Archive for June, 2012
In the NBA, it was the NBA Draft. And the first person to go is Kentucky big man Anthony Davis heading to the New Orleans Hornets. Davis is a freak of nature and one of those players who doesn’t come along very often. He’s 6’11 and can essentially block any shot that comes near him. In addition, he moves like a small forward, with the ability to move up and down the floor very quickly. He’s known for his now trademarked UniBrow — a superficial quality that he uses to intimidate players and… stand out (nobody’s marketed themselves as having a unibrow any time recently. That should help him secure some sponsorships (the same way Brandon Jennings from Milwaukee dyes his hair all kinds of crazy colors).
Then, with all the trade rumors surrounding the Charlotte Bobcats #2 pick, everyone anticipated what would happen. Most thought that they would trade it to the Cavaliers in exchange for a later pick. Plus, in this draft that is so top heavy — the guy you get at #4 isn’t exactly too different than who you can get at #2. But, after all that suspense, the Bobcats wound up keeping the pick, selecting Kentucky’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Kidd-Gilchrist is a fantastic young player with high energy who will be a big part of Charlotte’s rebuilding effort. Plus, that’s two Kentucky players picked #1 and #2.
Then, at #3, the Washington Wizards found a back-court teammate for their franchise star John Wall, selecting Bradley Beal out of Florida. Then, at #4, the Cavs surprised everyone by taking Syracuse’s Dion Waiters a few picks earlier than expected. That will also give the Cavs a solid back court.
At #5, the Sacramento Kings finally took Kansas forward Thomas Robinson off the board. Robinson was one of the most sympathetic players in the draft. In just a few short months, he lost his mother and both of his grandparents, leaving him to look after his little sister. Now, Robinson will apply for legal guardian status of his sister.
The rest of the Top 10 was filled out with Detroit taking upside big man Andre Drummond from UCONN to create a potential dominate front court of Drummond and emerging star Greg Monroe. And then, the New Orleans Hornets selected Duke’s Austin Rivers (son of Celtics coach Doc Rivers) with the #10 pick. Rivers received a lot of flack prior to the draft for having an ego, but the Hornets took a chance on that giving them a nice trio of Anthony Davis, Austin Rivers, and emerging star Eric Gordon. That immediately makes them an interesting/watchable team in the West all of the sudden.
Now… can any of these guys help stop LeBron?No comments
In the NBA, with the draft just a night away, even more trade rumors are swirling. The latest is that the Atlanta Hawks are dangling their forward Josh Smith in exchange for Pau Gasol. This move would give the Lakers more athleticism, but they would lose their towering front court. Then again, in today’s NBA, it’s more about explosive, quick power than it is having just two big dudes down low. In the Lakers case, their combo of Gasol and Bynum made up a very intimidating threat to other teams, but that tandem barely got them past Denver in the opening round of the playoffs. This would be beneficial for the Lakers, but it’s hard to imagine how this will help the Hawks get better. Gasol would make the team marginally better, but wouldn’t put them in a position to compete with Miami in the Eastern Conference.
Also out of Los Angeles, the Clippers have expressed interest in Lamar Odom. Odom was a HUGE disappointment for Dallas last season — so much so that they had to shut him down for the year. Odom’s heart just wasn’t in it, as he has been dying to return to Los Angeles. However, would he accept a job with the Clippers instead? Odom’s passion has been playing for the Lakers, and while the Clippers are certainly sure they would like his athletic ability, they’re not sure on the investment as Odom might treat the Clips with the same apathetic treatment he showed the Mavericks. There’s also talk of the Clippers taking Odom and making room for him on the roster by sending Mo Williams to the Lakers (a team in serious need of a point guard, as it’s likely that Ramon Sessions will be heading out of town).
