Ben Woodside: NDSU’s All-Time Leading Scorer

First, Minnesota Golden Gophers beat No. 9 Louisville Cardinals 70-64 on Saturday in Arizona.  Big Ten cred!!

Second, North Dakota States Ben Woodside set the NDSU All-Time Scoring record on Monday night against Northern Arizona.

Woodside scored his 1,814th point with around 13 minutes remaining in the game and then finished with 1820.  He surpassed Denver TenBroek you played from 1999 – 2003.

Woodside had a total of 24 points against the Lumberjacks,  shooting 7-11 from the field and 10-12 from the foul line.  He also dished out 10 assists and had 3 steals.

Sporting Events I Need to Attend Before I Die

Let me start off by saying, this is not a Bucket List.  At least not just yet and hopefully not for another 40-50 years.  So please stop crying and stop writing long-winded eulogies that praise me so much it makes everyone else feel awkward.  But feel free to continue writing that check to help put my children through college, even though they are only two and 5 months from being born – every little bit helps. 

OK, now back to the point of this article.

This is merely a list of events that I would love to experince and that would rate highly using the “Goose Bump Factor”.  

For those uninformed; GBF, or “Goose Bump Factor”, is used by individuals to gage how incredible – or “freakin’ awesome” -  an event, a play or a moment truly is.  The formula was derived from the sensation that occurs at the single moment when statements such as;  “That was sick!” or “Did you see that?” or “You gotta be kidding me!” can be heard.  When a moment is so breath-taking, so “I can’t believe what I just saw”, that the individual’s body is over come with the “chills” – commonly known as Goose Bumps.

Now for some, the GBF would be greatly enhanced by witnessing a team, or players, which they have followed their entire life.  The Chicago Cubs winning the World Series means more to folks – yes, I just used the word folks – in the Windy City then to the Red Soxs nation.   Even though they did have a close relationship prior to 2004 through BCA – Baseball Curses Anonymous.

Yet, some events are so big, so spectacular that it does not matter if your team is involved.  You just have to be there.

So, with no further ado and in a very particular order.  Here are my Top-10 Events based on the GBF.

1.  Duke vs. North Carolina at Carmon Indoor Stadium – As a Duke fan, and a college basketball follower, there is no other situation that breeds more adrenaline and excitement than when the Tarheels come to Durham.

2. FIFA World Cup Final -  There is little qualifying I need to do here.  I have watched some many matches on TV, that just the idea of being there gets my blood pumping.  Someone needs to scream GOAL!

3. Final Four - Long have I wanted to go.  The closest I came was in 2001 when Duke beat Arizona to win their third Championship in Minneapolis.  Maryland, which won the following year, and Michigan State, which won the previous year, rounded off the Final Four.  Alas, I couldn’t get the money together – poor college kid. 

4.  The First Weekend of  the NCAA Tourney – Most people barely know the names on the front and definitely don’t now know that names on the back of the jerseys of the teams playing Duke, UConn or UNC.  But every year something amazing happens and we meet someone new.  Plain and simple.

5.  Manchester United Vs. Arsenal at the Emirates – I wanted to list Arsenal beating Chelsea, but there is no guarantee – and I don’t need to see John Terry’s mug the whole game.  Plus with this match-up you get to see Ronaldo sent to the ground without being touched.

6.  NBA Finals – About 2-3 years ago The NBA Finals would have been number 2-4.  But because of my frustration with the T’Wolves and my awreness of soccer, it has fallen to sixth.  That being said, I would like to see the Celtics and Lakers rematch in June.   

7. The European Championships-  The Euros, the second biggest soccer tournament in the world.  Powerhouses like this year winner Spain, Italy, Germany and France – hopefully England soon – you get to see the best, multiple times.

8. The Olympics - Summer or Winter – probably summer – but either way you  witness athletes competing after training for four years.  Everything is more significant.

9.  World Series -  The Twins played in one of – if not THE – greatest World Series of all time in 1991.  I know the Twins are a long ways away from getting back there, but the series gets shown on ESPN classic a lot.  Baseball is a beautiful combination smells, sounds, Kevin Costner starring in Field of Dreams, that takes us back to a simpler time – about 9-10 months ago.  Maybe it is just the pace of  the game and the relief that the 162 game season is finally come to an end.

