Mittwoch, 31. August 2011
Oh the irony. Just a little over one year ago, Ben Tate's preseason injury opened the door for Arian Foster's legendary fantasy season. Now it looks as if the roles have been reversed.
For Foster owners this all sounds like a certain horrible Jason Bateman-Ryan Reynolds movie, but in fact the possibility of a 180 degree role reversal is very real. While the extent of the damage is currently being debated, Foster's hamstring could be the Achilles heel for his fantasy owners. But great crisis comes with great opportunity, and if Foster's hamstring costs him even a couple of games, Ben Tate becomes immediately fantasy viable.
Tate appears to be the same explosive runner that many fantasy owners drafted with confidence as a sleeper pick last year. If his nine-carry, 95-yard performance against the Saints in Week 2 is any indication, Tate could be an explosive option—especially for the first couple weeks. He's one of the few backup RBs in the NFL that has the talent, size and speed to be a starter, and he holds long-term value as a handcuff because of his pedigree and situation. Tate's talent might lead the Texans management to be cautious with rushing Foster back, which would make Tate a top 10 RB for a couple weeks.
The takeaway: Tate should be universally picked up in competitive leagues. Even if Foster ends up being able to go in Week 1, Tate's pedigree and situation make him one of the most valuable handcuff options in the NFL.
One subject Philadelphia fans would rather not think about is the possibility of regression. After four years of topping the NL East, the Phillies have finally brought a sense of tranquility to their passionate fan base. Gone are the bad memories of coming up last in the division, of the 1993 World Series, and of the losing-est franchise record in MLB history.
So why am I even bringing this up?
Rany Jazayerli recently wrote an article about the historical trends of teams with high average ages-- at or around where the Phillies have been the past couple years. His outlook isn't very optimistic. Citing the few franchises that have been where the Phillies currently stand, he essentially claims the only way out of an era of despair is to do as the Yankees do-- buy their way out. A method he says the Phillies can't afford. Unfortunately, his argument is backed by history and seems fundamentally sound.
My view is a bit different.
I see promise in what's left of the Phillies farm system. Rookie pitcher Vance Worley might not be the next Halladay, but he has undoubtedly looked fantastic. Top outfield prospect Dominic Brown has yet to emerge as a major player for the team, but has shown flashes of brilliance this season. John Mayberry, Jr. has finally shown why he was a top draft pick for Texas a few years ago.
I also see a few more years before action becomes a necessity. The Phils' top pitching staff isn't through working together after this year (as long as they can settle up with Cole) and should continue to dominate the strengthening- but still mostly soft- division.
The Phillies' lineup may average 31.5 years old, but isn't that statistic skewed by 39 year old Raul Ibanez (most likely out next year) and 35 year old Placido Polanco? You don't usually see people write off a player just because he turned 32 - so why would you write off a team because they collectively turned 32? I feel like they have a few years. A few years before serious decline is more than enough time for savvy GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. to bring on key additions not only to right the ship, but make it even better.
I see stronger competition in the future for the Philadelphia Phillies from the Braves and Nationals. I see age creeping in here and there on the offense. I see places where they could use some additional prospects.
What I don't see is this Philadelphia team faltering next year, or the next, or the next...
Please comment and let me know what you think about the future of the Philadelphia Phillies. I hope you're all as optimistic as I am.
Art Ditmar, who was the New York Yankees top winner, going 15-9 with a 3.06 ERA and a 117ERA+, started the opener.
Ford had finished the season at 12-9 with a 3.08 ERA and a 116 ERA+.
The general consensus was that Ford, with all his World Series experience, should have been the opening game starter.
But not starting Ford wasn’t Stengel’s only error.
It is recognized that the speculation that follows is similar to the predestined hit.
With two outs, the runner on first is caught stealing to retire the side. The same batter leads off the next inning and hits a home run. Would he have hit a home run if the runner hadn’t attempted to steal or had stolen safely?
Ford started the third game. He pitched a shutout as the New York Yankees blasted the Pirates, 10-0 to take a two games to one lead in the Series.
The Pirates won the fourth and fifth games by scores of 3-2 and 5-2. The desperate Stengel started Ford in the sixth game on three days rest.
Ford pitched another shutout as the Yankees scored 12 runs.
What would have happened if Stengel saved Ford for the seventh game? Of course, that goes against the book because for the Yankees, there would be no seventh game if they lost the sixth game.
Bob Turley started the seventh game and lasted one inning. He was charged with three runs. Bill Stafford took over in the second inning. He was charged with one run in his one inning of work.
The Yankees were trailing, 4-0 when Bobby Shantz came in to pitch the third. He was extremely effective, holding the Pirates at bay as the Yankees pecked away. Going to the Pirates eighth, the Yankees led, 7-4.
The easy part is that seven runs would have been enough for Ford if he and not Bob Turley had started the seventh game. The Yankees finished the game with nine runs, but that is a minor point.
The difficult part is what would have happened if Turley had started the sixth game? Let’s assume that he would have been as ineffective in game six as he had been in game seven. Goodbye to Bob after he pitched one inning.
Let’s assume that Stafford came in and gave up a run as he did in the seventh game to bring the Pirates total to four runs after two innings.
Stengel brings in Bobby Shantz who works his four scoreless innings.
Going to the Pirates eighth, the Yankees had scored 12 runs.
Even if the bad luck still occurred (Tony Kubek being hit in the throat when Bill Virdon’s apparent double-play ground ball took a bad hop and hit him in the throat), a 12-4 lead would have been enough to withstand it better than a 7-4 lead.
Stengel was fired after the World Series, but it wasn't only for the World Series loss. The Yankees were afraid that Ralph Houk might jump ship to accept an offer to manage for another team.
Houk took over and we all know what happened in 1961.
Delone Carter vs. Donald Brown
During the third week of the preseason, I happened to watch the Colts play the Packers on CBS, and one of the battles I kept a close eye on was the performance of Donald Brown and rookie running back Delone Carter.
While Brown worked second on the depth chart after Joseph Addai, he continued his ineffective ways on the ground, as he carried the football six times for a mere twelve yards. Carter, a favorite of mine to start before Addai re-signed, came in after Brown and totaled 27 yards rushing on seven carries.
While I still believe Carter is the player to handcuff to Addai (in deep leagues), I decided to reach out to Colts’ beat writer Phillip Wilson to find out his thoughts on the situation.
I tweeted Wilson, wondering if Brown would remain ahead of Carter, or if the young running back has a chance to move ahead of him on the depth chart.
Wilson replied that if Carter doesn’t run in front of Brown to start the season, he should at least take over the “hard yards” (running inside the tackles) as the season moves along.
In a recent article by Wilson, he admits that Carter has been impressive and has the ability to give this team the hard inside running they’ve lacked in recent years.
