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Westsider Rider

Friday, May 26, 2006

Happy Memorial Day Weekend

I had a post on the NBA draft lottery and all that stuff planned out but I haven't been able to finish it up with all I've got to do at work. Thankfully I moved departments and don't have to work the whole weekend which I would have had to do if I didn't get transferred. Just got a couple of quick takes before I take off for the weekend.
  • Raja Bell is hurt and will not play tonight for Phoenix. What goes around comes around Raja. He is a scumbag and I have no respect for him whatsoever, after that stunt he pulled against Kobe in Game 5 he is one of my most hated athletes, I won't get into how much just know that he better hope he never runs into me.
  • Coaches in Connecticut HS Football will be suspended if they win by more than 50 points. First off this is just stupid because sometimes you can't help it to win by that much. Are coaches to be penalized if they put their 3rd string team in and they score? Sure there are some instances where coaches run it up and those should be handled on a case by case basis but to generalize and say that all 50+ point wins will end up with a suspension is ridiculous. Other states have a running clock if the point differential is high but they rejected that because they "thought it would unfairly cut into backups' playing time." That reasoning is just stupid, you are penalizing backups by not allowing them to really play if they are putting these point restrictions on them.
  • Korea wins 2-0 in a World Cup tuneup over Bosnia. Definitely cannot wait for the World Cup coming up in a couple of weeks. There are high expectations for Korea this time around compared to last year since they reached the Final Four in 2002, we'll see how they fare in fulfilling those expectations.
  • Jersey List is updated, now up to 62 with the addition of my new Randy Moss Jersey.

Good luck to the Michigan Baseball and Softball teams as they try to advance to their respective College World Series this weekend. Let's Go Blue!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Damned if you do, Damned if you don't

Scoop Jackson wrote a good article on this topic which has brought me to write about it as well since it concerns my favorite basketball player, check it out if you haven't Kobe caught in hoops purgatory. This is a topic I've been discussing with my friends recently with the Lakers ending the season the way they did and how the media has covered Kobe. Right now LeBron James is in the position that Kobe was a few years back, he is the media darling and everyone loves him which is part of the reason why I didn't want Cleveland to advance too far because then the media would constantly talk about how great LeBron did and how Kobe couldn't do that with his team. For now, LeBron is the favorite and we will see how long this continues since we all know the media will be ready to get on him as soon as something messes up. Months back when Allen Iverson was on Quite Frankly with Stephen A. Smith he said he told LeBron that he has to watch out because as soon as he messes up the media would be on him and turn on him just like that, much like it has happened to Kobe.

If you look at Games 6 and 7 against Phoenix this situation is portrayed clearly. In Game 6, Kobe dropped 50 and the Lakers lost, the media was on him about how he shot too much and how that was a big reason why they lost. Then in Game 7 he scores 24 and his team loses but this time he didn't shoot enough. Unfairly, Kobe is most always blamed with the Lakers problems and how he isn't Jordan. Even Kobe himself does not like being compared to MJ and as he said on TNT "I handle the ball more [than Jordan] … the only similarities I see are our competitiveness … we're different, we're just different."

Unfortunately, after the Colorado situation everything changed for Kobe. People tried to play the morality card and lost respect for him for cheating on his wife. Granted it's not something one should do and I'm not trying to excuse him from it but if that's the case then you can't root for pretty much 95% of the NBA, Shaq, Magic Johnson and even Jordan have cheated on their wives. Jordan didn't live in the information age that we do today where people were able to find pictures of Kobe's accuser immediately following the news breaking.

No matter what happens for the rest of his career he will always have this double standard where nothing he does can be right. But I have faith that Kobe will bring the Lakers another championship and that will be the best one of them all because that will finally show all the haters that "he only won with Shaq," as many try to point out. Everyone must remember Shaq never won a title without Kobe, considering how dominant he was and supposed to be Shaq only won with #8 on his side, he never did it with Penny and has yet to, and I don't believe he will with D Wade.

