You are currently browsing the monthly archive for June 2008.

The Olympic dream came to an end for both Trindon Holliday and Xavier Carter yesterday as neither finished in the Top Four spots in the 100 m dash in the Olympic Trials.

Holliday bowed out in the semifinal round with a seventh place finish in his heat and Carter finished eighth in the finals.

For Holliday, the Olympic dream is over. One person not fully upset with that is LSU football coach Les Miles, who will now have his junior receiver for a full season with no obstacles.

For Carter, his next shot is in the 200 meter event, where he is one of the favorites to win gold in Beijing. Good luck to Carter and all of the other LSU men and women looking to make the Olympic team.
__________________________

LSU basketball coach finalized his coaching staff for the 2008-09 season yesterday, naming Brent Scott, Donny Guerinono and Keith Richard as his three assistant coaches. Chris Bobel will serve as Johnson’s director of basketball operatins and Juan Pablo Reggiardo will be the team’s strength and conditioning coach.

All-in-all, I think Johnson has built a solid staff. Scott has a knowledge of Texas, having graduated from Rice and Richard has the Louisiana pedigree having graduated from ULM in 1982. Together, I think they can be vital in Johnson’s recruiting staff as Texas and Louisiana are LSU’s two primary states for blue chippers.

Reggiardo joins the staff from Stanford and did a fabulous job with the Cardinals basketball and volleyball programs. I suspect the primary job Reggiardo will have this summer is to add 15-20 pounds of muscle to Chris Johnson’s frame, because the loss of Anthony Randolph and recruit J’Mison Morgan leaves LSU a little thin in the paint.

But all-in-all, the staff looks fine and I think LSU will be a player in the SEC West next season.
___________________________

Sunday marked the end of Euro 2008 and the tournament ended with a bang as Spain took the tournament with a 1-0 win against Germany.

The Spaniards won the title for the first time in more than 40 years with a 33rd minute goal by Fernando Torres and fabulous defense that kept the set-play specialist Germans off the attack.

I am not a fan of soccer unless if the United States is on the field, but I must say watching bits and pieces of this tournament gave me an appreciation for the sport and also an understanding for why America is so far behind in the world ranks compared to Europe.

I will not go into detail, because I will just make myself sound silly, because I admit I am in no way an expert on the subject, but congrats to Spain for a fabulous win.
________________________

In NBA news, ESPN NBA expert Chad Ford reported on Sunday that the reason the Hornets traded their first round pick in the NBA Draft to the Blazers was to clear cash and cap space for the team to make a run at potential free agent guard Ben Gordon.

Wow. If the Hornets get Ben Gordon, it’s check-mate to the rest of the NBA. With a starting five of Chris Paul, Gordon, Peja Stojakovic, David West and Tyson Chandler, the Hornets will have five guys who could potentially make the All-Star game in any given season.

On paper, the team actually resembles in a way the show-time Lakers with both teams having fabulous point guards and both teams also having four players around their point guards who can score the ball from nearly any spot on the floor at a fast-paced tempo.

It may be just wishful thinking for now, but New Orleans fans need to get on their knees and pray to the basketball Gods on this one, because Gordon to New Orleans means the NBA Title will sit on the mantle of George Shinn for upwards of 3-4 times in the next 10 seasons.

I have connections inside the Hornets front office and will find out more about this story as the July 1 free agent period nears.
___________________

Countdown:

It’s time to get deeper into our newest list and get into the Top 8 football coaches in the SEC. At this point in the game, we’re really getting into the niddy griddy and are getting close to having to narrow down a field of all national champions. But for today, our tour stops in the SEC West for the third day in a row as we stop in Oxford, Mississippi.

No. 8 SEC football coach:

Houston Nutt

Nutt began his head coaching career in 1993 with the Ohio Valley’s Murray State. After winning just nine games in his first two seasons combined, Nutt won 11 games and 16-straight conference games in his final two seasons, earning him a promotion to the Big West’s Boise State the following season.

Following a rebuilding 5-6 season in boise, Nutt was named Arkansas’ head coach in 1998. In 10 seasons as a Razorback, Nutt won 75 games and made eight bowls, which also winning a share of two SEC Western Division Championships.

But tension with players and recruits led to Nutt’s resignation following an 8-4 season this past year, capped by an upset win against LSU in Tiger Stadium.

A day after his resignation, Nutt was back in the SEC with Ole Miss.

Nutt may not be the most pleasant guy in the world and may not be the most honest, but his kids play hard to the last second for him and under Nutt, Ole Miss is a legit threat to upset anyone on any given day. Just as Les Miles and Co., they found out the hard way this past season.

No. 7 on the list tomorrow.
______________________

Headlines:

Chi Sox sweep Cubs – I am not going to predict this, because then it will be certain to fall through, but the Chi Sox remind me of their world championship team. This team will be a real player down the stretch if they keep getting some hits, because the pitching, especially at the back end of games is definitely there.

Angels beat Dodgers 1-0 – What hard luck for the Angels. In two games, they give up three combined hits and only have one win to show for it. The Angels need a big bat in a big way. Barry Bonds anyone? It’s worth a shot.


Howard injured, waits out Olympic status
– A collective “oh no” should be said by all American Olympic fans on this one, because Howard is America’s one and only center. The doctors say he should be fine, Coach K said he should be fine and Howard went a step farther and said he will play in Beijing, but either way, it’s a cause for concern as we await August’s games.

_________________

That’s all for me. I promised football Monday. But Troy’s website did not cooperate for me, so I had to push that back. Assuming they get back up, I will give you guys that tomorrow.

Have a good one.

Former LSU football player Xavier Carter and current LSU wide receiver Trindon Holliday moved one step closer to the Olympics yesterday, each advancing to the Semifinals in the 100m dash at the Olympic Qualifiers in Oregon.

Carter finished with a 10.14 qualifying time with Holliday a tenth of a second slower at 10.15.

Holliday had to sweat his position out as the Top four runners in three heats, plus the next best four times qualify for the Semifinals. Holliday finished outside of the automatic qualifiers in his heat placing fifth, but his 10.15 time was good enough to earn one of the four last spots.

America’s best chance for 100 m gold Tyson Gay struggled, but also qualified with a 10.14 time.

Tomorrow’s heats will be far more competitive than today’s as the fat has now been cut off the bone of the competition and I suspect to see a lot more sub 10.00 scores in tomorrow’s heat.

Good luck to both Xavier and Trindon. Carter’s week does not end with the 100, as he will attempt to qualify for his best event, the 200m dash next weekend.

Neither Carter nor Holliday is a legit threat to win gold in Beijing in the 100 most likely, but it will still be fabulous to have some purple and gold wearing red, white and blue later in the summer.
________________________

Interleague play continued this weekend in the MLB and several series have given fans a treat throughout the country.

The AL Central leading White Sox have taken two in a row from the NL Central leading Cubs in the battle of the Windy City.

