Monthly Archives: January 2010

“Grow Up Coach”

The trash talking for the Super Bowl began yesterday.  This time it was not a player, but a coach.  Not even the head coach though.  It was the Saint’s defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.  In a radio interview, Williams made it publicly known that his players would place some “remember me” shots on League MVP Peyton Manning in Miami.  The Colts have given no response to these comments.

Is this coach serious? I mean we all know that football is a brutal game.  We all know that behind the scenes players look for the big shot against the other teams’ star players.  But it is not becoming to have a coach talking like this to the media.  You would think a coach would be a little more mature than this.  Where is the sportsmanship?  Where is the class?

Now I refuse to believe it when teams act as if they do not look to get in extra shots against opponents star players.  But either way, it is not something you talk about to the media.  Normally these are the type of remarks that the Joey Porter’s of the League make.  Not the coaches.  I mean who is he helping with these comments?  You are not motivating your players by making these comments.  Peyton Manning, a 4 time League MVP now and a former Super Bowl winner could care less about what you say.  His offensive line though may have some extra incentive to protect their star even better than normal.

I think Gregg should be worried about scheming for the game.  If his team did not luck into some unforced fumbles by the Vikings, they would have been handily defeated.  People say the Saints have a very opportunistic defense that bends and doesn’t break.  Well those turnovers they have been getting all year will most likely not happen against Peyton Manning.  Peyton Manning is one of the top QB’s of all time for a reason.  Also remember he has a whole two weeks to prepare for this game.

All I have to say is, Coach beware of the “remember me” shots that Peyton could lay on your defense come the 7th.

Stay tuned for the next edition of Sportskraze.

-Kraze

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“Boilermaker Star Flys Under Radar”

The big college basketball matchup last evening pitted two of the Big Ten’s finest.  The Purdue Boilermakers, who have struggled in January following a blazing start took on the dangerous Wisconsin Badgers.  Wisconsin is so well coached and always plays well down the stretch in games.

The man who took over this game.  E’Twaun Moore.  Have you heard of him?  He is the smooth Purdue junior shooting guard who is the main reason why the Boilermakers were able to gain some revenge on the pesky Badgers.  Moore is the leading scorer for a very balanced Boilermaker attack.  Moore got the job done down the stretch last night and willed his team to this all important victory to stay in the Big Ten hunt.

This was a must win for the Boilermakers if they want to have any shot at catching the Spartans for a Big Ten title.  The showdown with MSU is rapidly approaching and is set for February 9th.  So what makes E’Twaun Moore so important to the Boilermaker attack?

Well obviously he is their leading scorer, but this is not necessarily why he is so essential to their success.  Moore is the only player on the team who can create for himself.   He can score in iso situations and create his shot from all over the floor.  He relishes in the mid range game which is unusual for players today.  I thought the mid range jumper was a lost art?  E’Twaun must be from the old school.  Either way Purdue will need E’Twaun to lead this team on the offensive end if they want to make a deep run in March.

The Big Ten is tough and probably the second strongest conference in the land this year.  Michigan State still has an outside shot at a number 1 seed if they run the table in the Big Ten.  Purdue is very capable of making a deep run in March with their hard defense, balanced scoring attack, and flat out experience.  Wisconsin has big wins this year and is able to knock off anyone.  If their second leading scorer John Leur returns, they will be even more dangerous.  Then finally do not sleep on Ohio State.  Turner is one of the best players in the country and this team can play with anyone. They may be a year aware from reaching their potential, but they are still tough.  So the top 4 of the Big Ten are  very solid.

So who wins the Big Ten when things are all said and done?  And do you think E’Twaun Moore is an NBA talent?

Stay tuned for the next edition of Sportskraze.

-Kraze

“Sayonara Mr. Arenas”

Gilbert Arenas, who has sat out the past 12 games, is now officially done for the remainder of the season.  All in total Arenas will miss 50 games, and for all we know his career in the NBA could be over.  Talk about a guy who has screwed things up.  Arenas a was a stud in college under the tutelage of the legendary Lute Olsen at Arizona.  Not to many thought that he would ever hit it big in the NBA.  I will admit that I was one of those critics.

Arenas was not even taken in the first round of the draft.  After being selected by the Warriors early in the second round, Gilbert made the most of his opportunity.  Something that he has always done in his life until now.  Arenas had an outstanding second year, being named the NBA’s most improved player, and was picked up by the Washington Wizards.  Arenas was an extremely sought after free agent and was budding into a star.

