It’s Not Pitino’s Fault His Hair Was All In Place He Spent More Time On It Than He Did His Team ……..

 

It’s  Not  Pitino’s  Fault   His  Hair  Was  All In  Place   He Spent More  Time On It  Than   He  Did  His   Team.

 

 

 

Well  the  NCAA  Tournament   has  left   us  with   four   teams  who  are  highly   skilled  ,  well   disciplined when  it  comes  to   coaching .  And if  anything  their   play    has to be  respected. 

 

 

Coach Tom  Izzo   of  Michigan  State  stands  with  his  wife Lupe and  daughter Raquel  moments  after  the  team's  stunning  upset  of  Louisville .
A moment to savor coach Tom Izzo of Michigan State stands with his wife Lupe (left) and daughter Raquel moments after his team's victory over the highly favored Louisville Cardinals. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Andy Lyons ............

 

 

 

 

In  Michigan State,  U Conn  ,  Villanova   and    North  Carolina    you’ve   as   diverse  a  quartet  of  teams    that   are   looking  to  achieve  the  same   goal.  And    that’s  to  win the   NCCA Tournament   and  to  be  crowned   the   national  champions  of  college  basketball.

 

 

 

Draymond  Green(23) of  Michigan  State  attempts  a  shot  during   the game  against  Louisville. The game  was  played at the  Lucas Oil  Arena  in  Indianapolis  , Indiana .
Draymond Green(23) of Michigan State attempts a shot during the game played against Louisville played at the Lucas Oil Arena in Indianapolis ,Indiana. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Michael Conroy .............

 

 

 

 

To my  mind  however   if  there  was   a  surprise  , it  was  in  the  Elite 8.    And  if anything   it  was the  lackadaisical  play   of   the Louisville  Cardinals  and  their   play  against   Michigan  State.   Coached   by  Rick  Pitino  this  team  had   played  a  stellar  brand of  exciting   basketball.  And   it  was   easy  to  see  why   they  were  given  that    number   one  seeding  throughout  the    tournament. In  almost  every  facet  of the  game  it’d  appear  that   this   Louisville   team   could   do  no wrong.    But   it’s  always  easy    to  state  without   seeing  the  obvious.   And   that’s   the  fact  that   the   team  had   hardly  been  challenged   through   much  of the  tournament.    They’d  laid   waste  to their   opponent in  the  previous   rounds . Much   like   Greeks   laid siege  to  Troy  ,  only  in  this case   it  was   the  Cardinals   who  came   short   in this    particular   battle. No  Greeks  came  bearing    gifts.   Just  a  great  deal  of   over  confidence  and  the   fact  that  they’d  underestimated   Tom Izzo  and  his  team.

 

 

 

Terrence Williams of Louisville walks  of  the  court  dejected having  been  part of  a  stunning 62-54  loss  to  Michigan  State  in  the  Elite  8 of the men's  NCAA Tournament.
Terrence Williams (1) of Louisville walks of the court dejected having been a part of his team's stunning loss to Michigan State 62-54 in the Elite 8 of the men's NCAA Tournament. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Michael Conroy ...........

 

 

 

 

As the title   of this   piece  alludes    had   Pitino   spent   more   time  coaching   his   team   not  merely  on the  fundamentals  . But  the  fact    that  a  game  of  college   basketball  has  to be  played   for  the  entire   40  minutes  and   not   just  as  and  when  his  players   see  fit.  Then   perhaps  the   outcome   might’ve   been  somewhat    different.   For  a   team   whose   previous   game   against  Arizona   ended   in a  103-64  blowout  of    the  Wildcats.  It   was  easy  to  see   and    understand   why   Pitino’s   team  would  be  considered   to be  the  presumptive   favorites   in the   game.  Coming off    that  win   why   wouldn’t  they  be  ?   

 

 

Former  Michigan State  player and  NBA  great  Earvin 'Magic' Johnson  who  was  courtside  congratulates   coach  Tom Izzo on the team's  victory.
Former Michigan State player Earvin 'Magic' Johnson who was courtside congratulates coach Tom Izzo on the team's victory over Louisville. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Damon Cummings ...............

 

 

 

Continue reading “It’s Not Pitino’s Fault His Hair Was All In Place He Spent More Time On It Than He Did His Team ……..”

It’s The Gift That Keeps On Ticking , Ticking And Just Keeps On Givin, Otherwise Known As Basball’s Dirty Little Secret ………

It’s  The Gift  That  Keeps  On Ticking , Ticking  And  Just   Keeps  On  Giving  ,  Otherwise  Known  As  Baseball’s  Dirty  Little  Secret  .

 

 

 

 

Well   now  that  the   World   Baseball  Classic  has  past. And   it has  no  doubt  faded  off   long  into  the  memories  of    most.  Especially   considering   the   United  States’  team’s    ever  so   disastrous   efforts   in the   tournament.    Now  I’m   not   going  to  lament   on  what  went   wrong  there.  As  it’s   best   left  to the  likes  of   Tommy  LaSorda.    He  knows   better  than   most    how   ineffectual   the  team  actually  was. 

 

 

Former Senator  George  Mitchell  and  Major  League Baseball  Commissioner  Allan 'Bud'  Selig  seen  here   at the  announcement   that  the   announcement  the   reported   investigation   known as The Mitchell Report  has  reached  its  culmination.
Sen. George Mitchell (foreground) and Major League Baseball Commissioner Allan 'Bud' Selig seen here announcing that the conducted investigation into steroid use within the game known as The Mitchell Report had reached its culmination . The contents of which haven't been readily made for public consumption. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Patrick Rycroft ..............

 

 

 

It’s   now  coming    more  the   fore   as  to  how  much   of  a  conflict   and  corruption  there now   is  when   it  comes  to   recruiting    young   players   from the  Caribbean  and   the  South  American   continent   into the  major  leagues.  So   much   so   that   even   when  The Mitchell Report  touched   on the  matter  it  was  somewhat   ignored.   Those  of  who  were   interested as  to  the  content   of  the  report   were    primarily   concerned as  to  what  it  have   to  say  with  regard  to  the   players   involved   in  the   steroid  abuse   scandal. 