Scoop makes a great point that Kobe started to emerge as Jordan was finishing is career so that people naturally tried to make the comparison:

"But the fact that Kobe came into the L on the heels of Jordan's second exodus -- and being so Jordanesque at the time -- human nature alone makes us connect him to Jordan like Bapes to Air Force Ones, Ask.com to Google, Chris Brown to Usher, Dime to Slam."
and continues on about this past season as Kobe had a statistically similar season to Jordan in 86-87 but his team performed better yet he's still called selfish:

"It's funny when they reminisce over you inside of a paradox like this, because no one mentioned how that season the Bulls played under-.500 basketball (40-42, fifth in their division, 17 games out of first place) and how they got swept in the first round by Boston, yet Kobe got the Lakers to play over-.500 ball (45-37, third in their division, nine games from first) and push the Suns to a "win or go home" game in the first round … and he gets dogged. Or how Michael came in second in MVP voting that year to Magic, yet Kobe came in fourth this year, fifth in the general managers voting poll.

Yet, they basically had the exact same statistical season.
MJ,'86-87: 37.1 ppg/5.2 rpg/4.6 apg
KB, '05-06: 35.4 ppg/5.3 rpg/4.5 apg

Yet, Kobe's season is being held against him."
As Kobe's #1 fan I didn't think it would end up like this as he is one of the most hated players in the Game and being compared to Barry Bonds in surveys for hated and distrusted athletes. Bonds is on a completely different level considering he is a cheater who has broken the rules of the game to get to where he's at. But part of me loves the haters, probably close to as much as Kobe himself does because people doubt him and when he succeeds it makes it that much sweeter. I know a lot of people don't like Scoop's writing but the closing of this article pretty much sums up everything I've been saying since the mid to end of this season. Kobe's in a no-win situation no matter he does but I'll let Scoop finish it out:

"His career is Jordan's in reverse. Win early, struggle late. But Jordan never had to go through this. Never had to deal with this type of scrutiny, never had to deal with this type of hate, never had to come on national television to discuss why he did what he did in the second half of a ball game that was lost at halftime.

In a season that was lost the minute the ref tossed up the ball in the very first game.

Unfortunately for Kobe, you can only play basketball to win.

The game that is his life has slowly become a no-win situation."

Trying to Catch Up

Lots of the stuff has gone on in the past few weeks on the football front that I haven't been able to discuss due to how great the NBA playoffs have been and there are still two more Game 7's tonight I'll get back into football. The most recent news was the approval by the Regents of the University of Michigan to add luxury suites and club seating to Michigan Stadium. This decision is not without its opponents though as the measure passed by a 5-3 vote so it wasn't a unanimous choice.

It is a $227 million plan but I have no problems with this move as it is something that is necessary in today's age of sports. I am somewhat worried about how the stadium will look after the additions are made but I'm sure the changes will be made to blend in with the existing stadium. Below is a diagram from the Ann Arbor News with the changes:

There was/is a lot of opposition to this decision but in the current state of sports these changes are necessary to keep Michigan up to date. The athletic department supports itself and revenue from football is necessary to keep other sports around and this will help in that. From the anti-renovation group Savethebighouse.com:

Private luxury boxes represent the very antithesis of that tradition, dividing Michigan fans by income and undermining the unity, excitement and camaraderie that Michigan fans of all ages and backgrounds share as they experience the game together.

This statement would be true if every ticket in the stadium was the same price but it's not. Fans are already divided by income as it costs more to get 50 yard line seats than seats in the end zone. Not just that the mandatory donations for the premium seats are more as well. Another reason I'm all for these changes is it will probably make the Big House louder as the fans who yell "Down in front" and refuse to cheer during games will probably relocate to these club seats and luxury suites adding more fans that will actually stand and make some noise while the 2nd deck should trap some more sound in the stadium.

It was a good weekend on the diamonds for Michigan as the baseball team clinched their first Big Ten Title since 1997 and in doing so will host the Big Ten Tournament this week at the Fish. While the softball team won the Ann Arbor Regional and will now travel to Tennessee to face the Volunteers in the Super Regional which is a best of 3 series to advance to the Softball World Series.

