above .300, peaking at a sizzling .391 on May 2nd. There was even some speculation in Chicago during this time that Cedeno would supplant either Ryan Theriot or Mike Fontenot as the starter at second or short. He’ll look to do that this season to the likes of Jose Lopez and Yuniesky Betancourt.
Olson, a former “sandwich” pick in the 2005 June amateur draft (#48 overall), is another ex-top prospect who has yet to completely pan out. A slender lefty who throws his fastball in the low-90’s, Olson relies on a big breaking curveball (think Barry Zito) to get batters out, and complements his one and two with a solid changeup. He started 26 games last year for the Baltimore Orioles, posting a 9-10 record with a 6.65 ERA. Olson will be given every chance to crack the M’s rotation and would likely be used in the pen if he failed to impress in Peoria.
Husky Basketball: The Dawgs are in Tucson today to take on the Arizona Wildcats later this evening. The unranked Wildcats are coming off a non-conference home victory Saturday over Houston. Though they’ve struggled this season, Arizona is always tough at home and historically presents matchup problems for an undersized Husky team.
Junior forward Chase Budinger, recipient of an uncalled for head stomping over the weekend, should be fired up and ready to ignite his team against a first-place Washington team looking to extend their lead over the rest of the Pac-10.
The game is scheduled for 5:30 PM and can be seen locally on Fox Sports, or heard live on 950 KJR AM.
*One programming note regarding the site: We won’t be having a Top 11 list this week amidst the scrutiny of a number of other issues going on in the world of sports. Check back next Thursday for the Top 11 on its usual day and time.
This is worth its own post. The good people at Officiating.com have picked up on our Dave Libbey article and are incensed that we would harangue The Great Dave Libbey. Their forum has turned into a veritable Seattle Sportsnet hatefest: http://forum.officiating.com/showthread.php?t=51243.
Personally, I don’t understand it. I can understand supporting a fellow official, but these guys apparently kneel at the altar of TGDL. No matter what logic, video evidence, or written evidence of Libbey’s transgressions they’re provided, they refuse to see the light.
For those of you who have questioned the pettiness of officials over the years, good news: these folks have resorted to personal attacks on my character and the website to express their displeasure with the harsh words directed at Libbey. All those times you chanted “Take his whistle,” “Bull-shit,” or “Worst refs ever,” there’s a good chance they heard you, took that venom home, bottled it up, and unleashed it in a message board.
One further note: for all the affection they show TGDL, they still can’t spell his name right. I’m not too sure “Dave Libby” would be pleased with their efforts.
Two years have passed since the Washington men’s basketball team was last ranked in a national poll. That all came to an end yesterday as the Dawgs earned the number 23 spot in the AP Top 25 rankings. Unfortunately, they were left off the USA Today/Coaches Poll, but if nothing else it gives them something to shoot for.
For those of you who don’t know Libbey, he’s a college basketball referee that makes his home on the West Coast. Libbey has been an official since the early-1980’s, and over the years has worked his way up to a certain level of prominence in the world of NCAA hoops.
If you’re a hardcore Pac-10 basketball fan, you know Dave Libbey, and you subsequently hate Dave Libbey. Amongst his peers, Libbey may be viewed as a savvy veteran of the profession, but to fans and purists everywhere he’s more of a villain than anything else.
When it comes to college basketball, it’s all about Dave Libbey. If Dave Libbey is on the call, then Dave Libbey WILL BE the main attraction. You may not think that’s the case going in, but by the end of the game you’ll know it’s the truth. Libbey maintains an iron-fisted grip over his three-man officiating team and overrules anything and everything his minions attempt to do. You see a charge? Dave Libbey sees a block. You want traveling? Dave Libbey sees dribbling. For some refs, there may be such a thing as a no-call situation. For Dave Libbey, every situation requires his influence.
Dave Libbey is always right.
If you watched the Washington-UCLA game on Saturday, you witnessed Dave Libbey at his best. There were technical fouls, blatantly missed calls, questionably called calls, and even a sign in the Dawg Pack that read “Welcome to the Libbey show.” The billboard in his honor apparently brought out the best in Libbey, as he walked over to the students before the game, blew kisses, and thanked them for spelling his name correctly. As one fan put it, it was little more than “disturbing.”
