Category Archives: esP(L)n

Sports

Redskins Coverage | FootballDrafting.com

In April of this year, I began blogging/fan reporting on the Washington Redskins, for a site called Football Drafting.

The opportunity somewhat fell in my lap, at a time when I was beginning to brainstorm how I could set up a full fledged freelance side business.

I mean, talking about my favorite football team, while honing my writing/research/reporting skills– it’s a no brainer, if one ever existed.

Below you will find links to the thirteen (13) articles I’ve penned to date.

If you are a Redskins, NFL or football fan…please click below and let me know what you think. The same goes, if you are searching for a potential freelance writer or guest blogger. You should definitely be able to gain a feel for my writing style– if you haven’t before now.

#HTTR

KD to Golden State, Deal With It

Kevin Durant has opted to take his talents to the Bay Area (and the professional basketball world has been set on its head once again), yaddadamean! Sorry…

KD, the kid from Seat Pleasant.

4x NBA Scoring Champion.

1x NBA MVP.

Olympic Gold Medalist.

He of the greatest Mother’s Day speech of all time and all around good guy, has done the unthinkable. Well at least in the minds of everyone born prior to 1986.

Following the move made by that one guy back in 2010, there is zero reason going forward for any basketball fan to ever be surprised by these types of decisions ever again.

** cough-cough **

In fact going forward, we should be more surprised when big name, big game talents don’t make super team forming moves.

So where does the rubber meet the road here? Why are former and current players, sports talking heads and fans so upset with Kevin?

I’m not one for assuming, so I’ll just give my $ .02 on why I was…disappointed.

For one, I’m old school when it comes to sports. Call it antiquated thinking, but I was raised on you go through whoever’s in your way to get what you want. Secondly, Kevin has been with the same organization since being drafted. But I understand there coming a time, when you may need/want a change of scenery. Lastly, he had a legit superstar beside him in Russ + they had a nice team from top to bottom as support for their star power.

So is there more to the KD + Westbrook dynamic then the public knows? Were previous rumors of tension, in fact legit…and have been all this time?

Only those on the team, within the organization, agents and true insiders will have any real insight.

BUT YOU CAN’T TEAM UP WITH THE TEAM THAT JUST BEAT YOU KD! Can you?

The squad you had down 3-1 in the Western Conference Finals? The team that just broke the regular season record for wins, the 73-9 Dubs? Not the Heat to challenge Bron in the East or a young Celtics squad. Not the Spurs as the latest piece in a retooling effort that has possibly been the most seamless in professional sports history.

But the W A R R I O R S ?

Could you imagine Jordan joining the Bad Boys? C-Webb joining Kobe, Shaq and the Lakers? Hell, LeBron joining KG, Ray + Pierce in Boston?

In my opinion, it’s not so much that he left, but the situation he left and the team he chose to go to. Well, there’s also this tweet from 2010:

Which came during the same offseason where, the original Super Team (the Miami Heat) came together like Voltron. In no uncertain terms, he was viewed as the anti-LeBron to old heads (the other reason why I think this move stung).

Damn, damn, damn Kevin! I mean, good luck to you. All things being equal, I can respect his decision for the same reason I grew to understand James’. When you’ve accomplished everything else in the game, that win at all cost mindset takes over.

But that doesn’t mean I have to like it! Imma go cry in the car with my old man beliefs.

Peace.

 

_____________
featured image:  “Kevin Durant flag football at Oklahoma State” by KT King is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Puzzling Obsession with RGIII

Robert Griffin III, is one of the most faux-polarizing professional athletes of recent memory.

The former Heisman trophy and NFL Rookie of the Year winner, is four and five years removed from his highest of heights on the football playing field.

Looking at the calendar, the former #2 overall draft pick and former quarterback of the Washington Redskins Burgundy & Golds (depending on your team name stance), has been in the city of his new team for almost two months now (shouts to the #DawgPound).

This same professional football player formerly ALL IN FOR WEEK ONE, has not played in a competitive football game that counts since December 28, 2014– a 44-17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

 DECEMBER 28, 2014

Yet for some reason, after a 2015 season that found Griffin’s former franchise making an official quarterback change and winning the division for the first time since his rookie season– he has still found a way to dominate a news cycle or two (both locally and nationally).

Recently. Not formerly, as in the past.

