The Honcho Awards, March 28th, 2011

Today is a special day, loyal Honchoans. Today your Eddie’s kid brother Neddie celebrates yet another year here on earth. He’s survived, that’s worth celebrating, right? That’s what we’re all celebrating, right?

In his honor, I’ve dedicated today’s post to his honor and filled it with players from his two favorite sports, basketball and hockey. It’s a basketbockey kind of day. Hmm… hockball? Let’s go with the former.

Lucky for him, and me, and us, there were plenty of stellar performances to go around in both those sporting worlds. Let’s have a look.

– Jamie Skeen, who had 26 points and 10 rebounds as Virginia Commonwealth eased their way past Kansas and into the Final Four, 71-61. And that’s a statline that includes four made three-pointers, notable since he’d only made four the whole tourney and 29 all year. Maybe he should go by Jamie’s Keen, get it? Like Jamie’s Keen to hit threes when you least expect it, or Jamie’s Keen to lead VCU to the Final Four, or Jamie’s Keen to win a championship. Get it? Hilarious, right? Ah, what do you know anyway.

– James van Riemsdyk, who scored a hat trick in Philly’s 4-1 win over the New York Islanders. Not bad for the youngster who had his effort called out in the press by his own coach… and then, after this game, by a teammate. Do they just not like the guy? I’ll tell you how to retaliate James… print this out, take it to the locker room and tape it to the eraserboard while saying emphatically, “how you like them apples?” Yeah, that’s cinema quality shit right there…

– Brittney Griner, who scored 40 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and rejected six shots in leading Baylor to a 86-76 win over Wisconsin-Green Bay. Griner’s carving out a wing for herself in the Hall of Immortals in the Badass annex, next door to Kevin Durant and Lionel Messi. She just keeps excelling. And if she keeps up her current tourney pace, we might have to rename something for her. After a long WNBA career, it’s basically a foregone conclusion.

– Ryan Miller, who had 30 saves as Buffalo shutout New Jersey 2-0. The hero of the United States’ surprising run to the gold medal game of the Winter Olympics, Miller is finally starting to cast off his post-Olympic averageness. And I’d say he’s done it, he’s come complete, by winning himself a Honcho Award.

– Monta Ellis, who scored 37 points, grabbed 7 rebounds, and dropped 13 dimes as Golden State held off Washington 114-104. It’s starting to feel like Ellis is one of the more underrated players in the game. Yes, his defense needs some work, vacillating between unacceptable and appalling, but it’s not that he’s not capable (I don’t think), it’s that he’s not asked to focus on it. His mission, Golden State’s mission, is to put points on the board, and few in the NBA do it as well as Ellis.

– Shelvin Mack, who scored 27 points to go with his four rebounds and four assists in leading Butler back to the Final Four by defeating Florida, 74-71. How crazy is it that Butler is back in the Final Four. Even the most blue-blooded of programs rarely go to back-to-back Final Fours, and yet here’s Butler again, and probably favored to make it back to the championship game. Incredible. And this time they can thank Mack, who comes through in the clutch more than any player remaining in the tourney not named Kemba Walker.

– Mike Connolly, who had a goal and three assists as the University of Minnesota-Duluth knocked off #1 overall seed Yale 5-3 to reach NCAA hockey’s Frozen Four. And they’ll have the whole state behind them as the only Minnesota-based team to make it to St. Paul (rounding out the field are North Dakota, Notre Dame and Michigan). And Connolly’s input was timely, scoring early while short-handed, and setting up his brother Jack after Yale had taken some of the momentum back. Just the exact sort of contributions that lead to Honcho Awards.

– Derrick Rose, who had 30 points and 17 assists as Chicago dispatched Milwaukee 95-87. And now an appearance from your future MVP. It stands to reason, of course. An MVP-caliber season means MVP-caliber performances. If the NBA didn’t play so many mid-week games (i.e., non-Honcho-Award territory), he’d be working along with Brittney Griner on his own wing in the Gallery of Infinites.

– Logan Couture (#39 above) who dropped two goals and an assist in San Jose’s 4-1 win over Phoenix. Brother of Randy (maybe, but it sounds better), we’re sure he uses only the most fashionable skates and chicest of kneepads. He certainly requires a new custom jersey before every game, and now that he’s been admitted into the Realm of Greats, maybe he can spruce the place up a bit.

– David Lee, who scored 33 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, and even dished out five dimes in Golden State’s 114-104 win over Washington. Two players from the same game… usually that means some sort of one-sided beatdown or crazy high-scoring affair. But no, from the outside, a typical NBA scoreline, nothing to see here, move along. It’s only with a little sleuthing that it becomes obvious that this was a two man show. Such a two man show both of them win Honcho Awards.

So there you go little Neddie, and happy birthday from your big bro Eddie. May your day be filled copious amounts of booze and little memory of it.

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