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June 26, 2009

Grizzlies draft recap

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Eli Savoie @ 4:14 pm

So my wishful thinking did not work for the Grizzlies draft last night as they were not able to make a move and drafted Hasheem Thabeet with the second pick. They then added DeMarre Carroll at #27 and Sam Young at #36.

While I have said I didn’t want them to draft Thabeet, it does not mean I think he will be a complete bust. I think he’ll be a pretty decent big man who will block shots and rebound, but will never really be a big offensive threat. What I don’t like about the pick is while it did fill a need of a shot blocker, the Grizzlies already had three centers on the roster and there is still a big hole at the power forward spot and Thabeet still doesn’t provide a low post scorer which is what the Grizzlies desperately need. I thought you could get better value out of the #2 pick by using it in a trade to add more players to improve the overall depth.

I also wasn’t a big fan of the Carroll pick only because I thought there were better options available, but at #27, you’re not expecting to get a big star so it’s tough to complain too much. I would have liked to see them take Wayne Ellington with the pick to fill the need of a long range shooter. I think Ellington could be a great shooter in the NBA. Carroll will provide some toughness and energy though and he loves to play defense and the Grizzlies can use some solid perimeter defenders.

I love the pick of Young at #36. I was shocked to see him slip that far and I’m glad the Grizzlies were able to snatch him up. Young is a tough player who plays very intelligently. He can shoot it from the outside, but has the strength to get to the basket too. In my opinion, this was the best of the Grizzlies’ picks.

Some other Grizzlies notes:
My hope of Minnesota giving up the 5th and 18th picks to move up never happened. Minnesota’s only offer for the #2 pick was the 6th pick and Craig Smith which wasn’t nearly enough.

If you heard Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley on the “Morning Rush” today he mentioned a trade they tried to make that would have cost them $20 million. I have been told by a source that the trade they wanted to make was Darko Milicic and Marko Jaric to the Clippers for Zach Randolph. Once the Clippers nixed that deal, the Grizzlies sent Darko to New York for Quentin Richardson. Darko needed to be traded somewhere because of the logjam at the center spot with Thabeet coming in. Darko would have been the third center and would not have been a happy camper sitting deep on the bench. Richardson brings some veteran leadership and some three-point shooting and he’s also in the last year of his contract so he could still be a valuable asset to move later on.

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Grizz Draft Not Sexy, But Solid…Maybe

Filed under: Uncategorized — Will Askew @ 8:15 am

Yesterday on the Sports Bar, I said that if the Grizzlies didn’t end up with Ricky Rubio, Stephen Curry, or Tyreke Evans, I would be disappointed.

I am disappointed.

In a draft that featured all of one sure thing, the Grizzlies chose the biggest wild card of the draft (Thabeet), a guy who had really good value in the 2nd round (Sam Young), and for the second year in a row a guy who had a huge hand in knocking the Tigers out of the NCAA tournament (Carroll).  I think it says something that the thing I’m most excited about from last night was that I got 9 picks right on my mock draft from yesterday.

Hasheem Thabeet:
From a public relations standpoint, it’s a disastrous pick.  With so much hope and optimism coming out of the lottery and the best draft pick the team had had since it came to Memphis, they got…a shot blocker.  The expectation level was that the team was going to come out of this draft with a star.  I don’t think they did it.
Pros: Great defensive presence inside; Shot blocking; has tremendous potential as a rebounder and offensive player because of his good footwork, agility, and size
Cons: No offensive game to speak of; Not a great rebounder despite being 7’2; has trouble with physical players; team never did anything until his junior season
Thabeet immediately becomes the best defensive center the franchise has ever had.  He also becomes an extremely high draft pick that’s going to have to fight to start: Lionel Hollins said last night of he and Marc Gasol–“The best man is going to win the job.  He’s got to earn the right (to start). But Marc’s going to be good competition.”
(Voice rising) You used the 2nd pick in the draft on a guy who may not start?  Really?!
Everyone wanted the Grizzlies to trade the pick…in principle I agree.  However, if you can’t get value, you don’t move the pick.  You take the guy who’s the best player.  I hope they did, but I doubt it.