ESPN/ABC announced that it is starting a Saturday night Prime Time College Football series. I for one, love it. Coach Carr has been outspoken about his dislike for night games but in addition to time difference, which allows me to enjoy the games without having to get up early on Saturday morning, I love watching night games. There's the whole day of anticipation and the buzz that surrounds a big night game. Of course the big one of the series will be the September 9th game between Texas and Ohio State. Michigan will be on this series at least twice as the Minnesota and Penn State games are on the schedule. I'm starting to get excited about the upcoming season already but it's still a ways away at least I have these NBA playoffs and the World Cup until then.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Being gay, now a disability

Got this from EDSBS, which you should be reading every day if you're not already.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

We are all witnesses

Damn, even though I've wanted to stay away from the NBA playoffs after the Lakers choke job these playoffs are just too good to not watch. When I say witnesses sure I mean LeBron but the rest of the games as well. It does pain me not to see the hallway series but the Suns-Clippers has been great as has the Spurs-Mavs. Jones on the NBA echoes my sentiments, just in more detail.
The Suns are creeping up on my list of teams I hate and are making them strong candidates for the top spot. At least with the Spurs they go about their business and I just hate them because they beat the Lakers, the Suns on the other hand have to run their mouths and talk shit when they're just barely beating teams they're supposed to be blowing out. I could go on forever about them and that punk Raja Bell but I'll leave it at that.

The unfortunate aspect of living in California is I haven't been able to watch more of the Pistons-Cavs series as I'm still working when these games get to halftime. As much as I wanted the Cavs to advance I didn't think they had a shot playing against the Pistons but they've definitely shown me otherwise. My boy Mike was trying to tell me he though the Cavs were worse than the Lakers which is why he thought that LeBron was better than Kobe. Granted LeBron is one of my favorite players but he's not at Kobe's level, yet. I know that continuing on this path LeBron will probably go down as one of the best, if not the best to play the game if he keeps going at this rate but the Cavaliers definitely have a much better supporting cast for LeBron than for Kobe. When Eric Snow threw that ball up court to waste more time do you think Smush Parker would have ever thought of something like that? Aside from Lamar I would easily take rest of the Cavs over the Lakers. There's a lot of moves that need to be made for the Lakers, I just hope Mitch Kupchak will get it done.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Plenty to Cover

A combination of still being hungover from the Lakers debacle as well as my transferring to a different department at work has left me less time to post now. I didn't want to have to discuss more of the Lakers because it still makes me sick thinking about blowing the 3-1 lead but it is a young team that will only get better. But as always, there is one sport on my mind which can help ease my pain and that is college football. There is new hope with the start of a new season and I can't wait for it to start. Before I get started I finally have compiled my jersey list which I talked about a few weeks back so all my friends that want to know which jerseys I've got now can check it out right here.

Luckily the college football blogsphere has posted some questions which'll help me get back on track. For today I'll cover the Roundtable questions asked by Burnt Orange Nation.

Which offseason story are you most tired of, and, on the flip side, interested in? (e.g. Reggie Bush's house, Jimmy Claussen, etc.)

Coming from a Michigan fan it's probably natural for me to say the story I'm most tired of is Notre Dame. Everything about them from Coach Weis to Brady Quinn and coverage has now gotten bigger due to the commitment of Jimmy Clausen. Now, it's not just Clausen, anyone that commits to Notre Dame now gets coverage on ESPN as witnessed by their most recent commitment getting an article on the College Football Page of ESPN. Speaking of Clausen, he is just setting himself up for failure with his announcement and how he handled things. First off he plays in an extremely weak division which features a bunch of small private schools that his team dominates considering that he is one of 4 or 5 D-1 caliber prospects on his team. If his team plays a game close enough to where I'm at I might go check it out to see what the hype is all about. The other thing is he is very old for high school standards and if I remember correctly he will be 20 by the time he enters Notre Dame. So we shall see if it is his physical advantage or if he really is that good.

What am I most interested in? Of course most know how much I hate USC and I love watching all the stuff finally coming to light at South Central. I had heard plenty of rumors about shady dealings in Trojan land and it looks like some of it was true. It'd be nice to throw it back in the faces of all the USC "fans" I've had to deal with that popped up over the past few years knowing they had to cheat to do what they did. But it wouldn't make a difference to me if they had to vacate their 2004 National Championship or Reggie Bush's Heisman Trophy because they did what they did on the field, I'll just always remember that they were cheaters.

