Sonntag, 31. Juli 2011
Larry Burton (Syndicated Writer) I guess there's no better person, other than the mall store owner Tom Albetar himself, to tell this story since I, myself, had my first job out of Alabama running a men's clothing store in downtown Tuscaloosa that also routinely sold clothing to athletes at the University of Alabama.
Like Albetar, we routinely gave discounts to athletes, but then we we routinely gave discounts to almost everyone.
I just saw on television an ad for Joseph A. Banks clothing stores, it's a national ad and it proclaimed that for two days only, buy one "suit and get any two free!"
That should tell you something about the clothing business. There's lots of wiggle room in clothing, especially in suits. Of course this was back in the early '80s, but we could buy fine looking suits for $69, mark the "regular" price $269 and then we could run them on sale for half off and still double our money.
So if an Alabama player walks into a Joseph A. Banks store this weekend and buys one suit but leaves with three, there will be somebody that will report, "Today another Alabama player posed for pictures and signed some merchandise and left with two free suits."
Such is the way of college football today.
Anybody with a computer and either a grudge or the desire for notoriety can become a "reporter."
And no doubt an Alabama detractor will pick up that story and run with it and after a while a certain number of people will believe it's true.
So yes, back in the day we would be tickled to have athletes come in and buy clothes from us and, yes, we wanted pictures and memorabilia to show that that they shopped here. It made others want to shop there too. It was a win-win situation.
And yes, we would give them "special deals," like buy one and get one free, or toss in a matching shirt and tie or pair of shoes. But the truth is, just like Joseph A. Banks is advertising right now, we would do that to anybody.
In the case at Alabama, way before the story was "broken" by wannabe journalists, the University of Alabama got wind that this practice looked bad and letters were sent out local merchants displaying and selling things signed by players.
As you can see in the letter, that was way back in December. Players were questioned and all had said that everything was paid for. Some merchants were questioned and all explained that, yes, they had given "deals" to the players, but no more "deal" than they give to other good clients.
Nothing was determined to have taken place that was a violation.
In my role as a credentialed reporter, I am often on the sidelines of the the Alabama games and there are often dozens of people there who are not reporters. Before I was credentialed, I was allowed to be on the sideline for an A-Day Game as a reward for simply being a Red Elephant Club member.
Of course I was there with maybe 30 other Red Elephant Club members that day, and I was by no means "special."
Albetar was photographed on the sideline in one game. That same game, there were maybe 25 other people there who were granted that privilege for being a booster or some other reason. Some were from our school, some were from the visitor's school. It's been that way at every school and always will be.
But uninformed people want to try and connect the dots and get creative.
Albetar was and is a nice fellow I'm sure. Like we used to do, he would know who could and couldn't afford to spend a lot of money but needed to look sharp for certain events and he would discount things to players just like we used to do. We still made money on the transaction, and I'm sure he did too. We just made a little less.
And for that niceness, players would sign things for us, just as they did for Albetar.
But why Albetar was sent a letter of disassociation was that it appeared he was crossing the line by selling some of the memorabilia they players thought they were signing for him as a fan and friend and, yes, just like us all those years ago, the players thought of him a friend because they knew he loved the Crimson Tide and he was giving them "discounts."
He was overly friendly and players would often stop by to chat and hang out when they would go to the mall. They did with us too way back in the day.
They do that at favorite restaurants too, and like Albetar, those restaurants sure have their signed photo displayed prominently on the walls.
But in the end, it was only Albetar who was breaking any rules, not the players or the university. He was not licensed to sell such things, and it cast a bad light on the university.
Yes, the players "got taken care of" there and were given special attention and just like the theme song from "Cheers," you want to go where everybody knows your name and you're treated special.
What the players may not have known, and I know the ones from back in my day seldom knew, was they they were not getting any "deals" that weren't offered to anyone who was willing to buy a lot clothes.
So while some detractors try and point to the Ohio State scandal and say this is the "same thing," the players at Ohio State University were knowingly and willingly trading memorabilia for tattoos and other things while paying nothing.
Even the wildest Alabama hater can see the difference of getting something for a signature and paying no cash to getting a discount on something you're paying for. Especially when, even with the discount, the merchant is still making money.
And maybe now you understand why the whole "Suitgate" story is much to do about nothing and why the university nor the NCAA is concerned over it.
This is something that goes in every college town every day. Only Albetar stepped over the line and only Albetar was punished.
On the surface, that looks completely asinine. He was already a star in the NBA. My reasoning was that his legacy and perception had vaulted into territories he hadn’t really ever approached before. During the regular season, I argued with fans in the Daily Dime Live many nights and tried to convince a significant number of chatters that Dirk was not overrated and was actually quite clutch. It seemed insane to me that people could look at Dirk throughout his career and consider him a choke artist.
People viewed a couple of missed free throws in the 2006 Finals as the all-encompassing nature of what he is and always has been, despite a lot of evidence that said otherwise.
The reason I had him pegged as the breakout star of last season was that he went from a guy who was arguably in the top 50 players of all time to being considered a top 20 player of all time by a lot of pundits and fans. By the end of the playoffs, Dirk was no longer a question. He was simply the presumed dagger to every ending.
Maybe part of that was a large portion of people seemingly rooting for Dirk to take down the Miami Heat. Maybe it was his insane play coinciding with the success of his team that was surging his legacy and reputation to new heights. Whatever the reason was, Dirk was now an unquestioned NBA legend. The claims that he wasn’t clutch were universally preposterous after the Mavs swept the Lakers. When he dismantled the Thunder, he was now being sold as a truly unstoppable force.
