Sunday, December 6, 2009

A Homage to Gloomy Gus

I'm kind of interested/obsessed with Dick Nixon (perfectly normal), and one of the interesting aspects of his presidency was his "Enemies List".  The best part of the list is the story of CBS news anchor Daniel Schorr, who read the list live on air, and didn't realize he was on the list until he came to his own name, and just moved on without comment.  Just amazing. Thank God for Nixon.
Anyway, I thought it would be cool to come up with my own enemies list.  I try to emulate Tricky Dick whenever possible. 

The List

Milton Bradley
An obvious choice, I've already written plenty about Milton and taken a bunch of pot-shots at his family (I'm not apologizing), but he still deserves to be mentioned.  Milton will definitely be traded in the off-season, but he will always be remembered for his disaster of a season with the Cubs.  The lesson is be bad, it's fine, just keep your head up and your mouth shut and play hard every day.  But don't be bad and be a jackass.

Digger Phelps
You can pretty much include all the Dicky V-types that work for ESPN college basketball and spend all their time loving the Dukies, kissing up to players like Greg Paulus and Tyler Hansborogh and dismissing the Big Ten.  Basically everyone not named Steve Bardo or Jimmy Dykes.  Digger gets special mention here for being particularily abrasive and virtually never saying anything good about Illinois, matching his ties and his highlighters, and creepily dancing with cheerleaders.  At least now we know the answer to the question "Is there a worse dancer than Jo Noah?"
Side note: Digger is the only person to appear on both mine and Richard Nixon's enemies list.  So ... good for Digger.

Kelvin Sampson
Let us ne'er forget what happened here.  There is never a good reason to hire someone who was already under probation from the NCAA.  Indiana deserves everything they get for what they did to poor Mike Davis.  It is tough to say now, whether or not the Eric Gordan fiasco actually damaged the Illini program, but either way, it was egregious and it should not be forgiven.
The really interesting thing about Sampson is that after Lon Kruger left, Sampson was actually offered the Illinois head coaching job and declined it before the Illini eventually hired Bill Self.  That has to be one of the biggest what ifs in Illini basketball history.  Safe to say that the Illini dodged a bullet.

Joe Buck
To quote Nixon himself (in reference to Schorr) "A real media enemy".  Joe Buck could suck the excitement out of a prison riot.   He is the anti-Gus Johnson.  Couple this with the fact that Buck is a Cardinals guy, and is normally partnered with dunce Tim McCarver for baseball games, and you have hands down my most hated member of the media.

Tom Coverdale
If you're not sitting there vigorously nodding your head in agreement and thinking of your own hatred for Coverdale, then you're not a real Illini basketball fan.  This guy threw in more garbage 3-pointers than anyone I had ever seen.  I take solace in the fact that Frankie Williams absolutely owned him.

Bruce Pearl
It is truely amazing that this guy ended up as a big-time head coach.  Dickie V once called the Deon Thomas-Pearl incident "career sucide" for Pearl.
To document exactly what happened: Pearl, an assistant coach at Iowa, calls up Deon Thomas, a prized Illinois recruit at the time, and tries to bait him into saying that Illinois gave him cash and an SUV (not the case) and records the conversation without Thomas's knowledge.  In virtually any other state this would have been grossly illegal, but for some reason, in the screwy state of Iowa, it is perfectly legal to record someone over the phone without their consent. 
Even though Thomas didn't say anything incriminating, the Illini program was still banned from the postseason that year and was given recruiting restrictions due to "lack of institutional control", and Thomas had to sit out and redshirt his freshman year.  The good news is that Thomas went on to become the all-time leading scorer for the Illini and their most under-rated player ever (another post for another time).
The bad news is that Bruce Pearl has found some measure of success and is the head coach at Tennesee, and is simply the #1 Illini enemy. 

