Sunday, April 09, 2006

Julius Hodge might be the guy from "Unbreakable"

We hate to use the term, but Julius Hodge is a soldier.

"Soldier" is a term that scares us off, especially - no, let's say specifically - when talking about athletes. A soldier is someone putting his or her life on his line. A soldier is not a tight end going over the middle, no matter what Kellen Winslow says.

So when an athlete gets dubbed a soldier, he better deserve it.

Julius took at least three bullets to the legs this Saturday while driving on a Denver highway, and apparently there was no provocation at all. Just a completely random shooting. The dude got lit up from the waist down for no good reason.

The Denver Nugget rookie was released today, and is expected to make a full recovery in about three weeks. Not just a regular recovery, though - George Karl said he expects Julius to be playing in under a month.

Damn, Julius. That qualifies you as a soldier in our book.

At least to us, Julius Hodge's name will always conjure up images of a relentless, sprited, cutthroat baller during his days at NC State (and getting sucker punched in the balls by Chris Paul, which has Paul on our eternal shit list). He just willed his team to wins. We can't picture him any other way than screaming and flexing his nonexistant muscles after a clutch late-game bucket - especially when the Wolfpack knocked off UConn to go to the Sweet 16 last year.

He may be struggling as a rookie on a serious contender, but something tells us he's going to be a good one someday. You heard it here first.

So here's to a full recovery for Point 23 favorite Julius Hodge. God's speed, homie.

(Oh, and Kellen - that's what a soldier is.)

Read the Rest After the Jump...

Staying put: good or bad?

That previous post got us thinking: What if NBA players could only be NBA players if they had played four years in college? What would happen?

Well, we'll tell you what.

For one, the landscape of college basketball would change - but it wouldn't all be for the good.

On the plus side, games would be skilled as hell, teams would be deeper than the Pacific and the tournament would just be an orgy of great plays, insane finishes and all-times performances. There would games for the ages - with players that mattered, playes who's names you are going to remember years from now. Maybe not Magic-Bird, but up there. Yea, Florida had a fun run...but not one player on that team will be more than a contributor a decade from now. With the NC2A packed with the best, you would get LeBron vs. Melo for the title. You'll be telling the grandkids about that one.

But what's everyone love about college hoops, especially in the tourney? Upsets. And with loaded teams - with senior-laden loaded teams - the George Masons of the world can kiss any hopes of a Final Four run goodbye. Upsets would go the way of short shorts. No one would even be cheering for them. Would you want Bron Bron out of the tourney? Didn't think so.

Imagine that: people cheering against upsets. People cheering against George Mason. (To be fair, no one wants to see underdogs play late in the tournament anyways. Well, not many people, anyways. Best to have the little guys early, and the big guns win it all.)

So it turns into a pick your poison: all superstars, all the time...or the greatest upset run in the history of sport. Your call.

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UNC: Back-to-back National Champs!

It has been brought to our attention that in our short time on earth - all three days of it - we have been relatively negative. We were even mentioned in the same breath as Skip Bayless. Sadly, we can't argue this point - the facts are right in front of us.

The Bayless comment really took us off guard, though. We don't feel it was justified, but we don't want to even go down the same street as Bayless. In fact, if Bayless is driving, we'll walk, thank you very much.

In that light, we have decided to bring to your attention something that not only makes our hearts warm, but should bring a smile to your face as well.

SI on Campus' "What If" Poll - which is the most fun I've had pretending since I decided a cardboard box was a rocket ship when I was four - has North Carolina claiming its second national title in as many years.

The premise of the poll is just a grand time in and of itself. What if everyone had to attend four years of college before going to ball in the L? Think of Bron Bron rockin' a Buckeye's jersey, or Melo playing all four years in Syracuse Orange. Amare would be dunking all over people at Memphis while Bassy would be getting suspended for handgun violations from Louisville instead of Portland.

Regardless, the squad UNC would throw out on the court would just be devastating. Four lottery picks - Felton, McCants, May, and Marvin Williams - plus you throw in Dwight Howard and J.R. Smith. J.R. hasn't exactly lit the League on fire - he's an In-Game Dunk Contest waiting to happen, though - but Howard has. Just for shits and giggles, we'll play Tyler Hansbrough - the reigning freshman of the year and third-team All-American - as our seventh man. And just so everyone knows what they are doing and there is someone to tell McCants to keep his jeresy on, we'll have the National Coach of the Year stalking the sidelines and breaking clipboards for no good reason.

In a word:

I'm thinking they average at least 123 points and roughly 37 dunks per game. As much fun as it was to see George Mason in the Final Four -
gulp - I'd have to trade in that for the Heels going back-to-back. And the best part? "One Shining Moment." Cue the goosbumps.

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