Your head coach comes down with a mystery illness and has to step aside. You get to hand pick the replacement for the 2006 season. Who gets your vote?

Many Michigan fans have had enough with Coach Carr of earning the title of doing less with more as Michigan has so much talent yet underachieves pretty much every season as any National Championship hopes are gone by mid to late September as the Wolverines end up losing their first road game of the year almost every season. Because of this there has been a lot of talk about who fans want as their next coach and I've got one name at the top of my list. Jeff Tedford of Cal. He has rebuilt a program that was nothing at Berkeley and turned them into perennial contenders in the Pac-10. Michigan has a tradition of sending QB's to the NFL, Tedford also has a reputation for turning his QB's into NFL picks and that combination could do some damage. Michigan's offensive playcalling has become extremely predictable and I would love to see what Tedford could do with Michigan's firepower. In addition, he currently coaches at an excellent academic institution as well so he would know how to deal with the academic standards as well. When Coach Carr retires I really hope that Tedford is under consideration.

Lastly, we'll mix the football and the blogging together here. If you could have anyone switch allegiances and start covering your team, who you gonna pick?

I would be like most other bloggers and say Brian at MGoBlog gets my vote but the good thing is he already does blog for my favorite team so I'll have to go elsewhere. There are a bunch of good options out there as Bruins Nation, Burnt Orange Nation and Every Day Should Be Saturday are among my favorites and I would love to get their takes on Michigan but if I had to choose one I would have to go with Kyle at Dawg Sports. He is always up to date and keeps up with every sport out there for Georgia in such detail that I would definitely want to see what he would write about if he started covering Michigan. It doesn't hurt that I've always liked Georgia ever since I read the story on Hines Ward at Georgia while I was in high school.

Kyle posted a question about how you became a fan of your team so I'll discuss that later this week. As well as discussing more NBA playoffs, even though I said I wouldn't these playoffs or just too good and how fast the Suns are rising up the list of teams I can't stand.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Add #6 to the List!

Michigan has just received a commitment from Jerimy Finch, currently a S, could become a LB from Warren Central HS in Indianapolis the same school as current Wolverine Chris Graham as well as a teammate to two other players Michigan is currently recruiting Darren Evans and Adrien Robinson. This is a big time commitment as Finch is considered a top 100 player as well as the #1 player in the state of Indiana. Michigan already has a commitment from Artis Chambers who, according to some, is considered the #2 player in Indiana so it's good to grab the top two players in Indiana, especially at a position of need. There'll probably be a lot more stuff up on him tomorrow. I'm just excited we got another commitment, Welcome to the Michigan Family Jerimy Finch!

Monday, May 08, 2006

What a difference a week makes

Amazing how 7 days can completely change everything. Last Sunday was one of, if not the most amazing game I had ever seen, much less been there in person. The Lakers held a "commanding" 3-1 lead over Phoenix and everyone was looking forward to the Hallway Series between the Lakers and the Clippers. But after all I've been through as a sports fan I never get ahead of myself and I knew it would be difficult to close out the Suns and what do you know the Lakers never got it done.

I took the Game 6 loss extremely hard and I now why I felt more at ease about Game 7 than Game 6 because I knew once we had lost Game 6 I checked out. I knew there was no way this team could win a Game 7 on the road and my thoughts were definitely supported by that piss poor showing on Saturday night. No one showed up to play except for Kobe but even he needs help against a team like the Suns. A lot of people are pointing to Kobe only scoring one point in the second half and taking 3 shots but it makes sense to me, especially considering his explanation during the post game press conference. He knows that he can't beat a team like the Suns by himself in the 2nd half. Toronto showed he can, they were down 15 at the half to them the night he scored 81 if you don't remember, but a team like Phoenix he can't do that and he knew he needed some support from his teammates. Had he just tried to take over and hoisted another 35-40 shots and ended up with 50 the results would have still been the same except he would have taken a beating in the media.