Carter’s physical style is a big reason the team selected him in the middle rounds, and during the spring, Carter was talked about as a candidate to run out the clock late in games and get goal-line work.
Obviously, with Addai around, that role will change. But as fantasy owners who’ve selected Addai in the past understand all too well, the veteran is injury prone.
This past spring, Wilson even talked about the Colts possibly parting ways with Brown after this season, because they are unhappy with his inability to run between the tackles and his struggles with pass protection.
Maybe Carter will be worked in a little slowly in the first month of the season. He did lose time to work with the team in the offseason, but he is the runner to target if you’re looking for a future prospect from this team in dynasty leagues or for a potential breakout player later in the season.
Follow Phillip Wilson on Twitter – http://twitter.com/pwilson24
Read Phillip Wilson’ Work – http://blogs.indystar.com/philb/
Peyton Manning Activated Off PUP List
Great news for the Colts as their star quarterback is now looking likely to play the first week of the regular season. I still have my doubts that we will see the Manning we’ve come to expect until sometime in October, but hearing he’s on the field is encouraging news.
Having Manning on the field means everything to the stock of the players in this offense. As Manning goes, so do the Colts. Without him, they would probably win only five games this year.
With Manning on the field, Reggie Wayne and others should be considered safe additions to your team. Draft as you normally would when selecting Indianapolis players.
Tweet – Manning Activated
Greg Toler Torn ACL
The Cardinals received another blow to their roster, as cornerback Greg Toler is lost for the season after tearing his ACL in the team's third preseason game.
Cardinals beat writer Kent Somers speculated that he felt the Cardinals wouldn’t look for help in free agency or via trade, as they have a decent group of corners in camp already.
This is good news for Patrick Peterson’s IDP fantasy stock, as he should have a starting job locked in. But losing Toler won’t help Arizona against opposing passing attacks. Look to the Cardinals defense as a friendly team to face when making tough start/sit decisions at receiver this year.
Tweet – Toler Lost For The Season
Kobe Bryant is no Michael Jordan.
It's not Bryant's fault that he'll never live up to the legacy of Michael Jordan and, frankly, the comparison between the two is too readily discussed as a jumping off point for discussion.
It's not that Bryant's talents are inferior to Jordan's, and it's not about Jordan having one more championship ring to his name than the Black Mamba currently does.
It's about how we perceive the game of basketball.
I recently received a comment from someone whose opinion I value regularly. He told me that basketball hasn't been the same since Jordan hung 'em up.
Since His Airness retired a few times in his career, I asked him to clarify when, and he provided remarks that were clear: since Jordan's real retirement—before he began playing with the Wizards.
Interestingly enough, the discussion progressed to the point where we began discussing what Bryant's legacy would look like if he were to join another team for the final seasons of his career, after the next three years on his current contract expire.
After a back-and-forth bantering session, he and I reached a point of agreement that we both emphatically stood behind: No matter what Bryant accomplishes, he won't be catapulted ahead of Jordan.
Even if Bryant winds up with more titles in his collection than Jordan, to use that as the primary measure of judgement would be irresponsible. Robert Horry has seven rings to his name, and he's not even in the Top 50 players of all time for the large majority of people.
Let's take a look at the individual accolades between the two:
Jordan: 5x Regular Season MVP, 14x All-Star, 6x Finals MVP, 3x Steals Champion, 9x All-Defensive First Team, 10x All-NBA First Team, Defensive Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, 3x All-Star MVP, 2x Slam Dunk Champion, All-Rookie First Team, All-NBA Second Team.
Bryant: 2x Finals MVP, Regular Season MVP, 13x All-Star, 9x All-NBA First Team, 9x All-Defensive First Team, 4x All-Star Game MVP, Slam Dunk Champion, 2x All-Defensive Second Team, 2x All-NBA Second Team, 2x All-NBA Third Team, All-Rookie Second Team.
While each has certainly had a fair share of impressive accomplishments to date, no matter how one slices it, Jordan's accomplishments absolutely dwarf what Bryant has done.
Both players may have an equal number of All-Defensive team selections, but that's awfully misleading. Jordan won Defensive Player of the Year and was a three-time steals champion—both feats that Bryant has never accomplished during his tenure.
Additionally, Jordan's five MVP awards are four more than Bryant currently has in his collection, and with a loaded Lakers team currently accompanying him, it's unlikely that he will warrant serious consideration to put another one in the collection any time soon.
This isn't meant to serve as an anti-Kobe piece, because that's not what it is.
I'm just tired of people automatically placing the two shooting guards in the same sentence because they're so "comparable."
While I agree there are some eerie similarities, there really is no comparison to Jordan.
Bryant is a fantastic talent, and one of the best basketball players that I've ever had the pleasure of watching live, but if we continue to compare his legacy to Jordan's, we're going to keep robbing ourselves of the opportunity to appreciate Bryant's abilities while he's still playing.
We hadn't seen anything like Jordan in the NBA when he broke onto the scene, and that's exactly why everybody exploded with passion about his game.
And while Bryant comes close to imitating it (almost to perfection) at times, it's simply not the same.
These are two men from separate eras on different teams.
We can't use one of them as the measuring stick for the other's success—especially when Jordan is incomparable to any other that has ever played the game.
Spoilers follow; if you don't want to read the spoilers, please close this article now!
Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome! Once again it's time to look at the TNA spoilers this week. With the possible return of Jeff Hardy and two title matches this week, it looks like this could be a good episode of Impact.
However, before we begin I have to talk about what happened on TNA Xplosion this week.
One of the matches was for the No.1 tag team contender's spot and saw The Pope and Devon defeat The British Invasion.
My initial thoughts to this was, "Weren't British Invasion and Mexican America feuding?"
Why is the British Invasion, the best tag team in TNA now that Beer Money is heading the singles route, losing to a tag team like Pope and Devon?
Why are Mexican America the champs when one half of the team is terrible and the other half has never been that good, at least in my opinion?
All these questions and more will be answered one day...I hope.
Oh well, here are the spoilers for this week (the spoilers and results are in bold, my thoughts and opinions are not).
To start off the show, Hogan and Flair come out to the ring, Brother, and talk about Sting and Flair's upcoming match, Brother. Hogan doesn't seem to like the idea of facing Sting, Brother, but Flair guarantees that he'll beat Sting in their match.
They proceed to announce that this match will take place on September 15th's Impact.
Hogan then calls Angle out and announces that there will be a title match tonight between Angle and Sting. Sting comes out and accepts, but Hogan then decides that he's going to be the special guest enforcer for the match, Brother!!!!
Most people are going to expect me to bash this segment, and while I hate where this storyline's going, at least Flair/Sting will be on TV instead of at the upcoming PPV, and it announced the main event, so I have no complaints with this segment opening the show.
1) Gunner beat RVD after Jerry Lynn interfered to become the final man in the BFG Finals (Crimson was unable to continue in the tournament after Samoa Joe attacked him last week).