The Yanks have taken two of three so far from the Mets in the Subway Series and the Brewers ended the red-hot Twins 10-game win streak last night with a 5-1 win.

My question I pose to you today is: Do you like Interleague Play? Would you change it? If so, how?

I am a huge fan of the system. I, personally think the baseball schedule is the most unfair of that in any sport.

In the National League, for instance, with the division-weighted schedule, a team like the Brewers has to play teams like the Cubs, Cardinals, Astros and Reds all season — clubs who are all tough outs on any given day.

In the NL West, though, a team like the Dodgers spends most of their schedule facing off with the Padres and Rockies and Giants, complete cellar dwellers.

++++++++++++++++++

Cumulative W/L of Divisions:

AL East: 222-182

AL Central: 203-200

AL West: 162-158

NL East: 196-210

NL Central: 251-234

NL West: 176-226

++++++++++++++++++

In the heat of a division race, everyone in the division plays roughly same schedule, so the division champion is rewarded fairly. My issue is with the Wild Card. In my eyes, 84 wins in an NL Central schedule is more valuable than 85 wins with an NL West schedule. But in the eyes of the MLB, they have things right and that problem continues today.

It’s no different in interleague. The teams that get stuck facing off with the AL East have a clear disadvantage over the rest of the MLB and when division and wild card races are decided by just one and two games most of the time, that can make a big difference.

My solution would be to expand interleague play and force every National League team to play one series with every American League team. This system eliminates the clutter of one team having a more difficult road than the others and is also good for the fans. Why should fans in Atlanta and Houston have to wait sometimes 5-6 years to see fabulous players like Ichiro when you can see them every other year?

I may be crazy, but I think one, three-game series with every team in your opposite league is the way to go.

What do you think?
________________________________

Yesterday, I began list No. 2 and gave my No. 10 football coach in the SEC. I will dig a little bit deeper today and dive further into my Top 10.

No. 9 is a newcomer to the SEC, but is not a newcomer to success. In almost any other league, this guy would be near the top, but in the SEC, he is in the bottom third of the league. He may not be popular, he may not be nice and he may not be at Arkansas for more than 6 weeks, but he is my No. 9 coach.

No. 9: Bobby Petrino

Petrino bounced around the west coast as a quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator for several teams before landing as Louisville’s offensive coordinator in 1998. Petrino then moved to the pro game, before moving back to college with Auburn in 2002 where his Tigers improved their offensive statistics in every category.

Petrino accepted the head coaching position at Louisville in 2003 and led the Cardinals to a 41-9 record in his four seasons, including an Orange Bowl win in the 2006 season. But despite his flawless w/l record, Petrino is not the definition of business ethics, having interviewed and flirted with several vacant openings (including LSU) during his tenure, despite being anchored to a 10-year contract. In 2007, Petrino took his act to the NFL and joined the Falcons as their head man, but that stay was quick and painless and did not last a full season, landing him in his current role in Arkansas.

The biggest issue Petrino will face is patience. Without Darren McFadden or Felix Jones on his roster, Arkansas will have problems winning ball games and I do not know if Petrino will have the patience to stay on board through both the good and bad times. His lack of loyalty drops him way down on this list in my book.

We’ll get to No. 8 tomorrow.
_____________________________

Headlines:

Pettite bests Santana as Yanks top Mets
– Is there anyone not besting Santana these days? The Mets sure paid a hefty price for a 7-7 pitcher. Sure, the ERA is 3.01, but six innings of three run baseball is not what you expect from the so-called second coming of Cy Young, like Mets fans forecasted of Santana.

Horry announces he is not retiring – Big Shot Bob announced that he will play another season and will play for either the Rockets or Spurs. As a Rocket fan, I would love to have Horry on our side come next spring. Either way, it’s good to see him sticking around for one more year.

Venus and Serena both move to 4th round – Both sisters appear to be playing the best tennis of anyone in the draw and it could set up for yet another potential matchup between the two in a Grand Slam. Advantage: Venus, because she is a far better grass player.

_______________________
Tomorrow, I will break down Trent Johnson’s basketball staff, keep you updated on how our LSU boys do in the Olympic Qualifiers and give you the No. 8 SEC football coach. Tomorrow is also football Monday, which means I will be breaking down LSU’s second football opponent next season.

That’s all for me today. Happy Sunday.

I normally begin my blog each day with a “headline story”, usually having to do with an LSU sport or an LSU athlete. Today, I would like my headline story to be about you all, the readers of my site.

Yesterday my NBA Draft recap recorded 1,149 total hits, shattering my previous high mark. So, from the bottom of my heart, I would like to thank all of you who read our site and I would also like to say that it’s because of our great readers that I do what I do, because I get many emails and/or comments a day telling me how much you all enjoy the blog.

So thanks again. You all are much appreciated.
____________________
In more NBA business, a lot of things broke last night after I updated my blog and several trades were made — too many to list individually. But I was asked by a lot of people today in emails why I listed this team as a winner, or why I listed that team as a loser, so to clear up a little bit of speculation, I will give you my “Big Board”. Here are the 7 players I think will have the biggest NBA impact out of this NBA Draft.



Gisclair’s Big Board:

1. OJ Mayo – Mayo is hands down the best player in this draft, possessing the cold-blooded ability to score 20 points per game, while also having the playmaking, point guard skills required to dictate the ball. Memphis has a fabulous trio with Mayo, Rudy Gay and Mike Conley.

Projected rookie stats: 16 points 4 rebounds 6 assists

2. Michael Beasley – The Heat took home the best player in the draft this year with Beasley. Paired with Dwayne Wade and Shawn Marion, expect a 1-2-3 punch that takes a backseat to no one in the NBA.

Projected rookie stats: 17 points and 9 rebounds per game.

3. DJ Augustin – DJ is the best pure point guard in the draft, no matter who slobbers all over Derrick Rose. Augustin’s stats are better in every category and he did so against far tougher competition. It’s a good thing competition is something Augustin likes, because he will have plenty of it fighting for PT with Raymond Felton.

Projected rookie stats: 7 points and 4 assists per game. (limited minutes)

4. Eric Gordon – Gordon is probably the best pure scorer in the entire draft out of the guard position. If Shaun Livingston returns to full health and allows Gordon to play SG, he can do big things for the Clips.

Projected rookie stats: 12 points and 3 assists per game

5. Brook Lopez– Lopez is not the most skilled seven footer you’ve ever seen, but he is not soft, which is what kills the majority of NBA centers. Just his aggressiveness alone will make him a contributor in the Eastern Conference.

Projected rookie stats: 9 points and 7 rebounds per game

Sleepers:
6. Richard Hendrix – Call me stupid, but I think Richard Hendrix was one of the most underrated players in all of the SEC throughout his entire career at Alabama. He will provide brute strength and good rebounding to a team who does not have a legit big man on their roster, including first round pick Anthony Randolph.

