Reggie Miller says he is an “all-world pitcher” and “could play Major League Baseball today”

In related news, the Mets should totally sign Reggie Miller. I secretly love Miller in a Stockholm Syndromey way because he’s responsible for several of the craziest and most heartbreaking things I’ve ever seen on a basketball court — or in any sporting arena, really. And it’d be pretty sweet to have him in the bullpen if the Mets ever needed to square off against the Knicks in some sort of bizarre exhibition.

Via N.Y. Baseball Digest, via Repoz.

Don’t watch this if you haven’t since gone to college and found a basketball team you care about way more to make it sting less:

This week in taco theft

Florida guard Erving Walker has been charged with stealing a taco and running from police.

Walker, a senior who ranks first in school history in assists, was arrested and given a notice to appear in court early Friday. He was charged with petty theft and resisting an officer without violence, both misdemeanors. He was not taken to jail.

Gainesville Police say Walker ordered a $3 taco from a street vendor, got the food and ran away without paying. When a police officer caught up with him and told him stop, Walker kept going, according to the police report.

When officers finally caught Walker with help from “several marked patrol cars,” he told them he was “just playing around,” the report said.

Associated Press.

TedQuarters does not endorse this type of behavior. No matter how many assists you have in your college career, you still need to dish out $3 for a taco. Worst-case scenario, kindly explain to the vendor that you’re really hungry, you forgot your wallet and you will absolutely get him back the next time you pass by. Maybe he’s an understanding dude and he’ll trust you. Do not steal the taco, no matter how delicious it looks.

Thanks to the six or seven people who tipped me off to this news.

The unconditional glory phenomenon

Briefly: This is the day for filling out NCAA Tournament brackets, as you probably know. As you might also know, I have a horse in the race.

Every bracket I fill out will have the Georgetown Hoyas going all the way. I actually think they have a shot this year, but that has nothing to do with it. Every year Georgetown is in the Tournament, I pick them to win it all.

A bunch of people will be all, “Oh, well I have my team too, so what I do is fill out one bracket with my team winning and one bracket with the team I think will win,” like that’s some sort of genius innovation. It’s b.s. if you ask me. And it establishes a messy scenario in which I might stand to win money by my team losing, and I never want to face that.

I want unconditional glory: My team winning and, if at all possible, winning me a lot of money. Oh, and when Georgetown loses in the first round, I usually stop paying attention altogether.

Angle of Lincidence

Yet Smart was one of many coaches — college and pro — who passed on Lin and he has no regrets.

“Everyone said, ‘Well, you should’ve played him more,’” Smart said. “Well, you had Monta Ellis, a top five NBA scorer, Steph Curry, a runner-up for Rookie of the Year. You had Acie Law and Reggie Williams and you had a young, undrafted guy who didn’t know how to play in the NBA yet.”

Smart says Lin fell into a perfect storm with the Knicks, who desperately needed a competent point guard because of the injury to Baron Davis and the ineffective play of Toney Douglas.

Adam Zagoria, ZagsBlog.com.

When I stepped into the coffee shop this morning, the cute girl behind the counter beamed. “Did you see the game last night?” she asked.

“No, but I heard about it.”

“They won by 15 points. He only scored 10 but-”

“I know. Amazing… Seven in a row.”

This is Linsanity. In the narrowest of coffee shops and out in the avenues, from the subways to high-rise office buildings, all New York City’s small talk and awkward pleasantries have been replaced by daily rehashings of Jeremy Lin’s latest heroics.

Many of us haven’t even seen most of them, but perhaps all the better. They are swiftly becoming the stuff of folk legend: This undrafted, Harvard-educated, Taiwanese-American, twice-waived point guard turning an unlikely window into the opportunity to put a seemingly forever-woeful team on his back and carry it to win after win after win after win.

It’s awesome. And the timing, in the short lull between the Giants’ improbable championship and the start of baseball’s Spring Training, is impeccable.

But after reading articles like the one from Zagoria linked above, and after a conversation with Mike Salfino yesterday, I urge you to consider something too frequently overlooked in sports: Think of all the scenarios in which Jeremy Lin — this Jeremy Lin, Linsanity — never happens. Think of the slew of injuries and setbacks it took to get Lin on the Knicks’ roster, and the numerous ways and reasons Lin might have been cut before he ever got a chance to shine.

