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Fantasy College Basketball

Fantasy sports has taken over this country, surpassing baseball as America’s pastime (I’m only partially joking). But as popular as college sports are, fantasy sports haven’t been able to catch on because of NCAA rules and blah, blah, blah. But being a resourceful man, I’ve come up with a solution!

Since you still can’t use player names, fantasy college basketball has to be restricted to team play. The rules are (relatively) simple: find 4-19 other friends and follow the following rules:

  • Split up the schools between all of the players in a snake-style draft. The suggested amount of schools chosen is about 75, although you can go as high as you’d like. I’d just suggest against splitting up teams from all 31 Division I conferences, since it’d take about 3 weeks to complete the draft.

Regular Season Points

  • Wins get you 1 point.
  • Conference wins double your win’s point value.
  • Beating the #1 team in the nation multiplies your win value by 20.
  • Beating a top-5 team multiplies your win value by 10.
  • Beating a top-10 team multiplies your win value by 5.
  • Beating a top-25 team multiplies your win value by 2.

Conference Tournaments

  • Losing in the finals of the Big East, Big Ten, ACC, Big 12, Pac 12, or SEC gets you 10 points.
  • Winning a major conference tournament gets you 20 points.
  • Losing in the finals of a minor conference gets you 5 points.
  • Winning a minor conference tournament gets you 10 points.

March Madness Seeding

  • Making the tournament as a 1-seed gets you 64 points.
  • Making the tournament as a 2-seed gets you 60 points.
  • …and so on…
  • Making the tournament as a 15-seed gets you 8 points.
  • Making the tournament as a 16-seed gets you 4 points.

March Madness Games

  • Winning a Play In Game gets you 2 points.
  • Winning in the Round of 64 gets you 5 points.
  • Winning in the Round of 32 gets gets you 10 points.
  • Winning in the Sweet Sixteen gets you 20 points.
  • Winning in the Elite Eight gets you 40 points.
  • Winning in the Final Four gets you 80 points.
  • Winning the NCAA Championship gets you 160 points.
  • Winning as an underdog gets you [100+10(Difference in seeding)]% the amount of points for that round.
  • Buzzer Beater wins give you 1.5 times the amount of points.

For example, if North Carolina F#40 wins the Play of the Year Award your team would get 80 points.

Awards

  • A player on your team winning the Play of the Year Award gets you 80 points.
  • Each one of your players finishing as an All-America gets you 40 points.

Scandals

  • If your school is in a recruiting scandal, you get 10 points.
  • If your school is in an illegal benefits scandal, you get 15 points.
  • If your school is in a child molestation scandal, you get 20 points.
  • If your coach is fired mid-season, you get 25 points.
  • For each game of suspension, you get 1 point.

Trades

  • You can trade teams at any time, although you forfeit all rights to that team (all previous points go to the new owner).
  • If half the league vetoes the trade within two days, the trade is nixed and all points return to the previous owner.

Since this isn’t online, and I don’t plan on making a program any time soon, you’ll just have to calculate your scores for yourself. Go crazy, and draft as soon as possible before too much of the season is done.

 

The League:

Andy: Vanderbilt, Illinois, Indiana, Georgetown, Xavier, Cleveland St.

Ben: Duke, Texas, Ohio., Washington, New Mexico, Murray St.

Chris: Virginia, Georgia, Kentucky, Cincinnati, Villanova, VCU

Colin: Virginia Tech, Michigan St., Stanford, Syracuse, BYU, George Mason

Daniel: Baylor, Oregon St., Memphis, Saint Louis, Detroit, Old Dominion

John: North Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Kansas St, West Virginia, Creighton

Kevin: St. John’s, St. Joseph’s, St. Bonaventure, St. Mary’s, Santa Clara, Mount St. Mary’s

Mitch: Georgia Tech, Mississippi St., Wisconsin, Arizona, Connecticut, Iona

Reed: Michigan, Minnesota, Purdue, Missouri, Louisville, Dayton

Tate: Kansas, California, Pittsburgh, Gonzaga, San Diego St., Temple

Tommy: Florida State, Ohio State, UCLA, Notre Dame, Harvard, Butler

Tucker: LSU, Florida, Texas A&M, Northwestern, Marquette, UNLV

Categories: College Basketball | 2 Comments

NBA Draftermath: Getting to the Point

Many people like to say that love is a battlefield. I, however, like to think of the basketball court as a battlefield.

You need to out-duel the opponent, which is best done with teamwork and preparation rather than a loose group of rogue combatants. The field general in nearly every scenario is the point guard making him the most important player on the court.

The field general is not the most powerful soldier. In most cases, you won’t see him shed a drop of blood–but he calls the shots. Likewise, the point guard is rarely the leading scorer on his team–just four teams’ leading scorers played the point last year–but they are the primary ball-handler and distributor.

These generals need three key characteristics: poise under pressure, an ability to make teammates better, and most importantly the winning gene. A sweet shooting stroke is nice. Behind-the-back, no-look passes are nice. But what really matters is the ability to put your team on your back when it matters most and just flat out win the ballgame.

So as the newest draft class enters the now-locked out National Basketball Association, there is, as always, wild chatter about who the biggest flop will be, which team got the best sleeper, and how on Earth you pronounce those Lithuanian forwards’ names (it’s phonetic).