7. Shan Foster – When you win SEC Player of the Year, you should be better than a 51st pick in the draft. Foster will be the next big-time second round draft pick in the NBA. Book it.
____________________
LSU baseball had a dominant season on the field. Turns out, they had a dominant spring in the classroom, also as 14 Tigers were named to the SEC Honor Roll team yesterday. The team had a cumulative GPA of 2.89, the highest in team history.

Bravo to the players. Baseball is a difficult sport to balance out, because unlike football players, baseball guys really have no days off, playing both midweek and weekend games, so congratulations to the kids on an amazing accomplishment.

Also bravo to LSU coach Paul Mainieri who has instilled a program where things are done the right way both on and off the field. When Mainieri was first hired, he released a lot of players from the program, some of them big-time contributors and many people wondered why. This is why. Mainieri is a tough man to please, but under his leadership, LSU will be the class of the SEC in baseball.
____________________
My last Top 10 list is through and as I promised, the newest one begins today. The last one was extremely difficult, because I had infinite athletes to choose from and no matter what route I took, I had to leave off 10-15 very deserving nominees from the list.

Today’s list is equally difficult even though I am just taking a field of 12 and making a Top 10 out of them. Five SEC coaches have won national championships and three others have come very, very close in their quests, leaving this list next to impossible to narrow down.

But without further adieu, here is the Top 10 football coaches in the SEC, beginning with No. 10.

No. 10: Sylvester Croom

It’s funny, because if you make a Top 30 list of college football coaches in America, Croom is probably in that list, but he barely cracks the Top 10 of his own conference.

Croom landed at Mississippi State following 11 years as an assistant at Alabama and 17 seasons in the professional ranks.

Croom’s early days at Mississippi State were not as bright as many would have hoped, winning just three games in each of his first three seasons. But accumulations of solid recruiting classes led to a more talented and successful team in Croom’s fourth year as the Bulldogs. In that season, Mississippi State went 8-5, including a 4-4 SEC mark capped by a Liberty Bowl win in late December. For his efforts, Croom was named the SEC Coach of the Year by his peers and by the AP.

Expect Mississippi State to continue to be on the upswing in the coming seasons with Croom calling the shots.

Tomorrow, we will continue this list with our No. 9 coach.
________________________

Headlines:

Goodell: Rookie scale not right for NFL – Roger, Roger, Roger. You’re not half the commish the man before you was. But glad to see you’re finally going to get something right here. It will be a first for the man who thinks it’s a great idea to play regular season games in Europe.


No. 1 Ivanovic upset at Wimbledon
– Wow. Is this the year of the upset or what? The women’s draw is wide open and here’s to my pick Venus taking it all.


Bills’ Lynch claims he did not know he hit someone
– Give me a break. As someone who has been in auto accidents myself, when you hit someone, you know. What did he think that loud “thump” was? A deer? People make fun of Terrell Owens and other athletes who have publicists, but things like this prove that they all need one, because these guys don’t know when to just keep their mouths shut.
_____________

That’s all for me. Thank you all again and have a fabulous, blessed weekend.

It didn’t take long for me to say that this draft went without a stir before the Timberwolves drafted OJ Mayo and others to the Grizzlies for Kevin Love and Mike Miller and others.

Great trade for Memphis in my book. Mayo is probably the most NBA ready player of all in the draft and aside last year’s first rounder Mike Conley and Rudy Gay, they have a great trio of players at the 1, 2 and 3.

Have a great Friday. I will be back if anything else breaks.

LSU coach Paul Mainieri ended all speculation yesterday and named his coaching staff for next season. The Tigers were left to replace both their hitting and pitching coaches after former pitching coach Terry Rooney was named head coach at Central Florida and took LSU hitting coach Cliff Godwin with him to serve as his hitting coach.

But Mainieri countered and filled the voids yesterday by naming Michigan State head coach David Grewe as the Tigers’ pitching coach and promoting volunteer coach Javi Sanchez to the team’s hitting coach.

In my eyes, anytime you can get an extra head coach on your staff, it is a major plus, so kudos to Mainieri for bringing in Grewe. My one concern with the hiring is that Grewe is just 32 years old and is likely looking at this LSU job as a stepping stone to become a head coach in the South and I just sense that if you have to mix and match coaches every year, it will eventually affect the program.

Time will tell how long the current staff will be in tact, but I like the moves made by the LSU skipper.
__________________
The NBA Draft has come and gone and really went by without a lot of the promised trades and flare that we expected.

As with any draft, a select number of teams won and a select number of teams lost. Here is my list of winners and losers, even though it’s really pointless right now, because you cannot accurately tell with certainty until next summer who has the gems and who just has fake diamonds.

Winners:

Miami: They didn’t talk themselves out of drafting Michael Beasley. That alone makes their draft a winner in my book.

Portland: It was hard for Portland to mess up with all the picks they had, but I really, really like getting Jerryd Bayless, who should have been a Top 10 pick and Darrell Arthur who also should have been a lottery pick. Good work again by the West’s next power.

Charlotte: DJ Augustin, not Derrick Rose was the best PG in this draft. Larry Brown and Michael Jordan realize that and have gotten the steal of the entire draft.

LA Clippers: The Clippers got possibly the most NBA-ready of all of the “freshman guards” in Indiana guard Eric Gordon, while also getting the best “potential player” in DeAndre Jordan. If things work out the way they could, the Clippers could have landed two studs.

Losers:
Golden State: Isn’t one big, but skinny big man enough? Randolph is a poor man’s Brandan Wright at best and Wright didn’t do a whole lot this past year for Nellie and Co.

Sacramento: The Kings needed a PG to replace Mike Bibby. Instead, they used their picks to get a player from Rider, Patrick Ewing’s son and a ball-hog from Virginia. Not bad.

___________________________

It’s time. Finally time. After nine days of my list, it’s time for my No. 1 athlete.
This is a no-brainer to me, but it can be debated by some, I guess, but my No. 1 athlete was the most dominant player in his sport for 10-15 years and won numerous championships and lord knows how many more he would have won had he not used two of his prime years to play baseball.

No. 1 athlete:
Michael Jordan

Simply known as “MJ”, Michael Jordan was a winner from the day he stepped foot on the hardwood in Chapel Hill, all the way until his final shot (following a push-off) for the Chicago Bulls. As a fan, I have eliminated the Washington years from my memory, but he was still productive as a Wizard and averaged more than 20 points in his two seasons.

But no doubt, MJ made his legacy as a Bull where he began his career as a scoring threat, averaging as much as 37 points per game in his early seasons. But with the Bulls acquisition of Scottie Pippen, MJ some much-needed offensive help and under the tutelage of coach Phil Jackson, the Bulls took over the NBA and won 6 championships in 8 seasons with the only two titles being in the two seasons Michael Jordan did not participate fully in because of his first retirement.

Since his career, phrases like “Be Like Mike” have become common place and for any basketball player growing up, Michael Jordan will forever be the benchmark that children set out to surpass.