 

 

 

 

That   situation   in   of itself   continues   unabated  and   it  hasn’t   helped  that  the   game’s   biggest  star   Alex  Rodriguez   has   admitted   to  using   steroids.  And   whilst  the  player  has   offered   what   one  would   deem  a  contrite   apology   to  the   fans ,  public  ,  his   teammates  and  the    New York  Yankees  organization.   The   latest   rumors    surrounding  the   player   only  exacerbates  the   situation  even  further .  Added  to  the   fact  that  he’s   lost  to  the  team  before   the   regular  season  begins   due   injury  and   surgery.

 

 

Alex  Rodriguez (right)  along  with  Yankees' GM Brian  Cashman (center)  and  the  team's  manager Joe Girardi.
Alex Rodriguez (right) seen here alongside Yankees' GM Brian Cashman (center) and team manager Joe Girardi. All three are there at George Stennbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida. Where the player made his public statement announcing his use of steroids. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Al Messerschmidt .............

 

 

This   has   become   nothing   but  an    unmitigated  disaster    for  Major  League  Baseball.  Their   effort to   try   and   clean  up  the  game  has  been  about  as  effective   as   throwing   a   half   empty  kerosene  gas  can   into  fire   thinking  that   nothing   will  actually  happen.  And  with  evidence  now   swirling   around  that  young   players   in  particularly   from  the  Dominican  Republic   have   been   used  as   pawns   in    the  deceptive  practice   of  enticing   big  league    teams   to    pay  exorbitant   sums   of  money  in  terms   of a  signing   bonus  to  effectively   have  a  player   sign  with  them.    It   only  adds     further     to a  percolating    pot  of  misdeed  and    plain   ineptitude    within  the   upper  ranks   of  the game’s   hierarchy.     And  it   certainly   hasn’t    helped  that    officials    from  within   some   of  the  major    organizations   might   well   have  been   involved  are   infact  implicated  in  payoffs to  the  buscones /agents (facilitators)  who    offer  the  players   to  the   teams.

 

 

Esmailyn Gonzalez  as  he's  known  the  Washington Nationals  but  the  player's  actual  given  birth  name  is  Carlos Alvarez  Daniel  Lugo.  He's  seen  here  signed  as a  top prospect   with  then  coach  Frank  Robinson.
Esmailyn Gonzalez as he's known to the Washington Nationals. But whose given and birth name is actually Carlos Daniel Alvarez Lugo. The player seen here with then coach Frank Robinson was signed as a top prospect by the team. picture appears courtesy of ap/ Victor Matthews ..............

 

 

 

 

This   all   emanated  from  the  Esmailyn Gonzalez  scandal  that  exploded    with  the   player   having   signed   with  the  Washington  Nationals. Not   only  had   the   player’s   birth  certificate   been    falsified   with   regards   to   his   age.   But   a  large   amount   of   money  exchanged   hands   between  the   team   ,  the   player   in   terms   of  his   signing   bonus.  But   also    with   the   agent   getting   his   cut.  It’s   believed  that   also  several  of   the  Nationals’ own  staff    profited   from  this    by  way   of   a   cut   from   the  money   that  was    paid  to   the  player.  It’s   not    uncommon   for   this   to   happen  within  the  lower   echelons  of   organization   if  it’s   deemed  to  be  happening  amongst  a  team’s   scouting   staff.    But    what    makes  this  all   so   unpalatable   is   that  it   is  believed  that   in  the   case   of  Gonzalez  .  It   may  have   involved  the   team’s   general  manager  at the  time  Jim  Bowden  and   his special  assistant   Jose Rijo .   And  while   both    are   no    longer  with   the   team with   Rijo   having    been   fired  and  Bowden   re-signing    while   proclaiming   his  innocence  as   to   any   wrongdoing.   The   facts   speak   for  themselves     as   very    little   was   done   to   verify  the   player’s  records.  Much   less  they, themselves    conducting   their  own  internal investigation.

 

 

Nationals' principal  owner  Stan  Kasten .
Washington Nationals' principal owner Stan Kasten. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Paul Thornton ..................

 

 

 

 

While  on  appearance  this  may   not   seem   a   serious   transgression.  Consider the  fact   once    money   was   pocketed   by   anyone   within  the  organization   who  wasn’t  entitled  to it.  It   then  becomes  a  federal  offense   and   as   such  is  indictable     by   law.   And  with   the  FBI   now   conducting   its  own  investigation    into   what  it   is   believed  to  now   be  a   widespread   practice   throughout   the   league.  One   has  to   ask  the   question.    What   is   going   on     behind   the  closed   doors   of   Major   League  Baseball  and   its   franchises   ?  If  there’s  now  that  much    widespread    corruption   from  the   top  down  then   surely   the   game’s  own   hierarchy    ought  to  be  looked  at  as  well  ? 

 

Continue reading “It’s The Gift That Keeps On Ticking , Ticking And Just Keeps On Givin, Otherwise Known As Basball’s Dirty Little Secret ………”

Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels …….Bang You’re Dead !

 
 

Lock  Stock And  Two  Smoking  Barrels ……. Bang  You’re  Dead  !

 

 

 

Not  wanting  to  assail  Major  League  Baseball (MLB)    for   wanting   a  good  thing.  But  I’d   now  like to  know what   was  the  whole   premise   behind   entering  a   team    into  the  World  Baseball   Classic   if  not  to  win  it  ? 

 

Derek  Jeter  far  right  seated   in  the  dugout  knowing  that the  inevitable  is  about to  happen.  The  US  team  would   go  on  to  lose  in the  semi  finals  of  the  World  Baseball  Classic  to  Japan  (9-4) .
Derek Jeter and teammates are seated on the bench in the dugout knowing that the inevitable is about to happen. The US team would go on to lose to Japan (9-4) in a lopsided game. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Stephen Dunn ................