No one can be certain what these players’ futures hold, but what we can do is break down each player’s game to see what will best translate to the next level. The Class of 2011 had four point guards taken in the top ten: Duke’s Kyrie Irving, Kentucky’s Brandon Knight, UConn’s Kemba Walker, and BYU’s Jimmer Fredette. The draft as a whole was weak, but I believe the class of 1-guards has some potential. At least, some of the point guards have potential. Let’s dive in.

Kyrie Irving

I wonder if Kyrie will be as good as the last Cavs' #1 pick...

I wonder if Kyrie will be as good as the last Cavs' #1 pick...

Eleven games in college or not, there was little doubt on my behalf that this young man was worthy of the first overall selection in this June’s NBA Draft. He’s got NBA size, NBA vision, and NBA quickness. What’s even more impressive is that he joined a Duke squad fresh off a National Championship with two senior leaders (Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler), yet instantly became the definitive leader and scorer for the team.

Irving withstood a freak toe injury that left him out until March Madness, but when he returned, he seemed to have barely skipped a beat. In just 20 minutes, he scored 14 points on 4-8 shooting (2-2 from three and 4-4 free throws) with 4 rebounds, an assist, 2 steals, and a block in a 42-point romp of Hampton. Irving followed that performance with an 11-2-3-1 line, including shooting 9-10 from the charity stripe. Irving cemented himself as the clear-cut number one pick when he dropped 28 points in 31 minutes–shooting 9-15, 2-4, and 8-9–in Duke’s Sweet Sixteen exit to Arizona.

Yes, the case can be made that entering Irving into Duke’s lineup upset the team’s chemistry with Smith’s suddenly uncertain role off the ball, but that was much more to do with his prolonged absence than any problem with his attitude. At the start of the season, the offense flowed straight through the freshman guard. He was a true leader in every sense of the word: he’s a great distributor, he made every single one of his teammates better, and rarely forced unnecessarily risky passes. Overall, it’s just hard to poke holes in his game.

Kyrie isn’t athletic like former number one selections Derrick Rose and John Wall, but he can more than make up for it with his great quick burst to the basket and elite shooting (he was a 50-40-90 shooter in his limited collegiate career). Irving is most effective when he drives to the left side, but scoring isn’t his biggest threat–he’s most dangerous when he gets his teammates involved.

What makes Irving special is not what makes him unique–there’s not much that separates him from the upper tier of point guards. What makes Irving so great is that he’s such a safe pick–there’s no way he fails in the NBA. We’ve seen his skill set translate to success so many times before (Chris Paul, Andre Miller, and Raymond Felton just to name a few). He’s probably the safest pick in the draft because he will be a very productive pro–likely All-Star caliber, however, with the abundance of great young point guards he may not make too many All-Star appearances–but at the same time he has the potential of a top-5 one-guard.

From what we’ve seen at Duke and just his play in general, we can see that he gets it. He’s a true leader and embraces the team aspect of basketball. As soon as he stepped onto the court, he made each and every one of his teammates more dangerous, and was never afraid of the spotlight at one of college basketball’s biggest programs. Kyrie Irving is the type of player I want in my foxhole. He’s the guy I want on my team.

Brandon Knight

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If you had to trust any type of rookie point guard, wouldn't it be a Calipari one?

Derrick Rose. Tyreke Evans. John Wall. Brandon Knight? The next player in a succession of John Calipari-coached one-and-done guards has arrived, so we can pen him in for a Rookie of the Year, right? Not so fast.

Ranked as high as #1 by Rivals.com recruiting, Knight has been closely monitored for the longest time. Immediately as a freshman at Kentucky, he was handed the keys to the Caddy, but the start was a bit rough for him.

In his first seven games, Knight averaged 17 points per game, but totaled just 21 points in losses to UConn and UNC on 29% shooting. Worse yet, he had just 23 assists to 33 turnovers. While the turnover problem slowly started to fade as the season progressed, it reared its ugly head again in the NCAA tournament when he maintained a 17-16 assist-to-turnover ratio against non-Ivy League schools. Therein lies Knight’s problem: he’s not a true point guard.

As a pure scorer alone, Brandon Knight is very impressive. While he can be streaky at times, he’s already fairly reliable from NBA-3-point range and is great in the penetrate-and-kick game thanks to an explosive first step. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have shooting guard size. And he is not a shooting guard. I’m afraid that Brandon Knight is actually a combo guard.

Can you win with a combo guard? Sure. My preferences for point guards aren’t the end-all-be-all, and if in the right scenario, a combo guard can lead a team to a championship. But it’s so much harder.

Positions aside, there’s one thing Knight does do extremely well: he’s cool under pressure. By the end of the season, if the Wildcats were down a bucket in the waning seconds of the game, everybody new who was taking the shot–Brandon Knight. He became so steady at the end of games that even announcers would start to call it “Knight Time.”

There’s a lot to like about Brandon Knight. He’s smart, he’s mature, and he has all the skills in the world. But I’m not sure how much better he makes his teammates. With potentially the most talented roster in the NCAA, he flopped in the biggest game of the season when he jacked up 23 shots and finishing with just 17 points. Not only that, but he had 5 assists to 3 turnovers and took just two free throws. Taking 37% of your team’s shots is fine if you can score in flurries, but that’s not who Brandon Knight is.

