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June 24, 2010

Will Askew’s Probably Inaccurate NBA Mock Draft 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Will Askew @ 8:59 am

NBA 2010 Mock Draft:

With only one day left until the NBA Draft, I revive my annual tradition of projecting the field in the first round.  This should be one of the most chaotic drafts in recent memory, and I’m thinking that if I get 7 or 8 picks right, I’ve done well.  All of this is assuming that no trades go down…but we all know that is not going to happen.  Now that I’ve hopefully lowered everyone’s expectations for my performance, here we go.

1.  Washington Wizards:  John Wall

This doesn’t require any explanation.

2.  Philadelphia 76ers:  Evan Turner

The draft could begin defying expectation as early as this pick, as I honestly think three guys–Turner, Derrick Favors, and DeMarcus Cousins–are in play here.  Apparently Cousins had a good workout in Philly a few days ago and since there wasn’t a hostile crowd at the workout, did not provoke fans.  Turner should be a nice player for Philly, but if I were them, I would try to trade Iguodala if they take him.  They’re too similar to me.

3.  New Jersey Nets:  Wesley Johnson

Though Cousins and especially Favors I feel are better picks here, apparently New Jersey will draft a 2/3 and then try to find a power forward in free agency.  There’s some discussion that Carlos Boozer, the Blind Man Back-Stabbing Dookie Alaskan, will be a package deal to the Nets with Johnson because they share an agent.  This would give them quite a formidable lineup, with only a 2 missing.  The Prokhorov wants to win now.

4.  Minnesota Timberwolves:  Derrick Favors

I actually love Derrick Favors, and it was a shame that Paul Hewitt didn’t allow him to just take over at Georgia Tech.  However, if the wolves take Favors here, they have to make a deal trading either Al Jefferson or Kevin Love, because these three are too good not to be on the court often.  The problem is, Al Jefferson makes a ton of money and he’s signed through 2013, so that’s the guy they would likely trade.

5.  Sacramento Kings:  DeMarcus Cousins

The Kings just acquired Sam Dalembert, but his deal is up after this year and I wouldn’t think he’s likely to be re-signed.  This gives the Kings a really nice inside-out combo with Tyreke Evans.

6.  Golden State Warriors:  Ekpe Udoh

Your boy Chad Ford says that this will be an interesting battle between Udoh and Greg Monroe, a highly skilled big man who plays little defense (a perfect fit for Don Nelson).  He says the Warriors are likely to pick Udoh here, but I wouldn’t be shocked if Greg Monroe goes, despite his reportedly poor workout.

7.  Detroit Pistons:  Greg Monroe

If I’m the Pistons, I’m pretty happy that Monroe slipped down this low.  Their roster is very imbalanced though, and Monroe isn’t a true center.  He’s a very good passer, and if he can develop a back to the basket game, could be a really good player down the road.

8.  LA Clippers:  Al-Farouq Aminu

Getting him here I think would be a huge steal for the Clippers and would give them, at least talent-wise, a top class roster for next season with the return of a healthy Blake Griffin.  An Aminu-Griffin-Chris Kaman combo would be a nightmare to deal with, and Eric Gordon, Baron Davis, and Travis Outlaw aren’t bad pieces either.  On the other hand, they are the Clippers, so expect massive injury problems and about 30 wins.

9.  Utah Jazz:  Gordon Hayward

Luke Babbitt or Ed Davis are other possibilities, but Babbitt plays no defense, and I think Jerry Sloan would eat him alive.  Davis is somewhat of a project, and despite his talent, I don’t believe they’ll take him either.  So I’ll say they take Hayward, who’s a similar player to Babbitt but a little more hard-nosed.

10.  Indiana Pacers:  Ed Davis

Ed Davis has some major talent, but he was really average last year for North Carolina.  The beast off the bench during the national championship run was gone and replaced by a timid player who hadn’t really developed a right hand or a jumpshot.  That said, if you have watched him you know he has terrific talent.  Let’s be honest–who cares?  It’s the Pacers.  Another possibility here is Babbitt, because Indiana has a bunch of white guys.

11.  New Orleans:  Xavier Henry

Luke Babbitt could go here too, as the Hornets desperately need some wing scoring to replace creaky Peja Stojakovic.  Both these guys are good shooters, and Henry would fill a need they’ve had for years.  While I’m here, ESPN’s blatant attempt to try and get New Orleans to trade Chris Paul was ridiculous.  There is absolutely no logical reason to trade Chris Paul.  You don’t trade a top 5 player in the league because his backup came in and played well for two months.  Another reason to hate ESPN.

12.  Memphis Grizzlies:  Paul George

Wait…did the Grizzlies just make a pick here that I like?  Really?  Wow.  That never happens.  Let me take a moment…ok.  I think there are three posibilities here–George, Patrick Patterson, and Xavier Henry.  Of the three, George clearly has the most talent.  Patterson is a big guy who will play well, Henry would be my second choice, but George is 6’9, has good outside shooting range, and good athleticism.  He can play either the 2 or the 3 and would be perfect for this team.  Plus, he was in for a workout Tuesday at FedEx Forum and apparently the team likes him.  I happen to like Avery Bradley a lot too if George and Henry are off the board.  There are reports that the Grizz may trade up to 16, but apparently that is not a done deal yet.  For the sake of this mock, I’m keeping them at 12, 25, and 28.

13.  Toronto Raptors:  Patrick Patterson

I thought long and hard about this pick for some reason even though no one cares about the Raptors.  In a perfect world, I think the Raptors would like to have a center here and be able to move Andrea Bargnani to the 4, but I don’t think Cole Aldrich is good enough for that to be a reasonable answer right now.  I think they take Patterson and either play him at the 4 and Bargnani at the 5 or deal the pick.  The Raptors, Pistons, Bucks, and T-Wolves are teams to watch for a trade tomorrow night for sure.

14.  Houston Rockets:  Cole Aldrich

The Rockets desperately need a backup to Yao Ming at center (they were playing 6’6 Chuck Hayes there for God sake) and they get a serviceable backup with Aldrich.  While he’ll never be a star, he is physical, can block shots, and rebound.  Basically, he does everything Chuck Hayes does but is 5 or 6 inches taller.

