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.