While lamenting more and more storms this winter..."I was born here, I will live here, I will fight here and I will die here. Because this is my home!"...But damn Mother Nature, can you let up a little on all this damn snow?
IN MEMORIAM - It was a sad day of sorts for a little while yesterday as it was the 9th anniversary of the passing of my father. For a guy who really wasn't into sports as an adult, he was the one who took me to my first Celtics, Red Sox and Bruins game. He was there in the stands when a team I helped coach won the first championship I'd ever been a part of.
He was proud of me for my coaching...I'm proud to be the son of George Roberts.
Don't forget to follow me on Twitter - @TheOneTrue Jay
MINI-RANT - I will never understand why someone would so much as try to speak to me when they were a primary player in booting me out of coaching three years ago. It has been three years since I've spoken to any of the three people involved in screwing me over. I have no intention of ever speaking to them again, and you'd think after knowing me for three decades they'd grasp the notion that I don't forgive and I don't forget.
BOSTON RED SOX
Spring training is under way for Boston and already people are freaking out about the Red Sox. While some of it is well deserved (the lack of an ace in the rotation), the minor brouhaha about Pablo Sandoval coming into camp looking even fatter than usual was annoying.
It isn't like anyone could've expected him to come to camp looking svelte. From what I've read he always comes into camp bigger than usual and then loses weight before gaining it over the course of the season. I'm as much of a freak out guy as the next person when it comes to the Sox, but perhaps we can wait to see how he plays with the weight before signing him up for Jenny Craig, no?
If he doesn't hit, then we can start rending our clothes in frustration..
In some sad news, former 3rd base coach Wendell Kim passed away at the age of 64. He had been dealing with early onset Alzheimer's Disease.
Finally, in a sign of how times have changed with the Red Sox, Robbie Ross Jr. made me chuckle with his comments on being traded to Boston. When asked if he was surprised by the trade Ross said, "It caught me way off guard. But it didn't take long for me to be excited about the new change. I'm excited about being on a team that has a reputation for winning the World Series."
How about that? From 86 years of frustrating futility with trying to win the big one to now having a rep for winning the big one. Just over a decade had brought quite the overall culture change in being a part of the Red Sox.
Of course, with 2 out of the last 3 seasons being some of the worst in team history, let's hope the Red Sox chart their way back to consistent contender before that reputation changes for the worse.
In other baseball news, San Francisco's Tim Lincecum announced this week that he's going back to working with his father in a bid to regain the form that made him a two time Cy Young Award winner. Here's the story. I don't know if this is going to work or not, but you have to kind of feel for the guy. If going back to the guy who helped you on the way up doesn't work, it is likely going to be the end of the road for Lincecum.
The City of Las Vegas paid tribute to former UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian this week by dimming their lights. It was one of a number of tributes to the coach after his death. UNLV had a ceremony honoring him. You can read about those two events HERE. In a more permanent show of respect for what Tarkanian had done for them, five players from the 1990 championship team (Larry Johnson, Anderson Hunt, Stacey Augmon, Moses Scurry and Chris Jeter) got matching tattoos in Tark's memory. You can check out that story via this link and see photos of the tattoos.
As I've said in the past, my buddy Brian is a huge fan of Providence College. I had to email him the article link when SI.com posted an article on guard Kris Dunn. You can check it out HERE.
Florida State's Gabby Bevillard is a lesson in perseverance. After four ACL tears, she pulled the plug on her career. Her mom died from bladder cancer three weeks ago. She wanted to play one game, the "Paint It Pink" game, in memory of her mother. You can read more about it HERE.
And you can check out the video of her big shot below.
And you can read this SI.com article on Washington's Kate Collier overcoming leukemia.
Catholic University - The Cardinals beat Juniata 69-50 on Wednesday night. Amber didn't play in the game. On Saturday, the team lost to Scranton 76-49, ending their regular season at 17-8 (11-5 in conference). Amber played 5 minutes in the game and made her first college basket for 2 points in the game.
Missouri State - Last Sunday, the Bears beat Loyola (Illinois) 83-64 with Hillary Chvatal (pictured below) scored 16 points and grabbed 9 rebounds to lead the team.
Liza Fruendt had her best game since coming back from an injury. She also finished with 16 points. You can read more about her working back from the injury HERE.
Lexi Hughes added 14 points. Kenzie Williams finished with 12 points, 9 rebounds and 7 steals. Tyonna Snow also scored 12 points.
