NDSU’s Midnight Madness on ESPNU

I have a whole lot of college basketball preview and picks to get out there, and I will do that soon.

But first, North Dakota States basketball team will be highlighted on the four hour broadcast on ESPNU and ESPN2.

“Other schools being featured are Connecticut, Duke, Georgetown, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, North Carolina and Washington. ESPNU anchor Lowell Galindo will host the show with Jim Barbar providing on-site commentary at NDSU.” taken from the Fargo Forum article.

Should be a good time to start the season.

US Soccer Updates

Here is a sampling of the lastest articles on soccer in the US featuring the National Team, MLS and players playing abroad.

Garber: MLS fairer, more stable than European Leagues from the AP.

Beckham has chance to end career on a high from the AP.

Luring more athletes to play soccer the answer? by Jeff Carlisle, ESPNsoccernet

Dempsey to miss qualifier with sprained shoulder from the AP.

MLS Chief say Beckham may return after Milan loan by Rob Harris, AP Sports Writer

Goal.com MLS Rankings: Galactic Playoff Return Leads To L.A.’s Climb by Kyle McCarthy

Finalists for the Toyota Award Announced – And Other Soccer Goodness

While most of you are probably asking; “Is an award for a fuel efficient car?”  It is not.Landon Donovan

“…the 2009 Honda Player of the Year Award that honors the best performer on the U.S. national team.” and the finalist are: LA Galaxy (MLS) midfielder – Landon Donovan, Everton (English Premier League) goalie – Tim Howard, and Hull City (EPL) striker - Jozy Altidore.

Here is the press release from ESPN.com, which I quoted earlier.

This is a great topic as US Soccer has become the “IT” team as they upset Spain and made it the finals to play Brazil in the Confederation Cup this summer, and writer Bill Simmons has become a fan of the game, which gets them even more ESPN.com front page coverage.

The three finalists have proven extremely valuable to the US National Team.  Howard and Donovan have been regulars on the first team for years, but Altidore has just recently taken hold of a starting spot.  But if you take these players off the team, the US would not have a chance of getting to South Africa in 2010.

Tim HowardEveryone knows Donovan.  He has been the “next great hope” for nearly ten years , he currently is the captain of LA Galaxy, has always been good on the national team.  But this summer has seen take his game to a new level.  He has taken over for a when the team needed him and knows when and how to use his teammates.  His creativity and pace have pushed him to new confidence and has turned in some quality goals.

Howard has firmly taken his place on top the list of talented-bald-headed-American goal keepers.  Howard has kept the US team in many games.  When he is on top of his game, he seems to be one step ahead, getting to lose balls with authority and commanding the defense like a general.  He has been one of the best keepers in England on a team that is lacking a solid back line.Jozy Altidore

Altidore is unlike the other two.  He is here because he performed well this summer, but he is younger, only 19-year-old, and does not have the body of work like Howard and Donovan.  That said, Altidore is the future of American soccer and we have seen his progress against some of the best teams in the world.  Even from the early part of the summer, he have seen his first touch get better, and his ability to hold of defenders with his strength is impressive.  At this rate, we will see on this list of finalist for many years to come.

This is not the award for the best American player, its for the player who has performed the best for the US National Team.  It is tough a decision between Howard and Donovan.  You could really argue the case for either guy and it would make sense.

If the choice were up to me, I would pick…wait for it…Landon Donovan.

Without Donovan, the US would look lost.  The don’t have another player as creative as Donovan and he can change the game quickly and is not afraid to involve his teammates.

