Friday, February 28, 2014

Mike Jarvis out at Florida Atlantic at season's end

Athletic director Patrick Chun has made it public that head basketball coach Mike Jarvis will resign following the last two games of the season.

In Jarvis’ six year tenure, FAU Basketball has seen five losing seasons — the one exception being the 2010-2011 season where the Owls went 21-11 and were awarded a bid to the National Invitation Tournament only to see the University of Miami beat them by 23 points. The NIT Tournament serves as a consolation prize for the teams who did not play well enough to earn an NCAA Tournament bid.

The Owls are 10-19 this year and surrendered a 16 point lead to Tulane in a 72-64 loss on Feb. 26.

As recently as last week, Jarvis showed no signs of fear regarding his job.

“Here’s the deal. If you’re asking me if I’m worried about me – absolutely not,” he said after a blowout loss to Tulsa on Feb. 20 that dropped the team to 10-18 on the year. “Because of my faith… I don’t feel pressure, never have, and I don’t think I ever will.”

It was originally thought that Jarvis had been fired, but it is believed that after being presented with the inevitable firing, he chose to resign instead. Chun confirmed via conference call on Feb. 28 that, after some “big picture” discussion, he and Jarvis came to the conclusion that it would be beneficial for Jarvis to leave after this year. According to Chun, he no longer wanted to coach this team.

Mike Jarvis II (Jarvis’ son who currently holds the title of Associate Head Coach) will stay on the FAU coaching staff for the remainder of the season, but may end up leaving anyway once Chun selects a coach to take over for Jarvis long term. According to Chun, the new coach will have the option to clear out the incumbent staff and bring in his own.

In the past two offseasons, eight players have transferred to other locations, leaving FAU basketball stripped of the consistency and continuity that every mid-major program needs.

Chun claims that the resignation is a “selfless” move by Jarvis in that it gives him some time to search for a new coach. Chun mentioned that he will contact Ohio State head basketball coach Thad Matta as he begins searching for a new coach. (Ohio State is Chun’s alma mater. He worked in the OSU athletics department for 15 years before taking the job as FAU athletic director).

FAU (Jarvis in particular) committed a secondary NCAA violation by having former Syracuse assistant coach Bernie Fine act as an assistant coach in some team practices earlier this season, according to Chun. Fine left Syracuse in 2012 amid sexual abuse allegations that spanned a myriad of years. Several of the people who accused Fine of the disgusting acts recanted, and the federal investigation he underwent was eventually dropped.

The violation was self reported and, according to Chun, did not have any bearing on the Jarvis ordeal. Before entering the conference tournament, FAU  finishes the regular season with two home games: Southern Mississippi and Florida International.

Tim Tebow is one reason why people need to stop scrutinizing Johnny Manziel

The in thing leading up to the NFL Draft is to pick apart quarterback Johnny Manziel. From analyst Ron Jaworski saying he wouldn't pick Manziel in the first three rounds to former college and pro coach Barry Switzer labeling Manziel as an 'arrogant little prick'. Manziel bashing is in full swing.

While I do question his off field activities, Manziel can play and is a winner on the field. I wouldn't trust the guy with the family dog but I'd certainly put my trust in him to win football games. I'm sure there are plenty that will question my judgement, but to those who do, I'll bring up one name. Tim Tebow.

Yes, Saint Tebow could do no wrong off the field and was a proven winner. But he wasn't a conventional quarterback and couldn't throw, yet he parlayed his on field faults into being selected in the first round by the Denver Broncos. He eventually was named the starting quarterback and led the Broncos to a playoff win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. In my opinion if a team can put trust in Tebow, who was a flawed product, then skeptics shouldn't pick on Manziel so much.

While it's true that he's a hard driving individual off the field, there is no doubt about his abilities on the field. I believe Manziel can succeed if he's put in the right team environment. Right now Manziel is more sizzle than steak and if he can't be reined in off the field then he'll have a short career.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Mets GM Sandy Alderson says team can win 90 games

Spring training is just getting underway and every team harbors hope of making it to the World Series or just the playoffs. Most hopes will be dashed by June, some teams will hang in the wild card chase and there will be the teams that are expected to win big.

New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson is hoping his team is one that will be playing some meaningful baseball this summer. Alderson told team executives and players that the Mets can win 90 games.
Not out of the realm of possibility, but not the most realistic prediction. But that's why you play right? To win, not to hope to be competitive.    

Owner Fred Wilpon chimed in and said "we better win 90" according to the New York Daily News.

Alderson has set the bar high for this year's team and there's absolutely nothing wrong with doing that. It develop a winning mindset from the start instead of a defeatist attitude.

“All I’ll say is we have higher expectations than we’ve had in the past,” said Alderson.

