December 30, 2008
2008 was the first year The Dagger existed in its current state, and what a year it was. From Steph Curry's sudden fame, to Mario Chalmers' title game heroics, to the already-promising beginning of 2008-09 (not to mention North Carolina's so-not-fair team this season), we're already well on our way to another banner one.
So, as Ben Gibbard once sang, this is the New Year. In the meantime, here's a recap of some of our favorite stuff from 2008. Enjoy it -- hopefully for the second time.
Stories: Ken Mink, senior baller, goes big time. There were plenty of bigger stories than Ken Mink this year -- Stephen Curry, Tyler Hansbrough, Mario Chalmers, and so on -- but few were as quirky and interesting, at least to blogger types like yours truly, than the story of a 73-year-old man deciding he wanted to try his hand at college basketball again. This is a more remarkable feat than most people understand. Honorable mentions: Kansas cops take it easy on puking partier; The Big Ten holds a poetry slam, and MJD submits his rhymes; Tom Crean inspires Hoosiers to violence
Videos we loved: USC freshman punches Blake Griffin in his man-parts. When one graduates from high school to college basketball, there are a few lessons to be learned, and I'd count this among the most important: Everything you do is on camera. So when USC frosh Leonard Washington took a stiff left hand to Blake Griffin's meat and three cheeses, little did he know that, one day, we would be watching this video and thinking back on times gone by. But here we are. Hope you learned your lesson, Leonard. Honorable mentions: Bill Raftery introduces us to the 'Taiwan Special,' with alacrity; Big Ten coaches will be screaming at you now
Satire: A letter from Bob Knight's cat. When it comes to satire of any sort, there are few bloggers -- hell, few writers -- capable of the consistent hilarity of one Mr. MJD. Fortunately for us, MJD received several letters from stars' pets, and deigned to share them with us early in the year. The best? The one from Bob Knight's helpless little kitten, which included lines like: "And I chewed my way through the pet carrier, and I clawed that son of a (bleep)'s eyes out. Bob decided not to kill me with a 9-iron, and the afore-mentioned rude bastard has been blind for about eight years now. See, that story's got a happy ending. And people say I don't have a sense of humor." It remains a must-read. Honorable mentions: (Would include Duke flopping thing, but think it works better under artwork [and I need artwork, because we didn't do a ton of that stuff this year])
Media bird-doggin’: Dudes, we get it: You think Erin Andrews is hot. The internet is a lovely place. Truly, it is. Sure, you commenters are occasionally brutal, and there's lots of evil viruses out there, but for the most part I spend all this time on thiss'a here interweb because I love it dearly. Same goes for sports blogs. So when I criticize, I do so out of love. Such was the case with the above post, in which I took the various dudes of the blogosphere -- and other sports media, of course -- to task for over-sexualizing Erin Andrews. Hey, I love Andrews too. But it gets really annoying to read stupid blog posts about her, even if it does help pay the bills. Did this missive affect any change? Probably not. But it felt good to write, and July was a dead month anyway. That's good enough. Honorable mentions: Bill Raftery is dedicated to his catchphrases; Dick Vitale doesn't actually write his columns
“Real” reporting/“actual” analysis: Eric Devendorf punished for punching woman, but not by the law. There's an explanation for this out there somewhere, but I've yet to hear it: Syracuse guard Eric Devendorf is suspended (he's appealing his suspension and thus playing), but it's not the law that punished him -- it's a board of fellow Syracuse students. If he's guilty, why aren't there criminal charges at work? Why did the local authorities turn Devendorf over to the school? I'm still trying to figure this one out. Honorable mention: O.J. Mayo and USC, casualties of the one-year rule; Cram Session(s)
When athletes blog: Club Trillion. College hoops -- college sports in general, we suppose -- aren't exactly the most inviting environments for athlete bloggers. Blogging by nature requires some level of honesty and openness, and most program PR departments spend 95 percent of their time doing everything thing in their power to prevent their players from speaking openly. But this fall a bright light shone through: Club Trillion, the blog of Mark Titus, is not only mildly entertaining -- the baseline for most athlete blogs -- but is actually uproarious and insightful. Bookmark it, as they say, and learn what a "trillion" is. You'll never view hoops scrubs the same way again. Honorable mention: Shark Bytes, Jerry Tarkanian's Las Vegas Sun blog
Lists!/tournaments: Ten reasons you should let your employees watch March Madness. College basketball is awfully popular. In March, it permeates the office environment, ranging anywhere from a quiet, lurking to presence to a loud, overt distraction. Yet still there are bosses who won't allow the fun to continue. MJD offered up a 10-point manifesto to those people. If that doesn't convince them, nothing will. Honorable mention: (There's a financial institutions NCAA tourney bracket post somewhere but I can't find it via via Google Search)
High fashion: Tyler Hansbrough and Patrick Patterson are rocking 2009's hottest fashions. We knew Tyler Hansbrough has the grit of a leader and the heart of a champion and the eyeballs of a preying mantis, but who knew he such a refined sartorial sense. As Dagger contributor Chris Chase said, Hansbrough's 2008-09 opening night suit made him look like a "pit boss from a Biloxi casino." It remains one of the more apt descriptions The Dagger has ever published. Honorable mention: Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg dress up for their CBS debut; Buy Stephen Curry's replica jersey
Interviews: The Dagger sits down with Stephen Curry. Nick Friedell, The Dagger's interview specialist, scored a big one when he got the chance to chill for a few minutes with, arguably, the most famous -- or at least most exciting -- player in college basketball, Stephen Curry. What did they chat about? All the usuals: Fame, attention, hopes, dreams, Facebook. It's the sort of stuff you'd expect from any young college kid who happens to have a world of basketball talent and attention heretofore unseen at a school like Davidson. Not bad, right? Honorable mention: The Jonny Flynn interview
Photoshops/artwork: Welcome to Duke University flopping camp. Coach K doesn't just want to make you a better basketball player, or a better person. He wants to make you a better ... flopper. In the spirit of Vlade Divac U, MJD drafted an application to Duke University floppping camp that could also be filed under satire, sure, if the artistic skill involved wasn't so impressive. For a second there, I thought it was a real application. I'm not kidding. (Give me a break: I was hungover that day. Probably.) Honorable mention: Stephen Curry's shoe
More Y! Sports year of the blog posts: The Y! Sports Blogs (general), Shutdown Corner (NFL), Big League Stew (MLB), Ball Don't Lie (NBA), Puck Daddy (NHL), Dr. Saturday (NCAAF), From the Marbles (NASCAR), Devil Ball (golf) and Cage Writer (MMA)