USA Roster – Honduras/Costa Rica from USSoccer.com

Players Pos. Ht. Wt. Birthdate Hometown Club/College Caps/Goals
Altidore, Jozy F 5-11 175 11/06/89 Boca Raton, Fla. Hull City (England) 19/8
Bocanegra, Carlos D 6-0 170 05/25/79 Alta Loma, Calif. Stade Rennais (France) 72/11
Bornstein, Jonathan D 5-9 145 11/07/84 Los Alamitos, Calif. Chivas USA 22/1
Bradley, Michael M 6-2 175 07/31/87 Manhattan Beach, Calif. Borussia Moenchengladbach (Germany) 36/6
Casey, Conor F 6-1 170 07/25/81 Gilpin, Colo. Colorado Rapids 14/0
Cherundolo, Steve D 5-6 145 02/19/79 San Diego, Calif. Hannover 96 (Germany) 54/2
Ching, Brian F 5-11 195 05/24/78 Haleiwa, Hawaii Houston Dynamo 43/10
Clark, Ricardo M 5-10 150 05/10/83 Jonesboro, Ga. Houston Dynamo 25/2
Conrad, Jimmy D 6-2 185 02/12/77 Temple City, Calif. Kansas City Wizards 26/1
Cooper, Kenny F 6-3 210 10/21/84 Dallas, Texas 1860 Munich (Germany) 9/4
Davies, Charlie F 5-10 160 06/25/86 Manchester, N.H. Sochaux (France) 16/4
Dempsey, Clint F 6-1 170 03/09/83 Nacogdoches, Texas Fulham FC (England) 59/17
Donovan, Landon M 5-8 150 03/04/82 Redlands, Calif. Los Angeles Galaxy 118/41
Feilhaber, Benny M 5-9 150 01/19/85 Irvine, Calif. AGF Aarhus (Denmark) 26/2
Goodson, Clarence D 6-4 170 05/17/82 Alexandria, Va. IK Start (Norway) 6/1
Guzan, Brad GK 6-4 210 09/09/84 Homer Glen, Ill. Aston Villa (England) 13/0
Holden, Stuart M 5-10 160 08/01/85 Houston, Texas Houston Dynamo 8/2
Howard, Tim GK 6-3 210 03/06/79 North Brunswick, N.J. Everton FC (England) 46/0
Onyewu, Oguchi D 6-4 210 05/13/82 Olney, Md. AC Milan (Italy) 49/5
Rogers, Robbie M 5-10 165 05/12/87 Huntington Beach, Calif. Columbus Crew 6/1
Spector, Jonathan D 6-0 180 03/01/86 Arlington Heights, Ill. West Ham United (England) 20/0
Torres, Jose Francisco M 5-7 135 10/29/87 Longview, Texas Pachuca (Mexico) 6/0

Bradley Names 22-Man Roster To Prepare For Final CONCACAF Qualifying Matches For The 2010 FIFA World Cup Against Honduras and Costa Rica.

Info from USSoccer.com.

Other American Soccer Articles

Destination 2010: America’s quest to play in World Cup 2010 all hinged on one week in Septemberby Luke Cyphers for ESPN the Magazine

Donovan ‘proud’ of Beckham’s MLS progress by Martin Rogers from Yahoo Sports.

Donovan should headline MLS’ Best XI lineupby Kristian Dyer for ESPNsoccernet.

Random David Beckham Thought

As I have stated before, I am almost done with Grant Wahl’s books, The Beckham Experiment. And after reading and watching some clips, I need to ask a question to all soccer fans out there.

Why has nothing been said about the fact since leaving ManU, he has always signed with clubs that have Adidas as thier kit/jersey provider?

Everyone knows that Beckham has been an Adidas guy for years, but I find this very interesting, for lack of a better word.  Maybe this is more commonplace than I thought.  But since he left ManU – jerseys made my Nike – he has been with Real Madrid, LA Galaxy and AC Milan – all have their jerseys provided by Adidas.

david-beckham-real-madridDavid_Beckham_LA_Galaxy6736626

Quick Hits: 9/28/09

NFL Bits of Info

  • Brett Favre is the first Vikings QB to throw for 300 yards since Daunte Culpepper did it in 2005 – that was 63 games ago.
  • Terrell Owens played a games without a catch fo the first time since is rookie season in 1996 - 185 games ago.
  • The Detroit Lions won!

Lamar Odom Married Khloe Kardashian

What?  Not sure I care enough to really want to know that details.  But here is the article from ESPN.com.

Minnesota Twins Still In The Chase

The Twins are only two games back and start a four-game series with the Detroit Tigers to determine the AL Central Championship.

While neither team has a great record, this will make for the most interesting baseball to watch in the remainder for the regular season.