“Because I think it has to be a mind-set,” he said. “Part of creating a winning environment is setting ambitious goals and working toward them. But it has to be systematic and it can’t be totally unrealistic. I don’t think it is in this case.”

Third baseman and team captain David Wright says that 90 wins are 'attainable' and likes Alderson's confidence in the team.

"We've got good players," Wright said. "I love the fact that Sandy is confident in us. I think 90 is challenging, it's attainable and it's a good starting point for us. You know, number goals, it's tough to come out and say, 'I'm going to do this. I'm going to do that. We're going to do that.' But I think 90 is a good starting point for giving us something to shoot for and getting guys to understand that mediocrity is not going to be acceptable.

"It's not about being better than last year. What does that get us? Third or fourth place? It's about being a good team and being a playoff-contending team. Ninety wins is a good starting point."

While I do like Alderson's confidence, I don't think the Mets will reach that goal. For starters they play in the NL East with the Atlanta Braves who are the defending division champs. The Washington Nationals possibly boast the best starting rotation in baseball and don't forget the aging but dangerous Philadelphia Phillies.

Strange things have happened though. Who figured the Pittsburgh Pirates would make the playoffs last season?

Alderson better hope things come together to avoid looking foolish for making the 90 win statement.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Suspended Seahawks corner Brandon Browner plans to sue NFL

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner, who was suspended indefinitely by the NFL in December, will file a lawsuit against the NFL next week in an attempt to be reinstated, his agent Pete Schaffer told

Browner was suspended for violating the league's substance abuse policy—according to Schaffer the failed test was for marijuana—and he faces a minimum of a one-year suspension based on the league's drug policies. Browner and his agent contest that Browner should not have been in position to face such a lengthy ban, because he only advanced to Stage 3 of the NFL's substance abuse program because he missed tests he was unaware of while playing in the Canadian Football League.

Were Browner eligible, he would become an unrestricted free agent on March 11, and will seek an injunction allowing him to be eligible both for free agency and to practice and play until the lawsuit is resolved.

From the report:

"I'm not afraid to fight City Hall," Schaffer told PFT by phone on Wednesday. "I've bent over backward to find a way to work something out with the league to make everyone comfortable.

"I don't understand how the league can ruin someone's career over this fact pattern. I'll represent Brandon zealously to make sure his career isn't ruined."

Schaffer says he isn't troubled by the possibility that taking up this specific fight will have separate consequences for Browner, or for his lawyer.

"My job is to protect my player," Schaffer said. "You can use the word 'blackball' for Brandon. I could get blackballed, too. But I don't care. I'd do it every day of the week."

This lawsuit could change how the league pursues those who violate the substance-abuse policy. And it could help save Browner’s reputation and career.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Former boxing champion Antonio Cermeno kidnapped and killed

Former boxing champion Antonio Cermeno was shot and killed in his home country of Venezuela.

Cermeno and some of his relatives had been seized on Monday night near the La Urbina area of the capital Caracas.

The relatives escaped when the kidnappers stopped to refuel a car, but the ex-boxer remained a hostage, police said.His body was discovered in the central state of Miranda.

Cermeno, 44, was a WBA super bantamweight and featherweight champion in the 1990s. He retired in 2006 with a 45-7 record.

He won the super bantamweight title after defeating Puerto Rican Wilfredo Vazquez in 1995 and kept it until 1997.In 1998 he won the featherweight title and held on to it until a year later.

After he retired, he helped young sportsmen.

His murder comes after 29-year-old Monica Spear, a popular soap-opera actress and former Miss Venezuela, was killed early in January.

She and her British ex-husband Thomas Henry Berry, 39, were shot dead by robbers as they returned by car to the capital with their young daughter.

"It Girl" of the week: Kendra Lachon

The Just Sports & Just Us "It Girl" of the week is Kendra Lachon.

New York Knicks sign Earl Clark

The New York Knicks have confirmed the signing of forward Earl Clark.

Clark,26, was waived by the Philadelphia 76ers on February 20th immediately after he was acquired in a trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers and became a free agent on February 22nd will be the player to provide the Knicks with the forward depth that they seek. The former number 14 overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft was averaging over 15 minutes per game this year for the Cavaliers and chipping in just over 5 points and 2 rebounds per game.

Clark can play both forward spots but will likely be used as a "stretch 4". The Knicks were desperate for frontcourt help after waiving Metta World Peace and Andrea Bargnani and Kenyon Martin on the shelf.

Clark probably won't be a difference maker but he can be productive in stretches as he proved last season with the Los Angeles Lakers. He probably would've been better off signing with a contender though.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Amir Khan says Mayweather has picked Maidana for next fight

Floyd Mayweather Jr appears to have rejected Amir Khan as his next opponent for a megafight in Las Vegas in May.

