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MSR’s Random Sports Thoughts, Vol. 25

You would hate to be Daxter Miles after yesterday.

Who is Daxter Miles, you ask? Well, if you remember, he’s the freshman on the West Virginia men’s basketball team that promised the basketball world that, after the Mountaineers were done with 36-0 Kentucky, the undefeated squad would be 36-1.

Remind me again how that turned out?



Oh, yeah. The overpowering Wildcats DOUBLED UP hapless WVU, in a 78-39 thumping in Thursday’s Sweet 16 matchup. As for Miles, he finished with 1 rebound. That’s it. Wound up with a big fat goose egg in the scoring column.

When you’re dealing with the best team in the country, I can understand saying stuff like what Miles said. It’s supposed to be a rallying cry. But when it comes to a juggernaut who has you hopelessly outsized, it was just a horrible miscue from the very beginning.

Ultimately, for Bob Huggins’ squad to have any chance, it came down to Kentucky needing to miss shots. They didn’t, and the Mountaineers couldn’t make them.

That’s why they’re the cautionary tale of the Tourney: Don’t poke the Bear – especially when that bear has two seven-footers, is coached by John Calipari, and is undefeated.

Oh, Phil Dawson.

Look, I appreciate everything you’ve done and continue to do for the 49ers. You’re our kicker – and, even though the league is talking about further de-legitimizing your position, you’re still one loyal son of a gun.

It showed when you were at an autograph session and a Seahawks fan, for whatever reason, decided to come up to you and give you a Seahawks lanyard to sign. And we, as the 49er Faithful, very well know, we don’t put up with Seahawks fans rubbing their success in our faces. So you did what any respectable 49er would do:

You chucked it.

And, yes, the fans applauded – nay, lauded – you for it. Niners fans hate the Seahawks, Seahawks fans hate the Niners – it’s become a fact of life, so I get it. But, behind all of the love for you doing that to the Seahawks fan, there’s one thing everyone seems to have missed:

That Seahawks fan trolled you and the entire 49er Empire. And now the 12th Man is laughing at us for it.

We’re sitting here questioning that fan’s sanity – why even bring that mess to a 49ers player, anyway? Well, the answer’s quite simple: he wanted you to throw that lanyard away. He wanted to incite a reaction. Because that’s what trolls do – and that’s what they love.

So, you gave him what he wanted. While I like what you did, I can’t help but think the 12th man is behind the scenes, snickering at our expense.

Who is Sauce Castillo?

Um... Uhhh... LOOK! HE'S OVER THERE!!


It sounds like the plot of “The Usual Suspects” TV sequel, but the genesis of that question is actually stranger than that.

It all started in a game between the Sacramento Kings and Philadelphia 76ers. Kings rookie G Nik Stauskas was in the game, and he hit a three – something he should have been doing in bunches as the eighth pick in last year’s NBA Draft, but has been struggling to do for most of the year. And, if you were watching the game with the closed-captioning on, you saw this random bit of serendipity blaze across the screen:


… What?

That led to tweets like this:

And, somehow, the nickname kind of took off from there. For a player still trying to find himself under his third head coach in George Karl, “Sauce Castillo” could be just the thing to put him in the spotlight as something other than a mediocre shooter. That kind of coincidental publicity could be just the strange-yet-effective good luck charm every professional athlete needs to get out of funks. If Stauskas sees a statistical renaissance because of “Sauce Castillo”, expect a PR boon for the Kings and their sharp-shooting guard.

Or it could be a random bit of trivia that fades within the next 72 hours. But, hey – that’s up to Castillo, now.

Corey Hawkins helped put the UC Davis Aggies men’s basketball team in the national spotlight for the first time this century with his unreal three-point shooting.

Corey Hawkins would finish with 34 points in an epic NIT performance.

And he made it look good, doing it.

Seems those guys at the NCAA couldn’t help but notice.

Hawkins, who shot 48.8% from three-point range – best in the country – was selected to participate in the State Farm College Dunk & 3-Point Championships on April 2 at Butler University in Indianapolis. He will get to showcase to a college basketball-crazy country how good his long-range stroke really is, against some of the best big-school shooters in America.

What makes this accomplishment even more momentous is who will join him in Indy in a week: UC Davis women’s basketball guard Kelsey Harris, who hit on a school-record 86 three-point shots this season. It will be the first time in 27 years two players from the men’s and women’s teams will pull off such a feat.

I can’t be happier for these two, but I also am excited to see “UC Davis” emblazoned across the chests of two star athletes featured on a national stage. It’s the kind of thing only sports fans who came from small schools can truly appreciate.

This must be what Gonzaga felt like in 1999.

In any case, speaking candidly as a UCD alumnus … this is really friggin’ cool.

As I speak, Steph Curry continues his emphatic campaign for league MVP with a 38 point, 8 3-pointer performance in a rout over the Memphis Grizzlies.

As I speak, Manny Pacquiao continues to train for what many believe to be the “Fight of the Century” against Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

Both are at the top of their respective games. And both acknowledged their mutual respect for one another. Imagine my surprise when I heard that the Golden State Warriors PG was a fan of the Filipino superstar boxer, and vice versa. Pacquiao has expressed his love for Curry’s game in the past – probably as a residual from his love of playing basketball for the KIA Carnival of the Pilipino Basketball Association.

And, in lieu of Manny’s superfight, Curry sent him an autographed Warriors jersey:

It’s a budding bromance that will likely reach its pinnacle if both reach the summits of their respective professions.

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