More Reviewing of the Rocky Mountain Revue

Pichi Campana Aguanta fearlessly heads back to the RMR, venturing even deeper into the innard of summer league basketball. The occasion speaks for itself.

I was a bit bored on the way into my third night at the Revue, so I transitioned a bit from taking paparazzi pictures to trying to talk to anyone who would be of interest to the FD world. Conversations of note:

Pavel Podkolzin, clad (him, not me) in jean shorts and a great shirt courtesy of Marithé + François Girbaud. He spoke better English than I expected and was very nice, in a 7 foot 5 kind of way. Highlights of the conversation: He's only met Kirilenko on the court; they don't know each other nor hang out, which I found very disappointing. The thought of Podkolzin and Kirilenko listening to Masha's latest hit was appealing to me. The shame of the conversation (other than the fact that I went totally blank and couldn't think of any interesting questions), was that my Russian-speaking buddy who usually comes to the games couldn't make it last night. So we'll never know how that conversation would have gone down.

Pavel Podkolzin with Popeye Jones and another Dallas coach. I think Dallas coaches outnumber the players. Pavel's shirt is the first Girbaud sighting since my jeans in the 8th grade. Popeye Jones was very cool and surprisingly coach-esque.

An agent who is none other than Mike Vranes, former D1 player who was mentioned in the comments of my Vegas post. He was freakishly athletic in his playing days, which were cut short by injury. If this were a LEAGUE OF POTENTIAL I would call him very FD, but apparently Capt Caveman gets the final say on that. And nobody can deny that he's 7th on the Utah HS list for Scoring: most points, state tourney, total (120 Michael Vranes, Taylorsville, 1996 5A playoffs)

NBA Director of Officials Ronnie Nunn, quite possibly the nicest-guy-who-didn't-need-to-be in the history of the world. I asked him how it felt to be named the player of the decade in Mexico for the 1970s. He said it was great, and that he would have played longer than his two seasons but they kicked him out of the country because he had hepatitis. I didn't make that up. He also trod upon the FD "Euro Confusion" territory by clarifying to me that he was in Mexico as a "North American, not a Mexican." It wasn't my place to split geographic hairs so I let it slide.

Ronnie Nunn explains the finer points of fixing a game. Actually it was very interesting to listen to his feedback to the refs during each timeout. He notices and remembers every detail.

Hot Rod Hundley, the Voice of the Jazz, and West Virginia's finest. Since fellow Mountaineer and All-Name Team member Kevin Pittsnoggle is at the Revue with Dallas, I asked if he'd given him any advice. He responded by singing a few bars of the WV fight song: "It's West Virginia, It's West Virginia, The Pride of every Mountaineer..." and jokingly told me that he turns his mic off and sings it when Pittsnoggle is at the line for free throws.

He was nice enough to pose with two kids in vintage John Stockton jerseys. I wish I could send a copy of this to these kids because that's one for the ages. Even with a DUI Hot Rod can do no wrong in Utah.

A very tall kid from Senegal, who from all I could gather is part of the entourage of Mouhamed Saer Sene of the Sonics. And speaking of the Sonics, unfortunately Detlef Schrempf was nowhere to be found so I didn't have a chance to ask him awkward questions in which I conflated his career with that of Sarunas Marciulionis.

I also discovered that "All Access" really means All Access, so I went down in the tunnel and wandered around with the NBA TV crew but passed on the media buffet. Stood next to the Jazz team huddle as they got hyped to go out for the start of the game and found myself very excited for the Dee Brown Era. I also resisted the temptation to ask Robert Whaley if he thought "Bobby Williams" and "Torry Ellis" had a chance to make the team.

C.J. Miles gets ready to run out of the tunnel. The fans love C.J. and this whole Jazz RMR squad is fun to watch.

Robert Whaley and Dee Brown get ready to rumble. The little kid lives a charmed life.

The Dee Brown Era in Utah is going to be great.

It was a great night at the Revue. I kept thinking about Paul Shirley's incredibly depressing ruminations on his life in the NBA and couldn't help wondering what's wrong with him. Because I'm a 6'2" white guy who looks like he just walked out of the Gap, with very modest athletic skills, and virtually nothing in common with most of the players trying to get into the league, and I had no problem engaging players in interesting conversation. Most of them were very cool and easy to talk to. Of course, I'm not gunning for their jobs.