In a series of tweets on Friday night, Khan sent out the clear message that Mayweather has chosen instead to take on the challenge of the Argentinian Marcos Maidana, whom Khan defeated on points in 2010, but who beat the rising Adrien Broner last December.

"No response from Mayweather or his team. Fights not happening. I should of taken the title fight last December against Alexander ..." Khan tweeted on Friday night, followed by, "very disrespected by his team. Wasted my time." and, "Good luck to Maidana against Mayweather."

Khan, who has been in full training for the fight in anticipation that he was the favored contender, added: "Can I apologize to the thousands of people who are let down? You me and everyone wanted the Mayweather fight. He's running scared."

 “Floyd is not the same fighter as he was three or four years ago. That’s why he picks slow fighters, because he doesn’t have the same movement as he used to.”

Mayweather has yet to announce the name of his next opponent officially. He has four fights left in a six-fight deal with Showtime that probably will earn him $600 million. Controversy surrounded the choice of his next opponent when Mayweather threw the option open to social media. Some votes had Maidana well ahead; others had Khan the favorite.

Khan thinks Mayweather hand picks his opponents and he might be right. But when you're coming to the end of the line of an illustrious career such as Mayweather's you almost have the right to do that. It doesn't make it right because it deprives the sport of boxing of the best matchups possible.  

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Brett Favre compares Johnny Manziel to himself

Improvisational with a "go big or go home" attitude. A propensity for risk-taking that will leave you either jumping for joy or smashing the beer glass in your hand to pieces. The ability to zip any throw right on the money while also making occasional boneheaded plays that leave you wondering, "how could he?"

A lot of quarterbacks who fit that mold, but two that really encompass those traits are legendary Green Bay Packers signal-caller Brett Favre and NFL prospect Johnny Manziel, out of Texas A&M.

Through a recent interview with USA Today, Brett Favre revealed that he also felt that the play of Johnny Manziel was reminiscent of his early days. As with Manziel, Favre had a strong arm, and was able to run, utilizing a skill that many quarterbacks have not been able to master.

"I haven't watched him much," Favre told USA Today, "but one game I watched, for like three quarters, was the Ole Miss game. I almost thought I was watching film of a young Brett Favre. I didn’t think I did a lot of things well (in college at Southern Miss), but he did. And and I liked the attitude of ‘whatever it takes’ — from that standpoint, I liked him.” 

"I didn't throw near as well as him," Favre said of Manziel. "He may have that capability — unbelievable throws and can make plays with his feet. I was impressed."

Manziel will be one of the key players to keep an eye on in the draft, in addition to the upcoming NFL scouting combine, which is taking place this week. However, he doesn’t plan to throw for scouts and personnel executives until March 27th.

With a 6’0, 210 pound figure, he is also small for a quarterback. He has significant similarities to Russell Wilson in terms of their build, and playing style, and the young player has also credited Wilson, a recent Super Bowl winner, for giving shorter quarterbacks a chance in the NFL.

After an outstanding career with the Texas A&M Aggies, Manziel is ready to transition into the NFL. The two most likely destinations for him to end up seem to be with the Houston Texans or the Cleveland Browns. Who should get him? Is he able to become a star in the NFL in the same way that Russell Wilson has?

If Manziel can have anywhere close to the success that Favre had throwing the football, while also making his signature Johnny Football plays with his legs, Manziel could be absolutely sensational at the next level. It's just another reason that I feel he has the most upside of any quarterback in this draft class.

"It Girl" of the week: Rosie Jones

The Just Sports & Just Us "It Girl" of the week is Rosie Jones.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

SMU could be a dangerous team in March

Despite losing Sunday to a below average Temple squad on Sunday and dropping out of the top 25, the SMU Mustangs should be heading to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1993 barring a late season collapse.

The Mustangs currently sit at 20-6 and are 9-4 in the American Athletic Conference behind Louisville and Cincinnati. Head coach Larry Brown has made the Mustangs into a team in his image and one of the surprise teams in the nation. The Mustangs are undefeated at Moody Coliseum and have been ranked in the Top 25 for the first time in nearly three decades.

Even though Brown is a nomad and has never been one to overstay his welcome, he is enjoying his current stay in Dallas and I'm sure the players enjoy playing for him. Brown has the Mustangs playing at their highest level since the days of Jon Koncak. If they can lock down a tournament berth in the next week they can be a difficult matchup in March.

I'm not predicting any Final Four runs for the Mustangs, but they do possess the firepower to get past the round of 64 and knock off a higher seeded team in the next round and advance to the Sweet 16. With Brown at the helm the Mustangs are definitely a team you don't want to look past. The SMU games I've watched this season, the Mustangs are very capable of catching fire.

