What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
If you’ve ever seen the movie “Godfather II,” you know there’s a series of “flashback” scenes dedicated to explaining why Fredo Corleone grows up to be a moron. “Poor sick Fredo” his mother coos over him while she’s administering some pseudo-witch-doctory “cure”” for whatever the hell was wrong with him. Eventually, Michael Corleone stops caring about why Fredo is a dimwit and understands he’s a liability…and does with him what Godfathers do.
This morning, Purdue Nation woke up to last night’s nightmare being a harsh reality. Yet again, a Purdue team sucked in it’s fanbase with a hope that proved to be as false as anything head coach Matt Painter has delivered in his decade-plus of mediocrity. I’m not a Purdue fan, but I’ve lived in Boilermaker territory for almost the entirety of the Painter regime. But last night’s overtime debacle at the hands of North Texas smacked of Matt Painter’s channeling of Fredo Corleone.
If you follow the links to GoldandBlack’s tweet, you end up with a 25-minute charade of Painter fumble-fucking his way through yet another of his mea culpas after yet another horrible example of Boiler Basketball underperforming under his tutelage. That means today, there will be a never-ending supply of apologists cooing excuses over him.
Just look at the blank stare from that tweet. He never shook it all through the post-game presser, and it started at the beginning of overtime when it was clear the Mean Green of North Texas were about the steamroll the Boilers.
Time for another Godfather reference. Remember the scene where Vito Corleone gets gunned down in the street and all Fredo could do was fumble his gun into the gutter? That’s how helpless Poor “Fredo” Painter looked during that overtime. While “Fredo” fumbled, North Texas pumped shot after shot into Purdue’s “Big Dance” dreams.
This is where “Fredo’s” apologists will point out the coach can’t make the shots for his players; after all, the Boilers went 0-9 from the field in first 4:30 of the five-minute overtime. That may be true, but so are a couple of facts that go along with it.
Let’s start with the fact last night’s loss was the Boilers’ second straight in overtime; the first being to Ohio State in the B1G Ten tournament. Sure, Purdue couldn’t have shot the ball into the Pacific Ocean from the end of Santa Monica Pier, but do you know what would have kept both of those games out of the extra session? Apologize for Painter all you want, but the fact is that with precious few exceptions, throughout Painter’s tenure the Boilers don’t hit the “big” shot when they need it…especially not free throws.
Face the facts, gang. That’s a coaching issue.
You can make an argument about those players are just kids facing tremendous pressure…you know, the “big spotlight” and all that rot. But the apologists can’t account for the fact that “big time” coaches teach those kids how to live in those moments. Don’t even try to give me some lofty load of shit about “the pandemic year” and these players not being used to playing in front of crowds. That applied to everybody; not to mention players from any of the “Big” conferences play almost all of their game under television’s bright lights anyway.
Argue that all you want, but there’s simply no defending a team that can’t hit a goddamn free throw when it matters. That’s 100% a coaching issue, because anybody can become a reasonable shooter from the stripe with enough practice. Allen Iverson had a dismissive attitude toward practice…but then again, he could hit a shot when it mattered. Even a guy who knew absolutely nothing about basketball understood that.
It all boils down to this. You show me a team who can’t shoot the freebies, and I’ll show you a team whose coach A) doesn’t value the fundamentals or B) can’t teach them. If you’ve got an option C which explains Painter’s savant-level ability to achieve less with more talent than many coaches ever get, I’m all ears.
But the fact that Matt Painter is a wonderfully “mediocre” coach shouldn’t surprise anybody considering he was mentored by a legendary “mediocre” coach. In all honesty, I’ve never understood Purdue Nation’s reverence for Gene Keady. If you take all the guys who ended up getting their name on the floor, Keady is easily the least accomplished.
How many National Championships did Keady bring back to West Lafayette? How many Final Four appearances did Purdue make during the Keady administration? How many B1G Ten tournament titles did the Boilers bag with Keady? The answer is “zero” on all three counts.
The apologists will ask “But what about all those regular-season B1G Ten titles?” Big fucking deal. For the “power” conferences, the regular season title lost most of it’s significance once the NCAA expanded it’s tournament to the 64-team format 1985. In other words, now winning the regular season title is like being the best-looking kid at “fat camp.” They get a brief moment to feel better about themselves, but they’re still a pathetic lard-ass nobody wants to fuck.
In fact, the pinnacle of the “Gene Keady” era at Purdue came in 1996 when the Boilermakers led by Keady’s sole consensus All American Glenn “Big Dog” Robinson entered the NCAA Tournament as #1 seed. They barely beat #16 Western Carolina before gagging against #8 Georgia in the second round. This was also the season the Boilermakers ended up vacating a number of games and drawing NCAA sanctions for playing an ineligible player named Luther Clay.
What else should Purdue fans expect when mediocrity only really aspires to more mediocrity? In actuality, that question exemplifies the real problem with Boiler basketball. Not only does Matt Painter see Gene Keady’s mediocrity as mentor-worthy, but far too many members of the Purdue fan base are content with a “Meh” product. Worse yet, that level of quasi-apathy seems to be the prevailing attitude within the leadership ranks of Purdue’s athletic department. After all, Matt Painter just completed his 16th season at the helm of Boilermaker basketball, and what does he have to show for it? One B1G Ten tournament title, and one trip to the Elite Eight…that’s it.
But now with yet another early exit from the NCAA tournament, there might be a few calls for Painter’s head. But there won’t be enough of them, and they won’t come from the right people. Purdue president Mitch Daniels and athletic director Mike Bobinski aren’t about to paly “Godfather and send “Fredo” on a fishing trip. In other words, Purdue fans should brace themselves for at least another season of “Meh,”
It’s really too bad that Painter doesn’t compare favorably to another movie moron. At least Forrest Gump knew when to run away.