Hogan vs. Sting, RVD vs. Jerry Lynn, we're one Ultimate Warrior/Ric Flair feud away from causing a hole in the fabric of space. The late 90's called, they want their feuds back.
TNA, where everything old is still in the main event.
2) Brian Kendrick & Jesse Sorensen beat Austin Aries & Kid Kash after Jesse rolled up Kash.
I like how TNA is building Jesse, he looks good and can be a real X-Division star if given the chance.
I also like how they're building up the X-Division and putting it on TV more.
Eric Bischoff is in the ring with all the Knockouts and starts to announce that Tracie Brooks (for the one millionth time) is going to be the new Knockout Law; however, just as he's about to award her the job he announces that Karen Jarrett will instead be the new Knockouts VP.
I hate Jeff Jarrett. From the stolen moves, the stolen gimmicks, the stolen symbols, the backstage politics, the sheer number of useless/meaningless titles he's won, the fact that the only reason he ever rose above the mid-card was because of his dad's connections, how he books himself to always be strong and win more titles in the end and now this.
There have been a lot of rumors backstage that he wanted Karen to be involved more, and so we get Karen Jarrett as the new face of the Knockout's Division, someone who's never been and never will be a wrestler, and is the face of the women's division. (At least Sharmell was a women's wrestler back in the day.)
Jeff Jarrett, you represent everything wrong with this business and backstage politics, and this just proves my point.
Matt Morgan calls out Samoa Joe, Joe beats him down, apparently it was a very good segment.
Maybe TNA will finally book Joe well.....oh who am I kidding, 3 months from now he'll be back to jobbing for the TV Title.
3) Mickie James beat Knockouts champion Winter (w/Angelina Love) to capture the Knockouts Title.
Since Hardcore Justice, two title matches featured on the show have been given away on free TV, with the titles switching hands.
Why do that when you're expecting people to pay money for these matches? I mean honestly, it feels like I wasted my money now because you're making it seem absolutely pointless to buy the PPVs if most of the title changes are done on free TV.
What was the point in even giving Winter the belt to begin with if you're just going to turn around and give it back to Mickie? It makes no sense.
4) Daniels beat A.J. Styles after AJ slipped on the ropes. Refused to shake AJ's hand after the match.
Daniels may be turning heel and going back to the Fallen Angle persona, good.
AJ and Daniels maybe having another feud, not so much.
Sad to see that TNA can't find anything other than to do with Daniels than to put him with AJ at every turn.
5) Kurt Angle beat Sting to retain the TNA World Title. Hogan hit Sting with a chair shot which he no sold after Gunner distracted the ref. Sting then got Angle Slammed while staring down Hogan. After the match Immortal beat down Sting and Mr. Anderson made the save.
Well, that should be fun.
Why can't TNA just let a match have a clean finish without Hogan getting his mandatory 15 seconds of TV time?
Overall this Impact looks like it might be a down one for me, but a few things give me hope. I'll have my review of the show up late Thursday night so be sure to check it out.
Until next time, this is Grim saying thanks for reading and please comment below.
See You Space Cowboy...
So it was with a sigh of relief that the back injury Mitchell suffered on Friday did not appear to be a serious one after he fell backward into metal bleachers. He spent Friday night in a hospital in Ottawa and the exhibition game against Carleton University was called off with 3:13 left. Doctors found no structural or bone damage on Mitchell, who was scheduled to fly back from the preseason tour of Canada with the team on Sunday.
Mitchell, who as a sophomore led the Billikens by averaging 15.9 points, figures to be an important part of a team that hopes to improve on its tied-for-10th finish in the A-10.
Saint Louis will have a chance to make some noise in the 76 Classic, going up against Boston College in the first round. The Billikens will also play at New Mexico to start a home-and-home series, giving coach Rick Majerus an opportunity to go back to The Pit.
Majerus also had his own health issue before the trip when he underwent a heart procedure, but seemed to be having a good time in Canada.
"I love Canadians," he told Western Ontario's team website. "They're so friendly. Since I've been here, I've always been asked 'what can we do for you? Can I get you anything?' That's why I always love coming to Canada."
Aside from the injury, Mitchell enjoyed himself, along with the rest of the team as can been seen after he was handed a flip cam to document the trip.
Dienstag, 30. August 2011
For the third time in four years, the Irish will start their season against a team they've never faced before in the school's storied history. Notre Dame defeated San Diego State in 2008 and Nevada in 2009, and this year the Bulls of South Florida will invade South Bend for the season opener.
The game will feature two head coaches trying to launch the second season with their respective teams on the right foot. With the Bulls considered a contender for the Big East conference title and Notre Dame starting the season ranked No. 16, the stakes will be relatively high for both sides.
To break down this unfamiliar face, here are the top 10 things to know about South Florida before Saturday's kickoff.
- Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News: "There is an imperative episode missing from Hilal Edebal's brain, unremembered over 18 years of haze. As with a lot of incidences and acquaintances since the accident, she can't recall anything about the day her neurons shifted and her former life was snatched away. She only recently recognized it was the same car crash that killed Drazen Petrovic and devastated two basketball communities - one in Croatia, the other in New Jersey. The brain damage casts a heavy fog. What remains for the 41-year-old woman are huge gaps of empty space, mental lapses and problems maintaining a job. She also has questions, lots of them: Why would Petrovic, a man of NBA wealth, ask for a car ride to Munich instead of catching a plane? Why was she even in Germany while enrolled in college in the United States? Why did she lose her career and Petrovic lose his life, while the driver of the car soon returned to basketball and modeling? And Edebal's most destructive thought: Might she have been better off suffering the same fate as Petrovic? 'It's just so unfair,' she says, from her home in Istanbul, Turkey. 'Everything was perfect before the accident.' "
- Howard Beck of The New York Times: "The 204-day lockout in 1998 spawned many regrettable remarks, the kind that cast players as greedy and callous, alienate fans and become instantly enshrined in the unofficial catalog of 'Things Pro Athletes Shouldn’t Say in Public.' With history as their guide, the N.B.A.’s current generation of locked-out players is striving to play a better public-relations game this time around. They have been in contractual limbo since July 1, with no resolution in sight. But they have largely kept their commentary on point and their Twitter feeds in check. ... It is relatively early in lockout terms. No games have been canceled, and players will not miss a paycheck until mid-November. At any moment, one of the league’s loose cannons could embarrass the union. But so far, at least, 'we haven’t had a Kenny Anderson moment,' one player advocate said. That is ultimately a good sign for both sides because, after all, when the lockout is over, the N.B.A. will be promoting the same players it is fighting with today. Given the sluggish economy and high unemployment, it is a bad time for millionaires and billionaires to be waging public-relations battles."
