In case you’re not a follower of ESPN2’s First Take (and if you’re not, keep right on doing what you’re doing), there’s been something of a consternation the last few days over some claims resident show troll Skip Bayless made over his high school basketball career – specifically, that he was a “starter” who “shot too much.” Long story short: documents emerged that showed he averaged 1.4 points per game as a senior, he got called out for it on the air, and it was open season on ol’ Skip (not without reason).
Not that Bayless isn’t without his defenders, however. In fact, a couple of those defenders – or at least people who are saying his story isn’t total bullshit – are high school teammates of his. NewsOK caught up with a couple of them. Here’s what they said:
Sports Animal broadcaster Craig Humphreys, who graduated with Bayless from Northwest Classen in 1970, said he remembered Bayless as a seventh man as a senior.
“He probably did start some games,” he said. “His senior year he was like the No. 7 man. Coach (Don) Van Pool and Skip were never really on the same page. I love Coach Van Pool. He was a Henry Iba disciple, but he was more of a slowdown guy and Skip was more get up and down the floor. Skip could really shoot. He really could.”
Bruce Scott, a 6-2 guard on that team who went on to play at OU, said he remembered Bayless starting a “handful of games.” “He got lost in the shuffle there. He would have scored 18 points a game at John Marshall.”
Essentially: Bayless made it sound like he was a much bigger deal than he was, but there was just enough truth in what he tweeted (i.e. started some games) that, if these teammates are right, he didn’t outright lie. Of course, 1970 was a long time ago and the players’ memories aren’t necessarily dead-on, but they’re the best we’ve got.
And so we have to wonder: did Bayless actually, possibly catch too much flak for this? It’s hard to imagine ever thinking he might be getting more grief than he deserves – we might be writing about how ridiculous something he said was every day, if we hadn’t mercifully stopped watching First Take for the most part – but this “story” has been going on for days. Not that he didn’t deserve to get called out – he even admitted his tweets only told “5 percent” of the full story of his high school career. He deserved to have to explain himself. He deserved some ridicule. He probably shouldn’t have said any of it to begin with.
But of all his First Take ridiculousness (here’s an incomplete list of it), we’re a little surprised this is what wound up striking such a nerve (check the right sidebar here for a look at the way this story is dwarfing all others on newsOK’s site in terms of pageviews). He’s earned the ridicule he gets, but it seems like this high school basketball story is producing a disproportionate amount of it.