 

 

 

 

To  suffer  the   slings and   arrows   of  outrageous  fortune  or   in  this case misfortune  is  one  thing.    But  in  this  case   the  showing   of  the  team   most   certainly   hasn’t   met  the  expectations  of  the  game’s  hierarchy   domestically.  It  doesn’t   matter  what   they  might   say   publicly.  In   reality   however   it’s   suddenly  beginning  to  sink  in  that   they’re  going  to  have  to   rethink  their    whole  preparation for  a   team  and  the  assembling   of a   roster   for   international  competition. The    event  will   no  doubt  make  a  significant   amount    of  money    for  the parties  concerned.   But  if  anything    it’ll  perpetuate  the  notion    that the  long  held   belief  that   US  baseball  at  the  international   level   if  anything isn’t   as  superior  as the  fans  or   players   may  well  believe.  

 

Japanese   pitcher  Yu  Darvish   celebrates  after  striking   out  Adam  Dunn  of  team  USA  in  the semi   finals   game  of  the  Worl  Baseball  Classic.
Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish celebrates after striking out Adam Dunn of team USA during their semi finals game. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Kevork Djansezian ........

 

 

 

 

If anything   has  been  indicative   of  this,  it   has  been  the   failure   of    team  USA  to  advance   to  the  Finals  of  the  competition.  In   2006  they  were an  abysmal    failure   falling   at the  quarter  finals’ stage.    And    now   in   2009  in  the  semi-finals   they  succumb   to  a   Japanese   team  that   was   very   much  their  superior   in  every facet   of  the  game   right  from the  start.  If  the  final  score  of   9-4  wasn’t  a   reflection  of  that.  Then   those   who  felt   the   opposite    may   well  have  been   watching   through   rose   colored   glasses.

 

 

Japan's   Ichiro  Suzuki   in the  dugout   prior  to the  semi  final   game played   against  the  USA.
Japan's Ichiro Suzuki in the dugout prior to the semi final game played against team USA at Chavez Ravine Stadium , Los Angeles , California . picture appearas courtesy of getty images/ Stephen Dunn .................

 

 

 

All  the  excuses   in  the  world   cannot   make  up   for  this.  And that’s   most  likely  what  we’ll   hear  over  the  ensuing   days   if  not   weeks.  One   can  be  sure   that   not  all  of  the  game’s  fans    domestically   were   enamored   with  the  competition  to  begin  with.   If  anything   it  was   thought   of  as  an   intrusion   in   their    rite   of  passage  as   far  as   Spring   Training  was   concerned.    And  the   fact     that   they’d  be   denied  to  see   many  of  their   idols   play   for  their    professional   teams    at the  start  of  the  Grapefruit  and  Cactus   League’s  season  was   tantamount  to  all    but  abandoning  the  season  itself.  OK  so   they’d   get  to   see   some  of the  younger  players   from  a  team’s   Triple  A affiliate.   But   the  majority  of  the  time  that’s   not   what  the   fans  are  there  to  see.   But   that’s   what   tends  to  happen  when  the   whole   thought    process   and   timing  of  the  event    is  ill  conceived.    But   far  be  it   for  anyone  to   suggest that   the  MLB hierarchy  and     the  game’s   international   governing   body    doesn’t   indeed   know   what   it’s   doing . 

 

 

Evan  Longoria   strikes  out  in  the  ninth   inning  of  the  game  against  Japan  in the  semi  finals  of  the  World Baseball   Classic.
Evan Longoria of team USA having just struck out in the ninth inning of the semi final's game against Japan makes his way back to the dugout. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Stephen Dunn ..................

 

 

 

 

For   Japan   they’ll   now   meet   their  Asian    counterparts  and   rivals    Korea   in  the  Finals.   And with   Korea   themselves    being   the reigning   Olympic    champions.   This   game   will   certainly   not   be   a  foregone   conclusion   in  terms   of   Japan   being   considered  an  overwhelming   favorite.    Korea    has  surprised    everyone   in  this  competition  with  the  level    of  their  play  and   sound   fundamentals.    They   do  almost   everything  with   effortless   ease.   And   if  anything  the   US  team    could  learn    something    from    how  the  Korean  players   apply  themselves  to   the  task  at  hand.    Suffice   to   say  it’s   easy  to    make  the  claim   that  the   players  on  the US  team   were  playing    with  a  great    deal   of  pride   but   the  reality    of  it  all  is  that    pride     wasn’t   borne   out    in  the  level   of  their   overall  play    throughout   the  competition.  If  anything  there   was   a  cockiness  and    over  confidence  that   spelt    disaster   at  some   point.    In  many   ways   it  was  somewhat   reminiscent   of  what   we’d   often  witnessed    from  their   counterparts  in the NBA .  If  anything  the   belief   was  all  that  they    had to   do  was   to  just   turn   and   an  opponent   would   quake   in   their   boots   and   surrender  to  their   will.   The  competition   has  proved   however  that    sum  of  the  parts    doesn’t   equal   the  whole   when   it  came   to   team   USA.    They  labored   under  the  assumption  that  a    roster   filled  with  All  Stars  and  they’d    prevail. 

 

 

 

Roy  Oswalt  the  starting   pitcher  for  team  USA  sits  in the  dugout  watching  the  game's  progression.  Oswalt   had  one  of those   games  that  even  he  would  no  doubt  rather  forget  .
Roy Oswalt the starting pitcher for team USA sits in the dugout and watches the game unfold. Oswalt had a game that even he would rather forget. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Kevork Djansezian ....................

 

 

Continue reading “Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels …….Bang You’re Dead !”

The Look Good But How Will They Fare …..?

 

They   Look  Good  But  How  Will  They  Fare …..  ?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        They   

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   in The  second  biggest  sporting  spectacle  behind  the  Superbowl in  terms  of its  audience as  a  viewed  event.   The  men’s NCAA Basketball  tournament  has  its   fans  as  well   as  its   detractors.   For  the   wives  and  girlfriends  whose  respective partners  will  become  glued to  their  television  sets   or   some other  means   in  order to  embrace   the  event.   I take  this  opportunity  to  wish  you  well  over the   coming   weeks.   For myself  I’ve  no  such   qualms.    My girlfriend   is  adrift   in  her  own  sea   of  fulfillment . 