For a solid preview on the series, take a look at ESPN.com’s breakdown.

CENTRAL W L PCT GB HOME ROAD RS RA DIFF STRK L10 POFF
Detroit 83 72 .535 - 48-26 35-46 714 705 +9 Lost 1 5-5 77.0
Minnesota 81 74 .523 2 45-33 36-41 765 727 +38 Lost 1 8-2 23.0
Chicago Sox 75 81 .481 8.5 43-38 32-43 700 720 -20 Won 1 3-7 0.0
Cleveland 64 91 .413 19 34-44 30-47 752 825 -73 Won 3 3-7 0.0
Kansas City 64 92 .410 19.5 33-48 31-44 662 799 -137 Won 1 5-5 0.0

2010 Recruiting Class/Conference Rankings

ESPN.com has put it’s ranking for the college basketball recruiting classes of 2010 and the Big Ten have four of the top fifteen - Ohio State is No. 1, Illinois at No. 4, Michigan State at No. 9, and Michigan at No. 14  (Purdue is No. 20).

I made some statements last year saying that Big Ten is getting better very quickly and this is just more proof.  The Big Ten is going to be a very dangerous conference top to bottom, and this years BigTen/ACC Challenge should be very competitive - just like last year - minus the UNC and Duke games.

Jay Bilas has the Big Ten ranked as the No.1 conference in the country and here are his points.

The Big Ten always has been strong at the top, but the bottom of the league often has let the league down. For too many seasons, the Big Ten has been unfairly criticized for its style of play and the relative weakness of the lower third of the conference. Not this season. There is nary a doormat in the league, as Northwestern, Iowa and Indiana all will be much improved and much more competitive nationally. Michigan State and Purdue are the two best teams in the league, and the Spartans make a great case for being the best team in the country. Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota and Ohio State will be in the national discussion all season. It should have happened long ago, but the conference should finally win the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, an annual irritant to the Big Ten’s reputation. If a team survives this league’s slate, it truly will be among the nation’s best teams.”

To see Bilas’ full blog post, click here.

US Soccer

The US National Team has a massive game against Honduras October 10th, in their attempt to close the deal and book their tickets to the World Cup this summer in South Africa.  But due to security concerns, the game may be moved to a neutral site.

Depending on which site you read, some report that FIFA officials are ok with the game, and other report that there is much more concern and the game will be moved.

Here are a couple of articles highlighting the US Team and Goalie Tim Howard.

From ESPN’s Outside the Lines: Fever Pitch by Wayne Drehs.

Article on US and Everton goalie, Tim Howard: Howard’s game growing in stature at Everton by Ken Lawrence.

The Beckham Experiment by Grant Wahl

I am about two-thirds the way through the book and here are some thoughts so far.

  1. The book is a deeper look at somethings we already knew.
  2. I like Landon Donovan even more than I did before.  He tells it like it is.  Check out his website.
  3. Alexi Lalas is smarter than we give him credit – but I still don’t like to hear him talk.
  4. Beckham seems like a down to earth guy – as down to earth as a guy who made $50 Million in 2007.
  5. The “getting-to-know-you” aspect of the other players like, Donovan, Alan Gordon and Cris Klein is maybe the most important piece that fans don’t get on a regular basis.
  6. The dealings of the Galaxy, 19 Entertainment, AEG and others can be very shady at times.
  7. I make more money than a good chunk of LA’s roster – sad.

I will review the book more when I finish the book.   Here is a link to Wahls Sports Illustrated archive.

Feel Good Stories in Sports

With all the negative between Serena Williams seriously threatening a ling judge and Michael Jordan’s ego filled Hall of Fame Speech, I thought it would be good to read some good stories in the sports world.

Young Steps-Up

Tennessee Titan’s QB Vince Young helped out the family of the late Steve McNair.  Even the smallest gestures have a greater effect than we know.

Young surprised 11-year-old Trenton and 5-year-old Tyler on Wednesday by showing up at their house and taking them to their school’s “Dear Dads Breakfast” at a local restaurant.”  From ESPN.com.

