DeAndre Liggins has been the subject of some discussion in the media lately relating to his apparent trash talk while guarding Scotty Hopson in the game in Knoxville versus the Tennessee Volunteers on Sunday.
I saw some of it when Liggins and Hopson were beside each other on the free throw line, and both Liggins and Hopson were giving some back and forth. It's hard to argue that this was not a strategy on Liggins' part, because Liggins is not really known for a lot of trash talk, and this was apparently a new (or at least enhanced) approach to Liggins' defensive technique.
What we can say is that it appeared to work. Liggins is always a good defender, but the addition of a little spicy chatter seemed to throw Hopson off his game. That was surely the plan. But Bruce Pearl objected to Liggins' psychological warfare.
Larry Vaught has decided to join Bruce Pearl in criticism of Liggins in a piece on his blog today. Vaught suggests trash talk has "gotten Liggins in trouble before," and I am curious as to what that means. Liggins has managed two technical fouls on the season that I remember, and both of them were for showing up the official, not for trash talk.
Far be it from me to gainsay Vaught, as he is right there on press row and hears far more of the game banter than I do, so his warning may be right and in general I don't love a lot of trash talking. I think it cheapens the game and is unsportsmanlike when taken to excess.
The question to me is this: Is Liggins doing too much trash talking? I agree that there is a limit, but I have not seen, or heard (in the one game I have been able to attend so far) a lot of trash talk out of Liggins. That said, there is a somewhat lower tolerance for that in the NCAAs, so if his game flair needs to be tweaked, now would seem to be the time.