DeMarre Carroll:
Apparently that rumor that they had promised Carroll was true…with DaJuan Blair, Wayne Ellington, and Sam Young still on the board, that’s the only reason you take Carroll here.  Note: For the second year in a row, a possible lottery selection plummets because of health questions–Darrell Arthur about his kidneys, and DaJuan Blair because of his knees.  At least this year, the concerns were legit. While I don’t think they got a good value for this pick, I do like what Carroll brings.  He’ll back up Rudy at the 3 and bring defense, energy, and toughness off the bench.  People will hate playing against this guy, and that’s not bad at #27.  Still would have taken Blair or Ellington, though…

Sam Young:
A good value pick where they got him, but Blair was still on the board!!  Notice it took Adam Silver 25 seconds to announce that Blair was the next pick.  The team he went to–the Spurs.  They always make good picks.  Young will provide defense and toughness (a theme, much?) to the bench.  He’ll swing between the 2 and the 3.  A good value pick at #36, but still DaJuan Blair?  Best offensive rebounder of the last 10 years in college basketball.

To use an analogy all you guys can understand, the Grizzlies draft last night was like looking at Britney Spears naked.  Definitely not sexy, but will probably be an overall pleasant experience.

Coming into last night, the Grizzlies had five needs: defense, shooting, a power forward, scoring off the bench, and rebounding.

They addressed one, possibly two.

They did address the need for defense with Thabeet, Carroll and Young, and they did get three guys who will play.  They still don’t have anyone but OJ Mayo who can shoot from the outside (something Ellington would have addressed at #27), they still don’t have a power forward–pardon me for not being inspired by Arthur-Warrick (if he stays with the team, which I doubt), they still don’t have anyone who can score off the bench (especially if Warrick leaves), and they still may have trouble rebounding, depending on how good of a rebounder Thabeet is.  But hey, free agency starts soon, right?

Next year, the salary cap will be around $57.3 million dollars or so.  Here’s a look at the roster and the salaries that will definitely be on the books next year, courtesy of hoopshype.com (and a little research on my part)…

Quentin Richardson–Player option for $9.3 m
Marko Jaric–$7.1 m (really?!!)
OJ Mayo–$4.165 m
Greg Buckner–$4 m (man, to be a veteran in the NBA)
Mike Conley–$3.88 m
Marc Gasol–$3.24 m
Hasheem Thabeet–$3.59 m
Rudy Gay–$3.28 m
Darrell Arthur–$1.05 m
DeMarre Carroll–$814, 300

Pending Young’s contract, whether or not Warrick is back with the team, and whether they re-sign Hamed Haddadi, the total of the Grizzlies salaries is $40.4 million, which will likely be about $1.6 under the minimum and $17 million under the cap.  Assuming Young will be on the roster, they will need two or three more players just to fill out the roster, and will be approximately just over $16 m under the cap.  Here’s to hoping they get shooting, a power forward, and scoring off the bench with that $16 million.  That’s an awful lot of needs.

A quick joke because Blake Griffin was picked by the Clippers…

Q:  What do Blake Griffin and DaJuan Blair have in common?

A:  In five years, they’ll both have two blown out knees.

It’s the Clippers, people.  You don’t mess with Native Americans.

June 25, 2009

On the Couch for the NBA Draft

Filed under: Uncategorized — robfischer @ 3:35 pm

tunica banner

2009 NBA Mock Draft

Here it goes.  My shot at a Mock Draft for tonight’s NBA Draft.  Instead of listing the teams, I’ll just list the players and where I think they’ll end up, because I expect plenty of movement Thursday night.  I am putting Ricky Rubio in the #2 spot, because I think that pick will be moved.  If the Grizzlies select La Pistola, don’t expect him to stay in Memphis.  Here it goes.

