Friday, February 26, 2010
Griffin was the unanimous No. 1 pick every team wanted, and after the Clippers won the draft lottery, it was clear that a number of guys could go anywhere from No. 2 to No. 10.
Well, the Grizzlies picked wrong.
Thabeet, who earns $4.46 million this year, averaged just 10.3 minutes per game, 2.5 points and 2.9 rebounds per game, before getting sent to play for the frigid Dakota Wizards.
He's the highest-ever draft pick to play in the NBDL, which has served as the NBA's minor leagues since its inception in 2001.
RidiculousUpside.com was the first to break the news. Even more shocking than the fact that the No. 2 pick was sent to the D-League is the fact that there is a site dedicated to breaking NBA D-League up-to-the-minute information.
The 7-foot-3 rookie was a solid if unspectacular player at UConn, averaging a surprisingly un-flashy 14 points and 11 rebounds per game as a junior before declaring for the draft.
Strangely, guards in the 2009 Draft have flourished in their rookie seasons.
No. 3 pick James Harden has averaged 9.8 points per game as the Oklahoma City Thunder's sixth man.
No. 4 pick Tyreke Evans may be the NBA Rookie of the Year frontrunner right now, averaging 20.3 points, 5.4 assists and 4.8 rebounds for the lowly Sacramento Kings. The 20-year old is leading the team in scoring and assists.
No. 6 pick Jonny Flynn is averaging 13.8 points and 4.3 assists per game for Minnesota. He has started all 59 games despite the T-Wolves' 14-45 record.
No. 7 pick Stephen Curry is putting up gaudy numbers for Golden State, averaging 15.5 points, 5.3 assists and 4.2 rebounds for the Warriors. He's in the hunt for NBA Rookie of the Year and has become a permanent starter in Golden State's rotation despite having the body of Calista Flockhart.
No. 9 pick DeMar Derozan has become a viable scoring option for Toronto, averaging 8.2 points and 3.0 rebounds per game for the Raptors.
No. 10 pick Brandon Jennings has been another gem in the hindsight-is-20-20 draft, scoring 16.4 points and adding 6.1 assists and 3.4 rebounds per game for Milwaukee.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
OK, maybe that's a stretch, but the latest news about the league cracking down on the Dallas Mavericks' recent acquisition Caron Butler is lamer than a hall monitor.
The league has forbidden the 29-year old Butler from chewing on straws before and during games.
According to ESPNDallas.com, "NBA executive vice president Stu Jackson phoned Butler on Tuesday and told him to leave his straws at home."
Hey Stu, how about worrying about things that actually affect the league. Like league referees who gamble on NBA games, or teams frantically dropping salary to make room for a massive 2010 free agency fire sale?
But no, Butler is no longer allowed to chew straws. The fun haters have clearly prioritized the list of league dangers, and Butler trumps them.
According to ESPNDallas, Butler chewed approximately 12 straws per game since he was just a teenager.
"It calmed me down. Then it became one of those things you keep doing," Butler said.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
(8) Georgia Tech vs. (9)
(7) Northern Iowa vs. (10)
(4) Vanderbilt vs. (13) Cornell
(3) Pitt vs. (14)
(6) Gonzaga vs. (11)
(2) Duke vs. (15)
(1) Purdue vs. (16) Robert Morris
(8) Clemson vs. (9) Virginia Tech
(6) Baylor vs. (11) UAB
(2) Villanova vs. (15)
(7) Xavier vs. (10)
(4) Wisconsin vs. (13)
(5) BYU vs. (12)
Last four in: UAB,
Last four out: UConn, Charlotte,
Next four out:
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
BEST FRANCHISE PLAYER: Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska, DT. He's got star written all over him, and will be either the first or second player to hear his name called. Suh will be the cog of some poor team's defensive line for years to come. He owned Big 12 offensive linemen all year, and now he'll have his chance at the next level.
Runner up: Eric Berry, Tennessee, S. Berry shows visions of now-deceased Redskins safety Sean Taylor, and will be a game changer in the NFL. He'd be the No. 1 player on the board if it wasn't such a deep draft for defensive linemen.