Now it's on to the offseason. Granted had you told me before the series started the Lakers would take it to a Game 7 I would have gladly taken it because I honestly expected this series to go 5 games. The team played great during the first 4 games of the series and played terribly the rest of the way. Everyone came together for those games and the team looked unbelievable but that's about as good as this team could be. I started to think about how maybe some offseason moves might not be necessary since the team is playing so well but that is definitely not the case. Definitely need help at the PG position there is no way that Smush can cut it. Help up front is necessary as well since Kwame Brown cannot catch a pass to save his life. He is becoming more of a contributor but I don't know if I can handle watching him drop passes left and right for another season. I'm sure there will be moves made to help this team and hopefully there will be some big changes in store.

Now that my NBA season is over, I have a hard time watching other teams play in the playoffs but I'll probably occasionally watch, I'll have to find some other sports to direct my attention to. I got some help on that late last night when it was announced that Ekpe Udoh signed his Letter of Intent to play basketball for Michigan next season. MGoBlog has more. There were rumors coming out late last week that something was brewing with a potential basketball commitment and it's good to know that we won't have to sweat out a commitment since he's already signed. Granted it's not the big name that we're looking for but I think it's a very good pickup, especially at this stage of the year. Eric Boateng is in Ann Arbor for his visit today as well, we'll see how that turns out. He is a transfer so he would have to sit out a year but he was a top 100 player and was signed by Duke so would be a good pickup as well, we will have to wait and see.

Friday, May 05, 2006

When did Tim Thomas become Reggie Miller?

I don't even know where to begin about last night. The first thing is where the fuck did this version of Tim Thomas come from? He got cut from the Bulls and now he's one of the biggest reasons the Suns are still alive in the playoffs. It's ridiculous how well he's shooting this series over 50% from behind the arc. I had a bad feeling about yesterday going into the game and it didn't get any better when the Suns came out shooting lights out. Even though they had cooled down and we had a 7 point lead after the first quarter I didn't like where we were headed as we were giving up too many points. The one important trend in this series has been when the Lakers have won they have won by scoring 99 points while every Suns win they have scored over 107 points. Also the team that has led at halftime as won every game, except Game 4 which was tied at the half.

The Lakers cannot fight fire with fire against Phoenix, this was part of my fear last night that Kobe would end up getting his since Bell was out but still take the loss. It's not like everyone else, minus Smush, played that bad, the problem is on the defensive side of the ball. There are so many things that went wrong down the stretch and it's extremely frustrating seeing the same sort of stagnant offense we saw at times during the regular season where the ball is passed around no one else knows what to do and then they either get it to Kobe who has to throw something up or try to do something themselves which badly misses.

I could start talking about how bad the officiating was, but that's something that must be overcome as everyone deals with bad calls, or how bad Smush played, horribly. But the main thing is defense and I hope that the guys can get their shit together and defend better tomorrow night. One other thing is Kwame Brown and his lack of being able to catch passes in the post. It's ridiculous that he still cannot catch a ball cleanly, my solution for this problem is to have him workout football style with the JUGS machine, I think that's what they're called, except have basketballs shot to him quickly at all different sorts of angles to teach him how to catch a quick pass.

I met up real quick with Nate Jones from Jones on the NBA after the game and he mentioned something to me that was definitely true but I hadn't thought of it at the time because I was so caught up in the moment. The Lakers needed to foul the Suns when they were up 3 and send them to the line where at worst the Lakers would still have had a one point lead. I don't know if that's something Coach Jackson doesn't agree with maybe that's why he didn't instruct his team to do so. The other thing that's been bugging me is the last play at regulation there had to be a better play drawn up. Kobe settles too often for the jumper and especially in situations like that he needs to try to go the rack more, like LeBron did on Wednesday night because there was no one there to stop him. Instead Kobe tried to shoot a jumper over two guys going to his left which is not very good. He should've taken it to the rim and ended it in regulation.