I know it’s just one season, and I know he’s just 19, but I don’t see it in Brandon Knight. He didn’t step up when the light shined brightest, and I don’t really think he made his teammates too much better. I’m not even sure if he’s a winner as much as he is a stat sheet guy. One check out of three doesn’t work for me. I’m passing on Brandon Knight.

Kemba Walker

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Every team can use a tenacious leader with a winning mentality, especially the Bobcats.

When asked how to describe himself, Kemba Walker said, “Character, leadership, just heart. All New York City point guards are just tough.” Better words could not have been spoken.

Kemba Walker is one tough dude. I’ll get straight to the point and say that he is a warrior, a leader, and flat out winner. His size (6’1″) doesn’t stop him. His less-than-efficient shooting doesn’t get in his way. Because when the lights shine brightest on the biggest stage, Kemba is always there.

To say the least, UConn’s 2011 Men’s Basketball team was not that high on talent. After Walker, there really wasn’t much to work with. Jeremy Lamb may eventually be a first-round pick, and Alex Oriakhi is a serviceable big man, but there’s a reason why this team did not start the season in the AP Top 25: on paper, they are a really thin team. So off set Kemba Walker to prove to the world just how good his team actually was.

At the Maui Invitational, UConn looked really overmatched. With then-number 2 Michigan State and number 9 Kentucky, UConn was a small fish in a tank of sharks. So how did Kemba respond? 30 points per game, a 54-42-93 shooting line, a 12-6 assist-to-turnover ratio, and more importantly three tough wins.

By the end of the regular season, Connecticut was really being knocked around. A shaky 9-9 record in the brutal Big East didn’t help their 21-9 record, but a strong Big East Tournament run would really have helped their seeding in March Madness. Kemba’s move? Five big wins in five short days in which they played higher ranked opponents in four of the games. Again, Kemba stepped up under pressure for 26 ppg while shooting 47% from the field while gave us the coolest buzzer-beater of the year.

Kemba had already lighted up Madison Square Garden, ran through the Big East Tournament, and put himself square in the middle of the Player of the Year conversation, but this was truly the time for him to shine. Did he come through again? I guess you can just ask the net from the National Championship and President Obama.

When the stars shine brightest, you can bet Kemba Walker will be there. In the biggest six-game series of his life, Kemba put up 23.5 points, 5.7 assists, and 6 rebounds, missing just four free throws the entire tournament.

The man is electric fast. The man is clutcher than Kirk Gibson on a broken leg. The man was able to take a ragtag team to a 14-0 record on neutral court and a National Championship. If nothing else, he’s a winner.

There are some doubts that Kemba will ever make an All-Star Game. He’s small for a point guard. He’s shown flashes of being a scorer more than a distributor. But I can see past his small blemishes to see the bigger picture–he has the one thing you can never doubt in any sports: the Heart of a Champion

Jimmer Fredette

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No, Jimmer is not a good comp to (enter white basketball player's name here).

There’s not a single player in the last decade of college basketball who has received as much hype as Jimmer Fredette. Did Jimmer Mania grow to such outrageous proportions because he’s the first white player to dominate the sport in years? Is it because he is one of the few players not to leave after his first season for greener pastures in the NBA? Or maybe it’s just because he has a strangely captivating name and a rarely duplicated game.

I know, I know, how could anyone hate the great Jimmer Fredette? He took BYU, of all schools, to a 32-5 record while scoring 28.5 ppg. But I’m here to burst your bubble. Because Jimmer will not be a good pro.

What if I gave you an offer for a player to add to your team. He doesn’t play defense, he won’t rebound, and he’ll take a third of your total shots. Even if he shoots the lights out, that doesn’t sound like a great team player in my books.

What if I told you now that he’s only 6’2″, can’t jump, is rather slow, and doesn’t see the floor well. Now you’re cornered. You’ve got a shooting guard in a point guard’s body. He can’t defend 2-guards, but he doesn’t have the requisite skills to play the point.

One of the telling signs about Jimmer’s future was in the draft telecast itself. Where it said “Versitile Scorer” for Kyrie Irving, “Defensive Potential” for Brandon Knight, and “Tough Competitor” for Kemba Walker, it said “Capable Passer” for Jimmer. No, not “Good Passer.” Just capable. I’m a capable Bio student. That doesn’t put me in the top level in anything. And a “Capable Passer” won’t put you in anyone’s starting lineup.

With those shots being fired, I do think there’s a place for Jimmer in this league. Just take a look at not-quite-6′ J.J. Barea, who played a vital role in the Mavericks’ championship run. Every team needs a burst of offense off the bench, and I think Jimmer can play a Eddie House-type role. Good enough to help you if his jumper is falling, but if he’s cold, you can just yank him from the game.

I really wish that Jimmer had been drafted by Utah. He could have slid right into that Eddie House role behind Devin Harris with the entire state of Utah behind him. But, no. He ended up in the worst scenario possible: Sacramento.

The last thing Jimmer needed was to be put under this kind of pressure. Already with the pressure to be the next Great White Star–whether or not we accept that this is what we want him to be–he was moved to a team that needs a turnaround city to avoid moving to SoCal. Worse yet, he has been placed with the worst set of teammates to match his style.

Sacramento drafted Jimmer because they needed a point guard to take over now that it’s clear Tyreke Evans isn’t a point guard. The problem is, Jimmer isn’t a true point guard. Jimmer needs his shots to be effective, and so does Tyreke. And DeMarcus Cousins. And Marcus Thornton. And when they don’t get their share of shots, the group of 20-some year olds will pout.