  1. Blake Griffin
  2. Ricky Rubio
  3. Hasheem Thabeet
  4. Stephen Curry
  5. Tyreke Evans
  6. James Harden
  7. Jordan Hill
  8. Jonny Flynn
  9. James Johnson
  10. DeMar DeRozan
  11. Terrence Williams
  12. Gerald Henderson
  13. Brandon Jennings
  14. Tyler Hansbrough
  15. BJ Mullens
  16. Ty Lawson
  17. Jrue Holiday
  18. Austin Daye
  19. Jeff Teague
  20. Earl Clark
  21. DeJuan Blair
  22. Eric Maynor
  23. Sam Young
  24. Taj Gibson
  25. DaJuan Summers
  26. Wayne Ellington
  27. DeMarre Carroll
  28. Jonas Jerebko
  29. Jermaine Taylor
  30. Chase Budinger

Early pick for Rookie of the Year: 1. James Harden 2. Blake Griffin 3. Tyreke Evans 4. Jonny Flynn 5. Ricky Rubio

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

http://www.tunicamiss.com/ 

Enjoy the Draft!

Askew’s Mock Draft ’09

Filed under: Uncategorized — Will Askew @ 8:38 am

Generally, I’m pretty good at these things…this year, if I get 6 or 7 right, I will be happy.  I honestly don’t know what the hell to expect.  This is an odd draft–nearly all of the best players are guards, but two of the top three are big men.

1.  LA Clippers: Blake Griffin, Oklahoma
This is one I will get right.  Let’s hope that Mike Dunleavy acts like, well, Mike Dunleavy and picks Rubio, though.

2.  Memphis Grizzlies: Hasheem Thabeet, UConn
The more and more I think about this and the closer we get to the draft, the more I think Thabeet is their man.  I disagree, but so be it.  This pick literally controls the fate of the entire draft.

3.  Oklahoma City Thunder: Ricky Rubio, DKV Joventut
I wish the Grizzlies would pick Rubio and figure out what to do with Conley.  Apparently, the Grizzlies are really high on Conley, for reasons I don’t understand.  I don’t think his ceiling is nearly as high as Rubio’s.

4.  Sacramento Kings: Tyreke Evans, Memphis
A couple of things on Tyreke–first of all, I think he has tremendous upside.  If he can develop a little jump shot, he could be a steal, even at 4.  I wouldn’t be upset at all if the Grizzlies picked him at 2.  That being said, the people who think he’d sell a bunch of tickets for the Grizzlies are wrong.  What sells tickets is winning.  No one is going to buy tickets to see Tyreke just because he’s Tyreke…if he turns out to be Dwyane Wade, then people would buy tickets.

5.  Minnesota T’Wolves: Stephen Curry, Davidson
I hope that the Grizzlies can somehow move down to this spot, because Curry playing opposite Gay and Mayo would be terrific.  This is exactly the kind of sharpshooter they need to kick the ball out to when they drive to the basket.  I would very strongly consider taking him at #2.

6.  Minnesota T’Wolves: James Harden, Arizona State
Having no backcourt, the T’Wolves rebuild it with two guards in a row.

7.  Golden State Warriors: Jonny Flynn, Syracuse
I’m not sure about this one, because they may be close to acquiring Acie Law and Speedy Claxton.  They do need a point guard to play off Monta Ellis though, so I have them taking Flynn.

8.  New York Knicks: Jordan Hill, Arizona
I literally have no idea what the Knicks will do with this pick, but it will either be Hill or Jrue Holliday from UCLA.

9.  Toronto Raptors: Demar DeRozan, USC
If they don’t re-sign Shawn Marion, they will have nothing at either the 2 or the 3.  If I’m the Grizzlies, I’m trying to pry away Bosh with Rudy Gay, the 2, and Warrick (or something like this).  Bosh will leave Toronto for nothing at the end of next season…try and trade for him and get an extension done.

