Let's start our Friday roundup by checking in with Coach Neuheisel's trip to the Middle East. David Raih, who I am assuming is a hard working intern at the Morgan Center is going to be posting periodic updates (in a bloggy kind of way) from the trip in the official site. He posted his first update yesterday from McConnell Air Froce Base. You can read his entry over here. There were couple of details that caught my eye. The amount of responsibilites an intern like David has on this trip:
My responsibilities have been:
Packing - 14,000 t-shirts from all universities into A-3 bags (large undertaking)
Shopping - snacks, supplies, paper products, power strips, beverages, tape, etc.
Intercom System - setting up a portable system for inter-flight communication
Cell Phones - activating 20 Sprint Blackberry's for free phone calls home for all troops
Bios - Compiling all crew and coaches bios into a book for everyone on flight to read
And about the subject matter of this post's title line:
Tonight we were fitted for our PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) - bullet proof vests and helmets to be worn on the ground.
So while the coaches from cross-town are going through all kinds of PR gymnastics to deal with the mountain of blockbuster scandals, our football coach will be out in the Middle East in a bullet proof vest and helmet, putting in his 2 cents to fire up our troops. I will take that comparison.
Staying with football some bizarre news out of Las Cruces, New Mexico. Apparently DeWayne Walker, who is now the head coach at NMSU was arrested for DUI during Memorial Day weekend but the charges were later dropped:
Walker was stopped at around 12:30 a.m. Saturday for driving his black GMC Yukon the wrong way — westbound — on Lohman Avenue, according to police reports. Police report Walker smelled of alcohol and told the officer he drank three beers at Hotel Encanto, where he had been since about 9:30 p.m. When asked for the vehicle's paperwork, Walker allegedly told police he didn't have any, since the car was new, and offered to walk home because he didn't want any trouble, according to the report.
Taking three sobriety tests, Walker exhibited a total of nine signs of intoxication, according to the report.
In the horizontal gaze test, in which Walker was asked to keep his eyes on a light on the tip of the officer's pen, the officer noted that Walker moved his head and was unable to follow the pen smoothly.
Asked to perform a walk-and-turn test, Walker did not count his steps out loud as instructed, was unable to touch heel to toe on all steps, stepped off the line and raised his arms on one step, took an extra step and stopped walking before he was told to, according to the police report.
After the third sobriety test, the one-leg stand, in which Walker swayed and put his foot down before he was told to, according to the officer's report, he was arrested for DUI at about 12:49 a.m.
However, two breathalyzer tests taken 20 minutes after arrest at the Doña Ana Sheriff's Department (both machines at the police department were not working) indicated Walker's breath-alcohol content was .01, so low that police decided to release Walker on his own recognizance.
Walker was apparently cited for driving the wrong way on a one-way street per the report. Not sure if I want to add any commentary to that report.
Moving on, I will end with a good note on Holiday. Holiday recently gave an interview with DraftExpress.com. Looks like Holiday has taken note of the recent criticism directed at him from here and other places about his comments in the press. He is finally making some sense when talking about his experience at UCLA:
DX: Overall how did you feel about your season at UCLA?
JH: It wasn’t to my liking; it wasn’t up to my standards. At the same time though, I loved it, it was a learning experience. Even though I felt I played out of position, it was something new that I have to learn to deal with. I know that I can play off the ball now and that I don’t always have to have the ball in my hands. I learned that when I’m off the ball I can still be a leader, I can direct people in ways that can help the team succeed.
DX: Were there ever points during the season where you wish you had gone to a different school where you would have been the focal point of the offense?
JH: No, it never did. I chose UCLA because I thought it was the best place for me. You know North Carolina was in my top three and they won it all this year. Even though they won it all, I still don’t feel like it was the right place for me. Washington was interested and they had a good year as well, but I felt like UCLA was the best fit and I still think it was.
That's much better Jrue. You can read the whole piece here. However, despite those comments, there was one perplexing response from Jrue when asked to compared experiences from high school to college:
DX: You said that you didn’t live up to your own expectations for this season. Given that you’ve only played this season at the college level, how much stock do you think NBA teams should invest in your high school ranking and how you performed at that level?
JH: I don’t know, I really couldn’t tell you. High school and college basketball are two completely different systems. College is obviously a lot harder than high school. People change a lot during that one year, some people get worse, but for the most part players get better. Most of the time in college you’re not the man anymore, you don’t get to do what you did in high school because you didn’t get the ball as much, or didn’t play as much, whatever it is. I’m not really sure if the NBA even looks at what you did in college; when you come to these camps you get to lay it all out for everyone to see.
Aaah. I am not sure where Holiday is getting the information that NBA doesn't look at what a player did in college. That comment is obviously totally baseless given the feedback former Ben Ball warriors such as as JF, LRMAM and RW have gotten regarding the defensive fundamentals they learned at UCLA. And if Jrue thinks he had a rude awakening in college where he wasn't "the man anymore," then he better brace himself for the next level where everyone is the man and much more cut throat than what he experienced in college.
Still I was encouraged by Holiday's comments regarding his UCLA experience. They are much more positive than what we were reading from him few weeks ago. As mentioned above, it sure looks like he and his folks around him have taken note of the fact that UCLA alums and basketball fans here and other places will not sit back and stay quiet if there is any perceived slight to our alma mater's hoops program. Hopefully the latest message we are now getting from Holiday re. his UCLA experience will remain the same from here on out. It's something that will help rebuild the strained relationship from last few weeks.