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Westsider Rider

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Draft Day

I've got to admit, I haven't been following the draft prospects as much as I normally do because first we all know what is happening at the top with Oden and Durant and second, I fully expected that whoever the Lakers draft at 19 will not be with the team as he should be moved in a trade. But as the draft draws near, I am facing the reality that the 19th selection very well may be on this team next year. Considering the Lakers already drafted Jordan Farmar last year, and they have an offer out for most of their Mid Level Exception to Theodoros Papaloukas it is assumed that the Lakers will take a player for the front line if the pick is theirs to keep. But we can hope someone like Farmar, who was projected higher last year, can fall and the Lakers can get a steal at 19. I've heard numerous possibilities from Javaris Crittenton to Josh McRoberts to Rudy Fernandez to Sean Williams or Jason Smith. If it is a random player not on our board that could be the signal that a trade has been made and the pick is for another team. Which would be reminiscent of the Lakers drafting Chris Jeffries a few years back and shipping him that night to Toronto for Kareem Rush.

There is a lot of anticipation among Lakers fans for a trade, free agent signing or draft pick, anything to help the team improve and also show Kobe that the team is serious about winning. The next few weeks are very important to the Lakers franchise and can either save or destroy the team. I can only hope for a miracle move by the front office or my beloved Lakers may be put into rebuilding mode for many years to come, which is extremely difficult for me to fathom considering the success the Lakers have had all throughout my life. There have only been a couple of times the team has even missed the playoffs while I've been alive so to think of it without a superstar and a competitive playoff team is difficult for me to swallow. I really hope it doesn't have to come to that.


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

And we're back

Been away on trips to New York and Las Vegas so there has been no activity on the site of late but there is so much to get to, let's begin with recruiting.

  • The Summer Football Camp has come and gone and there are two new commitments, with one impending one as well this weekend. Rocko Khoury got the offer he was waiting for and committed a few days after receiving the offer. He becomes the 4th OL to join this class but we will still be looking to add another one or two. The other camp commitment was junior DT William Campbell from Cass Tech in Detroit, same school as Boubacar Cissoko, it's rare to see a junior commitment be released so early but it's definitely great to see us continue to lock up in-state talent and show that last year was a fluke.
  • The impending commitment looks like it will come from Texas WR Daryl Stonum. He was just up at Michigan this past week and his top three was supposed to be Michigan, Florida State and USC. His original plan was to visit FSU in July and USC in August, but now he has changed his mind and will announce this coming Sunday on TV in Dallas. That is a great sign for the Maize and Blue.
  • There are so many Lakers rumors out there right now it's tough to figure out what is going on. What we do know is that the front office is actually trying to make something happen and bring in some big name talent whether it be Jermaine O'Neal or Kevin Garnett. The rumored 4 team deal that spread on Monday is now dead and supposedly Phoenix is now the leader to pick up KG. But some of the pieces don't add up. No matter what is rumored, unless Amare Stoudamire's knee requires more work down the line I find it hard to believe that the Suns are willing to trade him for KG. There was rumors of the Lakers bringing in Atlanta to make a deal and I thought that would be the best way for it to work. Use Atlanta instead of Boston in the 4 way deal and then you have happy campers all the way around. Atlanta gets a veteran big in O'Neal to solidify their team with Joe Johnson, Minnesota gets the high draft pick they desire at #3 as well as expiring K in the form of Kwame Brown, Indiana gets Bynum/Odom which they wanted all along and the Lakers get the Big Ticket which would immediately create the buzz in LA that would makes Staples Center the place to be again. So while the Suns may be the leader I'm not counting the Lakers out yet. The interesting note is that if KG is traded after July 1st his trade kicker counts fully against this year, as opposed to before July 1st the trade kicker can be spread out over two years. In that case, we know Jerry Buss is willing to take on Garnett's contract even if it means luxury tax, while we know Robert Sarver, Suns owner, does not want to pay any more luxury tax than is necessary. Throw that in with the fact that Dr. Buss did tell the Wolves that he is willing to re-sign KG to an extension and I still like our chances. Do I like them as much as I did a few days ago? No, but I still think we have a chance to get it done.
  • Oregon State repeated as National Champs in baseball but UC Irvine made a great run including being the first team to win back to back extra inning games in the CWS. I hope to catch some games next year when I'm down there.
  • I was in Vegas over the weekend and was able to catch the Ricky Hatton-Jose Luis Castillo fight. The fight was good for the time it lasted, only four rounds, but what made the fight worth it was the atmosphere. Thousands and thousands of English fans made the trip across the pond and created a setting like I've never seen before. It gave me a taste of what watching a soccer game in England would probably be like. There were groups of friends all wearing shirts they had made for the trip along with horns, a band and a number of songs they had created for their fighter Ricky Hatton, who ended up winning with a 4th round KO. The interesting thing afterwards was Hatton calling out Floyd Mayweather and even more interesting now is the fact that Floyd says he'll fight. Hatton is a very good fighter but he will be no match for Pretty Boy Floyd. Hatton recently has been holding a lot during fights after getting his punches in but Floyd would not allow that to happen. Also Hatton has not seen the speed of Floyd before and that will be difficult for him to handle. If this fight really goes down, chalk it up for Floyd by decision.