10. Wimbledon – I used to watch the grand-daddy of all tennis tournament with my mother when I was younger.  In the summer we would get up, grab breakfast and tune in.  I remember watching Boris Becker dive on the court, the odd but shiny trophies, and I remember the child labor of the ball boys and girls.  I remember all the white clothing and thinking that was not a good choice because they will get dirty. Ultimately,  I remember the passion.

 

Honorable Mention

UEFA Champions League Final

The Super Bowl

Michigan and Ohio State Football

The Masters

ESPN 2009 NBA Mock Lottery Drafting Thingy

ESPN has done it again.  And I am scared.  ESPN has unveiled their 2009 NBA Lottery Mock Draft game.

When you click it,  it auto populates the entire lottery.  It breaks down the chances of your favorite losing team.  And  depending on just how bad their record is – Oklahoma City is 2-24 and has the best chance for the first pick at 25% .   It then fills in the draft order and players selected.  It’s supposedly random.

The one time I was able to get the Timberwolves – they are second with 19.9% –  to the first pick, they pick Blake Griffin.  I feel good about that.  I am happy with the Oklahoma stud. 

SIDE NOTE:  If we get Griffin, maybe we could trade Kevin Love back to Memphis for our original pick from last year, O.J. Mayo - still blows my mind.  But I am sure the Grizzles would go for it.

But every other time, when the T’Wolves  have the second or third pick, that damn game gives them Hasheem Thabeet, the 7’3″ junior center from UConn.

NO!

THE TIMBERWOLVES CANNOT WASTE ANOTHER LOTTERY PICK ON A ONE DIMENSIONAL PLAYER!

Not when Arizona State’s James Harden, Davidson’s Stephen Curry, and Georgetown Center Greg Monroe are still on the board.  And don’t forget the international flavorings with Spain’s Ricky Rubio and Brandon Jennings.

Not until the T’Wolves are at the four slot does the crazy game give us Stephen Curry.

One might ask; Why do you have such an issue with this game?

Answer:  Because I swear to all that is holy that the T’Wolves are going to pick Thabeet because the feakin’ game “told” them to.  It feels like something McHale would do.  Hopefully he will not be around to mess it up again.

Tuesday Night Hoopla

Main Event in Two Acts

SEC/Big East Invitational.

No. 18 Tennessee Vs. No. 24 Marquette.

Highlight of the First Act:  6’7″ Volunteer Scotty Hopson made a smooth back door cut that left his defender guarding air.  The bounce pass came on time and target.  Hopson caught the ball and elevated for the easy dunk.  The moment he started jump, so did Marquette’s Dominique James.  The went up together and met at the rim and James sent the shot away.  James is 5’11″.  Block of the Year!

The First half was close as the Volunteers looked and played hungover from the Temple game.  Tennessee was content to stand on the perimeter and launch from deep.  Marquette was OK with that as well.

Highlight of the Second Act:  6’9″ Junior Forward Wayne Chism and his 21 points.

wcWayne Chism must have reintroduced himself to his teammates at half time.  Because in the first half, the rest of the Volunteers did not get him the ball.  Maybe they forgot Chism was on their team.  How can you?  He is the only guy who wears his headband like that.

The first two plays in the second half were sets for Chism on the block and there was no looking back.  The Volunteers have talented wings, but Chism is the only viable post option.  If you don’t at least attempt to get the ball in the post, your offense is limited strictly to jumpers.  Chism finished with a career high 26 points and also grabbed ten rebounds.

For Chism, this is a game that Bruce Pearl has been waiting for.  Hopefully it is only the beginning.  If Tennessee wants to get back to the top of SEC quickly – and stay there - Chism needs to be a consistent double double player.  He is talented enough.

After watching the game, I looked at the box score and was surprised.  Tennesse’s Tyler Smith had 14 points on 6-6 shooting from the field and 4-6 from the foul line.  That is why I like him.  You don’t need to talk about him or have to force the ball to him, he just gets the job done.  

Marquette’s Wesley Matthew scored a career high 30 points in attempt to carry his team.  He also had four rebounds and three assists.

Texas Shooter

In basketball terms, Texas guard A.J. Abrams is short.  He stands only 5′11″.  But outside of Davidson’s Stephen Curry, there is no other player in the country who carries his teams success squarelyon their shoulders.  Now his name must be put into the Player of the Year conversation.

