NEW YORK — Stumblebum that I am, I have stumbled across a situation whose level of egregiousness falls somewhere between Bernie Madoff and Bernie Goetz.

I haven’t been this outraged since the dawn of self-service at the gas pump and the coffee counter, provoking an embargo of both.

But at least now we know the identities of the Hall of Fame committee members who annually stiff Dennis Johnson, Jamaal Wilkes, Red Kerr and Richie Guerin:

They’re the same unconscious assistant coaches who omitted Kevin Love from All-Star Saturday’s Rookie-Sophomore Challenge.

Owners and general managers beware; anybody incapable of recognizing Love’s sundry skills, or appreciating how they synchronize with team-oriented goals, and is oblivious to what he’s accomplishing in an unreasonably stumpy and inconsistent 23 minutes per game (under Randy Wittman and Kevin McHale), should be automatically disqualified from future head coaching consideration.

Does every assistant coach get a vote?


The dozen or so Santa’s Helpers per team are “supposed” to huddle and turn over a consensus choice, excluding parent rookies, to the league.

Why would I not be surprised to learn a team’s assistant publicity director actually makes the selections after an imprecise poll?

Who would be surprised to discover no poll was taken and Stu Jackson singled out Spain’s Rudy Fernandez and Marc Gasol?

All it takes to share my suspicion is having a handle on the marketing importance of showcasing international players during All-Star Weekend.

Cynicism aside, any assistant coach who failed to list Love in his ballot on the same pedestal of Derrick Rose and O.J. Mayo clearly demonstrated three things: He doesn’t know the game; hasn’t watched the Timberwolves play in person or on TV over the last six weeks; and rarely glances at box scores.

Had I bothered to ask Larry Brown whose guy, D.J. Augustine (out the better part of a month with abdominal pull; averages 12.1 points and 4.1 assists per game) got slighted, his response would have been, “Trevor Ariza would have done a better job picking the team while being helped off the court halfway incoherent from a concussion.”

How many assistant coaches realize the Timberwolves were 10-4 in January?

How many comprehend Love is critically responsible for Minnesota’s awakening with five double-doubles during that span?

Think they know he’s averaging a rookie high 8.4 rebounds per game, is top two overall in boards-per-minute, is one-tenth of an offensive rebound ahead of Al Jefferson in 13 fewer minutes, and is scoring at a 9-point clip without having a single play run for him in 44 games?

Think they grasp how brainy and brutish the 203-cm macho forward is defensively?

That ends this subject’s spew. I mean, why should I care if the league and the electorate doesn’t?

Let’s face it; if assistants knew as much as I sense they should, they would be interim coaches.

Then again, if they really knew that much they would be writing this column.

* * * * *

Krzyzewski may be a Hall of Famer, NCAA champion and Olympic gold medal winner, but that inbounds play used by Wake Forest to beat Duke in the waning seconds last week should not have fooled a preschooler.

In fact, reports column castigator Frank Drucker, Wake drew it up in crayon.

“We figured the stimulus package had a better chance of working,” a dozen Demon Deacons told me.

* * * * *

Wizards have become odious off the court as well as on.

Very unprofessional.

With six minutes gone in the first quarter in last week’s wimpy showing against Miami, Brendan Haywood and DeShawn Stevenson finally came out of the locker room and condescended to join their teammates on the bench.

No, they were not in chapel.

And I’m guessing there were not receiving treatment for respective injuries since the trainer was on the bench. Moreover, they had all day for that stuff.

And where was Agent Zero?

Gilbert Arenas was on site, I’m told (can’t swear to it) but nowhere to be found.

Down 20 in the fourth, some of the seated subs were laughing it up.

A season ticket-holder tells me he even spotted one guy (not a player) alongside those fools busy texting.

Think he would try that on Jerry Sloan’s watch?

Think Gregg Popovich would stand for that?

Think Pat Riley or Phil Jackson or Larry Brown would let anyone associated with their teams get away with that?

Not even in practice!

Peter Vecsey covers the NBAfor the New York Post.

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