The two transfers, guard Nic Moore (Illinois State) and forward Markus Kennedy (Villanova) are what give the Mustangs their horsepower. Despite being 5-9, Moore can get hot and take over a game from the perimeter. Kennedy has stepped up his game in the absence of center Yanick Moreira, who should be coming back by season's end. Freshman forward Ben Moore has been solid and reminds Brown of a young Derrick McKey. Nick Russell and Shawn Williams have also played well. Star freshman Keith Frazier hasn't  even played a major role for the team. If Moreira can come back healthy and Frazier can hit his stride this team can be dangerous.

If anyone can get this team to play up to his potential it's Brown. The problem for the Mustangs which reared it's ugly head in their loss to Temple, was their ability to play down to the level of their competition. They have no problem getting ready for the big name games on their schedule, but the tend to struggle with lesser teams.

If the Mustangs can put a string of games together they'll be a handful.          

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Bucks' Sanders out for 6 weeks after orbital bone surgery

Milwaukee Bucks center Larry Sanders underwent successful surgery on Thursday to repair right orbital bone fractures which he sustained in the Feb. 8 game against Houston.

The Bucks say Sanders will be sidelined for a minimum of six weeks.  The organization said  further updates will be provided when appropriate.

In 23 games (20 starts) this season, Sanders has averaged 7.7 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.7 blocked shots in 25.4 minutes a game.

It's another run of disappointment for Sanders, who missed 25 games at the beginning of the season because of a torn ligament in his thumb that occurred during a fight at a Milwaukee night club. On the court, Sanders complained of his role under first-year coach Larry Drew early on in the season, and he and Bucks guard Gary Neal had a shouting match in front of media members after a loss to the Phoenix Suns at the beginning of January. Not to mention that he received a citation for leaving his dogs out in the cold in January 2013.

With the Bucks at 9-43 and probably locking up the best odds to receive the number one pick in the NBA Draft, it almost makes no sense for Sanders to return. The Bucks more than likely won't be in a hurry to rush him back.

Lamar fires basketball coach Pat Knight

It's always hard to follow in your father's footsteps. Especially when your father is Bob Knight,  the winningest coach in basketball history. Pat Knight knew he had a lot on his shoulders being the son of a legend.

After compiling a 6-50 record the last two seasons, Pat Knight was fired as Lamar men's basketball coach Sunday with five games left in his third year at the helm.

Former Lamar assistant coach, Tic Price, will serve as the interim head coach for the remainder of the season.

ESPN reporter Andy Katz first reported Knight's firing.

"I was told last night to meet with the president and the AD this morning at 10 a.m.," Knight told Katz. "I knew it. There's no talk. They said they want to go in a different direction. We struggled for two years. It's all based on the record. It's part of the business."

Bill Tubbs, the program's former athletic director, coach and the namesake of Lamar's basketball court, learned the news Sunday afternoon while in California.

"I think the program has been very disappointing the last two years," Tubbs said. "Coach Knight did a great job that first year he was here. Lamar has really had a great tradition in basketball, it is known throughout the nation as a sound basketball program year-in and year-out."

Knight went 25-11 in his first year at Lamar, advancing to the NCAA Tournament.

"I did what I wanted to do," Knight told Katz. "I coached a team in the NIT [at Texas Tech] and I coached a team in the NCAA. I wanted to prove I could do this for my last name. I should have gotten out after the NCAA. But you're sitting there and have a chance to build a team from scratch. You decide to do it and didn't get it done quick enough. So you get fired. That's it. I have no regrets. I'm proud of what I did. I should have done it. You feel loyal to a place after you're fired from a place. We lost eight out of our top 10. We tried it and didn't work."

Knight disputed claims his job was in danger after Thursday's loss to Stephen F. Austin.

"No, I haven't heard anything, but if they want to do that, you know, I guess I'll be down in Florida.…I'm not playing for my job," Knight said in the press conference Thursday. "I've said it before, if they want to fire me, that's not up to me. We're in this business to get fired. But that's news to me. I don't coach thinking my job is on the line. I'm trying to build a program here. We just went to the tournament two years ago and then we started from scratch. It takes more than two years to get things going. But it is what it is. I appreciate you letting me know that. That's the first that I've been told."

Knight finishes with a 29-62 record at Lamar.

"It's always disappointing whenever anyone gets fired, but you always want your program to be strong and win games," Tubbs said. "Winning games is what it's all about."

It's a setback for the younger Knight, but I'm sure he'll wind up as an assistant on some team's sideline in the near future.

Rodman: 'I'm not an an alcoholic'

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman recently checked himself into an alcohol-rehabilitation center, but according to Rodman it wasn't for alcoholism.

Rodman says he entered rehab to reevaluate his life, not to give up drinking. Rodman says he's not an alcoholic.

“I needed to decompress from all the things I was going through,” Rodman said Friday by phone from Miami. “I was trying to get this game going and get everything going in North Korea.

“I don’t need to drink,” Rodman said. “I don’t need to do anything. I went to rehab just to sort things out. That’s it.”