10.  Milwaukee Bucks: Jrue Holliday, UCLAUPDATE: BRANDON JENNINGS, VIRTUS ROMA
With their trade for Bowen, Oberto, and Kurt Thomas Tuesday, it’s clear they don’t mind making next season a wash.  Why not take a project point guard to back up Ramon Sessions?

11.  New Jersey Nets: James Johnson, Wake ForestUPDATE: TERRENCE WILLIAMS, LOUISVILLE
Either they will trade Vince Carter in a salary dump, or move him back to the 2 and take Johnson to play the 3/4. They have Keyon Dooling playing the 2 right now.  Keyon Dooling!!

12.  Charlotte Bobcats: Gerald Henderson, DukeUPDATE: JAMES JOHNSON, WAKE FOREST
Against better judgment, I have Michael Jordan picking a Dookie here.  They have a really interesting lineup if this happens.  Also a possibility of taking Hansbrough here to back up Boris Diaw.

13.  Indiana Pacers: Brandon Jennings, Virtus RomaUPDATE: JRUE HOLLIDAY, UCLA
For some reason, people have cooled on Brandon Jennings because he went to Europe for a year.  I think he’s going to be awesome.  Great pick here for the Pacers.

14.  Phoenix Suns: Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina
He’ll be a very capable backup to Amare Stoudemire.

15.  Detroit Pistons: Ty Lawson, North Carolina
Just because he’s only 6 feet tall in shoes, this guy is slipping down draft boards.  I’m telling you people, he’s going to be good.  He was easily the best point guard in college basketball last year.  Easily.  A rich man’s TJ Ford.  If Hansbrough slips here, they’ll take him…they need help for their aging front line, and he’s a Detroit kind of guy.  Except for the fact that he massacred Michigan State twice there last year.

16.  Chicago Bulls: DaJuan Blair, Pittsburgh
They seriously need some beef on that front line.  Blair is a bit shorter than Elton Brand and Kevin Love, but he’s similar.  The best offensive rebounder I’ve seen in years.  He’ll be a very solid pro.

17.  Philadelphia 76ers: Terrence Williams, LouisvilleUPDATE: GERALD HENDERSON, DUKE
They’re a good shooting guard away from being really scary.  Williams will never be a star, but he does a lot of things well.

18.  Minnesota T’Wolves: Earl Clark, Louisville
Could be Rudy Gay, or he could be terrible.  Wildly inconsistent.  The T’Wolves can afford to gamble, though.

19.  Atlanta Hawks: Jeff Teague, Wake Forest
When he learns to shoot, look out.  This guy can freaking score.  He was the best player by far in the ACC the first half of the season.

20.  Utah Jazz: Sam Young, Pittsburgh
Jerry Sloan won’t take Austin Daye or BJ Mullens, because they suck and are not his type of player.  Sam Young does the dirty work…Sloan will like him.

21.  New Orleans Hornets: BJ Mullens, Ohio State
Since they have Tyson Chandler, they can afford to stow this guy away on the bench for a few years.  It’s at least going to take a few years for this guy to be any good.  Strange that an Ohio State 7-footer came out too early for the second straight year (remember Kosta Koufos?).

22.  Portland Trail Blazers (from Mavericks): Eric Maynor, VCU
They need some semblance of a point guard, and barring a trade, Maynor could back up Steve Blake; I still can’t believe Blake has a starting point guard job in the NBA.

23.  Sacramento Kings: Omri Casspi, Maccabi Tel Aviv
Sure.

24.  Dallas Mavericks (from Blazers): Austin Daye, Gonzaga
Daye is the softest player I’ve ever seen.  He can learn from another tall guy who floats on the perimeter (Dirk) how to be a bit tougher.

25.  Oklahoma City Thunder: DeMarre Carroll, Mizzou
If this guy is around at pick #27, I hope like hell that the Grizzlies take him.  He will be in the league for years because he’s big, plays with limitless energy, and can guard three positions.  I love this guy.