On Friday night, Missouri State visited Southern Illinois and came away with a 73-57 victory to move into 4th place in the Missouri Valley Conference. The Bears got 18 points and 8 rebounds from Kenzie Williams (see below) as they improved to 11-13 overall and 8-5 in conference play. Tyonna Snow had 11 points in the game and Liza Fruendt chipped in with 10 points.
By the way, you can learn more about a couple of the Missouri State players in the video clips below.
First up is Aubrey Buckley:
And we have Lexi Hughes:
Boston College Women - With a snowstorm causing their Sunday afternoon game versus North Carolina State to be pushed back until Monday evening, the Eagles overcame 22 turnovers and a blown 11 point lead with just 6 minutes left in regulation to capture a 64-59 overtime win over the Wolfpack.
Boston College got 16 points and 5 rebounds from Emilee Daley. Kelly Hughes (who was named ACC Player of the Week earlier in the day) also scored 16 points and grabbed 7 boards. Ashley Kelsick added 11 points and 8 rebounds.
You can see game highlights and the post game press conference below.
On Thursday night, the Eagles (12-14, 4-9 in the ACC) got pummeled by #25 Syracuse 73-51. The team's inability to hold on to the ball (26 turnovers, led by 8 from Martina Mosetti) helped derail whatever chance they had to compete in the game. BC was down by 17 points at halftime and while they played a closer 2nd half, it wasn't nearly enough.
Kelly Hughes was the only player in double figures for Boston College. She finished with 19 points and 8 rebounds. Nicole Boudreau came off the bench with 9 points and 5 boards.
By the way, here's a look at the uniforms (on Nicole Boudreau and Karima Gabriel) that the team wore for the game.
Here's the post game press conference with coach Erik Johnson.
Hartford - The Hawks got 19 points from Deanna Mayza but couldn't pick up the road victory, falling to New Hampshire 55-50. Freshman Darby Lee established her career high with 13 points. Hartford fell to 13-14 (7-6 in the America East conference).
Boston College Men - The men's team was also affected by the snowstorm in the Boston area on Sunday. Their game against Miami got pushed back until Monday afternoon. Unfortunately for the Eagles, Miami outlasted 89-86 in double overtime. Olivier Hanlan (pictured below) scored a season high 32 points and grabbed 8 rebounds to lead BC. Patrick Heckmann (pictured below 2nd) added 13 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists.
The Eagles got 10 points apiece from Aaron Brown, Dennis Clifford and Will Magarity (tied his career high).
You can see highlights of the game below.
The Eagles were back in action on Wednesday night when they squared off against Florida State. BC came away from the game with a 69-60 loss, dropping them to 9-16 on the season (1-12 in the ACC). This despite leading by 5 points at halftime.
Hanlan (shown below) tied his season high with another 32 points scoring binge. Aaron Brown (pictured 2nd) added 15 points. Garland Owens had 7 points and 5 rebounds while Patrick Heckmann scored 2 points to go with 7 assists and 7 boards.
Before the game, the school announced that Lonnie Jackson, who is out for the season with a leg injury, will be transferring. He's looking to go to a West Coast school.
Saturday, the Eagles faced #10 Notre Dame and came out on the short end of an 87-70 final score. The loss drops them to 9-17 overall with a 1-13 record in ACC play. Aaron Brown (pictured 1st) had 22 points in the game. Olivier Hanlan (shown 2nd) added 19 points and Dennis Clifford scored 17 points while grabbing 6 rebounds.
Tennessee LADY VOLS - Ariel Massengale (#5, pictured below) came off the bench to give Tennessee a huge lift on a day when they really needed it. She scored 17 points (going over the 1,000 point mark in the process) as the Lady Vols knocked off Kentucky 72-58.
But the win was very costly for Tennessee. Jordan Reynolds went down with an injury 2 minutes into the game (she was in the lineup for Thursday's game though) and then 2 minutes into the second half, they lost Isabelle Harrison for the rest of the season. They had to wait until the next day to confirm their worst fears...Harrison had torn her ACL. This is a huge blow to Tennessee as Harrison was leading the team in scoring and rebounding. For the player, the injury is doubly bad because she's a senior, meaning her college career is now over.
I don't know that anyone was really expecting the Lady Vols to contend for the championship, but a deep run in the tournament was certainly possible. Those chances took a big hit with Harrison going down.
As for the rest of the team in the game, Cierra Burdick had 14 points and 9 boards. Bashaara Graves added 11 points and 9 boards. Andraya Carter scored 11 points and Jaime Nared had 10 points.