And lastly, I need to give credit out to the Revue crowd at SLCC. That place was packed with straight up basketball junkies. When the ball was in play people were paying attention like there was going to be a quiz later. I don't think I've seen anything like it. Definitely a cool atmosphere with a lot of energy in a non-LETS GET READY TO RUMBLE kind of way that you usually don't see.


Ike Austin & Co holding it down in the crowd earlier this week. Ike could have been a legend in Utah but he didn't get it together until he got his confidence by tearing up a Euro league. Now he's apparently buying an NBDL team in Anaheim.

Avery Johnson and some other guy I should probably know. Avery's pants were strangely pegged, and i'm realizing that a lot of these guys are stuck in about 1988. I only included it because he's so nondescript; even the people around him were uninspired to make any attempts at conversation.

One more shot of Ronnie Nunn. He looks short in the photo because my friends are 6-4 and 6-0.


At 7/21/2006 10:09 PM, Anonymous cyanide said...

Has there been any study into the possibility that Pavel Podkolzin is in fact a shaved variant of the yeti?

Top notch photo-journalism.

At 7/22/2006 2:42 AM, Anonymous gump said...

Science has already empirically proven that Taylor Coppenrath is, in fact, the Yeti.

At 7/22/2006 9:07 PM, Blogger Captain Caveman said...

Wow, I made it into a FreeDarko post. This might be the highlight of my weekend. All I need now is a dressing-down from Shoals that I don't quite understand, and I'll be big-time.

PCA: Excellent work. You're the FreeDarkoest Mormon ever.

At 7/23/2006 2:37 AM, Blogger T. said...

so, really? no one else in freedarkoland cares about the makeup of the USA squad going to Japan*

*Yes, this is a pathetic attempt to get people to discuss something I posted about 4 entries ago.

Excellent work. You're the FreeDarkoest Mormon ever.

Beating out who exactly? Mark Madsen?

At 7/23/2006 9:44 AM, Anonymous le pen&zizou said...

My only interest in team USA this summer is observing the number of times Marian and whoever else makes the squad swaqtting balls off the rim (that is if they can rememver that it is legal.) At Olympics Marion was the only one who seemed to fully grasp this rule. Maceo Basten for Team USA!

At 7/23/2006 1:40 PM, Anonymous aug said...

T: I'm pretty much obsessed lately with the FIBA championships and team usa. I've been reading all i can about it. I want to know if there is a way i can watch the non-usa games too but i'm afraid to ask on espn for fear that chris sheridan will start yelling at me.

I really wish we could just throw lebron off the team. I know it sounds crazy but he is really the opposite of what the international game needs. We don't need his ball control, average jump shooting, and no defense out there. Dwight howard is going to be useless there too. Battier would really help with his defense, passing and rebounding. I used to be a big fan of luke ridnour running the team usa point, but i think chris paul is mature enough to just push the ball up court and pass it. I'm still worried about his 3 point shooting ability though.

My starting 5 for japan:

Miller, Lebron, Wade are the first off the bench.

Paul, and Bowen are used in certain situations like lock down D and fastbreaks.

Battier and Marion can be the last two because of their versatility.

No room for the awkward baby horse antics of howard, the shaky shooting of ridnour, and hinrich just isn't in the right place at the right time. Everyone knows stoudemire, morrison weren't going, and there are just guys out there that do jamison's job better.

I think the US should be able to sweep their way through but only if coach K can find a way to get them to play as a team. I think my starting 5 could actually play as role players and take over if needed. All of them can shoot the jumper and take it inside as well.

People just don't understand the lebron and wade won't be as effective with the international lane, zones and different fouls. The players will be grabbing them and bumping them in the lane and they won't get to the line double digits to bail their mediocre shooting out.

Kobe would've been a unbelievable monster. Top notch defense, perfect shooting stroke, and can drive at will. The only problem with kobe is whether he would be able to play as a team, which i think he would be able do with the right team and coach.

I could talk all day about this, but i'll just stick with superficial stuff for now.

At 7/23/2006 8:12 PM, Blogger The Electric Zarko said...

Paul Shirley is stuck in some arrested-adolescence shit. You can see it in his column back in the day regarding the shitty music that gets played at NBA arenas (as opposed to his Bill-Simmons-esque shitty-alternative-mainstream tastes) and in his recent posts where he positions himself as the poet-philosopher of the NBA, with all the other players running around with their heads full of bumblebees.