That's enough talk about last night's game, I've been depressed ever since the game ended and don't see this ending until tomorrow night to hopefully get this bad taste out of my mouth. I haven't had a loss hurt this bad in a long time, but I guess it's good in a sense that I'm expecting better from this team now. Had you told me before the series started that the Lakers would take it to Game 7 I definitely would have taken it since I didn't think this team could win the series but now that they've shown they can it will be extremely devastating if they blow this 3-1 lead and lose the series. But for some unknown reason I feel much more confident about Game 7 in Phoenix than I did about Game 6 in LA. Let's hope I'm right and get trashed tomorrow night, although that will happen regardless of the outcome it just depends if the drinking will be celebration drinking or depression drinking. I'm rooting for celebration drinking.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

2006 NFL Draft Recap

Since I follow college football so much one of my favorite days of the year is the NFL Draft. I know a lot of people don't get it or think it's stupid but I have a great time watching or in the case of this year, listening to the draft. It's a day for new hopes as it starts the process of building the team for the upcoming year which is always welcome considering how bad my team the Oakland Raiders did last year.

Starting at the top the Texans drafted Mario Williams ahead of Reggie Bush and it does make sense on many levels. If Houston believes Williams is the next Julius Peppers as he was being called and combine that with the fact that the Texans already have 3 decent RB's in Domanick Davis, Jonathan Wells and Vernand Morency so RB wasn't a need. I don't have too much of a problem with the pick, unlike most others, I think Houston did what they think is needed for their team.

The Saints got lucky and had Reggie Bush fall into their lap. Sure they have Deuce McAllister but he has been banged up the past few years and by getting Reggie it will allow them to split carries and makes it better for both backs.

The Titans did what was rumored and drafted Vince Young who was the favorite of owner Bud Adams as opposed to Matt Leinart who had previously worked with and had great success with Coach Norm Chow. I was hoping the Raiders could nab him at 7 since if the Titans hadn't drafted him he probably would have fallen that far but it was not to be. Vince is the highest drafted QB but he might be put into the worst situation as there is a good chance that he could be called upon for heavy duty this season since the Titans are probably going to let Steve McNair go. I still like the pick and believe that Vince will be a very good pro.

D'Brickashaw Ferguson, AJ Hawk and Vernon Davis were the next three to go, just as expected, all solid picks and fit needs for all teams. Then came the Raiders who were at #7. It had long been rumored they were enamored with Vince but since he was gone I wanted Michael Huff because the Raiders could definitely use secondary help and I really am not sold on Leinart as an NFL QB, more on that later. My brother who for some unknown reason decided to make the Detroit Lions his team a few years ago, and also loves Texas second to Michigan was furious when the Raiders took Huff since he had been slotted to the Lions for quite sometime now. Double bonus for me.

Then at the #8 spot the Bills started the day with the "What the hell were they thinking?" pick and not only did it at that spot but continued to do it at #25 when they took Donte Whitner and John McCargo respectively. Granted I am a Wolverine so I hate all Buckeyes but Whitner is nowhere near that sort of talent at #8. If I'm a Bills fan I am just asking myself what just happened? I do think they did get great value in the 3rd and 4th rounds picking up Ashton Youboty and Ko Simpson.

I really can't do this for the entire first round so I'll just pick and choose from here on out. That brings us to Mr. Hollywood himself Matt Leinart who fell to the Arizona Cardinals at #10. I did say I didn't think Leinart would become a good pro and that he was more of a byproduct of his system than his skills, much like most Duke basketball players, but he definitely got put into the best situation he could have hoped for with an offense as stacked as it is. He can learn from Kurt Warner for about 5 weeks until he gets hurt then can take control of an offense that has Edgerrin James for him to handoff to and Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin to throw to, good deal for him.

San Diego took a big gamble at #19 with Florida State early entry CB Antonio Cromartie, also you can't forget the fact that he did not play a single game in 2005. Pretty good if you ask me, he sits out a year and works out pretty well and with his size becomes a first round pick. I remember when Cromartie came up to Michigan for his recruiting visit the Maize Rage was there chanting his name and he was loving it. Guess that doesn't do anything for him though as he went to Florida State. He is a big, fast corner but he hasn't played in a year and they used a first round pick on him? Who knows he could end up being a stud but we'll see.

