It’s a big day for LSU news and a lot of things happened on our first day of July.

In the first day as LSU Athletic Director, Joe Alleva helped promote what he knows best: basketball. Yesterday, LSU announced plans to construct a long overdue new practice facility for both the men and women’s basketball teams to use.

Bravo to LSU, because it was becoming borderline embarrassing that this was not done by now, because what the team’s presently practice in is no more than a run down high school gym.


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In football news, LSU standouts Tyson Jackson, Darry Beckwith and Ricky Jean-Francois were named to the Preseason Watch List for the Bednarik Award, while Demetrius Byrd and Keiland Williams were named to the Watch List for the Maxwell Award.

Great accolades for great kids. With names on these lists like Tim Tebow, Pat White, Colt McCoy and Percy Harvin, it is great to see our LSU guys receiving some national love, too.

I really believe Jean-Francois is the LSU player listed most likely to actually win his award. Jean-Francois is a beast amongst men and his strength, quickness and versatility will allow him to dominate at both the tackle and end positions on the LSU defensive line for the Tigers this season.

I will give some regular football updates from now on as we are now just two months away from opening night in Tiger Stadium. (or opening afternoon, because of ESPN’s ridiculous choice to put LSU playing at 4:00)
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On the same day that LSU was given a No. 6 spot in the final baseball polls of the season, LSU coach Paul Mainieri was given the top honor of his profession, winning Rivals.com’s Coach of the Year award.

You all know the story. Team buried in last place, then wins a ton of games in a row, then makes it to the CWS, so I’ll save you the rhetoric. Mainieri’s story is more important to me, though, because of the actual man inside of the gold jersey.

Mainieri came to the LSU program and cleaned things up, releasing several contributing players from their scholarships and ruffling feathers among some in the LSU community. But in just 24 months, Mainieri has LSU kicking tail on both the field and in the classroom, leaving the LSU program in arguably the best shape of any program in the country heading into next season.

Mainieri is a 100 percent, Grade-A class act on and off of the field and it is great to see great things happening for great people.
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The NBA free agency signing period began yesterday and it was a great day to be a point guard. The big story of the day was Warriors guard Baron Davis moving down the road and signing a five year maximum contract with the Los Angeles Clippers.

What a score for the Clips. If they can now re-up Elton Brand, they will have one of the best cores in the entire NBA.

In home-town news, the Hornets resigned Chris Paul to a five year extension, ending speculation that Paul was looking to do like LeBron James and Dwayne Wade and bolt to a bigger market.

What a signing for the Bees. But the Hornets are also expected to be dealt with some bad news in free agency as potential free agents Bonzi Wells, Jannero Pargo and Chris Anderson are all expected to sign elsewhere next season.

Obviously if anything breaks, you all will be the first to know.
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Yesterday we chopped down the first national champion off the list of SEC football coaches. Today as we officially begin to break down the upper half of the league, we make a stop in Alabama with one of the only coaches in the league to have completed an unbeaten season.

No. 6 football coach: Tommy Tuberville

Tuberville broke into the SEC in 1995 with Ole Miss and it was in Oxford that he gained his reputation as the “Riverboat Gambler,” attempting many out of the ordinary moves to maximize the success he could have with an overmatched Rebels’ squad.

Following four mediocre seasons at Ole Miss, Tuberville moved to Auburn in 1999 where in one season of rebuilding, he turned the Tigers into an SEC Western Division power. Since 2000, Tuberville’s Tigers have finished no worst than third in the Western Division and have won or shared the division title five seasons. Tuberville’s finest hour came in the 2004 season when Auburn went a perfect 13-0 in the regular season. But unfortunately for the Tigers, they did not make it to the BCS National Championship that year and had to settle for a 16-13 Sugar Bowl win against Virginia Tech.

Despite not having a national title to his name, Tuberville has been one of the league’s most successful coaches in the past 7 seasons and he is the first coach in the top-half of the SEC ranks.

We will begin the Top 5 tomorrow.
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Headlines:

Bonds’ 756th home run ball in hall of fame — with asterisk – I do not mind that an asterisk is on the ball, because I firmly believe Bonds was a cheater throughout his career, but who in the hell is Marc Ecko and why does he feel it is his personal mission to see that justice is served? Stick to what you know about — clothes.

Williams sisters reach Wimbledon semis – It is becoming clear that it will be a Venus and Serena final as the two greats are playing hands-down the best tennis of anyone in the draw. Here’s to hoping that if they make it to the Finals that it will be an entertaining match, unlike their previous endeavors.

Rays disable closer Percival – Tough break for baseball’s best team. But despite the loss, they should have enough arms to hold up for 15 days. Heck, they still beat the Sox last night.

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