15.  Milwaukee Bucks:  Larry Sanders

Now that the Bucks have gotten Corey Maggette and CDR from the Nets, swingman is out.  They take the long and athletic Sanders, who can really run the floor.  He provides the Bucks with a nice compliment to Andrew Bogut.

16.  Minnesota Timberwolves:  Luke Babbitt

Assuming the Grizzlies don’t trade for this pick, and they may, the T-Wolves have to be happy that Babbitt slipped this low.  He’s a good shooter and should be able to get some open threes with Jefferson/Love and Derrick Favors down low.  Expect the Wolves to do a lot of moving as well.

17.  Chicago Bulls:  Damion James

The biggest needs for the Bulls at the moment are depth and a swing player, and James provides both.  While he will never be a star, James can shoot and is very athletic.  The Bulls will try and make a huge splash in free agency and go after LeBron James or Chris Bosh, so they can afford to not swing for the fences here.

18.  Oklahoma City Thunder: Avery Bradley

The Thunder traded for this pick along with Daequan Cook yesterday afternoon.  Bradley falls to OKC at 18, giving them a reliable backup for Russell Westbrook, a good shooter, and a tough defender.  He’ll have to grow into the point guard position, but if he can do that, he’ll be a steal at 18.  With Bradley, Cook, James Harden, and Nick Collison, they have a nice bench.

19.  Boston Celtics:  Eric Bledsoe

There’s also every chance the Celtics will move this pick as well.  The Celtics need a lot of help, but I’m just not sure there’s anyone who starts immediately for them this low.  They take Bledsoe to back up Rajon Rondo and somewhat replace the production they lost with Eddie House a couple of years ago.

20.  San Antonio Spurs:  Kevin Seraphin

I know nothing about this person other than he’s big, French, and athletic.  The Spurs have a nice history with foreign players and are typically the best scouts of Euros in the league.  Seraphin it is.

21.  Oklahoma City Thunder:  Solomon Alabi

Alabi is a physical specimen who should provide some help up front in the future for OKC.  While I’m not the biggest Alabi fan, his size will help the Thunder, who start the undersized Jeff Green at power forward.  If Alabi can learn to play the 4, he could be a good pick here.

22.  Portland Trailblazers:  Elliot Williams

Portland apparently really likes Elliot Williams, so the thought is they would pick him here, since he should be available here but not with their next pick at 34.  There’s a possibility that the Blazers may try and deal up for another pick in the 20s (Grizzlies) to get him so they can take someone else here.  Nice combo guard who can penetrate, defend, and occasionally shoot the three to back up Andre Miller/Brandon Roy.

23.  Minnesota Timberwolves:  Hassan Whiteside

Assuming the T-Wolves take Favors, who can play center, at 4, the Wolves can afford to take a flier on Whiteside, who could be a stud or could be a guy that you forget about next week.  I truly expect him to spend some time in the D-League next year regardless of where he goes.  Huge guy who has surprising mobility and range but he’s this generations Keith Closs, meaning he’s 7’3 and weighs about 140 pounds.

24.  Atlanta Hawks:  Dominique Jones

This guy can score in bunches—he averaged 21.4 points a game for South Florida last year.  With Joe Johnson’s return in question, they need to replace some of his scoring ability, and Jones provides that.  I think he could be a similar player to Flip Murray, Eddie House, or Rodney Stuckey.

25.  Memphis Grizzlies:  James Anderson

Bear in mind with this pick that I don’t believe that the Grizzlies will make both 25 and 28 tonight.  There will be a trade at some point.  That being said, getting Anderson here would be good.  He’s a good scorer and shooter that could provide the same off the bench.  Another possibility (crossing my fingers) is Lance Stephenson, who apparently was really good in the workout a couple of weeks ago.  I love Lance Stephenson.

26.  Oklahoma City Thunder:  Lance Stephenson

Leave it to Sam Presti to be a genius here.

27.  New Jersey Nets:  Jordan Crawford

This guy is going to be good, even though he’s a bit undersized.  He replaces the departed Chris Douglas-Roberts, who was traded to Milwaukee yesterday, and provides much-needed scoring from the wing position off the bench.

28.  Memphis Grizzlies:  Greivis Vazquez

Apparently the Barones love Greivis, who is a big point guard who can pass and shoot and makes huge plays.  He is definitely not afraid with the ball in his hands late in games, but I hate him so much (Carolina fan) that I’ll have a hard time reconciling myself with this pick if they make it.

29.  Orlando Magic:  Quincy Pondexter

He’s a swingman who’s very athletic, is a good rebounder, and can shoot okay.  Sure.

30.  Washington Wizards:  Daniel Orton

The Wizards go get John Wall’s teammate with the last pick in the first round.  Orton barely got any playing time last year at Kentucky, so it’s difficult to say how he projects to the next level, but he is big, has nice feet, and a soft touch around the basket.  A project, for sure.

January 14, 2010

Tweet & Retweet

Filed under: Uncategorized — Greg Gaston @ 8:05 pm

Modern Technology…you gotta love it! It’s a much different world we live in today than when I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s. Heck, it’s a different world from the first 15 years that I worked in the MedIa Profession.
Since the mid 90’s things have exploded. Much for the good, but certainly some things for the bad. The ability to get information from so many sources, in such a timely fashion, is mind boggling. To have a conversation with hundreds of people at the same time on a computer is something that only several years ago was something out of a science fiction novel. Heck, Einstein might be looked at as only marginally smart in today’s world.
With all that said there is also a rush to get the news out first. Now, I’m not saying that wasn’t the case in year’s past, nor am I saying it’s a bad thing. The problem is that in our haste to beat the other guy, we often neglect to check the facts. Members of the media often skip the extra source so they can get the info out before the other guy. The problem is their one source may not be correct. Just today I watched how a North Carolina Television Station was the first to report that David Cutcliffe, the Duke Football Coach, was leaving to take the Tennessee job. Later in the day they had to retract the story because they were wrong. Forget about trying to go get the information from the horse’s mouth, get it from the guy on Twitter who goes by the alias “Def Com 5”. Everyone on the internet, especially Twitter, have become junior reporters. “My source tells me such and such”. Problem is their source is their Aunt Virginia who kind of read the information on a website that deals in speculation. Opinions mean nothing when it comes to trying to find what is fact and what is fiction.
I will continue to tweet, retweet, tweet-tweet. I will continue to read message boards and websites. I will live in the modern world. What I won’t do, no matter who tells me to do it, is put my name on something that’s not ready to go public. Getting it first is important. Getting it right is essential.