This list has been a blast and took a lot of research. To recap:

10. Barry Sanders
9. Lance Armstrong
8. Pete Rose
7. Carl Lewis
6. Tiger Woods
5. Babe Ruth
4. Wayne Gretzky
3. Muhammad Ali
2. Pele
1. Michael Jordan

Obviously, with any list, there are people who just missed out and with this one in particular, the names are quite heavy. Here are some of the people who just missed out.

Football:
1. Emmitt Smith
2. Joe Montana
3. Tom Brady
4. Deion Sanders
5. Jerry Rice
6. Jim Thorpe

Baseball:
1. Roger Clemens
2. Greg Maddux
3. Barry Bonds
4. Hank Aaron

Basketball:
1. Wilt Chamberlin
2. Bill Russell
3. Shaquille O’Neal
4. Jerry West

But with a list this hard to construe, I did my best and I hope you all enjoyed it. I’ll begin my next project tomorrow, breaking down the Top 10 coaches in the SEC.
_________________________

Headlines:

Bucks trade for Jefferson, give up Yi
– Good trade for the Bucks. Potentially great trade for the Nets if Yi blossoms, because let’s face it, LeBron James will be a Net in 2010. Might as well overhaul your roster now to make way.

Sharapova, Roddick stunned in 2nd round – Roddick gone early in a major? NEVER! Andy Roddick is the most overrated player in all of sports and the longer he is seeded in the Top 10 of these majors, he is becoming close to being the most overrated athlete ever. I understand tennis’s desire to have a top-flight American, but they need to look elsewhere. Sharapova is the real surprise here. Maybe she should work a little more on her game, little less on her attire, which also made headlines after the first round, because she wore a mini tux on the court.

Astros cut Chacon after GM altercation – In case you didn’t hear, Chacon went all WWE on the Astros GM and “choke-slammed” him to the ground after a demotion to the bullpen. If you didn’t like being in the MLB, Mr. Chacon, you could have just retired. It would have been a lot less embarrassing.

Football Thursday began this past Thursday when I broke down LSU’s quarterbacks for the upcoming season. Today, I will take it a step further and dig into the depth chart further by breaking down the talented and deep LSU running backs.

1A. Keiland Williams


5-11 223 lb junior

Keiland is the most “all-around” guy on the LSU roster, having Scott’s power and Murphy’s speed all put into one package. But throughout Keiland’s career, missed blocking assignments, work ethic and some other little things have kept him from taking the starting job and running away with it. As a result, we have a three-way tie at the top going into this year.

1B. Charles Scott


5-11 221 lb junior

Scott is the power in the backfield, possessing the best upper body strength of all the LSU backs. According to my tastes, Scott was underutilized this past year with Offensive Coordinator Gary Crowton’s decision to spread the offense a little more, but with QB questions this year, I suspect Scott will get a lot more “third and three” carries for LSU.

1C. Richard Murphy


6-1 198 lb sophomore

Murphy is the most slippery of the LSU backs, reminding the casual fan of Reggie Bush when in the open field. But like Williams, Murphy has not progressed into the blocker that the staff would want in an every down back. But Murphy has bulked up greatly in the past two seasons and I suspect he will be in the mix all season for LSU, catching several swing passes and tosses to get him in space for LSU.

Fullback:


1. Quinn Johnson


6-2 238 lb senior

Johnson is a nasty, nasty individual and is the best backfield blocker on the entire LSU roster. His spot as the starter is fairly safe.

2. Stevan Ridley


5-11 209 lb freshman

Ridley’s size and frame have many Tiger fans deeming him “The Next Hester,” and while I do see him serving as a three year starter at LSU, Ridley has a long way to go to fill those steep shoes laid out for him. But let’s not get it twisted, the kid can play and is extremely versatile, possessing great hands out of the backfield.
__________________________

Beasley vs. Rose: 2008 NBA Draft


The debate is on. Who should be #1? Rose or Beasley. Hell, if you don’t like either, you can throw in a Mayo a Love, or maybe a Gordon into the discussion, too.

But the Bulls are on the clock and it seems like they have zeroed in on either Rose or Beasley with them leaning towards Rose.

I’m here to tell you that is a mistake. Teams all across the NBA are point guard crazy because they see what home-town Chris Paul is doing and what Utah Jazz guard Deron Williams is doing, but Rose is not either of those guys.

Beasley on the other hand was a force in college both inside and out and is more NBA ready than Sonics forward Kevin Durant, who just so happened to average nearly 20 points per game this past year while winning Rookie of the Year.

I understand the logic, because great point guards are hard to find whereas serviceable, tough SF/PF players can be a dime a dozen, but Beasley is the real deal and the Bulls already have Kirk Hinrich, who isn’t too shabby.

Let us not forget that before the NCAA Tournament when someone said “freshman point guard,” one would go three and four players deep before even thinking about Rose, rather thinking of OJ Mayo and the others, so don’t let your last memories of him influence the whole body of work. Great NCAA Tournament, yes, but great season as a whole? Not really.

This year’s NBA Draft is as deep a draft as we’ve had in years in the NBA. While the bonfide “star-power” may be a little lower than in some years, I think this draft can produce solid players even into the mid-late second round, which kind of muddles me a little more as to why the Hornets would trade out of the first round. But more on that later.

The guys at http://www.nbadraft.net are the best in the business at predicting these things. While this year’s draft is no doubt one of the most unpredictable in years, here is how they have it playing out.

1. Chicago – Derrick Rose PG Memphis
2. Miami – Michael Beasley PF Kansas State
3. Minnesota – OJ Mayo PG USC
4. Seattle – Brook Lopez C Stanford
5. Memphis – Eric Gordon PG/SG Indiana
6. New York – Russell Westbrook PG/SG UCLA
7. LA Clippers – Jerryd Bayless SG Arizona
8. Milwaukee – Joe Alexander SF/PF West Virginia
9. Charlotte – Kevin Love PF UCLA
10. New Jersey – Danilo Gallinari PF Italy
11. Indiana – Anthony Randolph PF LSU
12. Sacramento – DJ Augustin PG Texas
13. Portland – Brandon Rush SG/SF Kansas
14. Golden State – Kosta Koufos C Ohio State

Our hometown Hornets are currently not on deck to have a pick, having traded their only selection, but regardless, much more on this draft tomorrow.
_____________________________________

Okie dokie. Two more athletes to go. After several days of going through my top 10, only two more spots remain. Today’s pick will come from “the world’s sport,” whereas tomorrow’s will be a no-brainer, at least to me, anyway.

So without any more speculation, here is the No. 2 athlete.

No. 2: Pelé

I understand this will be an unpopular pick, especially in Louisiana where soccer is not as appreciated as it is other places, but it is still the most popular sport in the world and Pelé is the best player to ever play the game. In his career, which spanned the 50s, 60s and 70s, Pelé led the Brazilian national team to a 67-11-14 record, including three World Cup wins.

