Joe Santoro: Jazz Johnson worthy, but not best, choice for Doc Martie award | NevadaAppeal.com
YOUR AD HERE »

Joe Santoro: Jazz Johnson worthy, but not best, choice for Doc Martie award

Lindsey Drew shown against Wyoming this past season.
Thomas Ranson/LVN

Jazz Johnson, one of the most accurate 3-point shooters in Nevada Wolf Pack history, was a worthy choice for this year’s Doc Martie award, honoring the school’s top senior male athlete. But he wasn’t the best choice. The award this year should have gone to Lindsey Drew. The 6-foot-4 point guard played four seasons for the Wolf Pack basketball team (Johnson played two) and left his name all over the school’s record book. Drew, who was always underappreciated by his own school and the Mountain West Conference, played in 130 games (sixth most), started 124 (third), played 3,935 minutes (third), had 654 rebounds (ninth) with 508 assists (third), 168 steals (fifth) and 106 blocks (ninth). He also scored 982 points and played in 93 victories (fourth most). The Wolf Pack was 93-37 in games Drew played for a winning percentage of .715, winning a College Basketball Invitation national title, the Mountain West regular season twice and the tournament once and going to two NCAA tournaments. Wolf Pack fans adored him. The award is supposed to signify the athlete in his last year of eligibility that contributed the most to the university athletic program. Few players in the history of Wolf Pack sports contributed more than Drew and for as long.

•••

Football players Lucas Weber and Gabe Sewell, who played their final season for the Pack last fall, also might have been a bit more worthy of winning the Doc Martie award than Johnson. Both Sewell and Weber played four seasons at Nevada, joining the program in 2015 as redshirt freshmen. Weber, a McQueen High graduate, was an undersized linebacker (6-1, 230 pounds as a senior) who fought for every minute he was on the field. He played in 39 games in his Pack career, suffering season-ending injuries in both 2016 and last year, with 98 tackles and 13.5 tackles for a loss and was a team leader. The 6-foot Sewell was a more dynamic and durable player, playing in 49 games with 300 tackles, 4.5 sacks, six fumble recoveries, five forced fumbles and 18.5 tackles for a loss.

•••

Drew is certainly not the only worthy Pack athlete to never win the Doc Martie award, since the honor was established in 1960 upon Martie’s retirement from the school. That list includes Chris Ault, Jordan Caroline, Caleb and Cody Martin, Dario Hunt, DeShone Myles, Jeff Rowe, Matt Clafton, Cody Fajardo, Vai Taua, Lyle Overbay, Joe Inglett, Edgar Jones, Brandon Wimberly, Alex Van Dyke, Nate Burleson, Chance Kretschmer, Fred Gatlin, countless football offensive linemen and many others.

•••

The NBA, according to reports, is considering playing games at two sites, in Orlando, Fla., and Las Vegas sometime in the next couple months. Yes, it will have all of the warm and fuzzy feel of yet another season of Survivor but, hey, even the NBA and its multi-millionaires need the money. We’ll watch because, well, how long can we listen to Skip and Shannon talk about Dak Prescott and LeBron James each and every day? A bunch of NBA players trapped in a Las Vegas hotel tends to make your imagination wander. The activities at the hotel might make for more entertaining television than the actual games.

•••

Don’t worry about NBA games losing something because there might not be any fans in the stands. All they have to do is pump in fake crowd noise and nobody will notice the difference. So much is fake about the NBA now anyway. Fake superstars, fake defense, fake drama, fake coaches, fake competition, fake fouls, fake praise for every player on the court by fake announcers, fake teams put together by agents. This is what happens when you let the players control everything.

•••

Ohio State says it is preparing on having 20,000 to 50,000 fans in its 100,000-seat stadium this season for each home game. Putting that in Wolf Pack terms, we could see about 7,500 fans in the Mackay Stadium stands this season. So, in other words, things will be status quo up on North Virginia Street. Then again, will there be 7,500 brave fans willing to risk getting sick to watch UTEP, UC Davis, Wyoming, San Diego State, Fresno State and Utah State play the Pack? How much fun will it be to drink beer wearing a mask and gloves knowing it will be dangerous to use the restroom? Most of us are still nervous walking down the soup aisle at Winco with someone pushing a shopping cart toward us.

•••

The only real information to come out of The Last Dance documentary on ESPN the past five Sundays is not that Michael Jordan was a tremendous player or that the Chicago Bulls dynasty might have been the most entertaining in sports history. It’s not that Jordan was a jerk, like to embarrass teammates, he once ate some bad pizza in Salt Lake City or that Dennis Rodman’s lifestyle made Keith Richards look like a monk. We already sort of knew those things. What we didn’t know is that Jordan just might not have any true friends. According to the documentary the only people Jordan was nice to and wanted around him were trainers and security men, people who were paid to be loyal to him. Ahmad Rashad, a so-called Jordan friend, also benefited professionally by being Jordan’s media mouthpiece. It seems like Jordan paid a tremendous price personally for his obsession with winning and competition and trying to prove to the world that he was a great player. Nobody is suggesting you should feel sorry for Michael Jordan. But if Jordan did make any true friends during his time in the NBA, then why didn’t we hear from any of them in the documentary?

•••

Do you think Tom Brady is allowing a film crew to follow him around during his Tampa Bay Bucs’ season (or seasons) and is planning on doing the football version of The Last Dance? Maybe. But if Brady does it don’t expect any honesty, at least anytime soon. Like Jordan, we might have to wait two decades to get Tom Terrific to truly open up and reveal his true feelings. Brady, after all, is probably going to run for president someday and is likely not even close to sitting on a chair and talking honestly about anything, especially his relationship with Bill Belichick and some of his teammates. As we saw with Jordan, there is a price to pay for extended greatness. Brady just might not be ready to show us the price he’s paid.