Frankly, Andy Katz has never impressed us as a basketball genius. He's a
smart guy and he gets some good material, but to paraphrase the old saying, if
he's so smart, why ain't he coaching?
Case in point: his
comments about Casey Sanders. A reader writes in and asks why Casey is a
"disappointment." Well, first of all, he's not. As regular readers
know, Sanders started as an extremely skinny player, so skinny his shorts barely
stayed on.Â But more importantly, basketball-wise, he's totally out of left
field. His parents are artists, and he was so disinterested in sports that on a
field trip the other kids told him that the Florida football stadium was a
chemistry building - and he believed it.
Not lacking confidence, Katz says Sanders is "obviously" at the
wrong place. He indicts Krzyzewski for "sticking with who's playing well,
but really, what coach doesn't do that?Â There is no coach in his
right mind who is going to play kids who aren't playing well.Â You have to
master the fundamentals of whatever you do. We're pretty sure Katz isn't telling
his boss to let a cub reporter get some seasoning by making mistakes online, and
that's a field he knows well.
That's not even to say Casey's not, though he is erratic.Â He has a lot
of talent, but basketball wise, he has a ways to go to master the game.Â
That was true as a high schooler, very true last year, less true this year, and
even less true next year and the year after.Â In Casey's case, to get time,
all he has to do is: 1) block shots, 2) rebound, 3) hang on to the ball, and 4)
bust a gut on the break.
People have this idea of Sanders as a great inside force, and defensively he
could be. Offensively, who knows.Â But we do know this: there's not many
players who can outrun him. This guy can beat guards downcourt.Â
The common comparison has been to David Robinson, but a more apt one might be
Bill Russell. Like Sanders, he came totally out of left field basket-ball
wise.Â And like Sanders, he could block shots and run like a deer.
Casey will be fine, and Duke is doing a fine job of grooming him, even though
he hasn't played a lot yet.Â Â Â And honestly, Duke is 10-1, and
that works out to a 90.9 success rate.Â Are you that consistent? Probably
not.Â Sometimes we should marvel at the good instead of fussing about the