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Ben Ball News & Notes: Building Our Memphis Files

Let’s start our humpday Ben Ball roundup by adding to our Memphis files. LAT sent Robyn Norwood out to Memphis who provided the following report on the ‘new kings of Memphis’:

"You know how a town needs something?" Calipari said before his radio show, sitting on the back patio at his house after the players filed out from a meeting.

"This town needed something. The mayoral race was just ugly. The senate race before that [won by Republican Bob Corker over Democrat Harold Ford Jr.] was ugly in this town. And we had the Tennessee Waltz," a federal corruption sting that led to the conviction of 12 public officials or aides.

Gas prices are up, like everywhere else. So is crime. People are struggling.

"I think this is one of those things that brings everybody together," Calipari said. "My players represent a lot of what people have had to live through. And they see them as them."

Calipari, back in college since 2000 after a three-season stint as the New Jersey Nets coach, also has known scandal. He took Massachusetts to the Final Four in 1996, an achievement more remarkable than getting there with Memphis. But the NCAA vacated the UMass appearance after star Marcus Camby admitted taking money and gifts [also prostitutes involved – BN Ed.] from an agent, something Calipari said he was unaware of at the time.
I found Calipari’s comment about how his players represent the community interesting considering none of his starters (Dorsey, Dozier, Anderson, Douglas-Roberts, and Rose) per WWL hails from the state of Tennessee (not even Memphis).

Anyway, it doesn’t really matter whether or not they are from Memphis. We have more pressing issues to worry about such as how to stop their unorthodox offense, which relies on dribble penetration by uber athletes. From Dohn in the DN today:
The Bruins and Memphis meet in Saturday's first national semifinal of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday in San Antonio, and UCLA guards Darren Collison and Russell Westbrook are the key line of defense for Bruins against the Tigers' unorthodox offense, which is based on its perimeter players being able to drive past their defenders.

"They're going to have to do a really good job, and Josh (Shipp), too," UCLA power forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute said. "We're going to have to do a good job of staying in front of our guys."

Memphis, which averages 80.3 points, doesn't employ the traditional half-court heavy-screening offense so prevalent with teams that go deep into the tournament. Instead, it is a copy of the offense former Pepperdine coach Vance Walberg was successful in running when he was 133-11 as the head coach at Fresno City College.

"That system works well when you have really good players, and most systems will, but it's an unorthodox style of offense and very difficult to defend," Howland said. "There's not a lot of screens. It's all about penetration, draw (the defender) and kick. There's a lot of handoffs. There's a lot of pitches from behind.

"They also do a lot of, like a moving screen."

The matchup pits one of the Bruins' defensive strengths - stopping dribble penetration - against a Memphis team that freelances frequently and relies heavily on 3-point shooting.

"It's a little different, but it's something that is working for them," Mbah a Moute said. "They have the talent and athletes to do that."
We had some good discussion on this topic yesterday. Coach Howland will most likely start with DC on Rose and Westbrook on CDR. But I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see switch up as LRMAM is called in to take on CDR.

Of course around here we have been keeping a close eye on LRMAM’s health. Apparently it’s now AA2’s turn to get into health issue related news:
The Bruins did not practice Monday, but did cardiovascular and weight training. All except Alfred Aboya, that is. The junior power forward had a sore back after spending three hours Sunday stooped over trying to put together a dresser he purchased.

"He couldn't work out or do anything," Howland said. "Three hours in the same position, using a screwdriver. I don't know what the heck it was or what he was doing, but that was poor news."
All right I hope AA2 is all right and I bet he is going to be okay by this weekend. But that was pretty freaking funny. I can just picture AA2 trying to put together that dresser and how he looked when he was explaining to Coach Howland how he hurt his back while putting together a dresser. lmao

Lastly, we will end with the following note from the starting point guard last time our Ben Ball warriors took on Calipari’s Memphis team in the tournament (emphasis added):
Collison apprenticed under Jordan Farmar two years ago. Farmar, now a backup point guard for the Lakers, said Collison's three years of NCAA and Final Four experience should make a difference.

"I remember the feeling of going into my sophomore year . . . I was just a whole different ballplayer," Farmar said. "So I can only imagine going in as a junior. He's already led the team, already been to the Final Four, he just has that much more confidence and it makes it that much easier."

Farmar also suggested it would be silly for UCLA's season to be considered a failure without a 12th national championship.

"They give themselves a chance every year to be in the Final Four," Farmar said. "Then it depends on who's better on that night. It comes with a lot of luck. If somebody's having a bad shooting night, a lot of things go into it. As long as they are giving themselves a chance every year, I don't think it will be a problem."
Jordan … as always … on pointfor this Nation.