The Sports Scoop

My View on the World of Sports

Welcome to the NBA Draft…one year too late

nbadraft3.gifNow that the college basketball season is complete, it is time to look ahead to the NBA draft. 

While many players used this season as an opportunity to improve their game and raise their draft stock, there were a few players who hurt their draft value by coming back for another year.

This is due, in part, to the fact that the 2006 draft was pretty weak.  Some decent players have emerged, Brandon Roy and the Raptors pair of guys come to mind, but overall, it’s not hard to argue that it was sub-par.  That, in itself, would have been a good reason for the soon to be mentioned players to test the draft waters.

However, the main reason these players should have left early is because they didn’t perform this season like they were expected to.

So without further ado, here are the five players who have most hurt their draft stock by staying in school.

1.  Joakim Noah, Florida – This is an easy one, and I love putting him at the top of the list because I cannot express how little I like this player.  Last year, Noah would have been a number one pick candidate.  This year, he’ll likely fall somewhere in the middle-late top 10, which is still to high in my opinion.  He has the energy and athleticism, there is no question about that, but he just doesn’t have basketball skills.  He makes horrible decisions (on and off the court, as is evident by his SEC Championship “dance” and NCAA Championship post-game comments) and sometimes forgets that the only thing he does well is hustle.  Most of his stats are down from a year ago, but they don’t do justice to how average he looked at times.

2.  Glen “Big Baby” Davis, LSU – Davis would have been perfectly suited to come out last season after LSU made their tournament run and Davis/Tyrus Thomas was the duo to be reckoned with.   Instead, he comes back a pre-season All American and went on to severely disappoint.  LSU had a horrible season when they should have ran away with the SEC West, and Davis never stepped into the dominant leadership role he needed to.  He was the talk of the town last year, but now, he’s almost an afterthought.

3.  Josh McRoberts, Duke – It is basically the worst case scenario for McRoberts to enter the draft this season, but he’s going for it.  Last year, he was just a freshman who was getting used to the game.  He didn’t try to do too much, showed some good passing skills, and made a few plays here and there.  More importantly, his lack of aggressiveness and assertiveness could have been pinned on his inexperience.  He would have gotten drafted high because of his potential.  However, this year he proved that is just how he plays.  He also didn’t step up on a young team that needed a leader.  He would be better off staying in school and learning under Coach K.

4.  Ronald Steele, Alabama – He hasn’t declared yet, I know, and actually probably won’t.  Yet, I still think he’s worthy of a spot on this list because what the heck happened to this guy?  He had some injuries, but that doesn’t explain going from a pre-season All American to averaging 8.6 points per game.  Like Big Baby, Steele’s stock was on the rise at the end of last year and could have used that to his advantage.  Now, he has to either put up some big numbers next year or hope some NBA team will forget this season ever happened.

5.  Arron Afflalo, UCLA – This was the hardest one for me to put on the list, mainly because I don’t think that he would have been a very high pick last year.  However, he definitely didn’t do what he needed to at the end of the season to prove that he could step up when it was needed.  Almost his whole NCAA Tournament was bad, with the exception being the Kansas game, after he basically sat back and watched his team implode to finish the Pac-10 season.  I don’t really see the potential to get much better in Afflalo, either.  I’m still not convinced he hurt his draft stock by returning to school, but he definitely did not help it. 

April 4, 2007 Posted by | Basketball, College Basketball, NBA Draft, Sports | 2 Comments

ESPN, The Worldwide Leader in Typos

 Here’s ESPN’s front page, featured headline after Florida beat Ohio State. espn-742991.jpg Can you count how many errors are in it?

“Returning as juniors to repeat as champions, Florida’s fab five became back-to-back champs Monday night. The Gators used the 3-pointer (10-18) to toppled Greg Oden and Ohio State 84-75.”

I got two, maybe three if you want to be really picky.  First, their “fab five” of juniors is really just a fab four with Lee Humphrey being a senior.  Next has to be the phrase, “to toppled?”  I’m not an English major, but that is not right.  The last is just how they oddly used the phrase, “The Gators used the 3-pointer…” but I suppose that one can slide.

