Tag Archives: ESPN

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).

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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

ESPN Seeking English Premier League TV Rights. Do They Deserve Them?

On September 15th, there was an article on http://www.si.com/—click here to read it—about Fox Soccer Channel getting rated by Nielsen starting in October. The article quickly moved to ESPN trying to acquire the TV rights to the English Premier League.
Now the first part of that article is not that exciting. Yet the second part is something to talk and write about.

At first thought, ESPN and EPL seem like a match made in heaven. The most popular, and largest, sports network in the US and the most popular soccer league in the world in High Definition would be an amazing way to watch the beautiful game on a Saturday morning (the MLS looks great on ESPN2 HD, even if the play is so-so).

To be able to see Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United, and Liverpool (and all the other stars of the league) play, would be a great tool to elevate the game to the masses in the US.

It might have the “flash in a pan” feel of David Beckham, but would most likely have a greater long-term effect. It would be the first time ESPN has added a solely international league to its regular schedule. They have showed the World Cup, the Ryder Cup in golf, and other World Championships, but never had an international league with only international teams. That alone is a great reason to sign the contract.

But I am not convinced that ESPN deserves it and FCS deserves to have it taken away. Here is a quick look at some of my issues.

1. FSC is Soccer ONLY! ESPN is not.
Let me first make this statement. This whole “issue” is void if ESPN comes out with an ESPN Soccer Channel.

Imagine, waking up Saturday morning. Sitting in your chair or favorite spot on the couch. Eating breakfast, showered or not. The remote in your hand and Manchester United playing on EPSN in HD.

It would be fantastic to see match-ups of the some of the best clubs in the world. It would be pure soccer bliss. Until college football comes on and then what happens on Sunday?  NFL preview shows. They start early and run until kick-off. We would miss out on matches. Now, maybe the EPL would rework the schedule to have less appealing games on Sunday and then not be televised. But, I watch those games for a reason. To see those unfamiliar faces, to see those players who will be bought by the big boys in the next transfer window and then play on Saturday. The EPL season is very long and could find more time filling the holes between football, basketball, and baseball. But that is not good enough.

ESPN is spread out in so many directions that you will never get the coverage you do with FSC, at least not in its current situation. An “ESPN Soccer” channel might evolve down the road. But as it stands right now EPSN has five major channels; ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN News, ESPN Classic, and now ESPN U.

At any moment you can have any sport on any network. ESPN U focuses on college athletics; ESPN Classic relives great games, players and events, new and older. ESPN News has continuous Sport Center type programming. So that leaves ESPN and ESPN2.

Depending on the time of year, soccer will be hard pressed to find time out side of the Saturday morning slot and occasional UEFA Champions League game on ESPN Classic. There will be converge, but not like that of FCS.

2. Knowing the Game.
I know this is going to come off extremely picky of the “sports leader”, but it is an example of a bigger issue that will be there from the beginning.

I have watched two very recent broadcast of Sportscenter and every time a soccer player was mentioned, the name was said wrong. Two of the biggest names in all of soccer, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard, were pronounced wrong. Gerrard was turn into Steven “Jared” and Lampard was “Lamp-ard”. Even my wife, who knows very little of soccer, laughed. AND THOSE ARE THE EASY NAMES!

What will happen during the highlights of Arsenal versus Chelsea? What with players like; Manuel Almunia, Bacary Sagna, Samir Nasri, Emmanuel Adebayor, Cesc Fabregas, Petr Cech, Michael Essien, Florent Malouda, Franco Matias Di Santo and Didier Drogba?

Granted, in the games ESPN will have Tommy Smyth, Julie Foudy, and Allen Hopkins to keep the names and soccer termanolgy straight, but the Sportscenter folk are going to need to learn quickly.

If you are in a job interview and you mess up the company’s name, you probably are not going to be offered the job. ESPN needs to build a resume that shows interest and expertise in understanding soccer, not just showing a couple games and talking about Beckham.

They will use their experts in the beginning to cover the ignorance factor, but the whole network has to show it is as much about soccer as any other sport. ESPN has to show it wants the EPL, because the EPL is watching.

3. What will happen to FSC?
The EPL is only one league, but it is the biggest league with the easiest crossover to the US audience. But what does FSC do to fill the void? Maybe they will get some of the games not including the “Big Four” (maybe now five?). That will depend on the contract between ESPN and EPL.

Meaning FSC may not be able to show any games.

Typically on a weekend you can see four to five EPL matches, plus another three to four from Serie A in Italy, and then a couple from either Spain or Argentina. But the majority of non-match programming is about the English; Sky Sports broadcasts, match day preview and review shows, English fan broadcasts, and various other shows.

So much of their programming is based on the fans interest of players in the EPL and every aspect of those clubs. What then happens when you take those matches away?

While I love to watch them both, in my opinion Serie A and La Liga are nowhere near as popular in the US as EPL. So filling those games slots with matches from Italy and Spain probably won’t be a saving grace. But adding other top-tier soccer by way of the German League Bundesliga and French League Ligue1 could help bring new viewers and maybe, just maybe, retain some of the soccer die-hards.

While my interest in following soccer has been rather a new venture, I do have great respect for what FSC has been able to do in bring soccer of every sort to the masses. They know the game, the history, the rivalries, and most importantly they understand the importance of soccer in other countries.

ESPN has to show that it cares enough to be able to meet the needs of us soccer folk who wake-up Saturday to catch the early game and then watch Fox Football Fone-In to get the latest news and rumors.

ESPN has to learn to understand the energy, excitement, and passion of a game that has long been seen as a lesser sport to American football. As much as American football is culture in the US, soccer is even more so everywhere else in the world.

Good Luck ESPN. Do well by the fans and the sport we love.