Actually, this was supposed to be about the Raptors' Euro-heavy lineup. Lithuania, Italy, Spain, Spain, Slovenia, Poland. But I went in the locker room, and they all speak perfect English, even newcomer Andrea Bargnani. ("There are, for sure, some differences [between NBA and Europa], but it's too early to understand completely the difference of the game compared to Europe yet," was his second answer).
Plus, all the Americanos had good things to say about the Euro invasion. (Mo Peterson: "Those are some great guys, some class acts. The guys that we brought here can play, and when you can play the game of basketball it makes it a lot easier.")
So I gave up on that, but not before witnessing this exchange.
Uros Slokar: "I weigh 258."
Pape Sow: "No."
Uros Slokar: "I weigh 258."
Pape Sow: "It's all in the lower legs."
Uros Slokar: "They say sometimes the legs is the most important part. The only thing I don't have is theees one muscle." [Pointing to pecs]
Pape Sow [to me]: "245, 240, something like that. But 258? I don't think so."
Anyhow, my attempt to get linked in Texas blogs: I asked T.J. Ford and P.J. Tucker about the Longhorns' win over Oklahoma and their BCS hopes. Ford was fairly polite about OU ("it goes in cycles, and right now it's our cycle," he said), but Tucker was excited.
Tucker: It's Texas, baby. That's how we do. You know, that's how we do. You know, Texas, we're winners.
Oregon grad Fred Jones: Don't believe that.
Tucker: We win, we're winners.
Me: Could you still win the national championship?
Tucker: Of course. One loss and all. Let me tell you something....
Fred Jones: Are you gonna really....
Tucker: I'm doing my interview right now.
Jones: Can I tell you something though? You are doing an interview, so conduct yourself like you're doing an interview.
Tucker: Texas is what right now, sixth?
Jones [to others]: Do you hear what he's saying?
Tucker: What's Oregon? What are they?
Me: 20th I think, something like that? [Actually 18th]
Tucker: They were undefeated. And they were ranked, what, 15th? [Actually 11th] We have a loss and we're ranked sixth. What do you think that says about the programs? What do you think?
Jones: You see the difference though? He's sitting here asking you football questions, and we just had a basketball game. What does that tell you?
Tucker: Hey, that's how it is.
It was hard for me to keep up with all this, but there was definitely some Michigan State talk sprinkled in here, so later I asked Mo Pete whether it was all over for John L. Smith, and he was extremely diplomatic.
"Aw man, see, why are you gonna ask me that?" he said. "I don't know. You know, it's unfortunate that they lost a couple games. And being a coach, being scrutinized for losses is just something that you have to deal with. That's part of the job on any level. So I hope that's not the case, I hope those guys get it turned around, but in football and in sports, when you're not winning, they definitely come down on the coach."
Sort of non-committal. But maybe now I can get linked on a Michigan State blog, too.