26.  Chicago Bulls: Wayne Ellington, North Carolina
They need someone to back up Gordon at the 2 (or possibly replace him if he walks).  He would benefit greatly from Rose’s ability to get to the basket.

27.  Memphis Grizzlies: Derrick Brown, Xavier
They need someone to spell Rudy at the 3, and I don’t believe there are any shooters available this late in the first round with Ellington going to the Bulls.  Marcus Thornton and Danny Green are also possibilities here.

28.  Minnesota T’wolves: Chase Budinger, Arizona
Really–four first rounders?  Expect them to trade.

29.  LA Lakers: Taj Gibson, USC
They won’t keep this pick, so I don’t even know why I did this one.

30.  Cleveland Cavaliers: Patrick Mills, St. Mary’s
Need a backup at point to Mo Williams.

So there you have it.  Again, I would be surprised if more than 7 of these are right.  Tune in to the Sports Bar this afternoon for more draft talk.  Also, I will be Twittering @waskew all night with (hopefully) entertaining reaction to the proceedings.  In addition, I am putting together a promotion for the Sports Bar Twitter page (@sportsbar560) that you can only win if you are following us on Twitter.  Enjoy the draft tonight…hopefully the Grizzlies do something interesting.

UPDATE: Reportedly, the Bucks are settling on Brandon Jennings at the #10 pick, and the Bulls are trying to trade up and get Terrence Williams.  Also, the Nets are very close to trading Vince Carter.  Stay tuned…

ANOTHER UPDATE: Apparently the Nets did what I said and salary dumped Carter for Rafer, C. Lee, and Tony Battie.  They will draft Terrence Williams at #11…allegedly.

June 23, 2009

The Grizzlies Must Make the Smart Choice

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Will Askew @ 11:54 am

As everyone knows by know, the Grizzlies own the 2nd pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft.  I believe there are only two players that are a possibility at #2 (no matter what the Grizzlies’ brass says).  I do believe that the Grizzlies are saying all the right things, praising Rubio, Thabeet, Tyreke Evans, James Harden, etc.  No one knows for sure what the Grizzlies will do, and if anyone says they do, they’re lying.  Even Michael Heisley and Chris Wallace really don’t know whom they’re going to pick or if they’re going to trade.  They sit in a great position; in fact, I believe that they control the fate of the entire draft.  They have all the leverage.  All of that being said, here are what I believe are the three options for the Grizz as they approach Thursday night.

Option 1: Draft Ricky Rubio and keep him

While it appears at this point that this is highly unlikely, I don’t believe this would be all that bad.  Mike Conley showed signs at the end of last season that he could be a pretty good NBA point guard, but I don’t know how high his ceiling is.  Rubio, while he certainly has a lot of question marks (namely his health and shooting ability), has a far greater upside than does Conley.  The kid has been a prodigy since he was 14 years old, has dominated competition his age, and is still only 18 years old.  He’s a guy that makes teammates around him better, is a good leader, and doesn’t particularly look to score.  While he’s not blessed with tremendous foot speed or lateral quickness, by all accounts he is a tremendous off-the-ball defender and has unbelievable instincts, which he uses to get in passing lanes.  I think Rubio would be a good pick.

Option 2:  Draft Hasheem Thabeet and keep him

This option is looking increasingly likely in the days leading up to the draft.  Hasheem Thabeet is what he is–a great weak-side shot blocker and a guy who can control the paint defensively.  He’s never going to be a good offensive player, and he’s not a particularly great on-the-ball defensive center.  He’s a project.  I am of the belief that Hasheem Thabeet is not the value pick at #2.  While he does provide something the Grizzlies need with defensive presence in the paint, do you really want to pick a rich man’s Samuel Dalembert at #2?  I don’t believe so.  That being said, the Grizzlies are apparently very high on him.  If the Grizzlies draft Hasheem Thabeet with the second pick, don’t expect a trade involving this pick.

