Saturday, May 31, 2008

NBA pre-draft updates

Day 1

The roster isn’t exactly a Who’s Who of college basketball stars. In fact, you can make a valid case that there won’t be more than a handful of players in attendance that wind up being taken in the first round of the June 26 NBA Draft. Here are a few impressions:

- Alabama point guard Ron Steele, who sat out the entire season a year ago to recover from multiple knee injuries and surgeries, is still favoring one leg. Steele is a terrific student who shouldn’t have put himself in this situation – and will have to return to school next year.

- John Riek, the talented, but oft-injured 7-footer who has been working out at IMG Academy (Fla.), could barely run in the drills and had to sit out the 5-on-5 work. Riek told that he wants to play Wednesday and Thursday, but his knee has been a constant issue this entire season and he’d be best served sitting out the camp and spending next season somewhere such as South Florida – where he can get game action. ``I want to play,” Riek said. “I’m going to see the doctor tomorrow.”

From on May 27th

Day 2

Shan Foster was a big disappointment once again, continuing the same trend we saw in the morning and the day before. He looks completely out of his element mentally, forcing bad shots and even air-balling one 3-pointer by about five feet, which is completely uncharacteristic of the player widely considered the top shooter in this draft class. He got chased off the 3-point line way too easily, getting caught into the trap of being forced to use his ball-handling skills, which he is much less effective at than just spotting up from behind the arc. He looks like he’s putting way too much pressure on himself, and will need to settle down a bit and remember what got him here. He unfortunately doesn’t bring enough else to the table besides his shooting to be able to be as cold as he’s been thus far.

Richard Hendrix had a solid outing with 12 points and 5 rebounds in 20 minutes. He was extremely unselfish and did a great job crashing the glass, showing a good feel for the game but also struggling a bit defensively on the perimeter and not being very effective finishing around the rim in traffic.


It doesn't seem like Steele is NBA ready. He'll probably be back.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Nice writeup on Antonio McDyess

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – In 2004, the Phoenix Suns traded Stephon Marbury to the New York Knicks. One of the valuable things they got in return wasn’t Antonio McDyess. Oh, they got McDyess, his bum knee and his plunging production, but the Suns didn’t want that and McDyess knew it.

He was nothing more than an “expiring contract.” He was a one-time franchise caliber star whose big-money deal was about to go off the books, freeing cap space for the Suns to get better players. The former No. 2 pick in the draft, former All-Star, former 21-and-12 guy was now an accounting trick; valued not for showing up but for soon leaving.

McDyess called his agent, Andy Miller, and told him to tell the Suns to put him out of his misery.

“Tell them to cut me,” McDyess said.

Miller wouldn’t do it. It wasn’t going to end like this, he told McDyess. Somehow, somewhere, there would be better days.

Read the rest here

It's great that despite injuries McDyess never quit and reinvented himself to stay (and prosper) in the league. He'll always be one of my favorites ever to play at Bama. I still remember the monster game (39/19) he had against Penn in the 1st round of the NCAAs in 1994 (going from memory). He was a man amongst boys that day. Heck, he dominated against Oklahoma State in the 2nd round, but it wasn't enough to carry the Tide to the Sweet Sixteen.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Quick thoughts on the Bob Costas "sitdown" about the blogosphere

Here's a link for reference. I think it originally aired sometime in late April. Here's a link to the show if you have a few minutes to spare.

The show that day was about blogs and how it affects today's sports coverage. Costas had Deadspin's Will Leitch and Buzz Bissinger (I still have no idea who he is) talking about how blogs have changed the way sports is reported (amongst other things). It got real heated between the "blog king" Leitch and "old school" Bissinger. It got me to thinking...

Is the "old" media terrified of the emergence of blogs? Do blogs scoop them for infomation? Do blogs cross the line in what is news and what is... privacy invasion?

To answer the 1st question I have... I say for now no, but I do see the print media adjusting their methods to compete with blogs. I found that people like to read blogs because it's written from (in sports) a fan's perspective. Many times I find blogs have more detailed infomation than what you can find anywhere else. Why is that... it's because some blogs are topic specific... meaning that's all they worry about.