On a professional level Pelé was as dominant as they come, recording 1280 goals in 1363 career games and was named the Athlete of the Century Award from the IOC in 1999 for his life of work in his sport.
Like modern star David Beckham, Pelé’s career also came to an end on American soil as Pelé played for the New York Cosmos from 1974-77, winning the club championship in his final season.

Tomorrow, I will give you my No. 1 athlete of all-time. This list has been fun. The next one I will tackle is the Top 10 football coaches in the SEC. That one will be hard to break down, because the league has so many good coaches now.
____________________________

Headlines:

Pacers send O’Neal to Raptors – How the mighty have fallen. Once one of the brightest young stars in the game, Jermaine O’Neal now gets traded for TJ Ford and a mid first round pick. Remember when the Lakers wanted to get him, but Indiana wanted back Andrew Bynum? Well nothing Indiana got back here is even close to that.


Djokovic ousted at Wimbledon
– Wow, I sure can jinx anyone. The man I picked to win it all: Out in Round 2. Maybe next year, I should pick the Cowboys to go 0-16, the Rockets to go 0-82 and LSU to lose to Alabama by 50 points.

Fresno State wins CWS – What a story. Fresno needed to win the WAC Tournament just to get into the dance. Several wins later, they are the national champions. That is the best thing about sports like college basketball and college baseball conference tournaments: every team dictates how their own season will end. Congrats to both Bulldogs as Georgia was no slouch, either.
__________________________

That’s all for me. Have a great Thursday and again thanks for all of ya’ll support.

Just yesterday, I broke down the American basketball roster and also broke down a list of former LSU athletes making big splashes throughout the sporting world. Today, we got a combination of both as current LSU baseball player, freshman catcher Micah Gibbs was named to the USA Baseball National Team and will compete across the world during the summer.

It is important to note that the USA National Team is NOT the same as the Olympic team and Gibbs will not be playing in the Olympics in August. The National Team is rather the nation’s best non-draft eligible players and will play throughout Europe during the summer in the Haarlem Baseball Week in the Netherlands and the FISU World Championships in the Czech Republic.

Congratulations to Gibbs, because this selection is both an amazing honor for him personally and is also a fabulous feat for the LSU baseball team to hang its hat on.

Others SEC players joining Gibbs on the roster are Auburn first baseman Hunter Morris, Vanderbilt left handed pitcher Mike Minor and Florida and Tennessee outfielders Matt den Dekker and Kentrail Davis.

Oral Roberts head coach Rob Walton will head the coaching staff of the national team with Eric Campbell serving as the GM of the squad.

Again, congrats to Gibbs and Geaux USA!!

_______________________

Well, Shaquille O’Neal, you ran your mouth a little too long and as a result, you also lost your spot as a deputy in Maricopa County.

O’Neal went on a tirade in a club this weekend and used derogatory words and racial slurs when referring to former teammate Kobe Bryant.

My issue with it all is why people refuse to see the “Big Aristotle” for who he really is — the selfish one. Throughout the whole ordeal, Kobe Bryant has been quiet and reserved and the only bad things we know about Kobe are rumors of rumblings with Lakers’ front office and hearsay from Los Angeles reporters. Since the whole incident has happened, all the reigning MVP has done has been the bigger man and has been silent, rather moving on with the Lakers and beginning the new chapter of his career.

His counterpart, on the other hand, has continuously been loose-tongued, talking about how Kobe “ran him out of LA” to anyone willing to listen. In this latest tirade, he is now onto the subject of how “Kobe can not win without him.”

Shaquille, yeah, you won without Kobe. But you can not win alone either. You needed to ride Wade’s MVP coattails to the championship a few years ago and now, you are the anchor that sunk the Suns’ 2008 season.

Yeah, the media portrays him in a good light, because he has a cool name, calls himself Superman and is funny. But let’s not get it twisted, on the court, he is not as loveable as it seems. He had problems with Penny Hardaway in Orlando, Kobe in LA and then later with Wade in Miami. And if history repeats itself, he will probably find beef with some of his Phoenix teammates soon, too. How long before we all realize that he is more the root of the problem than the solution to it?

I’m not saying Kobe’s an angel, because lord knows he has done his share of stupid things in his career. But it takes more than one clown to field a circus.

To watch Shaq’s tirade, click below.


_____________________

I skipped a day of NBA Draft Previews again yesterday, so today, I will hit up 10 teams.
Pacific Division:

Los Angeles Lakers:


Picks: 58
The Lakers gave up their first rounder in the Gasol trade, but the Lake Show really doesn’t need a whole lot. What the Lakers need is toughness and I suspect they will look to find a scrappy player in their position.

Phoenix Suns:


Picks: 15 and 48
The Suns need youth and fresh blood. At 15, they can get one of the more talented players in the draft as someone always slips farther than they should. If they can get their hands on a Brandon Rush or a Anthony Randolph, they will take it and run.

Golden State Warriors:


Picks: 14 and 49
The Warriors wiffed on last year’s draft taking Brandan Wright who had zero impact in his rookie season. But Golden State again has a chance to get inside depth in this year’s draft and guys like Kosta Koufos and Marreese Speights can be on their radar.

Sacramento Kings:


Picks: 12, 42 and 43
The Mike Bibby trade left the Kings with a blaring void at PG and they have three shots to find one in this year’s draft. In a perfect world, they’d get their guy in DJ Augustin, but he may be off the board for their pick.

Los Angeles Clippers:


Picks: 7 and 35
Like the Kings, the Clippers have a void at PG. Sure, Shaun Livingston may come back. But he also may not. Combo guards Eric Gordon and Jerryd Bayless figure to be in the cards of the Clippers with either just moving to SG if Livingston returns from injury.

Midwest Division:
Utah Jazz:


Picks: 23, 44 and 53

No one drafts better than the Jazz and while they have no blaring hole on their roster, I suspect Jerry Sloan and Co. will find 2-3 contributors in their picks, as usual.

Denver Nuggets:


Picks: 20

The Nuggets need a PG, but pick too late to get a premier guard in this draft, so barring a rumored Carmelo Anthony deal, the Nuggets will probably settle for some help in the paint.

Portland Trailblazers:


Picks: 13, 33, 36 and 55

The Blazers are one of the most active teams year-in and year-out on the draft, as you can see with their four selections. I suspect they will trade out of the draft in a couple of these spots, but the Blazers have the luxury of having a second first rounder in the return of Greg Oden.

Minnesota Timberwolves:


Picks: 3, 31 and 34
Minnesota head-man Kevin McHale’s status in Minnesota may hinge on this draft. The Wolves have a great nucleus of young players and with a good draft, they can compete to win 35-40 games. At 3, I suspect they will get OJ Mayo to give them their first legit point guard since Stephon Marbury, but rumors also have them trading down to get a veteran NBA player and a later pick.