January 11, 2010

McGwire Resurfaces

Filed under: Uncategorized — Greg Gaston @ 7:06 pm

Big Mac has come clean. He now admits to using steroids. Of course he said it wasn’t to get bigger, it was to help heal injuries faster, but in the process he got humungous. McGwire, along with his running mate Sammy Sosa, also helped save baseball to a certain extent. Their heroics revitalized America’s pastime. Now in my opinion, McGwire is only coming clean because he will join the Cardinals as a hitting instructor and is trying to make it easier on himself. Now when Spring Training begins he can sidestep the questions by saying he already answered them.
McGwire was reluctant to admit his use of steroids for several reasons including pure embarrassment. It’s not a shocker to anyone that he was using. He had already admitted to using Andro but this has an all together different connotation among baseball fans.
Players like Andy Pettite and Jose Canseco have admitted to using steroids, others such as Sosa, Roger Clemens and Rafael Palmeiro have denied allegations that they used.
Like it or not we just experienced the “Steroid Era” in all it’s glory. Homeruns were up, players got bigger, and even pitchers were not immuned from enhancing. It was a different time in the great game.
Now records are meant to be broken, but there’s no sport that’s more serious about their records, and statistics for that matter, than Baseball. And the fact that Big Mac set the new Homerun mark on juice is sacrilegious. Of course a few years down the road it would be Barry Bonds who rewrote the homer mark, and did so under the scrutiny of thr entire world. There is not a single person with any sense about them that doesn’t think Bonds was doing what many others in the era were doing, and that’s enhancing.
So what is my bottom line? To tell you the truth, I don’t know. I despise cheating in any form, but if mostly everyone was doing it, that sort of even’s out the playing field. I still think guys like Bonds and McGwire need to be in the Hall of Fame, but I also think the entire era deserves to have a big ole asterisk associated with it.

December 8, 2009

I Am Not Good at Picking Games and Other Thoughts

Filed under: Uncategorized — Will Askew @ 1:21 pm

With the end of the season, I thought it would be interesting to look back at what all of my picks from my previews were and compare them to the actual results.  The results are cataclysmic.

SEC East:

1.  Florida  12-0, 8-0 SEC (My pick: 12-0, 8-0 SEC)
2.  Georgia 7-5, 4-4 SEC (My pick: 9-3, 6-2 SEC)
3.  Tennessee 7-5, 4-4 SEC (My pick: 8-4, 4-4)
4.  Kentucky 7-5, 3-5 SEC (My pick: 5-7, 1-7 SEC)
5.  South Carolina 7-5, 3-5 SEC (My pick: 4-8, 2-6 SEC)
6.  Vanderbilt 2-10, 0-8 SEC (My pick: 5-7, 2-6 SEC)

SEC West:

1.  Alabama 12-0, 8-0 SEC (My pick: 11-1, 7-1)
2.   LSU 9-3, 5-3 SEC (My pick: 9-3, 5-3 SEC)–ed. WOOHOO!
3.  Ole Miss 8-4, 4-4 SEC (My pick: 11-1, 7-1 SEC)–ed.  OVER-RATED! clap, clap, clap, clap, clap
4.  Arkansas 7-5, 3-5 SEC (My pick: 8-4, 4-4 SEC)
5.  Auburn 7-5, 3-5 SEC (My pick: 5-7, 2-6 SEC)
6.  Mississippi State 5-7, 3-5 SEC (My pick: 1-11, 0-8 SEC)

Thoughts:  Not as bad as I originally thought, although I was WAY off on Vandy, South Carolina, and Mississippi State.  Despite me not being as far off as I thought, I don’t think Phil Steele is shaking in his boots thinking I’m coming after him.

PAC 10:

1.  Oregon 10-2, 8-1 Pac 10 (My pick: 10-2, 8-1 Pac 10)
2.  Arizona 8-4, 6-3 Pac 10 (My pick: 5-7, 3-6 Pac 10)–ed.  I had them 8th in the Pac 10.  Epic fail.
3.  Oregon State 8-4, 6-3 Pac 10 (My pick: 9-3, 6-3 Pac 10)
4.  Stanford 8-4, 6-3 Pac 10 (My pick: 5-7, 4-5 Pac 10)
5.  USC 8-4, 5-4 Pac 10 (My pick: 12-0, 9-0)–ed. Good job, Pete Carroll.
6.  California 8-4, 5-4 Pac 10 (My pick: 9-3, 6-3 Pac 10)
7.  Washington 5-7, 4-5 Pac 10 (My pick: 3-9, 2-7 Pac 10)
8.  UCLA 6-6, 3-6 Pac 10 (My pick: 7-5, 5-4 Pac 10)
9.  Arizona State 4-8, 2-7 Pac 10 (My pick: 6-6, 4-5 Pac 10)
10.  Washington State 1-11, 0-9 Pac 10 (My pick: 1-11, 0-9 Pac 10)

Thoughts:  Well, I was right for the records of Oregon and Washington State, and way off on USC.  I was not prepared for how good the PAC 10 was this year…1 through 9, I think it’s the best league in the country.

Conference USA East:

1.  East Carolina 8-4, 7-1 C-USA (9-3, 7-1 C-USA)
2.  UCF 8-4, 6-2 C-USA (My pick: 4-8, 3-5 C-USA)–ed. Another epic fail.
3.  Southern Miss 7-5, 5-3 C-USA (My pick: 9-3, 6-2 C-USA)
4.  Marshall 6-6, 4-4 C-USA (My pick: 6-6, 4-4 C-USA)
5.  UAB 5-7, 4-4 C-USA (My pick: 2-10, 1-7 C-USA)
6.  Memphis 2-10, 1-7 C-USA (My pick: 6-6, 4-4)–ed. Disaster.

