Thursday, June 12, 2008

Keegan Bell hates robots

Let me preface this by saying that I'm a big fan of Keegan Bell and wish him nothing but the best at UT-Chattanooga. He has a passion for the game of basketball, a "gym rat" if you will, and I have no doubt that he will have a fine collegiate career.

Still, I couldn't help but laugh when I came across this article from The Huntsville Times. Let's try to attack this piece Fire Joe Morgan style (lines from the actual story in bold).

Unhappy with Vandy's 'robotic' style, he seeks freedom at new school.

Basically, coach Kevin Stallings is a big fan of The Jetsons and made his players watch old episodes instead of game film to become more like robots on the court. Also, he got a kick out of handcuffing Keegan to one of the baskets after practice so it's easy to understand why the point guard desperately wanted to be free.

Despite the allure of playing SEC basketball, point guard Keegan Bell needed a change.

Plus he really wanted to give the Dores an extra scholarship to sign point guard Brad Tinsley.

Though he was in line for a starting role with the Commodores next season, Bell didn't feel suited for Stallings' style of play.

"(The guards) became more robotic, more slow style," Bell said. "Fast-break and more up and down is what I want to do. I have a certain style of how I play."

Yeah, remember when Jermaine Beal was in the middle of executing a fast-break and stopped on a dime to do the robot? That was tight.

And what style is that exactly, Keegan? The one where you make 32 percent of your shots and hoist ill-advised 3-pointers? Or the one where you get beat so badly off the dribble that you force the team to play zone, which makes it harder for you guys to rebound and therefore fast-break?

And one more thing. I came across an old interview where you said, "And then the style of play, I really liked how they push it up." Except that you weren't talking about UT-C; you were talking about those robotic Dores. Weird.

After Stallings granted Bell his release, the transfer drew interest from Notre Dame, Oregon and Oklahoma State. But an April meeting with University of Tennessee-Chattanooga coach John Shulman won over Bell and convinced the Hazel Green High graduate that he could thrive at a mid-major.

Riiight. And besides, those other schools play like robots anyways.

"I mean, Keegan was a top-20 point guard in the nation, a starter on the varsity since eighth grade, and the big boys were after him," Shulman recalled. "He was like a high school folk hero."

Yup. Just like Tim Tebow. Only better.

Toward season's end, however, he felt Vandy's guards were given less freedom to create.

I always thought the reason for Vandy's struggles were because its guards couldn't defend, but what do I know?

"You can't argue with the success Coach Stallings has had there, but Vandy's very structured, and we're not as structured," Shulman said.

By not as structured, I think you mean not as good, but whatever. And, Shully, please don't go where I think you're about to go. If you watched Vandy play AT ALL, you would know that it no longer runs the offense that begins with "P."

Consider this fact: the Dores had the third highest adjusted tempo/pace in the SEC, behind only Tennessee and Ole Miss. Or how about this: the Dores were second in the SEC in scoring with 80 points per game. So again, I'm warning you.

"We're more of a ball-screen, motion team - not the Princeton offense that Vandy runs."

As Mark Jackson would say, "You're better than that!"

"With us, we can ball-screen for Keegan, and he can create and make plays."

Exactly. Because Stallings would fine players for setting ball-screens for Keegan (once he made Keegan's roommate and good friend A.J. Ogilvy cry after he fined him $3,200 for setting 32 screens in one practice). And, of course, "making plays" was out of the question.

Bell absorbed message-board criticism on a Vandy fan site after calling himself "a flashy player," comparing his style to Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash, and saying that Stallings wasn't receptive to plays such as "between-the-leg passes."

Hey, he's talking about us! We're famous!

That confidence didn't fluster Shulman, who on two occasions Tuesday referred to Bell as "a Steve Nash-type player."

In all seriousness, please stop with the Steve Nash references. Yes, they are both white. We get that. But, Steve Nash is a two-time MVP and a future Hall-of-Famer, one of the best point guards to ever play the game. Keegan Bell is ummm....not. And besides, Nash said he's a big fan of Astro.

Bell expects wide-open game at Chattanooga [Huntsville Times]
Photo [USA Today]


Aram Hanessian said...

who are you, Ken Tremendous?

Jarred Amato said...

That's what I was going for. I thought I gave a pretty decent effort, maybe a little forced, but overall not too bad.

Tony Arnold said...

The most troubling thing to me(well maybe not so troubling for me now that he is not a 'Dore) with all of Keegan's comments post-exit, is he hints that he may not be coachable. Here is a freshman dictating to college basketball how he will play or else he won't play for you.

Not setting a good view of himself. And bad mouthing coaches and teams after you leave does not help that image.

Aram Hanessian said...