BIGGEST SLEEPER: Dan LeFevour, Central Michigan, QB. The quarterback who nobody's talking about, LeFevour is projected by ESPN as the sixth quarterback chosen. At 6-foot-3, 230 pounds, he has good size that screams future starter. He's considered above average with regard to his release, arm strength and mobility, and was extremely prolific for the Chippewas.
Runner up: Rolando McClain, Alabama, LB. Yes, he's a sleeper, especially if he falls out of the top 10. McClain has great size and speed that will translate to the next level, and he's a big time playmaker. ESPN calls him the quarterback of the defense, and I can see him developing into a poor man's Ray Lewis if things go the way they should.
BIGGEST GAMBLE: Sam Bradford, Oklahoma, QB. Bradford will become one of the best cases that agents will use to lure players to head to the NFL before exhausting their eligibility. The Sooners quarterback and former Heisman Trophy winner looked like a surefire NFL starter before coming back and severely injuring his arm twice. Now, scouts wonder if he'll hold up to the hits that linebackers and defensive linemen will deliver on Sundays.
Runner up: Carlos Dunlap, Florida, DE. Dunlap has the tools to be worthy of a first-round pick, but his decision making skills took a hit when he was arrested for a DUI right before the SEC Championship, forcing him to miss the entire game.
BIGGEST FUTURE BUST: CJ Spiller, Clemson, RB. I'm not buying the hype. Though Spiller made a great jack of all trades at Clemson, he won't be an every-down back in the NFL. In fact, he'll probably be more of a Reggie Bush type, meaning he'll catch passes out of the backfield, run the ball 10-12 times a game and return punts and kicks. Not worthy of a first round pick in my book.
Runner up: Arrelious Benn, Illinois, WR. Before the season, Benn was considered the top wide receiver in the draft. But a very subpar senior season (38 catches for 490 yards and two touchdowns) dropped Benn's stock to the second round. I see him as a possession receiver in the NFL, though, and not a future No. 1 wide receiver on an NFL roster. He doesn't have the explosiveness of Percy Harvin, the hands of Cris Carter or the ups of Randy Moss, so why is he worthy of a lucrative NFL contract?
QUICKEST PLAYER TO MAKE AN IMPACT: Russell Okung, Oklahoma State, OT. A likely starter from day one, Okung is one of the most polished players to enter the NFL Draft. He has slightly fallen on a few mock draft boards as some analysts believe there are other offensive tackles in the draft with higher ceilings (i.e. Anthony Davis from Rutgers and Trent Williams from Oklahoma).
Runner up: Dez Bryant, Oklahoma State, WR. Though Bryant missed a chunk of the season due to an improper relationship with former NFL player Deion Sanders, Bryant is the unanimous No. 1 wide receiver in the draft, ahead of Illinois' Arrelious Benn. After Benn, there are about 12 receivers who are around the same skill level and could fall between the second and fourth rounds.
Monday, February 22, 2010
Cliff Tucker, the quiet kid from El Paso, Texas, often the third guy off the bench, hoisted a prayer three-pointer that somehow found the bottom of the net, pushing Maryland past Georgia Tech, 76-74.
Tucker, who has averaged a quiet 4.7 points per game through three seasons at Maryland, has developed a bit of a reputation for being clutch.
As a sophomore, Tucker exploded off the bench for 22 points, including 5-for-7 from three-point range, in a thrilling 88-85 win over eventual national champions North Carolina.
The scenario leading into basketball's equivalent of a Hail Mary? Freshman phenom Derrick Favors had given Tech a 74-73 lead with 3.0 seconds left following a tip-in.
Maryland quickly inbounded the ball to senior point guard Greivis Vasquez, the man most fans thought would be taking that shot.
Vasquez sprinted down the court and tossed up a shot a step inside of the half court line, which banked in. As fans exploded with excitement, the reality was that Maryland assistant coach Keith Booth had called a timeout before the ball left Vasquez's fingertips. Strangely, that was probably the right decision.