The funny thing about his run in the playoffs is he’s had better numbers and been more efficient before. While it seems like he never missed during the 2011 title run, he actually had much higher true shooting percentages and effective field goal percentages the previous two playoffs. He had only his seventh highest career playoff PER in 2011. The difference this time was his team’s success.
Mike Berardino of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel had an article a couple days ago discussing the concept of choking. In it, he talked to former NBA player Alonzo Mourning and college football analyst Spencer Tillman about it.
“I think it happens to everybody,” says former Heat great Alonzo Mourning, now a team community-relations executive. “We, as professional athletes, when we’re put in that situation, the public, the team, everybody watching expects you to respond at that moment because you’re a highly paid athlete.”Rob Mahoney from NBC Sports’ Pro Basketball Talk elaborated on this point further:
But these are human beings, not machines, so more often than anyone would care to admit our sporting contests are decided by who blinks first.
“There are certain pressure points where the sense of responsibility rises,” Mourning says. “Anxiety increases and people, for lack of a better word, get nervous. People tighten up. You do things that you would not do when you’re at a comfort level.”
That’s not just a sports phenomenon either.
“All choking is,” says CBS college football analyst Spencer Tillman, “is when external situations impact what has traditionally been routine and normal for you.”
More accurately, “choking,” is whatever the public consensus decides that it should be, which usually serves to confirm a widely held belief of a player or is sparked and sustained by a single and brilliant irrefutable play.
Hit a game-winning shot in a big playoff game, and your reputation is made. Miss a crucial free throw with the game on the line, and that same rep is sunk…so long as the adoring public is willing to let the visions of clutch greatness go. The memory of the basketball fan collective is astoundingly selective, and whatever evidence is deemed admissible is twisted and spun in a way that simultaneously creates a clutch r�sum� and amends the very fluid definition of the term itself. Then come the arguments based on such a malleable foundation, a discussion that pretends to be based on a shared notion but only remains bound by the most abstract of concepts.
“Clutch,” is whatever we want it to be.
The reason people argue that Kobe is clutch isn’t because of the numbers or necessarily an overwhelming set of consistent evidence. It’s because they trust him with the ball in his hands when the Lakers need a big shot. They can claim that the evidence is taken out of context or that Henry Abbott has a vendetta against Kobe (which is an absolutely hilarious notion). But really the only thing that matters when discussing who is and isn’t clutch is whether or not you trust them.
Kobe Bryant has made enough shots and won enough games with the result in question to make fans generally comfortable with him getting the next clutch shot. Carmelo Anthony is pretty much in that circle of trust as well. Paul Pierce is very much in that realm. Ray Allen might be the mayor of this place of trust.
LeBron James is not someone who has earned that universal trust with his play. For a lot of basketball fans before the 2011 playoffs, Dirk hadn’t won a title and “choked away” his shot at one in 2006. People who measure greatness by jewelry earned didn’t exactly trust him.
The perception of the individual fan discussing whether or not someone is clutch or not clutch, overrated or underrated, underpaid or overpaid is really the only thing that matters in such discussions. It’s nearly impossible to look at the entire body of evidence when debating these topics because two fans can look at the exact same play and see it two completely different ways.
Sports are always such a personal, internal catalyst for how we feel about the things we see. We look for an animalistic satisfaction in the way things happen on the field. We want to see overpowering moments of success. We want to see domination. But we also want to see someone come down to the final shot and come through during the most pressure-packed moments. We want to feel the drama of what’s happening, trust that our guy will come through when it counts the most, and feel that validation of knowing he would succeed.
Before this season, mostly Mavericks fans felt comfortable with Dirk holding their fate in his hands. It wasn’t a completely shared perception around the basketball annals of fans’ minds. After the latest 21 of his career 124 playoff games, Dirk has turned that impression around.
The next true breakout star in the NBA probably won’t be a young player who begins a legacy before our very eyes. It might just be someone who changes the universal perception of an existing one.
- John Krolik on Antawn Jamison: "Offensively, Jamison’s only notable skill is the ability to create shots. That means that he is able to heave the ball in the direction of the basket at a greater rate than most players who play is position. He is a decent finisher at the immediate rim. That much he has going for him. Everything else is overrated. Jamison favors an array of unorthodox flip shots and floaters from the paint instead of simply trying to power his way to the basket and draw the foul or finish hard. When they go in, it’s very pretty, and the broadcasters will inevitably comment on how unusual and impressive that part of Jamison’s game is. However, there is a reason why nobody’s mid-post game looks like Jamison’s -- those shots don’t go in very often, and he’s prone to forcing them at inopportune times. Jamison made 46.2 percent of his shots from the 3-9 foot area, and his free-throw rate was miserably low."
- The Clippers want to build a team in the Thunder mold. How's that going?
- Jonathan Abrams telling the tale of Billy Hunter.
- Mark Medina of the L.A. Times says Phil Jackson struggled to manage Kobe Bryant at times. Tricky situation for Brown: "The first moment involves when Bryant veers away from the offense or is caught sagging back on defense. It's a tight balancing act in managing Bryant, something even Phil Jackson sometimes struggled in doing. There may be contentious arguments along the way, but Bryant will respect Brown more if he's not afraid to stand up for himself. Yet Bryant is also going to want to be given the proper space and freedom most NBA superstars command."
- Mark Heisler, recently part of a Kobe Bryant conversation on TrueHoop, is tweeting his departure from the L.A. Times.
- Mark Cuban is one of those owners adamant that teams need to be cheaper to run/reportedly intends to sign Caron Butler to a long deal.
- Things to do in a lockout: Watch the faces of divers.