It is absolutely no secret, that I am a fan of Mr. Griffin. Just as it goes without saying, that I’m not a fan with blinders. I wholeheartedly recognize every iota of his role in what went bad here in DC. But what I refuse to understand is, why there are some that continue to regurgitate the same information and situations about a player who hasn’t started in two years.

RGIII did not leave DC on bad terms. RGIII’s last season in DC was actually a good one, and he had nothing to do with it. RGIII TO A MAN, was the perfect teammate all season long.

However here we are. With a former Post reporter who had a penchant for reporting on and talking about Griffin, even when it served zero purpose– composing an article for ESPN’s new offshoot, The Undefeated, about Robert’s “puzzling plummet”.

FWIW, I reluctantly skimmed through the article, despite my initial lack of desire to. Thinking, what is there to be learned from a piece that has been written in varying degrees by this same journalist and others, numerous times before? A piece with yet more information to be offered up by the same sources in Mike Shanahan and anonymous teammates, who’ve already bumped their gums about said player.

For a man that supposedly few seem to like. Who many talking heads feel can not play. Who hasn’t played in a regular season NFL game in eighteen months. Explain to me, how that man, is constantly wheeled out whenever you (and I mean that universally) need some attention on your pen or your ratings? And not even in the sensible sense, but instead, to again drudge up the past.

For those that wanted him gone, he is, so let him be. Wish him well or don’t. But if you need traffic, get creative. Try being a journalist. Find a new story. EXPLETIVE!

Welcome again to the puzzling plummet of American sports journalism.

Feel free to RT that.

 

 

 

D’Angelo Russell, a cautionary tale

Guys are teammates.

Guys are cooling.

Guys are shooting the shit, talking freely among some of their peers.

Guy records other guy whose speaking freely.

Somehow, some way, recording gets in the wrong hands and all hell breaks loose.

I want to say welcome to your 2015-16 Los Angeles Lakers, but that wouldn’t do this situation justice.

More like welcome to the pitfalls of being a part of the social media generation. Where everything is share-worthy, and everything is funny.

Ladies & gentlemen, welcome to DEFCON 3!!!

__________________________

D’Angelo Russell, the Los Angeles Lakers #2 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, was hanging with a teammate, Nick Young. Nick, is currently engaged to Iggy Azalea. The Australian born, southern fried (when she rhymes) emcee of “Fancy” fame. You may have heard of her.

The other day, while in what would easily be perceived as a bro-safe zone, Nick spoke of some…things. Those…things, were documented by D’Angelo and somehow, later were released to a gossip site.

How the video footage was leaked, we don’t know. But the fact of the matter is, shit’s fucked up now things are all messed up. And all because of what was originally said to have been a prank gone wrong.

A prank. Involving a man who is engaged, saying something his fiancée might not find too kosher. On a camera he doesn’t know exists. Effin’ kids maaan!

Thanks to some insider knowledge from Postgame Pass, by Jill Munroe, we know that team camaraderie can be destroyed by things that have absolutely nothing to do with basketball. From gambling debts to messing with a teammates former sidepiece– it is extremely easy to throw off the chi of a professional locker room.

Now imagine the effects of what basically amounts to dry snitching on a teammate, even if done unintentionally. You can get in a fight with someone on your squad before you go telling on them. And word out of the city of angels, is that D’Angelo’s teammates are freezing him out. Giving him the cold shoulder at basically every turn. Can’t say that I’m surprised.

Even while steering clear of the cliché tales of males, teammates and locker rooms– success in sports, is built on the trust of the guy suiting up in the same jersey as you. And that level of comfort can be gained just as much off the practice court as on it. So the new question being thrown around sports radio is how does Russell get thru this?

“It’s tough. There’s a lot to learn. I’m sure [Russell will] evolve and grow and be better from it…the guys are understanding. We are all human beings. Everybody makes mistakes. Important thing is to show compassion.” – Kobe Bryant

Maaan, if it hasn’t been done already, his agent needs to seek the services of a good PR/crisis management firm. They need to call Olivia, Quin, Huck and the new guy.

Ultimately D’Angelo will be the chief deciding factor of how this situation will frame the rest of his career, as a player and brand. He’s needs to ball out next season and don’t do anything else stupid for awhile. Because there are definitely ways, this could affect him professionally if not careful.

As long as this is just an aberration, his long term career on the court should not be affected (this will definitely follow him though). I definitely think it’s safe to say, he can forget about any and all future bachelor party invites.

