(The Black Mamba. Illustration courtesy of Roger Huang)
Pretty much a year ago, there was a report that Bill O'Brien -- then a first-year football coach for Penn State -- was interested in taking the leap to become an NFL coach. But he turned the offers down, and he did so because, according to his agent, he just cared too much about the players at Penn State.

"His loyalty to the team and those kids was a really strong bond," his agent said. "Although he loves the NFL and loves coaching, the experience this year with those kids was the opportunity of a lifetime for him."

Wow. You know, that's heart-warming, to think that a talented, highly-sought-after coaching talent like Bill O'Brien would prefer to stay loyal to his players. And "opportunity of a lifetime"? God, that's just... touching. I mean, that Penn State job really sounds like it's awesome! Jeepers, someone should really inform the NFL's coaches about how good that Penn State job is, because maybe they'd rather coach there than in the NFL. I wonder -- and I'm just pulling a team out of a hat at random, here -- I wonder what the coach of the Houston Texans thinks of that Penn State football job. Gee, what's the name of the Houston Texans' coach again? It's on the tip of my tounge... Gah, this always happens to me!

Eh, whatever. While I'm thinking about it, let me just scroll through some of today's headlines... Oh, this is interesting:

Bill O'Brien, Houston Texans reach coaching agreement

Huh. Uh... okay. Well, I guess "opportunity of a lifetime" was probably a bit of an exaggeration. But then again, that was O'Brien's agent's words, and not his own. I'm sure he never personally said anything that might have made it seem like he was going to be there for a long stretch of time. You know, something that in retrospect would really make him look like a douche. Something like: "I made a commitment to these players at Penn State and that's what I am going to do. I'm not gonna cut and run after one year. That's for sure." Because, if he had made a statement like that -- and boy oh boy, thank god he totally, totally didn't -- well, a logical person might have interpreted from that that he planned on being there a while.

And wow -- can you imagine what a self-righteous liar he'd come off as if he took a moral stand about cutting and running, only to basically do just that? It sure wouldn't look good, considering he was interviewing for other jobs last January. I mean, it was easy of him to say he'd never cut and run, but then again, his words might ring a tad hollow considering he kind of did meet with the owner of the Cleveland Browns to discuss, you know, getting out of the Penn State job.

It's also a good thing O'Brien didn't sign a contract extension with Penn State through 2020 in 2012, because that also might have given the impression that he was going to be around for a while in Happy Valley. Eight-year contract extensions typically signify some sort of willingness to remain at that job for a while.

But even if some or all of those things were true, at least Bill O'Brien was upfront to his players. At least he didn't do something as callous as lie to new recruits by promising them that he'd be there for the upcoming season... right?

Penn State commits hoping Bill O'Brien's word will mean something to them

Oh no...
"When I talked to him on my official visit it was something I asked him about," safety commit Marcus Allen told PennLive during a phone interview Tuesday afternoon. "He told me, 'Yes, I’ll be there at least through (quarterback Christian) Hackenberg’s class. I’ll take his word on it. ... I’m still 100 percent committed to Penn State because he told me he’d stay and I wouldn’t want anybody to lie to me or to my family because that’s the worst thing he could do to us."
Oh... oh god... I mean, that really looks bad on O'Brien's part, what with the lying to that kid's family and stuff. Yikes. I just hope he at least wasn't lying to these recruits while he was on his way out the door. I mean, that'd be pretty ridiculous if he lied to a kid this week as he was literally signing paperwork to head to his next job...

(Three days ago:)

O'Brien tells Holley he's staying
Brooklyn (N.Y.) Abraham Lincoln five-star defensive tackle and Penn State commit Thomas Holley spoke with head coach Bill O'Brien a few minutes ago regarding the ESPN report that O'Brien was in the process of working on a deal to become the Houston Texans next head coach.

“I just [got] off the phone with him," Holley told 247Sports Luke Stampini. "He said he isn’t going. It’s not true."
Well... that's a lot to think about.

Bill O'Brien has left Penn State, and sure, if you look at all the evidence, it kind of looks like he went to PSU because he knew he could really boost his resume by heading to this place with incredibly low expectations after the Jerry Sandusky fiasco, and that he knew he could really get on everyone's good side by feeding them a bunch of B.S. about loyalty and trust -- all while secretly trying to escape to an NFL franchise after one year, even while saying it'd be a dickish thing to do, and that when a good job opportunity finally did present itself, he immediately abandoned Penn State and its players and its new recruits -- all of whom he told he'd be staying -- because... well, he could earn a lot of money and have a lot of personal success in Houston. Sure, it certainly looks like that. But hey... how good is that Houston job? I mean, come on. THAT is the job of a lifetime. Amirite or amirite?

