May 1, 2009

Fresh look at Austin Daye

This is a great post from left by the great poster and Zag fan, gamagin. Enjoy!

"I think, as a season ticket holder at Gonzaga home games, that much of what you see on television and what we see at the live games is largely misinterpreted. Yes, Austin is young. Yes, Austin has a young man's attitude and expression. But I believe most of what you see is Austin getting mad at himself for making a mistake, a true competitor with emotion written all over his face. He is not an immature baby who throws a fit and goes into a funk for long periods of time just because of a foul, of course that element is there, but usually very briefly.

If I had a wand, I'd wave it and you wouldn't see his look of disgust 100 times during a game and then miss out on seeing his acceptance of error as he hits himself on the chest, noting to his coaches, fellow players and anyone else witnessing the "incident" that he is taking the blame for the misstep; that his anger is at himself; that his disappointment is for making the mistake; that it won't happen again; that resolve that turns a miscue into action.

Instead, those of you watching national television only see the look of disgust, which is run over and over until he is branded as a baby and whatever else the imagination can conjure up. He can appear to be a big baby. But one or two minutes of alleged drama out of 40 do not tell you anything about the 38 minutes spent more than compensating for the frustration you see.

What I have seen more times than not, is all that you see, PLUS a young man who shakes off all the crap and hype and everything else he has been tagged with who goes out and puts in an excellent second half or rest of the game.

I saw a guy too light to be a banger nevertheless outrebound his mates many, many times. And a guy block more shots than anyone else over and over. A guy who would shoot the lights out. And a guy who literally patented inbounds defense. A hustler. A guy who not only blocked many, many shots, but also added a new wrinkle -- blocking and then coming coming away with the turnover. Over and over.

In other words, despite the "rap," I have watched a young man quietly, not demonstrably all the time as one might assume from TV, become the second most complete player (behind Matt Bouldin) on the floor. Game in and game out, all season long. I think that is what the scouts see, too, or he wouldn't be on anyone's radar if facial expressions were his only strength. And his stats indicate the real story, NOT the patented grimace that seems to have become his trademark on television.

If he leaves early for the NBA, I think Gonzaga will greatly miss him. If he stays, I believe we will have an exponentially better team -- with or without the snapshots that only tell a fraction of the story -- that is this incredible athlete's contribution to the Zag program. I hope he stays and believe he needs more time. But if he goes, I will be saddened to realize we have lost a super athlete who could have achieved greatness at the collegiate level before turning to a long, fruitful, pro career.

Go TEAM Zags"