Conference USA West:

1.  Houston 10-2, 6-2 C-USA (My pick: 9-3, 7-1 C-USA)
2.  SMU 7-5, 6-2 C-USA (My pick: 5-7, 3-5 C-USA)–What a coaching job by June Jones.
3.  Tulsa 5-7, 3-5 C-USA (My pick: 7-5, 5-3 C-USA)
4.  UTEP 4-8, 3-5 C-USA (My pick: 7-5, 5-3 C-USA)
5.  Rice 2-10, 2-6 C-USA (My pick: 2-10, 2-6 C-USA)
6.  Tulane 3-9, 1-7 C-USA (My pick: 2-10, 1-7 C-USA)

Thoughts:  Two teams (UCF and SMU) wildly exceeded my expectations, while Memphis was a disaster.  There’s a lot of truth to what Tommy West said about the administration, but the bottom line is, he deserved to get fired.  He did a terrible job with this team.

Big East:

1.  Cincinnati 12-0, 7-0 Big East (My pick: 8-4, 4-3 Big East)
2.  Pittsburgh 9-3, 5-2 BE (My Pick: 7-5, 4-3 BE)
3.  West Virginia 9-3, 5-2 BE (My pick: 9-3, 4-3 BE)
4.  Rutgers 8-4, 3-4 BE (My pick: 10-2, 6-1 BE)–Way off on this one…schedule was set up for them…Ole Miss of the Big East.
5.  Connecticut 7-5, 4-4 BE (My pick: 4-8, 2-5 BE)–Randy Edsall deserves to be in the discussion for National Coach of the Year…to lose a player mid season and still make a bowl game with a depleted roster was amazing.  So close on so many losses also.
6.  South Florida 7-5, 3-4 BE (My pick: 10-2, 6-1 BE)–I have an excuse on this one…Matt Grothe, all time total offense leader in Big East history, had a season-ending injury early in the season.
7.  Louisville 4-8, 1-6 BE (My pick: 4-8, 2-5 BE)–I did predict Steve Kraigthorpe would get fired, so I did get that right.
8.  Syracuse 4-8, 1-6 BE (My pick: 2-10, 0-7 BE)

Thoughts:  I think it’s clear based on the evidence I knew nothing about the Big East.

Big 10:

1.  Ohio State 10-2, 7-1 Big 10 (My pick: 11-1, 8-0 Big 10)
2.  Iowa 10-2, 6-2 Big 10 (My pick: 8-4, 5-3 Big 10)
3.  Penn State 10-2, 6-2 Big 10 (My pick: 11-1, 7-1 Big 10)
4.  Wisconsin 9-3, 5-3 Big 10 (My pick: 6-6, 2-6 Big 10)–I’m actually glad I missed on Wisconsin this badly.
5.  Northwestern 8-4, 5-3 Big 10 (My pick: 8-4, 4-4 Big 10)–Went out on a limb…I’ll definitely pat myself on the back for this one considering my picks look like post-WWII Stalingrad right now.
6.  Michigan State 6-6, 4-4 (My pick: 8-4, 5-3 Big 10)
7.  Purdue 5-7, 3-5 Big 10 (My pick: 4-8, 2-6 Big 10)
8.  Minnesota 6-6, 3-5 Big 10 (My pick: 7-5, 4-4 Big 10)
9.  Illinois 3-9, 2-6 Big 10 (My pick: 9-3, 6-2 Big 10)–This has to be my worst pick in any conference.  That’ll teach me to trust Ron Zook.
10.  Michigan 5-7, 1-7 Big 10 (My pick: 6-6, 3-5 Big 10)–Horrendous coaching job.
11.  Indiana 4-8, 1-7 Big 10 (My pick: 2-10, 0-8 Big 10)

Thoughts:  Other than Illinois, I didn’t do as horribly as I did in the other conferences.  But 6 (!) games off on Illinois is hard to swallow.

Big 12 South:

1.  Texas 12-0, 8-0 Big 12 (My pick: 11-1, 7-1 Big 12)
2.  Oklahoma State 9-3, 6-2 Big 12 (My pick 11-1, 7-1 Big 12)–I didn’t think they’d lose to Houston.  Go fake tan, Mike Gundy.
3.  Texas Tech 8-4, 5-3 Big 12 (My pick: 8-4, 4-4 Big 12)
4.  Oklahoma 7-5, 5-3 Big 12 (My pick: 11-1, 7-1 Big 12)–Bradford’s injury really hurt them.
5.  Texas A&M 6-6, 3-5 Big 12 (My pick: 4-8, 1-7 Big 12)
6.  Baylor 4-8, 1-7 Big 12 (My pick: 6-6, 3-5 Big 12)–Ditto OU on QB injury…this team is totally different with Robert Griffin.

Big 12 North:

1.  Nebraska 9-3, 6-2 Big 12 (My pick: 9-3, 6-2 Big 12)
2.  Missouri 8-4, 4-4 Big 12 (My pick: 4-8, 2-6 Big 12)–Epic fail.  Again.
3.  Kansas State 6-6, 4-4 Big 12 (My pick: 7-5, 4-4 Big 12)
4.  Iowa State 6-6, 3-5 Big 12 (My pick: 4-8, 1-7 Big 12)
5.  Colorado 3-9, 2-6 Big 12 (My pick: 8-4, 5-3 Big 12)–This wasn’t Division 1 football.  This was intramurals.
6.  Kansas 5-7, 1-7 Big 12 (My pick: 8-4, 4-4 Big 12)–This team totally imploded.

Thoughts:  Well, at least I got the Big 12 title game right.

ACC Coastal:

1.  Georgia Tech 10-2, 7-1 ACC (My pick: 9-3, 6-2 ACC)
2.  Virginia Tech 9-3, 6-2 ACC (My pick: 11-1, 8-0 ACC)
3.  Miami 9-3, 5-3 ACC (My pick: 6-6, 4-4 ACC)–They were much better than I thought.
4.  North Carolina 8-4, 4-4 ACC (My pick: 8-4, 4-4 ACC)
5.  Duke 5-7, 3-5 ACC (My pick: 3-9, 1-7 ACC)
6.  Virginia 3-9, 2-6 ACC (My pick: 3-9, 1-7 ACC)

ACC Atlantic:

1.  Clemson 8-4, 6-2 ACC (My pick: 10-2, 6-2 ACC)
2.  Boston College 8-4, 5-3 ACC (My pick: 6-6, 3-5 ACC)
3.  Florida State 6-6, 4-4 ACC (My pick: 9-3, 6-2 ACC)
4.  Wake Forest 5-7, 3-5 ACC (My pick: 4-8, 3-5 ACC)
5.  NC State 5-7, 2-6 ACC (My pick: 7-5, 4-4 ACC)
6.  Maryland 2-10, 1-7 ACC (My pick: 4-8, 2-6 ACC)

Thoughts:  I guess I was closer on this conference than any other, which isn’t saying much.

