Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The NBA's love for storylines dents their armor of credibility...

There have been many ways to describe the National Basketball Association for decades and the one word that consistently shows up in discussion...conspiracy. It dates back to the Jordan days when the rumors were flying around about his gambling problems and how David Stern asked him to step away from the game for a while. "Go play baseball or something to stay in shape and come back in a few years" was what we all imagined took place. Then we had the ref problem. Many fans thought then and still think that the NBA had fixed games with the refs to assure the correct matchups and storylines took place. Teams sweeping others in the playoffs? Bad for business and ratings. So when the Donaghy scandal surfaced in the early part of this century, we all saw it coming again. The NBA involved in more conspiracy's that lit up message boards across the country questioning the credibility of the league and their main man, David Stern.

Well, lets add one more to the list of devilish deeds by the commish...the NBA Draft. In the wake of the Timberwolves losing out to another number 1 draft pick even NBA owners and GM's are talking conspiracy. Or how did Kahn put it? "The league has a habit, and I'm just going to say habit, of producing some incredible storylines". I'm surprised he even used a word with "credible" in his statement. Not since 2004 when the Magic selected Howard has the team with the worst record won the lottery of the draft. Why not you may ask? Because again of storylines. This year we saw the Cleveland Cavs win the lottery with the owners son creating the storyline that will be in print for weeks to come. I am not a hater, nor would I ever discount what that young man has been through with his disease and all but come on, Stern, we all saw this coming. As soon as I saw who was representing the Cavs at the draft I called my friend to see what Vegas had put out as the line for the lottery winner, because I was sure it would be the Cavs on this day. They went through The Decision last summer, had a huge dip in victories (including a league worst 26 game losing streak), and then the kid shows up. Easy money.

And what about last year? Washington, riding the coat-tales of a widow owner found themselves with 2010 NBA draft winning ticket. The Clippers won in 2009 thanks to having to share an arena with the Lakers and their winning ways. In 2009, the consensus for the first pick was D. Rose who, surprisingly, was a hometown hero of Chicago...and they received the pick. I could go on and on with this "habit" if you will but find it tiresome...and predictable.

The joke continues throughout the NBA and their storylines/conspiracy's. I guess Stern will come out soon to defend his league and defend the way they choose, excuse me, draw for lottery winners but it won't change the "habit". My prediction for next years draft will be that Sacramento will get the first pick for keeping the team in its' city, unless of course someone else passes away of high magnitude where they must give, again excuse me, draw the pick for them. In the meantime I would like to give this suggestion to Minnesota's GM Kahn. If you want to finally win the draft lottery you need to create a storyline for yourself next year, and you may find yourself within the leagues "habit" of lottery winners. Until then, get used to picking behind the coveted #1 spot because, as we all know, your storyline currently just ain't selling enough attention.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Yeah, go ahead...Fire Tom Crean already!

The 2010-2011 Indiana Basketball season has officially come to a close, though some would suggest the season ended a few months ago. It was another difficult season for IU fans. What was supposed to be the season that began the "turn around" for the Hoosiers ended with the question "Is Tom Crean the right coach for this school?". Let's take a look...

I began my research by reading numerous blogs, news articles, and opinions of fans to find out exactly where the overall consensus was leaning. What I discovered was frightening. Tom Crean will not survive at Indiana. How can he? He was the wrong hire to begin with. One writer noted (his name will remain nameless for copyright reasons but will be known as the "source") that Indiana Basketball deserved an accomplished coach, one with championship experience upon being hired. I couldn't agree more! Indiana should've hired a coach with a ring to take them back to the promise land. Easy right? Except for the fact that no coach in history has ever won a national basketball championship at two different schools. I had a hard time reading the rest of his article. (As a side note, I did send a question to this so called accomplished writer asking "what other schools have won a title by hiring a coach who had already won one?", he didn't reply...and didn't need to)

So right from the start, Coach Crean failed. He was unable to win a championship at Marquette, therefore, should never been granted the opportunity at Indiana. Indiana should have went after Izzo, Coach K, Pitino, or any other coach with a ring because obviously, like the "source" stated, you need a coach with a ring to win another. Then, the "source" brought up Creans past at Marquette and how he never did anything there. He discounted the final four appearance because D. Wade was on the roster, but forgot to mention that Crean recruited the kid and talked him in to attending Marquette instead of Duke or Michigan. Yeah, I guess that counts for nothing. Kids were turning down big schools all the time back then to attend Marquette.

