Category Archives: ESPN

Doug Gottlieb: “Looks like hoops was sacrificed for football at SC”

Part of being popular in sports media is writing shocking and negative articles – take a look at Jason Whitlock.   But Doug Gottlieb’s latest blog post on ESPN.com is not shocking, it just highlights the elephant in the room.  While some may find it shocking, Gottlieb points some very “interesting” penalties and asks “Why do they always feel the same?”.

Here is the theme of Gottlieb’s blog post:  When large college basketball programs get in trouble, it is to cover the ass of the football team.

After watching USC take down eight consecutive opponents, including winning the Diamond Head Classic and starting off 2-0 in conference play, it seemed the tales of the demise of SC hoops had been greatly exaggerated. Then just like that — in a move swift, decisive and thorough — athletic director Mike Garrett announced there would be no postseason basketball for this rag-tag group of second-chance Trojans.

Garrett’s move is an attempt to precede the NCAA in their ultimate findings, but it also reeks of both hypocrisy and a soullessness that leaves most in college basketball thinking the same thing: USC does not care about its current basketball players or its basketball program. Instead, USC simply believes — at least in my mind and that of many others in the sport — that by giving up its hoop dreams, the NCAA will go light on the school’s football program.

Gottlieb also points to other schools and their own issues.  But when it came to the punishment, it was not the football teams who had scholarships taken away or postseasons taken away, but the sport that does not bring in as much money.

Think about it realistically for a second. Look at the scandals in college sports over the past 20 years. Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, Ohio State and Indiana have all been on basketball probation in the Big Ten alone (and Northwestern had a point-shaving scandal), yet no one in the league has broken a rule so severe that there has been a major scandal on the football side? Come on.

I do not have any inside information, but it is tough to believe that, with all the suspensions and teams that have been on probation, that the rules were only broken by players and coaches who were sneakers and shorts and not cleats and helmets.

But again, how do you punish the current team for the past team’s NCAA violations? I just don’t get it. There must be consequences, but where is the accountability of the athletic department? It seems as though the coaches and players on the current team are the only ones truly accepting the blame for past transgressions.”

Good Story About Good People

Many of you know that I am a fan of stories that highlight good people in sports.  And with all the issues with otl_e_sutton13_400professional sports, sometimes you have to look a little deeper, and this story does that.

This story by Tom Rinaldi – video included – gives us a glimpse into the life of two high school wrestlers from Cleveland, OH and their bond that is about more than just sports.

Unbroken BondA train that severed his legs hasn’t stopped Leroy Sutton (right) from excelling in life. A disease that robs his eyesight hasn’t dulled Dartanyon Crockett’s dreams. Together, they are stronger.

I hope there is some kind of foundation in the works to get this two to college.  If anyone knows of anything, please let me know.

*Picture is from ESPN.com and taken by Kolman Rosenberg.

Chad Ford’s Mock Draft: Picks 1-5

Here is the latest Chad Ford mock draft with the first five picks.  You need to be an ESPN insider – which I am – to see the remainder of the first round.  I agree with a four of the five picks, but I think that the Hasheem Thabeet and Ricky Rubio could switch and I am not convinced that James Harden is the fifth best player in this draft, but he is more NBA ready than most other shooting guards.

I can tell you that with No. 6 – the MN Wolves pick is predicted to take Tyreke Evans.  I am warming to Evans, I will explain more later.

PICK TEAM PLAYER VITALS
L.A. Clippers Blake Griffin Position: PF
Height: 6-10
Weight: 248 pounds
Age: 20
School: Oklahoma

 Analysis:For the past several years, we’ve been blessed with at least a little suspense when it comes to who will be the No. 1 pick. Not this year. Griffin is going to be a Clipper. Sources around the league say that trade talks with the Clippers are virtually nonexistent when it comes to Griffin. Instead the Clippers are focusing on finding a new home for Chris Kaman or Zach Randolph. 
 

PICK TEAM PLAYER VITALS
Memphis Hasheem Thabeet Position: C
Height: 7-3
Weight: 267
Age: 22
School: Connecticut

 Analysis: The Grizzlies’ situation continues to be an enigma.

They are talking to a number of teams about a potential trade, and the Kings, Wizards, Knicks, Rockets and Celtics have shown interest in moving up to No. 2.

At the same time, the Grizzlies continue to publicly pursue Ricky Rubio, although a well-placed source in the point guard’s camp said it’s likely (though not definite) that Rubio will skip Memphis when he goes on a three-city U.S. tour next week. And there have been rumblings that Tyreke Evans is in the mix in Memphis.

But when the dust clears, it looks as though the most likely scenario has Thabeet in Memphis on draft night, if the Grizzlies keep the pick. If they move down, add Jordan Hill to the players who would be under consideration.  

PICK TEAM PLAYER VITALS
Oklahoma City Ricky Rubio Position: PG
Height: 6-4
Weight: 180
Age: 18
Country: Spain

 Analysis:The Thunder have been their typical quiet selves. GM Sam Presti has told a number of agents that he is interested in their players, but it has been difficult to ascertain the direction the team is leaning.

We continue to hear that the Thunder have expressed interest in Rubio, Thabeet, James Harden, Jordan Hill and Stephen Curry.

Rubio likely will make a visit to OKC some time before the draft, but major questions exist about how he would fit there. The team sees Russell Westbrook as its point guard of the future and isn’t sure how he would fare without the ball in his hands.

Maybe more importantly, Presti is an opportunist. If he can get a couple of good assets in return for the No. 3 pick, he won’t be afraid to pull the trigger.