Lesson, hopefully learned:  this isn’t the playground, high school or college. The consequences of your actions at this level (both on and off the court), based on the situation, can equal comma(s) of damage. And what this means for Nick and Iggy (who are being treated as an afterthought in all of this), only time will tell.

“I can’t really show my face anywhere without people hating me right now.” – D’Angelo Russell

Welcome to the big leagues D’Angelo. You really broke out a camera though…smh. Ain’t no recording bih.

Candid CAMera

Cam…

Ohhh Cam…

Caaaaaaaaaamm…

Don’t explain yourself to me (yeah…dum-dum-diddy, and all that there).

The great thing about blogging, when it’s not attached to some larger imprint, is you can respond to things when you want– not when you have to.

By now, we all know that the Denver Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers in #SB50 aka “The Big Game” (for those who do not wish to be sued for copyright infringement).

We all also know that this year’s NFL MVP, one Cameron Jerrell Newton, fresh off of an amazing statistical season– did not have his best game for a number of reasons.

try a few of these on (in no particular order):
the Broncos defense, playcalling, the Broncos defense, dropped balls, the Broncos defense, special teams gaffe, the Broncos defense

But for some reason, we’ve seen more coverage regarding two instances involving Cam (only one of which was related to the game), than we have coverage of:

  • a 1st ballot HoF quarterback, winning his second championship w/a different team
  • a stud outside LB, who was #SB50MVP having an inhuman game, in basically a contract year
  • a HoF quarterback and 2x World Champion, turned team exec who helped guide his former team to its second championship game in three years– winning it this year (2016)
  • think pieces on just how good this Broncos defense was in comparison to other Championship level defenses (i.e. the ’00 Ravens & ’85 Bears)

Any of those or something totally different would be totally acceptable and appreciated. Instead however, we’re talking about the fumble recovery that wasn’t. And the postgame press conference. THREE DAYS LATER!

pole-ladder[1]

(this is an apparatus, to climb all the way out of your feelings with)

Sorry, we’re also talking about Cam’s non-apology and of course the faux-outrage over Beyonce’s halftime performance. Which fwiw, was vintage bad ass Beyonce, with a hard to miss political backdrop that even dropped my jaw, having heard the song the day before– that has far too many people armpit deep in their feelings.

Granted, I’ll give you the fumble issue. Mathematically, the Panthers were still in the game at the time of THAT particular fumble. However, if you had watched the game from the beginning until that point, you knew better.

But the presser? Look, ever since Cam has been in the league, he hasn’t exactly been a joy to cover during Panthers losses. So, people honestly expecting him to take losing in the championship game well, are foolish. Pay attention, because here comes the best part.

Am I condoning his getting up and walking away from his responsibility of talking to the press after the biggest game of his life, despite the loss? Nope.

Could he have handled it better? Yup.

Am I as a life long sports fan, interested in hearing your typical canned responses from athletes who just took an “L” after a game? To be frankly honest, not really. I’d prefer to hear their thoughts the next day. You’re more apt to obtaining something worthwhile (but of course I understand, it’s not possible to work that way).

My main thing is, why are we making this a bigger issue than the actual game? Those that are anti-Cam, now have added fuel. Congrats! You never liked him anyway. Those that are opposed to his antics on the field and clever quips when he’s winning, would be far more often than not, mimicking those same things– much like all of the new Carolina Panthers and Cam fans were this season.

The most poignant thing Cam has said since losing in #SB50 is that, he’s a sore loser. Dammit, those are his words. So you (those that choose to criticize him, as though he’s the first person on planet to earth, to not act as you would like them to) all that are riding this man, for unapologetically being himself, I’d love to borrow some of your free time.

The same man that has literally jumped over people for touchdowns…thrown rocket like passes in traffic to WRs who didn’t come out of last offseason as his 1st or 2nd options…FOR WHATEVER REASON goes out of his way to hand footballs to kids in the stands after TD’s…dramatically points after first downs…and dabbed the dab into gross overuse by corporate America…

The minute that man, who admits he loathes defeat, is at his professional lowest and responds in kind– now he’s spoiled. Now he’s a bad guy. Now he’s selfish. Now he’s a boy that needs to man up.

I get it.

