His name is Daxter, not Dexter, as in former Redskins defensive end Dexter Manley, who we’ll get to shortly. Daxter Miles Jr. is a freshman guard for West Virginia’s basketball team, who has made a name for himself doing what Dexter Manley did back in the 1980’s. But the results for Daxter were much different than for Dexter.
Prior to their Sweet 16 matchup with unbeaten Kentucky, Miles predicted that his team would make the Wildcats 36-1. Uhh…it didn’t quite work out that way. Kentucky doubled up the Mountaineers 78-39 with Miles missing all three shots he took and going scoreless. If Kentucky didn’t score at all in the second half, they still would have won by five. After the game, Kentucky’s Devin Booker posted an Instagram photo of himself being guarded by Miles with the words, “#36 and won.”
And Miles isn’t the only bonehead of this NCAA Tournament. In fact, he wasn’t the first. Prior to their first round game against Georgetown, Eastern Washington coach Jim Hayford told CBS Radio’s Jim Rome, “If you’re still in a pool, you can fill it in, you want to put the Eagles (Eastern Washington) in.”
And just before Rome said goodbye to his bold guest, Hayford added, “We’re going to win. Talk again Jim.”
As you know, Georgetown cruised to a relatively easy 84-74 win. But the best was the postgame reaction from soft-spoken Hoyas coach John Thompson III, who said, “So he guaranteed victory. Maybe it’s just me, but when I think of that, I think of Joe Willie Namath. I think of Muhammad Ali. I think of Larry Bird in the three-point shooting contest. The kids brought it to me and said, ‘Their coach is guaranteeing victory.’ I kind of looked down at him. He doesn’t fit the bill of guys who usually guarantee victory.”
Ooo, what a shot from the Princeton grad. In other words, “You sir, are no Namath, Ali or Bird.”
Of course, few are. The sports landscape is littered with Namath and Ali wanna-be’s, who failed miserably. A few examples:
Matt Hasselbeck – In a January 2004 Wild Card playoff game at Green Bay, the Seahawks quarterback had to eat words he spewed after his team won the coin toss for the start of overtime. Hasselbeck said, “We want the ball and we’re going to score.” A short time later, the Packers’ Al Harris picked off a Hasselbeck pass and returned it 52 yards for a 33-27 Green Bay Victory.
Anthony Smith – Preparing to face the unbeaten New England Patriots as they were on their way to an 18-0 start in 2007, the Steelers defensive back let his mouth write a check he couldn’t cash. Smith said, “We’re going to win. Yeah I can guarantee a win.” The Patriots won 34-13 to get to 13-0.
Carlos Zambrano – Ninety-nine years after the Chicago Cubs won their last World Series, the pitcher figured a good way to break the drought was with a bold prediction. In 2007 Zambrano said, “I believe this year I will win the Cy Young and I will enjoy that. And besides that we will win the World Series. I guarantee you that.” The Cubs did win 85 games and made the playoffs, but were swept in the divisional series by Arizona. Zambrano won 18 games, but he didn’t win the Cy Young. He finished fifth.
As for Dexter, Dexter Manley, his bold predictions drove Redskins coach Joe Gibbs crazy, but he did sort of deliver. Prior to the NFC Championship game against San Francisco in 1984, Dexter said he planned to, “Ring Joe Montana’s clock.” Montana did throw three touchdown passes, but the Redskins won 24-21 to return to the Super Bowl.
Better yet, was the exchange that took place between Dexter and Bears coach Mike Ditka before their January 1988 playoff meeting in Chicago. It started with Ditka saying, “Dexter Manley has the IQ of a grapefruit,” after being told that Dexter thought he was a bum.
Dexter denied calling Ditka a bum, but said, “I’ve got something for him; I’ve got a case of grapefruit for him. Mike Ditka is a broad, man, he’s a broad.”
The Redskins won the game 21-17, helped by Darrell Green’s 53-yard punt return for a touchdown. A much better ending for Dexter than it was for Daxter.