- Brian T. Smith of The Salt Lake Tribune: "The old Jazz crew was reunited, and an upbeat Deron Williams was undeniably happy. Williams joined former Utah teammates Kyle Korver, C.J. Miles and Wesley Matthews on Saturday at The Factory in Lehi, participating in a well-attended charity dodgeball tournament. Williams and Korver co-hosted the event, which benefited the Boys & Girls Club of Midvale via Williams’ Point of Hope Foundation and the Seer Group, the Utah branch of the Kyle Korver Foundation. Williams acknowledged that this year’s tournament will likely be the last time the event is held in Utah, ending a three-year run, and expects the 2012 version to be based in Chicago. As a result, D-Will decided to go out with a bang. He arrived in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, proceeding to work out with current Jazzmen Miles, Paul Millsap and Ronnie Price. A Friday night party brought the nucleus of the 2009-10 Jazz back together. By Saturday, Williams was comfortable and at ease, looking like he was back home. As if a shocking Feb. 23 trade to New Jersey had never happened, and he was still the face of the franchise for a small-market Jazz team that struggled to finish a disappointing 2010-11 campaign. 'I love Utah,' said Williams, who added that he will likely buy a house and settle in Park City after he retires."
- Dei Lynam of CSNPhilly.com: "With the NBA lockout going on since July 1 there has been much speculation about who and how many NBA players will take their skills abroad. The Sixers' Lou Williams had an opportunity to play in Europe for a team he would not disclose, but did say was in Europe’s top league. He turned it down. He had his reasons for rejecting the offer but he thinks for many of the guys choosing to go overseas, the reason is obvious. 'I think it is financial,' Williams said on Sunday in Los Angeles, where eight Sixers have convened for off-season workouts. ... Andre Iguodala would be one of those I-like-to-travel guys, but extenuating circumstances factor in to his decision-making process. 'I would have enjoyed going over there and playing but I have other things as far as the length of my contract and what is at stake for me makes that not a smart decision,' Iguodala explained. ... As for the no-longer-rookie Evan Turner, he has only one place he wants to play in lieu of playing for the Sixers during the work stoppage. 'I am going to Henry Avenue with Herb Magee to work on my jumper,' Turner stressed."
- Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News: "So far, 30 players who ended last season on an NBA roster have agreed to open next season abroad, with that number growing weekly. So have eight members of the league’s June draft class, who have been unable to sign rookie contracts in the NBA for lack of a collective bargaining agreement. Like Danny Green, most have negotiated opt-out clauses that would free them to honor existing NBA contracts, or to sign a new one, once the labor impasse is over. ... That was the vision National Basketball Players Union chief Billy Hunter was hoping to sell earlier this summer, when he gave his membership blessing to pursue opportunities outside the NBA. It is also the message being sent by a powerful cadre of player agents, who can’t draw a paycheck unless their clients do. As in any labor tug-of-war, leverage is everything."
- Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: "Magic coach Stan Van Gundy was at a restaurant recently when someone asked him whether NBA coaches could take their talents elsewhere during the lockout. Van Gundy responded, 'That's an interesting question.' Hmmmmm. After all, players are investigating opportunities overseas to play and make money. New Jersey Nets star Deron Williams already has signed with a Turkish team. If the lockout cancels the season — a real possibility — there will be a lot of basketball brain-power going to waste. But the big difference is that head coaches and assistant coaches — considered management — still get paid during the work stoppage while players do not. ... Without the game of basketball in the air, Van Gundy concedes that going to his Amway Center office is 'quite honestly, different. Nobody's in the gym. It's a little depressing.' (Memo to Commissioner David Stern: Every effort has been made in this column to avoid quoting Van Gundy about the machinations of the lockout, per league policy, so please, don't fine him … again.) ... The Magic would allow coaches to pursue other opportunities, I'm told. When I asked the league Friday about the loan-a-coach idea, NBA communications chief Tim Frank said, 'I don't think there is an answer to that at this point. …' "
- Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: "For the third time this offseason, LeBron James is poised to take his talents into a competitive situation. Amid the recent flurry of face-offs between leading pro-am leagues during the NBA lockout, the Miami Heat forward has opted to join a group of NBA stars that Tuesday will represent the Baltimore-based Melo League and take on Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant and a group of stars from the Washington-based Goodman League. 'I'm in,' he told the Associated Press Sunday. The game, scheduled for Baltimore, follows in the wake of the recent game between stars from the Goodman League and the Los Angeles-area Drew League."
- Geoff Calkins of The Commercial-Appeal: "He stood in the lobby of the Finch Center, decked out in a gray Memphis shirt and black Memphis shorts. Over his shoulder, hung a picture of Larry Finch shooting a sweet-as-you-please jumper over a certain large man who once played for UCLA. 'That's Big Red, right there,' said Luke Walton. 'I know my family name has some history here in Memphis.' Like yellow fever has a history in Memphis. Like pestilence and floods. Bill Walton went 21 of 22 to lead UCLA to the national title over Memphis in 1973. Thirty-nine seasons later, his son returns to the city to set things right. 'Make amends, bring that title to Memphis,' said Walton. 'It's a small world that I'm here trying to help Memphis win a national title.' What the father took away, the son may help restore. Unless the NBA lockout ends tomorrow, of course, in which case he'll be back and playing for the Los Angeles Lakers. Yes, I had to go and mention that. It's a risk. Memphis coach Josh Pastner acknowledged that from the start. But on Walton's first official day as an assistant coach in Memphis, it didn't seem like much of one."
- Sean Meagher of The Oregonian: "Last week it was free agent power forward Carl Landry stating his thoughts on playing for the Portland Trail Blazers. Saturday, starting Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge tells Chris B. Haynes of SLAMonline.com he likes the idea of Landry bolstering Portland's frontcourt. 'That’s big of him to speak out and I’m glad he spoke out and said he wants to play with us,' Aldridge told SLAMonline. 'He’s a good player and I definitely feel like he can help us immediately.' Aldridge also tells Haynes he doesn't think the two power forwards would have a problem coexisting. 'Landry’s a really good player and good players know how to fit in,' Aldridge said. 'Wouldn’t be a problem at all.' "
- Staff of CNA: "Derrick Rose, the NBA's youngest Most Valuable Player (MVP) in history, was seen happily receiving a new Chinese nickname on Saturday during a two-day visit to Taiwan. Chosen by Taiwanese fans through an online poll recently, the nickname 'Biao Feng Mei Gui,' which means 'speedy stormy Rose,' was presented to the Chicago Bulls point guard at a news conference in Taipei. The 22-year-old star held the paper scroll on which his new nickname's characters were written in calligraphy and practiced saying it a few times by repeating it after the host. Rose, who led the Bulls to a 62-20 record last season, was traveling on his final leg of an Asia tour that has taken him to Shanghai, Guangzhou and Beijing in China."
- Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman: "The bulk of filming for the feature-length Warner Bros. film that Thunder forward Kevin Durant has agreed to star in will be filmed in Baton Rouge, La. rather than OKC. It's likely that the final few days of filming will be shot in Oklahoma City. But by losing the majority of the project, both Oklahoma City's economy and its growing status as a bustling city on the rise has been dealt a blow. The entire project couldn't be shot in Oklahoma City because of a snag with state incentives for film production. The state of Louisiana offers a tax credit of 85 cents on the dollar, making the state a premier destination for filming. Oklahoma offers a 37 percent rebate for companies filming in the state, but the Oklahoma Film & Music Office had already run out of funding for this fiscal year. ... Filming, as first reported in The Oklahoman, remains on schedule to begin in mid-September."
- Kevin Ding of The Orange County Register: "Ron Artest isn’t known as much of a dancer, but if he’s quick enough to keep step with NBA small forwards, then can he also make moves on ABC’s 'Dancing with the Stars,' right? Artest is said to be named Monday as part of the cast of celebrity dance competitors, according to bloggers at Charged.fm and TerezOwens.com. Artest said a month ago he hadn’t been contacted about the show despite circulating rumors and said: 'I play defense, but I don’t know if I can dance.' Artest, whose official name change to Metta WorldPeace was delayed last week by outstanding traffic warrants, has little fear of failure in new endeavors, as seen by his recent work as a stand-up comic."
- Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press: "From his clashes with former coaches Michael Curry and John Kuester to the unwieldy contract the Pistons seeming have been trying to unload for years, fans can't wait to see Rip Hamilton's bags packed and him headed out of town. But a funny thing has happened in the past two years -- that big contract isn't the albatross it once was. He's owed roughly $21 million over the next two seasons, as the second year is only partially guaranteed. And remember president of basketball operations Joe Dumars has almost traded Hamilton several times when the financial burden was greater. So Hamilton, 33, will be on the trading block as soon as regular business begins in the NBA, and the Pistons need to eventually turn the page to the next era. Hamilton might be more valuable as potential trade bait whenever the next trade deadline comes."
- Craig Stouffer of the Washington Examiner: "From the moment the first reports emerged of the locker room gun encounter between then-Wizards guards Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton, it appeared the injured, inconsistent backup guard was a mere pawn in an episode in which his superstar teammate's penchant for over-the-top practical jokes finally went too far. But it appears Pandora's box might have been opened for Crittenton. The 23-year-old's basketball career has been in fits and starts since, and his life will be forever changed now that he has been charged in Atlanta in the fatal shooting of Jullian Jones, a mother of four. As of Sunday evening, he hadn't turned himself in. ... Now his basketball talents have taken the ultimate backstage. Whatever really happened with Arenas -- Crittenton pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor gun charge and received probation, while Arenas got 30 days in a halfway house -- there's a chance, if the latest charges prove true, it was a glimpse into a part of Crittenton many didn't realize was there. It's also a sad and unwelcome reason to revisit a scary and dangerous moment for the Wizards that never gets easier to forget."
- Brian T. Smith of The Salt Lake Tribune: "Utah Jazz forward Paul Millsap will be inducted Oct. 1 into the Louisiana Tech Hall of Fame. Millsap led the NCAA in rebounding three consecutive seasons (2003-04 to 2005-06) while starring for the Bulldogs. He left the school after his junior year, and was selected by Utah with the 47th overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft. Millsap will join Jazz legend Karl Malone and NFL great Terry Bradshaw in Louisiana Tech’s Hall of Fame, and will be honored at halftime of the Bulldogs’ home football game Oct. 1 against Hawaii. 'It’s tremendous. … Not only was he a super athlete, but he’s been a super ambassador for the university,' Louisiana Tech athletic director Bruce Van De Velde said."
The NCAA did not need the Miami situation. The organization has already had a very tough year -- it's just been one major, high-profile scandal after another, and meanwhile the BCS conferences only grow more powerful -- and at each step along the way critics have excoriated it for inconsistent punishment and feckless governance.
The allegations levied at Miami only doubled down on those perceptions. Even worse, former Miami athletic director Paul Dee, who oversaw the program through some of the most obvious years of Nevin Shapiro's existence, was the chairman of the committee on infractions when the committee levied harsh penalties against USC. His condescending tone toward USC in that case -- Dee famously said that "high-profile athletes require high-profile compliance" -- has, to critics, become a pitch-perfect symbol of the NCAA's inability to police itself.
In other words, NCAA president Mark Emmert's job is not an enviable one. He's the face of the organization, the one in charge of explaining the NCAA's beliefs to the public. The questions are only getting more pointed. Emmert appeared on ESPN late last week to discuss the need for reform, and he repeated that belief in an interview with the Los Angeles Times today. But he's also standing by the NCAA's enforcement process -- despite the concerns about Dee's time as the COI chair. From the interview:
The chairman [Dee] was one of nine voices on the committee. He has no more power than anyone else. We look at individual cases on their merits. What happened at Miami has no bearing on USC. I understand it doesn't feel right. We decide cases based on the facts on the ground, and we will continue to do that.
There's a whole lot in the interview, so you should read it all. Emmert is willing to bend on some issues. This, unfortunately, was not one of them.
It's a difficult response to swallow. For years, the Miami athletics department allowed a Ponzi-scheming hanger-on to commit violate just about every amateurism rule in the book, and he did so while he led Miami on the field on Saturdays. Shapiro had his own suite at home games and a players' lounge named after him. If high-profile athletes require high-profile compliance, as Dee said, then he was failing in his job even as he chided other programs for their violations. Emmert would be better off admitting to how regrettable this situation was, and he should be as open to reforming the NCAA committee on infractions as he is the cost-of-attendance scholarship structure.
After all, there's no way to eradicate cheaters in college sports. Whenever there's money to be made or games to be won, people will bend the rules to do so. Giving players an extra $2,000 a year might help lessen players' feeling that they're being exploited by an unfair system. Making sure cheaters know they "can no longer do a cost-benefit analysis of cheating," as Emmert says, may help in deterrence. But as the NCAA has stepped up its enforcement efforts in recent years, it's pulled back the curtain on the widespread rule-breaking at big-time college programs.
No public relations effort is going to solve that. But what Emmert can do is admit where the NCAA needs to get better -- not only in its policies governing memberships, but in the composition of the committees that police those members. It needs to be transparent. It needs to explain to fans the why just as much as the what.
And it needs to be flexible. If it can't do that, it can't change. If it can't change, it can't survive. The NCAA's continued existence is not guaranteed. Incrementalism -- buttressed by a frustrating inability to admit fault -- isn't going to get the job done.
Milwaukee has cemented the division title for the NL Central, so this offers the Cardinals a great opportunity to begin preparing for the 2012 season.
Berkman will certainly be a hot commodity in the next 24 hours and should yield interest from a number of playoff contenders.