 

John  Calipari  coach  of  the Memphis  men's  basketball  team  addresses members of  the  convened  press  in  Kansas City  , Missouri   prior  to  his  team  taking   on  Cal St  Northridge  in the  first round of  the  NCAA Tournament.
John Calipari coach of the Memphis men's basketball team addresses members of the convened press in Kansas City Missouri. Calipari's team will be taking on Cal State Northridge in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Matt Richards ................

 

 

And  as  alluded  to  earlier in  this  piece  the  event  itself    is  prehaps  outside of  the Superbowl  the  most   popular  sporting  event  in  country.    That  being  said   one  the  reasons  behind  that  may  well  be  the  amount  of  money  that’s  wagered  on the  NCAA  tournament  itself.  Conservative  estimates  would  put  it  in the  region  of  in between  $850m  and  $1.3bn  over the  course  of  the event.   And  that’s  what  they  believe  to  be  the  legal   gambling   alone.    It’s  obvious  that   were   illegal    betting   taken  into  account .  Then   that   figure   would   be  immeasurably   larger   by   at   least   three  of   four  fold  the  estimates  given.  Less  we  forget  what   would  the   tournament   be  without    all  of  the  bracketologists   out  there  ?      This  is  where  the  event  itself  becomes   the  water   cooler  topic   of   discussion   amongst   a  great  many people  across   the  country  and   in  particular   in  the  work  place. Friendships  are   either  cemented   or  they  become   frayed   or   fractured   over  the  ensuing  weeks.    The   point   is  while   much  of  this  is actually   going   on  the  only  ones   who  are   making   money   in the  midst   of  this all  will   be  the  guys   in  Vegas.   And  the  few  of  us  lucky   enought  to   have  actually   picked  the  winner .  I  think  it   goes  without   saying  that    they   if   anyone  will    win   more  than   they’ll   lose    once  the  event   is   over.   The  oddsmakers   in  Vegas   will   be  reaping  the   benefits   of  this  all  !

 

 

 

President  Obam  get  on  with   filling   in  his  own  bracket  for  the  men's  NCAA tournament in  the  Oval Office.  Joining  him  in  the  discussion   was  ESPN's  Andy  Katz .  picture  appears  courtesy  of  espn.com/Pete  Souza  ...........
President Obama gets on with filling in his own bracket on the men's NCAA tournament. He's chosen the North Carolina Tar Heels to win the tournament outright. Joining him in the discussion in the Oval Office at the White House was ESPN's Andy Katz. I'd like to think that this wasn't the most pressing issue that the President had to deal with at the time. And at the same time is there no level to which ESPN will not sink to in order to obtain ratings ? picture appears courtesy of espn.com/Pete Souza ...............................

 

 

Much  has  been  made  as to  which   teams will  do  well and   which  will   falter  at  some point  during   the  tournament.   The fact of  the  matter   is  no  one  can   really  say  with  a  certainty   who   will   ultimately  do  well  and  who  won’t .   The  analysts   on  television  say  what  they’ll   deem to  be   the  right thing.  But  taking   their   word   for  it at present    is tantamount  to  taking  a  stock  pick   from the  likes of  CNBCs’ Jim Cramer.  And   last  I  looked  his  imploring     his   audience to   invest  their   money  in  AIG ,  was about  as   worthwhile  as  lighting  a  match  and  holding   it against  a  stick   of  dynamite  thinking that   nothing  would   happen.   Let’s  just  say  that  at this   juncture   Jim  Cramer   has  about  as  much   credibility  former  Treasury  Secretary  Hank  Paulson.  Another   who  implored   the  Congress that  spending  $700 billion of  public  money  would   stave off  the  uncertainty within  the  markets.

 

 

 

Robert  Dozier  of  Memphis  takes   questions  from  members  of  the  convened   press   during  the  team's  press conference  in Kansas City, Mo.   picture appears  courtesy  ap/photo/Orlin  Wagner  ...............
Ronert Dozier of Memphis takes questions from the press at the team's press conference in Kansas City, Mo,. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Orlin Wagner ................

 

 

 

 I  say if  we’re   going  to  malign  these   guys  as  well   as the  sport’s  analysts  on television.  Then   we   ought to  do  it  with  a  great  deal  of   voracity.   I’m  sure    that   the  sound  bytes   coming   from  the  CBS  commentary   team  will  be  varied  , at times  insightful ,  self  opinionated ,  extreme  and  or at  times downright    ridiculous.  But   for the  die-hard   fans   out   there  above  all   it  will  be   about  the  excitement  and   cheering  on  their  team  or   teams  as the  case   may be.

 

 

Memphis  forward   Shawn Taggart embraces  Tulsa's  Justin Hurtt (15)  after the  Tigers' emphatic   win  of  the  Conference  USA  basketball  tournament title.
Memphis forward Shawn Taggart embraces Tulsa's Justin Hurtt(15) after the Tigers' emphatic victory over Tulsa (64-39) in the Conference USA championship title game. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Marcus Steele ...............

 

 

 

 

 

 

It cannot   have  unnoticed   amongst  many   that   there  are   those   who   feel  that  the  hottest  team  coming   into  the  tournament   may   well   be Memphis.    And under  their  coach   John  Calipari  they   have  been  impressive  to say  the  very least.  The Memphis Tigers as  they’re  more  commonly   known   have   posted  a   31-3  overall   record . And   went   unbeaten   within their  own   conference  16-0 ,  Conference USA.  That being  said  one   shouldn’t  detract  from  the  accomplishment   no   matter  how   weak  the  conference is  perceived  as  being. The  fact is  they  played  who  that  had to  play  and   defeated who   they  had  to   defeat.  Now   one  can   complain   as  to  their     schedule  outside  of  the  conference  but  in   reality  what   we see  within   the  college  basketball  sphere  is   no  different   from  what   we  witness  within  college   football.  The  Little  Sisters  of Mercy   and   those  of  The  Immaculate   Conception  are   there  to be  lambs  to  the  slaughter.  Pad  those  stats  and then  that   record  does  indeed   look  all  the  more   impressive.