Option #3: Draft Ricky Rubio and trade him

No one really knows how likely this is, but everyone seems to think it’s going to happen.  Everyone (except for nbadraft.net) seems to think the Grizzlies are going to draft someone other than Rubio with the pick.  If the Grizzlies want to make a trade, they should draft Rubio.  He’s the consensus 2nd best player in the draft, and holds the most value at their pick.

Courtesy of draftexpress.com, thebiglead.com, espn.com’s Chad Ford (I’m not going to dignify him with a link), etc., apparently Rubio and Thabeet have no desire to play in Memphis.  I’m really tired of hearing this.  First of all, agents and players are different.  A player is going to play wherever he is drafted or traded.  I’m sure if you asked OJ Mayo’s agent if he wanted Mayo in Memphis last year, he would have said no, but Mayo came and performed.  Dan Fegan didn’t want Yi in Milwaukee a couple of years ago, but Yi went and played (badly).  If he is drafted, Rubio will play here…ditto with Thabeet, Curry, etc.  Secondly, even if they don’t want to play here, Heisley doesn’t care.  The Grizzlies are going to pick whomever they want to with the second pick (assuming they keep it).  If you don’t believe that, go to sports56whbq.com and listen to Heisley’s interview on the Featured Audio player.  He just doesn’t care what agents think, and he won’t be bullied; anyone who tells you this will have any effect on what the Grizzlies will do doesn’t know what the hell they’re talking about.  To say that James Harden is the “last man standing” is irresponsible and ignores everything Heisley and Chris Wallace are saying.  Either that or Heisley and Wallace are straight up lying to the media.

It is my belief that the Grizzlies should draft Ricky Rubio with the second pick in the draft and then see what happens.  If a trade down with New York, Minnesota, or Sacramento comes to fruition, great.  It is more likely, however, that a trade that the Grizzlies will potentially consummate on draft night has not even been discussed yet. Who even talked about the OJ Mayo trade last year before it happened?  At any rate, the Grizzlies should be exciting to see on Thursday night.  It’s not often that this franchise has a ton of leverage.

UPDATE: Great piece from Ron Tillery today on thememphisedge.com.  Good job Chad Ford!!

June 12, 2009

Alabama Increasingly Disturbing to At Least One Bama Fan

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Will Askew @ 11:36 am

Yesterday, Alabama was put on probation for 3 years and had to vacate 21 wins from 2005-2007 because of a textbook scandal.  Apparently, some athletes in 16 (!) different sports on campus either illegally acquired textbooks or got them and gave them to their friends.  Those are NCAA violations, because all these textbooks are benefits, you see.

Now, while someone getting a textbook and giving it to their buddy is about a 3 or 4 on the NCAA Major Violation Scale of 10–much lower than handing cash to a runner to get a player or putting a stud recruit’s family up in a house (I’m looking at you, USC), when you’re Alabama, it’s a big issue.  It seems as if Bama is on probation every other year, because, well, they are.  They got off probation 16 months ago.  People will say that they got off light on this deal, and after initially thinking to myself, “Well, it was only textbooks…at least someone didn’t pay $200k to get Julio Jones to go to Alabama,” I think they actually did get off light.  In this age of diminishing punishments for everything from sticking your kid in time out instead of spanking him to “vacating” wins instead of losing money, TV, or shutting down the program for a couple of years, I think it’s about time someone at the NCAA actually smacked someone down.  When I was a kid, the reason I didn’t act out is because I knew if I did, someone would smack my ass instead of sending me to sit by myself for a couple of minutes.  Alabama and USC have shown a blatant lack of institutional control over the last few years, and it would be nice to see the NCAA do something about it for a change.  In the words of Jerry Tarkanian, who happens to be an expert in NCAA violations, “The NCAA is so mad at Kentucky that they’ll probably slap another two years’ probation on Cleveland State,”  and that’s probably the case again here…except replace Kentucky (for now, at least…Calipari is there after all) with Alabama and USC and Cleveland State with Memphis or some other non-BCS conference school in the next few months that will commit violations.

