Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Penders resigns at Houston

I kinda feel like I owe an apology to ex-University of Houston basketball coach Tom Penders.See,I blasted Penders for not doing a good enough job at Houston and saying he deserved to be on the hot seat. Mainly regarding recruiting and lack of NCAA tournament appearances.This was the year Penders finally got the Cougars back to the tournament,the first time since 1992.I thought this would be the kick start the program would finally get after years of being irrelevant.To my surprise,Penders stepped down as head coach.Maybe he saw that the end was near and decided it was best for him to go instead of having a messy departure,like the one he had at Texas.You have to remember,he was not hired by current athletic director Mack Rhoades,and unless you're winning big caoches don't usually stay long when a new regime comes in.Another reason could've been the interview with a New York Times reporter,which Penders stated that Houston had more problems that meet the eye.Like water from the bathroom that leaks onto the court.The facilities not being up to date.Penders having to buy some $70,000 worth of up to date tv and video equipment to scout opponents.Now I can see why they couldn't tap into the rich talent base around the state when it came to recruiting.
  There are rumors that Rhoades may hire former Kentucky,Texas A&M,and UTEP coach,Billy Gillispie,who was hired at UTEP when Rhoades was associate athletic director there.That may be a good hire,but knowing what I know now,Houston basketball is more of a challenge than I thought it was.Penders   says he's not done coaching and may very well land elsewhere before next season.Good luck to him and his future endeavors.Maybe the challenge he takes on will deal more with on the court issues(talent) than off court (facilities,boosters,alums who don't care).

Sunday, March 7, 2010

College basketball's biggest busts

It's getting closer to tourney time,and there are quite a few teams that have grossly underacheived this season.Among the biggest busts this year:

North Carolina-They belong at the top of this list.There was going to be a dip in the win column this season,but no one saw this avalanche coming.Coming off a championship season,no one expected them to win it again.There were a few holdovers from last year's squad and Roy Williams brought in a monster recruiting class as usual.But something wasn't right with the brew.For some reason,everything didn't mesh.Even good ol' Roy didn't have the answer. Also,with Larry Drew becoming a turnover machine at point gurd didn't help.They'll be back next year,so this was the year to pick them off.

Oklahoma-The prognosticators had the Sooners finishing in the top half of the Big 12.With player of the year candidate Willie Warren back,along with freshman Tommy Mason-Griffin and Keith 'Tiny' Gallon trying to replace the inside void left by Blake Griffin.Just like North Carolina,coach Jeff Capel jsut couldn't put a finger on what was wrong with his team.From the outside looking in,Warren never developed as a leader and it seemed that he had an eye on the NBA.There was a late season arrest of two players to make matters worse.Capel is promising to lay down the law for next season and there might be some unhappy campers in Soonerland.

UCLA-Everyone knew UCLA wouldn't be the team that has ruled the Pac-10 the last few seasons.The folks around Westwood didn't expect losses to the likes of Long Beach State,Portland,or Cal-State Fullerton.True they didn't have the talent they had in previous years,but they fell off the map.The freshman this year will use this as a learning experience and they should be back to playing the kind of ball that UCLA fans are used to seeing.You know Ben Howland is seething.

Michigan-Where do i begin? For one,they were overrated.I thought they were a top 30 team at worse.I just didn't think they'd put up a stinker of a season.They rely too much on three pointers,no one except Manny Harris can get there own shot or take it to the basket and they're not athletic enough.Also,they don't have enough size inside to battle with some of the rugged teams in the Big Ten.John Beilein is a good coach,but he green lights far too many three's.Later in the season it seemed that teams backed off and dared them to make one,since they were so abysmal from the outside.Some of their posessions reminded me of the Tommy Amaker era.Running down the shot clock and taking a rushed shot.There were 11 games in which they didn't break 60 points.4 games they didn't break 50 points.That is unacceptable.The Wolverines fell well short of the NCAA tournament and barring a run in the Big Ten tournament,won't make the NIT.Not even the ghost of Kevin Pittsnogle could've saved this team

Cincinnati-Mick Cronin had an experienced team that fell short of the NCAA's last year and were primed to make a run at the tournament with the addition of super recruit Lance Stephenson.Unless they win the Big East tournament they'll also be NIT bound.Just like the Bob Huggins led teams from years past,they have no snipers on the team.Translation,no one that can hit a consistent jump shot.Stephenson needs to stay in school and they need to get a bonafide shooter on this team to get them to the next level.  

