“The sun never shines in Knoxville.”
What amazes me most about Tennessee basketball, is, well, nothing. It is a program built on sand, sustained by weed. Year upon year the ‘Arnge trot out a cast of athleticism and hype, and still, you wonder if the Dream Team could even win an SEC Tournament game in UT uniforms. Indeed, there are many ripened reasons on the tree of hate, from CJ’s Black and Watson, Coaches Houston to Pearl, and that basketball abortion in 1999, 47-46. UK and UT are natural rivals, geographically, culturally, competitively, etc., the difference being pretty simple: one team wears blue, the other, pumpkin.
A popular expression making its rounds around the very un-PC culture of fandom, and one that has already appeared in comments on this blog, is, “If Rival X (Tennessee) were playing the Taliban All-Stars, I’d root for the Taliban!” And we all laught at this incredulous hyperbole, understanding that only a few pockets in the Cats Pause message board actually have to think long and hard about where their allegiences lie. But, what if Tennessee and the Taliban Allstars did play? What would it look like, and most importantly, who would you root for?
Wayne Chism, JR, 6’9” 240…..Abdul Haji Motadimullah-hah, 6’10” 230 (Taliban Prep)
Boy, when the schedules were first released, this is the matchup we all had circled on the calendars. Chism v. Motadimullah-hah. Chism is the more versatile of the two and has really stepped it up on the boards this season. Motadimullah-hah is a sturdy 6’10” and admits, “I’m probably going to get lashed for this, but I don’t really hate America that much. I just hate traffic.”
Tyler Smith, JR, 6’7” 215…..Yuri Al-Muhassa, 6’6″ 210 (Kabul City Community College)
Al-Muhassa is a nice player, considering he lost his lower jaw in an ill-fated Terrorism Schoolyard prank. It doesn’t really affect his game, it’s just, you know, ulllph. Tyler Smith comes in on a roll, showing why he was the SEC’s preseason co-player of the year. Don’t expect much jawing.
JP Prince, JR, 6’7” 205…..Khaksar El-Haqqund, 6’4″ 195 (Islamabad A&M)
Sweet Allah, will this guy ever run out of eligibility? El-Haqqund, the 6 year vet, was listed as questionable for today’s game earlier in the week following a torture session for subordination, but it appears his wounds have been patched up and he’ll lace up ’em up. Prince can win this matchup if he does not rely on the open 3 and uses his athleticism to create easier shots for he and his teammates.
Cameron Tatum, FR, 6’6” 196…..Tariq Habib Saadeed, 6’2″ 175 (Georgia…not that one)
Saadeed has quite an explosive first step…that’s what his superiors are hoping for anyway, and he has the potential to knock down the open jumper and get to the free throw line. Tatum is a streaky shooter and uses his length to create shots for himself. Neither is known for their defensive prowess, and Saadeed doesn’t wear shoes, but look for Tatum to assert himself on the boards early and often.
Bobby Maze, JR, 6’2” 185…..Kevin Stephens, 5’11” 170 (IUPUI)
Stephens, an American expatriate, claims he initially signed on with the Taliban A-S Team to pay off his student loans and to curb his addictions. Says Stephens, “I was addicted to alcohol, tobacco, Xanax, Coke, sex, you name it. Now, I’m only hooked on heroin and warped ideology.” Maze, a burgeoning rapper in the same sense Duke Crews was a burgeoning scholar, is still learning the nuances of the PG position, but has plenty of skill.
So there you have it. Two teams, one purpose: win. The Taliban Allstars come into this game with the typical roster attrition that has plagued them since they decided to start blowing themselves up. Meanwhile, the Vols will hope to push the tempo and utilize their depth, but they can’t forget to feed the post and put some pressure on the Taliban bigs. Look, I’m a company guy, SEC/USA all the way, SOS/RPI, Good over Evil all day, so go Vols, but here’s to hoping it’s kind of close.
Next up: The Refugee Allstars