Jimmer is not a point guard. He cannot distribute. He doesn’t make his teammates better. And now that he’s not being fed a steady diet of Vermont, UTEP, and Buffalo, I’m certain he doesn’t have the Winning Gene.

I’ve looked at his game up and down, and I just don’t see a place for Jimmer in this league as a starting point guard. The eighth man on a contender? Maybe. But not worth the tenth pick in any draft.

Categories: College Basketball, NBA | 4 Comments

Running Diary: A Carolina Basketball Bonanza

6:50 PM: Tonight is a big night for Carolina basketball; first on the plate will be the Charlotte Bobcats traveling to take on the Indiana Pacers. But that’s just the appetizer. We’ve got a treat tonight with the Tobacco Trail rivalry renewed. The Tar Heels are back in the Top 25 (at least the coaches poll) and we should be in for a great one.

6:52: Fun fact of the day….Sachel Paige was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971 today. Happy Black History Month, everyone!

6:54: Dell Curry and Steve Martin are pouring praise on Eduardo Najera. He has just 4.5 point and 2.5 rebounds in 20 minutes over the last two games! That’s horrible! Please get this guy off the court…

6:56: Charlotte will be without Kwame Brown because of a death in his family. I never thought I’d say this, but boy Kwame will be missed tonight!

Keep your eyes on these BFF's tonight.

Keep your eyes on these BFF's tonight.

6:57: We’ve got 1 Tarheel (Tyler Hansbrough) along with 4 Dukies in the building tonight (Gerald Henderson, Josh McRoberts, Mike Dunleavy, and Dahntay Jones). Also, Shaun Livingston committed to Duke before entering the draft straight out of high school.

7:05: The Bobcats are gonna be really short on big men tonight…. Tyrus Thomas, Kwame, and Gana Diop are all out, so be prepared for a lot of Boris Diaw, Naz, and Derrick Brown. Dear God, please no Najera!

7:07: Every time I see Brook Lopez or Roy Hibbert go up against the Cats I always cringe. Which draft day disaster was worse: taking DJ Augustin over Lopez or trading for the #20 pick to draft Alexis Ajinca or Hibbert and ending up with Hibbert?

7:09: Charlotte really needs a win tonight. They’re only a half game out of the eighth seed and another game out of the seventh seed. If you’re gonna make the playoffs, you absolutely have to beat the Pacers.

7:10: Another funny story…Matt Carroll almost missed the game because his chauffeur was pulled over for speeding to the airport. But that’s not all. He didn’t have a license and his windows were tinted to dark. Oh, the pain of a millionaire….

7:11 Bobcats win the tip-off, DJ misses a fadeaway, but Naz is able to tip it to Jack for a 2. Indy misses and Jack hits a three. Then DJ hits a three. 8-0 Cats.

7:13: How funny is it that the ACC all-time leading scorer, Tyler Hansbrough, is coming off the bench behind Josh McRoberts? McRoberts couldn’t get anything going at Duke and left for the pros after his sophomore season.

7:14: Who do you want for just this season: Gerald Wallace or Danny Granger? I’m giving the edge to Granger because of his age, scoring ability. It’s certainly close, especially given Crash’s defense, rebounding, and overall drive.

7:15: Indiana has to be the most awkward running team ever. Hibbert and McRoberts cannot run and dribble, and Dunleavy has to be the most immobile 2-guard in the league.

7:17: If you’ve ever wondered how people in Indiana get charged for basketball, its to the song “In the Hall of the Mountain King.” Yup, you heard me right.

7:19: Pacers go on a 14-4 run and suddenly are up 16-14. Bobcats playing sloppy D, giving up the ball too much.

7:21: Oh, not the Pacers are blaring a trumpet rendition of “We’ve Got the Funk.” I’m so happy I live in Charlotte….

7:22: Granger hits two more shots to bring his first quarter total to 7. Cats down 23-18. Still no D, especially from the normally dependable Gerald Wallace.

7:24: Darren Collison is running an up-tempo offense and it is absolutely killing Charlotte. Cats still in striking distance, only down 22-25.

7:26: Pacers and Bobcats both fired tougher coaches this year (Larry Brown and Jim O’Brien) for free-er, looser coaches (Paul Silas and Frank Vogel. Their team’s responses? 6-2 and 4-1 streaks for their respective teams. Maybe if Orlando would just fire Stan Van….

7:29: Ahhh, our first Psycho T and OG sightings! Hansbrough still looks helpless on the rebounding end.

7:31: End of the 1st and the Pacers are up 29-28. Very little defense on either side.

7:34: Livingston and Najera come in to start the second quarter. Already bracing myself for multiple airballs.

7:35: Knee Man draws two quick fouls and short-but-sturdy Sherron Collins comes in to run the point. Boy he is small! (and fat…)

7:37: Jeff Foster looks so strange out there. Maybe its just I’m not used to seeing three white guys on the court not in Duke jerseys.

7:38: The OG gets on the board before Hansbrough with an uncontested layup. Cats trail 34-39, 8:52 left in the second quarter.

7:42: Just checked in on ESPN.com and guess who is last among all players in +/- tonight? Yup, Eduardo @#$%ing Najera…

7:43: I’m not sure if this is the least inspiring basketball music or the most inspiring organ music. Quite the culture shock.