Because what’s real. if he would have sat through his presser and sulked through answering all of those questions, there still would have been those that took issue with his posture. His body language. Why he had his hood on. Why he had socks on with sandals.

The only thing I wish he would have done differently, would have been to say, “I really do not feel like talking to anyone right now. So what ever answers you get, that’s all I got right now.”

And that may have appeased a small percentage of detractors. But honestly, even that would not have been good enough for many. Which is why I agree with something else Newton said. “This isn’t a popularity contest, I’m here to win football games.”

Stay candid, Cam.

 

 

 

Are the Wizards washed already?

2013-14:  44-38
2014-15:  46-36

As I sit here at this ungodly hour, my Wizards have fallen to 6-7 after losing their third straight game– with a rather listless performance to the C’s tonight (111-78). Their second lopsided loss to the green and white in this still very young season.

For those scoring at home, this was not a loss that qualifies as being close or hard fought. They got their doors blown off.

Now to start the season, it was apparent that the team had not completely grown comfortable with their new “pace and space” offense. I mean they were flat out playing middle school level careless with the ball, in favor of speed pace. But that was somewhat to be expected.

But where’s the defense? Why has it only showed up in spots so far in 2015? Could be because their signal caller (Nene) has been relegated to the bench this season. Could be because, they don’t have the ability to focus on both ends, as they continue to figure out all the nuances of this new playing style.

Personally I feel both are legitimate issues, but are not the real crux of the matter. Aside from the fact that I am NOT a fan of the  physical make up of this team–I feel the squad’s two burgeoning superstars haven’t realized and accepted that they are ready for prime time.


It goes without saying, that both John and Brad have had individual as well as collective moments where they’ve showed how special they are and can be. But there were x-factor’s who contributed to those moments and the teams success over the past two seasons, that they leaned on.

In 2013-2014, they had Sam Cassell on the bench. The perfect former guard to have for a team whose success leaned so heavily on two young guards– because of his temperament and ability to speak from a place of success in the league.

In 2014-15, they had Paul Pierce suiting up with them nightly. Pierce, was the perfect veteran complement to add to the team after Sam’s departure because he showed in the locker room, on the road and in games, how to “move” in all situations. And he brought with him a credibility and pedigree, that made it easy to stop and listen to whatever he said…whenever he said it.

What both former World Champions provided in addition to relatability from a personality standpoint, was a buffer between the strict and at times stubborn father figure persona of Coach Randy Wittman. By offering an answer to the “but why”, “this is stupid”, “I know what I’m doing” moments they may have from time to time in relating to the Bobby Knight disciple.

In short, both need to get out of their own heads and just play the way they are capable of playing. They’ve shown flashes this season. But when things don’t go their way, they revert to some old habits which get not only them, but the team in bad situations.

John is thinking too much about his offensive output. He may be the only starting point in the league that can go for 25 and 10 one night and be just as effective if not moreso the next night with a line of 9-15-6-4 and 3. Totally arbitrary numbers for pts-ast-reb-steals and blocks. Accept that. It’s not a deficiency, that’s special. And Brad just needs to stay aggressive no matter if that’s when looking for his shot, or making plays for others.

John and Brad are definitely not the only reason’s why this team is 6-7 right now. But their inconsistencies, glow like neon because they are the big NAMES on the roster, And short & long term success are tied to their play. In regards to the team however:

  • DEFENSE – A team that has been a top half of the league defense, needs to once again embrace being able to stop people regardless of if shots are falling
  • OFFENSE – simplify it. There is a LOT of extra movement in it, that yields zero return. Don’t completely abandon what you did well the past two seasons either
  • scrap the Kris Humphries starting stretch 4 experiment – your starting 4 can not average 4.8rebs, .6blks and sub 9pts per
  • start exploring trade options for Nene – the team has to get younger at the 4 (part of the reason why I was hoping we’d grab Portis in the draft, eventhough the jury is still out on both he and Oubre for the same reasons- lack of playing time)

This is not a great team as presently constructed (and the injuries do not help matters). But they should be a lot better than what they’ve shown to date. Addressing the lack of focus on defense and rebounding, will go a ways to pushing thru their current issues. A number of times after losses this season, someone has said that they know what needs to be done to fix things.

Well…uhhh, whenever you’re ready fellas. You’re gonna need a 42-27 record down the stretch to keep up with your two game EOS win total improvement since ’13-’14, just saying.