Let's move on to what Crean has been doing since being hired. We have to start with the record, 6-25 after year one, 10-21 in year two, and 12-20 after this season. What garbage! I mean, a collective record of 28-66 after three seasons? 8-46 in the Big Ten/Eleven/Twelve...I can't keep up with what they will call themselves each year... is terrible! Where are all the recruits he promised? Where are the banners? He hasn't accomplished anything. Who cares that he took over a program that was left in shambles from Kelvin Sampson. Who cares that Indiana had lost 2 scholarships a season for the first 3 years Crean has been there. Lets not worry ourselves that there was a post-season ban for those 3 years as well (although the post season ban was lifted during a 2008 hearing). It should have been easy to get the top recruits during that time knowing they were going to be playing for nothing at the end of each season, and with no help of incoming scholarships. It astonishes me that Crean still has his job. How he has made it through 3 losing seasons is beyond me, and many others as well.

It seems that Indiana needs to get rid of him sooner than later. We have to realize that if they wait any longer, the basketball program will continue to decline. I mean, where is the cavalry? Crean has only signed two members to the 2011 class; Cody Zeller (5-star by and Austin Etherington (4-star by Are these guys really capable of bringing relevancy back to our program? And what about the year after? Ok, so he has commits from 5 recruits so far for the 2012 class, big deal. Who are they you might ask? Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell (5-star by, Hanner Perea (5-star by, Jeremy Hollowell (5-star by, signed today), Ron Patterson (4-star by, and Peter Jurkin (no stars but with a name like that, who needs one). Why is he still employed?! This 2012 class ranks a mere #4 in the country, why couldn't he get in the top 3 spots?

It's obvious that the direction of the program is in question under Crean and the seat he sits on these days is extremely hot. With his lack of accomplishments at Marquette (2003 final four appearance), adding the lack of anything so far at Indiana (taking over a program sanctioned by the NCAA), and combined with the recruits coming in the next 2 seasons I can't imagine Crean being around much longer. So I say, finally, let him go. Pay him his buyout of the 13 year contract he signed last year and move on. From what I have been reading and hearing he hasn't accomplished anything so far, and with what he has coming in soon, there is no way he accomplishes anything in the future...not with that talent.

So yeah, go ahead...and fire Tom Crean already! (I dare you)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The first pick in the 2087 NBA Draft is...LOUISVILLE!

Recently local attorney/NBA fisherman, J. Bruce Miller has been spending the $89,000 that the city has given him to land an NBA franchise in Louisville. Miller is charging the city $125 an hour for his innate ability to do tasks such as "'Googling' and reading 'in depth' team information, performing Lexis-Nexis searches and preparing to-do lists." His recent conclusion is that Louisville "has a long way to go." Thanks for the breaking news. You know J. Bruce, I do the exact same tasks when I'm setting my fantasy football lineup or installing crown molding.

It all sounds fishy to me. Who is holding this guy accountable for that money? From my seat, the guy is in a win-win-win situation. If he somehow lands an NBA team (1) he will be the hero, if that doesn't happen, then (2) "oh well" we are just a small time player, and (3) he writes another book about how close we were to getting a team. The city said that's it, the $89K is all the money they are willing to spend...yeah right. When Miller turns up the heat, the check book will open.

Two "red herrings" jump out to me immediately in a sea of fish. The idea of where the team will play and this line Miller is selling about a billionaire investor.

Miller says he met with NBA commish David Stern recently and had a great chat about Louisville's future in the NBA. How is that even possible when the words "Freedom Hall" came out of Miller's mouth. It's unfathomable and I love the old gal. Freedom Hall is a great place to watch hoops but she really shows her age when compared to the KFC Yum! Center. Miller is selling the idea of an $80 million dollar renovation to the Hall. Where is that money coming from J.? Don't forget Rupp Arena is due for a major overhaul or a new building in the coming years. Maybe it will come from the man behind the curtain...his foreign billionaire.

Word is recently that Miller has obtained a "no shopping" agreement from an ownership interest looking to obtain a franchise and bring it to Louisville. Miller also said he has a billionaire investor on board, one of the richest people in the world, that has thrown his support behind the effort. Miller isn't releasing any of his investors and I can understand that. It's big business. But how odd does he sound when he's throwing words around like "foreign," "billionaire," and "richest man in the world?" It's more James Bond than Lebron James. It sounds intriguing...intriguing enough that I'd bet the city will throw more money at him. How could a billionaire think moving an NBA team to Louisville to play in a 60 year old arena a good idea? Maybe the billionaire is Kim-Jong il. He makes sound decisions.

The bottom line is that it's not a good idea. Not until (1) the secrecy is gone, (2) a deal is reached to play in the Yum! Center, and (3) the local media spares us the Rick Pitino soundbites.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

So Long Freedom Hall

For some strange reason I can not remember the first time I walked into Freedom Hall. It was probably for a tractor pull, circus or something to that effect. My folks were not into the whole athletic scene. It might have been a car show for all I know, but I just can’t put my finger on it.