So there you go.  The final verdict–my preseason predictions were entertaining, and so were the picks.  Meaning, they sucked.  Instead of checking my predictions next year to see who’s good, might still want to invest in the Phil Steele guide.

November 28, 2009

Johnson made the right call

Filed under: Uncategorized — Greg Gaston @ 6:36 pm

I don’t know how the decision went down. I don’t know if Fred Smith caved in or was in full support of Larry Porter. I still don’t understand the whole Jerry Gray thing. Bottom line is R.C. Johnson made the right call.
Of course I don’t have a Crystal ball that can tell me how the team will do under their new head coach. I just think this one was a no-brainer. I said weeks ago that Porter should be the head coach, and will be the head coach. Did I think I was wrong the past few days when everyone seemingly had Gray penciled in as the new coach? Yes I did. However, there was still the thought that it wasn’t over especially when my contact in D.C. told me Gray had not been offered the job yet. This was one that R.C. was taking plenty of heat for, and he hadn’t yet made an announcement. I think Johnson heard the negative chatter and used common sense in his decision making.
There is no need for me to talk again about the two candidates resumes. Gray was a Pro Coach and Porter a College Coach. It was that simple. Porter was a Memphis alum, Gray an alum of Texas. One recruited, the other didn’t. Should I go on?
I know Gray is a good football coach and an even better teacher of the game, but this one was an obvious choice. On the day after Tommy West was fired, I proclaimed on my Radio Show that there were two choices for Memphis. One was Gus Malzahn, the Auburn Offensive Coordinator, who I said would not be interested. The other was Porter who I not only said would take the job, but I would be shocked if he wasn’t the next Tigers Coach.
This one will sit well with the fans and the alumni. This one will sit well with former players who have felt alienated over the years. And this one will certainly sit well within the African-American community as the Tigers hire their first black Head Football Coach.
Congratulations R.C. I don’t know how you came to this conclusion, but you came to the right conclusion. Now let’s see what happens.

November 13, 2009

What Happens Now?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Will Askew @ 3:46 pm

We’re nine games into the season, and for all intents and purposes, the Memphis Grizzlies’ season is over.  The team sits at 1-8, showing an alarming lack of defense in most games, and a shocking inability to play offense in others.  The team shows no outward signs of having any chemistry whatsoever, and the makeup of the roster is flawed to the point where it is almost comical to watch.  The starters score in bunches but can’t play a lick of defense, and the bench has no scoring; DeMarre Carroll is counted on to be the best offensive option.  Allen Iverson wasn’t told about coming off the bench before he got here, and then acted shocked when Lionel Hollins had the absolute nerve to not start him in game 1 after Iverson had not played basketball in eight months and was coming off a hamstring injury.  The Grizzlies are an absolute comedy of errors so far this season by players, management, and coaching.  So what must be done?

1.  Trade Rudy Gay and Mike Conley

The Grizzlies face a vital question at the end of the season: do you extend Rudy Gay for $10-$12 million dollars?  The Grizzlies can’t afford to pay nearly max money to a guy that isn’t worth it again…that’s the same mistake they made with Pau Gasol.  Try to trade Rudy (and include Conley in any deal) while Gay’s value is at its highest.

Rudy Gay is having his best offensive season statistically, averaging almost 21 points and 6 and a half rebounds a game.  This is no surprise, since Gay’s contract ends after this year and he’s angling for a huge payday.  Gay’s value will never be higher, and I don’t believe he is vital whatsoever to the future of this team.  He too often drifts into one-on-one play, taking ill-advised shots that are nearly impossible, and it doesn’t appear that he has any chemistry with O.J. Mayo or anyone else that is part of the core.  Mike Conley, meanwhile, can’t play.  He is not a starting point guard, will never be a starting point guard, and needs to be added to any deal with Gay.  Conley will never succeed here, mainly because he was a #4 overall draft pick and hasn’t turned out to be any better than the guy that was here when Conley arrived, Kyle Lowry.

2.  Move O.J. Mayo to the point guard

It’s very clear that Conley does not have the skill set or the demeanor necessary to be a starting point guard in the NBA.  O.J. Mayo has made it very clear that he would like to play point guard.  I’m not sure he has enough quickness or ball-handling skills to do it, but you do know two things: Mayo cannot guard twos in the NBA, and he can most certainly score.  Whether or not he is a point guard remains to be seen, but at this point, what do the Grizzlies have to lose seeing if their franchise player can play the point?  His size would give most point guards problems…but will he be able to defend their quickness?

3.  Play Hasheem Thabeet

One of the few bright spots for the team this season has been the play of Marc Gasol, who is averaging a double-double and showing heart, which is more than could be said for most of the rest of the team.  The Grizzlies desperately need defense, though, and barring injury or foul trouble, Thabeet should provide that.  I am not a fan of Hasheem Thabeet.  He is a project, and the Grizzlies can’t afford a project at this point, especially when guys like Tyreke Evans, Brandon Jennings, and Jonny Flynn are making immediate impacts at a position of need for the Grizzlies.  You drafted the guy with the #2 pick in the draft, so play him and see if he has potential to be what you thought he was.

4.  Reshuffle Your Rotation

It’s very clear that the rotation as it is currently constructed is not going to win.  The starting lineup is all offense, no defense, and the bench is all defense, no offense.  The bench desperately needs Darrell Arthur, and I can’t even believe I just typed those words.  At some point, you’re going to have to make a move to even things out, or both the starters and the bench will continue to be liabilities.