The timeout gave Maryland head coach Gary Williams an opportunity to draw up a play. According to InsideMDSports.com's Seth Hoffman, Williams anticipated that Georgia Tech would smother Vasquez and fellow backcourt mate Eric Hayes.
After all, earlier in the game, Vasquez nailed a three-pointer to move him into the elite 2,000-point club. As it turns out, Vasquez was the first player in ACC history to record 2,000 points, 700 assists and 600 rebounds. And to my knowledge, he's the first player in NCAA history to do it as well.
Back on topic. Williams gave Hayes the duty of inbounding the ball. Seniors Landon Milbourne and Vasquez set screens for Tucker, who found an exceptionally good look in the corner for a contested three. Georgia Tech forward Glen Rice Jr. did his best to get a hand in Tucker's face. Tucker pump faked before letting the ball fly. The rest, as they say, was history.
"Definitely the shot of my life," Tucker told reporters after the game.
It was Maryland's first buzzer beater since Drew Nicholas buried a game-winner to beat UNC-Wilmington in the first round of the 2003 NCAA Tournament.
Friday, February 19, 2010
This year, though, I'll be tuning in, at least for the tango portion. You see, all 23 couples will be required to perform a sensual 'tango romantica' routine. It's sexy. It's heated. And while that might sound terrible, it's actually awesome for one reason: four of the 23 duos are brother and sister, including the ones pictured above.
Yep. Sinead and John Kerr, pictured above, will have to do everything but seal the deal in front of a televised audience of millions of people.
"On the ice, we don't think of each other as brother and sister," John Kerr told The New York Times. Careful, John. If you go out there and get caught up in the moment, how are you going to explain popping a chubby on national TV?
One dancer, Christina Beier of Germany, told the Times that after an injury last year, she and her brother William attempted routines with other partners. That didn't last long: "With others, it was harder. It is from nature that we move together. When we got back together, it was like we never split up."
I'm sorry, Ms. Beier, but it sounds like your choreographer and/or sex ed teacher may be from West Virginia. Here's a bonus bold prediction: this is going to create some awkward family reunions.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Jamison was part of a six-player, three-team deal that ultimately resulted in the Wizards giving up Jamison and newly acquired forward Drew Gooden.
In return, Washington receives former Cleveland center Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Cleveland's first round draft pick as well as former Los Angeles Clippers forwards Al Thornton and Emir Preldzic.
While it's sad to see Jamison, the last part of the "Big Three" no longer a part of the organization, getting rid of the 33-year old's hefty contract was a top priority. Getting a first round draft pick, a 26-year old Thornton with some upside -- he averaged 17 points and 5 rebounds per game last year in Los Angeles -- and clearing some cap room for a 2010 free agent shopping spree is more than worth seeing Jamison's departure.
It will be nice to watch Jamison compete for an NBA Championship, something Jamison is clearly looking forward to: "I didn't accomplish what I wanted to, and I feel bad because of the fans. They were great fans. But I was happy. I know that I can look myself in the mirror and say that I gave my all, but I knew the journey placed before me might be a great journey and might be the journey I always dreamed of," Jamison told The Washington Post.
As the Wizards won't be competing for a ring any time in the next three or four years, trading Jamison to an in-conference rival isn't as threatening as it once appeared.
Expect the Wizards to win maybe five more games down the stretch. Washington can hope for the first overall draft pick to nab future superstar point guard John Wall from Kentucky and add a big name free agent or two in the process. After all, championships aren't built overnight.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
That's right. 4.43 seconds. I can barely get off my couch in 4.43 seconds, much less be 40 yards away from where I started.
Of course, the only proof of this actually happening is Green's Twitter feed, which read: "Quick update from the Birthday Boy:) I think today I became the fastest 50 year old in the world! @9AM today, I celebrated my 50th BDay.....By running the 40 yard dash in Orlando, Florida in a time of 4.43! FYI, all born between 1946 -1964 are baby boomers..."
Green was known for being one of the fastest players in NFL history during his 20-season tenure. Coming out of college at Texas A&I University -- now Texas A&M-Kingsville -- Green was known just as much for his prowess on the track as his success on the gridiron.