Seattle Sonics:


Picks: 4, 24, 32, 46, 50 and 56

The Sonics have six picks. Yes, six picks. With last year’s best rookie on board and Jeff Green also on the squad, the Sonics seem to be building for depth… in a big way.
______________________________

It’s time to begin the Top 3 of our countdown today. Yesterday, we covered the “Great One”. Today, we will cover “the Greatest”.

No. 3 athlete: Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali or Cassius Clay spent the 60s and the 70s as the Alpha-Male of the boxing world, winning 56 of his 61 fights and holding nine different heavyweight titles throughout his career.

Ali’s legacy is one unrivaled by anyone with his fights holding names like the “Thrilla in Manila”, “The Rumble in the Jungle”, and “The Fight of the Century.”

But what makes Ali a great figure outside of his in-ring dominance was his A+ tongue. Ali never shied away from the spotlight of being the best and the best athletes are those who “play the part” and Ali certainly did that.

I do not know how long ESPN Classic will exist, but for as long as that channel is out there, you will see Ali’s epic series of bouts with Joe Frazier as well as his classic bouts with George Foreman, Leon Spinks and Ken Norton.

Tomorrow, we will break down the No. 2 athlete and I suspect by tomorrow, it will be fairly obvious to everyone who No. 1 will be.
___________________________

Headlines:

Doctors optimistic after Woods’ surgery – Good to see it appears Tiger will be back to normal. Hopefully sooner, rather than later. Get well soon. Golf needs you.

Fresno forces Game 3 with hit barrage- Game 3 will take place tomorrow in this battle of the Bulldogs. People underestimate what Fresno has done, but a national championship for them would be the equivalent of a 14-16 seed winning the National Championship in March Madness. Should be a great game.

Melrose returns to NHL as coach of Lightening- I will be the first to tell you all that I do not know much about hockey, but I will miss Barry Melrose on ESPN. He made the game fun and I hope he knocks ‘em dead in Tampa.

_________________________

That’s all for me. Have a great Wednesday, folks.

All of the spring sports at LSU may be complete with the Tigers’ CWS run coming to an end, but several LSU Tigers are doing many special things in the sports world and I will note as many as I can think of off the top of my head in today’s lead story.

Feel free to chime in with others that you may have.

Tennis: Former LSU All-American Ken Skupski will get the thrill of a lifetime and will compete in the Double’s Draw of Wimbledon. Skupski was a standout throughout his career as a Tiger, winning All-American and First-Team All SEC honors in 2005-07. The former LSU star is only a wildcard entry, so he is a long-shot at best, but we still wish all the best to the former Tiger.

Track: LSU track stars Kelly Baptiste and Richard Thompson both qualified for their homeland Olympic team and will compete for Trinidad and Tobago in the Olympics. Each will compete in the 100 m dash and Thompson is considered by many to be a contender to medal in the Games.

American runners and former LSU runner Xavier Carter and current LSU runner Trindon Holliday will each try to work their way onto the American team later this month.

Geaux get ‘em guys!

Baseball: Former LSU Tiger Nick Stavinoha made his MLB debut this weekend for the St. Louis Cardinals and also got his first career hit with a bloop single into right field. Hopefully the former LSU slugger can provide stability to a depleted Cardinals team.

WNBA: LSU legend Seimone Augustus has her Minnesota Lynx as one of the talks of the WNBA with a 6-6 win after just a 10-win season each of the past two seasons. Augustus has been her usual fabulous self and has averaged 19 points per game on the season. Switching gears, fellow LSU Alum and friend of mine, Erica White has been a spark off the Houston Comets’ bench, averaging five points, two rebounds and two assists off the Comets’ bench. After a 1-7 start to the season, the Comets have won three of their past four.

Again, feel free to send me comments with those that I have missed.
_________________________
One of my favorite times of the year is almost upon us. Monday, the United States named the 12 players who will represent the country on the 2008 Olympic basketball team. I think the roster is as solid and as good as the original Dream Team and unless the team plays “me-first” basketball, the USA will roll through all of its competition by 20+ points.

Here’s a look at the roster.

G. Kobe Bryant – Los Angeles Lakers
G. Jason Kidd – Dallas Mavericks
G. Chris Paul – New Orleans Hornets
G. Deron Williams – Utah Jazz
G. Michael Redd – Milwaukee Bucks
G. Dwayne Wade – Miami Heat
F. Carmelo Anthony – Denver Nuggets
F. LeBron James- Cleveland Cavs
F. Tayshaun Prince- Detroit Pistons
F. Carlos Boozer – Utah Jazz
F. Chris Bosh- Toronto Raptors
C. Dwight Howard – Orlando Magic

On paper, it appears that the USA starting lineup will be Kidd, Bryant, Anthony, James and Howard with Redd, Wade, Bosh and Paul serving as the primary reserves, but let’s be real, you can’t really go wrong with anyone on the list.
________________________________
We began the Top 5 of our Top 10 list of athletes yesterday. Today, we will push closer to No. 1 with the No. 4 athlete of all-time and it’s a bit of a curve-ball for me, because I am not a fan of the sport he plays, but No. 4 can be summed up in three words: “The Great One”.

No. 4 Athlete: Wayne Gretzky

Much like our pick a few days ago, Tiger Woods, in many ways, Gretzky IS hockey. Whether you liked him, loved him, hated him or despised him, everyone who is a fan of the game recognized that the Great One is the best player to ever play the sport, an acknowledgment that not as undisputed in any other sport.

Gretzky’s records and accolades in his 20-year NHL career are overwhelming, but I will give you a few stats to show you just how amazing his career was.

-No other player in NHL history has ever had a 200 point season. Gretzky did it four times.
-Gretzky scored 100 or more points in 15 NHL seasons and 13 consecutive seasons.
-Gretzky has more career assists than any other player in NHL history has points.
-His number (99) is retired by the entire NHL.

The Great One played for four teams in his career (Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues and New York Rangers) from 1979-99 with his best season in1985-86 when he had 215 total points, including an insane 163 assists for the Oilers. The Great One was also not just a statistical freak. He was also a big-time winner, having won four Stanley Cups.

We get into the Top Three tomorrow.

__________________________________
Headlines:

Shaq takes stab at Kobe in rap
– I love this one. The media makes Kobe out to be the bad guy in this, because he is more quiet and reserved than Shaq, but the big Diesel is the one doing all the talking. Real classy, Big Aristotle. Or Big Overrated. You had a ton of time to think of jingles after your season ended in mid April.


Imus again brings race into radio show
– If it smells like a rat and it looks like a rat, then it must be a rat. Dude is a blatant racist and there is no room for him on the air. Hopefully this is his last straw. Like he really didn’t know Pac Man is black. Give me a break.

Big Brown owner’s stable to be drug-free – Shouldn’t it have always been this way? Seems to me that your sport is kind of in bad shape when you’re in the minority and you’re not cheating.

Football Monday:

I promised this a few weeks back, but got occupied in LSU’s CWS run. But Monday’s here will be dedicated to LSU football (as well as Thursday’s), so let’s begin our first football Monday by breaking down LSU’s first opponent of the season, the Appalachian State Mountaineers.