 

 

Wesley Witherspoon  of Memphis  drives  to  the  basket  as Tulsa's  Ray Reese and  Jerome  Jordan(23) looks on.
Memphis' Wesley Witherspoon drives to the basket as Tulsa's Ray Reese and Jerome Jordan (23) looks on . picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Orlin Wagner ...............

 

 

 

 

What Calipari  has   achieved  with   his  team  this   season  should  make  him  a  candidate as   Coach  of the Year. Whether  or   not that  will  be   come  to  fruition  ,  we can  only  but  wait  to  see   what  the   adjudicators  will  think.  But  for  now  the  Tigers do   have  some  far  more   pressing   issues  ahead.  Their  roster  is  primarily  made  up   of  freshmen  and    juniors.    And    their   tandem  of  Tyreke  Evans  and  Robert  Dozier   have  led    the  way.   But to say  that   these   two    players  alone   are  the   sole  reason   for  the   team’s  success  would   be  to   deny   others  who’ve   made  a   large    contribution  to  the  team’s   overall  success  this  season.  Their   victory  over  Tulsa  in  their  conference   tournament   was about as  emphatic   a  win  as  one  could  ever wish  to  witness.   And  the  score   itself   64-39 does reflect  how   lopsided  it  all was.   To  say the  game   was  won  with   ease  would   be  an   understatement   in  the  very  least. 

 

Tulsa  coach  Doug  Wojcik  speaks  to  his players  after  the  loss  to Memphis   in  the  Conference  USA tournament   championship  title game .
Tulsa coach Doug Wojcik speaks to his players after the team's loss in the Conference USA tournament title championship game. The game was won by Memphis 64-39 ad was infact played Memphis , Tennessee. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Orlin Wagner ................

       

 

 

 

Now  comes  the   tricky  part    for   Memphis.  If they’re  to  justify  their   seeding  as  a #2 seed  in  the  West  of the  first  round  of  the   tournament.    They  can  ill  afford  a  slip  up  at this   juncture.  Not   here  and   most  certainly   not  now  !  Their   first    round  opponent   in the  tournament  will  be  Cal  State  Northridge    of  whose  pedigree   shall  we  say   won’t  come  into   question  should  they   fall  at  the  hands  of  Memphis ?  However   should the  unthinkable   happen   then   there  may  well  be  a  great   deal   of  joy   on  the  campus  of  the  Matdors,  as  well  as   across the   state.  As  to  the  Tigers ,  failure   here  and   let’s   just  say   what’d  been  viewed  as   a  promising   season   all   of  a  sudden  just  went   up   in  flames.   After   last   season’s   heroics  ,  a chance   to  acquit   one’s  self    the  following   year    doesn’t  often   come   around   this   quickly.    

 

 

Wesley  Witherspoon  of  Memphis  dances  oncourt  after  the  Tigers'  triumph  over   Tulsa   in  the  Conference  USA  championship  title  game  played  in Memphis  ,  Tennessee.  picture  appears  courtesy of  ap/photo /   Mark  Humphrey  .................
Wesley Witherspoon of Memphis dances oncourt after the team's triumph over Tulsa (64-39) in the Conference USA championship title game played in Memphis , Tennessee . picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Mark Humphrey ....................

 

 

 

Say what   you  will  about   Memphis  it   will  be   now   or  never  at this   juncture  for  the  team.  All   the   hype  and  hooplah   concerning  their  successful  season   thus  far.  In  the  end  it  will  be  all   for   nothing   if  they’re  unable  to  acquit  themselves   in  the  tournament.  As good   as  they’ve   been  they’re   going  to  have   to  perform   a  great   deal    better   if  they’re   to  win  it  all.     So  let  the   games   begin   and   let  the  chips   fall  where  they  may.  Memphis  it’s   now  up    to   you   take  on and   defeat   whoever   stands   in  your  way.

Was It Really Meant To Be The Golden Era of The Sport ….?

 

Was It Really Meant  To  Be  The Golden  Era  Of The  Sport ……… ?

 

  

At the  height  of  their   rivalry   within  the   ring   it  was said  that  Muhammad Ali,  George Foreman, Joe  Frazier  and Ken  Norton   drove  the  sport  of  boxing  to  unprecedented  heights.  And that may  well  have  been  the  case.  The  trilogy  of  fights  between   Ali  and Frazier   have  gone   down  in the  annals  of  boxing   history.     And  the   universal   appeal  of  Ali is  still  present   after  all these  years.

 

 

Ken Norton  adorned  with  the  Heavyweight title   belt.  The  one  elusive  professional  accolade that  he  would  not  ever  win  in the   ring.
Ken Norton adorned with the heavyweight title belt. The one professional accolade that he would not win in the ring.

 

 What  has  gone  on  for the  sport of  boxing   since this   trio   of alltime   great have  retired  could   be   described  as   a  comical   farce.  But   for  the  presence   one  could  say  of  Larry Holmes  that his  tenure  as  the   undisputed heavyweight  champion  of  the  world.  We’ve  had  to   live  with the  Mike  Tyson era  ,  where   if  anything   it  was  more   circus  and  theatrical   moments  of   sheer    disbelief  before   his  career   spiraled   out  of  control.  I’d add  Evander   Holyfield   into   the  mix.  But it’s  already  become  obvious    that   ‘The  Real  Deal’   has  become  a  caricature  of   his  former  self.  Still   fighting   and   now  being   beaten  like   a  piñata   at  a  children’s  party  . Need  one  say  anymore  ?

 

 

Ali  and  Norton   face  off  against  each other  in of  their much  heralded  bouts .
Ali and Norton face off against each other in one of their much heralded bouts.