Failed ExpeRGIIIment

2012

Ancient history.

The gift & the curse.

The year that time forgot.

The season in and of itself, seems to have been so long ago, that if it wasn’t for the Offensive ROY award and division title– you could get people to believe that it never happened.

How in the world did we get from there to here? I personally feel, the blame lies with every single party involved.

If you are a Washington Redskins, Robert Griffin III or simply avid football fan, you no doubt have an opinion on how we arrived at this point.

A place where the former #2 overall draft pick has been relegated to the spot normally held for the…”emergency QB” on most NFL rosters. And what’s amusing is, no matter your belief in how this happened, you are more than likely right.

Pick one:

  • ownership
  • front office
  • overall organizational stability and integrity
  • coaches (Shanahan and Gruden)
    • EGO
  • Robert Griffin III
    • EGO

(owner who scouts players, watches game film and creates gameplans)

I believe a smart enough student with the right guidance, could easily concoct a dissertation on the dysfunction of this franchise since Daniel Snyder took over. No the owner does not study game film, practice or play in real games. No he does not scout and acquire talent (he shouldn’t anyway), create game plans or manage in-game action. But he is responsible for hiring the right people, to make decisions to the best of their ability, to piece together what resembles a professional football organization. Notice I didn’t say a good team, but merely a professional football outfit.

What seems like forever ago, this franchise used to be both a good team and a well run and respected organization. But if you are neither, you don’t have a strong enough foundation to make a “RGIII to DC” move work.

Robert is a highly intelligent, gifted talent, that unfortunately lives and breathes today’s society. Translation, he’s talented, not really used to failure, and he shares everything he’s going through online.

He comes from a system in college, that does not teach the subtle nuances of playing quarterback in the traditional sense. Was drafted into a situation where an OC (Kyle Shanahan) created a system for him that offered a seamless transition to the pros. From which he earned accolades and success from day 1. And this in my opinion is where the real trouble began.

#10 came into the league with the hype machine bestowed upon all #1 overall caliber players who so happen to be quarterbacks. He comes across as a very likable and bankable guy from a great family, with a squeaky clean image, who provided one helluva quote after one helluva quote. Think Varsity Blues, portrayed on the pro level. Then he had the audacity to lace’em up and succeed…cue the hype monster.

==========================

CONFIDENT PLAYER x IMMEDIATE SUCCESS x INCREASED FAN PRAISE (raised to the media hype machine power) =

HYPE MONSTER

==========================

Presenting, the overshare. A place in time where RGIII show’s where he has never met a microphone he was afraid to speak into.

RGIII says that he wants to be looked at similarly to Aaron Rogers, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady (pocket passers, not running quarterbacks). No problem there. But without their traditional quarterbacking foundations, newly minted NFL Offensive ROY (and savior of a franchise), is said to have told his then coaches in the off-season what he wasn’t going to run. Ok. Then there was talk of more disagreements with his coaches, to which his relationship with ownership further fractured that player-coach dynamic (or at least it’s perception). Uhhh. Then came the decision to allow him to rush back from injury to start in game one of the 2013 season opener–without a healthy offseason of working in a more traditional pro style setup. The offense he wanted.

Cue failure from rust. Failure from years of mismanaged off-seasons, of not acquiring solid to Pro Bowl caliber OLine talent (to the right of #71). Failure of a QB being allowed to force his way into something, he was not ready for and the team was not built to allow him to grow into. Which ushered in, hello injury, as a result of a number of factors. And the pièce de résistance, the severing of ties with the coaches (especially Kyle Shanahan), who should have been allowed to slow walk the transition into a more “traditional” QB.

Question. How is it that a talented KID, who thrived in a non-long term system for one season, is provided the off the field power of a perennial All-League talent?

Where were the adult(s) in the room that could explain to all parties what reality is, and then lay out a plan to get everyone where they wanted to go?

And why do you follow that up, with a flash in the pan signing, in Jay Gruden (this question is rhetorical)? An uber-hot NAME HC candidate, with an offensive background– when more QB “project” friendly choices (Whisenhunt or Grimm) were available? I forget if Ken was available that year, but Grimm definitely was.

