There is crying in basketball. There has to be. It’s a game of passion and effort.
NCAA tourney pressure exposes all of it -- good and bad.
Pitt’s Nasir Robinson cares. Because of that he hurts as you read this. He’ll likely hurt for a long time. And it’s why he almost certainly will be successful in the long-term.
In the short-term, he cries. A TV image burns of Nasir in a devastated Pitt locker room taking responsibility for failure.
Nasir is the Pitt Panther who inexplicably fouled Butler’s Matt Howard to cost his team a shot at victory Saturday. Who knows? The Bulldogs might have won in overtime anyway. What we do know is Nasir’s foul with less than a second left in regulation enabled Howard to hit the winning free throw in a 71-70 Butler victory.
Pitt earned a No. 1 seed in part because of its ferocious rebounding. Nasir was part of that. In the end, he was trying to make a play, get a rebound and deliver a victory. He did, for the wrong team, and he’ll have to live with that. Hopefully, he grows from it. Odds are high that he will.
The cliché is fatigue makes cowards of us all. It also sometimes sucks off judgment. Add pressure and sometimes you do what you normally never do.
We all fail. We all screw up. We all don’t do it on national television and have it replayed again and again.
This is true reality TV and not the cartoonish variety you see from Housewives of LA or The Apprentice. Sometimes you get Butler’s unexpected run to the national title game. Sometimes you get Nasir’s heartbreak. It’s why the three-week-long NCAA tourney is the most compelling event in sports.
Yes, we know everybody is different, and one player’s development won’t necessarily mirror that of another.
Still, consider Tyler Zeller, who has become a major factor for North Carolina’s Sweet 16 team and how that might provide a glimpse into what’s in store for Cody Zeller and Indiana.
Tyler, a junior who is listed at 7-foot and 250 pounds, is second on the team in scoring (15.0 points) and rebounding (7.1). He shoots 54.3 percent from the field.
In his first two years combined he averaged 7.1 points and 3.6 rebounds.
Yes, that’s a major jump. Tyler had 23 points and five rebounds as the second-seeded Tar Heels (28-7) held off Washington 86-83 Sunday.
If Cody shows that kind of improvement during his time with the Hoosiers, look for some big-time winning starting around 2013.
That’s the college future. In the high school present Cody has a chance to surpass his brothers if Washington (23-4) beats Culver Academies (19-6) in Saturday’s Class 3A state title game at Indianapolis’ Conseco Fieldhouse. Luke was part of the Hatchets’ 2005 title team. Tyler was also on the 2005 team, and joined with Cody to win it all in 2008. Cody led Washington to last year’s state title.
Cody had 23 points, 18 rebounds and five blocks in leading Washington over out-gunned Batesville in Saturday’s semistate game.
If you believe NFL veteran Gil Brandt, and you should because he’s been around the league since the dawn of time, former IU offensive lineman James Brewer has positioned himself to be a late third-round to early fourth-round pick in next month’s NFL Draft.
In most years that would mean the 6-8, 320-pound Brewer would soon be a very rich guy. Not Peyton Manning rich, but a lot better off than most.
But this isn’t most years. The NFL is in shut-down mode because of a dispute between owners and players. So while teams can draft players, no one can be signed until the lock out is resolved. Who knows when that might be?
Still, Brandt wrote on NFL.com that Brewer helped himself at IU’s pro day earlier this months in front of scouts from 18 NFL teams. He also had a private workout with the Browns, Brandt wrote.
IU is developing a rep as a producer of NFL-quality offensive linemen. Last year Rodger Saffold was a second-round pick of the St. Louis Rams and started 16 games as a rookie.