Sunday, April 28, 2013

Can C.J. McCollum be another Damian Lillard?

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard had a fantastic rookie season. The 6-3 Weber State product had questions about whether he could play against elite level competition, but he put those to rest by having the best season of the 2012 draftees and more than likely winning the NBA rookie of the year.

Another small school guard, Lehigh's C.J. McCollum will face some of the same questions as he gets ready for the 2013 NBA Draft. Can he play point guard after being a dynamic scorer in college. Can he produce consistently against players on a higher level. More importantly, will he be fully recovered from a broken foot that sidelined him for most of his senior season. McCollum says he's ready to go and that he's 100 percent.

In my opinion he can play against elite level competition. Look what he did to Duke in the 2012 NCAA tournament. My question is, can he become another Damian Lillard?

Many thought that Lillard wouldn't be able to make the transition to the NBA game. He seemingly looked for his shot first and couldn't make his teammates better. Furthermore he played in the Big Sky conference. Not a conference known for churning out first round NBA draft picks. He wasn't a true point abut he didn't have the size for a shooting guard.

When you look at McCollum's size he almost mirrors Lillard. Lillard is listed at 6-3, 190 pounds. McCollum is listed at 6-3 and 200 pounds. He isn't known to be a "facilitator"  and scouts say he has work to do to become a true point guard. He played in the Patriot League and he was also hurt for most of his senior year.

I don't think you try to remake his game. You look at what Lillard has done as a pro and ask yourself can McCollum become the same type of player. I do think McCollum can be a solid pro if put in the right situation. Lillard came into Portland not to be a savior, but as a functional part of a team. The Blazers already had LaMarcus Aldridge so they had someone to build around.

For a team looking for a guard to plug and play right away, McCollum could be your man. Especially if that team isn't a perennial cellar dweller. He could fit in best with a team like Dallas, Chicago or the Los Angeles Clippers. But if a team wants him to be the man and not a contributor it might not work out too well.

Ole Miss forward Murphy Holloway, gets a shot with the Baltimore Ravens

Former Ole Miss basketball player Murphy Holloway just completed his senior season in the NCAA tournament. Being a 6-6 power forward, Holloway figured that he was a long shot to make the NBA, even though he finished as the school's all time leading rebounder.

Instead of plying his trade overseas, Holloway has signed with the Baltimore Ravens. My guess is that he'll be trying out as a tight end.Holloway will be the latest former hardwood star to convert to the gridiron in the never ending quest for teams that try to convert undersized power forwards into pass catching tight ends.

Holloway was bypassed in the NFL Draft. He averaged 14.5 points and 9.7 boards as a senior.

I don't know his background as a football player but I figure he'll have a long way to go before he sees the field. But if Antonio Gates, Jimmy Graham and Tony Gonzalez can hit it big why not give it a shot.

Pau Gasol will go to Germany to get treatment on knees

This season has turned out to be a huge struggle for the Los Angeles Lakers, and with the team down 0-3 heading into Sunday's game 4 matchup against the San Antonio Spurs, it seems probable the suffering will end soon.  The biggest reason as to why it has been such a tough year is because of all the injuries the members of the squad have experienced, as the team never was healthy enough to develop the proper team chemistry necessary to cause serious damage.  One player who has dealt with his fair share of injuries is 7 footer Pau Gasol.  Currently, the big man is playing through soreness in his knees due to tendonosis, and it seems he may consider flying to Germany this summer to undergo the legendary platelet-rich plasma procedure.  Via Mark Medina of the LA Daily News:

Gasol was asked if he might consider going to Germany in the offseason to undergo a derivation of the platelet-rich plasma procedure.

"I have to do something to regenerate the tissue," Gasol said, "so I don't have to play with this pain."

'I'll go to wherever I need to go," Gasol said. "It's a possibility.'"

I refer to the procedure as "legendary" because Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant underwent the exact same process on his injured right knee in July of 2011.  The procedure did wonders for the Mamba, as his knee did not bother him at all the next season and he was able to run up and down the floor smoothly.  Hopefully for Pau Gasol, the PRP therapy will work the same way it did for Bryant and he no longer will have to play through constant knee pain.

It is worth mentioning Gasol will also be playing through the pain from the torn plantar fascia in his right foot he suffered in February.  In addition, it seems the power forward suffered a torn ligament in his right middle finger and will be playing game 4 with a splint.  Via the OC Register's Kevin Ding on Twitter:

"Pau told and showed me yesterday he tore a ligament in his right middle finger in Game 3. He plans to wear a splint today."

Just add this to the list of injuries which have destroyed any hope of the team succeeding in the postseason.

Chargers wanted Tomlinson for 10-12 carries a game

It's hard for a professional athlete to retire. You no longer have an extraordinary stream of money coming in, the cheering stops and no more free travel and perks. It's not rare for your former team to ask you to come back but usually it's in a front office capacity.

Former San Diego Charger great LaDainian Tomlinson told Yahoo's Michael Silver that new San Diego general manager Tom Telesco and coach Mike McCoy asked him to come out of retirement and play for the team this season. 

Tomlinson will be 34 in June never entertained the thought of playing again but was surprised by the offer.

"I met [new general manager] Tom Telesco and [rookie head coach] Mike McCoy at the [NFL scouting] combine, and they asked me to come back and play," Tomlinson said. "I saw [executive vice president] John Spanos at a restaurant in Indy, and he introduced me to them, and they brought it up. At first I thought they weren't really serious, but they kept talking about it, and I realized it was real. They said, 'You can come back and carry it 10 or 12 times a game. We'd like to have you here.' " Though flattered, Tomlinson said he didn't seriously consider the offer: "No, because when I made the decision to walk away, I wrestled with it long and hard, and I knew it was final. Once I retired, that was it. My mind is in a different place. Mentally, going back would have been too hard."

I guess that shows how much confidence they have in their incumbent running back Ryan Mathews. They signed former New England Patriot Danny Woodhead in the offseason and now asked the guy he basically replaced to come in for a cameo appearance.

Nate Montana gets invited to 49ers minicamp

Nate Montana, son of San Francisco 49ers legend Joe, has received an invite to the 49ers rookie minicamp according to various reports. 

Montana had a journeyman career in college that started at Notre Dame and included stints at Pasadena Community College, the University of Montana and West Virginia Wesleyan. At the Division II school last season, Montana threw for 2,480 yards and 19 touchdowns, leading the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in both categories.'s Bucky Brooks sees Montana as a long shot at the NFL level.

"It's going to be hard for him to transition to the next level," Brooks told Around The League before the 2013 NFL Draft. "His passes don't have zip. He has difficulty making pro throws."

Montana attended the 49ers pro day last month but is viewed as someone that won't be making an NFL roster.