*Brandon Davies is a forward on the BYU basketball team.
*He's their leading rebounder and 3rd-leading scorer.
*The BYU honor code says you can't have premarital sex.
*Brandon Davies got turned in for having premarital sex with his girlfriend.
*They kicked him off the team.
Now, there are a lot of ways to milk this story for humor purposes. A lot of people have started to get mileage out of it already, and believe me, I'll be going there. For now, though, I can't. It's too sick. It's too disheartening. This whole story is too unbelievable, and I can't fathom that it's happening in America.
Actually having that nonsense in the honor code is one thing. BYU is a religious university- strike that, an uber-religious university- and any institution where religion plays too strong a part is bound to have its wacky nooks and crevices. Really, go down the list; BYU's no-sex policy (phrased this way: "live a chaste and virtuous life") is actually kind of tame compared to some of the stuff that's out there. And I'm not here to take a shot at religion; it's a popular target, and maybe deservedly so, but I'm personally one of those people who believes in God without going to church more than once per year when the family drags me on holidays.
None of that matters here. What matters is the integrity of an individual human and the freedom that should rightly be his, at least in this corner of the world.
Sex is a natural impulse, and I would bet that 50% of athletes in BYU's recent history, at a bare minimum, were having premarital sex. Clearly I have nothing to back those numbers up, but I'd say they're fairly intuitive. Probably conservative, too.
Now tell me: what kind of institution would not only have those rules, but also enforce them? What oily high priest is keeping track of Brandon Davies' sex life? What piece of human garbage reported him? What piece of human garbage of a university official didn't tell the snitch to mind his own business? Why wasn't this cretinous accusation swept under the rug? THE DUDE HAD SEX WITH HIS GIRLFRIEND. He wasn't the first, guys! He won't be the last!
Let me answer my own question: this is the kind of thing you read about happening in extremist Islamic cultures. Sorry, but it's true. That's who BYU reminds me of right now. Of course, some idiots in the media are tripping over themselves to defend the Mormons. Here's the cliff notes of their justification:
*Brandon Davies knew the rules when he signed up. He knew what he was getting into.
Then you have brainless slugs like Chris Broussard saying they think BYU's rules are "refreshing" in an era so full of corruption. Sweeping him aside like a babbling drunk, let's examine the more common defense: 'he knew what he was getting into.'
Yeah, sure, lip service was probably paid at his signing to that particular bit of lunacy in the honor code. But how many players have ever been kicked out of BYU for sex? Maybe there's been a few, but certainly none that I know about. And how many BYU athletes do you think were having premarital sex? Zero? Half? If it's half, and at least for the football and basketball team I believe it's half, that's a culture where the 'chaste life' stuff is completely ignored. That's the culture Brandon Daves came into. If he wanted, he could probably snitch on 5 of his teammates who are having sex. Maybe even Jimmer Fredette! Maybe the golden white child savior is having sex!
So anyone who says Davies should have known and abided these rules is being a short-sighted hypocrite. That part of the honor code is not being enforced. Except for Brandon Davies.
Which brings me back to my central point: forget the existence of the rule. For someone to actually report him, and for that report to be prosecuted seriously, speaks so poorly of BYU. It shows a school adhering to written nonsense to the detriment of a student's humanity. Not to mention their apparent ignorance to a million extenuating circumstances.
It's an informant culture; its the Soviet Union combined with the religious mores of radical Islam. What kind of dignity can anyone have when they're constantly monitored? And like I said, I don't think that's the case with other athletes; I think Brandon Davies ran into a few uptight and sadistic prigs within the system. But still, if those people are allowed to thrive and wield influence at BYU, that says all we need to know about the college itself: they're dehumanizing scum.
BYU: Where you can't have sex with anyone before marriage, but you can screw 15 after.
And here's the really sad part: in the article linked above, Davies was the one being apologetic. Check out these excerpts:
Two of Davies’ teammates, Jimmer Fredette and Charles Abouo, said Wednesday night after the loss that they stand behind their former teammate and have no resentment toward him, saying they consider him a brother.
“Everyone makes mistakes in their life,” Abouo said. “We are reaching out and trying to help him get through this.”
Uhhh...really? You're standing by him through his big "mistake"?
Fredette said Davies spoke to the team and apologized.
“He told us everything. He told us he was sorry and that he let us down. We just held our heads high and told him it was OK, that it is life, and you make mistakes, and you just got to play through it,” Fredette said.
He shouldn't be apologetic! He should be angry! How absurd is this? Again: HE HAD SEX WITH HIS GIRLFRIEND! He didn't even cheat on anyone! He has no criminal record! He is, by all accounts, a great kid!
According to a source close to the program, Davies was “extremely remorseful, heartbroken,” but has accepted the punishment doled out by the school.
Unbelievable. I really hope he gets to tell his story sometime, and I hope he gets to tell it with an edge. The only thing worse than someone getting screwed by a system is when they don't realize they're being screwed. He's like a kid who's told that his parents' divorce is his fault.
And I just wish someone would support him. I know it'd be hard; I know it's a lot to expect the players to go against the grain when they're mere games away from a shot at the NCAA tourney. I know it's hard for the coach to put himself on the line in the midst of coaching the best team he'll ever have, with the probable national player of the year leading them into battle. But could he at least not say things like, "I think Brandon's heart is in the right place"? Could they at least look pissed off, even if they can't say anything?