- Intentionally fouling ain't easy.
- Andrea Bargnani has been historically bad, according to Wages of Wins. Literally one of the worst players ever. Worth noting: He was the top overall draft pick in 2006, although with a tip of the cap to Rajon Rondo, LaMarcus Aldridge, Paul Millsap, Kyle Lowry, Brandon Roy etc.� it's worth noting that draft has not aged well.
- When it comes to being photographed with pandas, Kevin Durant does it better than Carmelo Anthony.
- Interesting form of revenue sharing that exists now but is never really mentioned anywhere: When owners include cash in trades. It's happening way more than ever, which is interesting. What if that $3 million restriction were removed? Maybe James Dolan could be convinced to pay three teams' salaries.
- Seen playing pro-am ball, looking as unathletic and shot-happy as ever: Raymond Felton.
NASCAR 2011 Schedule for Brickyard 400
The 2011 Brickyard 400 is set to start at 1:00 PM EST on Sunday, July 31st at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The Brickyard 400 is the second biggest event on the NASCAR calendar right behind the Daytona 500.
The event is highlighted by the kissing of the bricks by the winner, so who will be see kissing the bricks today?
Here are the odds according to Bodog Sportsbook:
It is no surprise to see Jimmie Johnson atop the odds, but Jeff Gordan should be considered the favorite here as history is on his side. However, don't count out pole sitter David Ragan who could clinch a spot in the Chase with a win.
Keep it locked to Bleacher Report's motorsports page for all up-to-date news and analysis.
When Sergei Bubka jumped 6.14 meters (20 feet, 1.75 inches) on July 13, 1994, he set the most impossible world record known to man.
Yes, more impossible to break than any sprinting, distance running, jumping or throwing events.
Why? Because there will never be another athlete like Sergei Bubka.
He was reportedly able to run 9.9 meters a second...with a pole in his hand.
In theory, Bubka could run the 100 meter dash with a pole in hand in just over 10 seconds.
He also used poles far beyond his weight and gripped higher than any of his competitors.
But perhaps the greatest reason why Bubka's world record mark will never be surpassed is because of another man: Vitali Petrov.
Vitali Petrov was Sergei Bubka's coach throughout his career, and the two developed a technique that has yet to meet any equal today.
Unlike most pole vaulters (particularly American ones) Petrov and Bubka focused on adding energy to the pole by swinging their leg as they reached the vertical stage of the vault—whereas other models focus instead on harnessing the energy loaded into the pole at takeoff by tucking and shooting.
The difference between the two models is a matter of intention: Petrov emphasized on pushing the pole upwards to continue adding energy to the pole as the vaulter approached the bar, while other coaches stressed on bending the pole to take advantage of its recoil.
Today we have witnessed a rise in hybrid techniques, like the drop-knee swing up technique of Australian pole vaulter and 2008 Olympic gold medalist Steven Hooker.
As good as Hooker is, however, he is no Bubka.
Until another vaulter comes along with greater talent, dedication and technique than Sergei Bubka, the record will continue to remain immortal.
Unfortunately, there's only one Bubka.
The NFL and NFLPA agreed on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement lifting the lockout on July 25, which has now turned the offseason into a frenzy with teams agreeing with free agents and signing draft picks.
Players are flying all over the place to different teams and holdouts seem to be a thing of the past, unless your name is DeSean Jackson, Chris Johnson (who both deserve a new contract) and Frank Gore.
One of the big issues heading into the CBA talks was a rookie salary cap to get rid of the ridiculously large contracts that paid unproven players more money than valuable veterans as teams were cash strapped with the amount of money they would spend.
Both sides agreed—NFL and NFLPA, on implementing a rookie-salary cap which is now being known as the JaMarcus Russell rule.
In 2007 LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell was the first overall selection by the Oakland Raiders. As in seasons past most first-round draft picks holdout to try and negotiate the most money possible and more importantly the most money guaranteed.
Russell and his agent held out until the first week of the 2007 season where the Raiders and Russell finally agreed on a six year (max years allowed) $61 million contract with $31 million in guaranteed money. In three seasons from 2007-2009 Russell had 4,083 yards passing, 18 touchdowns and 23 interceptions along with 22 fumbles and a passer rating of 65.2. After the 2009 season Russell was released and cleared waivers after still having three more years left on his contract.
In 2009 the Detroit Lions reached an agreement with Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford on a six year $72 million contract with a league record at the time $41.7 million in guaranteed money. The Lions selected Stafford as the first overall pick. In two seasons Stafford has thrown for 2,802 yards, 19 touchdowns, 21 interceptions and five fumbles. The big issue with Stafford is not talent or leadership ability it is the injury bug as he has only played 13 games thus far in his career (10 in 2009 and three in 2010). His guaranteed $41.7 million is a lot of money when he has not even played in half of his games due to injury.
The St. Louis Rams selected Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford in the 2010 draft and later signed him to a record six year $78 million contract with $50 million in guaranteed money. Again a player who had never played a down in the NFL was making more money guaranteed then anyone in the league.
Something had to change and many knew a rookie salary cap system was going to be put in place.
Under the new rules a team and first-round draft pick can sign for no more than five years however the fifth year can be an option year. Players drafted in rounds two-to-seven can sign for a maximum of four years. As well first-round picks cannot re-negotiate their contract until year three and all other draft picks in year two.
The fifth year of the players salary can increase and can almost triple from the previous amount.