The Chicago Cubs were looking for a three-game sweep over the New York Mets, but the Mets would not make it easy on the Cubbies. Jeff Samardzija took the mound for the Cubs, (as you may remember, Samardzija was the star wide receiver for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish a few years ago). He opted for baseball over football, and has done pretty well so far. But Wednesday, the Mets absolutely ROCKED the Cubs. The game turned into a home run fest. They got TWO home runs from David Murphy, and later in the game Scott Hairston off of Samardzija to make it 16-1. This was a huge blowout. David Murphy would bat in another run to really put the cherry on top and make it 17-1. When you lose that badly in baseball, you really have to do some self-analysis. There had to be at least one moment during that game where Samardzija wished he had chosen playing wide receiver over pitcher. NY Mets 17, Chicago Cubs 1.No comments
In the NBA, with the draft approaching things are starting to get hot. Teams want to move up, use picks to trade for players, get more picks later in the draft, etc… Tuesday we saw our first trade prior to the draft, as the Houston Rockets have traded shooting guard Chase Budinger to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for the Wolves’ #18 pick. Now, what’s happening here? The Wolves get a much-needed shooter/scorer in their back-court and the Rockets get yet another draft pick in the first round. The major not-so-secret rumor here is that the Rockets want to trade into the Top 10 and use that pick and a few other players to get Dwight Howard from the Magic. This is risky for the Rockets, however, because if they DID acquire Howard, they would essentially be renting him for 1 year, because he becomes a free agent after that. The Rockets are betting they can convince Howard to stay in Houston, but almost nobody believes they can. But, if you’re the Rockets, you have to take a risk like this, because Houston has been pretty irrelevant for the last 10 years. It’s time for them to take steps toward the title.
And, in another pre-draft trade, the Detroit Pistons are sending shooting guard Ben Gordon and a 2013 pick to the Charlotte Bobcats in exchange for swing-man Corey Maggette. This move is more of a financial play for the Pistons, who unload Gordon’s huge contract. But for the Bobcats, Gordon is actually a nice piece of their rebuilding as it’ll give them a trusted shooter in the back-court going forward. But many believe there’s a chance that the Bobcats trade their #2 overall pick for a few picks and some much needed players. Then again, teams like ‘upside’ and there is no better ‘upside’ player than the guy they take with the #2 pick. Right now, most believe that will be Kansas’ Thomas Robinson. We shall see.
And finally in the NBA, 2003 was one of the biggest drafts in NBA History. It boasted LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh — all of whom now have a championship. Except… there is one superstar from that draft who isn’t on their team and still doesn’t have the title. That would be the #3 overall pick Carmelo Anthony (who fell in Denver’s lap after the Pistons selected the all-time draft bust in Darko Milicic). Carmelo thought that going from Denver to New York to play with Amare Stoudemire would get him closer to the title, but clearly, finishing in the 78 spot this year and getting swept by the Heat (former 2003 draft alum) — they’re not exactly close. So Tuesday, when asked about LeBron, Carmelo said, “My time is coming”. Maybe… but it’s hard to imagine the Knicks beating the Heat anytime soon. Then again, if they can get healthy and cohesive, they have a solid team behind Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, and emerging players Landry Fields, Iman Shumpert, and of course Jeremy Lin. Plus, they had a solid record when head coach Mike Woodson took the reigns after D’Antoni was fired. All in all… good luck Carmelo.No comments
The United States may not give it much media attention, but most of the world is abuzz about Euro Cup 2012. Remember, this tournament is exclusively for teams in Europe, so garnering American interest is challenging, but as a contest itself, this has been an amazing spectacle. And Sunday, England was trying to sneak into the semi finals against Italy. The problem with England is that they have a bad habit of leaving a game to be decided by penalty kicks. England played marvelously again, but couldn’t get a go-ahead goal in a 0-0 tie. You know what that means… penalty kicks. England fans held their breath, and once again came up with heartbreak when Alessandro Diamanti hit the deciding penalty kick shot to give Italy the victory. England will have to wait another year for glory, and will need to practice winning the game in regular time. Italy 4, England 2.
And in the latest from the Jerry Sandusky Penn State Scandal, after the jury found Sandusky guilty of 45 of 48 counts of child molestation, Sandusky’s own lawyers told radio and TV talk shows that they wanted to resign during the case. Sandusky’s defense said that given the breadth and scope of this case, they felt that the case was rushed to court far too quickly in order for them to give an adequate defense; that there were many different witnesses, and they didn’t have a chance to dive into their character in that short amount of time. However, Sandusky’s own defense said of the victims that their testimony did sound very convincing and genuine. It looks like pretty much the whole world is against Sandusky on this one — even Sandusky’s lawyers. Sandusky now faces up to 600 years in prison for heinous crimes.