My school of thought was that if you went to a treatment center that you had a problem with what you went in for. That just doesn't apply on Rodman's world.

“I’m not an alcoholic,” he said. “An alcoholic drinks seven days a week. I don’t drink seven days a week. When I drink, I don’t hurt nobody, I don’t have no DUIs, nothing like that.

“I didn’t go to rehab for drinking. There aren’t too many people who quit drinking going to rehab. Not too many people can do that.” 

Rodman said he will return to the rehab center every six months "to see where I'm at."

Maybe Dennis doesn't drink seven days a week but I'm pretty sure that he drinks more than the average person in three days than they do in seven. Rodman needs to recognize he has a problem, but knowing him it'll never happen.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver wants to end one and done

As new NBA commissioner Adam Silver gets his feet wet during his first All-Star weekend, there is one topic on his mind that is making waves in sports media. Silver wants to raise the minimum age limit from 19 to 20, in effect ending the one and done trend in college basketball.

Silver said Saturday night he is committed to continued negotiations with the NBA Players Association to establish a minimum age of 20 to play professional basketball.

In his first official press conference as commissioner since taking over for David Stern, Silver said the age requirement made sense both for the college and pro game because colleges could create better teams knowing they had at least another year to develop talent, and the NBA would benefit by having more seasoned rookies, both on and off the court, joining the league.

“Everywhere I go, I know people dislike the so-called ‘one-and-done,’” Silver said. “I think it’s important to the NBA, it’s important to basketball generally that there be strong college basketball. It’s important to college basketball that there be strong youth basketball and strong AAU basketball.

“I think we feel we have a responsibility at the NBA as the stewards of the game to ensure that the game is played the right way and those values of the game ... are executed properly. We at the league office are thinking about those things every day. You have my commitment that I am focused on the game, and ultimately, that’s what this is about.”

“It’s my belief that if players have an opportunity to mature as players and as people for a longer amount of time before they come into the league, it will lead to a better league,” Silver said. “I know from a competitive standpoint, that’s something as I travel the league I increasingly hear from our coaches, especially, who feel that many of the top players in the league could use more time to develop as leaders as part of college programs.

“Ultimately, this is a team sport — it’s not an individual sport. And we’ve seen it in international competition, for example, where teams of players that have played together for a long time have enormous advantage over teams comprised of superstars or teams that come together over short periods of time.”

Although I come from the school of thought that other sports allow 18 or 19 to turn pro after high school or one year of college, the NBA or the NFL aren't sports that should allow young men into the league. I know, if you can send them off to war they can play sports. That's very true, but none of us are owners who are investing millions of dollars to be the face of a franchise.

If there was a true minor league system in place, I could buy into the argument that one and done is a good rule. But there isn't a place where a player can develop once he goes pro. You can send him to the D-League or Europe but then that player gets lost in the basketball system and never realize their dream of playing in the NBA, because that is the ultimate goal. The D-League simply isn't enough of a minor league because you have "veteran" players still trying to get an NBA contract.

Some players turn pro after one season, but really have no business doing so. They either sit on the bench and wash out or they just never develop properly. Look at Michael Beasley. He parlayed his one great college season into being the second pick in the NBA Draft. But he hasn't been the star that many had projected him to be. He could've benefited from another year in college solely just to grow up as a man.

Even some players who play three years never develop (Hasheem Thabeet), but I think that unless you're a truly special player then you should be playing professional. It would benefit the college game and the NBA as fans would get to know the names of the players.

Some basketball fans don't watch college basketball and don't even know who's coming to the league when they're drafted. The topic will ignite a firestorm of criticism as many find it wrong to prevent players from earning a salary at age 19.

While there are some that can play one year of college ball and excel in the NBA, not all are able to do it.  

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Ed Reed has $50,000 stolen from his car in Houston

All-Pro safety Ed Reed, who played last season for the Houston Texans and New York Jets, reportedly had a bag of money containing $50,000 stolen out of the front seat of his car.

According to Reed, he had withdrawn the large amount of cash from a Houston bank on Wednesday afternoon and put it all in to a bag. He then drove to another bank and left the bag of money on the seat of his car while he quickly ran inside.

A police report states that thieves had apparently followed Reed, waited for an opportune time to strike, broke the window of his Audi, snatched the bag, then hightailed it away. According to investigators, the Reed crime is part of a popular theft trend, where people who make withdrawals from a bank or ATM are then followed and robbed.  Police refer to this type of robbery as “jugging.” According to Houston police Sgt. Arturo Bazan, who spoke to Fox Sports, ”These guys go all over the city, every bank. It’s all over.”

The 35-year-old player, who will be an unrestricted free agent, signed a one-year contract in November, after being released by the Texans who gave up on the nine-time Pro-Bowler after only seven games; Reed had signed a three-year, $15 million deal with Houston.