7:46: Pacers continue their hot shooting, pestering D, grow the lead to 8. And Eduardo Najera is still on the floor. That’s the thing I hate most about him–he tries hard and doesn’t get tired. But that’s not a good thing. He tries so hard he ends up airballing threes and layups, blowing coverages, and missing rebounds. He even said “I think (defense is) about the only thing I’ve got left.”

7: 51: Naz isn’t especially effective on defense, but he is competent of offense (ahem, Kwame) and only has one foul.

7:52: DJ has done a great job of penetrating; he has 11 points with 4 minutes and change left in the half. I’d like to see him take more shots, especially with the likes of McGuire, Najera, and Collins getting so many minutes.

7:55: Roy Hibbert is absolutely gigantic. He’s the anti-Greg Monroe — great defender, questionable on offense.

7:57: Collison is absolutely shredding the Bobcats’ D. And some people wonder why Charlotte is down 9.

7:59: If you need an explanation as to why the Bobcats beat the Celtics on Monday and are falling farther and farther behind Indy, they’re 13-13 at home and 9-16 on the road.

8:03: I don’t care if you just made a layup, I never EVER want you to shoot again, Eddy Najera.

8:04: After disappointing first half, the Bobcats trail 58-48. Just unacceptable. Second half adjustments? Get Jack and Crash more involved on offense and maybe try playing tougher defense. Maybe.

8:17: Another key to the second half–score 11 more than the Pacers. But seriously, try to slow the game down and stop Indy from running so much.

8:21: Starters come back to start the second half, and Boris Diaw fouls Hibbert seven seconds in. How auspicious.

8:23: Naz tips back in two straight misses, but Charlotte still isn’t playing defense. 54-62.

8:25: The lower bowl can’t even be half filled. I guess not everyone is as anxious as I am to see Henderson and Hansbrough fight for rebounds.

8:28: Just got an interesting trade idea from my boy Josh … trading for Ron Artest. He’s becoming a cancer out in LA, and Denver already said they don’t want him in a trade for Melo. They might just be desperate to package Artest with a pick to get him out of Orange County.

8:32: Charlotte isn’t adjusting at all to Indy and they’re still down 10. We all know the definition of insanity: trying the same thing over and over and hoping for a different outcome.

8:35: New defensive strategy: make Psycho T shoot jumpers. I think this just might work…

8:37: Random, but I’d love to have Ron Artest as a sideline reporter. I’m sure he’d have some interesting nuggets to add. (Yes, the game is this boring right now).

8:39: Henderson into the game for an energy transfusion. The OG has been incredibly clutch in the last handful of games, let’s see if Charlotte can cut the lead down from 10.

8:41: I have no idea why FOX continues to hype up the Daytona 500. If someone was going to watch it, they’d be at the game, or already know when it is going to happen. No one just says, “Hey, I have nothing to do on February 20th at 1 PM. Maybe I’ll try out NASCAR!”

8:44: Bobcats are really missing their big men, they’re being killed on the glass. Please, come back, Tyrus!

8:46: Not a great third quarter. Late basket by Henderson helped, but they two missed tip-ins in the last few seconds, and those would have been huge. 70-81, 12 minutes to go.

8:48: I’m officially for Duke’s next BEAT EM DOWWWWWWN!!! victim.

8:49: Playoffs or lottery pick… which one would be better. Unless they play Chicago or Atlanta, they have next to no chance of advancing. At the same time, players like John Henson and Jimmer Freddette aren’t nearly as inspiring as the players at the top of the draft board (Jared Sullinger and Kyrie Irving) are.

8:54: Henderson has been playing great, drawing fouls, hitting his shots, and playing stellar D. I’d love to see him, Jack, Crash, and Diaw on the floor together with either PG.

8:56: Cats slowly chipping away by attacking the rim and forcing turnovers. It’s about time, but will they be able to pull off the comeback? 76-85 with two DJ free throws coming, just under 9 to play.

9:01: Shots are finally falling… Jack and Hendo make it 83-89. Plenty of time left to pull this one off.

9:02: Roy Hibbert is wreaking havoc on Charlotte’s “big men.” Najera’s miraculous trey brings the deficit back down to 7.

9:04: Louisville and Notre Dame, what are you doing on ESPN? It’s overtime and the Irish are up by 10. Can we just call this one a night and switch back to Cameron Indoor? Thank you.

9:09: Who are you Eduardo Najera? Why do you keep making these random shots? Cats down just 3…. what a turnaround 5 minutes to go.

9:13: Yeah, not a great start for Duke.

9:15: Roy Williams must be a wizard. He turned the greatest high school basketball player since LeBron James into an average swingman. Boy, Harrison Barnes is getting quite the ovation.

9:16: Jack is left open for the three and nails it. Hint to teams playing the Bobcats: don’t give the man five seconds to put up a three. Cats pull within 2! Never saw this happening at the start of the fourth…

9:18: Big Shot Jack strikes again! Deep two ties the game up at 102. This ending is more entertaining than the start to Duke/Carolina (gasp!).

9:20: I have a feeling the JordanCats are going to lose this one. Eddy Najera is closing out the game again matched up against Hibbert at center.

9:21: Every time they pan to Kyrie, it’s like a shot through the heart. This team would have been all-time great if his toe was never injured. Funny story–I was running indoors yesterday (don’t do it) and tripped over a carpet. I may have broken my toe. I can feel the inner Kyrie in me.