On Thursday night, the Lady Vols rolled to their 41st straight win over Alabama. The 77-56 victory gave Tennessee a 23-3 record overall with a 13-0 record in the SEC. The team set a school record with a perfect 18-18 from the foul line. Ariel Massengale (pictured below) once again led the team in scoring with 17 points.
Cierra Burdick (pictured 1st) had 16 points and 9 boards while Bashaara Graves (pictured 2nd) dropped in 14 points.
As for the continuing story about the school's decision to get rid of the Lady Vols nickname, Zac Ellis of SI.com had a good piece HERE.
After an extended All-Star break, the Celtics finally got back in action on Friday night when they played on the road versus the Sacramento Kings.
Before that game, came the NBA trading deadline on Thursday. While there was some sentiment in the press that the Celtics would/should remain out of the trades, Boston did make two deals.
The first deal saw the team send Marcus Thornton and the first round pick they own from Cleveland in 2016 to the Phoenix Suns for point guard Isaiah Thomas. The second deal sent Tayshaun Prince to the Detroit Pistons (where he started his career) for Jonas Jerbko and Luigi Datome.
While the addition of Thomas likely gives the Celtics another ball handler who will go to the hoop, I don't know anything about the two players coming over from Detroit. And there isn't any word as yet on whether either player is even in the plans for Boston to keep around.
Beyond the deals the Celtics made, I can't say that I had much of an interest in flurry of deals (11 in all including Boston's trades) at the deadline.
The return of instability to the playing rotation (because of the trades) was made much worse when it was released that Jared Sullinger is out indefinitely with a stress fracture in his left foot. UPDATE AS OF 10:30 AM EST SUNDAY MORNING: The Celtics have announced that Jared Sullinger is out for the season.
As for the game against the Kings, Sacramento was playing their first game under new coach George Karl and for one game at least, it seemed to pay off handsomely. The game was tight throughout but the Kings ended up taking the win 109-101, due in large part to the 31 point, 15 rebound effort from DeMarcus Cousins and 28 points from Rudy Gay. The loss drops Boston to 20-32.
Avery Bradley (pictured 1st) led Boston's offense with 28 points and 6 assists. Tyler Zeller (pictured 2nd), stepping up as the big man down low with the absence of both Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk, finished with 22 points and 6 assists. Marcus Smart added 16 points and 5 steals and Brandon Bass had himself a double double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
There was a sad bit of news that I thought deserved mention. Former Portland Trailblazer star Jerome Kersey passed away this week at the age of 52. You can read about his career HERE. While that article doesn't list a cause of death, it was later reported that a blood clot had gone from his leg to his lung.
That story was made more harrowing when the news came out of Miami that the Heat's Chris Bosh might miss the remainder of the season. He's been hospitalized with possible blood clots on his lungs. You can read more on that HERE.
Jenny Vrentas of TheMMQB.com had an interview this week with new Falcons coach Dan Quinn HERE.
HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
Before I recap the incredible rush to finish the regular season and other games, I've got some winter track news to share.
The Old Rochester girls track team came in 2nd in the Division 5 state championships. My former player Rachel was part of the 4x800 team that came in 4th at the event. The team is pictured below with Rachel on the far left in the back row. (Photo by Adam Ellis of the Wareham Courier)
As for the high school basketball recap...
Bristol-Plymouth Varsity - Savahna's team finished their season off by losing to Bristol Aggie in the first round of the Aggie's FFA tournament 64-45. The team bounced back and beat Norfolk Aggie in the consolation game. However, Savahna wasn't at either game. In fact she missed the last 3 games of the season in all, meaning her final game was that Senior Night game I went to last Wednesday.
Wareham Boys Varsity - The Vikings started off their week with a 76-48 loss to Sandwich. It was a sweet revenge game for Sandwich, having lost to Wareham in their first meeting. Mark (shown below, in blue in the background) scored 7 points in the game. Ashantay added 2 points.
Josh (#22) had 2 points in the game and was in three photos from the Cape Cod Times photo gallery published online.
Wareham bounced back on Wednesday night to beat Case 80-53. Mark had 5 points while both Ashantay and Josh scored 4 points.
On Friday night, Wareham had a chance to wrap up the #1 seed in the state tournament for their division. All they had to do was beat Old Rochester (the team that snapped their conference title streak). But it wasn't to be as the Bulldogs beat Wareham 66-62 in a back and forth battle for the entire game. Mark had 5 points in the game while Josh added a foul shot. Wareham finishes with a 17-5 record (13-3 in the SCC).
Wareham got the #4 seed in the Division 3 South bracket. They play Abington this coming Thursday.
