Calhoun is Connecticut

April 6, 2009
Jim Calhoun: The only reason Uconn is any good.

Jim Calhoun: The reason Uconn is a legitimate NCAA program.

I was just going to comment on my distinguished colleague’s article.  Then, I read it.  So, due to the fact that it was complete bullshit.  I decided to write my own.

Jim Calhoun is Uconn.  As much as Geno Auriemma is the women’s program, Calhoun is the men’s program.  Calhoun takes players who aren’t necessarily top recruits, and rarely are good citizens, and turns them into great teams and great individuals.  Kemba Walker is the first McDonald’s All Amercian Uconn has had since Rudy Gay left in 2006.  The other big name coaches (Roy Williams, Mike… umm Coach K, Bill Self) get High School All Americans every year.  With the fascists at the NCAA forcing High Schoolers to spend a year in college now, these recruits are critical to programs.

In a comment you said,
“You really think recruits solely come to UCONN for Jimbo?,” well, yes actually they do.  They know what he has produced since 1986.  He turns great athletes that have been somewhat overlooked into NBA stars. Of the guys he coached currently in the NBA you could create a pretty solid team.  Ray Allen, Rip Hamilton, Caron Butler, Emeka Okafor, Charlie Villanueva, and Rudy Gay have all turned out pretty good.

To say that Calhoun is washed up, is just a lack of research.  Calhoun is 556 and 204 in his career at Uconn.  Connecticut had one bad season in recent years in 2006-07, the season after the departure of Marcus Williams, Josh Boone, Rudy Gay, and Hilton Armstrong.  Since then they are 55 and 14.  And also, they did just lose in the National semifinal, so I guess all but two coaches in the country are washed up.

This is a program that means very little to people outside the state of Connecticut, but means everything there. Uconn is not like a University of Texas, UNC, or Kansas where they can recruit in state and get guys who grew up dreaming of playing there.  Uconn has local kids growing up wanting to play there, but Connecticut produces rich, five foot five white kids, not basketball players.

To say that this game was lost because of a lack of heart is also not true.  Uconn did not give up.  On the contrary, by the end they were playing too forcefully, AJ Price was trying too hard to run the show, and everyone went cold.  You also failed to mention that MSU was playing in front of a home crowd.

The “distractions” you speak of took place when the NCAA tournament had already started and did not seem to affect Uconn all that much until they lost in the final four to a number two seed in an away game.  Obviously this occurred as a result of the distractions.  Unless you are speaking of the reporter telling Jim Calhoun, basically the CEO of one of the only currently profitable corporations in Connecticut, that he ought to take a pay cut.  The reporter, who was first off, not a real reporter, and second of all, a douchebag, deserved to get yelled at, and did.  Look at John Calipari’s new contract and go tell him to take a paycut.

It would be a shame for Calhoun to leave because it would turn Connecticut into purely a women’s basketball state.  The state needs Calhoun or else the program will end up in ruins.

“It’s time for you to go Jimbo.  Not because of your health, but

because the program shouldn’t be about you.”

The program is about him, just like any good college program should be about the coach.  They have four years max to make guys mesh and win.  Calhoun has done this as well as anyone else for the last 23 years.  He may be underrated in fact.  Uconn was ranked #2 in the preseason, and lost their smartest and best defensive player (Sorry Thabeet, you’re a pussy) to injury.  They finished #3.  I guess you would have only been happy with a national championship.  Washed up, yeah, so’s Tom Brady.


NBA Announces New Hall of Fame Entrants

April 6, 2009

Today the NBA announced 5 new members to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.  Michael Jordan, David Robinson, John Stockton, Jerry Sloan, and C. Vivian Springer will enter the Hall in September ’09, in Springfield, MA.   It doesn’t seem like it’s been 5 years since they last played a game, as everyone has a memory of each player.  Let’s look at the newest class of entrants to the Hall of Fame:

Michael Jordan – Arguably the greatest player ever to take the court.  MJ is synonymous with greatness, a failed baseball career not withstanding.  The 1-time NCAA chamption and 6-time NBA Champion is one of the greatest winners the world has ever seen.  If there was a game on the line, you wanted the ball in his hands.  More often than not, he won you that game.