9:23 Huge defensive stop leads to free throws for Gerald Wallace. Down 2, a pair of freebies to go, 29 seconds left. And he misses the first…

9:26: I don’t know if letting the clock running out is the best idea, there won’t be too much time left for a shot.

9:27: That is the single most outrageous ending to a game I’ve ever seen. Jack was blatantly fouled. Utter. Horse. $#%@. Jack was knocked in the chest on the final three. Charlotte would have won.

9:28: I’m sorry, but that’s completely unacceptable. The refs didn’t even check a replay. Jack went up for a shot. And he was nearly tackled. No nothing?

9:32: That’s just outrageous.

9:33: Duke is playing without a sense of urgency, Carolina looks like they want it more right now. They’ll need the bigs to really step up.

9:38: Big three for Singler. He needs to be on his game tonight. Duke loses when he and Nolan can’t shoot.

9:41: Cameron is out-of-this-world loud. You can never underestimate the power of this crowd.

9:42: I was reminded of a great point by Bomani Jones: Kendall Marshall has a name that’s so ugly it make you hate to lose to him. The same thing applies to Dexter Strickland and Leslie McDonald.

9:48: This is what happens when you shoot 33%…..

9:51: Duke’s rebounding is pitiful. And the shot selection is even worse. This team is totally different without Kyrie.

9:53: What I would do to be a fly on the wall in Duke’s lockerroom…

10:03: I don’t know whether it is the Bobcats ref, Duke’s performance, or the fact that I’ve been blogging for over three straight hours, but I’m in total confusion right now. Am I really watching Duke play?

10:09: Kyle Singler is a lot more effective at the 4 because of the mismatches he forces. When he’s a wing player, he’s just another scorer. Let’s see if Duke can change his role before it’s too late.

10:11: That’s the way to start the half! Nolan hits a couple of shots and the deficit is down to 10. The crowd is alive and another turnover is forced.

10:13: It’s pretty clear which team came out of the break better prepared. Carolina just doesn’t look ready to compete, Duke is ready to show who is the top-5 team.

10:15: Curry does what all Currys do. Hit. Their. Shots. This is taking all to long for Duke to hit stride…

10:16: This game would be the other way around if Kyrie was playing. He’s just that good, that much of a natural leader. Oh, what could have been…

10:22: Nolan Smith is playing huge. If Kyle Singler steps up, this game will flip flop very quickly.

10:25: People don’t realize how great of a shooter Seth Curry is. If he wasn’t buried behind Nolan Smith, Andre Dawkins, and Kyrie for part of the year, he’d be putting up 15-18 points per game. He led freshman in scoring two years ago with 20 per at Liberty.

10:30: Curry does remind me of J.J. Redick in one way: he’s not afraid to pull up for a three on a fast break. Now, he’s not nearly as accurate, but very few are.

10:35: Would there be a better shooting team in the nation next year better than Seth Curry, Kyrie Irving, Austin Rivers, and Andre Dawkins? Next year should be another fantastic season.

10:36: Curry is unstoppable! He’s hitting everything and anything and Carolina has nothing to respond with. Except another turnover.

10:37: When 6’11” Ryan Kelly is raining threes on you, you’re done. Curry and Kelly have sent this crowd into an absolute frenzy. The Cameron Crazies are going bonkers. Nuts. Psycho.

10:41: Duke just ripped the momentum away from Carolina. This one is all but done. Yes, I know there is over six minutes left, but the Devils are absolutely taking over.

10:43: This is turning out to be a better game than I could have possibly imagined. Let’s just hope it ends cleaner than the other game today….

10:45: I don’t know if it’s the crowd, the inexperience, or the fatigue, but Carolina is missing way too many put backs and short jumpers. The Crazies are intimidating, but this is just something else.

10:49: Just heard the line of the night by my main man Zachary (@zdp5000) “the refs co*kblocked stephen jackson from makin love to pressure.” That’s just amazing!

10:51: Duke is up 6….and Kyle Singler is shooting just 3-17! That’s 17.6 percent! Even Kobe Bryant shot 25% in Game 7 of the Finals!

10:53: I love how excited Carolina fans got tonight. And then how they’re playing it off like they expected it the whole time.

10:56: Gotta love the whirling dervish references. You just might be alienating half of your audience.

10:59: I can’t be the only one who wants to see a starting lineup of Plumlee-Plumlee-Plumlee-Kelly-(Insert White Guy Here)

11:01: If Barnes really is the next big thing, he woulda made that three. Then again, he could be a young LeBron from downtown. Good job, Wizard Williams!

11:06: If I didn’t like Duke, I’d hate Kyle Singler and Ryan Kelly. Tall, white, weird faces, combed hair, and likes to shoot threes. They’re just those players we should all hate.

11:07: Well, Sean May hasn’t sung yet, but this one is a wrap, folks! Great game.

11:10: More likely to stay…Harrison Barnes or Kyrie Irving? Probably Irving, but that could very well be my inner Dukie poking through. But when’s the last time a Blue Devil left after just one season? When Luol Deng transferred in?

11:11: Make a wish, er’body! Carolina needs some really good luck to win tonight and could use some help licking their wounds.

11:12: Great night of basketball. Bobcats got robbed, but the better team won in Durham.