In 2011 the Carolina Panthers selected Auburn quarterback Cam Newton first overall and once the lockout was lifted signed him to a four year deal worth $22 million, with all of it being fully guaranteed. This is a huge decrease from Bradford’s $50 million in guaranteed money and shows the rookie situation is seemingly under control. Even in year five Newton’s salary only jumps roughly $14 million and if that is guaranteed, still comes in under Stafford’s 41.7 million in guaranteed money.
The second overall pick Texas A&M outside linebacker Von Miller signed a four year $21 million contract which is also fully guaranteed with the Denver Broncos.
Last year the Detroit Lions signed second overall pick Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to a five year $60 million deal with $40 million fully guaranteed.
By having a rookie salary cap it makes the margin of error in drafting high in the first-round less as teams are committed to a shorter amount of years (four) and less money ($11 million based on four years and $28 million in total savings).
In addition, under the new CBA there is a $30,000 fee per day when a player holds out and does not report to mandatory training camp. In years past the price was around half at $15,000 costing the players far more presently then before.
Players, agents and owners always try to find loopholes in CBA agreements to maximize economic or talent gains when negotiating contracts or trades.
With rookies now being forced under a cap and not being able to re-negotiate their deal until year two or year three the owners are able to stay away from the grossly increasing salaries.
However a strategy that could be used in the very near future is players and agents wanting to sign for a lower term of only two or three years. A player is not able to receive unrestricted free agent status until year five but once their rookie contract has expired they are open to a new agreement with the front office and do not need to abide by the rookie salary cap rules.
This then allows the player and agent to negotiate a much higher contract that would be closer to those of years past. A player already has a few million dollars made in guaranteed money allowing them to pay the holdout fees when looking for a bigger and higher paying contract.
Also, if a player does not like his situation of being with a poor team he can holdout and demand a trade after only a few seasons or a team can send an offer sheet in hopes to signing him.
In the end everything could be back to the way it was before with younger players potentially being able to demand and make more money than veterans.
So the question remains, will the new NFL rookie salary cap really work in the long run?
Here's why previewing teams in the summer can be so difficult: Until we get to the season, we have no idea what teams can really become. The 2011 Louisville Cardinals are a perfect example.
Last season was supposed to be a holdover year for Rick Pitino. Last summer, things were looking grim. The Louisville coach had survived -- but been thoroughly embarrassed and chastised by -- the Karen Sypher extortion scandal. His recruiting had taken a dip, and the best player from the 2010 class, Justin Coleman, was unable to qualify for the team. Top 2011 point guard Marquis Teague, long considered a likely Louisville commitment, defected to the worst possible place for Louisville fans: Kentucky. Under Calipari, the hated Wildcats were on the rise. The 2010 Cardinals were mediocre, and the talent from that squad had been thinned by the early NBA departure of center Samardo Samuels and the graduations of Reginald Delk and Jerry Smith. Could 2011 really hold that much hope? What about the long-term health of the program? Had Louisville's best years under Pitino passed him by?
A year later, those concerns seem ridiculous. The 2011 Cardinals thrived. Pitino's decision to pick up the pace -- and his brilliant construction of a lineup that executed that could execute his classic pressing style effectively -- led to a 25-10 season and one of Pitino's finest seasons as a coach. Meanwhile, the recruiting picked up: Pitino landed commitments from Chane Behanan, Wayne Blackshear, Zac Price and Kevin Ware, all four of whom are ranked in 2011 ESPNU top 100. Guard Peyton Siva enjoyed a breakout year at the point guard spot, and is a likely preseason candidate for Big East player of the year.
The message is clear: Louisville isn't going anywhere.
Now that that's settled, the next item on the docket is another move toward the national elite. That will require the assimilation of those talented freshmen -- especially big men Behanan and Price -- into a lineup that would benefit from size and rebounding, especially in the wake of Terrence Jennings's strange decision to enter the NBA draft this spring. Jennings was often the only interior presence worth watching for the Cardinals. His 11.8 percent offensive rebounding percentage was a major contribution, one the team often needed when its offense struggled to get easy looks. Gorgui Deng and Stephen Van Treese may be ready to step into larger roles; both posted OR% rates higher than 13 percent in limited minutes last season.
Another item of business involves replacing Preston Knowles -- another breakout catalyst of Louisville's surprising success -- on the offensive end of the floor. Knowles wasn't the most efficient scorer (his offensive rating was a good-but-not-great 105.0), but he had the highest usage rate and shot rates on the team. Siva's emergence may help to close that gap. Chris Smith's presence is a plus. But will Blackshear -- whose scouting report cites his outside shooting as his main weakness -- be able to contribute, too? If not, will Siva be able to adopt more of a perimeter scoring load?
But these are all minor concerns for Louisville fans. For a while there, it was the big picture that seemed most worrisome. Now, Pitino and Co. are back to basketball business as normal. No more existential crises. No more embarrassing headlines. Forgive the cliche, but what a difference a year makes.
Samstag, 30. Juli 2011
They began by adding defensive end Jason Babin who had 12.5 sacks last season, but then they get corner Dominique Rogers Cromartie (trade) and Nnamdi Asomugha through free agency. They also have Cullen Jenkins as this article was being written.
That was just pure dominance, but the other surprise team looked inward to retain its core players and add veteran leadership to other positions—that team is the Carolina Panthers.
The Panthers had been treated like a second-class citizen by analysts, talk shows and other sports writers. They had one bad season with a coach 95 percent out the door, a team purged of almost all veterans, a rookie receiving corps and a quarterback that clearly was not ready to play.
Many have been speculating where Carolina’s free agents would go, as surely they would not come back to a 2-14 team. Surely Steve Smith would not want to stay with a rookie quarterback at the helm.
All I have to say to those people is, “SURPRISE!”