And finally, in Boston… the end of an era. Kevin Youklis was a centerpiece of Boston’s phenomenal World Series run in 2004. He was a slugger who smashed home runs, and was even referenced in last year’s film MONEYBALL as “The Greek God of Walks”. In other words, he was very valuable to the Red Sox over the past 8 seasons. But, Sunday, the Red Sox decided that it was time to trade Youklis away to the White Sox. The trade allows Boston to give more playing time to their hot-hitting rookie Will Middlebrooks and allows an unhappy Youklis to leave the team (Note: Youklis had been publicly feuding with Red Sox management for a while now). When that happens, sometimes its good if a player moves on. Sunday at Fenway, the crowd gave ‘Youk’ a standing ovation in his last at bat with the team. But that’s professional sports — one day your favorite player is there, and the next day he’s been traded.No comments
In the NBA, it was Game 5 of the Finals. LeBron James and the Heat dropped Game 1, but have won 3 straight. For the first time in his career, LeBron was just a game away from winning a title. As a fan, you had to be curious to watch the best player in the game compete at his most ferocious level. Would the Thunder have any chance of containing LeBron in a game like this — where the title is so close, LeBron can taste it? Clearly, the Thunder would also be operating at their best considering that if they lose, their season is over. Plus, if the Thunder win, they get to take the remainder of the series back home.
The first quarter started out neck and neck, with Kevin Durant coming to play. He had 32 points and 11 rebounds on the night. Then, in the second, LeBron started to turn it on, and the Heat started to pull away. In the third quarter, the Heat kept their lead, but the Thunder gnawed away at it. It looked like we might have a game, but… then LeBron kicked it into a never-before-seen level. There was no way he had any intention of losing this game, and finished the night with an amazing triple double (26 points, 11 rebounds, and 13 assists). On top of this, Mike Miller, a guy who had been disappointing for the Heat up until this game, got scorching hot from 3-point range. He hit 7 of 8 three-pointers, and suddenly the Heat found themselves with a 22 point lead headed into the 4th. From there, it was all for show until the final buzzer sounded, and LeBron had his first ring. Looks like his decision to come to Miami was a good one. Congratulations to LeBron, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh and the NBA champion Miami Heat. Miami 121, OKC 106.
As for the Thunder, their inexperience finally showed up, as they just weren’t mentally prepared for the force of the Heat. But the Thunder have two of the best young players in the game (Durant and Westbrook), and they will surely be back in the Finals. They may have to load up their bench, but this team could win multiple titles.
We’re in the midst of the Euro 2012 cup, and there was a big game between Portugal and the Czech Republic. Portugal is home to arguably the greatest soccer player in the world in Cristiano Ronaldo. This game was at a cold draw, and looked to stay that way for a while. Ronaldo had a beautiful shot on goal, but it unfortunately hit the goal post. But then, the ball was kicked near the goal by a Portugal teammate, and Ronaldo used his head (in quick strike motion) to put the ball in the goal. This was something that no ordinary soccer player could do. It was done so rapidly and so fluidly that you knew you were watching a pure master of the sport at work. With the win, Portugal advances to the semi-finals of the Euro Cup. Portugal 1, Czech Republic 0.No comments
The verdict was set to come down on whether Roger Clemens lied to Congress about using performance enhancing drugs. Clemens said he never did them, and was on trial for 6 counts of perjury. The verdict: Not Guilty — Clemens was acquitted of all charges. After the trial, Clemens was emotional, saying he was “very thankful” and it’s been a “hard five years”. Imagine the media covering your life for that long. Even though he was found not guilty of lying, it still remains in question to most baseball fans whether he actually did steroids or not. Towards the tail end of his career, Clemens was pitching great — and that’s suspicious. But for now, he’s off the hook.
And in the NBA, with the draft right around the corner, all the prospects are getting excited and anxious. Imagine the feeling of wondering if you’re headed to Toronto or Houston or even New York. But for draft prospect and former Ohio State superstar Jared Sullinger, the dream took a serious bump. All candidates must go through a medical test, and NBA doctors have “red flagged” Sullinger. They said he has back issues because of having tight hamstrings. The doctors said this could significantly shorten his playing career and are advising teams NOT to even draft him in the first round. Ouch! Sullinger was projected to be a Top 10 pick and now he might not even go until the second round — if at all. There might be a chance he doesn’t even get to play in the NBA. This must be a crushing blow to Sullinger and his family, but we’ll see what actually happens.