11:13: Thanks to all who survived through any part of my first running diary; I’d love to hear some feedback. The next one probably won’t be until the NFL or NBA Draft, but I’m always open for suggestions.

Categories: College Basketball, NBA, Running Diary | 1 Comment

The Original Chargers

As the 40th anniversary of Providence Day School passes, it’s important to look back on years that were, specifically the first year of Charger Football. There hasn’t always been a football team since the school’s inception, however. But in 1978, thanks to the help of Coach Gil Murdock and Dr. Howard DeHaven, a new program was born.

As one of the newer private schools, PD’s lack of a football team was no big deal. Charlotte Christian and Country Day were the only private schools to have a football team, and there were just over 200 students in all of Upper School. But even with such small numbers, Coach Murdock and was able to field a group of 16 young men, largely thanks to Dr. DeHaven, who helped to fund the team and buy equipment out of his own pocket.

PROVIDENCE_DAY_CHARGERSGetting enough players to field a team was a challenge of its own. The team was missing a quarterback, so Dr. DeHaven and linebacker Buddy Jordan set out to convince quarterback Bill Estridge, a childhood friend of Jordan’s, no join Providence Day School. It didn’t take long before Providence Day had found their first quarterback.

DeHaven, Jordan, Estridge, and Murdock advertised the new football team, but at the first practice, they only drew 13 players. Coach Murdock ran three practices, and then he asked the team a huge question.

“Guys, we only have 13 players,” said Murdock. “I don’t think that’s enough to field a team. Do you think we can get more players? Can we get 16 or 19 players? What do you want to do?”

Bill Estridge stood up and said, “We can find some more players, but we’ll play with 13 if we have to.”

Providence Day’s addition of a football team was key to the school, to say the least. Many of the players would have left if the program hadn’t been established. Students also had a news sense of pride with another Varsity sport to cheer. For many, Providence Day finally felt like a complete school. Other schools already had an established football program, so it was good to have a reason to cheer for football.

The start of the first season was a tough to say the least. The team almost wasn’t able to compete because of a lack of players, but the team was determined to play no matter how small they were. With such small numbers, every single player had to give it their all; almost everyone had to stay on the field the entire game. As Buddy Jordan put it, “At the end of the game, there was nothing left. That build a lot of character for those guys who played on the team; they understood what it felt to go farther then they thought they could. The only way you could get off the field was if you were really hurt, not just banged up. You had to represent your school; you were almost always underdogs.”

Without a home field to play at, the team had to take a rickety, un-air-conditioned bus to practice at the Church of God. Home games had to be played at Charlotte Catholic (which now is Holy Trinity). The field conditions were poor, their numbers were low, and the odds were against them. The year ended with an unsatisfactory 1-8 record.

Year two of Charger football was far more successful. With an extra year of experience under the players’ belt and the arrival of Coach Jay Kopel and several new players, Providence Day was in line for a huge improvement. Kopel was an offensive lineman at Davidson and brought high energy and several key assistants to Providence Day.

Before the regular season started, Coach Kopel sent several players (including then seniors Bill Estridge and Buddy Jordan) to a summer football camp at Appalachian State. The team grew closer together and the hard work paid off; the Chargers tripled their previous win total to finish the season 6-3, including all six wins coming on shutouts.

Adding a football program meant more then to Providence Day then just another game to attend. It built character in each of the players, all of whom spent most, if not all of the game, on the field, along with friendships that last still to this day. Jordan and Estridge went on to play college football together and remain friends to this day.  The Chargers of today wouldn’t be here without the original Chargers, and for all of their hard work and persistence, we salute them.

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Into the Woods

I am not the type of person who is into gossip about famous people; I feel dirty talking about other people’s problems and troubles, but this is different. This is a topic that cannot go unspoken. What he did has and will have an enormous impact on his image and the PGA altogether. Tiger has gone into the Woods.

Early on the morning of November 27, 2009, Tiger Woods was involved in a traffic incident that’s cause has tarnished his image and lost him many fans. The story goes that at approximately 2:25 AM on Black Friday, Woods was found in his Cadillac Escalade unconscious after he had hit a fire hydrant and his neighbor’s tree. His wife had knocked out the back window with a golf club and taken him out of the SUV. He was not wearing any shoes nor a seat belt and his air bags did not deploy, meaning he was driving less than 20 mph. The Florida Highway Patrol concluded that the crash was not alcohol related. Tiger then released an explanation on his website saying, “I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart.” He has yet to admit to having affair, although his text messages sent to cocktail waitress Jaimee Grubbs, and his voice message sent to her phone, are pretty damning evidence. So does this mean that Tiger owes us an explanation and a gigantic, gushing apology?

When the news first broke that Tiger was involved in an early morning accident, everyone was hoping the best for him and worried about what had happened. Several theories came out why Tiger was out that early in the morning. Originally, I had my own little theory on what happened that fateful morning. Allow me to speculate…

Tiger Woods was at his Orlando home and he lives a good distance from stores who had their Black Friday sales starting a few hours into the day. Tiger set his alarm clock for 2 in the morning, but it did not work so he woke up at 2:30. He needed to drive to HH Gregg to get his 84′ LCD Flat Screen TV, so he was in a rush to make it to the front of the line. He was in such a rush to get out of the door that he did not have time to put on shoes or his seat belt. Still partially asleep, he ran into the fire hydrant and then the tree when backing up. Without his seat belt or air bags deploying, he was knocked out. His wife, Elin, ran outside to see what all the commotion was about, and the only thing around the garage to break in a window was one of Tiger’s many golf clubs. No affair. No fight. No nothing.