It is surprising to me that they’re so careless.  In the long run, it’s really not a big deal.  I’m bound to make some errors in my writing, too, but then again, I’m not the face of sports.  Ah well, just a little gripe I have.

In the time it took me to write this post, ESPN has already changed its headline.  They must have realized their stupidity.

April 2, 2007 Posted by | College Basketball, ESPN, NCAA Tournament | 3 Comments

Cinderella Who? and Other NCAA Tournament Thoughts

After watching over 14 hours of college basketball in the past two days, I feel it is only appropriate to discuss what has transpired.  Here are a few of my thoughts from the preliminary action.

   –  The term “Cinderella” is being extremely overused and needs to retire.  Winthrop was dubbed a Cinderella team by ESPN a few hours after they beat Notre Dame, even though half of the United States predicted that outcome.  If Jackson St. beat Florida or Niagra stunned Kansas, then I could see how we might have a Cinderella case on our hands.  Last year, George Mason was a definite Cinderella because no one picked them to win anything, and they ended up going far.  You need to have both of those qualities to be a true Cinderella.  So let’s not get too Cinderella-happy though and start dubbing every team that beats someone ranked higher them.

   –  What is Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s real name?  I heard them called Texas A&M and Corpus Christi, Texas A&M at Corpus Christi, and simply Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.  There’s no doubt in my mind that it really doesn’t matter.  I just thought it was funny that the announcers had no idea either.

   –  The lack of upsets this year is killing me.  The two “big” upsets have been VCU and Winthrop, both of which were not shockers.  After that, almost everything has gone as planned.  The main reason for this is that the lower seeds cannot finish games.  I’m going to pick on Illinois because they absolutely blew their game.  Up by 10 with 4 minutes left, they somehow managed to give the game away.  And that’s a very appropriate way to describe it since they turned the ball over on something like 7 of their last 10 possessions.  If you play the same way you did the first 36 minutes, you should be able to close out a game.  Instead, they decided giving the ball to the Hokies and trying to stop them on defense was a better idea.  The Chicago Bears do the same thing; it must be an Illinois thing.

   –  While we are talking about the Illini, how about that Big Ten!  John Feinstein has to be hating Purdue for winning and loving Illinois for blowing it.  The Big Ten is 5-1 so far in the tournament.  Not bad for a conference that some think only should have had 3 bids.  Now watch as they all lose in the second round – except Ohio State and Wisconsin.

I love this time of the year.  With March Madness in full swing, I do believe it is time to go watch some more basketball.  Go Georgetown!

March 17, 2007 Posted by | Basketball, College Basketball, NCAA, NCAA Tournament, Sports | 1 Comment

NCAA Tournament Prediction; Hoyas to Take the Title

Michael Wilbon says that he likes Georgetown to win the NCAA Tournament. I have to agree.

Let me start off by saying that I have liked the Hoyas all season. I made them my tournament favorite sometime in early January when they knocked off Notre Dame for the first time. From that point on, they were on ESPN basically every game they played, so I got a good look at them. I really liked how they played and they’ve been my pick ever since.

When the brackets came out, I started out by putting Georgetown in the spot for hoya.jpg“Champion” and went to work from there. North Carolina vs. Texas seems like an inevitable match up, with the winner likely the only competition Georgetown will face before the final four. After that, I have the Hoyas taking down Texas A&M in the semi-finals before handling Kansas in the National Championship game.

Georgetown has the ability to play both up tempo and in the half court. Their defense is solid (held Pittsburg to only 42 points in the Big East Championship) and they get after it on the boards. They shoot free throws at a high percentage and have a difference maker in Jeff Green that they can rely on if needed. This team really has no glaring weakness.