I will always remember my first Louisville football game. In a frigid Old Cardinal Stadium, a Brett Favre hail mary bounced off a helmet to lead So. Miss over the Cards. I was hooked on the Louisville athletic scene at that moment (if not a little pissed off). But my first basketball game…damn I wish I remembered. Especially now as my beloved Freedom Hall is getting ready to host its final Louisville game this Sunday against #1 Syracuse. Amazing…the Freedom Hall and Louisville relationship dates all the way back to the early 50’s.

What I do remember are some unbelievable moments in the hallowed hall. Great games with remarkable players in an atmosphere that was second to none. Freedom Hall fans were always credited with being some of the most knowledgeable in college hoops. With virtually zero student section, the Hall would still shake like Cameron Indoor when the Cards were hot. It might be a Darrell Griffith tomahawk dunk or a Taquan Dean deep three that would surely get the natives restless.

If I was fortunate enough to have a ticket to the game, 90% of the time I was with my Uncle, brother or Charmoli. Matt and I saw Western Kentucky come in and beat the Cards in ’01. Greg and I have seen some dandies in there as well. Georgia Tech came in with James Forrest and Travis Best and a national ranking…they left with a 20pt smack down. We saw the triple overtime game against Boston College and a few Metro Conference championships. My favorite memory of Freedom Hall with Charmoli was the C-USA Championship game against Memphis where we sat in Reece Gaines family section. We saw, from about ten feet away, Dean drop a dagger in from the left wing to win it.

Some other highlighted moments from the Hall as the light go down for the final time:

Tennessee vs. Louisville- Bryant Northern’s three followed by Reece Gaines three. Just an unbelievable atmosphere, the Hall was crazy. People didn’t leave their seats after the game. Literally we just stood there in disbelief.

Francisco Garcia’s freshman year when Cincinnati came in ranked #4 and left with a loss. Garcia dropped eight threes on the Bearcats and Steve Logan that night.

My dad always made sure he took us too the NBA preseason game that used to play in the Hall. Got to meet Mark Eaton one time, saw Jordan play in there as well. Meeting Eaton was more impressive and hence it was listed first.

The Derby Festival was a game that I didn’t miss for 5-6 years in the late 80’s and early 90’s. I would get there early and stay late to get the “Stars of Tomorrow” to sign my program. I got some nice autographs…Mashburn, Tracey Murray, Derek Anderson (who told me he was signing with UofL!) and along those same lines, Allan Houston. Take a stab at how he signed my program. Allan Houston/U of L. Wow…what a thought.

But most of all I will miss the sights and smells of the old place. Like a smack in the face, the smell of fresh roasted nuts and caramel popcorn hit you as step foot in the place. It’s the only home court I know for the Cards…it will be missed.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Some Light Thursday Reading...

This past week marked the 20th anniversary of Pete Rose being banned from baseball for life. Pete broke the cardinal rule...gambling on the game. I remember that day very well in 1989. It was crushing, Charlie Hustle was my favorite player, I was the kid that always had to wear number 14 during baseball season.

That year Commissioner Giamatii hired an attorney, John Dowd, to investigate Pete and the rumors he bet on Baseball while the manager of the Reds. Recently Dowd talked with Mike and Mike in the Morning. He has some fascinating things to say about how the whole ordeal went down. It seems that Dowd had everyone involved, from baseball to the US Attorney, ready to give Pete a pass if he would admit to the gambling and become the "anti-gambler" spokesman. No trial and no jail time. But, as we all know, that didn't happen and here we are today. Sports Radio Interviews has the entire story and audio from the Mike and Mike interview with Dowd...

Lawyer Who Investigated Pete Rose's Gambling Tried to Cut Him a Deal

Speaking of Rose...Darren Rovell and his SportsBiz blog recently wondered what Pete being banned from baseball cost him. I'd say hookers and liquor stores are feeling the most pain...

Rose Has Potentially Lost Millions From Ban

Speaking of's almost football time for the Bengals. So far the "Hard Knocks" show on HBO, detailing the Bengal's training camp, has been interesting. Carson Palmer critiquing the Gatorade and explaining his high standards for the perfect sports energy drink mix has been the highlight so far.

"I've always been a Gatorade snob. Sometimes guys (who mix the drink) half-ass it. They don't really put the right mixture of the Gatorade powder and water to create the best taste. Some guys mix is watered down. Some guys is too sweet. But (team athletic training staff member) Lemar (Mosley) has a wild-berry fruit punch mix, mixing three or four flavors, and it's fantastic. That is an A-plus right there."

