Ok, I admit it, I lied. In light of Tuesday's news that James Beatty had finally decided that Rutgers University would be an acceptable place to play Division I basketball over the next two years, I have been thinking a bit about how the basketball team will look next season. Presuming Beatty actually does make it to campus, they'll certainly be better, owing both to a stronger roster, and a much weaker Big East. I don't want to fall into the trap of expecting automatic addition by subtraction, because that almost never works out like you would hope.
I want to see a starting lineup featuring three guards, composed of Greg Echenique, Jonathan Mitchell, Corey Chandler, Mike Rosario, and James Beatty. Key reserves should be, say, Dane Miller, Hamady N'Diaye, and Mike Coburn. Everyone else will have to earn their minutes to start with.
"But wait," you may ask. Doesn't running that kind of lineup every night ask an awful lot out of every player not named "Mike Rosario"? Will it be able to compete in the brutal, physical, ultra-competitive Big East? And in response, all I can do is cover my ears, close my eyes, rock back and forth, and repeatedly chant "Villanova did it" in a cataconic trance before you inevitably mutter to yourself and walk away.
Rutgers doesn't have a choice. Starting three guards is the only way to get the team's best paper lineup on the floor. And you know what? I don't care if this sounds like sour grapes, because it's true: finding out that Earl Pettis was transferring instead of Corey Chandler in May was like getting a reprieve from death row. It soon came out that Pettis received extra, undeserved minutes last year in an attempt by Coach Hill to placate him into not transferring. If we're going to lose, and we probably will next year, a lot; I'd rather lose in style. Lose 100-92 instead of the 80-65 snoozefests of the post-Douby era. For Rutgers basketball to have any chance of climbing out of the bottom of the Big East, they'll need Chandler to emerge as a true scoring threat and team leader.
Thinking about this topic triggered the reemergence of a memory that I had long since forgotten: the strange curiosity of the 2007 recruiting class in New Jersey, where it just happened to be that four of the top guard prospects (Corey Chandler of Rutgers, Corey Fisher and Corey Stokes of Villanova, and Corey Raji of BC) all happened to have the same first name. A moment of googling reveals that Chandler has a 1989 birthday; the others were born in '88. Sunglasses at Night came out too early to fit. Dream a Little Dream wasn't released until 1989, and 1988's License to Drive doesn't fit the timeline either. These facts lead to one inescapable conclusion: New Jersey mothers (Fisher is from the Bronx, blah blah, don't spoil my point) in 1987 simply could not get enough of The Lost Boys. Which raises the obvious question: was it Haim or Feldman that caught their fancy? If you want to work in a Spader reference at this point (to our new point), be my guest.
How has Bill Simmons not, to my knowledge, pointed this out by now? For those unfamiliar with his column on ESPN, he'll frequently make comments bemoaning the absence of a definitive journalistic take on a particular topic. On sabbatical writing his upcoming NBA book (which, by the way, I am looking forward to, as the pseudo-encyclopedia was one of my favorite genres growing up, although I worry about him shortchanging less popular teams like my Nets), The four Coreys should have been right in his wheelhouse. Simmons has been sleeping on the job, completely derelict and failing in his self-appointed role as the definitive arbiter of all things 80's pop culture.
And you know what this means down the line, right? Starting at shooting guard for the defending national champion Rutgers Scarlet Knights in 2028 will be, well, I'm not going to bother looking up the name of the main character from Twilight, but there you go.