It Takes A Big Man To Admit When He’s Made A Mistake………. It Takes An Even Bigger Man To Apologize ……….

It Takes A Big Man To Admit When He’s Made A Mistake………. It Takes An Even Bigger Man To Apologize ……….

Well now that the overtures to Michigan State’s __ Tom Izzo have been rebuffed by the famed coach. It would appear that the logical step for the Cleveland Cavaliers’ organization would be for team owner Dan Gilbert and his GM Chris Grant to consult the team’s star player LeBron James and get some sort of idea as to what the player’s immediate plans are. In not having a firm commitment from the player as to his intentions concerning his impending free agency status. It has in effect left the Cavaliers in limbo , unable to land a coach for the team . Never mind the fact that the NBA Draft is looming. And given the needs of the team , it has to be their ultimate priority to have a coach in place before the draft takes place.

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Slide show gallery for your perusal .

With Avery Johnson having accepted the vacant position with the New Jersey Nets . It appears that the pickings out there for a tried and proven NBA coach are ever so thin ! One seriously doubts that the Cavaliers would hire former Atlanta Hawks’ coach Mike Woodson . And the only other alternative might be in approaching another high profiled college coach. Often thought of as a “perfect fit” would be John Calipari , coach of the University of Kentucky Wildcats . Though we know of no outright approach from the Cavaliers the speculation has always been there that Calipari would welcome a return to the NBA. Signs are , that likelihood isn’t about to happen but one can never tell with someone like Calipari. Leaving the Wildcats so abruptly would certainly give credence that he’s nothing more than a mercenary willing to parlay his services to the highest bidder. But given what we know from Calipari’s previous stops during his professional coaching career , controversy has never been far behind. So why stop now , were he to leave Kentucky ?

One name that still remains out there is that of former Nets and New Orleans Hornets’ coach Byron Scott. What we do know, is that Scott can coach and were it not for the injuries that befell the team during the season .One felt that he would not have been fired by Jeff Bowers who as the team’s general manager would succeed Scott and assume the role as coach. Scott, however, may well be waiting to see what transpires with the Los Angeles Lakers and the possibility of the team’s current coach , Phil Jackson , retiring. That scenario would seem fitting should the legendary coach win his “eleventh” NBA title and then seek to ride off into the sunset. While we know that Jackson’s coaching assistants are either former players who played under him as a coach with the Chicago Bulls and Lakers . Lakers’ GM Mitch Kupchak in conjunction with team owner Dr Jerry Buss may well be very reticent to appoint someone within the organization. Especially given the fact that neither Brian Shaw or Jim Cleamons has ever coached within the NBA before. So one could assume that Scott would be the right candidate and a welcome choice amongst the Lakers’ faithful. But that would of course be predicated upon Jackson retiring and Scott being offered the vacant position.

Well all the talk of the Tampa Bay Rays running away with the AL East seems to have been tempered by the mere fact that the New York Yankees have made sure that the Rays’ lead has been eroded from 5 1/2 games to a mere 1/2 a game as of yesterday. And if you think that the Rays are out of the woods as of yet then you’d be sadly mistaken. The Tampa Bay Rays’ schedule hasn’t been made any easier with them having to face NL hosts the Atlanta Braves and Florida Marlins away from home is series of games of six at the Turner Field Atlanta and at Sun Life Stadium , Miami. Three games against each of these teams wherein a win is very much “a must” if their hope is to remain ahead of the Yankees rather than relinquishing their divisional lead. Certainly the Rays are playing well enough to warrant the notice that they’ve been getting and if anything it has been justified that they are the best team in the big leagues at present. But you knew that it was only a matter of time before the Yankees would be bearing down upon them and the Rays would be looking over their shoulders with increasing regularity.