But anyway, enough about that. Let's get into some unbelievably depressing fantasy basketball news featuring one of my personal favorite players...
  • Jordan Farmar didn't just tweak his hamstring the other day. He tore it, AGAIN, and will sit out the next four weeks, leaving Kendall Marshall as the only active point guard available for the Lakers. This is a brutal turn of events for Farmar, who was poised to be a major fantasy contributor with almost every other guard on the roster out with an injury. And now that he's gone, Marshall -- and I can't believe I'm writing this -- is a very tantalizing fantasy option. Is he an unproven commodity? Yes. Is he strictly a short-term rental? Definitely. But none of that matters, because any time a point guard can get 30 minutes a night on an NBA team, that guard is almost always going to be useful in fantasy basketball -- especially when that guard plays for a guy like Mike D'Antoni, who wants the score in triple-digits. If you own(ed) Farmar and you're jonesing for a new point guard, I wouldn't hesitate to add Marshall, who had 10 points and 7 assists in his last game.
  • Trevor Booker was sensational on Wednesday, scoring 10 points to go with 19 rebounds, a steal and a block in 30 minutes of action. Booker continues to start ahead of Nene, who mustered only 4 points and 3 rebounds yesterday, and Booker's performance and Nene's recent rash of injuries could go a long way to secure Booker's placement in the Wizards' starting lineup. Booker makes for a nice add in deeper leagues of at least 12 teams, though standard league teams could still probably do better than him. Yes, Booker has shown some tremendous flare at times, and I do believe that he'd be a must-own player if Nene wasn't in the picture. But because Nene is in the picture, I don't see him being a consistent player just yet. Things could change obviously if Nene gets hurt again (which he always does), but for now, he's merely in a timeshare, so don't be surprised if you occasionally get underwhelming statlines from him.
  • Kyrie Irving's MRI revealed no structural damage, and the Cavs point guard was diagnosed merely with a knee contusion, which leaves him questionable for tonight's game. Irving's owners appear to have dodged a massive bullet, though if there's any lesson from all this, it's that it still wouldn't hurt for his owners to have Jarrett Jack on their fantasy team as well. You know, just in case...
  • Al Jefferson had 14 points and 12 rebounds last night versus the Clippers. Jefferson isn't having the jaw-dropping statistical season that a lot of analysts anticipated, and a lot of that has to do with the ankle injury he dealt with in the beginning of the year. That being said, he's averaging 17 points and 10 rebounds a game, which is still quite excellent for an NBA center.
  • Blake Griffin scored 31 points and added 12 assists against the Bobcats. Griffin is more or less matching his career averages this year, though a big improvement in his game is that he's shooting nearly 70% from the foul line.
  • Terrence Ross is kind of like the Star Trek movies, in that he keeps alternating between good and lousy performances. On Wednesday, Ross redeemed his 6-point dud on Tuesday by scoring 18 points and adding 4 rebounds and 3 steals. Ross is a pretty serviceable fantasy player, though his rampant inconsistency keeps him from attaining that illusive "must own" status.
  • Evan Turner stacked the stat sheet yesterday, dropping 23 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds, a three, 2 steals and a block in 40 minutes. Turner may not be a heavy helper in the three's, steals and blocks categories, but he's still a terrific fantasy option in the same vein as Dwyane Wade, Monta Ellis, Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan.
  • Eric Gordon played for the first time in four games and was fairly effective, scoring 12 points to go with 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. Gordon is one of the most injury-prone players in the whole league, so owning him entails a high degree of peril. On the bright side, he's pretty good when he's healthy.
  • Kevin Love had his weakest outing in a month on Wednesday, scoring 21 points and adding 6 rebounds, 3 assists, a steal and a block on 7-19 shooting. You know you're an awesome basketball player when a 21-6-3-1-1 line is considered a major disappointment.
  • Shawn Marion followed his 32-point explosion the other night with a more realistic 9-point, 9-rebound outing against the Wizards. Marion should be a quality fantasy player the rest of the season, though I think his owners would be greatly served selling high on him while they still have the chance.
  • Bradley Beal is in the midst of a little slump, as the Wizards guard only scored 10 points on 4-13 shooting on Wednesday. Beal is averaging a puny 12 points per game over his last five games, and it's pretty clear he isn't quite up to speed after coming back his lengthy injury absence. Prior to getting hurt, Beal was among the league leaders in three's and lead everyone in minutes, so this wouldn't be a bad time to buy low on him, if you were so inclined.
  • J.J. Redick might be a week or two away from returning to the court. Redick was averaging 15 a game when he went down, and though that average will undoubtedly drop as he works his way back into game shape, Redick isn't an atrocious add if you're in an uber-competitive league. However, I would only stash him if Jodie Meeks and Terrence Ross are both unavailable, as either player would be just as good an addition, and as an added bonus, you don't need to babysit either player for two weeks like you do with Redick.


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