Wareham Girls Varsity - The Vikings girls picked up a 51-42 win over Seekonk to start their week. Tieyanna scored 12 points in the game. Kali had 9 points and Gabby had 4 points. Erica added 9 points and 4 assists and got mentioned prominently by the coach in the newspaper recap: “She’s a good spark off the bench,” he said. “She’s a physical presence for us. She played well, hit a couple of jump shots and made a couple of timely passes.”
They followed that game with a 46-31 win over Case. Tieyanna scored 10 points for the Vikings (13-8, 10-5). Erica added 6 points, Kali had 4 points and Gabby scored 3 points.
On Friday night, the girls team closed out their regular season with a 39-38 victory over Old Rochester. It was a nice bit of turnaround since Wareham had lost to them by 1 point in their first meeting. Tieyanna finished with 12 points in the game and hit two foul shots late in the game (see 1st photo, by Bill Whelan of Wareham Week) that helped give the win to the Vikings. Gabby (see second Bill Whelan Wareham Week photo below) scored 5 points, Kali had 4 points and Erica hit for 2 points. The team finishes the regular season at 14-8 (11-5 in the SCC).
Wareham got the #8 seed in the Division 3 South bracket. And they'll get an immediate rematch from the game above (the rubber match actually as it is the third meeting of the season) when they face off against Old Rochester this coming Wednesday night.
Bishop Stang Boys Varsity - The Spartans pulled off a big upset win when they knocked off Old Rochester 76-64. Jake scored 14 points as Bishop Stang improved to 12-7 (5-3 in conference play).
But they fell back to earth on Friday night when they dropped a 59-41 decision to Martha's Vineyard. Jake didn't score in the game.
Bishop Stang got the #8 seed in Division 3 South and will play Hanover on Thursday night this week.
Sturgis East Girls Varsity - The Storm beat South Shore Christian 34-28 early in the week. Isabella had 5 points in the win. The victory set up a win and their in scenario for the team's last regular season game.
Unfortunately, Nantucket beat them 60-45 in that game and the chances for Sturgis East to go to the tournament went by the wayside. Isabella scored 6 points in the game. Another development for this game in particular was her sister Blossom (another ex-player of mine) got moved up to varsity for the game. She didn't actually get into the game, but it does count as making varsity in my book. Not bad for a freshman.
Sturgis East finished 8-9 on the season.
Upper Cape Girls Varsity - The Rams played their first round State Vocational tournament game against Old Colony on Friday night. Despite a rather lackluster 1st half, they led 21-18 at the break. But their offense got going in the third quarter (a 17-0 run at one point) as they extended their lead to 40-25 after three quarters. They hit cruise control in the fourth quarter and took the win 50-39.
Michaela (pictured below) was 2-12 (2-11 FG, 0-1 3pt FG) and 1-2 from the line for five points. She grabbed 4 offensive rebounds and made three steals. She turned the ball over three times and committed 2 fouls.
(photo by Adam K. Ellis of the Wareham Courier. By the way, that guy in the background wearing the hat is me)
Besides the slow start to the game, the biggest flaw in the game was the school somehow letting four teenagers (at least three who play for the Upper Cape boys team) work the scorer's table for the game. Apparently all the adults who usually work the table were unavailable. It was a really bad idea to let them do it though. They made a ton of mistakes and the refs had to keep stopping the game (particularly in the first half) to fix whatever individual mistake they'd made. Even worse, after looking at the scorebook, they messed that up so bad that the individual scoring stats according to them were atrociously off from those of us who actually know how to keep score in a basketball game.
The win put Upper Cape into the tournament final to defend their title from last year. They faced Norfolk Aggie in the game yesterday afternoon and from the opening tip just blew them out. The final score was 55-26 in favor of Upper Cape. The win makes them back to back State Vocational (Small School) Champions! You can read the article HERE.
Michaela was 1-5 for the game for 2 points. She missed two foul shots, grabbed 2 rebounds, had a steal and forced three jump balls. She added 2 fouls to her stat line has well. Here two state titles go along with the three youth league titles she won playing for me, making her the most successful player overall in terms of winning that I coached.
Here's a pic of her going up for her only basket of the game:
And here's a pic of the team after the win: (both photos by Adam K. Ellis of the Wareham Courier.)
Here's a pic of Michaela and I after the game:
As for the regular state tournament, Upper Cape got the #5 seed in Division 4 South and will play Old Colony (for the 4th time this season) this coming Wednesday night.
LITTLE LEAGUE WORLD SERIES
Despite the fact that the Jackie Robinson West team is no longer the recognized U.S. champion, the mayor of Chicago is going ahead with plans to give the kids championship rings.