In fact, he was so well-known for his speed, that if you look up 40-yard dash on Wikipedia, Green is listed in the entry: "Darrell Green, who once ran the 40-yard dash in an unofficial time of 4.09 seconds, had a collegiate best of 10.08 s in the 100 meters."
For argument's sake, let's say Green ran a conservative (and much more human-like) 4.25 or 4.30 at the age of 18. Thirty-two years later, he's literally only lost a step. Or maybe a half-step.
I'm practically breaking out in a sweat writing this. All this talk about exercise has me feeling like I've really physically exerted myself for the day. I think I'll eat a cheeseburger for lunch.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
The story, loosely based off the Jamaican national bobsled team that qualified for the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, follows team captain Derice Bannock as he recruits three teammates, Sanka Coffie, Yul Brenner and Junior Bevil to compete with him.
John Candy portrays Irv Blitzer, a former Olympic medalist turned svelte coach, who gets the guys into tip-top shape by putting Coffie in a walk-in freezer and the entire team uncomfortably into a bathtub to simulate the closeness of a four-man bobsled.
I won't give away any spoilers to this blockbuster, which has been on VHS since 1994, but suffice it to say that nothing gets me more fired up for Olympic competition than watching four hilarious guys from a tropical island react to seeing snow for the first time.
For those of you who want the realest experience possible, Cool Runnings is available on VHS on eBay for a very reasonable price. Or, if you don't mind an unauthentic movie viewing experience, it's on sale at Amazon.com on DVD.
Monday, February 15, 2010
It's natural, then, for fans to cringe at the organization's most recent injury, which happened to up-and-coming starting pitcher Brad Bergesen.
The 24-year old pitcher strained his throwing shoulder filming an Orioles TV commercial.
"The production company that came in wanted it to be as realistic as possible. And I was trying to please, and I got caught up in a moment," Bergesen said.
The strain, which occurred in December but was not revealed until Friday, will shelve Bergesen until 10 days into spring training.
Bergesen had a promising rookie year campaign and could have challenged for the Rookie of the Year Award last year had it not been for a fluke injury sidelining him for the second half of the season. He finished 2009 second on Baltimore's roster in wins (7), starts (19) and led the team in ERA (3.43).
Due to the injury, President of Operations Andy MacPhail has implemented an organization-wide policy for commercials in the future: "We have already made some adjustments in terms of making sure we have medical personnel or baseball personnel present for anything we do in the future."
Here's to hoping that "a series of fluke injuries" and "but he had so much promise" don't become Bergesen's trademarks for which he's remembered long after his professional career is done.
Friday, February 12, 2010
Francisco Fernandez, a 20k race walker, has been suspended by the Spanish Athletics Federation for "his admission of possessing a banned substance."
There are so many ridiculous parts to this story that it's hard to know where to begin.
First, Fernandez was already investigated in November in an anti-doping raid as a part of Operation Grial. According to Irish newspaper The Independent, Ireland's racewalkers were seriously distraught about Fernandez's suspected involvement.
"I have never worked with this doctor and I have never had anything to do with doping," Fernandez told Ireland-based The Independent.
What kind of banned substances could Fernandez possibly be using to gain an edge on his racewalking competition? Growth hormones to make his legs longer? Steroids to make his legs more statuesque? Some sort of toxic ooze to make his legs turn into wheels?
Fernandez, who won a 2004 Olympic silver medal, told the police that he had "acquired the substance" but "had not consumed it."
Will this story take athlete doping to a new level? Will we soon find out that the world's top curlers are using performance enhancing drugs?
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Well, a little fan support was there. As in the 11 fans who greeted the team at IND Airport.
The Indianpolis Star's Kevin O'Neal wrote that "The buses left the ramp without a word from anyone on the team. The closest any of the 11 fans got to the Colts was the other side of a security fence several hundred feet away."
Nothing says 'thank you' like silently peering through a security fence a quarter mile away.
O'Neal quoted a few people for the story, or roughly 40 percent of the fans who showed up: "Win or lose, they're still our team," Brownsburg resident Karen Calhoun told The Star.