The Panthers have made themselves known this free agency and that they have no plans of just sitting at the bottom of the mighty NFC South.
With these players, the Panthers are already on their way back to respectability.
(*Previously, we've been spelling the last name "Montimere," but according to the Odessa American article linked below, Montimer's passport and Social Security card identify him as "Guerdwich Montimer." So that's what we'll call him, I guess.)
On Wednesday, Montimer appeared before 70th District Court Judge Denn Whalen, who asked "Are you Guerdwich Montimer?" After replying in the affirmative -- "Yes, yes sir I am," Montimer said -- he plead guilty to two counts of sexual assault of a child and three counts of tampering with government records, according to the Odessa American. Montimer will serve three years in prison for each count, which will run concurrently, and he will get credit for time served for the year he's spent in prison since the scandal over his identity erupted over a year ago.
By now, you'll know Montimer as Jerry Joseph, a 16-year-old basketball star for Permian High School in Odessa, Tex. Except Montimer wasn't really 16. He was 22. When coaches from Florida saw him play at an AAU tournament in Arkansas, they began asking questions about his identity. The government began looking into those questions, and discovered that he had lied about his identity and -- in the most drastic turn in the case -- had sex with a 15-year-old schoolmate under the guise of his 16-year-old identity.
As Diamond noted two weeks ago, Montimer's story was chronicled in this month's issue of GQ, and the story remains a must-read for anyone who finds this tale appropriately fascinating. Montimer arrived in Odessa with little more than a bag of clothes, and he had claimed he was an orphan in Haiti who had stowed away on a boat to America seeking a second chance. Odessa coach Danny Wright, seeing Montimer's hoops talent, adopted him, and the GQ story begins with a touching portrait of "Jerry's" first holiday season with the family.
When Montimer was approached at the famed AAU tournament, he pretended not to know a former coach from Florida. When the principal of Permian high school confronted Montimer with two photos -- one of him playing for Permian, the other of him in a uniform in Florida -- Montimer said he had no idea who the "other" person was. Even during the investigation, Montimer stuck by his story. Only Wednesday, when asked in a court of law at his plea hearing, did he finally confirm his real identity.
It's about as weird a story as you'll ever hear. You wonder: What if Montimer hadn't been spotted at the AAU tournament? Would he have eventually been caught anyway? Or would he still be Jerry Joseph?
Calipari wanted the team of pros to be coached by former Kentucky coach Joe B. Hall and former Wildcat Sam Bowie, leaving the 82-year-old Hall thrilled to be making a nostalgic return to the Rupp Arena sideline.
But after it became unclear whether NCAA rules would allow Hall to coach the team, Calipari was forced to backtrack and have his predecessor join him on the Dominican sideline instead. The whole thing has left Hall confused, according to John Clay of the Lexington Herald-Leader.
"It’s a little bit embarrassing," said Hall. "To have Coach Calipari ask me to coach the All-Star was an honor. I was happy to do it. He's so thoughtful and been so good to me. He’s always been very respectful and supportive, including me in everything he does. I'm happy to help him out with coaching the Dominican Republic team in any way I can."
Hall said that he thinks that he and Bowie were "unfairly singled out. We didn't do anything. I don't understand how the former players can play in the game, but we can't coach. That makes no sense to me. I’m no danger to anybody. I would just be sitting on the bench. We're not doing any real coaching. No one ever told me that I couldn’t be a part of it until I saw it on television and read it in the paper. No one talked to me to tell me why.
Hall's frustrations are understandable considering it appears that the NCAA rulebook is getting in the way of Calipari's gesture.
Kentucky somehow isn't supposed to be officially affiliated with this game even though Calipari is coaching a Dominican team that includes forward Eloy Vargas against a team of ex-Wildcat pros in Rupp Arena, so apparently Hall can't coach the Kentucky pros, according to The Courier-Journal.
DeWayne Peevy, the UK Associate Athletic Director of Media Relations, is acting as a spokesman for ProCamps Worldwide, which is putting on the event.
He said UK can’t have former players or coaches involved in the production of the event, and it’s unclear whether NCAA rules would allow a former coach such as Hall to coach the team.
“(The NCAA) has worked with us from the start of this event,” Peevy said. “This is the first of its kind so there are no actual exceptions or rules for this type of event.”
- Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe: "In the first sign that NBA players and owners want to avoid a long lockout, the two sides have agreed to meet Monday in New York, according to an NBA source. It will be the first official negotiating session since the owners instituted the lockout on July 1 and it's a positive sign considering the two sides waited 46 days to meet during the previous lockout in 1998. Does the NFL settlement have anything to do with the NBA suddenly deciding to meet? Who knows? But it is an indication that the two sides realize the seriousness of the situation. The NBA preseason does not begin for about 10 weeks, giving the two sides plenty of time to talk and they will likely need it because they are far apart on several key issues, including a hard salary cap, revenue sharing and percentage of Basketball Related Income."
- Shannon J. Owens of the Orlando Sentinel: "Memo to David Stern, Billy Hunter, Derek Fisher and the NBA stars – the public needs to hear from you. If you’re like me, then maybe you’ve noticed the leaders in the labor negotiations have been eerily quiet. Even more peculiar is how silent the NBA stars have been when it comes to fighting against hard salary caps in the 2011 NBA lockout. Stars like Patrick Ewing and Alonzo Mourning were on the front lines for players in the 1998-99 lockout. But that clearly hasn’t been the case this time around. We’ve heard a lot of talk about overseas teams the league’s most recognizable players are considering taking their talents to. We’ve heard little to nothing about the issues in the lockout and – most important – where these players stand. Considering the fact that small businesses and those individuals working for the team are the most negatively impacted by labor unrest, the public has a right to know."