Pete Carroll
A coach that just embodies the west-coast arrogance.  Carroll has been running up the score on his opponents for years now, and he got his comeuppance this year against Jim Harbaugh's Stanford.  Harbaugh had his team go for two late in the 4th quarter with the score 48-21 in Stanford's favor.  Kind of like a universal 'suck it Pete' from all the other college coaches that Pete has wronged.  After the game Carroll confronted Harbaugh and asked "What's your deal? What's your deal?" and Harbaugh countered with "What's your deal??  I'll field this one Jim, Carroll's 'deal' is that he's an arrogant prick.
In the 2008 Rose Bowl against Illinois, Pete's boys were picking up personal fouls for excessive celebration while they were up by 30 points.  Zero class.

Rajon Rondo
Rondo transformed from quiet point guard into an absolute menace during last year's playoff series against the Bulls.  You can't attack Kirk Hinrich and expect to have no repercussions.  Rondo continued his bad boy mentality this season when he got into it with Chris Paul.

Jay Marriotti
An annoying personality on Around the Horn, and a horrible person who managed to draw the ire of Roger Ebert.  Marriotti left the Chicago Sun-Times and Ebert wrote a column criticizing Marriotti for the way he quit his post with the paper.  Marriotti courageously fired back, among other things, "Roger Ebert can kiss my ass", while Ebert was battling cancer.  Any enemy of Roger Ebert is an enemy of mine.  As far as I can tell, Roger Ebert's enemies list consists of Jay Marriotti and Michael Bay.  Jay Marriotti's enemies list is pretty much everyone he has come in contact with.

Roy Williams
I already wrote about some of the issues I have with Roy in a previous post, so I'll keep this brief.  Roy has started speaking in a fake southern accent, and coaching one of my most hated teams of all-time in North Carolina basketball.  He also managed to beat the best Illini team of all-time in the 2005 championship.

Sasha Vujacic
At the risk of sounding xenophobic, Sasha, along with teammate Pau Gasol, is the reason why Europeans shouldn't be allowed in the NBA.  He comes into the game and constantly flops, complains to the refs, and wears a girl soccer-style headband.  It's not right.   In addition to being annoying on the court, Sasha is dating Maria Sharapova.  Does Maria understand the rules of basketball?  Sasha sucks, she should be dating a Lebron-type.  C'mon.

Lute Olson
The biggest Illini nemesis in the early 00's.  Lute feuded with Lucas Johnson and called the Illini "thugs".  There was a time that Lucas got tangled up with Richard Jefferson and Lute ran onto the court pointing at Lucas and yelling "He's crazy! He's crazy!".  I swear this actually happened.
Bill LeMonnier
Was the head referee in 2000 when two blown fumble calls lead to the Illini losing to Michigan.  One of the most frustrating games I attended as a youngster.  Whenever I think that instant replay might not be such a good idea, I think back to this game.

Rex Grossman
I have never seen a quarterback so unable to take the ball back from center than Sexy Rexy.  I don't have the stat for how many times the snap was fumbled with Rex, but it happened twice in the Super Bowl.  There was also the Packers game in 2006 where he admitted not  being prepared, and called the game "meaningless".  Mike Wilbon called Rex a "midget loser" and I think that sums it up pretty well.

Tyrus Thomas
Has been a thorn in the side of the Bulls ever since they traded LaMarcus Aldridge for him in the 2006 draft.  Ty always seems to make the wrong decision when he has the ball in his hands.  He also displays a penchant for taking a large number of plays off defensively.  I'm surprised that Scott Skiles never snapped and just killed Ty.  The Bulls tried to trade him all off-season and hopefully they will be able to deal him before the deadline this year.

This list is subject to change.

1 comment:

  1. Nice list, Krehbiel. You left off Bill Walton, though. I could not stand his partisan announcing during the NCAA tournament when his boy was at Arizona, especially during the Illinois game. How can any former player, like Walton, or good coach, like Lute, not like the all-out effort put forth by Lucas Johnson during every play of every game? I hated seeing Brian Cook and Luke Walton become friends right away in LA just because of Bill's broadcasting during that game. Brandel Chamblee, Rory Sabbatini, Cedric Benson, Al Gore, and my arch nemesis would also make my list.


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