On message boards around the nation, Libbey is trashed and lambasted by college basketball fans on a seemingly daily basis. However, I did find one message board where the man, the myth, the legend was praised. The forum on Officiating.com is a Dave Libbey lovefest. One user, under the handle “Stripes,” offered this praise of Libbey’s work: “I have been to Dave’s camp held at UCSD. I thought it was excellent. Dave is a great teacher and motivator. At the time I was a JV official…” And we’ll stop you right there. You were a JV official.
Just the fact that Libbey is as well-known as he is, is an indictment on his job and his personality. Officiating is a profession based on anonymity. The less people recognize you, the better. If fans can leave a game never knowing you existed, then that likely means you did a great job. Apparently Dave Libbey doesn’t play by these rules. He thrives on the attention, and he loves to be in control. He goes out of his way to chastise players, talk to coaches, exchange barbs (not necessarily in a friendly manner) with fans, and showcase his douchebag personality every chance he gets. Dave Libbey may be good for officiating, but he ruins the game of basketball.
*For stats on Libbey’s work, click here.
In case you need some bulletin board fodder to carry with you to Saturday’s Husky game against UCLA, here’s a tidbit on Bruin forward Nikola Dragovic.
Dragovic, UCLA’s token Serbian with the awkward-looking name (everyone who’s anyone has one!), is a 6’8″, 214-pound sophomore who may be best known to Dawg fans as the guy who put up two airballs and compiled an 0-4 shooting night in his first trip to Seattle last season. To Bruin fans, Dragovic is a contributing role player who mustered a career-high 20 points against Washington State on Thursday.
Oh, but there’s so much more to Nikola Dragovic than just numbers. For example, back in November, Dragovic was involved in a domestic dispute with his live-in girlfriend (now, presumably, his ex-girlfriend). The dispute occurred when Dragovic arrived home around 4:00 PM on the evening of November 8th to find his belongings strewn about the front lawn.
Likely bewildered (“I cannot say that I understand this custom of American culture”), Dragovic took out his rage on the only other person present, his girlfriend. A verbal dispute turned into an episode of Cops right after Dragovic shoved the woman to the floor and was subsequently taken into custody. Try doing that to Jon Brockman and see what happens.
Once safely behind bars, a judge set bail for Dragovic at $20,000. Somehow he managed to post bail and escape prison (ahem, NCAA rules violation, maybe?).
Shortly after being informed of his player’s incarceration, UCLA head coach Ben Howland went so far as to call Dragovic “a great kid.” Really? Would we call him great? Because let’s face it, 7.9 PPG is anything but great, so Howland couldn’t have been referring to that.
Maybe Howland was misquoted. Maybe what he meant to say was, “Nikola is great at shoving women to the ground. He may not be much of a basketball player, but you should watch him send ladies flying. Perfect form. Reminds me of the greats: Mike Tyson, Ike Turner, guys like that. He has a real future if he sticks with it.”
Why couldn’t Howland just speak the truth? “Nikola Dragovic is a dumbass.” That’s all he had to say. Why does Ben Howland condone violence against women? Hard to say, but there’s no way we should tolerate the presence of Howland or Dragovic come Saturday. It’s an insult to the game and an injustice to society. Stop Violence. Stop Ben Howland. Stop Nikola Dragovic.
*Husky fan Joseph Wood contributed to this story.
You can say this about the Oregon State Beavers basketball team. At least they try hard. Which is better than last year, when the only thing they did well was pick fights with their opponents. Like that one time, in Corvallis, when the Huskies came to town and were victimized during their afternoon shootaround, greeted by a gaggle of Beavs who wanted to take things out into the parking lot for no real reason at all. They even followed the Husky contingent back to the team hotel, willing to spar seemingly wherever necessary in order to prove their point. That beautiful moment was all of one season ago, but the Beavers are a changed organization these days.