In No. 5 Texas’ 88-72 victory over Texas Southern, Abrams shot 59% from the floor, 3-3 from the charity stripe and 4-8 from distance.  His most important stat of the night: zero turnovers.

Texas again had Justin Mason run the point, and he did had four rebounds, six assists and zero turnovers. It seems Texas final found a solution for the “replacing D.J. Augustin” problem.

6’10″ big boy Dexter Pittman continued to show confidence and improvement.  Playing strong for the longhorns in the middle, he finished with a career high 19 points and added five rebounds and 3 blocks.

Texas is still a team that makes me nervous.  They seem to play up or down to their opponent – which can be be good and bad, but definitely frustrating.  If you take Abrams off this team, the Longhorns don’t make play in the NCAA Tournament.  

Texas forward Damion James is solid averaging 14 points and 7.8 rebounds a game.  I am still waiting for him to explode - in a good way.  James has yet to prove that he is any better than he was last season and that can’t be sitting well with NBA scouts. 

Bull in a China Shop

Both starting forwards for the South Florida Bulls fouled out.  Back-up center Alex Rivas Sanchez has four fouls in six minutes.  Vanderbilt center A.J. Ogilvy attempted 13 free throw, the Bulls made 12.

The 6’11″ Ogilvy was the dominate player in the lane and along with fouling out the starting post players, he finished with 20 points and 13 rebounds.  Ogilvy checked in and out of game many times, supposedly he is struggling with endurance.  Aren’t we all.

Note to Vanderbilt Coach Kevin Stallings.  Burn that tie.

Fear the Ospreys?

No. 25 Clemson could have stopped at half.  If they had, they would have won the game by won point.  Clemson destroyed North Florida 76-36.  Clemson scored 37 in the first half.  The North Florida Ospreys enter the match-up 0-7 for the year.

An Osprey is a fish eating hawk that can have a wingspan up to a six feet wide.

The Clemson Tigers are good, North Florida Ospreys are not.  Even if they can fly.

I Told You So

Last week I said that North Dakota State’s point guard Ben Woodside should be a write-in candidate for National Player of the Year.  And look what happened.

He scored 60 points in a single game and then follows that up with a 31 point, 10 assist performance.  He is third in the nation in scoring at 26.9, third in assists at 7.6.  NDSU now ranks third in nation in total offense scoring 90.3 points a game and fourth in three point shooting at 45.7 percent a game.  Go Bison.

Annoyance of the Evening

In the middle of the Vanderbilt game – and at the end of the Tenn/Marq. game – certain commentators felt need to bring up Tyler Hansbrough.  No connection to what was happening in the game.

I have heard his name more this Holiday Season than Jesus.  Maybe Ricky Bobby will pray to baby Hansbrough.  Apparently, Hansbrough can shuffle his pivot foot on water too.

Duke’s Gerald Henderson: What Is He Waiting For?

We have seen flashes of brilliance.  A knack for making shots in crucial moments and his jump shot was closing on the rank of “consistent”.  His ability to read the court and defenders was improving and his shot selection was much better.  His basketball skills were about to catch-up to his athletic talents.

Gerald Henderson

Through Gerald Henderson’s career, his athletic gifts – specifically his vertical –  have elevated his status.  His ability to jump over and around defenders gave us the comfort that a blossoming into greatness would happen soon.

At the end of last season, Henderson was on the cusp.  All the signs pointed that way, everyone could see it, and we all jumped on the bandwagon.  Henderson was about to move from a potential big-time talent to a bona fide division one super-star.

But that hasn’t happened yet.

This season, we have seen those same moments of jaw-dropping athleticism.  Dunks over bigger players and blocks at the rim when it seemed an easy lay-up for the opponents.  Those moments are spectacular, they are memorable, and they will get Henderson on Sportscenter.

What makes the great players truly great?  They dig down deep and find ways to put those moments together.  Moments which turn into portions of games,  portions that turn into whole games of greatness.  And then maybe, just maybe, a season where everything “clicks”.

But that hasn’t happened yet.

Burden to Bare?

The expectations are here.  The criticism is coming on faster and heavier and Henderson knows something is out of whack.  So why is this different?  Why is this more difficult?  Henderson has risen to the occasion before.  He has been playing with high expectations his whole basketball career.  Both direct and indirect.