Duke has quietly built a one seed resume

A 32 point thrashing of rival North Carolina gave Duke a share of the ACC regular season title.The win also should give them a top seed in the NCAA tournament.The argument only becomes stronger if they win the ACC tournament.Even though everyone says the ACC is having a down year,you have to give the Blue Devils their due.Only because North Carolina tanked severely this season,everyone says the ACC is down and that maybe Duke shouldn't get a number one seed.I'm not the biggest Duke fan,but who else are you gonna put alongside Kansas,Kentucky,and Syracuse.Exactly.To me the ACC is still a formidable conference this year.Even though the mighty Tar Heels are down,the rest of the conference has stepped up its play this year.for the most part duke has taken everyone's best shot like always and is standing at the top of the hill.Also,Mike Krzyzewski has done this with limited depth.They've done this without a lot of hype and hoopla of past Duke teams.Don't hate on the Blue Devils.They deserve a number one seed and you know they'll be a tough out in the tournament like always.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Michigan's Harris should stay in school

As the experts separate the locks and bubble teams for the NCAA tournament,I decided to take a look at a player whose team won't be in the Big Dance and will have the decision of staying in school or testing the NBA Draft waters.That player would be Michigan junior Manny Harris.
  I'm no advisor or NBA personnel guru,but Harris needs to tune up his game to catch the eyes of NBA honchos.Since his freshman season he has made strides,but still needs to work on a few things to be an NBA player.Harris has the talent and I believe the drive to have a career in the league.He has worked on going to his left and you can tell when you see him in game action.That is something he should've been working on in high school.He can get to the basket and is a decent finisher.His game is better suited to an uptempo style of play,although he has done well in coach John Beilein's system.He has the tools and athleticism to be a good defender,but must learn how to not pick up cheap fouls.Harris also needs to work on that scissor kick jump shot.He has to square up better and not kick his feet out when he shoots.If he can become more consistent with his shot,he can be NBA material.
   I think he has the talent to get there.I just think that if he wants to go after a season in which Michigan was expected to excel and be a top 20 team,it will be a mistake.Only if he somehow puts this team on his back and steals the Big Ten tournament and has a couple of dazzling games once he gets there.I doubt that happens,but that might be the only way he gets high on the radar of NBA execs.If I'm in his shoes,I stay put.Maybe enter my name in the draft,get some workouts and see what the suits say I have to work on and come back for my senior season.Especially since he'll be the main threat on a young Wolverines team that won't be expected to do much.

Hearns fighting foreclosure

According to a report in the Detroit News,boxing legend and seven time world champion Thomas Hearns is facing foreclosure on his Southfield home.Records show that Hearns owes $961,156 in delinquent taxes and mortgage payments.The "Hitman"made $40 million dollars over his career,but this is another setback in a with a long string of financial problems.Hearns says he is working to keep the house and pay the debts.I'm just hoping he can get this straightned out and that he's not broke.There seems to be a lot of former athletes that go broke due to being ripped off by "financial advisors",bad business deals,and "helping" others maintain a lavish lifestyle.Being one of my favorite boxers of all time,also one of the most entertaining,I would like to see the Hitman knockout these taxes and debt and restore some order to this current mess. 

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Final Answer

It seems the curtain is closing on Allen Iverson's NBA career.He was released by the Philadelphia 76ers yesterday after missing time to be with his sick daughter.Or so we thought.He was reportedly seen partying  in Charlotte with music producer Jermaine Dupri.
  Iverson has had a brilliant career,but his later years have been marred by controversy and two disastrous stints with the Pistons and Grizzlies.After signing with the 76ers,he wasn't able to recapture the past glory that made him one of the more decorated stars in the league.I still think he can play and has the ability to help a contender.I just don't think he has the will to take on a lesser role on a winning team or to be a mentor on a young team.In previous postings, I've said some unflattering things about the guy.I actually like him as a player.Can't really say much for the man himself since I don't know him.I hate to see him going out limping on a bad knee and a damaged reputation.That is something he could've taken care of a long time ago.He's just to headstrong for any team and they really don't want to deal with it.I don't blame them.To top all this off,his wife is filing for divorce saying their marriage is "irretrievably broken".She also wants full custody of their five children,along with alimony and child support.I don't know how he feels,but he has to be thinking his world is crumbling.Maybe he takes the rest of this season off and tries to prioritize his life.