Meanwhile, police have no idea as to why Reed was driving around with $50,000 in cash; however, the investigation is ongoing.

Dodgers' Matt Kemp doesn't want to be the fourth outfielder

Do not tell Matt Kemp that he is the fourth outfielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He does not want to be relegated to that status.

Kemp is recovering from offseason ankle surgery and manager Don Mattingly is not counting on Kemp being ready when the Dodgers travel to Australia for their season opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks on March 22. According to reports, Kemp has not started running on the ankle.

That leaves the Dodgers with three healthy outfielders -- Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier and Yasiel Puig -- who are more than capable and could push Kemp into a bench role this season even after he is healed and ready to play.

With a contract that runs through the 2019 season, Kemp could become trade fodder depending on how the season shapes up.

"I don't know where you get this fourth outfielder talk from, man," Kemp said, according to the Los Angeles Times. "You all love talking about four outfielders, man. That's like the question of the day every day. I think all four of us outfielders feel the same way. None of us are fourth outfielders. Everybody wants to play every day. I won't accept that role. I can't accept that role."

Kemp has struggled to stay healthy the past two seasons, missing 145 games with injuries to his hamstring, knee, shoulder and ankle.

After a National League MVP season in 2011, the 29-year-old Kemp slumped at the plate, batting .270 with six home runs and 33 RBIs in 71 games last year. Those numbers are a sharp contrast to the MVP year when Kemp hit 39 homers with 126 RBIs and 40 stolen bases and batted .324 in 161 games.

The Dodgers began team workouts on Friday and Kemp is able to hit without being ready to run on the ankle. He said his left shoulder, which bothered him last year after major surgery, feels better after a cleanup surgical procedure in the fall.

If Kemp can't show that he has fully recovered he'll find himself on the outside looking in and possibly on a new team.

My guess is that either Crawford or Kemp finds himself playing elsewhere this season.

Charles Barkley says the Pistons 'have a bunch of idiots' on the team

While watching Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond participate in the NBA Rising Stars challenge, a game in which Drummond won MVP honors, TNT's Charles Barkley took time to rip his Pistons teammates.

Barkley said the Pistons 'had a bunch of idiots on that team' when he spoke about the Pistons.

“He’s a terrific player who’s playing with those other idiots up in Detroit. And they’re not going to win,” Barkley said.

When the rest of the “NBA on TNT” panel, including Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith, questioned that statement, Barkley continued: “They’ve got some idiots on that team. They’ve got some talented players who are not going to ever get it.”

In my opinion that was a shot to Brandon Jennings and Josh Smith. While the duo is talented they still possess the knucklehead factor and aren't winning players. The team lacks cohesion which is displayed when the team has many of it's 4th quarter collapses.

Barkley's talking about the lack of team play,"buddy ball in the back court", and no leadership on and off court. He's right this team doesn't understand good shots and mental toughness. Making the playoffs would help teach about possessions and finishing games.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Memphis' Dominic Woodson suspended for foul language

The Memphis Tigers beat UCF Wednesday night at home, but they lost a player for at least one game. No the player didn’t get hurt, he cussed. Freshman Dominic Woodson will not play against the No.24 UConn Huskies Saturday because he apparently used foul language while sitting on the bench.

After hearing his language coach Josh Pastner sent him to the locker room.

“If you are going to use that, you are going to go use it in the locker room,” Pastner said in his post game press conference via “You are not going to to use it on my bench, so I said ‘see ya.’ He definitely won’t travel to UConn.”

Woodson, according to Pastner, is suspended indefinitely.

"He will be suspended indefinitely until I decide to bring him back," Pastner said. "No one is bigger than the program. That's just the bottom line."

Woodson, according to Pastner, is suspended indefinitely.

Pastner apparently doesn’t cuss and doesn’t want the women and young fan to hear his players use it. This apparently not the first time Woodson has upset his coach with his language.

The 6’10″, 300 lbs. Woodson did not score Wednesday night, but played three minutes. He is averaging 2.8 points and 2.2 rebounds per game while playing 7.5 minutes.

It is refreshing to see a coach help mold a player. I am sure Woodson isn’t too excited about it, but he needs to learn to be a man. You cannot go around throwing foul language around like that. Good for you Coach Pastner. Now leave Louisville fans alone.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

"It Girl" of the week: Mary Balint

The Just Sports & Just Us "It Girl" of the week is Mary Balint.

Lions retain Gunther Cunningham

When the Detroit Lions fired Jim Schwartz a lingering question remained. Would the team retain defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham. Cunningham was still under contract but his status was in limbo.

Today the Lions announced that Cunningham will be back with the team as a senior coaching assistant. It's not exactly a defined role, since the team hired Teryl Austin to run the defense.