- Marc Berman of the New York Post: "Unless Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony join the same overseas squad to develop much-needed chemistry, it’s a bad idea for either of the Knicks superstars to be talking about playing abroad. Stoudemire still has a bad back and isn’t doing anything physical – or even traveling – until Aug. 15. Anthony still has a bad elbow (bursitis) that he was rehabbing entering the July 1 NBA lockout. Anthony wasn't even allowed to shoot, The Post reported. The two of them should worry about their health more than about Europe/Asia, especially because they don’t have access to the Knicks’ medical/training staff or facilities because of the lockout. ... Stoudemire mentioned playing overseas, possibly with eyes on Israel. But he has shut it down for now, resting completely until mid-August, according to a source. That is when a group of Knicks, including Anthony, get together in Los Angeles for informal workouts and summer rec league play. Knicks rookie center Jerome Jordan won’t be there; he leaves for Slovenia on Aug. 15. He has agreed to play there until the lockout ends. For Stoudemire and Anthony, their offseason ballplaying should end in SoCal."
- Tim Griffin of the San Antonio Express-News: "The start of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London is exactly one year away. Since the introduction of the American “Dream Team” in 1992, men’s basketball has been one of the Olympics biggest and most anticipated events. And it figures to be that way again in London. That is, if NBA players choose to represent their countries. The Olympics are a huge part of David Stern’s globalization of the sport. And the league has its fingerprints all over USA Basketball, starting with managing director and former majority Phoenix Suns owner Jerry Colangelo running the show. But if the lockout stretches through at least one season through the early summer next season, it’s extremely doubtful that the players would give in and join up with their national teams. This promises to be perhaps the United States’ best team since the original 'Dream Team' in 1992. Kobe Bryant has committed, eager to match Michael Jordan for his second gold medal. The United States has a deep collection of transcendent young talent like Kevin Durant and Derrick Rose along with emerging superstar players like LeBron James and Dwyane Wade."
- Barry Horn of The Dallas Morning News: "Caron Butler’s right knee has been diagnosed as good to go, agent Raymond Brothers confirmed Wednesday. Where he will be playing when the NBA returns from its lockout remains to be seen. Brothers said Butler, a free agent, was cleared to play by the Mavericks’ medical staff several days ago. Butler ruptured his patellar tendon in a New Year’s Day loss at Milwaukee. He missed the rest of the Mavericks’ championship season. “He would have been able to play in Game 7 against the Miami Heat,” Brothers said. 'But now we have the official clearance.' Game 7 of the NBA Finals wasn’t necessary as the Mavericks wrapped up the league title in six games. Brothers said the 6-7 forward prefers to return to the Mavericks. Butler was the team’s third-leading scorer when his season ended."
- Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle: "The first time the Rockets offered Chris Finch a job, he didn't know what to think. Mostly, he wondered how they knew about him. He did not expect that it would bring him from coaching jobs around Europe and as the coach of England's national team to his next job offer: to be part of Kevin McHale's staff with the Rockets. Finch, however, accepted the position to coach the Rio Grande Valley Vipers as the Rockets took over operations of their NBA Development League affiliate. He took the Vipers to the D-League finals in each of his two seasons, added a championship to the titles won in England and Belgium, and will return to England on Friday as an NBA assistant coach. As the coach of England's national team, he'll open training camp Saturday in preparation for September's European championships. When the new Rockets staff — McHale, Kelvin Sampson, J.B. Bickerstaff, Brett Gunning and Finch — got together for several days of meetings this week, none had arrived via a more unusual road than Finch. ... Rockets general manager Daryl Morey thought enough of Finch to discuss promoting him with former Rockets coach Rick Adelman in the days following the season. After Adelman agreed not to return as coach, Finch, 41, became a candidate for an assistant position when McHale was named coach."
- Charles F. Gardner of the Journal Sentinel: "The Milwaukee Bucks are reaching into their past to bolster their coaching staff, choosing former all-star guard Sidney Moncrief to fill the position vacated by Kelvin Sampson. A league source confirmed Wednesday that Moncrief would join coach Scott Skiles' staff for the 2011-'12 season. Moncrief has stayed in contact with the organization and worked on several game telecasts last season, filling in for analyst and former Bucks guard Jon McGlocklin. The 53-year-old Moncrief has some previous coaching experience, as an assistant with the Golden State Warriors when Don Nelson was the team's head coach. ... He played in 767 NBA games and averaged 15.6 points while being named an all-star five times. In his 10 seasons with Milwaukee, he averaged 16.7 points and 5.0 rebounds."
- Perry A. Farrell of the Detroit Free Press: "Lawrence Frank is expected to be named coach soon. Brian Hill, who was a Pistons assistant coach under Kuester last year, hired Frank in 1997 when Hill was head coach in Vancouver. Frank spent three years scouting opponents and having bench duties under Hill. Hill, who was also a head coach in Orlando twice, could help with the transition from Kuester to Frank because Hill helped Frank get a foot into the league. ... Pistons assistant Pat Sullivan worked on the Frank bench in 2005-08. He could be a candidate to remain in Detroit because he already has a relationship with Frank. ... Reports indicate that Frank could bring along Roy Rogers as an assistant, which could leave Darrell Walker, an assistant last year with the Pistons, looking for work."