But what does this season hold in store for my beloved Cincinnati Bengals? I'm sure it will be continued heartbreak.

Elizabeth Merrill over at the WWL has a great article about the Bengals franchise in this aptly named piece...

Bengals Mired in Mediocrity

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Reflection: The Season That Could Have Been

Right now we are well into the summer and what some call, the slow period in sports. I would agree with that to an extent. Basketball and football are in the offseason and baseball is working it way to the All Star break in July. The Stanley Cup has been quite enjoyable so far...that's a plus. But, I was feeling nostalgic this afternoon and though many of you might be feeling the same. My thoughts hearkened back the NCAA Tournament and the number one overall Louisville Cardinals and the disappointment of not making the Final Four. I thought for sure we would meet UNC in the finals on our way to hanging a (long overdue) third banner in Freedon Hall. Nontheless, it was a great year to watch the Cards as they garnered the Big East regular season and conference titles. Looking for a trip down memory lane? Enjoy...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Top 6 Albums/Tapes I Have Bought More Than Once

6) Thriller - Mike Jackson. This was the first tape I ever owned, and I wore that damn thing out. I remember on my birthday opening the shoe box and finding this piece of artist gold just lying there. Two thoughts raced through my mind: a. How could my parents treat this man and his work like this and b. how in the hell do I open this plastic contraption and listen to "P.Y.T?" Since then I have bought this album and its monumental collection of songs over and over is some form or fashion. Recent times have been tough on the old King of Pop...but he will always be remembered for creating this masterpiece.

5) License To Ill - Beastie Boys. This is the record that made every white kid in my grade school feel like a hardcore gang members. It took us a while to eventually learn that The Beasties Boys were white too and not really hardcore. It was like back in the day when we thought drinking Zima was the shit because it was malt liquor. Jolly Rancher's bitches. License To Ill featured bomb cuts like "Paul Revere," "She's Crafty," "Brass Monkey," and of course "You Gotta Fight." That video lived on Mtv for almost two years. It wouldn't go away.

4) Appetite For Destruction - G N' R. This album and ensuing videos hit Mtv like a scud missile. It seemed every song that came out of this record was money. I actually believe this was my first musical purchase in the late 80's with money I earned from slingin rock. Not really, it was from mowing grass. Although I do remember buying a De La Soul tape around the same time. Nevermind, I didn't buy that tape because I distinctly remember tearing off the PARENTAL ADVISORY sticker in the store. I've bought this tape at least twice, stolen it from friends numerous time and eventually bought the CD.

3) Crash - DMB. I would set the over/under on the amount of times I've purchased this CD at about 6. Why? I have no effing clue. It seems as soon as I buy the damn thing I lose it. I've lost this CD a different parties along the way and even forgot it one a boat one time, I think. It's a good CD. Its like my "Catcher in the Rye" from Mel Gibson's movie Conspiracy.

2) The Chronic - Dre. This CD will always have a spot in my library. Eventually my kids are going to get sick of me listening to it. It jammed out of our Alpines and Pioneers for three years back then. This includes at least 2-3 trips to Panama City for Spring Break. I originally bought it for Dre's first single, "Nuttin' But a G Thang," but quickly found it to be the fifth best song on the record. This CD is just plain stupid. For anyone who was in high school in the early to mid 90's you know what I'm talking about. Really it was the only thing we listened to. Hell, it took me a year to eventually find it had 16 songs on it...I never made it to the end. It featured Nate Dogg, Warren G, Krupt, Daz and of course introduced Snoop Dogg to the world. It was a masterpiece by the former NWA founder. By comparison, here's what else we were listen to in 1992-93 and you can see why it blew everybody away: a. Boys II Men b. Whitney Houston and c. Sir Mix-A-Lot. They were all trash. If by some chance I lose this CD, and I will, you can count on me rolling into Camelot Music the next day. If it were still there.

1) Ten - Pearl Jam. The sole reason for the Pine to put together this list was the recent re-release of Ten from Pearl Jam. I, along with millions of others, will get out and buy this classic being re-released. It's coming back with additional songs, originals getting remixed, and a DVD of the Unplugged from '92. A very clever way to make us buy it again. I'm down with that. This CD could rival The Chronic in defining the era I grew up in. If you weren't listening to one you were jamming to the other. Nirvana is typically credited with the grunge movement and redefining the music scene in the early 90's, and that's fine, but I was hesitant to jump on board. Then I heard Ten and I was sold. I bought it then and many times after that. I actually still had a copy in my car when I went to buy the re-released version last week. Unbelievable CD.

Well that's it...the top six. Maybe your list looks the same, maybe not. I had some others that were close to making the list and were just edged out... like Smashing Pumpkins, Live and Snoop Dogg. What's your list look like?