Sadly, I’m an Alabama fan, and would hate to see the NCAA smack them down, especially since they’re poised to kick some ass in football for the next few years.  But Alabama has shown that it has little regard for compliance with NCAA regulations recently.  The common denominator in all of this for Alabama (since 1994, at least) is Mal Mooore, who for some reason is still the AD.  He’s been the AD for a while now, for no other reason than he used to play for Bear Bryant.  Nice job hiring Nick Saban, Mal, but by 2012, the football team will have been on probation for 8 of your then 13 years.  You also hired Dennis Franchione, Mike Price, and Mike Shula and have been in charge for two major NCAA investigations.  That’s unacceptable.

–As it turns out, Stan Van Gundy is a master of panic.  How on Earth does Jameer Nelson play the final 18 minutes of that game last night?  The man hasn’t played in 4 and a half months.  Rafer Alston was playing a nice game.  He’s helped them through three tough series to get to the NBA Finals…why then, was a shadow of Jameer Nelson’s beginning of season self in the game?  I agree with Jason Whitlock, Stan needs his ass beat.  Is anyone surprised that Hedo Turkoglu and Dwight Howard missed those free throws last night?  The team’s an extension of the coach, and while Derek Fisher was calmly stroking clutch threes, Howard and Turkish Jordan were busy panicking, just like Ron Jeremy.  Nice job blowing the NBA Finals, Magic.

–Despite my best efforts, I am now addicted to Twitter.  You can check my page (which mostly has nothing to do with my job) out here, and the Sports Bar’s page (which has everything to do with my job) out here.  Enjoy!

June 9, 2009

The Daly Impact

Filed under: Uncategorized — Greg Gaston @ 9:31 pm

If Tiger Woods was playing in this week’s St. Jude Classic, things would have to change. Security would have to be beefed up. Ticket takers would be extremely busy. The economic impact from the golf event over the course of this week would be magnified ten fold. Tiger Woods is the draw of all draws. Only problem….Tiger won’t be playing Memphis.
On the other hand John Daly will. We don’t know if J.D. will be here for two rounds or four, but the big guy is playing. It’s his first PGA event since a 6 month suspension was laid on him for his antics last year in North Carolina where a drunken Daly was found….well, I’ll spare you the details.
In the last six months Daly has lost some weight. Plenty of weight. He has also honed his game playing tournaments in Europe. He didn’t win any, but he finished them all. No blow-ups, no melt-downs. It’s a new gentile Daly.
Now I’ll get to my point. John Daly is the biggest draw Memphis can have other than Tiger. He’s even bigger, (sad but true) then Phil Mickelson who will be here this week. Daly is a Mid-South Icon. He’s a trailer park hero. He’s a Redneck Legend. He’s all of the above. He’s also a novel on the N.Y Times Best selling list with a few chapters still to be written.
Oh they’ll come Ray, they most definitely will come.
It won’t be Tiger Mania this week at TPC Southwind, but it will be a Daly dose of down home country goodness.

Who is Really to Blame?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Will Askew @ 11:09 am

I went out of town last Thursday, about 16 hours after the news of the NCAA investigation into the University of Memphis golf and men’s basketball programs had broken.  Consequently, I haven’t really had a chance to discuss it with anyone until yesterday, and I wasn’t going to write this on vacation.  So the real question in this situation is–who is really to blame in this whole mess?  John Calipari?  RC Johnson?  Derrick Rose?  All three?

To me, the lion’s share of the blame must go on to RC Johnson.  According to the Commercial Appeal, the Tigers got this letter on January 16th of this year.  Why then, was it not released until the end of May?  John Calipari probably had a lot to do with this, for a couple of reasons…he probably convinced those who were concerned that releasing this would hurt recruiting for this season, and also, he basically ran the athletic department.  If the athletic department had released it in January, it likely could have controlled most of the negative press it would have received for it.  Of course, since Calipari essentially was the figurehead of the athletic department and most of the press would have been negative about him…connect the dots.  However, all that negative press likely would have meant that Calipari would have never gotten the Kentucky job.  Which brings me to my next point.  If you’re not going to release the letter back in January, why not release it when you’re trying to keep Calipari in Memphis?  Instead of meeting with boosters until God knows when in the morning, a lot of this seemingly could have been avoided if RC had decided to play hardball and released (or at least threatened to release) the letter during negotiations.  There’s no way to know what might have happened, but I would think that if this had happened, Calipari might still be here with the best recruiting class in the country and the Tiger basketball team would be set up as #1 or #2 in the country preseason next year.

