Centers' Little Helper

Dennis Hans, unrenowned former adjunct professor of mass comm and American foreign policy, relentlessly exposed the Bush administration’s “techniques of deceit” BEFORE the Iraq war, when it could have made a difference (see links). For decades he has fought baseball’s discrimination against lefthanded infielders and promoted his ingenious clockwise solution. A lifelong advocate for a flowing, non-brutal, flop-free NBA, he now champions the cause of its second-class citizens: the centers.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Andre Drummond is The Quickster
Andre Drummond, the sensational young center and power forward of the Detroit Pistons, needs a nickname. He says he likes Goose, which rhymes with Moose, which is the nickname of his frontcourt mate Greg Monroe. I think he'd be the first NBA Goose, as the only other hoopster I recall with that moniker is the late great Harlem Globetrotter Reece "Goose" Tatum. So Goose has its merits.

Still, there are too many boo-sounding "oo" nicknames in sports. We don't need Drummond being serenaded with a chorus of "Goooose" every time he steps to the free-throw line in enemy arenas, which will turn that nickname into a negative, given his troubles at the stripe. Plus, Goose doesn't capture what is special about the player: the extraordinary quickness of the 6-10, 270-pound gentle giant.

Has there been a hoopster of his size with such lightning-quick hands that he can pick a point guard's pocket in the open floor? Hakeem Olajuwon had Drummond's height and Piston legend Ben Wallace had his bulk, but neither had both. And what of his remarkable second jump — his ability to snare an offensive rebound, re-elevate and score before defenders have a chance to react? When such things happen, I want to hear long-time TV voice of the Pistons George Blaha exclaim, "The Quickster strikes again!"

No one has ever seen the original Quickster, he of the International Justice League of Super Acquaintances. But SpongeBob SquarePants wore his outfit and thus assumed his super powers on June 1, 2002 to help Mermaid Man defeat the forces of E.V.I.L. (Every Villain Is Lemons) in Bikini Bottom. Aside from reruns, that is the one and only time the world witnessed the awesome quickness bestowed on he who dons The Quickster's duds.

So what does this have to do with Drummond, aside from the shared trait of superhuman quickness? The Quickster hails from the youth-oriented cable channel Nickelodeon, which is where Drummond happened to spy the apple of his eye: Jennette McCurdy, an actress and singer-songwriter who played Sam on the hit show iCarly and continues to play her on the spinoff series Sam and Cat.

Drummond courted McCurdy on Twitter, and as quickly as you can say Quickster the two luminaries were chatting daily and becoming fast internet friends. (McCurdy recounts the getting-to-know-you process in these modern times in an insightful, beautifully written essay for the Wall Street Journal.) Drummond then planned a trip to California so they could meet in person, and soon the two were dating. Can two bright, busy, talented and likeable kids working in different universes find love and happiness?

Time will tell. In the meantime, Drummond needs a nickname, one that reflects his game and resonates with his millions of young fans in Nickelodeon Nation: The Quickster.

p.s. Drummond has become a nifty, ambidextrous scorer inside of six feet, a terrific asset for a great offensive rebounder and cutter. But he needs to hope that he continues to struggle at the stripe, because that particular shooting motion will never serve as the basis for a quality spontaneous jumpshot — one he could fire instantaneously from various short-to-midrange distances when the opportunity presented itself. That would be a welcome addition to his repertoire, but it won't happen if he sticks with his "shooting backwards" (as I call it) approach. The same holds for Dwight Howard, DeAndre Jordan and Andrew Bogut, among others.