Friday, December 21, 2007

Don't hate the Rudy, hate the game

One of my goals for this here blog is to provide updates on players playing in Europe who may one day find their way to Portland. Today, we turn to Rudy Fernandez.

Fernandez's Spanish team, DKV Joventut, put a historic beating on English club team Guildford Heat in the ULEB Cup. DKV's 118-53 win was the largest margin of victory in ULEB Cup history. Fernandez scored 16 points, dished five assists and added a steal and a rebound in just over 19 minutes of work. What's more, DKV made 70% of their two-point attempts. That's domination.

As you might expect, some of the Brits on the losing side were none too happy about the game, but rather than taking the blame for their performance, they decided to complain about the competition and officiating.

Head coach Paul James, who saw his European new boys go down to a seventh successive loss, said: “I can’t say I’m happy with how we were treated.

“While their coach did give a run to their bench, their depth is far too much for us to cope with. They’ve a few world champions in their team and they played a lot of minutes – a lot more than were probably necessary to beat us.”

Dan Wardrope, Heat’s leading scorer with 18, agreed: “They are a great side but the level of arrogance was disappointing.”

The guard took a swipe at one of the Barcelona-based side’s superstars, adding: “Rudy Fernandez, in particular, lived up to his reputation for thinking he’s better than everyone.

“At the end of the game he was repeatedly trying to push me off when he had possession and I’d had enough so I gave him a bit of it back and he cried to the referee.

“Par for the course.”

The performance of the officials angered James, who commented: “We’ve played seven ULEB games so far and the standard has been world class – except tonight.

“My players were held, hacked and pounded and we got to the free-throw line five times.”

Director Phil Hardy – whose team snubbed the post-match press conference – joined in the condemnation of the Spaniards, saying: “There is bad blood between the clubs stemming from the first game.

“They are arrogant and demanding.”

Ouch. The thing is, Rudy Fernandez, by all accounts, is "better than everyone else," at least in Europe. Not to mention that athletes who excels in any sport almost always tend to carry themselves with an air of superiority, at least while competing.

As far as officiating goes, good teams who play aggressive get calls. Period. When you're outclassed like Guildford obviously was, you can't expect the refs to bail you out.

But back to Rudy for a second. Not only is he balling out of his mind, but he's also swimming in shark tanks to "convey the customary message of peace and respect for the environment." That's a fairly poor translation, so take anything in that link with a grain of salt.

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