Henderson grew-up while  his father, Henderson Sr., won three  NBA Championships.  Two with the Boston Celtics and one with the Detroit Pistons.  During his 13 year career, Henderson Sr. played with many of the greatest players in NBA history.

Henderson Sr. wore the Celtics jersey with the greatest frontcourt of all-time; Larry Bird, Robert Parrish, and Kevin McHale.  He also suited up along side Patrick Ewing, Charles Barkley Isiah Thomas, and Joe Dumars through out his NBA career.

As a  five-star recruit coming out of high school, Henderson was selected a McDonald’s All-American.   When recapping his play against players like Greg Oden, Kevin Durant and Brandon Wright in the all-start type game in 2006, DraftExpress.com called Henderson “The most complete player on the floor”.

Rivals.com rated Henderson as the 11th best player in the country and 2ndbest shooting guard behindhis former high school teammate and current underrted UNC star, Wayne Ellington.  Of the ten players that were rated ahead of Henderson on Rivals.com, all but three, Ellington, Ty Lawson of UNC, and Chase Budinger of Arizona, are in the NBA.

Sophomore to Junior

This preseason, Henderson was selected to the All-ACC First Team with UNC’s Ty Lawson and Tyler Hanbrough, Boston College guard Tyrese Rice, and Miami guard Jack McClinton.  Henderson also appeared on the Preseason Wooden Award Top 50 as athlete to watch as a possible winner of the award.

There has been plenty of ups and downs this season.  In a tough game against South Illinois, Henderson scored a season high 20 points while shooting 50 percent from the floor and going six for seven from the foul line.

In Duke’s next five games, Henderson highest scoring output was 14 points facing 1-AA Montana and in Duke’s 76-60 win over Purdue  in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge,  Henderson had a season low 2 points.

In his defense, in that same game at Purdue, Henderson had nine rebounds, five assists, two blocks and a steal.  While Henderson is struggling to find offensive consistency, he is too talented and is finding  other ways to contribute.

I Think I Can

We always hear about players who are pressing.  Players pressing because the moment is so big, the other team is highly ranked – or a rival-  and they want to their individual play to reflect the importance of game.

As a Duke player, Henderson is no stranger to crucial games in front of a national audience.

Henderson personally extended the Blue Devils season when he went coast to coast to score a finger roll with11 seconds left in the game to beat Belmont in the first round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament.  Duke plays in the ACC and you can see at least one of their games a week on ESPN.  To top it all, Henderson has played in the greatest rivalry in college basketball against UNC.

In the nine “biggest” games last season for Duke; 2 UNC, 2 Clemson (1 in ACC Tourney), 1 GT (ACC Tourney), 1 Davidson, 1 Wisconsin,  and 2 games in the NCAA Tourney (Belmont and West Virginia), Henderson performed above his season averages, averaging 14.2 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.2 steals and 1.6 blocks in those games.  Henderson averaged 12.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.1 steals and .9 blocks a game through out the season. 

But why is he pressing?

College Education

I believe there are a few reasons.

Other than Grant Hill’s last two seasons, Duke will never feature a “one-man team”.  Henderson is on the most talent rich team Duke has had since 2004.  This years Duke team has multiple McDonald’s All-Americans and other top-tier talent, and Henderson is not the first option on offense.  Like a lot of talented players who are not utilized at every moment, Henderson’s attention goes in and out.  At times, he becomes invisible on the floor.

Duke uses a very fluid offense that favors no one player, other than Kyle Singler.  Coach K features him only because he is a versatile and talented “big-man”.  At times Duke will run a set to get Henderson the ball and let him create, but he is not called-on to carry a team like Stephen Curry does at Davidson.

Secondly, I do think Henderson is forcing the issue and not allowing the game to happen.  Whenever he gets the ball on the perimeter, he is in a hurry.  It looks unnatural.   There is almost the sense that Henderson needs to dunk on the entire opposing team to validate the Blue Devil fans belief in him.

Lastly, Henderson figured this would be his last season at Duke, so everything means more and needs to more memorable than before.  The NBA is calling and and Henderson wants to bluster his resume.

Like any good college student, he wanted to show interested employers that he not only spent the time in the classroom learning the theory.  But that he is talented and experience enough to put the theory into practice.