Call me crazy but this insane need to validate the kids by the adults on the periphery of the story is getting to be a bit much. As wonderful as they were to watch, the fact is they are no longer the champions. Now you can kvetch and moan about the adults in charge of the league being the real bad guys in this story. I won't argue with you about that. But I do find it a bit convenient that the notion of "win as a team, lose as a team" gets tossed out the window for the sake of shielding the youth of the world from the consequences of actions taken on their behalf.
THE DAMN RULES WERE BROKEN! That is the teachable moment here. Break the rules, suffer the consequences. The mayor of Chicago giving them championship rings when they are not the champions reinforces the lack of accountability that everyone seems to grow up with nowadays.
TV - One of my all-time favorite comic book series was the Jim Starlin creator owned title Dreadstar. It was a huge science fiction / war title with the group of main characters caught between two warring factions. I've met Starlin and purchased a fully illustrated drawing of the title character from him. So the news that he's signed a deal to develop the book into a TV show really thrilled the hell out of me this week. You can read more details HERE.
You can check out the recap of the "Fallout" episode of The FlashHERE. And the recap for the "The Return" episode of Arrow can be read by clicking here.
Movies - Late last night and into early this morning, I watched the movie The Rewrite. It stars Hugh Grant as a down on his luck former Oscar winning screenwriter who takes a teaching job in Binghamton University. He plans to do as little as possible but soon finds himself actually teaching the class instead.
I found it a rather interesting story, though it had a familiar plot. Hugh Grant did a really nice job selling the character in what was a very low key type of film. And if you know anything about the various actors who appear in the movie and their previous works, the movie was filled with lots of little (I'm guessing) unplanned inside jokes.
Music - I've got a bunch of new music for you to check out this week. But the first thing I wanted to make sure you got a look at was my review of the new U.D.O. album Decadent. Here's the KNAC.com link.
Now...here's the music..First up is the audio stream of the Halestorm song "Mayhem". I can't say I was overly enthused about this track. I liked the first track they released from the upcoming new album a lot more.
Next we have the audio stream for the new Toto song "Holy War". At first listen, I found the song merely okay. But when I listened again, the song stuck with me a lot more.
The new album from Black Star Riders is due out this Tuesday (February 24th). You can check out the official video for the song "Finest Hour" below. I haven't listened to this one yet because I plan to buy the album and do a review of it.
Finally, Beth Hart has released the song "Might As Well Smile" from her upcoming Better Than Home album. Normally I would skip this in favor of waiting for the album to review, but this is Beth Hart and my rabid fandom for her music means I had to listen to it. You can check out the awesome track below.
Hello ladies and gents, and welcome to this week's grumble with IHM. Pretty significant Grumble this week, as it comes on my final week of freedom. Starting next week I'll be working at the nut factory, so it will likely lead to shorter blogs out of yours truly... hopefully less quantity but the same level of quality you've come to expect out of me (not that I've set that bar very high).
This has been a fairly rough week for sports bloggers... the NFL is done. There is some combine talk, but the draft is still a month and a half away (April 30th-May 2nd), and even free agency doesn't start for about a month (March 10th)... so all we have right now football wise is speculation. Baseball is officially back today, as the Tigers and many other clubs open their Spring training camps. Pitchers and catchers have reported, and we aren't far away from seeing our first spring training games! Hopefully Florida's current cold snap is a one-hit wonder and we can get to the games quickly... nothing warms you up like getting to watch baseball!
The biggest story of the month around here is the speculation about DT Ndamukong Suh... will he stay or will he go? How much are the Lions willing to pay? How much is he really worth? Every Lions fan I know seems to shout "re-sign him", "re-sign him". I, however, have been shouting a very different tune... "don't waste the money, don't waste the money". Don't get me wrong, Suh is a great football player, and his impact on the game is obvious every time he steps on the field. But the issue happens to be the position he plays, and whether or not you are willing to pay 16 plus million a year for a guy who is going to give you 9 sacks at best.
Like I said before, don't get me wrong... Suh is a major talent and a major asset when he is on your team. The intimidation factor alone almost preceeds him when new offensive linemen come into Ford Field (or when Suh goes to their house). But I'd like to present my case evidence, which comes from Baltimore, MD this past NFL season, when the current highest-paid DT in football Haloti Ngata was suspended for PED use for the final four games of the 2014 season. Ngata is paid 16 million dollars per season... just a shade under what the standard bearer at defensive line in the league (JJ Watt) makes annualy. When Ngata was out, the Ravens didn't miss a beat, as Timmy Jernigan and Brandon Williams stepped into his spot (the two make a combined $2 million, by the way) and produced at the same level for an eigth of the price.
