USC Suspends Marc Tyler For Comments

~ USC recently announced that they have suspended their senior running back Marc Tyler for their season opener and also from all team activities for comments he made that found it’s way to TMZ.

 The NCAA football season is quickly approaching and I’m sure that all the teams are eagerly anticipating it to begin. However, the anticipation may not have anything to do with the excitement of chasing the national championship or making a bowl game. The NCAA has had one of it’s more memorable off-seasons in recent history and it’s mostly been for the wrong reasons.

 The latest headline involves the one team that would love nothing more than to stay out of the trouble discussion, the USC Trojans. Read more of this post

Media > Kemba Walker Signs With Under Armour

~ Kemba Walker isn’t letting the NBA Lockout get in the way of his business off the court. The 1st round draft pick of the Charlotte Bobcats recently took a major step forward towards establishing his brand by signing with Under Armour, according to CNBC. Walker becomes the first player in this year’s draft class to sign with a shoe company.

 I know what you’re thinking … why Under Armour? It would be logical to assume that Walker would be a great fit for Nike. The owner of the Bobcats happens to be Michael Jordan, Mr. Nike himself.

 Under Armour is an emerging brand though that is looking to make an impact in the basketball shoe market that is dominated by Nike. Walker’s star has been on the rise since leading the University of Connecticuit men’s basketball team to a national championship. If Walker makes a big impact early on his career, it could turn out to be a great move for him and Under Armour.

 Walker definitely joins pretty good company. Brandon Jennings of the Milwaukee Bucks, Tom Brady of the New England Patriots, NFL top draft pick Cam Newton, and Mets shortstop Jose Reyes are all currently signed to promote with Under Armour.

NBA Draft > They Are Who We Thought They Were … Right? (Draft Recap)

~ I’m not really sure what to make of how the 2011 NBA Draft panned out for all of the teams. Overall, this is going to be a very tough draft class to grade over the next couple of seasons. There was no clear-cut no brainers for selections. The case can be made that the number 1 pick could have been someone different.

 The draft board held up to form for the first 3 picks and then it became a matter of who’s the best available and what trades can be made. A handful of teams drafted pretty well, just not who many expected.

 The Top 3

 Kyrie Irving, Derrick Williams, and Enes Kanter were the top 3 on the board and respectively went in that order. Cleveland gets their point guard of the future in Irving. Minnesota gets a talented scorer to pair with Ricky Rubio, and Utah gets the top big man on the board in Kanter.

 Any one of these 3 could have went number 1 in the draft so the Cav’s, T-Wolves, and Jazz should feel good about their choices.

 Kanter was the wild card on the board, his stock rose leading up to the draft. Once he was selected, that’s when the complexion of the draft began to change.

 Cleveland not only had the number 1 pick, they had the number 4 pick as well. Two picks in the top 5 normally has a pretty good outcome. However this was not a strong draft class and that made for slim pickings, even at the top of the board.

 The Cav’s took Tristan Thompson at 4 and that was a bit of a surprise and maybe even a reach. I would’ve liked to have seen the Cav’s make a strong push to use their 4th pick to move up 1 or 2 more spots to grab Kanter or Williams to go along with Irving. That by far would’ve made for a great draft night. However, Irving is still a great pick at 1 and will be marketed big time by the team.

 Minnesota took Derrick Williams at 2 and then the rest of their picks (mostly foreign players who may or may not make it to the league) left plenty of room for criticism. The Timberwolves need a lot of work and it’s safe to say that they may need more than Cleveland at this point. (at least the Cav’s have stability at their head coaching spot) Focus on the good though … Derrick Williams and Ricky Rubio are in place, now we get to see if Minnesota can properly build around them.

 Utah had a pretty good draft, addressing needs in the backcourt and frontcourt. Kanter was a great pick for them, and Alec Burks at number 12 will help with depth at the guard position.

 All 3 of these teams addressed needs they had and took advantage of their positioning.

 Kemba, Jimmer, and … Brandon Knight

 Once the top 3 were off the board, there really wasn’t much juice left in this draft with the exception of where Kemba Walker and Jimmer Fredette were going to end up. It took for Brandon Knight to be taken by Detroit to help set the wheels in motion.

 The talk on the board was that if Knight slipped out of the top 5, it would push both Walker and Fredette down as well. Knight ended up slipping and Detroit was smart to take him. He’s a solid point guard that will help trigger the Pistons rebuilding job. There is a logjam in their backcourt with Ben Gordon, Rodney Stuckey, and Rip Hamilton. Two of those three are most likely going to be moved.

Walker ends up in Charlotte and he’ll get his chance to be the man there. Michael Jordan’s executive moves have always been up for debate, this year he drafted pretty well. Walker has floor general written all over him.