The one thing that I believe can stop the Hoyas is their lack of depth. They mainly use a 6 man rotation with some other players grabbing a couple of minutes here and there. If Georgetown’s players, especially their guards Jessie Sapp and Jonathan Wallace, get into foul trouble, then the bench will have to really step up – something they haven’t been asked to do in big games this year.

Apparently, Georgetown is now a fashionable pick to win the tournament. As much as that should reassure me that I’m on the right track, I feel less confident as a result of the popularity. Maybe it’s because people are on the same wave length as me which is a rarity. Anyhow, I’m sticking with Georgetown to take home the title.

March 14, 2007 Posted by | Basketball, College Basketball, NCAA, NCAA Tournament, Sports | 3 Comments

College Basketball Switching to Spandex Jerseys?

While watching my daily dose of Pardon the Interruption, a topic came up that I hadn’t heard anything previously about.  Apparently, some mens’ college basketball teams are going to be experimenting with tight fitting, spandex tops.  I thought it had to be a joke, but they had pictures (which I cannot find) and everything to back it up.  I didn’t catch all of the names of teams who would be giving a shot, but they said that roughly seven will be giving the new uniforms a shot.  Syracuse was the one big name that I remember.

I just have one question.  WHY? 

There is absolutely no need for a uniform change in basketball.  If there is a good reason why they are doing this, I would love to hear it. 

I would mention something about women having to wear spandex tops as well, but I will save myself the ridicule. 

If anyone has more information about this, I am very interested in hearing it.

March 6, 2007 Posted by | Basketball, College Basketball, Sports, Uniforms | 7 Comments

College Basketball Player of the Year

In a college basketball season that has given us no clear cut favorite for National Champion, I also find myself wondering who the Player of the Year will be.  My top five, in no particular order quite yet, are Acie Law, Kevin Durant, Alando Tucker, Nick Fazekas, and Greg Oden.  Here’s how I think it will all pan out.

      tucker-and-oden.jpg           durant.jpg          law.jpg          fazekas.jpg

5.  Nick Fazekas, Nevada.  He is easily one of my favorite players in college basketball.  I have only seen him play a few times because, well let’s be honest, he plays for Nevada.  Since the WAC really isn’t one of the NCAA’s premier conferences, he won’t garner the attention he arguably deserves.  However, he’s a walking double-double and should be a very high draft pick next year.

4.  Greg Oden, Ohio State.  He’s a huge name and probably was on many people’s Player of the Year ballots before he even stepped on the floor.  In reality, he’s been good but not dominant.  He has shown flashes that he’s the next Ewing or whoever you want to compare him to, but the consistency isn’t there yet.  In all fairness to Oden, he has played the season with basically one hand.

3.  Alando Tucker, Wisconsin.  Wisconsin is my team, but the past couple of weeks have definitely hurt Tucker.  He’s likely to win Big Ten POY, but I can’t picture him taking the national honors over Law or Durant.  Tucker is a great leader and has shown he can do a little bit of everything on the basketball court.  His numbers are good, and he plays a lot bigger than he really is.  Two weeks ago, he was my POY, but two consecutive losses have left me with fewer reasons to justify that.

2.  Acie Law, Texas A&M.  How fun is this guy to watch in the last 5 minutes of a game!  He has an unbelievable ability to make plays with the game on the line.  That might be his biggest downside though, as well.  It seems like unless he has to make a shot, he doesn’t focus as much.  There were at least 3 times in the Texas game last night that he could have put the Aggies ahead late but missed wide open shots or booted it out of bounds.  Regardless, this kid is special and a great leader. 

1.  Kevin Durant, Texas.  I can’t find a good reason that Durant should not be Player of the Year.  He can do it all and is extremely poised for a freshman.  He rivals Law in his ability to make plays with the game on the line.  25 ppg, 12 rpg, 2 stls, 2 blks, 49% from the field, 42% from 3 point land, he can do it all.  Shows great leadership on a young team that needed a leader.  He’s the main reason Texas is going to be a big time threat in March.

March 1, 2007 Posted by | Basketball, College Basketball, NCAA, Player of the Year, Sports | 6 Comments