5.  Don’t worry about Allen Iverson

The Iverson signing was doomed to failure from the start.  It was the brainchild of an owner more concerned about whether or not his wife was a big fan of the guy than how Iverson would fit in on his basketball team.  It’s hard to blame Iverson for being Iverson, but it’s also impossible to defend a guy who had only worked out with the second team and hadn’t played in a game in eight months complaining about coming off the bench.  The Grizzlies don’t owe Allen Iverson anything but a paycheck every two weeks.  Leave the sense of entitlement at the door, please.  Iverson left about a week early; if he had waited until it became clear that Mike Conley can’t start and he got back in basketball shape, Iverson probably would have cracked the starting lineup.  That being said, the Grizzlies can’t worry about what Iverson does…he’s not part of the future of the team and his opinion should matter very little.

6.  Hire a basketball person to do basketball things

This is by far the most important but least likely of the six steps.  Chris Wallace is a nice guy, but is essentially a mouthpiece for ownership that has no real power.  Wallace is the sacrificial lamb to the media when all of the ridiculous moves Michael Heisley makes invariably go wrong.  What this franchise needs (in addition to a new owner) is a bright basketball mind that has the power to go out and make decisions and moves to improve the team.  The history of the Memphis Grizzlies has been dominated by the egos of two men: Jerry West and Michael Heisley.  Those two men have done what they wanted, when they wanted, damn everyone else’s opinion.  Jerry West never listened to other people in basketball operations because he thought he was brilliant.  Heisley, if he is going to be a legitimate owner, needs to put the mess Jerry West left the team in behind him, check his ego, and hire a bright basketball mind to make decisions.  Heisley is a businessman, not a basketball guy, and he needs to stop trying to be Mark Cuban and just be the guy who signs the checks.

To be sure, this is an organization with massive issues.  I’m not 100% sure that the team will ever be competitive for championships as long as Michael Heisley is the owner.  It’s been demonstrated over and over again in sports (Clippers, Cardinals, Raiders, etc.) that incompetent ownership breeds a losing culture, and until Heisley eases his stranglehold on basketball operations and stops being so involved in every decision, the Grizzlies are never likely to be championship caliber.  Here’s hoping that Michael Heisley is a little less Mark Cuban and a little more Dan Rooney.

November 9, 2009

The Calipari Jinx

Filed under: Uncategorized — Greg Gaston @ 11:41 pm

Those of you who know me understand I had a good relationship with former Tigers Hoop Coach John Calipari. They also understand that I am one of the rare people who is still singing his praises for what he did while here in Memphis. Yes, the way he left wasn’t good, but that’s not going to tarnish what I think his tenure meant to the program. With all that said I think Calipari has indirectly put the whammy on the University of Memphis Athletic Department. Some would say he did it on purpose, but I’m not convinced of it.
Since Cal’s departure, the University of Memphis was placed on probation by the NCAA and had their entire 2007-08 season stricken from the record book. The Tigers lost basically every recruit that was headed to Memphis, and than New Head Coach Josh Pastner had players leave for the riches of Professional Ball (Latavious Williams) or go down with season ending injuries (Martin Ngaloro, Angel Garcia). After that came the Football season and what a disaster that has been. Head Coach Tommy West was fired Monday after nine seasons at the helm. The team has won two, count em, two games and talk of a BCS Conference may be a pipe dream at this point. Also Monday, former Tigers great Chris Douglas-Roberts, now of the New Jersey Nets, was diagnosed with a case of swine flu.
What in the wide, wide, world of sports is going on around here? Well, it’s simply the Calipari Jinx? I don’t have a cure to fix it or a way to diagnose the problem. It’s here to stay and that my friends is frightening.

October 8, 2009

The Madness is Approaching

Filed under: Uncategorized — Greg Gaston @ 5:46 pm

There are more questions than answers for the Memphis Tigers as they enter the new College Basketball Season. First year Head Coach Josh Pastner will lead his squad onto the FedExForum floor a week from Tomorrow when the Tigers host their annual Memphis Madness get together. With the Tigers Football team struggling the way they are, fans have been quick to embrace the upcoming hoop season. I understand that this is normally the process, but let’s remember that this Tigers team goes into the season with lower expectations than usual. It’s not that the expectations are for a bad first season for Pastner and his squad, it’s just that the last several seasons the anticipation was so intense because the Tigers were a legitimate National Title contender. Pastner has a solid starting 5, and barring any major catastrophe, should be competitive with mostly everyone. The problem is that after the first 5 the Tigers lack depth and experience. Most of the National powers can likely go 10 or so deep.
O.K. let’s be honest, this will be a little different. Nobody knows what to expect. Can Pastner be a top notch x’s and o’s Coach? Can he demand the respect and attention of his players, something that Calipari was able to do? It won’t take long to find out these answers, but don’t look too much into it either way. This is a learning curve for Pastner and that goes for the fans too. It’s all right to get excited about the Madness but take the entire season in stride. And for goodness sakes Tigers fans, if you really are a true fan, don’t be so quick to dispose of your Football Team. They need some love too!

September 30, 2009

Weekend on the Couch!

Filed under: blog, sports 56, Uncategorized — robfischer @ 2:19 am

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We’ve already had a crazy start to the college football season.  For the first time since I’ve been watching college football, I’m glad I’m not a voter for the polls.  After the top three, who knows! 

College Football Thoughts:

–          Hey Ole Miss!  What was that?  It sure looked like Houston Nutt wants Jevan Snead to come back another year.  24 scouts were in attendance for that!  I do think the Rebels were shafted in the polls.  To drop from 4 to 21 is ridiculous.  The only reason for the massive drop is because of the national media using the “overrated” word all month.  If the voters believed they were number four, and now think they’re overrated, they are hypocrites!  USC lost to a worse team, while the Rebels lost to an SEC team coached by Steve Spurrier on national TV on a Thursday night.  Why is USC still in the top ten?  One answer- they’re USC.  They’ll try anything to get them back in title contention.  The bias towards USC is disgustingly similar Notre Dame.

