Friday, March 18, 2011

Sunnyday (Hearts) Hopkins

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I covered Wednesday's games at the Target Center and Thursday's at Williams for my buddy Kevin Anderson. Even Kevin can only be in one place at a time. So I sent my reports to him, and they're posted at

Of course, they're on the premium side so you probably haven't seen them. But "some people from Hopkins" were "ticked off" (not the actual word that was used) by something that I wrote. As I understand it, they were "ticked off" about:

Then there was some truly terrible Hopkins shooting. It’s not just the 38 percent FG shooting and 64 percent on FT, it was some incredibly flat shots and airballs and short-armed layups that say this is not a good shooting team. Nia Coffey finished at 5-for-17, Ebony Livingston 2-for-9, Mikaala Shackleford 4-for-11, though Shackleford hit a pair of 3s early in the 2nd half to somewhat redeem herself.

Later I added:

But the bottom line is that Hopkins outscored Buffalo 48-19 on points off turnovers. Otherwise it was Buffalo 43 Hopkins 32. Eliminate the turnovers and this is not a team that is even remotely invincible.

Is Sunnyday "anti-Hopkins"? I mean, surely there are folks out there who are anti-Hopkins. You hear from some of them pretty regularly if you hang out on some of the major online hoops forums. They win too much. They recruit. You know what they say. But how about Sunnyday? Is he one of "those"?


Hopkins is not my home team. But I'm not agin' 'em. They hustle. They work hard, they play hard. They elevate everybody's game. How good would Eden Prairie and Lakeville North be if they didn't have to play Hopkins?

Who promotes the hell out of girls basketball? Who hosts the best holiday tournament, Dick's? Who hosted the Breakdown Tip-Off last year? Who makes sure that girls basketball is improving and becoming more visible to more girls and to more fans? Hopkins, that's who.

The Hopkins folks I've met are fine people, just like the people from Eden Prairie and Lakeville and White Bear. When I've covered Dick's and the Tip-Off and other events at the Lindbergh Center, they treat me right.

So, am I against Hopkins? No way.

I'm just against not protecting the ball. I'm against kids not knowing how to clear a rebound. I'm against reaching in instead of moving their feet. I'm against whining at the referee. I'm against not throwing the extra pass, forcing up the bad shot, or letting a defensive rebound bounce on the floor before you gather it in (or not).

And when a team shoots 38 percent against a mediocre defensive team, sometimes I say so. And when a team throws up maybe 15 balls that don't draw any iron, well, that's not a good night. And when I mention that somebody's not a very good shooting team and the next night they shoot 37 percent (27 percent in the 2nd half), I figure I might have been right. I mean, heck, the guy from the Hopkins newspaper said, "They have trouble finishing." It's not a secret.

Do I (heart) Hopkins? You bet. Does that make 27-37-38 percent good shootin'? You tell me.

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