A move to Texas would greatly strengthen their chances for a second shot at the World Series.
McGary's strength was on full display, but that won't be news to any of the schools -- a who's who of recruiting powers -- currently seeking his collegiate hoops services. More noteworthy was McGary's toughness. As he told ESPN.com recruiting analyst Dave Telep, the Chesterton, Ind. native decided to ignore the deep laceration in his left shoulder and delay a hospital visit -- despite requiring 37 stitches! -- in order to stick around and watch his "boys" play out the rest of the Elite 24 showcase.
Dave describes the scene in a blog post today, and it sounds about as fun as something can sound when the words "shattered glass" and "37 stitches" are also prominently involved. From Telep's blog:
Once McGary decided he wasn't getting into the ambulance to go to the hospital, he re-entered the court to essentially a standing ovation. It was fresh out of a scene from "Gladiator." They loved him. The other kids crowned him king. After the game he strolled around the court with the net from the rim draped around his neck. It was one of those events that's going to be replayed and rehashed for a long time.
Amazing "Gladiator" reference!�Are you not entertained, Boost Mobile Elite 24 showcase? Is this not why you are here?! The backboards we break in life echo in eternity. The beating heart of college basketball is not the hardwood of the court, it's the concrete of the Venice Beach. He will bring them shattered glass, and they will love him for it. (Seriously, I could do this all day. But yeah, I'll stop now.)
The broken backboard is a lost artifact of a bygone hoops era, before engineers strengthened the hoop apparatus enough to prevent players from ripping the rim hard enough to shatter the glass. The days of Shaquille O'Neal's brazen displays of strength are long gone. This is actually a positive development. After all, shattered glass is dangerous. But it's hard to deny how exciting a good broken backboard can be.
In the meantime, non-prospect-obsessed college hoops public got a taste of what recruitniks have been saying about McGary for years: The dude is a beast. Duly noted.
- Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News: "In Malcolm Gladwell’s view, the owners’ assertion that the NBA’s business model is broken is absurd because basketball isn’t a business at all. Rather, he asserts that most owners are in it for what he terms the 'psychic benefits' they derive from owning a team, much as a super-rich art collector derives significant psychic benefit from a piece that may have cost tens of millions. Gladwell concludes that an NBA owner is losing money 'only if he values the psychic benefits of owning an NBA franchise at zero — and if you value psychic benefits at zero, then you shouldn’t own an NBA franchise in the first place. You should sell your ‘business’— at what is sure to be a healthy premium — to someone who actually likes basketball.' But Gladwell makes no allowance for the economic upheaval of 2008 disrupting the dynamics of psychic benefit theory. Some NBA owners who love basketball just as much as Cuban have been badly buffeted by the recession. The owners of some of the 22 teams reported to have lost money last season no longer can easily afford the psychic benefits they once were willing to absorb. Trouble is, there’s no reason to expect those owners will soon sell their teams to basketball-loving billionaires willing to treat teams like Van Goghs or Picassos just so NBA training camps will open on time. They would rather crush the players union to get new terms that guarantee profit."
- Lacy J. Banks of the Chicago Sun-Times: "Even though his hometown fans booed him something awful during the playoffs, Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade says he still loves Chicago. 'I always will, and Chicago will always be my home,’ he said in an exclusive interview Tuesday. ‘I was born in Chicago. My mother [the Rev. Jolinda Wade], other relatives and friends still live here. I own a home here, and one day I’ll probably settle here when I retire.’ Wade is in town to direct his fourth annual Wade’s World Weekend to raise money through his foundation for underprivileged youth and organizations that promote the best interests of the inner city. ... As for the NBA lockout? '‘I don’t believe that lockout really starts until the preseason is canceled and players start missing paychecks in October,’ Wade said. ‘My gut feeling is that there will be a season. It may not start on time. But there will be a season.' Wade also denies rumors he will play abroad if there is no season. 'Those are just rumors,' he said. 'I’m keeping my options open like everybody else. But nothing is set in stone.’ "
- Joe Freeman of The Oregonian: "No matter what kind of audience LaMarcus Aldridge runs into these days, the L-word inevitably surfaces, and Tuesday was no exception. And after the Trail Blazers' power forward finished signing autographs and posing for pictures at the camp, he acknowledged there does not appear to be an end in sight for the NBA lockout, which is approaching the conclusion of its second month. 'No,' Aldridge said, when asked if there was reason for optimism. 'Both sides are pretty (far) off right now. So it's going to be a while.' Aldridge, who is the Blazers' player representative in the NBA Player's Union, said he does not expect the season to start on time but does believe there will be a season eventually. That said, he is prepared to sit out all of 2011-12 if necessary. 'If that's what it takes to get a fair deal done, then yes,' Aldridge said. Aldridge has become so pessimistic he's joined the growing list of NBA players who are considering playing overseas during the lockout. He refused to go into great detail about what international leagues he's investigating or what country he would like to play in, but Aldridge said if they lockout drags on he will explore his options."
- Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune: "He came, he saw, he listened. As we first reported at noon, Rick Adelman was in town today to interview for the Timberwolves coaching job and as of late afternoon, I heard he was already on a plane out of town -- presumably home to Portland -- without an offer yet being made. He met with president of basketball operations David Kahn, owner Glen Taylor, CEO Rob Moor and probably minority partners and other personnel as well. The Wolves brass worked for weeks to get Adelman to come in for more than a phone interview. If he wants the job and they can agree on a salary, the job is probably his. That salary would probably approach $5 million per year. The four-year contract he signed with Houston in 2007 was worth a bit more than $16 million. Don Nelson and Sam Mitchell are the other top candidates in a process that also included Mike Woodson, Bernie Bickerstaff, Terry Porter and Larry Brown. ... Adelman's signing would give the Wolves the kind of coach -- a successful one who believes in fast-paced basketball -- Kahn last month said he seeks and it'd be a proactive step toward getting Kevin Love to sign a long-term contract extension."
- Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic: "Grant Hill's free-agency status - not to mention the NBA lockout - provide reasons to wonder whether Hill will be with the Suns this year. Yet, during the hottest Valley days of the year, Hill and his family have made their usual August return. Don't read too much into that, considering school began here for his older daughter, but the Hills do have a home in Orlando, too. Suns Managing Partner Robert Sarver said before the lockout that he wants Hill to finish his career with Phoenix. Among current Suns, only Steve Nash has a longer tenure than Hill, who came to Phoenix in 2007. Hill did not comment on his free agency but has the same grim outlook that most do for the NBA season. 'It certainly seems like we're far apart,' Hill said. 'Hopefully, we can get things resolved but it might take some time. At least it looks that way.' Hill and his family just returned from a trip to China, the last week of which he coordinated to be there when Duke basketball visited for exhibition games and promotion of a campus in Kunshan."