And finally in the NBA, the Charlotte Bobcats have reportedly found their head coach. But it’s a complete shock whom they’re picking. They had a chance to take former Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, but that didn’t work out. So most people thought they would finally give Pacers assistant coach Brian Shaw a shot at being head coach. But they passed on that. They also passed on Lakers assistant Quin Snyder. With that, the new assistant coach… Mike Dunlap, assistant coach at St. Johns. Dunlap may be more from the collegiate level, but he is highly regarded in NBA circles as being an expert at the game of basketball, and that’s exactly what the less than stellar Charlotte Bobcats need. They can only go up from here.No comments
In the NBA, it was Game 3 of the NBA Finals between the Oklahoma City and the Miami Heat. But this time, the series was back in LeBron and Wade’s house. With the series tied at a game a piece, the Heat were looking to take the advantage. The Thunder came to play. They got a solid game from Kevin Durant (25 points, 6 rebounds), but Durant got himself in foul trouble in the third quarter with the Thunder leading and had to sit. That allowed LeBron and the Heat to close out the quarter on a 15-3 run and send us into the 4th quarter neck and neck. Then, in the 4th, it stayed tight, but with under 5 minutes to go, LeBron and the Heat kicked it into another gear to suddenly find themselves up by 7. Remember though — the Thunder never go away, and a key steal from Thabo Sefolosha picking Dwayne Wade put the game within 3. Then a Westbrook jumper pulled the Thunder within 1. Uh-oh. But, fear not, LeBron took back over, drove the lane, hit shots, went to the line, and helped the Heat close out the Thunder. Miami now leads 2-1 in the series, with the next 2 games in Miami. Can they finish it up on their home floor?
This weekend kicked off the College World Series. The Series boasted the usual names: UCLA, Florida State, Florida, and… Stony Brook? Yep, a (very) small east coast school has snuck into the college world series as a Cinderella. We’re used to seeing that in college basketball, but college baseball? That’s rare, especially given the vicious recruiting that’s out there. Unfortunately for Stony Brook, their run wouldn’t end with them hoisting up the championship trophy. They lost to UCLA and then, on Sunday, Florida State handed them their second loss to end their fairy tale. Tough break, but what a great story it was. Florida State 12, Stony Brook 2.
And finally, in the NFL, it will be the end of an era Monday in San Diego, as superstar running-back and future Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson is going to retire. The Chargers signed him to a 1-day contract, so he could retire with the team where he had his glory days. Tomlinson had a remarkable run through most of the previous decade. Before Tomlinson, the Chargers were trying to rebound from the not so wonderful Ryan Leaf era (a QB who was supposed to be a superstar, but completely disappointed). When Tomlinson joined the Chargers, he immediately refreshed their hopes. He won the MVP in 2006, and set, and still holds, the single season touchdown record at 31. Tomlinson came from TCU, and put them on the map as a national powerhouse. Plus, it’s definitely worth mentioning that he was in the Top 3 in Fantasy Draft Picks for at least 5 seasons. He will be missed both by fans and definitely fantasy football owners. One of the best running-backs of a generation.No comments
In the NBA, it was Game 2 of the Finals between the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder rallied back in Game 1 to take a 1-0 lead, but you can bet that the Heat would be ready for them in Game 2. So ready in fact that they completely caught the Thunder off-guard in the 1st quarter, pulling out to a 20-5 lead. They kept the margin pretty significant all the way until halftime, where they headed to the locker room up 11. In the third quarter, the Thunder were able to chip away at the lead a bit, but still trailed by 13 going into the 4th. And, of course, that’s when the Thunder really decided to turn it on! Kevin Durant caught fire and had an electric 32 point night. They even pulled the game within 2 points with under a minute to play. But, the night belonged to LeBron James. He came up clutch in the 4th (silencing his critics), and had his own 32 points to help the Heat hang on for the road win. Now, the series is tied at 1 game a piece, with Game 3 in Miami on Sunday. Miami 100, OKC 96.
In some coaching news out of the NBA, the Charlotte Bobcats are in search of new leadership. Recently, they had spoken to former, successful Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan about taking the position. This would be a welcome challenge for Sloan who built the Jazz into the competitive team that they are. But Thursday, Sloan officially backed out of the coaching position. This came as a shock, considering he was a leading candidate. The other candidates are Pacers assistant coach Brian Shaw (who most thought would take over for the Lakers before they chose Mike Brown). And they also liked former Missouri coach Quinn Snyder (now currently with the Lakers). With Sloan out of the running, it’s likely that the Bobcats will go with Shaw to give the team a fresh new, young outlook. Plus, the Bobcats have the #2 pick in the draft, who will certainly become a big rebuilding piece for them.
Elsewhere in college football, the #1 recruit in the country, defensive end Robert Nkemdiche, finally selected his school. He had offers from top SEC schools including Alabama and LSU, but finally decided on… Clemson? Yep, Clemson. Now, don’t scoff, Clemson had one of the most exciting offenses last season, especially due to their dynamic wide receiver Sammy Watkins. But their defense was lacking. This was most evident when they lost their big bowl game to West Virginia by about 40 points. Immediately following that game, Clemson fired their defensive coordinator, and vowed to start rebuilding their defense right away! So, the addition of Nkemdiche is a fantastic start to a program looking for more big things (and possibly a National Championship) in 2012.1 comment