  

 

The  era  of  the  late  sixties and   early   seventies    could  well  be addressed  the  heyday   of  the  sport.  At  that   time    there  was a   plethora   of   fighters  who   were   vastly     superior  to  the   fighters  of   today  within  the   heavyweight  category.    Unfortunately  for  us   now  the  division  is  filled  with  East Europeans   who’ve  about  as  much   skill  as a  ballet   dancer   being  asked   lace up   his  boots  ,  put  on  some  cleats and  grace  us  all  with  his  presence   on  an  NFL  field. Even more  distasteful   might be  the  fact  that   we’ve   got    the  alphabetized   list  of titlists  within  the division . Never   mind  the   fact  also  that  there  isn’t   really   a  US  born   fighter   on  the  horizon    who  one  could say  would  be  a  big   draw   to  the  sport.  So  thankfully  we’re  left  to   reminisce  about an  era   when   fighters  were   fighters and  were prepared to  take  on  each  other.  And   we  were    being    thoroughly   entertained   by what  was   taking   place  in  the  ring.

 

 

Norton  faces   Duane  Bobick  in a  heavyweight   bout .
Norton faces Duane Bobick in a heavyweight bout .

  

Those  days  when   Ali , Frazier  and  Norton   held  sway  over  the  heavyweight   division  was  indeed  something  to  behold.    And thankfully  we  still    have  the  film  and   pictures  whereby  we   can  still   remember  these   events.   One  could  go  farther  back  and   state that during  the  era  of   Joe Louis  ,  Rocky  Marciano ,     Ingemar Johansson and  Floyd Patterson  was  great.   But   in  sheer   terms  of  the  quality  of   fighters   in the  category.  The  era   would   pale   into  comparison when   compared against the   sixties   and   seventies.   This   was   perhaps   was  when the   division  was   definitely at  its   best   in  terms  of the  qualities  of the  fighters  within  the  division.

 

 

Ken  Norton  faces  Larry Holmes  with  referee  Mills  Lane  of  Las Vegas  overseeing  the  bout.  The  fight itself  was held  Caesar's  Palace  Hotel & Casino  , Las Vegas,. Nevada.
Norton and Larry Holmes face off against one another. Norton seen here for the moment has the upper hand with Holmes. The fight itself was held at Caesar's Palace Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Refereeing the bout is Mills Lane. Lane also is a distinguished circuit court Judge in the state of Nevada.

  

We all  know  the  praise,  ridicule and  hatred   heaped   upon   Ali  for  one   reason  or  another.  And   the  purpose   of the   piece  isn’t to  hold  sway  over the  reader  and  to  ask     for their   predisposition   as  to  the  course   of  action   taken  by  him  as  to  his  beliefs.  One  can   assume   that  he  was  afforded  those  rights  as  a  citizen ? Like  it  or   not  we have to  live  with  it.   Men  of  lesser  stature   have   done  far   worse. 

 

Ken Norton faces  Jerry  Quarry  in a heavyweight  title   eliminator ..........
Norton seen here faces Jerry Quarry in a heavyweight title bout eliminator. .............

 

 

My  own  feeling with   regard to  this  era  is that  were  it    not   for  Foreman, Frazier   or   Ali.  Then  most   definitely   Norton  would’ve    had  a   long  and  distinguished   reign   as  the  heavyweight   champion  of   the  world.   However  for   Norton   he  came  at   a  time   when  the  likes  of  the  triumvirate  mentioned  were   just  more  powerful  than  he as  a  fighter.  That’s   not  to say  that  Norton   couldn’t  bang  with  the  best  of  them.    The fact of  the  matter  was    however   he  was   never   really  known  as  a  knockout  specialist.  His  record   may   reflect  that  fact   but   in  large part many  of  those   knockout  victories   came  early  in   his  career  and   against   fighters  ,  whom   one  could  describe   as  less than   adequate   in  the  sport.   But  that should   in  now  way  detract  from  his   record  as a  fighter.  Often   described  as  “The  Black  Hercules”  or  “The Jawbreaker” .  Norton  was   a   studious    fighter  who’d learnt   his  craft well. 

 

   Continue reading “Was It Really Meant To Be The Golden Era of The Sport ….?”

He Stoops To Conquer ………..

 

He Stoops  To  Conquer    ………………

 

 

 

 

As  of  late   a  great   veracity   of  an  argument   can  be  made as   to  why  the  Miami  Heat’s   Dwyane  Wade   ought  to be  added  into  the  mix   of   MVP  candidates.  The   player  has   been   putting  up   monumentally  astounding   numbers   alone.  And   almost  single  handedly   he’s  defeated  the   Boston  Celtics  and  Chicago  Bulls  in successive   games.    

 

 

A  Miami  Heat  fan  makes  it  plainly  known  where  his  allegiances  lie in  expressing  his  sentiments  towards  his  favorite player  Dwyane Wade.
A Miami Heat fan makes it plainly known where his allegiances lie with regard to his favorite player Dwyane Wade . picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Victor Baldizon ..............

  

 

His   play   in  particular   against  the  Boston  Celtics   could   be  described as   being   spectacular .   And  it  can  be  borne   out   by   the   stats   accumulated  by  the  player  on the   night  in  his   team’s   success   in  defeating  the  Celtics   107-99  at  the  American Airlines Arena  in Miami, Florida. Wade  on the  night   would   score  32 pts to go  along  with  a  well  balanced   display   of  on  both   ends  of  the  court.

 

Dwyane Wade  signals  to the  bench   during  the game  played against the  Boston  Celtics.
Dwyane Wade signals to the bench during the game played against the Boston Celtics at the American Airlines Arena , Miami , Florida. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/Victor Baldizon ...............

 

 

 

 

One   might  suggest  that    we  can   overlook   Wade’s   feats    as    he’s   playing   on   a  team  that’s  not   necessarily    viewed   championship  caliber   material.  But   I’d   hasten   to  add    the  way  that   this   team  is  playing  and   given  the   confidence   being   shown  by  the  player.  They    might   well   be  a  danger   to  any  of the  top   contenders  within  the  Eastern   Conference   at  this  juncture.     And   though  the   talk   throughout  much  of the  season   has   been  the  play   of  LeBron   James ,  Kobe  Bryant and   Dwight  Howard.   I’d  say  personally    that   we   ought to  broaden   our   horizons   beyond  that   triumvirate.  To  ignore   Wade   at this   juncture   would  be   akin  to  stating  that   Jack  Nicholson’s   role  of  Randle Patrick  Murphy  in  “One  Flew  Over The Cuckoo’s  Nest”  wasn’t  an  Oscar  worthy portrayal.    But  then  again  the   adjudicators  of   this   award   have  been   known  to  make  mistakes.   And   at  this   juncture    I  think  that  we  can  leave  it at  that.   To   pursue  that  road   and  to  stake  a  claim  as   to   the  mistakes  that’ve  been  made    would   take   far too  long   to   discuss  the  merits   to  anyone’s  satisfaction.  Suffice to  say  it’s  a   subject   best  left  untouched.