It is reported that Cunningham will focus on personnel, but he'll more than likely assist Austin with the defense.

The 67-year-old has had a long NFL career, including being the head coach in Kansas City from 2001 to 2003.

He has been in the NFL since 1985 and has worked for six franchises. This also gives the Lions three former defensive coordinators on staff to assist Austin, the Lions first-time NFL defensive coordinator.

Besides Cunningham, linebackers coach Bill Sheridan and defensive backs coach Alan Williams have coordinator experience.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Cleveland Melvin no longer with the DePaul basketball program

DePaul star forward Cleveland Melvin is no longer enrolled in school or part of the basketball program.

The school announced the split with the senior on Monday after suspending him last month for violating team rules.

Melvin ranks among the Blue Demons' career leaders in scoring, scoring average, rebounding, field goals, blocked shots and free throws. He was the 2011 Big East Rookie of the Year.

Melvin averaged 16.7 points and 6.4 rebounds in 20 games this season. The Blue Demons are 10-14 overall and 2-9 in Big East play with six straight losses heading into Wednesday's game against No. 6 Villanova.

Not that the Blue Demons were going anywhere this season, but it's a blow to a program trying to reestablish it's brand and develop a winning culture. DePaul will likely miss the NCAA tournament for the 10th consecutive season.

Coaches that should be candidates for the Detroit Pistons head coaching job

Maurice Cheeks was surprisingly fired as coach of the Detroit Pistons on Sunday after 50 games. Cheeks was 21-29 and was replaced by assistant John Loyer on an interim basis for the rest of the season.

Even though Loyer is auditioning for the job himself it's doubtful that he'll land the job permanently. The job won't be filled until the off-season and here are a list of candidates that should be in play to be the next coach of the Detroit Pistons.

Lionel Hollins- Hollins is the hot name right now for the job right now. He led the Memphis Grizzlies to the Western Conference finals last season with a roster that was similar to what the Pistons have now. Hollins has expressed interest in the Pistons and is the odds on favorite to land in Detroit.

Bill Laimbeer- Laimbeer is the fan favorite based on his playing days with the Pistons. The problem is that Laimbeer's coaching experience is limited to the WNBA and one year on the sidelines with the Minnesota Timberwolves. If Laimbeer coached the Pistons, I could see a fight breaking out with one of the players, but he could make the Pistons interesting.

George Karl- Karl has won everywhere he's been. Karl has also worn out his welcome everywhere he's been. He was the coach of the year last season and has led five different teams to the playoffs. I don't think the Pistons have a roster for Karl's preferred style of play.

Jeff Van Gundy- It's a long shot, but when your in the position the Pistons are in it's worth a try. I don't see Van Gundy leaving ABC anytime soon. He seems too comfortable next to Mike Breen.

Phil Jackson- This is an absolute pipe dream. Only if Tom Gores gave him part ownership, a star player and a boatload of cash.

Stan Van Gundy- I think Stan is comfortable in semi retirement. He could come back if the right team came calling. He's never had a losing record.

Nate McMillan- The former Portland Trail Blazers and Seattle SuperSonics coach interviewed three times during the Pistons’ last coaching search, when the job went to Cheeks. He’s now an assistant with the Indiana Pacers.  

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Oklahoma's Blake Bell to switch from quarterback to tight end

According to Oklahoma Sooners head coach Bob Stoops, former starting quarterback Blake Bell, also known as the “Belldozer”, will be switching positions. Bell will close out his career in Norman playing the tight end position during his senior season.

"Even though he could graduate and go somewhere, he wants to finish out and try tight end," coach Stoops said. "I think it's a great fit. Blake has the size, the athleticism, the speed to do that, and he's exhibited his toughness through the years."

As a junior, Bell led the Sooners with 1,648 passing yards and 12 touchdown passes (five interceptions). He completed 60.1 percent of this throws and averaged 7.07 yards per attempt. He started eight games. Bell had some solid moments but was very inconsistent and he struggled in losses to Texas (46.2 percent, 0 TDs, 2 INTs) and Baylor (42.9 percent, 1 TD, 2 INTs).

Oklahoma finished the season strong with four straight wins including upsets at Kansas State and Oklahoma State, as well as a big bowl win over Alabama in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. Bell attempted just 16 passes during their four-game winning streak, but in a relief role, he did lead the Sooners on the game-winning drive in Stillwater. Trailing 24-20, Bell connected with senior wide out Jalen Saunders from seven yards out for the game-winning score with 19 seconds remaining in the contest.

Despite his late-game heroics in the Bedlam rivalry, Stoops went back to Trevor Knight in the Sugar Bowl. The redshirt freshman responded with a career game, throwing for 348 yards and four touchdowns against the Crimson Tide, establishing himself as OU’s starting quarterback heading into the 2014 season.