For that matter, consider all the things that could have kept Kurt Warner stocking grocery shelves and Drew Brees flopping around the NFL as a journeyman backup.

Then try to tell me there aren’t 100 guys bagging groceries or selling phones somewhere with the talent and the drive to succeed in professional sports who haven’t yet and likely never will get that chance.

It’s that randomness thing again. Lin’s story is an amazing one, and he deserves all the credit he’s currently getting on every corner. The Knicks have won seven straight games with him running the point, and even if he ultimately regresses a bit Lin has likely proven himself a viable NBA player who’ll earn millions in the game.

But as heartwarming and unifying and stunningly awesome as this is, it should also be another reminder not to count out athletes with histories of success at every level just because they’ve been counted out before. Stories like Lin’s are great because they are so rare, but they are by no means unprecedented. Sometimes the entire professional sporting establishment just misses a guy. Sometimes that guy eventually gets a shot, and, I’m assuming, many times he does not.

Today’s Daily News sports section:

All Lin

Around 11 p.m. on Friday evening, some guy was walking down 2nd Ave. just north of 86th street shouting, “JEREMY LIN! JEREMY LIN!” like he’d gotten the Spirit. Passersby encouraged him with high-fives and bro-hugs.

Here’s what the front of the Daily News’ online sports section looks like right now, with some arrows for emphasis:

The time for Jeremy Lin snark will probably come, but we’re not there yet. Let’s enjoy this while it lasts. It’s rare to have a phenomenon so gloriously unifying in this city’s divisive sports landscape.

Rivalry day

Presumably there are other things happening in the world today besides the Georgetown Hoyas’ matchup with the Syracuse Orange this evening, but I can’t think of any.

I’m also struggling to determine if there’s something about this particular Hoyas club that makes them more likable than any I can remember, or if that’s just my mind playing tricks on me because they’re good and have not yet suffered the type of late-season collapse they’ve endure in most recent years.

But if there is something extra about them that I’m enjoying beyond just that they’re my alma mater’s basketball team and they’ve been steadily ranked among the top 20 teams in the nation for the past two month, I think Nicole Auerbach gets at it here: They seem particularly good at playing together.

Last year’s team graduated its two best players, guards Austin Freeman and Chris Wright. Freeman typically did most of his damage from the perimeter and Wright was more apt to slash and drive to the basket, though neither was so offensively limited. Both seemed streaky, both could take over games, and, as seniors, both were assertive.

Their departure left the team with merely three upperclassmen: senior guard Jason Clark, junior forward Hollis Thompson and senior center Henry Sims.

Clark is a 6’2″ third-year starter with arms that go down to his ankle. He’s strong on defense, he can shoot from anywhere and he makes layups in traffic. Thompson hits nearly half of his three-pointers and does a little bit of everything everywhere else. Neither seems wont to force the issue on offense.

Sims occasionally does, which is exceptionally weird to anyone who watched him play a brand of confused, tentative and often downright lousy basketball in sparing minutes the last few years. Something happened to Sims this offseason — a long talk with his mother, most say — and now he’s awesome. He bangs down jumpers from 18 feet and hits turnaround fadeaways over opposing seven-footers. And, like most Georgetown big men, he’s an excellent passer.

I’m getting into too many details here and I never intended that. The Hoyas also roll deep for the first time in a while, with an impressive freshman class led by Otto Porter and featuring a bunch of other dudes that seem to have at least one strong asset and one notable weakness, none of which probably matter much to you.

Point is, I’m pretty sure this Georgetown team actually is more fun to watch than previous incarnations. And I don’t mean to say they’re better for losing Wright and Freeman, their two best players, like how the Mets should traid David Wright because he’s unclutch or anything. But I think the departure of the assertive stars, the emergence of more passive ones and the influx of depth make the Hoyas more aesthetically interesting.

Which is to say: They pass the ball well, and frequently. Oh, and they play awesome defense. It’s enjoyable.