Here's my least favorite justification of all, from coach Dave Rose: ""A lot of people try to judge if this is right or wrong, but it's a commitment they make. It's not about right or wrong. It's about commitment."
Just like a woman removing her veil in public, right? STONE HER TO DEATH! IT'S ABOUT COMMITMENT! SHE KNEW THE RULES!
Before last night, BYU was #3 in the nation. They were perfect at home all season. Then New Mexico, a sub-.500 team in conference, came in and beat them by 18 points.
Karma, bitches. Always gonna get you.
You know who DIDN'T lose their perfect home season?
THE GODD$#MN DUKE MOTHERF#*%ING MOODY BLUE DEVILS!
As you can see from the game flow, this was not the senior night rout I had anticipated:
With 11:42 left, Clemson was still within two. In fact, they played a pretty great game in highly challenging conditions.
Their style was aggressive and full of risk on defense, but their gamble paid off; Duke chose not to press the pace, relying instead on a halfcourt offense that looked mostly stagnant. Each team had 68 possessions, 2 lower than Duke's average. Once again, an opponent defined the tempo.
As you see, three stats stick out: Clemson's steals and fouls, and Duke's turnovers. Each is proof of Clemson's brute, war-of-attrition strategy. Only the Tigers' shooting let them down:
You're certainly not going to win in Cameron with a 33% effective field goal rate. Which, essentially, is just another indication of how strong Duke's defense has become. Also, Clemson's aggressive style had its price: Duke attempted 25 free throws, even higher than their impressive season average of 22.
Let's zoom in to the individual level:
*Only 5 players scored. Yikes, kinda. Not that we have a ton of scorers, but the bench output of 0 points is not encouraging. Where was Dawkins?
*Nolan and Kyle were just slightly underwhelming from a statistical perspective (though I will see Nolan's sick crossover in all my best dreams). Singler put up only 12 shots, a surprisingly low total against a team without much size at the 3. Nolan was less shy, with 20 shots, but he only made 7. Also, he was sloppy; 8 turnovers to 7 assists.
*Seth was johnny-on-the-spot from three yet again. It's not just that he makes them; it's when. His second three came when Clemson had closed it 38-40 in the second half. Then he hit a jumper with Clemson within 5. With 7 minutes left, Clemson narrowed it to 5 again, and that's when he hit this third three of the night. Then he hit three foul shots to ice the game with 5 minutes left. So, so valuable, and so clutch.
*Both teams grabbed offensive boards at a high rate: 42.9%. Singler had 5 by himself, which is great. But Grant and Jennings combined for 10 on the other side, which is bad news when Zeller and Henson lie in wait on Saturday.
*Speaking of which, it's not healthy for me to watch Carolina games right before Duke plays. Watching Henson patrol the inside, gradually but inexorably influencing how an opponent attacks, while Zeller perfectly complements him with great shooting accuracy inside and a stout second line on defense, is discouraging enough by itself. Having to watch the Bumblees immediately after makes it almost unbearable.
*Which brings us to Mason. What can I really say? He had another okay game. He didn't shoot too much (only 2-3 from the field), and he actually made his foul shots (4-5). He grabbed 7 boards, but was directly responsible for allowing a lot of offensive boards. As for his man-to-man skills, The Devils Den put it best on twitter last night: "Mason Plumlee is like Pavlov's defender. Head fake, and the subject jumps." Combine that with leaving his man for ill-advised steal attempts and double-team blocks, and he continually costs us points and second chances inside. If Roy Williams has any brains, he'll have learned his lesson from the disastrous second half in February and pound the ball down low all game.
I guess that's as good a segue into Carolina as any. Just before Duke tipped off, this happened:
The Black Falcon spread his wings, and Carolina held serve. The talk of tiebreakers can be put to rest; everything will be decided on Saturday.
And here's why we're going to win: Nolan Smith.
On senior night, he didn't have his best game. But he still had a great game, full of great moments, and it still capped off an incredible career. The season before Nolan came to Duke, the Blue Devils lost four home games. In the four years since, they've lost two. That includes two straight years of 17-0. It includes a national title.
I will admit to becoming a little emotional when he and Singler got their curtain calls last night. It's hard to imagine that they'll never play at Cameron again. It's hard to imagine we're only a month from losing them forever. But it's been endlessly rewarding to watch them play, even through the rare bad stretches. They'll leave, but the memories won't.
And Nolan is timeless. He's going to be the ACC Player of the Year. He'll finish in the top 3 nationally. The pundits and fans who didn't believe in his game have disappeared. I feel good every time #2 steps on the floor. I can't remember one game in the past two years that I expected Duke to lose. That's one reason why he's my favorite Dukie of all time, and the others are too numerous to explain. But there's something relatable about Nolan that can be hard to define. I like everyone who wears a Duke uniform simply because they play for Duke, but with Nolan it goes beyond that. He's a great person, who came through great struggles in the hardest way possible.
There's nobody like Nolan. I mean it; you can take everyone. You can take Christian Laettner and Bobby Hurley and Grant Hill and Shane Battier and Jason Williams and Redick and Scheyer and Singler. Take them all. But leave us Nolan Smith. He's the one we can't live without. He's the reason why, with an ACC title on the line, Carolina doesn't stand a chance.