His lore began at UNC, where he was named ACC-Freshman of the Year in 1981.  The following year, he buried the game winning shot in the title game, to capture his first National Title.  He left a year later to revolutionize the NBA as the third overall pick.

A summary of his accomplishments in the NBA: 6-time champion (6-time finals MVP), 5-time league MVP, 14-time All-Star, 9-time All-Defensive First team, and 2-time dunk champion.  His image is known worldwide by his dominance.  He parlayed that all into remarkable marketing and business success.

He also was a 2-time Olympic Champion and member of the legendary 1992 “Dream Team”.  Needless to say, there are no arguements that he belongs in the Hall.  The only question is whether they rename it after him.

David Robinson –“The Admiral” was one of the classiest players of his era, and one of the greatest centers of all time.  As a senior at Navy, he was named the National Player of the Year in 1987 and was then drafted first overall in the NBA Draft by the San Antonio Spurs.  As a Navy Officer, he needed to serve the country for 2 years before entering the league.

He finally entered the league and led a then-league record turnaround, improving the Spurs by 35 wins.  He was Rookie of the Year,, 10-time NBA All-Star, an MVP, 3-time Olympian, 2-time Olympic Gold Medalist, and 2-time NBA Champion.  He is one of four players to post a quadruple double in a game (34 pts, 10 reb, 10 blocks, 10 assist).  He combined with Tim Duncan to become the “Twin Towers” and win the ’98-’99 and ’02-’03 NBA titles.  He was also recognized for his sportsmanship in 2001.  He was also one of the most physically dominant players of all time.

John Stockton – The all-time assist and steal leader, who along with Karl Malone, was a cornerstone of the Utah Jazz for 19 years.  The Oregon native put Gonzaga University on the college basketball map after a 4-year collegiate career.

He was drafted by the Utah Jazz in 1984 and spent his entrire 19-year career playing for the franchise.  He combined with Karl Malone to form the best pick-and-roll duo the NBA has ever seen.  For his career, he averaged 13.1 points and 10.5 assists a game.  A league ironman, he only missed 22 games in his entire career, many seasons which ended with lengthy playoff runs.  He helped lead the Jazz to 2 NBA Finals, falling short in each to Jordan’s Bulls.

He was a member of the 1992 Olympic Dream Team and also the 1996 US Olympic Team, winning the Gold Medal each time.  He kept the short-shorts alive well into the 90’s and he ended his career as the leader in assists and steals, two records that are not soon to fall.  Stockton was named, along with Jordan and Robinson, as one of the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players of All-Time in 1996.

Jerry Sloan – Sloan is one of five coaches with 1,000 career victories and is one of the most successful coaches to stand on the sidelines.  He has been coaching the Utah Jazz since 1988 and is the longest tenured coach for one team in any professional sport in the United States.

As a player, he was recognized for his passion for defense, which is fitting because that is what his teams are known for now.  He has a 60% winning percentage as an NBA coach.  He guided John Stockton and Karl Malone to 2 NBA Finals appearances and it is fitting that the coach will be entering the hall at the same time as his star point-guard.

C. Vivian Stringer – A consistant winner in her coaching career, leading three different women’s college programs to the NCAA Final Four.  She lead Cheyney State College in 1982, University of Iowa in 1993 and Rutgers in 2000 and 2007 to the Final Four.

She is the third most winning coach in women’s college basketball history and 3-time Coach of the Year.

Accomplishments aside, she is best known nationally for her objection to a comment made by Don Imus in 2007, where he called her and her team “a bunch of nappy-headed hoes.”  She gained nation recognition for her stand against the comments.