Jimmer Time goes to Sacramento and I think that’s the perfect landing spot for Fredette. The Kings are offensive team that is going to put points up. It’s also the only way they are going to draw attendance next season at a time where they are trying to keep from relocating the franchise. Fredette does not have to focus on being a full time point guard there. He’ll need to defend more than he ever did in college. However let’s be clear here, Fredette will be on the court to shoot the ball and score. Anything else that comes along with that is a huge bonus for Sacramento.

 

TO CHECK OUT THE ENTIRE DRAFT BOARD, CLICK HERE 

Trade Central 

The trade rumors had as strong a buzz as the draft prospects, arguably stronger. Indiana and San Antonio used the draft to trade for opposite reasons. The Spurs picked up prospects that may help with their pending rebuilding project. Tony Parker is currently still a Spur. However, George Hill is on his way to Indiana. The Pacers were a playoff team last season, so this move made more sense for them.

Jimmer and Kemba were acquired through the help of draft day trades. Charlotte picked up Walker and Big Man project Bismack Biyombo (coolest name in draft). It cost them Stephen Jackson and Shaun Livingston, who now head to Milwaukee. The same deal also involved Sacramento which helped them land Jimmer and reacquire John Salmons from the Bucks.

The trade I liked the most involved the new world champion Dallas Mavericks in a 3 team deal with Portland and Denver. The Mav’s came away with point guard Rudy Fernandez from Portland. He’s a great fit for a team that is built to win more in the short term. Portland also swapped Andre Miller to Denver for Raymond Felton. All 3 teams also came away with potential players from the draft as well.

Overall, this draft class is not expected to be one of the more memorable ones. However, that’s the beauty of sports. Projections and Predictions at the end of the day are just exactly that.

Welcome To The 2011 NBA Draft: The REAL NBA Trade Deadline

 ~ This year’s NBA Draft does not have the potential star power of the 1996 class that brought in Iverson, Kobe, Marbury, and Allen. There is no LeBron, Melo or D. Wade coming out of this class. It’s low on star power, lower on overall potential talent and despite all of that, the 2011 NBA Draft is shaping up to be one of the more intriguing drafts of recent memory.

 The reasoning behind all of that may have to do with the legal troubles surrounding the NBA which could eventually lead to a lockout. A work stoppage is the last thing the league wants. However much like the NFL lockout, it’s looking inevitable.

 With a pending lockout overshadowing the league, this year’s draft has become more of a spotlight for NBA players who could be put on the market to be traded. The teams need to get their salary cap situations under control now as much as they can before a lockout happens.

 Operating under that kind of thought process has opened the door to enough trade rumors to almost drown out any buzz surrounding this year’s draft.

 Look at some of the names that potentially could be relocating:

* Tony Parker was reportedly on the trade market in 2010 and he’s back on it now apparently. Toronto and Sacramento have both inquired about his availability. They also have the numbers 5 and 7 picks respectively. 

 The Spurs are clearly in a position now where they have to rebuild an aging team. Parker is the one out of their core 3 that has the most trade value. San Antonio is said to be looking to get a top 10 draft pick in return. Perhaps to get a shot at Washington State’s sharpshooter guard Klay Thompson.

 

* Andre Iguodala, Josh Smith, Jameer Nelson, Lamar Odom, and Monta Ellis have all been thrown into the mix as players who could be on the move. Their respective teams have all been preparing trade scenarios that include picks from this year’s draft.

 

This past season reflected a transition in the league. Oklahoma City and Chicago took big steps forward and even though Miami came up two games short of a NBA title, they’ll be back next season perhaps even stronger. This year teams are not only looking to get into a better position financially with this draft, they are also looking to get younger and more athletic.

 

 

 The draft this year does have potential storylines that involve the players who are eligible.

 Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams are expected to go numbers 1 and 2. Minnesota has been apparently listening to trade offers for the number 2 pick and while Cleveland is expected to take Irving at number 1, what they do with their number 4 pick is just as much a mystery and could impact their decision to take Irving.

 The true drama (if there is any) starts at the number 3 spot with the Utah Jazz. If they take the top big man Enes Kanter or point guard Brandon Knight. Teams are trying to get high enough in the draft through trades to perhaps grab Kanter. Once he comes off the board, it could open the door to an array of trades and surprise picks.

 

What started out as a draft class projected to be one of the weaker ones in recent history has now turned into must see television all of a sudden.

 One thing is for certain is that with a lockout about to happen that could put off free agency over the summer, teams are going the trade route to help shape their rosters. What better platform is left than the NBA Draft to serve as the newest trade deadline.

The TFB Week In Review … June 5th – 11th, 2011 Part One

MAMA, THERE GOES THAT MAN …

~ The Golden State Warriors went for the splashy move by bringing in Mark Jackson to be their next head coach. It’s well documented by now that Jackson does not have any coaching experience. He is going to need to be surrounded by solid basketball minds both in the front office and on the sidelines. However, if his comments at his press conference is any indication, Jackson is going to bring a confident swagger to the Warriors.

