Word on the Street

Voskuhl (voss-cull) noun. When a big man’s combined fouls and turnovers exceed his combined points and rebounds over the course of a game.

Usage example:With Michael Redd out for the season, the Bucks need Dan Gadzuric to contribute more than his usual Voskuhl.”

Word history: The term was coined in a dormitory television lounge at Dartmouth College in March of 1999, when several friends were rooting for UConn to defeat Duke for the NCAA men’s basketball championship and bemoaning the limited contributions of UConn starting center Jake Voskuhl. In three of UConn’s six tournament games, Voskuhl came very close to achieving a Voskuhl – including a 2-point, 2-rebound, 3-foul effort in UConn’s narrow title game win over Duke. The blog Be the Three (written by one of the men present in the dorm room in 1999) mentioned the term in a post earlier this month in a post titled Field Trip! Suns at Raptors, Nash’s Game and What’s a ‘Voskuhl’?

Voskuhl, selected by the Bulls in the second-round of the 2000 draft, has continued to pile up Voskuhls during his NBA career. Voskuhl has appeared in 427 games and recorded a Voskuhl in 54 of them – a Voskuhl rate of about 12.6 percent. Seven of those Voskuhls have happened this season.

But a look through Voskuhl’s Voskuhls shows that there actually are two different kinds of Voskuhls: One in which the big man plays just a minute or two and has little time to accumulate any stats (this may be more accurately termed a “Madsen”), and another in which the big man records a Voskuhl despite playing enough minutes to at least pull down some boards.

Two of big Jake’s six Voskuhls from the 2002-03 season serve as good examples of the two archetypes. On April 6, 2003, against the Lakers, Voskuhl played three minutes and recorded 2 fouls, zero points and zero rebounds. A couple of weeks earlier, in a loss to Dallas, Voskuhl played nearly half the game (21 minutes) but scored just 1 point and recorded a paltry 3 rebounds. He committed 5 fouls and 3 turnovers. This may be termed a “True Voskhul.”

(One note in that box score: Suns reserve guard Casey Jacobsen nearly recorded a Voskuhl, with 2 points, 1 foul and 1 turnover. The stat is meant for big men, though).

On Dec. 18, 2003, Voskuhl set a personal high for minutes played in a Voskuhl. He started for Phoenix against Portland and played 34 minutes, but recorded zero points and 5 rebounds before racking up the maximum 6 fouls. He also committed a turnover.

Voskuhl, however, is not at the top of list of Voskhuls among current players. At least one fellow back-up big, Mark Madsen, has recorded them at a higher rate: 84 in 443 games played, for a Voskuhl rate of about 19 percent. Madsen only played a minute or two in many of those games, meaning they do not rise to the level of the True Voskuhl.

Quality big men are not immune to the Voskuhl. Suns star Amare Stoudemire suffered a Voskuhl against Boston earlier this month when the Celtics held him to 3 points and 1 rebound while he committed 4 turnovers and 4 fouls. This was the day after Amare declared that he was about to “get my gorilla game on.” Greg Oden recorded two Voskuhls in December.

Other frequent Voskuhl-ers include Gadzuric (10 already this season), the Spurs’ Fabricio Oberto (four this season) and new Bobcats center DeSagana Diop (five last season, four this year).

About the author: Zach Lowe covers law and business for a magazine in New York and recently started the NBA and Celtics-themed blog Be The Three. He grew up in Connecticut but inexplicably became Georgetown fan and rooted against UConn. But he cheered for them anyway when they faced Duke for the national title

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Labels: Michael Redd / Dan Gadzuric / Jake Voskuhl / DeSagana Diop / Steve Nash / Fabricio Oberto / Greg Oden / Mark Madsen / Casey Jacobsen / Amare Stoudemire / San Antonio Spurs / Charlotte Bobcats / Dallas Mavericks / Los Angeles Lakers / Phoenix Suns / Portland Trail BlazersToronto Raptors / Milwaukee Bucks / Boston Celtics / Chicago Bulls / NBA / Word on the Street

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