I definitely liked picks 25 and 27 for Pittsburgh and Carolina, respectively as the Steelers moved up to get Santonio Holmes and the Panthers took DeAngelo Williams, the RB I had ranked as 2nd best in this draft. Holmes is also a Buckeye but he will fit in well with Pittsburgh and gives them a WR to replace Antwaan Randle El who departed to Washington via Free Agency. Carolina gets a very good RB in Williams which they needed considering how fragile all the Carolina RB's seem to be.

Chad Jackson and Jimmy Williams at 36 and 37 for New England and Atlanta were steals as they both were slated to be first round selections. Although they did have character concerns the Eagles and Titans made good pickups of Winston Justice and Lendale White in the 2nd round. If not for the off the field issues they're probably both first round picks. I also liked the Sinorice Moss and Greg Jennings picks as well. Most people don't know who Greg Jennings is but he is a WR from Western Michigan that just lights it up. To tell you the truth I've never seen him play either but I did have him on my college fantasy football team and there were weeks that he carried my team to victory this past season, much like 2005 NFL draftee Ryan Moats did for my team the year before. Because of that I really think Jennings will become a solid pro especially in GB where they need new WR targets since Javon Walker is gone.

Picks I really liked in the third round include Abdul Hodge, Leonard Pope, Brian Calhoun, Jerious Norwood and David "I catch every ball thrown to me" Thomas of Texas who you might remember from the Rose Bowl catching every ball thrown his way that night. I could go on through all the rounds but I won't and just mention that there were plenty of players on Day 2 who I thought were great pickups at that point.

Gabe Watson and Jason Avant were drafted in the 4th round by Arizona and Philadelphia. The surprise came when Tim Massaquoi was drafted by Tampa Bay in the 7th round. Watson and Avant were both drafted lower than expected but that's what happens when you workout poorly and have a rep being lazy (Watson) or run a slow 40 at a position where it's glorified (Avant). I do think Avant will be great for the Eagles because he is a possession receiver like no other. There aren't many balls I remember Avant not coming up that were within reach during his 4 years .

Overall I think the Raiders drafted ok, not as horribly as they have in the past when Al Davis just drafts speed and only speed but not great either, I am definitely glad to see the defensive help we got and getting Darnell Bing in the 4th round was pretty good, it just seems like the natural progression from Long Beach Poly to USC to the Raiders.

Teams I thought had great drafts include Green Bay, Philadelphia and Tennessee. Other than Buffalo I can't really see any other teams I thought had bad drafts, everyone seemed to have their share of good and bad picks. Now it's time to see how these guys will do on the field.

Damn, not what we were looking for

The Lakers got beat badly last night in a close out game, same type of problems the old Lakers had in closing out series as the Suns just housed the Lakers. Phoenix got off to a hot start, the Lakers were able to come back and were in the game for most of the first half until they let the last 2 minutes or so of the first half become the Boris Diaw Free Throw Show. The Suns pushed their lead to 9 and headed into halftime. The second half brought more of the same as the Lakers defense was bad and combined with the Suns good shooting allowed them to pull away.

Kwame Brown played a good game while he was on the floor, but he got into early foul trouble and could not stay on the court. The Suns were able to score pretty much at will and rebounding was another factor with the Lakers winning the total rebounding margin by 1 but the Suns were +7 in offensive rebounds which cannot happen as the Suns are too good of an offensive team to be giving 2nd and 3rd shot opportunities to. The turnover margin was atrocious as well as the Lakers had 10 more TO's than Phoenix. These things cannot happen again tomorrow if the Lakers want to win, hopefully being back at home will settle them down.

The Suns took care of their home court and got the W they needed now the Lakers must do the same and close out the series tomorrow night at Staples because I don't know if this young team could handle a Game 7. I am definitely worried about this series still, I used to be the most optimistic Lakers fan but I think my years as a Michigan fan are rubbing off on me since I'm constantly worried about blowing leads. I will be there tomorrow night screaming my head off and hope to see the Lakers close it out.

In Michigan recruiting news, the Wolverines received a commitment from Martell Webb a big 6'5" 210 lb WR/TE who most are saying will be converted to TE. He states that he's being recruited at WR but with all the other WR's we're after I doubt it. He said he received a call from Ryan Mallett as well so it's starting to pay dividends already. I think this year's class will be a great one and it's just getting started.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Need to finish them off tonight

Just because it makes me happy:

Tonight is Game 5 in Phoenix and I cannot wait. I really want to just close the series out tonight even though I have tickets to Game 6. There are some improvements that we must make though for that to happen because if the Lakers play like they did on Sunday it will not get the job done.

