I didn't like what I saw in the UC/St. John's game at Fifth Third Arena.
I didn't like the lack of inside scoring, I didn't like gaining the lead and refusing to seize the momentum, and I thought UC got hosed down the stretch (as it's seemingly impossible to get a call on their home floor when facing "original" Big East opponents).
All that aside, one thing really bothered me. With 1:18 remaining (and despite being all but invisible for the previous 38:42) Yancy Gates ran to the scorer's table to check in.
And he was booed.
Mysteriously, he didn't check in after the timeout and returned to his position at the end of the bench where the pouters and sulkers typically sit.
Coach Cronin say it as a mix-up.
"I have no idea who told him to do that," Cronin said. "I didn't. We are winning and they were pressing. Even if we are playing well with him in, we can't play him with his free throw percentage."
OK. Not really a ringing endorsement.
I totally understand. There's some issues there and there have been some issues there. We all know that when Yancy decides to play, UC's a tough opponent. When he goes on "mental vacation", he's as useless as earrings on a pig.
Let's not forget that Gates actually WON the previous St. John's game in Carnesseca Arena with a key late bucket. He IS capable of making a big shot and pulling down a crucial rebound.
My feeling is if the guy was coming in to help UC win in the final minute (and we may never know if he was or not) why would you boo him? What kind of confidence does that give him to go in and make a play?
Would you have booed him if he were on the line with a chance to sink two to win it?
Furthermore, I've never understood the notion of booing anyway. Maybe I'm getting soft as two of my oldest are around the same age as these guys. If it were your son or daughter out there, would you appreciate them getting booed?
If not, maybe you need to check your "catcalls".
Trust me on this one, I'm not saying watch the game spineless and clap for both teams here. I have NO PROBLEM with heckling the other team, the other coach or the referees (and Foot Locker's going to go out of business if the Big East keeps assigning their shoe salesmen here).
I just don't get "the boo".
I can honestly say I've yelled, I've taunted, I've begged to differ and I've expressed my displeasure a number of ways at numerous sporting events.
But, I've never booed. Just don't get it.
My frustrations are usually not monosyllabic.
Plus, it just seems juvenile. Why don't you stick your tongue out and add a little, "Na-na-na-na-na?"
There's a time to be disgusted and a time to zip your pie-hole and hope for the best. If Yancy was being sent in to help, I don't expect you to cheer as if he were Kenyon Martin, but don't destroy him psychologically before he even gets his warm-up off.
Heck, even Donald Little once hit a game-winning shot here.
Again, I note your aggravation. I don't like the concept of a big guy shooting fadeaways either.
Every now and then they go in though.
And, if you were making an all-time "boo list" (at least in the last 15 years) you would have a number of guys that have never contributed anything close to what Yancy Gates has.
From my personal list, I give you:
- Charles Williams ('96-'97). Brought in to play point guard, dribbled off his foot, shot gang signs on TV and couldn't shoot.
- Michael Horton ('97-'99). Shot no gang signs , but was a chunkier Charles Williams.
- B.J. Grove ('00-'02). And you rip on Yancy?
- Antwan Jones (2001). JUCO hero to the rescue. Had the "take games off" disease. Actually went AWOL in San Diego after a first round NCAA tournament win.
- Rod Flowers ('01-'03). Proof why you should never buy into Deveroes League statistics.
- Robert Whaley (2004). Same attention issue that snarls Gates at times. Continually let down his coach, teammates and everyone around him and still fumbled briefly into the NBA.
- Ronald Allen (2006). Came to the gym post-Hurricane Katrina and looked like Tarzan. Played like Jane.
- Adam Hrycaniuk (2008). A wonderful interview and another guy that looked awesome during the summer at Woodward High School. Turns out, the way to beat him at "Horse" was to continually go to the lay-up. Secretly, I think missed lay-ins are now referred to as "Hrycaniuk's" by numerous NCAA statisticians.
These gentlemen were all "boo-worthy" if I were inclined to do so, but I never did. There was no shortage of, "Oh come on!", or, "You've got to be kidding me!?" references during their tenures, but nary a boo.
The point is, Yancy Gates has overall been much more productive than any of the guys I've mentioned. You may not like his style of play, but he's a member of the team you pull for.
If you've ever cheered for him wildly, you really need to stay reasonably consistent. Grumble amongst yourself if you must (and I do) but leave the negative reinforcement up to the coach.
Or, you could always move to Philly where booing's much more acceptable.