SAN ANTONIO (AP) -Hey, Joey Dorsey, got any inflammatory comments about the latest freshman sensation you're going up against in the NCAA tournament?
Nope, not this time.
Dorsey learned his lesson last year, when he called out Ohio State's Greg Oden and it backfired. Memphis' big man has since found out what it's like from the other side, getting trash-talked by Mississippi State and responding with a big game.
So Friday, on the eve of a national semifinal game against UCLA, Dorsey wasn't about to say anything but nice things about Bruins frosh Kevin Love.
``He's a great passer out of the post,'' Dorsey said. ``It's going to be a big key to the team.''
See? Dorsey really has grown up.
Dorsey began to change last summer, when he was part of Team USA at the Pan American Games. The payoff was evident when he opened his season with 12 rebounds against Oklahoma, then 12 more against Connecticut.
He was even better over nine games in January, averaging 13 rebounds in less than 25 minutes per game.
Then came one of the examples of why Memphis coach John Calipari says, ``I love Joey like a son, but he does some of the dumbest things I've ever seen in my whole life.''
Dorsey lost his starting job for four straight games in February, then another in March. Calipari's reason? Poor body language and a bad attitude.
Senior Night came next, and Calipari pretty much had to put him back in the starting lineup.
But, first, he challenged Dorsey to end his career the right way. ``Challenged'' isn't really the right way to describe it; ``assigned homework'' is more like it.
``I said, 'I want you to write a story (about) how you want your senior season to end. It's your fairy tale, it's your dream, write it. Maybe they carry you off the court because you made the game-winning free throws. But write the story,''' Calipari said. ``Then I asked him to read it, read it over and over and over.''
Dorsey responded with a season-high 16 points and 12 rebounds against a team he'd had one point and two rebounds against a few weeks earlier. After Dorsey played well in two of three C-USA tournament games, Calipari gave his big man the same homework assignment.
It's worked again. He's averaging 11.5 rebounds, even with only four in a blowout win over Michigan State. He's also averaging 8.3 points, mostly on dunks. There were several last weekend in Houston that threatened to leave holes in the elevated court. (Alas, his foul shooting is as ugly as ever: 3-for-12, dropping him to 37.8 percent this season.)
``He's relaxed now,'' Douglas-Roberts said. ``He's not thinking ahead, you know, so when he's playing like that, just free, he's going to be great. Every time he starts thinking, that's when his game gets shaky. ... He doesn't have to go out and be an offensive Hakeem Olajuwon. He can just be Joey, and when he's Joey, he's unbelievable.''
Love certainly has noticed.
``He is a big, physical player who works hard and gets a lot of rebounds and blocked shots,'' Love said. ``He also runs the floor well. He will play me tough.''

NCAABB Team Pages

Recent NCAABB Discussions