Long story short, the position of defensive tackle is one where greatness isn't separated from very good by much of a margain on the stat sheet. Maybe the Lions take the risk of signing him to a non-exclusive fanchise tag and allowing other teams to speak with him (and hoping someone bites to the tune of two first round picks in exchange)... but then you run the risk of paying $26.7 million for Suh next season... a devistating cap number when you add in the annual salaries of Stafford and Johnson ($32 million combined in 2015). On the plus side, the league is expected to announce a new-record high cap amount (expected to be in the 140-145 million dollar range), which could provide some relief. Either way, it is going to be a tough call for GM Martin Mayhew, who has proven he can produce on the free agent market in recent offseasons with guys like Glover Quinn and Golden Tate. We'll see what the Lions decide to do here, but no decision will be easy.
The NBA's trade deadline passed us by yesterday at 3, and we wound up seeing a few significant deals. The highest profile trade wound up being Phoenix sending Goaran Dragic (who cried his way out of town) to Miami for Noriss Cole and a few picks. But a few moments later the joke was on Goran, as the team also dealt Isaiah Thomas out of town, the main reason Dragic was angry with the team... claiming there was "no trust" there. You know, aside from the fact that they gave him a big contract to come there in the first place, played him enough so that he could become a superstar, and even signed his freaking brother and brought him over from Slovenia! Yeah, they brought in Bledsoe and Thomas... and now Dragic has to play off the ball a little more often. W'ah. Enjoy Miami... better hope Dwyane doesn't want to hold the ball all night there, either, because that isn't a battle you'll win.
One of the biggest names traded yesterday was Kevin Garnett, who was dealt back to Minnesota for Thaddeus Young. No clue why the Wolves wanted him, aside from maybe the expiring contract.
The NBA's other player to cry his way out of town, Reggie Jackson, wound up right here in Detroit. Oh boy. Evidently he's excited to be here, but I'm not sure he isn't Ben Gordon 2.0 to be honest. The biggest question, what does he do when Brandon Jennings comes back and also wants to handle the basketball. This seems to be becoming a recurring theme in the league... average at best players thinking they should have the basketball in their hands 48 minutes a fucking game. Hopefully Jackson is good and this trade ends up making sense. The Thunder got DJ Augustin, Kyle Singler, and Enos Kanter (from the Jazz) to strengthen their bench in the trade.
The Pistons made another move (for some reason) to bring in Tayshaun Prince... yeah, THAT Tayshaun Prince... giving up a pair of bench players to Boston to do so. Yeah, I'm not sure what the hell SVG is doing here, but I'll continue to give the guy the benefit of the doubt here.. until I have a reason not to that is.
Speaking of the Celtics (who traded Prince to the Pistons), they also were able to bring in Isaiah Thomas from Phoenix in exchange for G Marcus Thornton and one of the first round picks they had stockpiled.
In the other major deadline deal, the Bucks and Suns hooked up as part of a three team deal to exchange point guards, as the Suns wound up with Brandon Knight and Kendall Marshall, the Bucks wound up with Michael Carter-Williams, Miles Plumlee, and Tyler Ennis, and the 76ers get draft picks... more draft picks. When the hell is the league going to step in there, btw?
A couple of minor moves saw Aaron Afflalo go from Denver to Portland to help bolster the Blazers bench, and the Kings deal Ramon Sessions to the Wizards to help their bench for a playoff run. The Kings got George Karl's boy Andre Miller back for Sessions.
Over in the NHL, I have to be honest... it is weird now that the Wings are in the Eastern Conference. It's easy not to notice the change, but when a team like Chicago comes to town that you used to play 7-8 times a year, suddenly it becomes very real again! Great hockey game between the two teams on Wednesday night, and on the plus side now these rivals can play each other for a Cup instead of for a trip to the Finals someday!
Well folks, that's all I've got for today's grumble. Thanks as always for reading and for any comments you leave on your way out. Have a great weeknd, Gabbers.
He honed his skills on the playgrounds of Brooklyn, playing at the most famous of the street basketball courts Rucker Park. Before he ever played his first organized basketball game at Boys High School in Brooklyn when he was a junior, he already was a basketball legend on the streets. Beating a player like Lew Alcindor one on one can do that for your reputation. It was rumored that it was not a chance occurrence, that he beat Lew regularly. He was destined to be the greatest basketball player of all-time, yet it was all taken away from him. The NBA banned him from playing in the prime of his career and redemption would come too late. He never reached the lofty goals that were destined to be his.