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Friday, June 15, 2007

This is truly the dead season

The NBA Finals are over and I didn't even watch it, College Football is a few months away so I don't have much to look forward to hence the lack of updates on the site. At least the Dodgers are hanging around first place and I guess I'll have to check out a Galaxy game or two once David Beckham arrives. But before we get to that point there is still some college baseball to be played this weekend with the College World Series beginning today. Although Michigan was knocked out by Oregon State I will continue to watch as two local teams are still fighting it out. One being the powerhouse Cal State Fullerton Titans as I've spent the majority of my life living in Fullerton I have always followed them and the second being my next school this upcoming fall when I begin my graduate work at UC Irvine. The Titans took care of business as expected beating UCLA at home but the surprise came from the Anteaters who were the only road team in the Super Regionals to advance as they defeated the Witchita State Shockers, probably one of the funniest matchups that could happen in college sports. Go Anteaters and Titans!

Also there is the Freeway Series this weekend as the Angels come up to face the Dodgers. For some reason the Angels seem to dominate the Dodgers and it needs to stop. I don't know why but it seems like the Dodgers can never beat them as the Angels swept the Dodgers a few weeks back when they played in Anaheim. After going through rough patch, 1-5, the Dodgers got it back together by sweeping the Mets, which hopefully gives them the momentum they need headed into this series. It's great to see the bench and guys just called up from AAA contributing as Wilson Betemit has hit HR's in the last two games and Matt Kemp is contributing as well. That brings up the question that many Dodger fans ask is when will they start playing the young guns on a consistent basis? Such as Kemp, Tony Abreu and James Loney. I really like what I heard on the radio about a quote from Jeff Kent who told the young guys at Spring Training to come and get his job. It breeds a healthy level of competition within the team and lets the guys know that just because they are the hot young prospect they aren't going to be given immediate PT. Which makes it even better to see them coming up to the Big Leagues and making plays. I really love what Dodgers Management has done setting this team up with a good mix of veterans and youth to give this team not only a great chance at winning now but down the line as well.


Friday, June 08, 2007

Friday Roundup

Been a while since I last updated and a lot has gone on but covered by most already so I'll keep it brief:

  • Michigan football received two more commitments for the 08 class from NJ LB Marcus Witherspoon and in-state DT Mike Martin. Both are 4 stars according to Rivals and are in the Rivals 250. Gotta love the fact that the staff is hitting NJ so hard this year with Witherspoon already in the fold as well as being in the top 3-5's of so many highly ranked NJ kids as well. In addition, getting Martin adds to the number of in-state kids we are locking up. There was some concern after last year's in-state recruiting debacle but it doesn't look like it's going to happen again as we are in great shape to lock up the majority of the top 10 in state this season. As always MGoBlog has more details on Witherspoon and Martin.
  • After the big upset over the #1 team in the country Vanderbilt, the Michigan baseball team continues its quest to get to Omaha and the College World Series tomorrow as they travel to Corvallis, Oregon to take on the Beavers of Oregon State in the Super Regionals. Oregon State is the defending national champion and will be a tough opponent but after beating Vandy, anything is possible. Especially with the great road record the team has this year.
  • All quiet on the Lakers front as it looks like it will be a couple weeks, closer to draft time, before anything happens. Also since free agency doesn't begin until July 1st any possible sign and trade deals can't happen until then so we will have to be patient to see what the front office can do. The pressure is on Mitch Kupchak and company to get something done

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