Clap Clap ClapClapClap: Courtney Paris Putting Her Money Where Her Post-Game Is
Posted by Andrew Unterberger on March 12, 2009
Ah, March Madness. Nothing like the third month of our new year to bring the drama, the intrigue, and of course, the ridiculous posturing that only college sports seem capable of providing. While most will undoubtedly be focused on the male side of the tournament–as far as I know, the practice of bracket pooling for the WNCAA’s is limited to the relatives of those involved and, uh, HGTV employees–perhaps the most intriguing subplot of the tourney this year belongs to the ladies. Oklahoma Lady Sooners center / cinder block Courtney Paris is coming to the end of her historic college career, and she is feeling good about her team’s chances to go all the way this year. How good are we talking? Well, not only is Courtney willing to put her name on the line, she’s backing up it with a fair share of cash, promising to return her school scholarship funds (estimated at $64k) if her team does not take top honors. Sez Paris: “When you’re good enough and don’t do something, then you have to take accountability for that and that’s your own fault. We can win a national championship. If we don’t, I’ll feel like I didn’t earn my scholarship.”
We here at IITS have had our fill in recent times of athletes making guarantees that they do not deliver on, and I in fact have called for some sort of enforced accountability for this false prophecizing. So first and foremost, let me congratulate Miss Paris on taking the initiative to not only demonstrate just how certain she is of her prediction’s accuracy, but self-imposing the stakes should it not come to fruition. That’s not to say that I’m entirely satisfied by her promise, however–what I’d really like to see is an Oklahoma-invoiced payment time-table (all Paris has offered so far are vaguaries about “as long as it takes”), with the appropriate adjustments for interest and inflation, as well as a non-negotiable contract drafted by the NCAA board, stipulating that Paris will lose both her academic degree and her WNBA pro eligibility, and that all of Oklahoma’s wins will be retroactively forfeited (a la Chris Webber’s Michigan team), should payments not be received on time. You’ve taken the big first step towards the credibility restoration of our progonosticating athletic superstars, Courtney–now it’s time to take the full plunge.
In any event, this could all quickly turn very interesting. The Sooners are an excellent team, it seems–#3 in the country, with a 27-3 record, largely thanks to Courtney’s 16 points and 13 rebounds a game. I can’t say I’ve ever seen her or her team play, but her physique and stat line suggests a rough female middle ground between Shaquille O’Neal and David Lee (with an even more imperssive double-double streak–112 games!)–not a bad rock to anchor a potential championship team. However, there exists an extremely noteable roadblock in Paris and company’s path towards a title–that of the UConn Women Huskies juggernaut, a team whose dominance over the WNCAA field this year makes the ’07 Patriots seem like total amatuer hour by comparison. Not only have they gone undefeated, they’ve won their games by an average of over thirty points per game, no team ever even coming within ten of ’em. Betting against them at this point seems like an only marginally better investment than putting $64k against the Harlem Globetrotters.
And in the meantime, what kind of pressure is Paris putting on the rest of her team? Let’s say Paris goes on an absolute tear in the tournament–25 points and 15 rebounds, a couple blocks and a 65% FG performance per game–and they get into the championship game. Now every time Rose Hammond blows a layup, or Carlee Roethlisberger (yes, like that Roethlisberger) gets called for a ticky-tack foul, or poor sophomore point Danielle Robinson darts a pass just past her teammate’s fingers, is Courtney gonna dart them a look like “you owe me $1500 for that one, bitch!” Imagine if they get within a bucket of the win, and someone bricks a wide-open three from the wing–is Paris still really going to take full financial responsibility for the loss? Even worse, imagine if that someone happens to be sister and teammate Ashley? How awkward is that going to make Thanksgiving for the Paris family? (Though at the very least, I suppose, Courtney would have a permanent ace up her sleeve when it comes to any sort of dispute with sis–“Aw c’mon Court, how come I’m the one who always has to make the late-night Dunkin Donuts run?” “Hey, unless you’re buying me $64,000 worth of Boston Kremes, Ash, I don’t even wanna hear it”).
At the very least, I might actually watch my first ever Women’s College Basketball game during my clsoe tracking of this developing story. There’s gonna be some absolutely amazing post-game interviews to come out of this, I predict.