–          I think I take the unpopular stance with Dan Mullen (Mississippi State) this week.  Sure his play calling cost them the game against a “Top 5” team, but Bullies fans now know that they can expect that innovative play calling in the future when he gets more talent.  It worked at Florida for Mullen, and it will work in Starkville when he fits in the pieces.  I liked the risks, even though the reward sucked.  He’ll win those games in the future.  State fans should love that Mullen plans on coaching like he did at Florida.  That’s confidence.

–          Alabama has won their last three by 100 points.  They average 234 rushing yards per game and allow 47 per game.  That’s a championship formula, and they could arguably be the best team in the country right now.  Sorry Timmy Dynamite.

ncf_g_tebow3_sw_576

–          Speaking of…… I thought the country was going to have a vigil and a moment of silence for Tebow Saturday.  I haven’t seen that much of an overreaction since people thought Twister was going to be a good movie.  Despite the near death experience, Tebow is now one rushing touchdown behind Herschel Walker for first all time in the SEC.  He had two on the ground Saturday.  By the way, for those who think Tebow hasn’t been dynamic again this year, think again.  He does have 11 touchdowns against three turnovers.  Plus, he beat death!  SEC Commish Mike Slive announced today that from now on, concussions will be called Tebow’s.

–          Mark Richt (Georgia) is 35-4 against non- conference teams.  Too bad Okie State is one of those losses, because the Dawgs would be #4 in the country.  While LSU may be vulnerable this week, Georgia NEEDS to cut down on their penalties (10 per game) and turnovers (3 per game) if they want to get back in the hunt

–          Chris Todd (Auburn) has 1012 yards passing and 11 touchdowns.  In 2008, Tommy Tuberville’s Tigers had 1985 passing yards and 7 touchdowns on the season.  I hope the Memphis Tigers have already reached out to Offensive Coordinator Gus Malzahn. 

–          It’s too bad for Tommy West (Memphis).  We’ve all said it, and you hear it over and over again.  He’s a great guy.  GREAT guy.  But his tenure in Memphis is over.  The thing about Tommy is that he understands.  As he told me Monday, it affects him, but he can’t let it affect his coaching.  He’s been doing this for 30 years.  He’s not stupid.  He knows it’s part of the business.  The best thing this week for Memphis fans is that Tommy won’t quit on the team.  He’ll continue to do his best to get the team better each week.  Now it might not work, but he won’t quit, like Tuberville did at Auburn last year.  And some think Tuberville should come to the Tigers.  What a horrible idea!  Three quick replacement names without any deep research- Malzahn, Steve Spurrier Jr. (South Carolina Passing Game Coordinator), Shane Beamer (South Carolina Special Teams Coordinator).  Spurrier and Beamer both have the potential to be a Skip Holtz.  Why not?  Their fathers are both innovative coaches and Hall of Famers.  I’ll take that chance.

–          Speaking of fathers, Frank Beamer (Virginia Tech) is a special teams genius.  His Hokies have 74 non-offensive touchdowns in the last 11 seasons.

–          FREE MITCH MUSTAIN! 

–          The Houston Cougars are in first place in the Big XII South.  2-0 with 1091 yards of offense in two games against the nations 2nd best division.  Case Keenum for Heisman.

–          Jimmy Clausen (Notre Dame) for Heisman!  It was a gutty effort by Clausen that may have saved Charlie Weiss’s job this year.  On the season, Jimmy Dynamite has 1122 yards, 10 touchdowns, and one interception.

–          The Texas Longhorns are averaging 540 yards per game, but Colt McCoy doesn’t have near the production he had last year.  Through four games, he has 42 incompletions.  Last year, he had 44 after eight games.  He has nine touchdowns and five interceptions.  Last year after four games, he had 14 td’s and one pick.  Colt had just 7 interceptions all of last season.  Don’t crown him Heisman just because you felt sorry for him and his Longhorns last year.

–          Florida State CANNOT bring Bobby Bowden back next year.  Too bad the old man thinks he can still coach.  They need to figure out a painless way to cut ties.  The Seminoles are 2-2 for the first time since 1989, they’ve lost 4 of 5 at home, and their coach doesn’t even know who they’re playing.

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These two pictures are both Bowden!  At least he hasn’t aged.

–          Ralph Friedgen will be gone soon.  Maryland has more turnovers than touchdowns (13-11).

NFL Thoughts:

–          Why have 0-3 teams only made the playoffs three times since 1990?  Because 0-3 teams usually suck!  It’s the most overrated stat in football.  Seven teams are currently 0-3, and only one has a shot of the playoffs- the Titans.  Maybe Carolina could make it, but they won’t unless Jake Delhomme retires today.

–          Mark Sanchez (Jets) became the first NFL quarterback to start a season 3-0 in his rookie year.  I think the Jets have the pieces for a run at the Super Bowl.  They also have a coach that will take over for Bill Belichick as the most hated coach in the league.  I love it.  Can’t wait to see them in New Orleans this weekend.

–          The Texans are a fraud!  They were supposed to make the playoffs last year and this year.  They have one September win in the last two seasons.  Rush defense might be the problem this year.  190 yards allowed against the Jets, 240 in Nashville, and 184 against Jacksonville.  Gary Kubiak’s seat should be heating up.

–          The Chiefs have lost 26 of 28.  Up next are the Giants and Cowboys.  Good luck.

–          Kevin Kolb (Eagles) became the first NFL quarterback to have 300 or more yards passing in his first two starts.  I certainly thought Kurt Warner accomplished the feat with the Rams.  Warner had 309 and 275.  DeSean Jackson has 3 touchdowns for the Eagles and they’re all over 60 yards.  His shortest touchdown is 64 yards.

–          The Browns have been outscored 94-29 this year.  They have one offensive touchdown.  It’s the only touchdown they’ve scored offensively in the last 37 quarters.  That’s 9 and a quarter games!

–          The Ravens are my Super Bowl pick and have been since preseason.  I didn’t even know how good this offense was going to be.  Wow!  They’re like Auburn.  Joe Flacco has six touchdowns in three games.  Last season, it took him nine games to get number six.

–          The Patriots have won sixteen straight regular season games against the NFC.  Tom Brady had his 200th career touchdown pass in the win over Atlanta.  He’s the 27th quarterback to accomplish the feat.  Brett Favre and Peyton Manning are the only other active players in the top 27.  Favre is first with 469 and Manning is fourth with 340.  Brady should finish the season 21st, one spot behind Steve Young.