 

Jermaine O'Neal of  the  Miami  Heat  blocks  the  shot  of  a  Celtics'  player  during  the  game.
Jermaine O'Neal of the Miami Heat blocks the shot of a Celtics' player during the game. The Heat would go on to defeat the Celtics 107-99. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Victor Baldizon ..............

 

 

 

 

As   to  Wade’s   own   play  this   season     one   can   say  that  we’ve  seen a   rebirth   of  the  player.  He’s   rejuvenated  and   coming   off  an   impressive   Olympic   display.   One  can   say  what  we’re  now  seeing   …..”  is  The  Flash  of  old “.    And   in  no  way   is  that  meant  to   demean  the   exploits  of   his   peers  at   this   juncture.  Each  of  them   in  their   own   right  are   having   outstanding   seasons.   But it’d  be  a  gross  injustice   if  Wade   were  not   to   be  considered  in  the   voting  process  at this   time.   And  I’m   sure   if  anything  that   the other    contenders   mentioned   have   their  own   supporters  and  arguments   are   being   made  why  their  choice   ought to  be  considered.   However  at the  end   of the  day    the  choice   won’t   be  made    by   you  or  I.  But   by     those   who  are   believed  to be   more   insightful   and  with   more   of  a  keen  sense   as  to what  is  being  sought    and    warrants   being  the  regular  season  league  MVP.  The   award   has  been   one   by   litany  of  the  league’s  best  players  over  the   years ,   some   more    warranted  than  others.

 

 

Erik Spoelstra coach of  the Miami  Heat   speaks  to  his players  before  the  game  against the  Boston Celtics played  at the American Airlines  Arena, Miami, Florida,.
Coach Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat speaks with his players before the game played against the Boston Celtics. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Victor Baldizon ................

 

 

As  to  Wade’s  own  standing  within   the  NBA .  It  has   to be   said   that   he  is   one  of  the  elite   players    within  the  league   whose    bravado   on  the  court   is  unquestioned.   Night  in  , night   out  his   game  is   of  a  consistently   high  level.  And   he  tends  to  lead   by   example.   One  can  only  surmise   how   good   the   Miami  Heat  might   be   were   he   complemented  with  a  group  of  players  who   possessed   his   passion   for   the   game.  And  who   also  are  willing   to    play  at    that   heightened    level.

 

Celtics' coach  Glenn 'Doc'  Rivers  speaks  with  his   point  guard  Stephon  Marbury    during the  game.
Glenn 'Doc' Rivers coach of the Boston Celtics speaks with his point guard Stephon Marbury during the game against the Miami Heat. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Victor Baldizon ............

 

 

 

 

 

 

The  Miami  Heat (35-29)  are  chasing   a  playoff  spot  under   first  year  coach  Erik  Spoelstra.  One  might  hasten  to  add that   President  and GM Pat Riley  is  waiting  in the  wings. But   I  sincerely   doubt  that  he’d  be  willing  to   rain   on Spoelstra’s   parade.  And  as  much  as   we   know  that  Riley   craves the   limelight . Even   he  wouldn’t   have  the   temerity  to  derail   his   young   protégé’s  ambitions.  Would  he  ?

 

 

The Miami  Heat's  Dwyane  Wade contests  a loose   ball  with the  Boston Celtics' Mikki  Moore  during  the  game.
The Maimi Heat's Dwyane Wade contests a loose ball with the Boston Celtics' Mikki Moore during the game. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Victor Baldizon ..................

  

 

And  with  the   standings   being  what  they  are  in  the  Eastern Conference.  The   Miami  Heat   it  can  be  said  are   sitting   pretty   in  the   fifth  spot.   A  favorable   matchup   against  the  Atlanta  Hawks   would  look   mighty   tempting  were  those   standings  to hold  up  at the  end  of  regular  season.  But   as such  the  games   aren’t  played  in the  minds  of  the   fans   but  on  the   court  and   are   played   out  to   the  end. If  nothing  else  we know   that   making   presumptions   are   not   in  anyone’s   best   interests.    And  the  case   can  also   be  made   when  it  comes  to   adjudicating   the   league  MVP  as  far  as   the  NBA  is  concerned.

 

 

 

  Continue reading “He Stoops To Conquer ………..”

I’m Not Stylin’ I’m Just Wild About My Team ………………

 
 
 

I’m Not  Stylin’  I’m Just Wild   About  My  Team  …..

 

 

 

Is  it  appropriate that  an  owner   ought to be   calling  his  team  out in   public ? Even  if  they’re  playing well  or  not  ?   I  was  always  under  the  impression   that    sort  of  things   is  best  left  to  the  coaching  staff. Or  if anything   the  right  course of action  to  be  taken  is for  the   owner  to  speak   with  the  coach   and  his  staff  and   relate  to   them   his concerns.

 

 

Dirk  Nowitzki  of  the  Dallas  Mavericks drives to the  basket  whilst   trying  to  evade the defensive play  of the Hornets'  David West .
Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks drives to the basket whilst trying to evade the defensive play of the Hornets' David West. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Layne Murdoch ............

 

  

My  reasons   for  asking  the   questions   pertain  to  the  actions  of  Dallas  Mavericks’ owner Mark  Cuban.   In   doing   so   once   again   he   embarrasses   himself   and  the  organization.   OK  so they   lost   a    game  where  their    performance  was  less  than  adequate.   And   he  may  well   have  a  right   to  be  perturbed.   As  too  have  the   fans  but   in  all  honesty   denigrating    his   players   whilst    not  apportioning  any of  the  blame   on  the   coaching  staff    does    rather  smack   of   stupidity  and  a   great   deal  of  immaturity  as  well.  One   statement   that  can  be  attributed  to   Cuban   directly    was  that    if  the   team   continued  to   play  in   such  a  similar   vein   then  he’d  go  ahead  and  gut the  whole   roster  rather   than  have the  fans   endure  anymore  of  the  same”.