Did anyone stop to think how those egos would mesh? Was Jay given a Robert is the present and future speech? A, make sure you keep that in mind when you put your offense together, speech? Was it ever discussed, that this is a bad team, so we will make moves on and off the field that will allow for consistent progression to something greater? OR, did everyone fall into the we’re only a year removed from a playoff appearance bs? The we can be good and compete now, bs? The 2012 team was a good team (which it wasn’t) and 2013 was a fluke, so we can turn it around quickly bs?

Ladies and gentlemen, the RGIII experiment was doomed from the start, because it should have never happened in Washington. That 2012 squad could have stood pat and took Tannehill (who has turned into a solid young QB) or nabbed Russell Wilson in the second and used their first round pick on any of the other currently held in high regard talented players (Luke Kuechly, Michael Brockers – who they’ll see in week 2, Dontari Poe, Dre Kirkpatrick, Michael Floyd, Chandler Jones, etc.). Then they could have acted like a halfway decent franchise and used subsequent picks to replenish the coffers with young viable talent (especially up front on both sides of the ball).

I’m sure many are saying, the draft is a crap shoot. And whose to say they wouldn’t have used the pick on a bust, or found a way to screw up one of these players. Or, don’t forget, the SnyderSkins don’t believe in drafting. The sad thing is, you’re right. But what if…

As a Redskins fan, I definitely would have traded the ride that was 2012 for a steady build the right way– knowing what we know now. As a Robert Griffin III fan, because of that magical rookie season and the physical talent he possesses, I wish there was a way that things could still work here. But I don’t see how that happens with Jay at the helm. Not to mention that ship took a cannon shot to the starboard side before the Skins played their first game last season. That relationship is irreparable, from a personal standpoint.

If you’re going to draft this kind of talent, you have to support that talent (with what he needs, not what he “allegedly” tells you he needs). Draft and spend actual money on the lines. Go with a run heavy offense, so you can pass when you want, until he’s more comfortable with legitimately passing whenever you want. Strengthen the defense with the necessary talent and the right coaches. And hire someone to tell him to stop talking so much and teach him how to play the game at this level.

But mismanagement. The same thing that has derailed this once proud organization that is now nothing short of the biggest laughing stock in the NFL due to it’s dysfunction…would never allow for that.

The Redskins are like that parent that wants to be friends with their child, instead of actually parenting them.

This organization from the top down, was never built properly to receive a player like Robert, and has done absolutely nothing to help him get out of his own way, since landing in Washington.

Which is what makes it so ironic that when the team finally gets it right from a “foreman” (McCloughan) standpoint– actually hiring a respected football mind and getting ownership to stop meddling in player affairs (stop looking at the screen like that). Deciding to go with a power run game and make drafting offensive lineman a priority,with intentions to take pressure off the QB position…

That we could be seeing this, for the last time.

But out of the city and in a much, much less dynamic and heralded fashion.

IMHO, Robert Griffin III, can play football at this level as a starting QB in the NFL. But he needs the right organization and HC combo to make it work. He doesn’t need to have his confidence broken, but he needs to be made aware of who he is AT THIS POINT and what it will take for him to get where he ultimately wants to go. From there it’s all about buy-in and putting in the work (without the vintage RGIII soundbites or hashtaggable slogans).

I swear, you’ve gotta really love this team, to continue to follow it.

And sadly…I do.

#HTTR

 

Here’s to one day writing, Derrick…rose

By now, you have heard that the once otherworldly talented, star point guard for the Chicago Bulls has again fallen victim to a serious knee injury.

And depending on who you are and how you’re made, who knows how that makes you feel.

If you’re one of today’s out of touch youth, who possess the empathy and attention span of a gnat– you’ve already moved on again, from the D. Rose train. In fact you may have never re-boarded, even though he was at the height of his powers, just three seasons ago.

If you’re someone like Ricky O’Donnell, who wrote a great piece I suggest reading on SB Nation this morning, you’re of the mindset of– D. Rose doesn’t deserve this. He’s not a trouble maker. Not a guy that’s quick to grab the microphone for any reason. He’s merely an individual who was blessed with immense physical attributes, that actually loves the game he’s been blessed to play. Oh…and he clearly loves the city that made him. Lending a helping hand in a myriad of ways, because he’s more than just a player, he’s a person who actually gives a damn.

If you’re a true basketball fan, you’re hurting right now. As a fan of the sport, you want to see the best players at their healthiest. Competing against their peers. Creating new and lasting memories, highlights and special moments to be cherished five-ten-fifteen years from now.