“It is a great day.Not only for me, but for this organization, for this fan base. Because the Bay Area will never be the same.” … Mark Jackson , New Head Coach of The Golden State Warriors

Never mind what his coaching philosphies are right now, Jackson has presence. He’s young enough to relate to today’s NBA player and brings 17 years of basketball knowledge from his playing career. His aim right now has to be to get the Warriors a new idenity that leads them to the playoffs.

MONTA ELLIS TRADE RUMORS

Jackson inherits a Warriors team that has a talented pair of guards, Monta’ Ellis and Stephen Curry. The rumor mill is is in full swing that 1 of them will be traded. Chances are it’ll be Ellis. The 76ers and Magic are rumored to be interested. Jackson did make it clear that he would like to coach Ellis, however if he can be moved for a star or big named player I’m sure he won’t stand in the way of that.

What is also beginning to come to light is a reported beef between Ellis and teammate David Lee. Apparently Ellis does not paticularly care for Lee, according to the ever popular “sources”. If I had to make a prediction on the future of Ellis, I’d go with that he’ll be moved for as much as the Warriors can get back for an extremely talented 25 year old scoring guard. Andre Iguodala for Ellis makes a lot of sense financially and on the court.

PRYOR & OHIO STATE …

This story won’t go away anytime soon. The score as it stands now is that the NCAA is currently investigating the Ohio State football program. The head coach Jim Tressel ended up losing his job and rightfully so, resigning while under intense media pressure and scrutiny. The latest events now surround former OSU quarterback Terrelle Pryor.

The keyword in that last sentence was former. Pryor announced that he will not return to OSU in the fall. He gives up his senior season and will now look to land in the NFL via the Supplemental Draft. That is of course if the NFL takes care of it’s current lockout status.

Smart move by Pryor to get out of town when he had the chance. He was going to be suspended for the first 5 games of the upcoming season anyway. Teammates have reportedly expressed they don’t want to play with him anymore, some have even blamed him for Tressell losing his job and the school being investigated so deeply. The allegations continue to get worst with reports coming out that Pryor was guilty of NCAA violations by receiving large amounts of cash benefits. He’s not ready to be an NFL quarterback yet, at least not from what I saw of him in televised OSU games.

 It now remains to be seen just how many more allegations against OSU come to light. The judgement has been passed swiftly already against them, costing the team it’s head coach and now it’s starting quarterback. This one is a story that will continue to unfold.

Media > Gus Johnson Reportedly Moving From CBS To FOX

~ Gus Johnson is moving on. The very popular NFL and NCAA men’s basketball play by play announcer could not come to terms on a new contract with CBS and is now reported to be headed to the FOX network.Johnson has become a household name in recent years with fans of March Madness because of his high energy style of broadcasting basketball games.

The New York Daily News recently reported that some within CBS “were not thrilled with Johnson’s rise to March Madness’ most popular voice.” The number 1 play by play man there right now is Jim Nantz.

Nantz is “The Voice” of the college tournament and is also the lead announcer on the NFL coverage for CBS. It was becoming obvious that Johnson’s stock was indeed going up though and that may have meant his price tag was going up as well.

Johnson most recently did play by play for the Pacquiao-Mosley fight on Showtime / PPV. It remains to be seen what will happen with Johnson’s coverage of boxing. My prediction is that somewhere down the line a spot is going to open up for Johnson to be a lead announcer for one of these networks. He has been gaining momentum every year. For now though, FOX is getting a good one for it’s football coverage.

Jim Harbaugh to Coach 49ers

~ The Jim Harbaugh tour has reached it’s destination and the San Francisco 49ers got the man they wanted for the job. Harbaugh leaves a succesful run as head coach at Stanford and accepts a 5 year deal worth $25 million as reported by ESPN (Friday, January 7th) to become the head coach and replace fired coach Mike Singletary. The hiring caps off what was a whirlwind couple of days for Harbaugh, he was actively pursued by the 49ers and Miami Dolphins and rumored to be a canidate for the vacant college head coaching spot at his alma mater Michigan University.

This is pretty much the dream job for Harbaugh. He does not have to relocate his family if he does not want too, and it’s as big a rebuilding job as you can get. A chance to restore some of the luster back to a 49ers team that has not been to the playoffs for 8 straight seasons. It’s a good hire for the 49ers and good PR  too for a team that really needed it after a season like the one they just had.

The time was definitely now for Harbaugh after 4 years at Stanford. He led the Cardinal this season to 12-1 record and a convincing 40-12 win in the Orange Bowl against Virginia Tech. It was under Harbaugh where Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck has emerged as a potential No 1. NFL Draft Pick.  This move has all the makings of something good. The NFL would love for the 49ers to be interesting again and Harbaugh brings name credibility. Can he make the adjustment from college to the pros as a coach? Harbaugh coached a Pro-Style offense at Stanford and his NFL career as a quarterback was long and successful with the Bears, Colts, Ravens, Chargers, and Panthers.

“Losing is not an option … ” – Jim Harbaugh

That mentality has to be music to the ears of the 49er fans.

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