The Mountaineers shocked the entire football world in the opening week of this past year’s season, going to the Big House and trumping Michigan 34-32. But Appalachian State was no fluke one-hit wonder and won 13 games and the NCAA Division I Championship, mostly due to a dominant offense that racked up 488 yards per game and 287 yards per game on the ground.

With most of the cast and crew from this past year’s attack still on the roster, the Mountaineers are again favorites to hoist the Division I Championship in the winter, but can Appy St. again shock the college football world in one of the most prestigious stadiums in college football? We won’t know the answer to that until August 30, but LSU fans know that the Mountaineers will not roll over and play dead for anyone, after watching the Mountaineers play tough in a 24-0 loss in Tiger Stadium in 2005.

Passing Game:

Top Returning Player:
Armanti Edwards: 148-222 1948 yards 17 TD 7 INT

Edwards is All-World for the Mountaineers and is, as my coworker once said, the “Tebow of the small schools”. Edwards is a dual threat maniac (more about that when we break down the running game), but the Mountaineer signal caller can keep defenses honest in the air, which opens up things for their potent rushing attack out of their spread option. If something were to happen to Edwards somewhere along the line, the Mountaineer ship would sink as fast as the Titanic.

Running Game:
Top Returning Players:

Armanti Edwards: 237 carries 1727 yards 21 TD
Devon Moore 95 carries 480 yards 7 TD

The Mountaineers lose their stud tailback Kevin Richardson who accumulated 1,394 yards and 16 touchdowns this past year, while also losing backup Trey Elder who piled up 546 yards. But Devon Moore did well in limited opportunities and with the way the Mountaineers’ offense is designed, anyone can get 100 yards a game if they are clicking, so their running attack will again be the strength of the team in 2008. The man who makes the running game click, like the passing attack, is Edwards, who piled up nearly seven yards a pop in last season.

The Mountaineers are as potent a running team as LSU will face all season, regardless of classification, so LSU must control the trenches if they want to keep Appy State off the scoreboard.

When the Mountaineers have their groove, they are orchestrating 7-8 minute, 14 play drives and keeping their sub-par defense off the field.

Receivers:

Top Returning Players:

CoCo Hillary: 23 catches 339 yards 0 TD
T.J. Courman: 18 catches 166 yards 0 TD

This will be the main piece of the puzzle the Mountaineers will have to solve for their offense to be as potent as in 2007. NFL draftees Dexter Jackson and Hans Batichon created a mix of speed and hands to give Appalachian State deep threats to keep the safeties back this past year. If they can not stretch the field this year, it’s bye-bye running game.

Defense:

The Mountaineer defense was just plain not-so-good this past year, but with a mainly underclassman bunch, they figure to be a much improved group this season. Jacque Roman, DJ Smith and Pierre Banks each return following 100+ tackle seasons, but the Mountaineers lost the heart of their secondary, losing corners Corey Lynch and Titus Howard, which will likely make Appalachian State susceptible to the big play early in the season.

Early Prediction: Appy State’s success makes them their own worst enemy. LSU, or anyone else for that matter, will ever overlook the Mountaineers ever again and LSU controls the trenches and rolls.

LSU 42
Appy State 13

We will look at LSU’s second opponent of the season next Monday.
________________________________

Wimbledon begins tomorrow and I will not spend much time on the tournament until later in the week, but I will briefly give you all my picks.

Men’s: Novak Djokovic – The reign of Federer is over. Djokovic will beat Federer (much like at the Australian Open) and prove that he and Nadal are now the world’s best .

Women’s: Venus Williams – Venus seems to prove year in and year out that she is the best grass player out there and I see this year as no different.

_______________________________________

I’ve given you recaps of two of the six divisions as next Thursday’s NBA Draft approaches. Time for Part III: The Southeastern Division.

Miami Heat:


Picks: 2

People think the Heat are in the easiest position in the draft and will simply draft who is left out of Michael Beasley and Derrick Rose, but the Heat need a point guard desperately and could consider OJ Mayo at No. 2 if Rose is off the board.

Orlando Magic:


Picks: 22

Orlando needs a center to move Dwight Howard back to PF and Rashard Lewis back to SF, or a scoring guard to move Maurice Evans to the bench. The latter will be easiest to find in their position and I suspect a player like Chris Douglas-Roberts can be on Orlando’s radar.

Charlotte Bobcats:


Picks: 9 and 38
Larry Brown is not in the “rebuilding” phase of his career, by any means, so I expect the Cats to trade their pick for a veteran, but if they keep it, they can go for a big like Roy Hibbert or Brook Lopez to compliment Emeka Okafor.

Atlanta Hawks:


Picks: None

This is the easiest one yet. The Hawks lost their first round pick to Phoenix via the Joe Johnson trade.

Washington Wizards:


Picks: 18 and 47

The Wizards are in a tough spot, because they do not know whether Gilbert Arenas and Antawn Jamison will resign with the club. But assuming they both will, the Wizards will draft for size to beef up their weak front-line.

We begin to pick apart the Western Conference tomorrow.
_________________________

No. 5 Athlete:

It’s show-time. Time to begin the Top 5. We begin with America’s past time and a big-time blast from the past.

No. 5: Babe Ruth

The Bambino. The original Bronx Bomber. Babe Ruth hit .342 with 714 home runs and 2,217 RBI in his 20 year career with the Red Sox, Yankees and the Braves. Ruth’s home run records stood for decades before being broken by Hank Aaron, but there’s no disputing that Ruth was the original slugger, recording the MLB’s first 30, 40, 50 and 60 home run seasons in the “dead ball” era in baseball in which any double-digit home run season was out of the norm.

In fact, Ruth was also a decent-enough pitcher in his own right in the beginning of his career, earning 94 wins with a 2.28 career ERA.

Why he could be higher?
1. Legacy- Ruth has been finished playing for 80 years, but his name is still known by baseball players everywhere. How often is a lone player at the head of a curse within a franchise?

Why he could be lower?
1. Old-Timer- I can not think of any real reason why Ruth could be lower. Dude was as dominant as they come. The only argument that could be made is the “evolution” athlete that today’s athletes are “bigger, faster, stronger.”

But that was not Ruth’s fault and he was the best of his time and will be a baseball legend forever.
_________________________

Headlines:

Titans DE Kearse charged with DUI- “Da Freak” has been more-or-less “Da Joke” the past 3-4 years of his career. Looks like his second stint in Tennessee is off on the wrong foot.

Cubs Sweep ChiSox- These Cubs are legit, folks. I don’t want to say the “p” word, because I know they are herky-jerky about their superstitions, but the Cubs can win the pennant.

Fresno stuns UNC, advances to Final – So it will be the battle of the Bulldogs in the Finals of the CWS. How often does a 4-seed of a Regional make it to the CWS Finals? Answer: Never. They are the first to even make it to the CWS out of that spot, much less to be 2 wins from taking it all.