- Colin Stephenson of The Star-Ledger: "There is no stopping it now. 'It’s coming,' Nets general manager Billy King said Wednesday of the Barclays Center, his team’s billion-dollar arena under construction in downtown Brooklyn. 'You know it now. I think all the negative people not believe it’s going to happen — we don’t have to show pictures anymore.' King was standing in what will be the main concourse of the building, addressing reporters about the structure, which is about 60 percent complete and on schedule for its anticipated opening in the fall of 2012. With the NBA lockout in effect and teams basically under a league gag order as far as talking about the work stoppage or players, the Nets are left to focus their efforts on the new building, which is growing daily at Flatbush and Atlantic avenues."
- Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic: "While the league laid off 114 employees last week in a move it said was not lockout-related, Suns employees were assured via e-mail in June that they would not face layoffs or pay cuts for the rest of 2011, although some still have left for other jobs. That e-mail stipulation is consistent with what most team employees elsewhere in the league have been told. The Suns' coaching staff did have lockout-related pay reductions that were negotiated in their contracts. Basketball operations staff continues to report to work, perhaps taking advantage of the available off-season time that it did not have last summer when the new front-office staff was hired after roster changes were complete. Coach Alvin Gentry was planning to spend at least a week meeting with new assistant coach Elston Turner about plans for next season's defense, which Turner will coordinate. ... Most feel there will not be a resolution to the lockout for months, given that the previous lockout 13 years ago lasted for six months. Insiders believe that an agreement will have to be reached by mid-October for the season to go on as usual and by early January to have even an abbreviated season."
- Tony Bizjak, Ryan Lillis and Dale Kasler of The Sacramento Bee: "Five years ago, Sacramento tried to finance a downtown sports and entertainment arena by asking voters to tax themselves. The result: an overwhelming 'No way!' With just weeks to go before a Sept. 8 deadline to reveal a new arena financing plan, the mayor's brain trust is taking a new approach they say will be more palatable. New taxes are unlikely. Instead, it's pay to play. Aides to Mayor Kevin Johnson say they're focused on user fees such as ticket surcharges for people who attend arena events. That revenue could be coupled with event-night parking fees at downtown garages, new corporate sponsorships, and up-front money from private companies that could build and operate the arena for the city. Another idea: The city could sell up to a dozen parcels that it owns to developers, raising $30 million to $60 million, according to a financing update that will be discussed today at a meeting of Johnson's 70-person regional arena committee. The report does not indicate which parcels those are. Officials say they're even considering renting the arena's rooftop to telecommunications companies for cell towers."
Friday night was to be a big night in regards to one of the many trade rumors regarding the Boston Red Sox. It was, after all, the night Seattle Mariners lefty Erik Bedard was due to come off the disabled list, and the Sox were going to have plenty of eyes on him as he did his thing against the Tampa Bay Rays at Safeco Field.
What they saw wasn?t exactly encouraging.
Making his first start since late June, Bedard lasted just an inning and a third, giving up five earned runs on three hits and four walks. It was the shortest start of his career, and probably his worst too.
For a team like the Red Sox, who are becoming increasingly desperate to find a starting pitcher with Clay Buchholz?s return getting pushed back time and again, watching Bedard struggle had to be tough. They had, after all, seemed quite intrigued by him, and could have made a deal for him had he pitched well against the Rays.
Because he didn?t, the Sox have a pretty good excuse to back off and look for starting pitching help elsewhere.
True enough, the word from WEEI.com?s Alex Speier is that Bedard?s stuff was actually pretty decent on Friday night. He showed good velocity, with his fastball sitting in the 91-93 mph range. That would seem to indicate that Bedard is at least healthy.
While Bedard?s stuff may be okay, former Baltimore Orioles executive Jim Duquette said that what the Sox should really be worried about is Bedard?s character. Apparently, he?s not a big fan of the spotlight.
Via the Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald, here is Duquette?s take on Bedard:
He doesn?t like the attention. When he?s the guy, he doesn?t succeed. And I always thought, because he didn?t want to be the guy, that it would hold him back. I thought he?d be a real solid No. 3 (starter), maybe in a small market. But it would concern me going into a big market. After I left the Orioles, I even tried to dissuade a couple of big-market clubs that were interested in him.
If that makes you concerned, it should. The last thing the Red Sox need is a guy who can?t handle the bright lights, not to mention the relentlessness of the Boston press corps.
As ESPN?s Jerry Crasnick put it: ?Erik Bedard has J.D. Drew's durability and John Lackey's media relations skill. He's the perfect Red Sox player!?
Well said. And if Sox GM Theo Epstein has any sense, he will heed these wise words.
? why do I have this weird feeling that I just jinxed it?
On the heels of the Philadelphia Eagles blockbuster signing of Nnamdi Asomugha, the team must do what's in the best interest of winning: keeping all three Pro Bowl cornerbacks on the team.
There has been speculation among the national sports media and the fans that Asante Samuel might be moved to another team because of this move. This has no basis other than pure speculation from what might happen.
The Eagles would be a better team to have all three guys playing in the backfield than letting one go away because another one has taken his spot.
By nature, Samuel is a gambler and is best when he does this. This is how he made his name as one of the best cornerbacks in the business.
Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie are better known as coverage cornerbacks because they do not get the high interception numbers. They are excellent at containing their man, limiting them to shorter yards per catch.
To have all three guys play in the same backfield would give nightmares to opposing quarterbacks on a weekly basis.
Do what's right, Eagles front office and keep all three stud cornerbacks on the team.
Freitag, 29. Juli 2011
For Oregon State coach Craig Robinson, it was difficult to believe. In fact, he told The Oregonian's Paul Buker and Lindsay Schnell on KPAM 860 AM that he initially thought Nelson was pulling his leg.