Well now it’s time for the Tampa Bay Rays to show their mettle and that they aren’t afraid of their more famed rivals from the Bronx. Certainly the Rays are showing and playing as if they are the best team in majors at present . But as every Yankees’ fans will tell you , you’re not the best ’til you take them down and win a World Series . And that’s something that we all know that the Rays have yet to achieve. Though they came close in 2008 they were eventually beaten by the Philadelphia Phillies with relative ease, in a rather lopsided 4-1 series win.

Certainly yesterday’s 10-4 victory over the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field in front of a sparse crowd was enough to suggest that the 2010 roster of the Rays is a far more “resilient team than the one that went to the World Series in 2008. And no one the team seems to be epitomizing that more than Rays’ pitcher David Price . He’s the AL’s first ten game winner having posted a 10-2 record with a 2.31 ERA , 64 K’s and 1 shutout. Certainly enough to make team manager Joe Maddon and his coaching staff very happy. And if that sort of resolve can be shown throughout the team then there shouldn’t be any reason to fear for the Rays. But the caveat has and always will be what will the Yankees do come the trade deadline. As you can always be sure that they’re not about to stand still when it comes to bolstering their roster .

Budgetary constraints place the Tampa Bay Rays in an unenviable position. For Maddon and the Rays’ front office this has to be frustrating. Rays’ GM Andrew Friedman and principal general partner Stuart Sternberg having to operate under the most restrictive of budgetary constraints. They can only sit and admire the way in which the Yankees can essentially spend at will . With the impending trade deadline (31st July) being just over six weeks away you can be sure that a number of teams that are contention will be looking to bolster their rosters. Unfortunately , unless the Rays can get a player on the “cheap” then they won’t be part-taking in the feeding frenzy , come the trade deadline. It’s a struggle for the Rays to get in excess of 15,000 fans in attendance at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida. Never mind the asinine notion that a “new ballpark” in downtown Tampa would ease the pain of travel and make it all the more amenable for fans to attend a game. The studies conducted haven’t proven , anything other than the fact that a fool and his money are easily parted. The organization has a winning product and brand on the fieldi right now but the fans still don’t come out in droves to support the team . So why would anyone be under the misapprehension that spending taxpayers’ monies to build a ballpark would make a blind bit of difference ? The only way that will happen will be that attendance may well spike will be because of the curiosity factor a new venue. Once that wears off see how fast that the attendance would start to dwindle.

As I alluded to earlier , while some teams will stand pat during the run off up to the trade deadline. Teams in contention for the postseason will be looking to bolster their respective team rosters. And if as rumored the Yankees are eying Mariners’ pitching ace Cliff Lee. Let me say this just once and once only …….should the Yankees acquire Lee then you can write off the Rays’ chances of winning the AL East. And they might be hard pressed to gain a wildcard berth as well. As good as they are at present they will have to raise their game considerably in the postseason.

Now as the NBA Finals are about to reach its climax with a seventh game series changing decider. The Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics will look to usurp and finally try to overcome each other. As good as this series has appeared to be, for myself, I must admit that I haven’t at all been enthralled by the events ! Some of the games have been sloppy and the play execution has been labored and mundane. A long and arduous season of 82 regular season games tends to take its toll on the players as well as the fans . The expectations for the NBA Finals are always high but when they fall short we can only blame the players and the two teams participating. We won’t be hearing any profound apologies from David Stern or from anyone within the NBA hierarchy when the finals have been something of a disappointment.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

As for Dan Gilbert, it remains to be seen what his next step will be . But it’s now becoming clear as the founder of Quicken Loans , he may well have been a profound businessman. As an NBA owner his instincts and choices have left a great deal to be desired. Numerous gaffes on his as well as Danny Ferry’s part and the Cleveland Cavaliers now appear to be on the cusp of being what they were in the pre LeBron era. No apologies there however but then again what would you expect ? This is Cleveland we’re witnessing where winning isn’t in that city’s psyche. If anything it would prove to be catatonic for them and the city were they to win something at this juncture.

Alan Parkins aka tophatal …………….

Usher ……. feat’g Nicki Minaj ………….“Lil Freak”

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 ...............

 

 

 

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