It’s unclear if the Sooners will use Bell in short-yardage situations, which is where he flourished as a freshman and a sophomore. With a physical running style reminiscent of Tim Tebow, Bell scored 13 rushing touchdowns in 2011 and 11 more in 2012.

The move will give Bell a better chance to help the Sooners on the field in 2014, but it also leaves Oklahoma thin at the quarterback position behind Knight. Junior Kendall Thompson, the son of former OU star quarterback Charles Thompson, has decided to transfer.

That leaves redshirt freshman Cody Thomas and incoming true freshman Justice Hansen as Knight’s backups. Oklahoma has added Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year quarterback Bake Mayfield, who has transferred from Texas Tech, but he won’t be eligible to play until 2015.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

World Peace open to trade from the Knicks

After not getting an answer of why he's in coach Mike Woodson's doghouse, Knicks forward Metta World Peace isn't ruling out the possibility of a trade out of New York.

World Peace has seen little time in the rotation since returning from a blood spinning procedure on Jan.24 for his ailing knee.

When asked about whether he wanted to get dealt at the Feb. 20 deadline, World Peace said: “That’s up to my agent. I don’t worry about it. I’m optimistic about my future. … I’m not going to complain.’’ 

Sources say that Woodson has been unhappy with World Peace after he made an apparent joke about his lack of playing time.

World Peace's agent, Marc Cornstein, has wondered about his player's status in the rotation since World Peace has been limited to garbage time despite the Knicks having injuries to Kenyon Martin and Andrea Bargnani for an undisclosed amount of time.

“I haven’t been given an answer,’’ Cornstein said. “Usually, I’ll get an answer, not always the one I want to hear. But I don’t have an answer for you on this.’’  

World Peace's name came up in trade talks for Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry but the trade never materialized.

I don't know who would take on World Peace right now. He could still be an asset for someone, but I don't see a contender wanting to give up much in return for the veteran defensive pest.

Paul George calls the Pacers the 'Seattle Seahawks of the NBA'

Indiana Pacers star Paul George believes that his team are the NBA equivalent of the Seattle Seahawks given their defensive prowess and physicality.

The Pacers are the best defensive unit in the NBA, allowing an average of just 90.7 points per game which has helped them to the top of the Eastern Conference with a 39-10 record.

Frank Vogel’s men are now 23-0 this season when they have been able to hold their opponents to below 90 points, and George believes that both individually and collectively they remind him of the newly crowned Super Bowl champions, the Seahawks.

“We approach it as a physical team and we do everything from a toughness standpoint,” George said, as reported by USA Today.

“Like Seattle….Seattle’s got individual guys that stand out defensively, as we do, and as a group we put it all together. We’re a great comparison to that team because we do it from an individual standpoint and as a group.”

Like their apparent NFL equivalents, the Pacers benefit from long, athletic defenders in the form of George, Roy Hibbert and Lance Stephenson while the likes of David West and George Hill add further elements of toughness to the team.

Indiana allow just 18.3 three points attempts a game while also allowing the fewest field goal attempts in the league inside five feet, a tribute to effort on the defensive end both as individual talents and as a team.

While the season ended in glory for the Seahawks after their dominant 43-8 win over the Denver Broncos in New Jersey, it remains to be seen whether or not George’s comparison will see them ended the year with success too.

Given their relentless push for the best record in the league this regular season, they appear to be on course to dethrone the Miami Heat and will leave nothing to chance in terms of having home advantage throughout the post-season.

If the Pacers can finish the job, the comparison will be valid.

Chiefs cut cornerback Dunta Robinson

Another day, another high priced veteran cornerback cut. The Atlanta Falcons released corner Asante Samuel on Wednesday and former teammate Dunta Robinson will join him in the hunt for a new team.

The Chiefs parted ways with veteran defensive back Dunta Robinson, who never quite lived up to expectations last season.

Instead, Robinson was slowed by a series of nagging injuries and appeared in only nine games, making 14 tackles and defending just two passes. He was also part of a defense that was torched by Indianapolis wide receivers in a loss that knocked Kansas City out of the playoffs.

The move was widely expected not only because the 31-year-old Robinson struggled most of the season, gradually losing playing time to undrafted free agent Marcus Cooper, but also because the cash-strapped Chiefs would save more than $3 million. Robinson’s three-year deal was worth $13.7 million.

The 31-year-old played in just nine games and started two last season for the Chiefs. He had 13 tackles, one fumble recovery and four passes defensed in 2013.

Robinson started his career with the Houston Texans. As a rookie in 2004, Robinson logged 88 tackles, a career-high six interceptions, three forced fumbles and 19 passes defensed. In 2010 he signed a big money deal with the Atlanta Falcons but was cut with three years left on his deal.

Because Robinson now is an unrestricted free agent, he is able to sign with another team before free agency opens on March 11.