–          Ben Roethlisberger lost for the first time in the NFL in the state of Ohio.  He’s 11-1 after the loss at Cincinnati.  Big Ben has at least one interception in each of his last five regular season games.  In that span he has seven picks and five touchdowns.

–          The Broncos have allowed a total of 16 points in three games.  Last year they held only two teams under 16 points.

–          Three teams fired their offensive coordinators in the offseason- Kansas City, Tampa Bay, and Buffalo.  They’re a combined 1-8.

–          Top 5– 1. Ravens 2. Giants 3. Jets 4. Vikings 5. Saints

–          Bottom 5– 5. Raiders 4. Bucs 3. Chiefs 2. Browns 1. Rams

–          Quarterback of the Week: Peyton Manning (IND) 24-35, 379yds, 4td’s, Int

–          Running Back of the Week: Maurice Jones-Drew (JAX) 23-119, 3td’s

–          Wide Receiver of the Week: DeSean Jackson 6-149, TD

–          Hot Seat: Zorn (WAS), Fox (CAR), Cable (OAK), Jauron (BUF), Kubiak (HOU)

–          Richardgardner.com is a website providing sports betting opinions.  Richard is hosting a charity NFL picks contest for media around the country.  This week, I was 7-9 against the spread which was good for 52nd place.  I want to apologize to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  I will be better in upcoming weeks.  The weekly winners receive $250 for their charity and the year end winner will get $5000 with second place receiving $2500.  I hope I can raise some money for the great people at St. Jude!  Check out richardgardner.com.  On the season, I have a 26-22 record which puts me in a tie for 32nd overall.

The Sports Bar Big SEC Coaching Power Ranking

COACH (TEAM)- LAST WEEK

1. Nick Saban (ALA) 2

2. Gene Chizik (AUB) 1

3. Urban Meyer (FLA) 3

4. Dan Mullen (MSU) 6T

5T. Mark Richt (UGA) 8

5T. Bobby Petrino (ARK) 4

7. Steve Spurrier (SC) 11

8. Les Miles (LSU) 9

9. Rich Brooks (UK) 6T

10. Houston Nutt (MISS) 5

11T. Lane Kiffin (UT) 10

11T. Bobby Johnson (VAN) 12

13. Tommy West (MEM) 13

 

The Big SEC Quarterback Ranking

QB (TEAM)- LAST WEEK

1. Chris Todd (AUB) 2

2. Greg McElroy (ALA) 3

3. Tim Tebow (FLA) 4

4. Jordan Jefferson (LSU) 6

5. Ryan Mallett (ARK) 1

6. Stephen Garcia (SC) 9

7. Joe Cox (UGA) 5

8. Jevan Snead (MISS) 7

9. Mike Hartline (KEN) 8

10. Tyler Bass (MEM) 10

11. Larry Smith (VAN) 12

12. Tyson Lee (MSU) 11

13. Jonathan Crompton (TEN) 13 

Words to Live By

You’re not going to have a platinum record every time you put a song out, but it’s the going for it that is really the pot of gold. As I’ve gone along, as I’ve experienced life, I’ve learned that it’s the going after it that’s the really awesome thing.”– Brett Michaels

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There’s plenty happening in Tunica this weekend.  For a complete list of events and attractions in Tunica, Mississippi, click on the link below.  Get easy access to the casinos, golf courses, and all other entertainment.

http://www.tunicamiss.com/ 

Here are some coming attractions: 

Chicago (Harrah’s) 800-946-4946

Date: October 02

In 1967, Chicago musicians Walter Parazaider, Terry Kath, Danny Seraphine, Lee Loughnane, James Pankow, Robert Lamm, and Peter Cetera formed a group with one dream, to integrate all the musical diversity from their beloved city and weave a new sound, a rock ‘n’ roll band with horns. Their dream turned into 20 Top Ten singles, 12 Top Ten albums (five of which were #1), and sales of more than 120 million records.

Travis Tritt (Sam’s Town) 800-456-0711

Date: October 03

Billy Currington (Fitz) 800-766-5825

Date: October 16

Kenny G (Goldstrike) 888-245-7529

Date: October 17

Miranda Lambert (Goldstrike) 888-245-7529

Date: November 07

Darius Rucker (Sam’s Town) 800-456-0711

Date: November 11 

Have a Great Week!

September 16, 2009

Tranghese equals very good Investment

Filed under: Uncategorized — Greg Gaston @ 5:37 pm

When making a financial decision you should always way your options. For what you are dishing out, are you getting equal or better value in return? In the case of the University of Memphis’ hiring of Mike Tranghese the answer is obvious….YES!
The former Big East Commissioner, who stepped down in June after 30 years on the job, is now a consultant for the University of Memphis. Tranghese actually started his association with the U of M in early August and will make $5,000 per month over the course of the next half year.
The hiring of the former Big East “Big Boss Man” brings instant credibility to the School’s pursuit of a spot in a BCS Conference. What could be better than to have a guy who has run a BCS Conference for 30 years? Not much. Tranghese can help direct buddy R.C. Johnson, School President Dr. Shirley Raines, and other school officials and Big Boosters as to what direction they need to go in. Should they dump a lot of money into the Football program? Would an On-Campus Stadium be a selling point to a BCS Conference? There are many questions that need to be addressed and answered, and Tranghese is the right guy to answer them. Tranghese also has plenty of pull. His word means a whole heck of a lot. This is the best move R.C. Johnson has made in some time.
Now the obvious question from everyone is “when can we expect some movement within the Conferences”? Tranghese has made it pretty clear that he doesn’t expect anything significant until the current Television contracts run their course, and even then, there are no guarantees. Now some will say this is a hire to quiet all the recent negativity surrounding the Tigers Football program and the recent NCAA investigation and sanctions. While it does give Memphis fans a little something to get excited about, this is a move of necessity to begin the process. It’s Johnson being proactive. It’s a move that already has one Orlando Columnist questioning whether or not Memphis pulled a fast one on the University of Central Florida.
Remember what I said earlier. When you are making a financial commitment of any size, you need to weigh the pro and cons before pulling the trigger. This one was a no-brainer.

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