My take – There is no objection from me on the first four individual’s on this list.  Jordan is the single greatest player I’ve ever seen play, Robinson one of the classiest, and Stockton and Sloan the faces of a franchise for nearly 2 decades.

Which brings me to Ms.  Stringer.  One can only wonder if the comments by Imus were never made or never reacted to, would anyone really know who she is?  It does answer a long-time question of mine: if someone makes a racist comment about a sport nobody cares about, does it make a noise?

Nobody watches women’s basketball, and to be cited as one of the most winning coaches in the sport is like calling your son the smartest kid in special-ed.   It doesn’t carry much weight in a “sport” where only 2 teams are competitive nationally each year.  Not to mention not having won a single national title in such a non-competitive league.  Pretty weak credentials if you ask me.


It’s time for Jim Calhoun to retire

April 6, 2009

He has done a great job coaching this UCONN program, and putting it all together.

This years collapse however, just shows how overmatched he has now become.  Sure, they lost Jerome Dyson so that’s why a lot of people are going to overlook this horrific loss and say, well they did better than expected!   No I’m sorry, that’s not acceptable for a “legendary” coach.

UCONN entered the game against Michigan State knowing what to expect.  Michigan State is known to be a very physical team, with a strong team emphasis on rebounding.  Hm, sound like any other teams (PITTSBURGH)?  Jim Calhoun did not prepare his team for this game.  No one in the nation can dispute the fact that UCONN is a much more talented team, yet they are out of the tourney and get to sit and watch the game they should have been in.  So how did this happen?

A:  The loss of Jerome Dyson was too much to overcome.

Wrong.  They have been showing all season this team has too much talent to let that stop them.  Yet,  come time to put up, they fall short. 

B:  Jim Calhoun is no longer a great coach.

DING DING.  Absolutely right.  The distractions that the UCONN team faced this year, all stemmed from their “legendary” coach.  Be it how much money this fraud makes a year, his health and well being, his recruiting scandal.  It doesn’t matter.  HE was the distraction.  Not only did he serve as a distraction, or an excuse, for his immature team, however he did not get them ready for the big games.   Losing to Pittsburgh twice in the same season, when you are the team to beat, is not the makings of a great coach.  A great coach reads and reacts to what is happening.  Yet, both of those games they were overmatched physically and beat to the ball far too often. 

Not enough for you?  What happened vs. Michigan State?  The team had NO HEART. They got beat physically and mentally.  They didn’t play like they wanted to win that game.  They played like they were okay with whatever happened. You let your team dance around for 20 minutes in front of the camera like they just won the world series, when all they really did was clear the quarterfinals, and this is what happens to your immature program.  ALL THEY DID WAS MAKE THE FINAL FOUR.  BIG DEAL.  The team is already filled with extremely immature players, who know their lives have been gift wrapped for them.  You don’t let them take pride in the fact that they made the semifinals of a tournament.  You drive them for more.

You win that tournament and then you celebrate.   

Michigan State brought heart and determination.  They weren’t content with making the semifinals because they knew they weren’t supposed to be there.  They knew this was not their tournament to win, but they were going to win it.  Tom Izzo got them to believe they needed to win this for their state.  To bring joy to a state in economic ruin. 

That’s what Calhoun is missing now.  He doesn’t have the heart to convince his players that they are playing for more than popularity.  Calhoun is content to ride in the spotlight and let whatever happens happen.  He’s content to let the spotlight be on him, while his team falters in the big games.  He’s selfish and washed up.

 

This man has no heart

This man has no heart

It’s time for you to go Jimbo.  Not because of your health, but because the program shouldn’t be about you.


This Year’s Rays: The Royals

April 6, 2009
Can Jose Guillen,center, be this year's Carlos Pena?

Can Jose Guillen,center, be this year's Carlos Pena?

The Tampa Bay Rays were the biggest surprise in years last season.  Being picked by many as the worst team in the best division in baseball and winning the league, then the pennant, and looking like seasoned veterans through all of it.  It is hard to imagine another team doing that so soon, but if there is one out there it is the Kansas City Royals.