No Madness Yet

Coach K is not panicking – at least not yet.  No Duke player is in the top five of any major offensive statistical category in the ACC, but Duke is still the third highest scoring team in the conference at 81.7 points per game.  The Blue Devils are fourth in shooting percentage – even after the horrible game against Michigan.  They are also third in threes per game, making 6.1 three pointers a game as well.  But are only shooting 30.7 percent behind the arc, which is the 4th worst in the conference.

Everyone can take a breath deep.  Duke has only lost one game to a better than advertised Michigan team who also beat UCLA earlier this season.

Here is Henderson’s saving grace; everyone will forget by March.

Duke and Henderson will be in enough high profile games and have enough opportunities to erase all the worries and show that he is still a relevant player in college basketball and the NBA.  That he still has the potential to, and can, live-up to all the hype.  Ultimately, that his future is yet to be determined.

Years down the road, when Henderson has been drafted into the NBA and is making millions of dollars playing a game for a living.  We all will look back at these struggles and call this a journey.  A journey to the top of the mountain – a mountain he can probably jump over.

Top-15 Draft Prospects

Spain's Ricky Rubio
Spain's Ricky Rubio

I have a love/hate relationship with ESPN.  I love the amount of college basketball they give me.  The ability to watch game after game after game.  I like some of the announcers and analysts, and and how in-depth some of them can get.  But I hate that way it is delivered, covered in tainted, biased crap. 

Sorry about that -  I got a little emotional.

Here is another hate item.  Conference play is barely in sight and ESPN is already listing their NBA Draft Prospects.  ESPN is the single biggest reason we have all these one and done freshmen.  Seriously.  Look at the amount of coverage these “student athletes” get starting in high school.  ESPNU had a high school signing day a mini-NFL draft-like special.  Having players interview live, announcing he best classes and projecting the future.  That is a whole other post.

But, I watch.  Anyway, listed below is the list of the Top-15 from the Worldwide Leader in Sports.  I agree with a lot of what the have on the list.  But there is no way any NBA team is picking Arizona’s Jordan Hill before Wake Forrest’s  Al-Faroug Aminu or Georgetown’s Greg Monroe.  NO WAY!

 

2009 NBA Draft Prospects: Top 100
RK NAME POS HT WT AGE SCHOOL/COUNTRY PROJECTION
1 Blake Griffin PF 6-10 245 19 Oklahoma Top 5
 
2 Ricky Rubio PG 6-4 180 18 Spain Top 5
 
3 Hasheem Thabeet C 7-3 265 21 Connecticut Lottery
 
4 James Harden SG 6-4 215 19 Arizona State Top 10
 
5 Stephen Curry PG 6-3 185 20 Davidson Lottery
 
6 Jrue Holiday PG 6-3 180 18 UCLA Lottery
 
7 Brandon Jennings PG 6-2 165 19 Italy Top 10
 
8 B. J. Mullens C 7-1 260 19 Ohio State Top 10
 
9 DeMar DeRozan SG 6-6 200 19 USC Top 10
 
10 Jordan Hill PF 6-9 211 21 Arizona Lottery to mid-first round
 
11 Al-Farouq Aminu SF 6-8 205 18 Wake Forest Lottery to mid-first round
 
12 Greg Monroe PF 6-11 250 18 Georgetown Mid- to late first round
 
13 Gani Lawal PF 6-9 220 19 Georgia Tech Lottery to mid first round
 
14 Earl Clark SF 6-9 200 20 Louisville Lottery to mid-first round
 
15 Austin Daye SF 6-10 190 20 Gonzaga Lottery

Ben Woodside for National Player of the Year

In almost every article that I have written on Fox Sports, I have mentioned either Ben Woodside or the North Dakota State Bison.

In the latest article, I throw his name out as a “Write-in Candidate for Player of the Year”, and he has done some work to help his cause and once again, North Dakota State’s basketball team is in the national news.

Ben Woodside

In a 111-112 lose to Stephen F. Austin, Woodside scored 60 points in the triple-overtime game.  In the game Woodside shot 14-32 from the floor, 30-35 from the free throw line, he also finished with eight rebounds and eight assists.

As an encore the following evening, Woodside lead NDSU to a win 98-77 over Georgia Southern scoring 31 points and passed out 10 assists.  Woodside shot 8-15 from the floor, 4-5 from three and 11-12 from the foul line.