If you’re one of the many individuals who not only took the time to frown upon, but speak harshly about Rose after he decided to not step back on the court during the 2012-2013 season after doctors cleared him– you’re entitled to your opinion I guess. Unless you’ve ever suffered a truly serious injury as an athlete and dealt with the mental recovery that can be just as daunting as the physical, how can you feel justified in judging him? But maybe you have. To which all I can say is, again you’re entitled to your opinion. And every player and every person isn’t built the same.

If you’re the Bulls organization. If you’re a Bulls fan. A Chicagoan…I’ve got nothing. This is definitely one of those instances, where there truly are no words.

A vast array of emotions/thoughts exist today, following the news of Derrick Rose’s latest injury situation. The ultra quick and explosive player that teased and then delivered on the potential he flashed since his youth, has once again been dealt another huge blow with this his second meniscus injury of his right knee. But what about Derrick?

Can you even fathom what he has to be thinking right now? How he’s feeling? Once again his intestinal fortitude and mental make-up is being tested. And only time will tell, how he rebounds.

I for one as a fan of basketball, a fan of sports as a whole, but even more so, a fan of good people…am hoping that he finds a way to beat back this latest obstacle. Here’s to D.Rose once again fighting his way back to being an ALL-STAR level player in the league. Allowing him to accomplish any and everything he’s ever wanted, both on and off the court.

Cheers to a full recovery #1. We’re pulling for you. Praying for unwavering faith.


* above image is the property of HD Wallpapers 

 

 

 

 

 

Tiger Woods, thanks for the memories?

DISCLAIMER

I am not a golf guy. I repeat, I am not a golf guy. Just as I am not a big soccer guy. However I’m enough of a sports enthusiast to be able to respect the skill and talent necessary, to succeed in both.

With that said, I logged on to my computer this morning and saw a story by Patrick Reusse, Star Tribune (Minneapolis), titled “It’s official: Golf no longer ‘needs Tiger Woods’. It’s safe to say this more than captured my attention, what with the incomparable impact that Eldrick Tont “Tiger” Woods has had on the sport in each and every way imaginable.

Tiger Woods, for the non-purist, took a sport with absolutely no aesthetic appeal and made it sexy. Again for the non-purist, his otherworldly play at such a young age–which morphed into an extended period of dominance and excellence, was akin to taking a stuffed shirt affair, encasing it in a billion neon lights and adding the Roots as a house band.

Tiger Woods in his hey was to golf, what Michael Jordan was to Nike, Ballpark and Hanes upon their initial partnership. He made it relevant to non-fans.

So it’s completely understandable, that the sport has held out hope that one of the most elite level sports talents this world has ever seen, would regain his form. Golf has never suffered from a lack of talent. But in an individuals sport, you need mercurial stars to drive commercial success.

Now it’s no secret that Tiger has not been the same ever since that ill-fated morning, around 2:30am on November 27, 2009. In my personal opinion, alot of what drove him to be the player he once was has worked against him in his return. However Tiger at say 60-75%, is not only better than the majority of the field (or he used to be), he’s the bigger draw. There’s no escaping the type of electricity his mere presence brings, even at Even par.

But his exploits in the past, such as obliterating the competition at the 2000 US Open. Or his dawning of the famed red polo on Sunday(s), signaling his closing out of another win (coming from behind or expanding on a lead)…are just that, the past. And it’s been much talked about on sports talk radio a lot lately, how Tiger at his worst still receives top flight coverage during events.

So is it even remotely coincidental, that Rory McIlroy, an unquestionable young talent is now being heralded as Golf’s new face? Granted he’s been very good for a number of years. And his back to back major wins after this past Sunday all but solidifies him as the newly deserved, “IT” guy. But a month or so ago, I was hearing from a number of talking heads, how the Tiger coverage was bordering on obnoxious levels. Considering he once again, was not playing well. What happened (rhetorical)?

Golf knows Rory is no competition to what Tiger once was. He lacks a certain je ne sais quoi, to be THAT guy. But does he need to be, THAT guy? Like most things, winning cures all. That and consistency. If he can continue to win by both large and small margins, he and Golf will be more than fine.

If the young American Rickie Fowler comes along for the ride and offers up consistent competition for years to come, Golf will be even better. A point Mr. Reusse eluded to in his piece, that I could not agree with more.

In that case, Golf may not need Tiger anymore.