- Kevin Ding of The Orange County Register: "He’s certainly no NBA labor expert, but University of Memphis coach Josh Pastner does have a deeply vested interest in the length of the NBA lockout after hiring Lakers forward Luke Walton to be a full-time Memphis assistant for as long as it lasts. Pastner calls it a 'calculated risk' to bring Walton into his team’s inner circle when Walton conceivably could bolt very soon if the NBA season starts on time. 'I think at least — minimum — we’re going to have him through December,' Pastner said in predicting the duration of the NBA work stoppage. If that’s the case, Memphis will still get a lot from Walton, whom I wrote in my latest column has the qualities to be a great coach — plus some guts to try this new job when he still has two years left on his Lakers playing contract."
- Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News: "Coach Rick Carlisle, who became the third member of the Mavericks organization to throw out a first pitch at Rangers Ballpark since the team won the NBA title in June, was an open book on his curveball and love of the Rangers. On basketball and the NBA lockout: not so much. 'Sorry, I’m not going to talk about that,' said Carlisle, who threw a strike to Washington from the top of the mound. Carlisle said he recently watched the second half of the Game 6 Finals win over Miami for the first time. 'It was such a great series,' he said. 'The level of basketball was so high and so pure. It was really just an unforgettable two weeks.' "
- Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: "Orlando Magic assistant coach Patrick Ewing didn’t get the Detroit Pistons’ head-coaching gig, but he hopes his interview with the Pistons will pave the way for other head-coaching opportunities down the line. Ewing had a phone interview and, later, a face-to-face interview with Pistons executive Joe Dumars and some representatives of the franchise’s new owner, Tom Gores. But the position ultimately went to former New Jersey Nets coach Lawrence Frank. 'I thought it was a great interview,' Ewing said on a conference call Tuesday to promote an upcoming Basketball without Borders trip to South Africa. 'They told me I did an outstanding job, but they just wanted to go in a different direction. They were looking for, I guess, a more experienced head coach. It was my first interview. I have one under the belt, and I’m looking forward to having many more and, hopefully, becoming a head coach very soon.' "
- Bob Finnan of The News-Herald: "Cavs coach Byron Scott is looking to find a replacement for departed assistant coach Chris Jent, who left the Cavs for a position on Coach Thad Matta’s staff at Ohio State. 'He’s a tough guy to replace,' Scott said. 'C.J. and I had an unbelievable relationship. He fit in extremely well with the team and what we did as a coaching staff.' Scott is looking for some of Jent’s characteristics in the coach he will hire. '(He has to be) good with the X’s and O’s, very good with the players, a very good communicator, and someone who gets along with us very well,' Scott said. 'That cohesiveness has to be there, just like with the players.' Scott is not handling the lockout well. 'I wake up every morning and say, ‘What the hell am I going to do today?’ ' "
- Staff of the New York Post: "The NBA lockout claimed a stock market victim Tuesday, as shares of New York Knicks parent Madison Square Garden Co. (MSG) were downgraded to neutral by Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- in part because of lost income caused by the work stoppage. 'Despite our continued belief in MSG's robust long-term story ... we think the shares will be unlikely to outperform over the near term with $90 million of adjusted operating cash flow at risk from a full-season NBA lockout and a possible LA Forum acquisition on the horizon,' the analysts wrote in a note. They lowered their target price for the stock to $28. MSG agreed to buy the LA Forum concert venue late last year. Shares of MSG were down a fraction to $22.72 at Tuesday's US market open."
Montag, 29. August 2011
We're a mere four days away from kickoff, and Cougar fans are chomping at the bit, waiting to see what their Cougars can do against the Ole Miss Rebels in Oxford, MS.
The social media outlets are teeming with shots from fans on both sides. But soon, the talking will be over and done, and the truth will play itself out on the field.
So ahead of the big opening, here are news notes and updates from Provo.
- Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman: "Kevin Durant on the silver screen? Uh, let me think about that one. The Thunder superstar is finalizing a deal to star in a major Warner Brothers film, according to our man Darnell Mayberry. I've got to say, I didn't see that coming. Popular across the globe – get the Chinese subtitles ready – a Durant movie probably will sell. But my question for Hollywood is, what exactly do you do with Durant in a movie? ... I hope he doesn't play himself or someone like himself. That's no fun. Like Michael Jordan in 'Space Jam.' Both Siskel and Ebert gave 'Space Jam' thumbs up, but remember, they worked in Chicago, and this was 1996. Not exactly the time to be ripping Michael Jordan. ... Something off the Durantula theme would be cool. A basketball player who also is a Superhero. Part Spiderman, part Mr. Incredible, part anything you want him to be. Torn between two devotions: 1) truth, justice and the American way, and 2) leading his ballteam, preferably based in the good ol' OKC, to the championship. Some arch-villain threatens society during the playoff stretch run. Oh the tangled web. Fans would flock to the theaters in Oklahoma. In Beijing, too."
- Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: "While the NBA lockout threatens the Miami Heat's Nov. 2 nationally televised season opener against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, Chris Bosh has guaranteed himself television time this fall. NBC announced Monday that the Heat power forward will be featured on a Sept. 28 episode of 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,' an episode that also will feature Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, 'True Blood' actor Mehcad Brooks, rapper Heavy D and veteran actor Dan Luria, who is best known for his role as the father on 'The Wonder Years' and who has starred in Broadway's 'Lombardi.' ... 'Looking forward to it!' Bosh posted Monday on his Twitter account. He appeared on an episode of HBO's 'Entourage' last year."
- Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times: "With hopes that an earlier meeting will expedite the process in organizing an exhibition game in Los Angeles on Sept. 10 between the Drew League and Goodman League, Drew League officials plan to meet with Kobe Bryant's representatives at an undetermined location in Los Angeles at 1 p.m. Tuesday to discuss a possible appearance. 'I think he wants to play because he’s hungry like that,' Drew League Commissioner Oris 'Dino' Smiley said of Bryant late Monday evening in a phone interview. 'We have some real solid basketball and it’s well organized. I think he wants to be a part of it.' The Times originally reported Monday afternoon that Drew League officials planned to meet with Bryant's representatives on Wednesday. That was accurate at the time, but, as first reported by Sports Illustrated's Sam Amick via Twitter, the meeting was pushed up to Tuesday -- on Bryant's 33rd birthday no less -- in hopes the extra day would help secure Bryant and the event itself."