One would think that a Super Bowl win would have netted at least five times as many fans at the airport as the Super Bowl loss did.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
SMARTEST: Google, a minute-long commercial in which the world's most powerful search engine uses several searches to tell the story of a man following his heart to France, it seems.
DUMBEST: GoDaddy, in which Danica Patrick receives a massage from a psychopath who flaunts her chest and asks the race car driver, "Do you think I could be a GoDaddy girl, too?" GoDaddy continues to pummel the public with awful Super Bowl commercials that try to go over the top in being racy but fall way short of being clever.
BIGGEST SELLOUT: Tie goes to Skechers shoes and Taco Bell. Both commercials featured retired athletes -- Skechers, which featured a not-so-believable Joe Montana saying that "Skechers Shape-Ups have improved my strength and posture," and Taco Bell, which featured an all-too-believable Charles Barkley rhyming about how much he loves the $5 Big Box. I think everyone can agree that Sir Charles should cut back on his $5 Big Box intake.
FUNNIEST: Snickers, which featured cameos from Betty White and Abe Vigoda as two hungry guys playing pickup football with their friends. Seeing Betty White running a route before getting hit-sticked into a puddle of mud? Nicely done, Snickers.
FUNNIEST (RUNNER-UP): Dorito's, for its commercial about a guy picking up a girl for a date. The young son quickly lays out the house rules: "[Slap] Keep your hands off my mama, and keep your hands of my Dorito's."
FUNNIEST ONE YOU NEVER SAW: Bud Light, which had a risque commercial about an office clothing drive banned. Hint: everyone gets naked for Bud Light, just like in real life. Wait, what?
Monday, February 8, 2010
There was no winner of the Puppy Bowl. There never is. It's not actually a competition at all, but just a bunch of adorable -- and adoptable -- puppies running around playing with each other, while some creepy guy in a Foot Locker employee uniform occasionally calls "penalties" and announces scores.
As the event continues to get more and more popular, it also becomes more and more ridiculous. This year's cheerleaders were rabbits, while uglier dogs sat on the sideline as fans. And there was a blimp that housed a handful of hamsters.
I was particularly partial to Sage, an eight-week old Labrador mix. But let's be honest, all 42 dogs were adorable. Even the Waterbowl Camera should make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Watch the hi-def player introductions and part of the first quarter below.
Friday, February 5, 2010
The Venezuelan señor, er, senior, said after the Terps' 71-67 win in Tallahassee that, "the fans here were crazy, the craziest I've ever had since NC State. They were being racist, they were talking about deporting me and sending me back home, calling me Mexican when I'm Venezuelan."
Shown on the Raycom television feed, in poor editorial discretion was a sign that read: "Deport Vasquez".
"It was pretty bad, so they deserved to lose. That's why they lost. I showed up like I showed up, like I'm the best player on the court and they have to take it like that," Vasquez said.
Vasquez quieted the haters with a cool 23-point, 7-rebound and 7-assist night, putting his huevos on display while securing a pivotal road win for the Terps (15-6, 5-2 ACC). For good measure, he included his recently patented shimmy, shown on loop here (warning: hypnotizing and possibly dangerous for your health).
Maryland, still a probable bubble team if the season ended today, returns home to the Comcast Center for a pair of home games, against North Carolina (13-9, 2-5 ACC) and Virginia (14-6, 5-2 ACC).
Thursday, February 4, 2010
I specifically say "put under the influence" because Maualuga was pulled over the other day by a cop who administered a sobriety test.
The following back-and-forth between said cop and Maualuga is unintentionally comedic. Samples include:
"How much have you had to drink tonight?"
"Not very much."
"How much is 'not much'?"
"How much is that?"
"What's your education level, sir?"
"So it's safe to say you know your ABCs? ... and zeroes to 100?"
The following sobriety test, video below, is confusing for me, and I just got back from lunch. So for a drunk jock, it can only be even more confusing. At one point, he's asked to count backwards from 98 to 72, and his response is something along the lines of, "are you kidding me?"
