Originally Published: Apr 11, 2011 10:2 PM CDT
I spoke with a few people Tuesday night who know a little thing or two aboutbasketballEddie Sutton, Dick Vitale and Jared Sullinger. They and a manybig-name Oklahomans convened at the Skirvin Hotel in downtown OKC for Devon'sInaugural Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Year Award.
Sullinger, the Ohio State big man who was first teamAll-America and who shocked the basketball world in saying he is staying inschool for his sophomore season, was given his award as the winner. Vitale--who told a story today on the Total Dominance Hour on WWLS where he was accusedof knocking down seven drinks and leaving a late night establishment astumbling veggie, when in reality, as a non-drinker he'd actually knocked backseven cranberry juiceswas honored with the Wayman Tisdale Humanitarian Award.
All three echoed what's being said from Durant toCordell and D.C. to Californiathe Thunder is a blast to watch because theyplay with the youthful exuberance of a college team.
Sutton: TheThunder is so athletic and so fun to watch. Management is so good. Coaching isreally good. They remind me of a college team. So athletic and so much energy.They are having fun, something not every NBA team does."
Vitale: "Hey, that Oklahoma City Thunder issomething else, now. I love Durant. I don't think I take any other player inthe league for him. And I'm including LeBron. He's that good. And he's gettingbetter. Westbrook's a star. They remind me of a college team. With collegefans. Everyone is having fun.
Sullinger: "I love watching them play. They have funand remind me of college teams with the way they run and are so athletic andlook like they are having so much fun."
To which the noted Thunder historian Dean Blevinsadded, "well done."
Some spicy comments from the Meanest Man on theBlockKendrick Perkins, in an LATimes.com piece by Broderick Turner:Perkins said in an interview how he didnt like <a href=""http://www.latimes.com/topic/sports/basketball/pau-gasol-PESPT002503.topic"" title=""Pau">Pau Gasol</a>or Lakers Coach <a href=""http://www.latimes.com/topic/sports/basketball/phil-jackson-PEHST001003.topic"" title=""Phil">Phil Jackson</a> because: Phil is arrogant. Pau is soft. <a href=""http://www.latimes.com/topic/sports/basketball/kobe-bryant-PESPT000948.topic"" title=""Kobe">Kobe Bryant</a> tries tobring out his toughness, but hes still soft.
After the Thunder beat the Lakers, Perkinssaid: That was my opinion. I knowpeople are entitled to their own opinions. I know people got a lot of different opinionsabout me.
So that was just my opinion from the past battles that weve had in thepast playoffs. It wasnt nothing that Isaid out of character or was too crazy. Ijust spoke my mind in a way. The thingis youve just got to back it up.
Turner continues--Perkins comments apparently got back to the Lakers. Perkinsand Bryant got into a shoving match and then they were hit with doubletechnical fouls with 5:21 left in the second quarter.
The Thunder picked an important week to zoom fromNo. 9 to No. 5 on ESPN's Mark Stein's NBA rankings. But he believes a matchupwith Denver would not be a walk in the park:
On OKC: "Even after last weeks sweep of the Nuggets, I still say its going to be fascinating to watch how OKC handles a Round 1 series with dangerous Denver when expectations, for the very first time, are so sky high."
He ranks the Denver sixth, and states: "It's probably not the most advisable play to say it out loud, but Denver's only two losses I nits last 10 games should help explain why George Karl publicly admitted that he'd rather see Dallas than OKC in the first round.
Finally, and most importantly, Billy Tubbs and Tiger Woods won the Masters contest at Oak Tree National over the weekend (a contest where the member chooses a player to be paired with from the Masters and adds his score to the Tour player). Tubbs firing a rock-solid net 78. Woods firing a five-under 67 on Sunday. Asked what winning his fifth Green Jacket would've meant, Woods snarled, "Not nearly as much as what Billy and I won. Now get the hell out of the way."
When told of Woods' comments, Tubbs, who played his round in 2 hours and four minutes, said, I talk slow but play fast. Just like my teams. Run Mookie run. Shoot Wayman shoot! Pedal to the metal big boy!"
When asked to comment on his win with Tiger, Tubbs said, "First, it's all about recruiting. Tiger wasn't a JUCO, so I had to hustle for him. Second, when Billy gets as hot as Billy got today, he don't need no Tiger Woods. When Billy's nothing but fairways and greens, I don't need a partner who's busy chokin' his guts up on 12, 13 and 15. Hell, when's US Open qualifying?" To protect the innocent, the truth is that Billy did team with Tiger to win the Oak Tree event. But, the quotes were from what Switzer used to call, "fiction writers."