- Geoff Calkins of The Commercial-Appeal: "The video is hilarious. OK, maybe not if you're Mike Heisley, who just signed Zach Randolph to new four-year, $66 million deal. And maybe not if you're a particularly fretful Grizzlies fan. But otherwise, it's hilarious. There's James Beasley, wearing a massive bandage over his eye, complaining to Portland's News Channel 8 that he was smacked with a pool cue while selling marijuana at Z-Bo's house. Like, can't a guy sell dope in peace these days? 'On my way out the door, um, he snatched the weed out of my hand,' Beasley said. 'He snatched it like basically saying I'm taking your weed.' Then came the pool cues. Beasley said Randolph's buddies thought his price was too high. NBA owners aren't the only ones who don't like to overpay, evidently. But instead of a lockout, Beasley was on the wrong end of an old-fashioned beat-down. And, yes, I know, Randolph is not the target of any investigation. But isn't it wearying to have to keep telling yourself that? Any one of us can be caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. But how often is the wrong place your car or your house? ... Randolph may or may not have wielded a pool cue, but in the mind of the public, that's the fine print. You are what your history says you are. Where there's smoke there's, well, you know the rest. Is it fair? Let's just say this: You don't get to complain about the way you're painted when you supply both the paint and the brush."
- Bob Finnan of The News-Herald: "David Stern is a very smart (and rich) man. The NBA commissioner is well aware what the NBA lockout is doing to his sport. Tuesday marks the 54th day of the lockout. With the NFL back in action and Major League Baseball heading into some exciting pennant races, fans have moved on. If you think the majority of the fans are clamoring for the NBA, you're really out of tune. ... Watching the development of Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson was going to be exciting. But the lockout might take care of that. People are going to move on with their lives. In many NBA cities, including Cleveland, there are many other things to do. Once high school and college football starts, do you think anyone will be talking about who will be playing shooting guard for the Cavaliers? Heck no. Most fans whom I've spoken with aren't even upset about the lockout. They just don't care. They are apathetic. The NBA could go the route of indoor soccer in Cleveland, and many fans would not care."
- Michael Lee of The Washington Post: "John Wall smiled late Saturday night as he explained the relentless, aggressive, high-leaping, trash-talking model of himself that has been popping up on YouTube videos all summer. It was all over the floor at Trinity University — where Wall scored 28 points and helped the local Goodman League defeat the Los Angeles-based Drew League, 135-134, in an East-West summer league showcase for bragging rights. 'I’m back. I’m back, man. I’m back to myself,' Wall said after an electrifying performance. 'Now I feel I can do whatever I want to do again, blow past people, get to the basket. I think those things that I started the season with last year, I got that back. It’s coming back. You’re going to see some stuff this year, it’s just whenever — hopefully the season starts as soon as possible. The main thing is just working on my game.' ... There were times last season when Wall admittedly lost track of who he was, with a left foot injury and later a bone bruise in his right knee limiting what he could accomplish on the court for the Washington Wizards."
- Jason Smith of The Commercial-Appeal: "And within minutes of the news Monday that Los Angeles Lakers forward Luke Walton was joining Josh Pastner's staff as an assistant until the NBA lockout ends, the national media was weighing in. 'I really like the Walton move after talking to Pastner today,' ESPN's Andy Katz tweeted. 'Why not go for this gamble during lockout?' 'Interesting,' Sporting News college basketball writer Michael DeCourcy tweeted. 'New twist to NBA lockout,' tweeted USA Today's Tim Gardner. Yet as much of a national splash as the news of Pastner's hiring a current NBA player to join his staff made, Pastner insisted Monday that his motives were simple: The addition of Walton, 31, an eight-year NBA veteran, will make the Tigers better, Pastner said. ... Walton, who has two years and $11.5 million remaining on his contract with the Lakers, will coach Memphis' post players. Pastner said Walton, who played at Arizona from 1999 to 2003, will also be involved in recruiting for as long as he's with the Tigers."
- Brian T. Smith of The Salt Lake Tribune: "Sacramento guard Jimmer Fredette said Monday that he will host two exhibition games during September in the Utah area that will feature NBA rookies. Fredette expects that Kemba Walker (Charlotte), Isaiah Thomas (Kings) and Tyler Honeycutt (Kings) will participate in the contests, which will be played under the banner of Jimmer's All-Stars. The games will be held Sept. 21 at the Maverik Center in Salt Lake City and Sept. 22 at the Marriott Center in Provo. The Provo contest will mark Fredette's official return to Brigham Young University, and will occur before he has played a professional game for Sacramento. The NBA has been in a lockout since July 1. 'I’m really looking forward to making my debut as a professional in front of the fans who have so passionately supported me during my time at BYU,' Fredette said. 'This will be fun opportunity to bring some other NBA draftees to Utah for the chance to play competitive basketball. I hope the community gets as excited for these games as I am.' "
- Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News: "Lockout be damned, 'Coach B' is at it again. That’s Matt Bonner, of course, aka Coach B, wacky purveyor of basketball tips and life lessons. Bonner’s latest video efforts center around promos for a benefit basketball game in Toronto, scheduled for Sept. 10. Bonner is recruiting teams to play in the event. The idea is to raise money for Athletes for Africa and the St. Albans Boys and Girls Clubs. Cost to enter a team is $500, but teams are being encouraged to raise additional money. The payoff: The top money-raising teams get the right to draft some celebrity players. These include Bonner and Nick Collison, of the Thunder. The real draw, though, is Arcade Fire front man Win Butler, who is both very tall and a bona fide indie rock star. He also happens to count Bonner a good friend."
- Phil Vettel of the Chicago Tribune: "MJ is coming to the Magnificent Mile. Michael Jordan's Steak House Chicago will make its debut Tuesday in the InterContinental Chicago hotel (505 N. Michigan Ave. 312-321-8823), taking over that property's sprawling, architecturally fascinating second-floor dining space (which accommodates 160, plus a couple of 20-seat private spaces). The restaurant also is taking over the hotel's lobby-level bar space, which will be expanded to hold 90. 'It's an upgrade, to say the least,' says executive chef James O'Donnell. The restaurant marks a curious kind of comeback for the NBA hall of famer, as it's the first Chicago restaurant to bear Jordan's name since Michael Jordan's Restaurant closed, unlamented, many years ago. (Of course, one sixtyblue, in which Jordan is a major partner, has been humming along the whole time.)"
- Marc Berman of the New York Post: "The NBA lockout at least served one good purpose for Mike D'Antoni, as the Knicks coach reconnected in a big way with his alma mater, Marshall University. Today, D'Antoni is in Charleston, S.C., to lunch with alumni at yet another fundraising event. Earlier this summer, D'Antoni and ex-Jets quarterback Chad Pennington were named co-chairmen of the fundraising committee raising money for a $30 million Marshall indoor athletic facility and soccer stadium. On Sept. 10, before a Marshall-Southern Miss football game, D'Antoni will have his No. 10 basketball jersey retired. Knicks assistant coach Dan D'Antoni, Mike's brother -- who also wore No. 10 at Marshall -- will be the presenter. 'Marshall's been great to me and I'm anxious to do it,' Mike D'Antoni told The Post yesterday regarding his new fundraising gig. 'Being on the same side of the country, I can do more for Marshall. It was tougher on the West Coast [in Phoenix].' "