First defense must be improved against Nash, too many times is he allowed to just drive right by our PG and take an easy layup. I know Phil doesn't like to double team, much less a PG as dangerous as Nash since he can easily find the open man but something must be done to slow him down. The other thing on defense is the switching on screens, I can see why the Lakers switch since any of the Suns can pull from outside and you want to prevent that but the problem lies when the switch occurs with one of the bigs and you get a mismatch inside which happened numerous times down the stretch on Sunday. Diaw would set the screen and then be matched up with Smush or Sasha for an easy bucket.

On offense we need to execute better, there were many times that the offense had no idea what to do and was left to throw up a prayer because the O wasn't running very well and some guys had no idea what the shot clock was at. The team must also go to Lamar more as he can take it to the basket at will when he posts up Shawn Marion. If we just don't forget about Lamar it should be ok as the rest of the team is playing well pounding inside where the Lakers definitely have an advantage. Kobe is distributing the ball extremely well and he will continue to do so in this series because that is what the gameplan calls for. If the team executes like I know they can and they did in Games 2 and 3 I see no reason why this team can't close the series out, unless Phoenix catches fire, which they can, from behind the arc but the Lakers have played great D throughout this series and I don't see that stopping.

Monday, May 01, 2006

This is the shot I was looking for

For my previous post I was looking for this picture but couldn't find it from the LA Times so I didn't try searching elsewhere since I had work to do but from Earl's site I picked it up and I can just say damn that is a sweet pic:


It still gives me chills looking at that picture and just thinking how less than 24 hours ago I was part of that scene at Staples Center. The crowd was so hyped up the only screams that compare to that one were obviously the Horry shot. Yesterday was a game the Lakers had no business winning. There weren't very many things the team did well but somehow pulled it out. It shows how much this team has improved and will continue to do so in the future as the young guys are all learning the triangle and having success doing it.

From the Suns point of view this had to be a demoralizing loss as they had this game won twice and couldn't hold on. I never could have imagined that Nash would have the ball and lose it twice in the closing seconds. The Suns did do a very good job on defense with their rotations after doubling Kobe. Whenever he got the ball a second man would come but when Kobe tried to pass cross court on 2-3 consecutive possessions the Suns were there with the rotation and the steal. They also did a great job offensively making the Lakers switch on the defensive end so they could have mismatches such as when Boris Diaw would post up Smush or Sasha. The Lakers PG's whether its Sasha or Smush need to do a better job on Nash as he is getting to the basket too easily and gets easy layups, why the Suns don't continue to do that doesn't make sense to me.

The amazing thing though is the Lakers defense of the Suns as they are holding the leading offensive team in all categories in the NBA under 100 points each time out the past 3 games. Partially due to the offensive gameplan where they are running down the shot clock, but it backfired a lot yesterday as there were multiple possessions where the Lakers had to throw up a terrible shot just as the clock was expiring. They must do a better job of finding shots on offense. Defensively yesterday the rebounding was atrocious. Yes I understand that Phoenix will get a few extra offensive rebounds because they are a perimeter oriented team and those shots become long rebounds but still it seems like time and time again Phoenix was getting 2nd and even 3rd shot opportunities.

In other news, when it rains it pours over at the University of South Central as Dwyane Jarrett may have been in violation of NCAA rules with his apartment he shared with Matt Leinart. We'll see what comes out of this but I doubt much since the NCAA really has no power to do anything unless the courts get involved which they will be in the Reggie Bush situation. I had heard of a lot of shady stuff going on at USC and maybe this is just the beginning, I can only hope. The Wizard of Odds has more on the Jarrett story here and here. I know I said I'd have a draft recap but the Lakers have taken over for now, I should have something up sometime this week. Finally Congratulations go out to Kobe Bryant again, this time for the birth of his second daughter, considering how much fun we're having celebrating this day it must be that much more special for him.