"As soon as it happened, I get a Skype from Roberto, and he's got these bandages on," Robinson said. "I mean, he looked like the old Lon Chaney mummy back from the old movies. And I didn't believe him because Roberto is a prankster, and I was like, 'Get out of here. Nothing's wrong with you.'
"He had these bandages on his face, and he had them on his arm, and he was like, 'Coach, I broke a rim and shattered the glass that's in my face and I got 21 stitches.' I was like, 'Get out here. I don't believe you. You're the boy who cried wolf.' And then [teammates Joe Burton and Kevin McShane] got on and they were like, 'Seriously, this really happened.'"
From the Daily Barometer:
"He thought we'd just bandaged Roberto up; he thought it was all a joke," Burton said with a laugh. "He even thought we used makeup."
Whoops. Nelson was fine after getting stitches, but the incident shook him up. Robinson was also thankful that one of his top players didn't get hurt worse and came away instead with a story to tell and some scars.
"He was very lucky because they still have the old glass backboards over there, so those were shards of glass that were falling as opposed to the tempered glass they have over here that just shatters, but it doesn't break," Robinson told the station. "He said there was a piece of glass that just missed his foot that probably would have really done some damage had that hit his foot."
And that would have been no laughing matter.
Strikeforce returns to Showtime tomorrow night and they are bringing a stacked card full of quality matchups.
It all goes down at the Sears Centre Arena in Illinois where the weigh-ins took place earlier today.
Henderson weighed in at 207 pounds while "The Last Emperor" weighed in at 223. Currently on a two-fight losing streak, Emelianenko needs this victory to still stay relevant and a powerful force behind the Strikeforce promotion. With the recent announcement that Overeem has been cut from the roster, he is now their top guy.
The other fights on the card include a women's title bout between champion Marloes Coenen and challenger Miesha Tate as well as intriguing matchups featuring power-punchers Robbie Lawler, Paul Daley and Scott Smith.
Lawler will be taking on Tim Kennedy. Daley will be facing undefeated prospect Tyron Woodley. Smith will be facing Tarec Saffiedine.
Here are the complete weigh-in results:
Fedor Emelianenko (223) vs. Dan Henderson (207)
Marloes Coenen (135) vs. Miesha Tate (135)
Robbie Lawler (185) vs. Tim Kennedy (185)
Paul Daley (171) vs. Tyron Woodley (170)
Scott Smith (171) vs. Tarec Saffiedine (170)
Gesias Cavalcante (155) vs. Bobby Green (155)
Eduardo Pamplona (170) vs. Tyler Stinson (171)
Alexis Davis (135) vs. Julie Kedzie (136)
Derek Brunson (186) vs. Lumumba Sayers (184)
Bryan Humes (266) vs. Gabriel Salinas-Jones (260)
This coming season, the Gaels won't have WCC player of the year Mickey McConnell to lead the way.
But forward Rob Jones, Saint Mary's leading returning scorer, believes that the team will make it back to the NCAA tournament.
"We have high expectations," Jones told the team's website. "We know what we could have accomplished last year, but we kind of underachieved a little bit I think. But I think this coming year ... definitely tournament-bound, hopefully win a couple of games. I can't give you too many details because I don't want to act like I'm talking mess, but we have high expectations for the postseason."
Jones has emerged as more of a scorer since transferring from San Diego to Saint Mary's, and he'll have plenty of experience around him in the frontcourt.
But what do the Gaels do without McConnell, who helped carry them two years ago to the Sweet 16 and served as their unquestioned leader since then? While Saint Mary's can expect a big year from Matthew Dellavedova, coach Randy Bennett will have to sort out the point guard position between Stephen Holt and SMU transfer Paul McCoy.
"Every year I feel like Saint Mary's, they lose this great player, and they think that we're not going to be as good a team, but we always seem to rise to the occasion," Jones said. "After the Sweet 16 they lost Omar [Samhan], and we had Mickey step up. So this year is just an another opportunity for another player to step up."
But that stat by itself doesn't tell the whole story.
Beltran is a lifetime .310 hitter at the park on the shores of San Francisco Bay, and in the last three seasons he's hit .375 there in 40 at-bats with a .600 slugging percentage and a 1.032 OPS. His batting average at AT&T Park is the highest out of any ballpark in which Beltran has 25 or more career at-bats.
This accomplishment by Beltran is quite a feat considering it came against the likes of two-time Cy Young Award-winner Tim Lincecum and company.
The sight of Carlos Beltran in a Giants uniform is one more reason the Giants are happy to play at the corner of 3rd and King Streets in San Francisco.
The defending champions have played in front of 50 straight sell-out crowds, have a 32-18 home record, and now have a No. 3 hitter that loves to hit in his new home park.
With Beltran's speed, the spacious right-center field at AT&T could create a real dilemma for opposing managers.
If Beltran hits a ball into "Triples Alley", as it is known to the locals, he'll easily be standing at third with Pablo Sandoval coming up behind him.
If opposing defenses set up to take away the gap in right-center, Beltran will have the right field line open, and is a good enough hitter to exploit such a defensive shift.
Beltran also likes hitting during the stretch run, having posted a .326 batting average during the month of September dating back to 2008.
Add to all of those numbers the incentive of playing for a team with a legitimate chance to reach the World Series, something that Beltran hasn't tasted since 2006, and Beltran could be a real game-changer for San Francisco's offense as the Giants push forward toward the postseason.
When the Giants return to AT&T Park on August 1, they will return with a new third place hitter, and we can expect an ovation from a packed house for San Francisco's new No. 15.
And based on the numbers, No. 15 won't disappoint his new hometown fans.