Do blogs sometimes scoop the print media on breaking news? This one I say yes to. Blogs and messageboards are often the places where you'll hear breaking news first. That being said, most messageboards (and some blogs) are more rumor mills than places to find real info. As a reader you have to sift through the bullsheet to find the gems... IMO that's no different than the print media.

Do blogs cross the line? Absolutely. I can think of 2 NFL examples where IMO the blogosphere perpetuated a non-story to the point it became a story. The first one was pictures taken at Matt Leinart's house party. They get out and all of sudden people are questioning his dedication to the NFL? The second one was of Vince Young at a club. I have to admit a couple of those pictures made me say "What," but it's not my or anyone else's business what he does in his off time.

My biggest gripe with some blogs is the personal shots taken at people on their "sheetlist." If someone in the print media resorts to that, their name and face are attached to the story. Most blogs don't have that deterrent and with that allows extra vemon to be hurled. That's where things need to be reigned in.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Two Tide players invited to pre-NBA camp

TUSCALOOSA - University of Alabama basketball players Ronald Steele and Richard Hendrix have both earned invitations to the NBA's pre-draft camp in Orlando, according to their coach.

"Richard and Ron both got invited," coach Mark Gottfried said, "and they plan on attending."

Read the rest here

Gee's coming back... if Steele and Hendrix leave it'll be his team to run.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Some SEC basketball news

-Auburn signs Tony Neysmith. Neysmith played at Oklahoma last year and even started 4 games. Obviously he's sitting out next season, but will be on the court for the 2009-2010 season.

- Michael Sanchez of Arkansas is playing well for Reach USA as they tour China on an exhibition tour. Count that as valuable experience coming into next season.

- A sea of blue does an early breakdown of the SEC. Even outsiders see for the most part we do less with more.

That's it for now.

Off topic- I had plans on going here:

Ended up here instead:

So I drove here to escape there (and to see a game):

That's Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City in case you didn't know.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Thoughts on Hendrix, Steele, and Gee (are they coming back?)

Richard Hendrix- I'd like him to come back purely for selfish reasons, but I'm having a hard time rationalizing why he'd come back. He's got a degree, he put up moster stats, and truth be told IMO he's as good as he's going to be so why stay another year. It's not like we're going to be a NC contender next season.

Ronald Steele- At first I thought he's just trying to see what his value is and would withdraw his name and come back, but with the recent JUCO PG CMG brought in and some rumors floating, I'm 75% convinced Steele is staying in the draft. I think a team takes a flyer on him in the 2nd round.

Alonzo Gee- He's the most athletically gifted of the three, but also is the least skilled basketball player. Unless Europe is calling (and they might be) I say he's coming back.

Friday, May 16, 2008

AJC article- Difficult to punish greedy amateur athletes

I rarely agree with Jeff Schultz of the AJC, but this article he wrote IMO is as dead on as you can be.

Imagine that you have a gift, but you are surrounded by ruin. Bad neighborhood. Little money. A single mom who works three jobs and does the best she can in the 30 minutes a day she sees you.

Then one day somebody in a nice suit, let’s say with a hint of brimstone, shakes your hand and leaves you with a roll of bills. He slips you an ATM card, a phone, a watch. A plasma TV lands on your doorstep.

It’s all against the rules. But you figure this part of your life is only a brief stopover.

Nobody cares.

Everybody does it.

Nobody gets hurt.

Check that — you don’t get hurt. And really, does anybody else matter?

It’s happening again.

Link to the rest.

We need to stop the charade of the "amateur" athlete. It's more the exception than the rule that these kids are playing only at the cost of a scholarship.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Just so I can say I posted something about Alabama basketball

Here's a gem... the former men's basketball manager is now the Director of Basketball Operations.

I'll be honest, I care more about the plight of polar bear than I do about the women's basketball program, but this hire sounds like another 'let's see if this works' idea.

