First, a disclaimer. I’m not here to disparage ACC officiating, or to make any apologies for Derrick Favors. But…..I just…have…to…say….this: Doesn’t it seem like he’s got some kind of freshman hex going, where officials aren’t giving him the credit they might an upperclassmen in the post?
It happens maybe once a game or so, where there’s action down low, the whistle blows, Favors is involved in the play, foul on No. 14. He’s gotten to where he doesn’t show a ton of reaction to the calls, so sometimes I wondered if it was just me – especially on the road, where opposing fans are ever so gracious about it.
But when Coach Paul Hewitt mentioned a fairly egregious one from the Wake Forest game on Saturday, in what looked like a clean block against Chas McFarland but was instead ruled Favors’ second foul, I figured I was on the right track. I actually just looked back in my play-by-play notes from the game, and I’d written: “Block?”
Somehow we got on the subject in the press conference after the UNC game Tuesday night, and this is what Hewitt said about it:
“It’s still a mystery for me,” said Hewitt, who threw in a disclaimer of his own that officials are doing a good job this year in general but then….”I look around and see some of the calls that aren’t called when he’s involved.”
Hewitt said he saw a similar block watching film of the Duke-Carolina game. Same official. No foul was called.
“It’s really tough,” Hewitt said. “I give the young man a lot of credit. He’s not acting out. He’s not showing any frustration on the court. Maybe sometimes in the locker room or after the game or when he comes out of the game, he might mumble something under his breath. For an 18 year old kid, I know I’d be pulling my hair out.”
Favors, for his part, had been briefed to some extent coming into the season not to expect the benefit of the doubt from officials as a freshman.
“I pretty much expected that,” Favors said. “I still get a little frustrated, but I know it’s because I’m a freshman. I don’t have that respect yet from the refs.”
So I went to Gani Lawal today too, wondering if as a junior, he notices a difference in how fouls are called on him now vs. his freshman year.
That got a smile.
“With officials it’s like the weather, you never know,” Lawal said. “They may be good. They may be consistent. They may not be consistent. As far as earning respect for calls, I’ve been here three years; I still don’t feel I get the great calls. What I tell Derrick is the same thing I’ve been saying all year, just ‘You’ve got to play through it. That’s all you can do. If you get early foul trouble, when you get back in the game, try to dominate.’”
For all his foul trouble and the minutes missed, Favors hasn’t fouled out of a game yet this season. So it seems he’s doing a decent job of keeping his aggressiveness but still playing smart once he picks up the fouls.
Now I open it up for discussion, to see if anyone has seen the glass-half-empty sometimes like I have, or if you guys think it’s just pointless to cry and moan about officiating anyhow.