I think the Keegan hating is a little ridiculous. If he didn't like the system or how he was being told how to play he should leave. He's not a pro, in this country anyway, so this could be his last chance to play at a high level theres no reason for him not to enjoy himself as he plays basketball in college. If that means creativity, which there is a minimal amount of in Vandy basketball, than he should go elsewhere. He isn't bad mouthing Stallings so much as saying he wants more freedom. He didn't do anything to hurt Vanderbilt, it just wasn't the right place for him and so it made no sense for him to stay. A lot of people leave situations that don't fit them in search of greener pastures. Bashing him for a decision that most of us probably would have also made strikes me as a little unfair.

Tony Arnold said...

I don't think I was bashing him or his decision. I am questioning his decision to say so much about it. I would think he wants to give himself the best change to fit in with his new team and coaching staff.

The most prudent way to do is to say, "I decided the best fit for me in my college time is to leave Vanderbilt. I wish them the best and I thank my teammates, the coaches, and the fans for their support."

This would puts himself in the best light, put the burden on everyone else to take the high road or not, and certainly this post discussion would not even being taking place.

I agree with Aram that since this might be his last level to play competitive organized ball, then he has a right to choose what he feels best is the best program for himself.

Tony Arnold said...

I will give Keegan the benefit of doubt that it is possible the writers took some liberties with Keegan's quotes, at least with the context of the comments. Many a interview subject has had this happen to them.

Aram Hanessian said...

Tony, I didn't really mean you were bashing him, but Jarred basically is.

Jarred Amato said...

Hey guys,

I was just having some fun, trying to keep things light this summer. It wasn't meant to be a personal attack on Keegan. He's a good kid and by no means was I trying to tell him what to do. I don't think it's our place to tell any student-athlete what to do, especially in regard to transferring or declaring for the draft.

Anonymous said...

i think jarred just thinks you gotta earn your stripes. most coaches, i think cks would be included, can handle between the legs etc IF you don't turn it over and it works. as a freshman backup point guard, he hadn't proved that. plus keegan forced us to play zone when we hate zone.
as an aside, i hope these new frosh know how to play defense and bring some general toughness to the program. apparently tchencheng is like a demarre carroll with a jumper, which would be awesome.

David Rutz said...

Tony, you're right about the writers taking some liberties, because they erroneously write in the Huntsville Times article that Bell compared himself to Steve Nash in the interview I had with him.

During the interview, I mentioned Nash when Bell talked about how he's "more of a flashy player" since I knew Bell was a big fan of his. Keegan never mentioned him until I brought him up.

I don't know what a huge difference that makes, but I think it's irritating when reporters don't research more carefully and actually read the interview. Writing that Bell compared himself to Nash puts him in an unfairly negative light.

Tony Arnold said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tony Arnold said...

Good journalists write with integrity and due diligence. Good journalists are getting hard to find. Maybe a more accurate statement is that good journalists can't find employment because print media want sensationalism rather than quality writing.

Jarred, I knew you were just being funny and actually it was. I read it in that spirit anyway. There still is the point that Keegan has opened himself up for a little attention due to his openness.

Braddock said...

Jarred - did I share this article with you or Barca? I know I sent it to one of you. Anyways, so glad to see the sarcastic "take" on it. Thing about it for me is...yeah, make a decision and then move on...why keep talkin'? (Yet, I personally will never be able to empathize with the why - just don't see it!?) By the way, know the authors of the article personally from coachin' baseball here in Huntsville. Usually not that bad, but this is definitely not their best.

Bargo said...

As most people who contribute or read SportsVU probably know, Keegan has always been a great interview. For the Hustler, this site, rivals, and others he always seems to answer questions with the best intentions. I totally agree with Aram on this-- he had a problem with the system and left without feeling obligated to sugarcoat his earlier situation. As hard as it is for us to believe (and I'm definitely included in this), Vandy isn't the right place for everyone, and if he leaves he shouldn't have to pretend that it was for reporters when he's trying to get on with his life. He never trashed Vandy at any point (see the bottom of David's interview) and most of us agree that his leaving turned out to be positive for both parties.

So what I'm saying is, I don't think all of Keegan's future interviews should be subject to ridicule. I think it sucks that the writer mentioned SportsVU (also surprised, he must have been desperate for material to view David's interview as "criticism"), because it makes us look like we're still bitter about Keegan's transfer (because we're not..and probably never were..)

I guess it comes down to what the site wants to be, more of a reliable vandy news source or an edgier deadspin-type place for a different perspective. Haha, maybe I should stop rambling.

Anyways, just my two cents. Jarred, great find with that article. Keep me posted on what exactly the Hustler has offered you for your services.