Allow me to begin with a disclaimer.
First, I am a heterosexual male.
Second, I’m very loose with superlatives.
That said, I would court, marry, and bear the children of Courtney Fortson if he would allow it.
However, at the risk of raining on everyone’s parade, I couldn’t help but dwell on two unfortunate truths in the surreal hours that followed the Hogs’ biggest win since Nolan’s departure.
One, how good would the 2007-08 Hogs have been with Fortson, a point guard who could have actually penetrated and delivered the ball to two fantastic finishers in Darian Townes and Charles Thomas? The Hogs won a tournament game, nearly won the SEC Tournament, and earned an eight seed with Gary Ervin running the show.
While I’m never a fan of bashing players, I think we can all agree the gap between freshman Fortson and senior Ervin is slightly wider than the gap between Michael Strahan’s teeth, and in the exact opposite way you’d expect a senior and a freshman to be. But like I’ve said all along, there’s a reason Mississippi State allowed him to transfer within the division. If Fortson had been on that team, would a three seed and a top 15 ranking been completely out of the question? I don’t think so. Not to take anything away from the performances of Michael Sanchez, Marcus Monk, and Michael Washington, but Thomas and Townes were incredibly reliable, despite not having anyone to continually get them easy dunks like Fortson did numerous times Tuesday night with the best player in America roaming the paint.
And before I go, a final point.
Hog fans, please stay grounded.
Arkansas hasn’t arrived. John Pelphrey isn’t Nolan Richardson (yet?), and this team isn’t going to win the national championship. They beat a very talented, albeit inexperienced team in their first real road game. (playing at Rice just isn’t quite the same as taking the court in The Bud)
So while this is a tournament team and not—as so many predicted—a last-place finisher in the SEC West, their best days are yet to come.
Last night was a monumental win for the team and the program, and it should be celebrated. But rather than sit around and talk about how the glory days are back, pack the house against Texas next week like you did last night and make it twice as loud.
That’s my plan, and the Baby ‘Backs will need it.