Connie Hawkins just may be the greatest basketball player that you never heard of. His story does contain a belated redemption, but it was too little, too late. Let me start at the beginning. Coming out of high school Connie was recruited heavily, and he accepted a scholarship to play at the University of Iowa. While Connie was a freshman, a point-shaving scandal broke out in New York. During a federal investigation, the name of Connie Hawkins came up. Connie was never named as a conspirator; indeed it was obvious that he was not involved. The year was 1960 and freshman players were not permitted to play. Iowa, fearing NCAA reprisal, booted Connie from the school. He was grilled by New York City detectives and denied legal counsel. His rights were continuously violated.
The NBA banned him from playing in its league. He played for a season for the now defunct American Basketball League Pittsburgh Rens and was named the league’s MVP. When the league folded the next season, Connie then played for the Harlem Globetrotters for the next three seasons. In 1967 Hawkins played for the American Basketball Association‘s Pittsburgh Pipers and led them to the league championship. Connie was both the regular season and playoff MVP. The next season Hawkins had knee surgery and missed most of the season. That takes us up to 1969.
Connie’s lawyers had sued the NBA for $6 million while he was playing for the Globetrotters and the case was finally settled in 1969. The NBA paid Connie a $1.3 million settlement and assigned his rights to the expansion Phoenix Suns. In his “rookie” season with the Suns, Connie put up 24.6 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game. To put an exclamation point on his season, he had 44 points, 20 rebounds, 8 assists, 5 blocks and 5 steals the last game of the season. He was named All-NBA First Team. Due to serious knee problems, Connie was forced to retire after seven NBA seasons.
I first met Connie Hawkins after the 1972 season. I was the manager of a huge record and tape store in downtown Phoenix which was called Circles Records and Tapes. One day I walked into a competitor’s record store, Milano’s, to check out their record inventory. I saw this huge man looking at some jazz, and I immediately recognized him as Connie Hawkins.
“Hi Connie, I’m Harvey”, I said. “Do you like jazz?”
“I like jazz, R&B, Motown, just about everything”
“Connie, let me give you my card. I manage a new record store a couple of miles from here. Milano's has 8 bins total. I have over 100 bins of just jazz”.
Connie came in and was blown away by our inventory. We really were the biggest record store in the nation. One time the Blackwood Brothers came in and found three of their records that were out of print and that they desperately wanted, but that is another story along with Van Cliburn visiting one day.
Connie asked me to put aside all the new records that he liked each week, and he would come in on Tuesdays and buy them from me. He never once refused a record that I picked out for him.
One day he needed a needle for his player and I told him that we only had cheap needles. “That’s okay, Harvey. Charlie Scott has a $5000 system and mine cost $100. I can’t hear a difference between them.” So I gave him a needle.
We had a ritual. Connie and I would sneak out to the parking garage and I would give him one, and only one, Kool cigarette to smoke. He said it was from his days on the streets. It was our secret and I promised that I would never betray him.
One day towards the end of the summer Connie came in to the store all excited. “Did you hear Harvey?”
I had heard the rumors that he might be traded to the Lakers. “Do you want to play for the Lakers?” I asked.
“More than anything in the world, I want to play for the Lakers.” he said.
“Then I know that it will happen for you Connie. The NBA owes it to you.” Connie was soon traded, and I figured that I would probably never see him again.
Lady Luck intervened for me once more about 30 years later.
I walked into Casino Arizona and the poker room one day and saw Connie Hawkins sitting down to play. I wondered if he could remember me. He got up later for a break and I approached him. “Remember me, Connie?” I said.
“You got a Kool?”
I believe that if Connie had not been denied those eight years in the NBA, he might just have been its greatest player. He was Doctor J before Doctor J and could soar like a Hawk. Even with the limited playing time, he was voted one of the Top NBA players of All-Time.
The NBA trade deadline was today. One notable trade had Kevin Garnett returning to the Minnesota Timberwolves, who he starred with for 12 years. It is a classy move by the Wolves, who will give Kevin a wonderful sendoff on an incredible 20 year NBA career.
The Suns were very busy, making three trades including trading Goran Dragic to the Miami Heat. The Heat scored a winner on that trade. I can see Goran taking them to the NBA Finals. He is that good.
Portland Trailblazer Jerome Kersey passed away at 52. That’s too young. RIP
Larry Fitzgerald signed a two year contract to stay with the Cardinals.
Marcus Mariota scored some of the highest scores ever on the Wonderlick test.