But if Tiger can find a way back to the mountaintop, Golf would be, fall down all over itself ecstatic.

And if it could somehow get all three scenarios…

 

 

 

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FWIW, I think Tiger can regain his form (albeit in a slightly aged version) and Golf could be blessed with all three scenarios. We’ll see if he does what I think is necessary though.

 

 

The Dog Days of JTIII

NCAA 1st Round
NCAA 2nd Round
NCAA 1st Round
NCAA 1st Round
NIT

Those are the post-season finishes in reverse order, starting from 2012-13, of the Georgetown Hoyas–as led by Coach John Thompson III.

An outsider’s perspective, “hey they danced four years in a row and their record during those five seasons was, 109-52. That’s a .677 win percentage. So what’s the big deal?”

Well getting pass the 1st round of the NCAA tourney just once in the past five seasons, is far more than just a bad seeding match-up, it’s a sign. Especially, when the beginning of the coach’s tenure produced markedly better results.

And after losing to the DEPAUL BLUE DEMONS, in the 1st round of the Big East tourney yesterday…neon lights have officially been placed around said sign.

FWIW, I’m a Georgetown Hoyas lifer. Big John and those 80s Hoyas teams, are who taught me the game of basketball as I feel it should be played. Defense, play inside-out and with toughness. And to his credit, although not the same coach system wise, III has shown himself to be a pretty good coach whose acquitted himself well during his time on the Hilltop.

However his two most glaring weaknesses IMO, keep rearing their ugly head. Causing each of the last few seasons’, final game to end because of these two glaring issues. An inability to develop talent and a refusal to be flexible offensively.

Big John, never really had to be flexible. Because there was always a big guy to throw the ball to (save for the A.I. years) and those teams would just beat you up defensively. Even when there was no elite level big man in the post, there was always someone who grew into being at least serviceable.

Save for Henry Sims and Roy Hibbert, Georgetown under JTIII has never really had a player at any position show exponential growth from year one to year four. You either come in with potential or you’re SOL. Additionally, JTIII deserves credit for reintroducing a very effective and under used offensive system to the Hilltop. But when a team has an answer defensively, why is it almost always game over for the blue & gray?

FRUSTRATION

Did you know there’s a 7 foot sophomore on the bench, who has seen next to NO time in his first two seasons? Why has he not been coached up enough to where he can steal some minutes defensively during games? Nate Lubick whose a nice player, could and should have been so much more than what he was allowed to be. Why are there guards on the roster bigger than he is, after four seasons in college? Why don’t we press more throughout the game? What’s with all of the transfers out of the program? Was it an academic matter or otherwise?

Save for Markel Starks, why have there been so few point guards that have come through, who can create their own shot or initiate the offense outside of the “Hybrid Princeton”-based set? Why don’t we have offensive sets to go to outside of that offensive system, when it becomes stagnant or thwarted by the opposition?

Is it a matter of recruitment and retention? Ineptness by assistant coaches? Or personally what I feel, is arrogance?

Is JTIII so locked in to playing his way, with his kind of guys, that he refuses to move off of his gameplan when necessary? Who knows. But in his own personal end of year self-evaluation, one has to wonder if he’s ever fathomed the possibility, that HE could be getting in his own way?

There’s a nice crop of freshman coming into the Verizon Center next season (three 4-star guys and a 3-star), who will place those easily recognizable ten bold letters across their chest. And hopefully at least one of the two bigs still said to be considering Georgetown (one of whom’s last name just so happens to be MOURNING), will follow suit and replenish the coffers talent wise.

But unless this first loss to Depaul since 1994, in the first year of the newly configured Big East tournament no less– goes a ways towards forcing him to take a hard and critical look at past and present practices, I don’t know.

I feel the current Thompson patrolling the sidelines at Verizon Center, could still be the right man to lead this university back into consistently being an elite level program. Yet if he is unwilling to change, then I will drastically have to temper that statement. The records will continue to be solid and maybe even good. And the team will impress against a quality opponent or two. But is that good enough?

That rhetorical question, is unfortunately what fans who scream HOYA SAXA, are left with once again in early March. But for how much longer?
 
 
 
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– Georgetown Hoyas, 2013-14: 17-14 (8-10, 1st year in newly configured Big East*)
– * first season w/o Syracuse, PITT, Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Rutgers & Louisville