Secondly, this whole question about whether or not Josh Pastner knew or didn’t know about the letter really rubs me the wrong way, and reportedly, none of the coaches who talked with RC about the job were told either.  If Pastner didn’t know, it is absolutely inexcusable, and the fact that none of the coaches knew is also inexcusable.  It makes the Tiger brass look duplicitous and sneaky.  That is not the way to run an athletic department.

Some of the blame also must go to John Calipari.  There’s no way, with as much power and influence as Calipari has in recruiting these athletes, that he did not know that Rose’s test score was questionable.  No way.  He’s not being investigated for any of this, but if the worst happens and the Tigers are forced to forfeit their 38-win season and Final Four, that makes 2 for 2 vacated Final Fours for Cal.  That’s 100%, folks.

Obviously, Derrick Rose deserves blame if all of this is true as well.  For someone to cheat on their SAT is very obviously dishonest and makes a mockery of the NCAA Clearinghouse and College Board; however, Rose knew he was only going to play one year at Memphis.  I am somewhat surprised that this doesn’t happen more.

Someone should be held accountable in all this mess, and I believe that someone should be RC Johnson.  It’s not only for this mess, either.  The Tiger women’s golf team obviously has issues–who hired the golf coach?  The Tiger football team’s schedule and facilities are woefully inadequate–on whom does that fall?  Now, RC Johnson has mangled two post-Calipari situations–the coaching search (no matter how well Josh Pastner does, it was mishandled) and the handling of this NCAA investigation.  This is, of course, to say nothing of the Tigers’ lack of preparation when the conferences realigned back in 2005 and his hiring of Tic Price.  RC Johnson is a terrific guy and a great fundraiser, but the University of Memphis needs an AD with vision and the skills necessary to handle tough situations.  It’s time for a change.

June 3, 2009

I don’t buy it Sheri

Filed under: Uncategorized — Greg Gaston @ 9:49 am

With all due respect to Sheri Lipman, the University Counsel for the University of Memphis, I don’t buy what you had to say in your open letter to Memphis Tigers’ fans.

I have the utmost respect for the job you do, but I look at this letter as an attempt to do some damage control. If you are 100% sure that you made the right choice in keeping the initial NCAA letter of inquiry secret, then there is no need to justify your actions with an open letter.
Most fans, including some major boosters who I have spoken with, feel deceived a bit. While I understand releasing a statement about the allegations back in January likely would have caused members of the media to ask many questions, University officials need not address them. I have to be honest with you Sheri, I never have heard you speak.  I don’t know for sure, but I can’t recall you ever doing Television or Radio interviews or sitting down for lengthy interviews with members of the press. Do you really think your investigation into clearing the school from these allegations would have seriously been jeopardized by releasing a simple statement to tell people where everything stands?

To me it appears the intent of keeping things quiet was to keep potential future ticker buyers and people willing to donate to the school in the dark. If the word leaked out then perhaps a backlash would occur which would hurt the program economically.  Hindsight is 20-20, but you could have worked on your defense, sent out a letter to inform fans sometime in early March, and perhaps kept coach John Calipari in Memphis.
Now you have to deal with many big supporters of the school who feel they were slighted by not knowing an investigation into alleged improprieties had taken place.

I am not the judge or the jury. I won’t say if anyone should lose a job over this. I will say, however, that the University handled this all wrong. When a head coaching candidate doesn’t have a clue what’s going on, then accepts a job with allegations pending, something is not right.

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