I thought only corporate America handed out fancy titles... obviously the University does as well.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Random stuff

There's little to no news on the basketball front...

Don't you wish you were here?

Citi Field under construction. The Mets play in a dump so a new ballpark is a good thing for them.

I enjoyed this one more. It's going to be sad when the Yankees move to the new stadium.

And here's what the new Yankee Stadium looks like right now.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Baseball- what has happenned to the complete game?

Yes... another baseball rant about how the game played today irritates me at times.

You would think that if you pay more you'd expect more, but that's not the case in today's MLB. You see, a guy like Greg Maddux can rake in $10 million a year and only have to put up 5 or 6 innings every 5 days to "earn" his keep. I'm using the Maddux of today and not of the mid 90s so don't take this as a potshot at Mr. "I still get an extra 6 inches on either side of the plate" Maddux.

He's not the only one... most frontline pitchers are told "good job" if they put up 7 innings. Your #4 and 5 SPs are considered valuable if they go 6 innings. To me that's bullsheet.

To illustrate the change in the game, let me compare Ron Guidry to Roy Halladay at age 29. I picked Halladay because he's actually known to finish a game or 2 that he starts.

Ron Guidry stats (look at 1979)
Roy Halladay stats (look at 2006)

What I want to highlight is the # of complete games thrown by each that year. Guidry threw 16 while Halladay had 4. Also, look at the innings pitched. Halladay is considered to be a workhorse in today's game, but pitched 50 less innings than Guidry.

In the era of specialization what's been lost is the art of pitching. Late inning specialists come in with (sometimes) overpowering fastballs, but questionable control. I blame Tony LaRussa and Joe Torre for the shift to the bullpen specialists.

I believe the allowed use of body armor affects control pitchers, but that's another rant for another day.

Edit- I guess I'm not the only one that thinks this way... Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports wrote an article about this on April 28th... one I just read a few minutes ago.

NBA mock drafts for those that care...

IMO Derrick Rose will be a better player in the NBA than Michael Beasley.

Monday, May 05, 2008

College basketball news week in review (5/5/08)

- Bruce Pearl has dismissed Duke Crews and Ramar Smith from the team. There's discipline in Knoxville? Who knew?

- Ben Hansbrough has found a new home in South Bend. Hansbrough is transferring to Notre Dame. Besides the tradition, location, and academics I don't see much of a difference between Starkville and South Bend.

- The Old Spice Classic field has been announced. It's a pretty stout field with Georgetown, Maryland, Michigan State, Oklahoma State, Tennessee, Wichita State, Gonzaga and Siena playing in it. My only gripe is they have to find a new sponsor... the only thing Old Spice is good for is as an aftershave. Feel the burn!

- Ohio State coughed up $2.74 million to former HC Jim O'Brien for improperly firing him after he was caught cheating. I hate everything Ohio State, but IMO they got screwed over. O'Brien paid a Serbian recruit 6 grand.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

A baseball rant on bunting

Why is it so hard for a ML player to execute a bunt? Far too many "attempts" are fouled straight back or popped up. All you have to do is square yourself, put the bat out there straight, and "catch" the ball off the bat. It's really not that hard, but yet it seems like it if you watch a MLB game.

A successful bunt moves runners into scoring position and increases the chances of said runners crossing the plate. I like my chances of scoring with 1 out and a man on 2nd and 3rd than having a bottom of the order guy swinging away with no outs and runners on 1st and 2nd. That's just me I guess.

Bunting with 1 out doesn't make sense to me as even if it's successful the next guy has to get a hit. Using one of your power hitters to bunt isn't a good idea either unless they're in a massive slump (read Jason Giambi). Otherwise, I think it's good strategy to manufacture a run (or 2).

Friday, May 02, 2008

Alonzo Gee declares for NBA Draft

I'm surprised it took this long for him to do so. I think it's a good move by him to see what his value is, but I'm also thinking that him declaring this late is a sign he's leaving regardless. I'd leave too if someone overseas offered me $100K a year to play basketball.