Monday, June 30, 2008

NBA draft, hoosier basketball, euros

I never mock up nba drafts anymore because sometime in the late '90's I got the clue that there are just too many variables to figure out what's going to happen beforehand. The Bulls are reaping their good fortune, and should be back in the playoffs next spring. The Pacers seem to have accepted a full-blown rebuilding project, which is just as well. Jermaine O'Neal is a good inside player, but I think there's a pretty clear line between him and a guy like KG or Tim Duncan, and I'm not sorry to see him go. Meanwhile, as the dust from the NBA draft settles and the free-agent sweepstakes begin, I was very glad to see DJ White land a guaranteed contract, even if he was immediately traded. Congrats, DJ, all your hard work and loyalty has made you a millionaire. Eric Gordon went in the lottery, as expected, but to the LA Clippers, which is kinda rough. At least expectations should be low for him out there.

In Hoosier basketball news, Indiana snagged a nice off-guard, 6-5 Malik Story, who could basically step in as a starter now that Crawford has left. Although that's all great, Indiana is looking at starting three or more freshmen, a juco, and a former walk-on. My current projected starting five: 6-8 Tom Pritchard, 6-7 Kyle Taber, 6-5 Nick Williams, 6-5 Malik Story, 6-2 Devan Dumes. Off the bench comes: 6-4 Verdell Jones, 6-3 Matt Roth, and 7-0 Tijan Jobe while walk-ons 6-5 Broderick Lewis & 6-5 Kory Barnett will see some foul-trouble/sickness/injury minutes.

Wrapping up the latest on IU hoops, former asst. Jeff Meyer was cleared of NCAA violations, but they added another one for "lack of oversight" and Greenspan got canned. Like all of these management types, he's got a nice golden parachute. The news has been nothing but for IU hoops for a while, and that'll be reflected in the box scores next season. Hopefully, the NCAA won't be too harsh on the school now that the scoundrels have been cleaned out, and the school didn't reap any real benefits or banners from the whole mess.

I've watched a little bit of the 2008 Euros -hey, what else is there to watch these days?- and I'm glad to see the return of attacking soccer. Still, to have a one-goal final was a little disappointing, but I do love to watch country versus country in soccer. Try as I might, I just can't care about club soccer at home or abroad. But I do enjoy watching it on the world level.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Scheduled Outage fast approaching!

Or so says blogger. Anyway, I'll make this quick. I was happy to see the Celtics win the championship in six (and not just because I called it), and I love Ray Allen's offensive game when he's on. It's like watching Reggie Miller if Reggie had possessed the handles to beat guys off the bounce. But it was great watching the sheer emotion of the Boston Celtics and their fans, and it was also good to see hustle and defense get rewarded. I thought the best play of the series was from Paul Pierce, who'd just asked to guard Kobe (who does that?), and then came out and blocked Kobe's jumper. That's a rare play, and when you're able to block guys' jumpers, it starts getting into their head. A deserved Finals MVP.

Not a whole lot happening in College basketball other than some of the college players returning from draft flirtations. Mostly, it means that North Carolina should be far and away the favorites for the title, and anything less should be a huge disappoint for the Tarheels. Looking over Andy Katz & Joey Lunardi's predictions, I'm a little mystified by the love for Pittsburgh. #2 overall? A #1 seed? I can see a top ten ranking, if Mike Cook does indeed come back, but Pitt would still have to replace some quality guards - in particular four-year starter Ronald Ramon- who did a great job of setting the table for the offense. In other Big East news, Coach Calhoun may be bumping Stanley Robinson, which is a bigger loss than it might seem even from losing Robinson's 10.4ppg/6.5rpg/1.3bpg. Robinson was also the team's best three-point shooter in percentage, and hit more threes than Craig Austrie or Jerome Dyson. His ability to extend the defense and hit the glass made it hard for teams to zone UConn. Now that AJ Price is the best shooter on the team and the principal playmaker, UConn might see a lot more zone this season, and suffer for it if Robinson does leave.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Jordan Crawford now gone, too

Well, what was shaping up to be a rough year for the Hoosier men's team looks a lot rougher now. Jordan Crawford announced he was leaving, wiping out the whole of last year's roster. I know Crean wanted to clean house, but man! I'd be a little afraid if he were my house-cleaner.

Well, the onus of success is fully on Crean now. He will have no "Sampson players" or lingering culture around from now on. He'll have to win on his own, he'll have to win clean (as the accountability dept. is restructuring for , oh-I-don't-know, actual oversight?), and I'm afraid he'll have to win soon. If he doesn't get at least to the NIT by 2010 -which may be a tall order with the current batch of talent- IU may face getting stuck in a losing spiral of top recruits not coming because it's not a place where games are being won. Indiana will probably be fine, in the long run, but Crean's got to show exactly how good of a coach he is, and soon. At least expectations are low for next season.

Next year will be rough for Hoosier fans. If you're still watching the games at the end of the season, you will know that you are a true Hoosier fan.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Thoughts for June

It's sort of a dead time for Basketball fans, unless you're counting the NBA Finals as basketball, but that's over relatively quickly. Totally uninformed prediction: Celtics over Lakers in 6.

The Indiana men's basketball team is in the hunt for 6-6 Emmanuel Negedu, who would be the highest rated prospect coming into campus this fall. And if he did decide on the Hoosiers, he might well put Kyle Taber on the bench and be a 30 minute/game starter. But it's Negedu's choice, he may well want to work with asst. coach Josh Pastner at Memphis. And even though he wouldn't get any PT there next season, being at Memphis would probably be good for his NBA profile in the long run.

In other recruiting news, Maurice Sutton went to Villanova, but IU picked a Juco who should give the team what they were probably going to get out of Sutton in the short term: a 7-footer to practice against. Tijan Jobe comes to Bloomington basically unheralded, but he has "good upper-body strength" which probably means he can't run, and I suspect he'll top out at 10 minutes/game. However, I was looking forward to what Sutton might develop into in 2-3 years, and I doubt Jobe's gonna develop much. Here's hoping I'm wrong about that.

Coach Crean picked up a couple of guards for the 2009-2010 season, local favorite Jordan Hulls and Georgetown transfer Jeremiah Rivers (son of Doc). Rivers might work his way into the starting five as a defender and glue guy, but at the very least IU will be getting a rotation player.

I've been looking over the national scene for the 2008-2009 college basketball season, but I really need the NBA draft/early entry business to shake out before being anymore informed. I actually have been fairly interested in the Big East, which looks to hold the most talent in the country next year, even if the national champion will be most likely be from the ACC or Pac-10. At some point, I'd like to go over my player ratings by position and compare who's got what coming back, but that may be a project for the dead-time of July & August.