Shit, in the music column, he gave props to the Kings for their music selections. Big ups to Sacrarmento from Mr. Shirley, taking time out from scrawling the NIN logo on his PeeChee.

At 7/23/2006 8:17 PM, Anonymous Aaron said...

I think international ball is pretty damned un-FreeDarko. The AP article that's the top article on Yahoo's NBA page right now is all about how Coach K has made this about the coaching. This is going to be a team with D'Antoni running the offense, MacMilan the defense, and Boeheim's teaching them how to deal with zone defenses.

If the US wins in Japan, as Aug said, it'll be about playing as a team. It'll be about the coaching for USA out-coaching the opposition. I can't really get enthusiastic about it.

At 7/23/2006 9:54 PM, Anonymous aug said...

If the US waxes everyone next month on their way to gold it will have to do with the team makeup and preparation more than anything. Coach K can't teach these guys anything new. The only thing colangelo hopes he and the rest of the coaches can do is get the team to understand how to play the international game. I think once the US players realize that it's a different game and adapt, they have half the battle won. The rest is going out there and playing well. Obviously they can't treat this like a February all star game or and 1 game and go around throwing alley oops or having shaq run the fast break. The NBA has zone defenses, and know about fast breaks and outside shooting.

What they don't know, is the international game, the lane, the different rules, the different calls given by the refs. Once they figure the game out, i think they'll be just fine. People forget that the US destroyed the world in the 2003 olympic qualifiers in the Americas. I don't know if brazil and argentina sent their B team out there or what, but the US beat them all by about 20 and then looked pathetic in the olympics. Go figure.

By the way, if anyone was wondering why the US finished 4th in the tournament of the Americas, you should look at their roster. Tyus edney, charlie bell were the best names on the roster. Nuff said.

You can learn a lot of stuff if you keep searching the site through the Men's Programs tab. You can find the roster for all the U18 and U21 games, and the Hoops Summitt where the U18 US players play a U18 all star world team. It's fun to browse all the teams for the goodwill games, pan american games, U18, U21, world championship, olympics and all the qualifiers and look at the rosters and statistics of young NBAers while they were in high school or college.

You can also fill out a form to represent the country in international basketball. Who knows, maybe Colangelo will like your intramural trophies enough to give you a try out. I'm really glad they have this option. Gives all of us hope.

About the FIBA 2006 games, the US couldn't have an easier group, but one that will provide some fun match ups. Who else can't wait to watch the USA play against a lineup that consists of almost all 7ft guys in china and senegal. DJ Menga, Diop and Sene will be out in full force. Beware.

At 7/23/2006 10:59 PM, Anonymous jelani mccoy said...

i couldn't agree more re: paul shirley. it's really time to stick a fork in the dude. although it might get interesting if he keeps going down this road and eventually lets something horribly racist fly .... either way, the whole 'blogging as my dear diary' phenomenon is about as gay as it gets, and even though it's kind of the fashion now to ask guys to do it on a temporary basis (garnett and channing frye on their respective trips to asia, for example), those usually only last for about a week and aren't even really that great to begin with. but unfortunately nobody's ever been given a reason to give a shit about paul shirley other than his cutesy little 15th man on the suns schtick he was pulling in the playoffs two years ago.

oh and i don't know what you're talking about - bill simmons is a GREAT cultural reference! all you ever wanted to know about mainstream television and U2, all wrapped up in a column about boston sports! awesome!

At 7/23/2006 11:56 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

i stand by my earlier post on KG's blog. absolutely essential reading.

At 7/24/2006 3:12 PM, Anonymous Pichi Campana Aguanta said...

To put Pavel in perspective, Popeye Jones is 6'8" and he's a head shorter in that photo.

Electric Zarko: You said it perfectly.

And CC: It's nothing but love

At 7/24/2006 4:24 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

paul shirley has a book on the way, in case no one caught that when he loudly mentioned it.

and the depressing thing about him, and simmons kind of, is that they make blogging/page 2-ishness seem like it has to be by nature incredibly white and clueless.

At 7/25/2006 11:42 AM, Anonymous Brains McGee said...

Ronnie Nunn: "Now go and carry my rules and bias of Starmanship to the four corners of the Association."
Officiating Minions: "Yes, thine bidding is our objective."
Ronnie Nunn: "One more thing, bring back the ring and the one they call "Mourning" back to me alive."


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