Unfortunately, Syracuse is good at everything except having its players pass their classes and being willing to stay in the Big East. Plus, given how hostile the Carrier Dome environment is to opposing fans, I could only imagine how difficult it must be to play a road game there. So this could suck.

Hoyas distracting me from all the suck

You’ll have to indulge me for a second:

OHHHHHHHHHH!

Not sure if any of y’all saw the ninth-ranked Georgetown Hoyas come back from a 17-point deficit midway through the second half against No. 20 Marquette last night at the Verizon Center, but it ranks among the most awesome things that have ever awesomed.

The Hoyas, my alma mater’s basketball squad, are the only team I follow for which I currently maintain any legitimate short-term hope, what with the Jets embroiled in some Beltranian postseason locker-room turmoil and the Mets banking their offseason on Andres Torres, Corey Wimberley and a bunch of relievers that’ll probably be dealt in July if they meet with any success.

And being a Georgetown fan these past couple of years has been not unlike cheering the Mets in 2008, full of promise despite a clearly flawed team — but unencumbered the off-field fuss that has plagued the Mets since — and ultimately ending in heartbreak and disappointment. So when the Hoyas are winning as they have been winning since an early-season loss to Kansas in Hawaii — inspiring all sorts of fawning post-hoc analysis from around the Internet — I watch with some trepidation, knowing as I do that there are dozens of other college hoops teams off to awesome starts and hundreds of others vying for the ultimate prize, that fans of all but one will end up disappointed, that the Big East conference schedule is a bloodthirsty 1,500-pound grizzly of a bear and that all this dizzying post-holiday Hoya-fan exuberance can and likely will be destroyed at some point by a single injury to a key player or a prolonged shooting slump or one of those games where Seton Hall randomly refuses to miss three-pointers.

So though a loss to the nation’s 20-ranked team would hardly spell doom for my Hoyas in January, at some point in the second half I could hear the delusion train leaving the station last night with me still fumbling with my credit card at the ticket machine. I even took to my iPad for some NBA Jam, turning my attention briefly away from the chatter on ESPNU about the undersized Marquette team’s spirited play that somehow neglected to mention the obnoxious way those players seemed more dedicated to drawing fouls than making baskets.

Then, when all seemed bleak — and with Chris Paul heating up, no less — something… something just happened. After about 20 minutes of the Hoya freshmen playing like overwhelmed underclassmen, they yielded to the team’s few veterans.

And all of a sudden Jason Clark, a 6-2 senior guard with Inspector Gadget arms like a 7-footer, is grabbing loose balls and driving to the basket and the Hoyas are trimming the lead. Then Henry Sims, a 6-10 senior center and former top recruit who played laughable basketball until a stern talking-to from his mother refocused him this offseason, is blocking shots at one end of the court and hitting a beautiful fadeaway at the other, and the refs seem on to Marquette’s flop jig and now the difference is down to five. And now Hollis Thompson, a 6-8 junior forward who has never missed a big shot in his life, is nailing them down from all over the floor and the Eagles can’t get out of their own way, and the once-lost game is tied, and I’m punching the arms of my La-Z-Boy and making such a racket in my living room that my wife gets a little freaked out and leaves for a walk because it’s been a long time since she has seen me act this way.

By the time she comes back with cookies — cookies! — the Hoyas have won, 73-70.

Which is to say: OHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

That type of night. Let me enjoy this while it lasts, huh?

 

Knicks add pioneering beard

The Knicks signed Baron Davis today. Tommy Dee likes the deal, which is cool. I haven’t followed the NBA all that closely in years so I can’t tell you anything about it other than that Baron Davis is clearly that league’s foremost beard pioneer, so for that he should be celebrated. I saw him hailing a cab in Chelsea once and his beard was spectacular. It looked like this:

Kevin Durant awesomeness

Kevin Durant tweeted that he was looking to play flag football in the Oklahoma City area. An Oklahoma State fraternity obliged.

It turns out Kevin Durant playing flag football with a bunch of college kids looks about exactly the way you’d expect. My question is: Why would the opposing quarterback ever throw to the receiver being covered by the 6’9″ NBA star? Was he trying to prove something, or just trying to keep Durant in the action?

Via Seth Greenberg.