Little Girl Who Threw the Ball Back – Gets More in Return

“Less than a day after the now-famous video of 3-year-old Emily’s foul ball rejection at a Phillies game went viral, the family from Laurel Springs, N.J. appeared on Thursday’s “Today Show” to talk about the highlight that has captured the country’s heart.”  From Yahoosports.com.  Check out the post here.

Hoops for Troops

For the past week, Fran Fraschilla took part in Operation Hardwood VI: Hoops for Troops, a USO-sponsored trip that lets current and former coaches bring a slice of home — in this case, college basketball — to some of our soldiers stationed in Iraq.”  From ESPN.com.

Vitale to Pay for Slain Teenager’s Funeral

Vitale is also planning to set up a scholarship fund in the names of Thompson and Dejuan Williams, who was shot and killed on Aug. 4.”

“It really hits home when this happens in your own community,” Vitale said. “It boggles my mind how young people can get hold of guns and something like this happens. One senseless act and so many lives have been affected.”From Fanhouse.com

Coach Refuses Raise to Send Team on Over Seas Trip

Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings sacrificed a $100,000 pay raise to fund his Commodores’ 10-day trip to Australia earlier this month.” From Rivals.com.

Michael Jordan’s Hall Of Fame Speech Was Uncomfortable

That might not be totally fair, but I did not like it.  To summarize the main theme of the speech – “I am really competitive, I took things personally, but you all motivated me….but I am still better than you”

michael-jodran-scottie-pippen

I did not hear David Robinson’s speech, but I am sure it was much more articulate and humble.  Not that Jordan’s speech was horrible, but it was completely filled with his ego and the fact that he felt that he was more important than the organization.  If going on to say that the players win games, not the organization.

He rambled, did not articulate his feelings well and seemed to want to remind everyone in the room how and why he is the best NBA player of all time.

Jordan was emotional from the beginning of his speech.  I am sure he was thinking about his father, he had a room filled with teammates and other familiar people.  And whenever you watch a your own career retrospective, and I sure it brings back a lot feelings.

Congrats to Micheal Jordan, John Stockton, David Robinson, Jerry Sloan and C. Vivian Stringer.  You all deserved it.

Apparently, I am not the only who dislike Jordan’s speech - here is the article from yahoo.com: “Jordan’s night to remember turns petty” by Adrian Wojnarowski.

Scottie Pippen Will Be In The HOF Soon

It was great to see Scottie Pippen, Toni Kukoc, Steve Kerr and even Dennis Rodman at the ceremony – I was not there, I just watched.  I will be happy when Pippen gets elected – he is eligible in 2010.   I think people are starting to forget how good he was.  How important he was to Jordan’s success and the Bulls six championships.

Pippen’s career stat line was 16.1 ppg, 6.4 rpg,  5.2 apg, and 2.0 steals a game.  He also shot 47.3% from the field and 70% from the foul line.  Pippen was a seven time All-Star, and in the 1993-94 All-Star game, he won the MVP Award.

Pippen and Jordan were they only two players for the Bulls for all six titles.  And Pippen was the perfect balance to Jordan.  While Jordan dominated the ball, Pippen was good open shooter, could finish in traffic and at the rim.  But Pippen was even more dominate as a defender.  He was able to guard point guards to power forwards.  With a combination of speed, anticipation and long arms; Pippen was a defensive threat anywhere on the court.

Career Honors

1990-91 NBA All-Defensive (2nd)
1991-92 NBA All-Defensive (1st)
1991-92 NBA All-NBA (2nd)
1992-93 NBA All-Defensive (1st)
1992-93 NBA All-NBA (3rd)
1993-94 NBA All-Defensive (1st)
1993-94 NBA All-NBA (1st)
1994-95 NBA All-Defensive (1st)
1994-95 NBA All-NBA (1st)
1995-96 NBA All-Defensive (1st)
1995-96 NBA All-NBA (1st)
1996-97 NBA All-Defensive (1st)
1996-97 NBA All-NBA (2nd)
1997-98 NBA All-Defensive (1st)
1997-98 NBA All-NBA (3rd)
1998-99 NBA All-Defensive (1st)
1999-00 NBA All-Defensive (2nd)

Stats taken from www.basketball-reference.com

sports from a guy who didn't even play jv

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