But if he doesn’t, or if Rubio is off the board, the team will have to make a tough decision. Thabeet would give the Thunder the shot-blocking they desperately need. Harden would give them the savvy of a veteran. Curry would give them shooting. Hill would give them rebounding and energy. Oklahoma City could use all those things, but our guess is that it would settle on Harden or Curry. 

PICK TEAM PLAYER VITALS
Sacramento Jrue Holiday Position: PG
Height: 6-4
Weight: 199
Age: 18
School: UCLA

Analysis:At this point I think it’s safe to say the Kings have narrowed it down to Holiday, Flynn and Rubio. In Sacramento this past weekend, Flynn, Holiday (his second visit) and Brandon Jennings went head-to-head in front of the entire Kings brass.

Sources say Flynn was probably the best of the three in the workout, but that Holiday still holds a slight edge on their board. Flynn would provide immediate help and is a real floor leader. But Holiday’s size, upside and defensive ability give him a razor-thin edge.

If the Grizzlies and Thunder both pass on Rubio, the Kings could be in an interesting situation. Sources in Sacramento say the Kings have reservations about Rubio and that it’s far from a done deal that they will take him if he is on the board. Is it possible Rubio could slip past No. 4? Ultimately, I don’t think so. The Kings would be nuts to pass on him. But who would’ve thought a month ago it was even a possibility?  

PICK TEAM PLAYER VITALS
Washington James Harden Position:SG
Height: 6-5
Weight: 222
Age: 19
School: Arizona State

Analysis:As we’ve been reporting since draft lottery night, the Wizards are shopping this pick. A source in Washington told me the Wizards have had a number of interesting offers. Their goal is to get back a veteran who can play right now — and to shed a few million dollars off their payroll, if possible. A number of teams including the Knicks, Rockets and Pacers are possibilities here.

If the Wizards keep the pick, they’ll have a tough choice between Harden and Hill. From the intel I’ve received, it sounds as though Harden might be slightly ahead, though Hill and Davidson’s Stephen Curry are still very much in the mix.

Good News and Bobby Knight

Dr. RolleMryon Rolle

Finally some good news out of the Florida State Seminole football program.  Safety Myron Rolle is putting the NFL on hold and hearding to Oxford work on his master in medical anthropology as a Rhode Scholar.  “How do you like them apples?”

Rolle is projected to be a 2ndor3rd round pick this season.  And he realizes that waiting until next years draft would more than likely drop his status.  But Rolle is unfazed about his decision to head back to the classroom. 

Here is a quote from the espn.com article;

I want to be a neurosurgeon,” Rolle told ESPN’s Joe Schad in November. “And I want to help impoverished nations build up their vaccination programs. I think in many poor countries, vaccination programs and mental health programs are wrongly pushed aside.”

Knight Watch

Bobby KnightThe last couple of evenings Sportcenter has featured a new segment called “Knight Watch”.  Former coach Bobby Knight “breaks down” some of the best in college basketball.  He took a look at Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin and Davidson’s Steph Curry.  Tonight will be the Duke Blue Devils after their game against Georgia Tech.

I watched the bits on Griffin and Curry, and this segment is crap.  Plan and simple.  I understand trying to use Coach Knight more and showcase his “expertise”.  But it is unreal.

Knight highlighted some interesting film clips, showed Griffin’s athleticism and then made the “expert” analysis that the Sooner stud is “the best sophomore in the country”. 

Are you kidding me?

The next evening, Knight declares Curry the best passer in the nation.  WHAT?  Now, I will say Curry is a better passer than many give me credit, but that is what the legendary coach comes up with.

Griffin is the most physically dominate player in the country right now, period.  Regardless of class.

Curry is an all-around great player and is second in many POTY races.  But I am not sure I would call him the best passer in the country.

I have not seen the Duke segment, but I suppose tonight Knight will call Duke’s offense “good” and their defense “defensive”.  And that the Duke away uniforms are intimidating.  Or some random crap. 

I have long thought Knight was passed his prime and is not relevant in college basketball and ESPN has unintentionally exposed that truth.

Gerald HendersonGerlad Henderson

On January 10th the Duke Blue Devils beat  the Florida State Seminoles 66-58.  Nothing too exciting there.

What was exciting?  Gerald Henderson scored a career high 25 points, grabbed five rebounds and had three steals.  My hope is that this is the start of something beautiful.  My fear is that this was a fluke.

Henderson has bever been a great shooter, but he was 9-for-14 from the floor, 3-for-4 from distance and 4-for-6 from the foul line.

Keep it going Gerald.  UNC and WF are coming soon.

 The Golden Gophers

Al NolenThe Minnesota Golden Gophers are ranked 17th in the country and are in a tied for 2nd in the Big-Ten.  They have beat Louisville, Ohio State andgave a boost to the Big-Ten in this years challenge with the ACC.

Tubby Smith has turned this program around faster than anyone – including myself – thought possible.

The Gophers are balanced on offense and in your face on defense.  A good deal of the sucess has to be attributed to the progression of point guard Al Nolen.  The 6’1″ sophomore is steady with the ball in is hands and harasses the ball defense.  His stats are a microcosm of what make this team go.

8 pionts, 4 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 steals per game. 

According to Bigtennetwork.com, The Golden Gophers hold their opponents to 59 points a game, 38 percent shooting from the floor and 33 percent from distance.  The Gophers score 72 points a game, shoot 47 percent from the floor and 37 percent from distance.

The Gophers also grab the 2nd most offensive rebounds in the conference with 14.8 a game and are third in total rebounds with 40.5.

The Gophers have a tough match-up at Wisconsin tomorrow evening (1/15).

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.