 

 

82991457LM000_MAVS_HORNETS
David West of the New Orleans Hornet grabs the defensive rebound and deprives the Mavericks' Jose Barea of the offensive play. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/Layne Murdoch ..........

 

 

The  lingering   doubt   that   has   always   concerned  the  Dallas  Mavericks   is  their  lack  of    heart.   They’re   often    viewed  as   one   of  the more  softer  teams  within  the  NBA.   And  it  certainly   hasn’t   been   lost   on  many   who’ve   witnessed  their   play  over  the  years.   They’re  gifted   in  the    fact that    they  may well  possess  two  of  the  more marquee   players   within   the  NBA  in    Dirk  Nowitzki  and    Jason  Kidd.   However   the  team  as  a  whole    though    not   physically   imposing  can   play   with a   great deal  of aplomb  when  they  set    their    minds  to  it.   However  the  fact of  the  matter  is that   much  of  the  time   they’re  all   too   inconsistent   in their   play.   And  it  certainly   hasn’t  helped   their  cause as   of  late  that  they’ve    seen  a  resurgent   San  Antonio Spurs  and     a  New  Orleans  Hornets  teams   that   has   rediscovered  its   desire.   And   within  the  Southwest  Conference  standing   this   hasn’t  exactly   bode  well   for  the  Mavericks  at this   juncture.   They  sit behind   the  Spurs , Hornets and  the  Houston  Rockets at  present. 

 

 

Hornets'  point  guard  Chris Paul who once again led his  team  to a win and who  had  an  exhilerating   night  terms  of  his  play and  productivity.   picture appears  courtesy of  nbae/getty images/ Layne  Murdoch .........
Hornets' point guard Chris Paul who once again led his team to win and whose own performance on the night in the team's victory over the Mavericks was exhilerating. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Layne Murdoch ............

 

 

 

Though   now  seated  as  the  eighth   seed   in   the  Western  Conference  standings.  Were  the  playoffs to  start  today    their   fortunes  as it is  would  lay  in their  own  hands.  But  having   to  take   on the   presumptive   favorites  within  the   conference     in  the  Los  Angeles  Lakers   would  undoubtedly   prove   to  be  an   ominous   task. As  well as  they’re  thought  to  be  playing    Cuban   has  felt   that    they’ve  just   not   been    playing  well  enough.  If anything   he   should  be questioning   the    approach  of  the  coaching   staff and  their    failure   to   communicate    with   the  players. \

 In  Rick  Carlisle   he    possesses   one   of  the  better   but   yet   one   of  the  more   understated   coaches   within  the NBA.   His  pedigree  is  one  where   he’s  coached   in Indiana   and  in Detroit .  And   as  a former   player   in  the  NBA  he   does  know  what  it   takes  to  play  at  the  highest  level   within  the  game.  They   say  that  a  team  does   tend  to   take  on the  persona  of  its   coach.  So  if that  is   indeed the   case  then  Cuban’s  tirade   if  anything    ought  to  be  directed  at  his  coach.   Albeit  that   it  is the   players   who  are  on the  court   playing   the   game.  It’s   from the   coach   that the  players   indeed   get their   instructions  and  the  strategy  that’s entailed  for   a game.  And   even  if  the  players aren’t   always   held   accountable    for the  results .  All  too   often   in the  end   it’s  the coach   that  often   ends    up  baring  the   brunt   of  the  blame. 

 

 

 

Jason  Terry of  the Mavericks  attempts to  drive  past  the Hornets' Devin Brown .........
Jason Terry of the Dallas Mavericks attempts to drive past the Hornets' Devin Brown. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Layne Murdoch ..............

 

 

 

Mark   Cuban   has often     been   known   to  direct     his  animus   at   the   officials   and  at times    directly  at the  game’s  hierarchy.  And   the  fines   borne   by  him  over the years  have  been   enough   to  build  several  large    family  homes.   And   to  a  billionaire   like  Cuban   money   is   afterall   no   option.  When  you’re  said  to  be  worth   in  excess  of   $2.6bn   and   ranked   at   #161  of  Forbes’  400 Richest  Americans.  A  paltry  fine  of   a  couple  of  hundred  thousand   is  minimal  when  it’s  all   said  and  done.  And  as  his  tirade   isn’t  directed at  anyone  within  the   game’s   hierarchy   this  time   around   he  hasn’t    really   anything   to  worry  about  .  Other  than   that  of  his   own   gigantic   ego  and   how  he’s   viewed  as  a  whole   by  the   fans  and   public  at  large.  But  in  reality   Mark  Cuban   has  never   really   been  all  that  worried   what  anyone   thinks about  him.   His   concerns    are  directed  at   the  things that  he  can   control  and  the  empire   he  purveys.  And  if  nothing   else   in Cuban’s   fiefdom   his  word  is  final   mo  matter  whether or  not   he’s   right   or  wrong.  The  narcissist   in  him  wouldn’t   have  it  any  other  way.

 

 

Hornets'  point guard  Chris Paul  drives  past   both  Jason Kidd  and Dirk  Nowitzki   of  the  Mavericks  as  he  makes  his  way  to the  basket  with  the  layup . The   Hornets  would  go  on to  win the  game  decisively  104-88  in the  game  played  in the New Orleans Arena, New Orleans, Louisiana .  picture  appears  courtesy  of nbae/getty images/ Layne  Murdoch .............
Hornets' point guard drives past both Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki of the Mavericks as he makes his way to the basket for the layup. The Hornets would go on to win the game decisively 104-88 . The game itself was played in the New Orleans Arena , New Orleans, Louisiana . picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/Layne Murdoch ..............

 

 

 

  Continue reading “I’m Not Stylin’ I’m Just Wild About My Team ………………”