Later, at roughly the 4 minute, 30 second mark, I'm pretty sure he farts. Twice. Enjoy the video here.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
All pretty straightforward, except for the fact that Gay seriously misjudged and/or mistimed his shot, leaving plenty of time on the clock for the Lakers' last possession of the quarter.
The announcer makes a pretty funny call, as Memphis fans everywhere sat in disbelief, looking at almost seven seconds on the clock.
"Rudy got the knock away ... loose ball ... picked up by Rudy ... oh, Rudy had plenty of time! With seven seconds left he launches a shot. ... Bryant for a three, [sounding deflated] ... at the horn."
In worst-case-scenario mode, the Lakers got the rebound, made a quick outlet pass to Kobe Bryant in the corner, who drilled a three as time expired.
D'oh. The Grizzlies still won the game 95-93, but the gaffe was arguably the highlight of the night.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Item A - NCAA Tournament to invite everybody and their mommas?
(Typically) credible blog Sports by Brooks reported yesterday that the NCAA Tournament's expansion from 65 teams to 96 teams is a "done deal."
Says SBB: An ESPN source said, "It’s a done deal with the expansion of the tournament. Depending on how soon a (TV) deal is done, the added teams could start next year. The NCAA confirmed that bidders would be interested in 96 teams, so they’re going with it."
Sports Business Journal's John Ourand and Michael Smith also wrote yesterday that, "CBS and Turner Sports are in discussions to create a joint bid for the NCAA tournament rights if the NCAA decides to opt out of its current CBS deal."
I've already expressed my thoughts on the issue (Cliff's Notes: an abomination of epic proportions) two weeks ago in this blog post, which you can read here. If the NIT and CBI Tournaments are not absorbed into this, you're going to see a lot of mediocre if not downright terrible teams playing in the postseason. And yes, everybody would get a juice box.
Item B - The Big Ten to become the Little 12?
It's no secret that the Big Ten, which ironically already has 11 members, wants to steal another high-major team to complete its move to become the Other Big 12. But the rumors have gotten particularly specific as of late, citing Pittsburgh as the school most likely to join the conference.
Sports radio host Ben Maller, whose name was unfamiliar until yesterday, said that, "University of Pittsburgh athletics are moving to the Big 10 conference, according to sources close to the school."
But Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune attempted to quash that rumor after it came out, saying that the original source of the rumor "was a few student-athletes at Pitt who Tweeted about a meeting during which Big Ten expansion was brought up — or, more likely, not brought up."
Either way, the Big Ten is definitely looking to add, and that should become official by the middle of 2011 at the latest. Other possible additions include Missouri, Notre Dame, Rutgers and Syracuse, among others. How on Earth will they figure out how to incorporate a '2' into the Big Ten logo? It was hard enough to get the '1' in there.
Monday, February 1, 2010
Zorn was a well-established quarterbacks coach with the Seattle Seahawks and was the front-runner for the Redskins' offensive coordinator position, until owner (and imbecile) Daniel Snyder decided to give him the keys to the car.
What happened for the next two years was nothing short of painful for Redskins fans, as the team compiled a 12-20 record before severing ties with Zorn, ending what seemed more like an abusive relationship than a head coaching tenure.
Zorn led Washington to a 4-12 record, the Redskins' worst mark since 1993, including six losses to NFC East opponents. Widely regarded as in over his head, Zorn was expectedly let go on January 4th, but is still collecting a hefty $2.4 million paycheck from Snyder's deep pockets.
It didn't take Zorn long to find a new job that clearly suits his abilities better, as he will take over for former quarterbacks coach Hue Jackson, who took the offensive coordinator job in Oakland.
As a quarterbacks coach, Zorn did a stand-up job working intimately with Matt Hasselbeck, who made three Pro Bowl appearances during Zorn's tenure in Seattle.
Said Harbaugh: "I've gotten to know Jim the last couple of years. He's a good, kind and decent man. He's an exciting addition to our staff."
Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco joined in on the excitement, adding, "I am excited to hear about the addition of Coach Zorn to our staff. The amount of success that coach Zorn has achieved on the field both as a player and coach is going to be a huge asset to me personally, and to us as an organization."