Metta World Peach

Metta World Peace comments on Marcus Smart-Texas Tech fan shoving incident

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By now you’ve seen the video. In the late stages of Oklahoma State’s upset loss to Texas Tech, Marcus Smart shoved Texas Tech “supefan” Jeff Orr.

Smart’s altercation with a fan in the stands immediately, and unfairly, was compared to the Pacers-Pistons brawl from 2004. Known as the Malice in the Palace, Ron Artest along with several other Pacers fought Piston in the stands after a person in attendance threw a beer at Artest.

Artest has since changed his name to Metta World Peace and is currently a member of the Knicks. On Sunday morning, he had a Q & A with Oklahoma City Thunder beat writer Anthony Slater of to discuss the Marcus Smart incident from the previous night.

(More: Marcus Smart shoves a Texas Tech fan)

When Slater asked if fans have the right to scream at players:

“If a fan screams something at me, I don’t know what that person has been through, you know,” World Peace said. “He could have or she could have grown up rough or maybe in a single family household. I don’t know what would make somebody scream negative things at somebody, maybe they’re just having fun. In a pro game, I’ve learned to accept it because they pay to watch us play and hey, I appreciate it. Then I go home and I finish watching Breaking Bad. It’s that simple for me. I’m actually on House of Cards now. I just finished Breaking Bad. I wish there was a Season 6 actually, because Breaking Bad was amazing. Have you seen it?

(More: Marcus Smart should be punished, but were his actions warranted?)

When asked what advice he’d give Smart if he could:

“He’s a young kid,” World Peace said. “I wish I would have listened when I was a kid, to my elders or to people who had my best interest at heart. And then I wish I would have been more conscious at my age. Those are two things that if you were to reach out to a kid like Marcus, a talented kid, a future leader in the community, you would tell him those things.”

Artest was handed a 73-game suspension (in addition to 13 postseason games) for his part in the 2004 brawl. Smart will likely face some sort of suspension as wel, whether it’s from the university or the Big 12 Conference. This story is still unfolding since we don’t even know what Orr said to provoke Smart.

It’s an unfortunate situation for a 19-year-old to be in, but hopefully he can learn from it. Same can be said for fans who need to learn that a ticket does not give them the right to act in such a manner like Saturday in Lubbock or earlier in the day at Arizona State.

Syracuse upsets No. 18 UConn as Tyler Lydon stars again

St Bonaventure Syracuse Basketball
AP Photo/Heather Ainsworth
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Michael Gbinije and Trevor Cooney combined for 34 points as Syracuse overcame an early 10-point deficit to knock off No. 18 UConn in the semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis, 79-76.

The talking point at the end of this game is probably going to end up being UConn’s decision not to foul Syracuse with 36 seconds left on the clock. Trevor Cooney dribbled out the clock and, with six seconds left, missed a 35-foot prayer, the offensive rebound getting corralled by Tyler Roberson, sealing the win.

But that’s not the real story here.

That would be Tyler Lydon, who suddenly looks like he may end up being the difference maker for this Syracuse team.

If you don’t know the name, I don’t blame you. Lydon was a low-end top 100 recruit that had been committed to the Orange for a long time. He’s not exactly a game-changing prospect, but he’s a perfect fit for Syracuse. At 6-foot-9, Lydon has the length to be a shot-blocker in the middle of the 2-3 zone — he entered Thursday averaging 3.3 blocks — but his biggest skill is his ability to shoot the ball from beyond the arc. When he plays the middle of that zone, when he is essentially the five for the Orange, they become incredibly difficult to matchup with defensively.

The question is whether or not he can consistently be that guy on the defensive end of the floor. Against UConn, Lydon had 16 points and 12 boards. Against Charlotte, he finished with 18 points, eight boards and six blocks. But neither the Huskies nor the 49ers have a big front line that crashes the offensive glass.

Lydon is great at using his length to make shots in the lane difficult, but at (a generous) 205 pounds, he may run into trouble against bigger, stronger front court players.

The perfect test?

Texas A&M, who the Orange will play in the title game on Friday.

USC holds on to beat No. 20 Wichita State

Andy Enfield
Associated Press
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With guards Fred VanVleet and Landry Shamet both sidelined due to injury, No. 20 Wichita State arrived at the Advocare Invitational shorthanded. But even with that being the case the highly successful Shockers represented quite the opportunity for USC, and Thursday afternoon the Trojans took advantage.

Despite turning the ball over 23 times Andy Enfield’s team found a way to win, hanging on to beat the Shockers by the final score of 72-69. Freshman forward Bennie Boatwright, a tough matchup for most teams as a 6-foot-10 stretch forward who can score from the perimeter, shot 5-for-9 from three and scored a team-high (and career-high) 22 points.

The tandem of he and junior Nikola Jovanovic, who added 14 points and 11 rebounds, outplayed the Wichita State front court on a day in which the Shockers needed greater contributions from those players. Add in 15 points and four assists from Jordan McLaughlin, ten points off the bench from Katin Reinhardt and a 12-for-23 afternoon from three, and the Trojans were able to do enough to make up for their high turnover count and Wichita State’s 24 points off of turnovers.

Given the absence of VanVleet and Shamet there’s no reason to panic regarding Wichita State. Ron Baker, who was exhausted by the end of the game due to the heavy load he was asked to shoulder, scored a game-high 25 points and the play of freshman Markis McDuffie was a positive to build on.

McDuffie, who entered Thursday’s game without a made field goal in his first two appearances as a Shocker, shot 5-for-9 from the field and contributed 14 points and three rebounds off the bench. With their current perimeter rotation being what it is McDuffie will have opportunities to contribute, and the Shockers will need him to take advantage as they await the returns of VanVleet and Shamet (and the addition of Conner Frankamp).

Doing so will not only help Wichita State in the short term but in the long-term as well, thus giving Gregg Marshall another option to call upon on his bench.

Thursday’s outcome, even with the desire to see more from Anton Grady (eight points, seven rebounds), says more about USC at this point in time than Wichita State. Enfield’s first two seasons at the helm were about amassing the talent needed to compete in the Pac-12 while also gaining valuable (and at times painful) experience. In year three the Trojans hope to take a step forward within the conference, and wins like this one provide evidence of the program’s growth.