Now, of course, there is essentially no chance that that actually happened, but we certainly would like that to be true. We don’t like our heroes to let us down, especially when they have seemed more than human, a deity placed on this Earth. We found out that he has been involved in nearly a dozen affairs between several cocktail waitresses, pornstars, and such. He has shattered the image that most people have of a perfect, almost super-human person who can do no wrong. Tiger was placed on the highest pedestal possible, and he has let down many of them.

But if you take a look at Tiger’s history, we already knew that he is not the greatest guy. He has been known to throw clubs, curse excessively, and yell at people who take pictures of him during his back swing. So how do you think he will handle things when someone in the crowd yells, “You’re a cheetah” which will work even better when he is up in New England? Will he go back to throwing clubs and cursing or will he reflect on what he has done and what has happened and change? It should be interesting to see if he can stand up to the pressure Either way, he will still be the greatest golfer ever and get to that sacred 19th major.

What Tiger did is between him and his wife, or soon-to-be-ex. He did not kill anyone and he is not going to jail. He merely hit a fire hydrant and word came out about many affairs. Not only does he not have to go onto Oprah or Letterman’s show and give out a tell all story, but he should not. There is no way that he can look better in the eyes of the public more so than he already is or is not. Many people will never forgive him no matter how much he begs for acceptance or how much charitable work he does. Similarly, many people have already forgiven him because they have been in a similar situation, or they do not think it is that big of a deal. If he goes on Oprah, he will not appease the mostly women audience, and if he goes onto Letterman, some will think he is making a mockery of what he did. Either way, he should just keep the details to himself.

While the public, myself included, would love to know ever last detail of the events that have taken place, they will not help anyone’s cause. The women who have admitted to having an affair will not get any more attention, his wife is already filing the divorce paperwork, and he is going to have to move on with his life. His wife leaving him is probably the best thing possible for Mr. Woods because he will be free and will not have to see her every day and think about what he did. He can stay on his yacht, which is aptly named ‘Privacy’ and attempt to move on in his life.

There have also been steroid allegations that have came out in the last week. Even though the best doctors and hospitals in the world are in the United States, Tiger had a Canadian doctor who also worked with Olympian Dara Torres. Dr. Anthony Galea has since been found with human growth hormones and Actovegin, a drug extracted from calf’s blood, at the US-Canada border. But golf is one of the few sports where steroids would not make a huge impact. Phil Mickelson and John Daly are far from the best fit people in the world. Golf is most about precision, accuracy and making the right play then just brute strength. Tiger is already a very fit man, so steroids would not give him that much of a boost. Tiger cheating in golf by use of performance enhancing drugs is about as crazy as cheating on a Swedish supermodel wife. But in the event that he did use steroids, the most likely situation was for recovery, which would not put a mark on his legacy; at least it would not to me.

As for Tiger’s legacy, I agree with Nike Chairman Phil Knight who said, “I think (Tiger)’s been really great. When his career is over, you will look back on these indiscretions as a minor blip, but the media is making a big deal out of it right now.” At the end of Tiger’s career, we will remember him as the greatest golfer to ever live, not an unfaithful husband. In the same way, we remember Michael Jordan as the best basketball player ever, not as a cheater. Most people have forgotten about his “indiscretions” by now. We should not remember Tiger as “that guy who cheated on his wife over a dozen times.” We should always remember people in general for what they did right, not problems they had to the side of their profession. What players do off the field should not affect how we think of them as athletes. Nobody is perfect.

Tiger is the best golfer in the World, not the best husband

Tiger is the best golfer in the World, not the best husband

Woods’s off the course actions should not impact his legacy nor many of his sponsor’s thoughts on him. I can understand if some “family oriented” companies take a a moral stand against what he did, but I would not understand it if companies such as Gatorade and Nike back out of a deal with him. Gatorade already has already stopped the manufacturing of Gatorade Tiger, so that has come as a shock to me. Tiger has never sold family or the average person, like Brett Favre does with Wrangler Jeans. Rather, he says, “I am the best. Try to be as good as me.” Nike sponsor’s him as the best golfer in the world, not the best husband. And we should se him in the same way.

For now, Tiger Woods will be taking an indefinite leave of absence from the sport of golf to “focus his attention on being a better husband, father, and person” It could be a month, three months or a year. I do not think this is the greatest idea, though. The best way to get your mind off something bad is to be occupied with something and playing golf is certainly that. Sitting around your house is not. Could he be building up anticipation for his return, likely around the Masters? Sure. Could he be further recovering from his injured knee? Perhaps. Could he be setting up his own tour to rival the PGA? Likely not. Either way, he will be appeasing his haters, but not really helping himself out.

I would like to congratulate the Associated Press for selecting Tiger Woods as the Athlete of the Decade, even though around half of the ballots were turned in after his unfortunate series of events. What many people have said is the greatest fall from grace, which I vehemently disagree, has not impacted the image of Tiger’s tremendous accomplishments in the eyes of the top of the sports writing world. Whether be it a month, year, or decade, this series of digressions will blow over, and we will remember Mr. Eldrick Woods as the greatest golfer who ever lived.

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