That’s all for me, folks. Happy Monday!

Just a day after LSU’s season ended, the Tigers have been dealt with another blow as hitting coach Cliff Godwin announced he will join former Tigers’ pitching coach Terry Rooney and accept a position on Rooney’s staff at Central Florida.

Rooney’s departure is a steep one for LSU because of his recruiting and pitching knowledge, but the loss of Godwin is just as heavy for LSU. Godwin was in line to be LSU’s new recruiting coordinator and without Godwin, LSU now will not return any regular coaches from this past year’s staff.

I do not know any names or possible replacements, but LSU fans need to have no fear and remember that LSU coach Paul Mainieri has a great eye for talent. It was Mainieri who hired these guys in the first place, so I suspect the Tigers’ new hitting and pitching coaches will be more than capable of holding their own in the brutal SEC.
___________________________

I broke down briefly yesterday what I thought about the odds of LSU’s five underclassmen players returning to school. Today, I will go “Dandy-Don” and give percentages on the give guys based on what I am hearing from those close to the team. The first number is the percentage he stays, the second the percentage he goes.

LHP Ryan Verdugo: 9th round San Francisco Giants: 55-45. Verdugo has two possible frames of mind. The first is that he ended his season on a sour note and could and should go back to school to prove to the Giants he is a future MLB pitcher. The second is that his draft stock will go down next year if he pitches the way he did in the last 4 weeks of the season. I hear Verdugo isn’t thrilled with how his season ended and may stay, but I wouldn’t be surprised either way.

1B Matt Clark: 12th round: San Diego Padres: 15-85. Clark not being a 10th round pick actually helped him in this one. He is expected to get 4th or 5th round money, because he is not in the slotted picks and I suspect his days as a Tiger are done.

Louis Coleman: 14th round: Washington Nationals: 80-20. Coleman was closer to the 65-35 or maybe even 60-40 number until he gave up the grand slam blast that ended LSU’s season. Louis is a fiery competitor and I can not see him allowing his college career to end the way it did, despite a dominant junior season.

Blake Martin: 17th round: Minnesota Twins: 85-15. Martin was on and off for LSU this past season and barring something drastic, he will be back in LSU’s rotation next season.

Jordan Brown: 39th round: Chicago Cubs:
95-5. Brown will be back, unless he is told by the staff that he will see little playing time next season. But I can not imagine that happening, because he will be one of LSU’s best on paper next season.

________________________________

I gave you all a taste of my NBA Draft preview a few days ago, but got over my word count yesterday and had to halt my work. But today, it’s back. Here is my NBA Draft preview for the Eastern Conference’s Central Division.

Detroit Pistons

Picks: 29, 59
The Pistons are looking to begin a youth movement with a new coach and an aging roster. What this means for the draft is Detroit will be drafting for depth as the Pistons are getting old as the one, four and five positions. Juicy rumor of the day has the Pistons sending Rip Hamilton, Rasheed Wallace and future picks to the Houston Rockets for Tracy McGrady and the Rockets 25th pick.

Cleveland Cavs:


Picks: 19

Cleveland needs a second scorer to compliment LeBron James, while also needing to find big-man depth behind aging Zydrunas Ilgauskas. If the Cavs can get a sleeper like a Danta Greene or Nicolas Bantum to fall to them, they will pick them in a heartbeat. If not, I see them picking a project big man that can develop for three or four years, because with Ben Wallace, Big Z and Joe Smith, you have three guys about to collect social security.

Indiana Pacers:

Picks: 11 and 41

Indiana has just one blaring need — point guard where Travis Diener held down the fort as starter at the end of last season. The Pacers would love to get Texas stud and Louisiana native DJ Augustin at 11, but if he is off the board, UCLA one-guard Russell Westbrook would fit well, also.

Chicago Bulls:


Picks: 1 and 39

The Bulls control the draft and will either select Michael Beasley or Derrick Rose. The dilemma is less about who the Bulls will draft and more about who the Bulls will part ways with, because drafting Rose likely means the end of Kirk Hinrich in Chicago, while drafting Beasley, likely means the Bulls will be giving up on former Top 5 pick Tyrus Thomas.

Milwaukee Bucks:


Picks: 8 and 37

The Bucks game plan for the draft is fairly simple: Come out of the draft with a backup point guard for starter Mo Williams and a replacement for small forwards Desmond Mason and/or Bobby Simmons. While the Bucks can also choose to fill either of these voids in free agency, I suspect Joe Alexander to be on the Bucks radar or possibly Anthony Randolph if he falls that far.

The Southeastern Division tomorrow, folks.

___________________________________

I’ve made headway in my Top 10 list. It’s time for my No. 6 athlete today.

No. 6: Tiger Woods

My favorite athlete of all-time, Tiger Woods comes into the list at No. 6 with 12 years on top of the PGA Tour that has included 14 Major Championships. Woods came onto the tour in 1996 with a bang, winning two events. Tiger continued his dominance in 1997 with a 12-shot win at the Masters, a record that will probably newer be broken at Augusta. Woods tailed off in late 1997 and the 1998 season while undergoing swing changes, but those same changes put Tiger back on top of the golf world from 1999-now with Woods having 65 PGA Tour wins, seven European Tour wins.

Tiger earned his way onto the list earlier in the week with his heroic performance at the US Open, winning the event and playing 91 holes despite a broken leg and a torn ACL. Who knows how much higher Tiger would be if we did this same list 15 years from now.

Why he could be higher?

Tiger is the highest paid athlete in the world and will probably be the first billionaire athlete. His dominance of his sport defines the sport itself. Just look at ratings when Tiger plays vs. when Tiger doesn’t play. Tiger Woods IS golf. He is the only other athlete in the world who literally makes the sport in which he plays.

Why he could be lower?

His legacy is not full complete. Yeah, we all assume he will catch Jack, but with the knee injury, he may not ever be the same again. If Tiger comes back 100%, however, 28-32 Majors is not out of the question for the 32-year-old.

We begin the top 5 tomorrow.
___________________________

Headlines:

Miller apologizes for remarks about Rocco Mediate– Probably a non-issue, but damn, Johnny, watch your mouth next time. You have the best job in the world. Why lose it being careless?

Cubs put Zambrano on 15-day DL– The wind was swirling at the ballpark Saturday from fans exhaling across Chicago in all directions. A major injury to the Cubs ace would have been a possible fatal blow, but they can float with him down for just a few weeks.

NHRA’s Scott Kalitta killed in crash – Congress is forever investigating professional wrestling and baseball because of alleged steroid use and I understand that, because several wrestlers have died in the past 25 years and baseball is America’s past time, but why not also dig into racing a little bit? Do we really want to market a sport in which on any given day, two or three of its best can die in front of national TV?

__________________________

That’s all for me, folks.

Have a blessed Sunday.

Flickr Photos

June 2008
M T W T F S S
    Jul »
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30  

Donate