Jameis Winston has small hands, less than 10 inches.
Half the spring training teams have already reported and the rest report tomorrow. It was 80 degrees here in Phoenix today, not sure about Florida.
Kung Fu Panda is fat.
The Arizona Diamondbacks signed a $1.4 billion television contract with Fox Sports.
The NFL Combine will be running on the NFL Network for the whole weekend.
The Daytona 500 is Sunday.
Do you remember Connie Hawkins or do you have any potpourri to add? You can comment on the way out, and don’t forget to peruse the madman, IHateMillen------>
Kind of like the NFL collapsing Under deflate gate
The snow is heavy and the roof is about to collapse on the NFL. National Football Leakage. People from the NFL office keep feeding things to ESPN. They are feeding the piranha but there are signs everywhere not to feed the fish. It seems that folks from the leakages front office. They are making shit up and throwing chum in the waters of Bristol Connecticut
They have the Patriots on double secret probation and nobody involved in the deflategate investigation is suppose to be talking. That is of course unless you work for the NFL and are considered a source for ESPN. Tuesday night a 27 year veterarn reporter for ESPN said that a Patriots locker room attendant tried to get an un authorized kicking ball into the game. I think he might have been (Mr. Twinkles but I’m not sure..) He handed to an alternate official who discarded because it didn’t have Walt Andersen’s mark on it. For all you folks hoping for another scandal against the winners of the Pro Footbal’s 49th Champions. Guess again the alternate official as said early discarded the ball so it would have never made it into the game.
What the OTL reporter didn’t tel you as that ballw as handed to Mr. Twinkles or Jim McNally by a league official. Here is where it gets good. The league fired a guy that was in charge of Footballs, Kicked ones , under inflated ones and beat up ones, and over inflated ones as well because the guy was in charge of separating these balls and giving them to charity as they came out of the game.. Of course this was also leaked by the Leakage office. The guy apparently sold a ball to support his favorite charity himself. I’m not sure if the league brings these fine purveyors of craigslist and ebay to each game or only for the playoffs only.
AS the NFL draws at staws and continues to make themselves look bad. I believe there are still people in that office that simply have it out for the Patriots. Geez I’m sounding like Al Davis but this investigation has any more leaks the roof will collapse on the NFL.
The other night I was watching the NFL Network not as many leaks on that side of the house I guess. They had one of those It’s aFootball Life with the 4 photographers that have covered all 49 Superbowls. If you think about it that’s an amazing feat in itself. One of these guys brought up a great point. I’m quoting loosely here He said that the game has changed and grown from a game to major event. He said what he misses most is shooting the game in day light in that incandescent light with shadows and the sunlight. Now everything is indoors or at night and photographers are confined to a section of the field. It was a pretty interesting take on the world’s largest event.
The boys won one on Saturday well the other team was in a Tourney they forfeited. Sunday Blizzard Number 2 caused a cancellation to be made up at a later date. The boys played Yesterday afternoon. I got play by play at work via text. You couldn’t do that a few years ago. Lil Lanz banged one home from the left dot. Boys lost and than an about 6 of them including Lil Lanz went to their regular practice after the game. Game was at 2:30 (school vacation week) Practice at 5:20 36 miles away. I guess that was dedication. Laser got some coaching duties as the regular coaches had to work all but one.
Ole Lanz was talking to another dad from Lil Lanz’s Hockey team and he was saying he is playing in a fun hockey league and said they needed players. Next thing I know I’m signed up and on his team. I haven’t really played in about 10 years. However, I skate regularly or when ever I can and play some pond hockey with the boys. The guy said 4 team league and no idiots with the exception of a 70 year old guy who is a cheap shot artist and thinks he is Gordie Howe. So it will be fun.
The change of jobs hampered Basketball officiating this year. I was going to take the season off. Of course I received a call late last Wednesday Night to do 3 games in the next town. The games were on Saturday at 12, 1 and 2 made it out just as the snows came. 12 was a good game. The 2 I did by myself the partner in the 12 had just done 4 in a row. 1 O’clock game an 8th grade boys game. They are like a pack of wild dogs. I needed 12 sets of eyes. Both teams coaches were great and understanding . One guy is a cop and just stopped refereeing so he was awesome. I start the game 3 I’m 5 minutes in no partner. So I’m up top near the top of the arc. I look in and there is another Ref standing on the baseline with his whistle in his mouth. I was glad to see him.
A basketball game is hard to officiate in the first place at any level but doing an up tempo game by yourself really sucks.
Does anybody know how to get pics from MY docs into the blog?