You need kind of a perfect storm situation for this type of thing to happen.  Last year, the East was strong, but weakened at times by various injuries.  The Yankees and the Red Sox were never really at full strength.  The Rays actually also had injuries, but had the type of team that thrived off that kind of adversity.  My formula for pulling a Tampa Bay: good leadership, solid pitching, good bullpen, tough offense, and a somewhat weakened division.

Trey Hillman is the closest thing in the league to Joe Maddon.  Hillman is experienced dealing with young players, and even a language barrier couldn’t keep him from winning (won the Japanese title with Nippon Ham Fighters a few years back.).  The pitching staff is better than most think.  If Zack Greinke isn’t depressed he is a top flight starter, if Gil Meche is healthy he is an overpaid top flight starter, and they added Sidney Ponson who, when sober can give you innings.

The Bullpen is led by Joakim Soria.  Soria had 44 saves and a 1.60 era last season becoming one of the elite closers in the league.  He has Kyle Farnsworth and his extremely hittable high-90’s fastball setting him up.  The rest of the bullpen is made up of guys who have proven effectiveness in the past.  Ron Mahay, Juan Cruz, and Robinson Tejeda round out the pen.

The offense is extremely talented and ready to break out.  With the additions of Mike Jacobs and Coco Crisp, the Royals add power and speed to a lineup that was not deep in either last year.  The power game should expand this year with Alex Gordon showing life in the spring and Billy Butler ready to realize his potential.  Jose Guillen has long been a threat to both baseballs and anyone near him after a strikeout, but he may be the Carlos Pena- like leader of this young squad.  Mark Teahen, Miguel Olivo, and David Dejesus  could make this a dangerous lineup if they get hot.  This lineup also makes for a decent defensive team.  The outfield is quick, and Miguel Olivo is a proven backstop.    There are a few qustions in the infield, but they should take away more outs than they give away.

Finally, the AL central is there for the taking this year.  There is not a complete team in the division.  There is no team with a great starting rotation, and many of the new acquisitions to the league (Carl Pavano, Kerry Wood, Joe Crede) are big risk guys.  The league was close last year with the Tigers taking last place being down by only 14 1/2 games.  The Central was the closest division top to bottom in baseball.  The truth is, any team has a shot in this league.  It is just a matter of a team staying healthy and getting in a groove.  The Royals have as good a shot as any to do this.

If the pitchers provide enough innings to keep the pen fresh, we may be seeing Kansas City fighting down the stretch.  So throw a hundred bucks on the Royals to win the pennant, and thank me in October.


Is A-Rod off the juice?

April 6, 2009

It’s been widely reported that A-Fraud has been rehabbing in Colorado after undergoing hip surgery right before the off-season.  We all know that Colorado is a safe haven for all womanizing athletes with rediculously low standards (see Kobe Bryant -> rapist).  And with A-Rod being dumped by the hideous Madonna and being outed by an aging madame, he did what he had to do, go to Colorado to “rehab”.

I find it hilarious that he is off in CO rehabbing while his team is training in Florida.  Most athletes rehab at their team’s facilities, but the Yankess want as little to do with the self-centered one.  The king of all things A-Rod, he had to get the spotlight back on him.  Most athletes would use this time to disappear to rehab their image as well as their injury.   Not A-Fraud, he had to pose for Details magazine, kissing his reflection and totally gaying-out.  The worst part is that nobody in the nation was surprised that he was flaunting his man-love for himself.

And that brings us to the picture above.  It would look like A-Fraud has been laying off the juice and drinking only water.  Boy he got slim didn’t he?  I dare any of you to say that isn’t him on first glance.  But it’s not, its SI Supermodel Noemie Lenoir who cut her hair recently.  I’m sorry, but I think she is twins with the Yankees third baseman, but she’s the less glamorous Rodriguez of the family.