During his time as a Wizard, Arenas became one of the top scorers in the League and an All Star.  Unfortunately for Gilbert, things started going down hill in 2007 when he got hit by the injury bug, appearing in just 13 games.  Last season was not much different as he played in just 2 games.  So he appeared in a grand total of 15 games in 2 years.

This year he was finally healthy, but he went and screwed things up with his off the court antics.  This was something in Gilbert’s control.  Injuries are impossible to control.  Following League rules though, that is a matter of compliance and maturity.  So now we sit here and wonder what could have been with Mr. Arenas.  The man has played in a total of 47 games the past 3 years, equating to half an NBA season.  He quite possibly could go to prison.  The life of Gilbert Arenas, that once had so much promise, has now become a struggle.  A sob story.

This lengthy suspension doled out by the commissioner David Stern has gotten me thinking about other big time suspensions given out in the NBA.  Who could forget when Latrell Sprewell choked then coach P.J. Carlisimo and was suspended for 68 games.  Or the ultimate suspension, when Ron Artest was suspended for a League record 73 games.  Artest was out in the crowd punching fans on that fateful day in Detroit.

Please take note though that both Latrell and Ron’s careers were revived upon the return from their suspensions.  Sprewell found new life with the New York Knicks and helped lead the team to the Finals a couple of years later against the Spurs.  Artest became a key member of the Rockets and is now a key player on arguably the best team in the League, the Los Angeles Lakers.

So my question for you all today, is Gilbert’s suspension warranted and deserving of its indefiniteness?  If so, do you think his gun possession is as bad as Latrell’s choking or Artest’s stroll into the crowd?

Stay tuned for the next edition of Sportskraze.

-Kraze

“23=Amazing”

Roger Federer last evening clinched a birth in the Australian Open semifinals.  He did not play his best tennis, but woke up when he needed to and took care of the very talented Nikolay Davydenko.  Federer was the only player ranked in the top 4 to take care of business and stay alive.  Djokovic and Nadal both were unsuccessful in their quests to make it to the semis of the first Grand Slam of the year.

But isn’t consistency Roger’s middle name?  The man has made 23 consecutive Grand Slam semifinals!  Now take that in for a minute.  That means that Federer has not been knocked out of a Grand Slam tourney before the semifinals for 6 years.  No wonder he holds the all time record with 15 Grand Slam titles.

So is the number 23 synonymous with greatness.  Arguably the greatest basketball player of all time Michael Jordan sported the number 23.  Arguably, the best basketball player on the planet now sports the number 23, Lebron James. 

I would go as far to say though that Federer’s accomplishment of 23 straight Grand Slam semifinals is a greater feat than Jordan’s 6 NBA titles or unfathomable 7 consecutive scoring titles.  Now many would be confused and not understand how I would come to this sentiment.  The semifinals is not a title people would say.  Jordan played a team sport and Federer plays an individual sports.  Look at men’s tennis over the years.  How many guys can you think of that made 23 consecutive Grand Slam semifinals? 

In the NBA, guys like Bill Russell won 11 titles, John Havlicek won 8, and Kareem Abdul Jabbar among others won 6.  Even Robert Horry, the consummate clutch role player won 6.  In addition, Jordan’s remarkable feat of 7 straight scoring titles was also accomplished by Wilt Chamberlein.  Nobody has ever gone to 23 straight Grand Slam semifinals.  Nobody has even come close to 23.  Rod Laver advanced to 12 straight at a time which was the previous record.  And since this is not a team sport, Federer earned it all 100 percent by himself.

So I have multiple questions  for you today.  Is the number 23 synonymous with greatness and is Federer’s feat more remarkable than Jordan’s 6 NBA team titles or 7 consecutive scoring titles?  Lastly, is Federer’s feat of 23 consecutive Grand Slam semifinals perhaps the greatest accomplishment in professional sports?

Stay tuned for the next edition of Sportskraze.

-Kraze

“A One Week Stay at Number 1”

Down go the Wildcats!  Down go the Wildcats!  Last evening, in stunning upset fashion, the South Carolina Gamecocks defeated the newly number 1 ranked Wildcats.  One day at number one proved too much to handle for this very young and talented Kentucky squad.  John Calipari had said all day that he was curious to see how his young squad would react to the number 1 ranking. I mean Calipari has voted his team number 1 pretty much all year in every poll so I am not sure why he was curious about this .  It was inevitable for this team to hit the top of rankings.  But maybe they are not quite ready for the limelight.

 The littlest guy on the court slayed the monster juggernaut that is the UK Wildcats. The little big fellow, as I will call him, was the sole reason the Gamecocks, a team that was previously 0 and 7 vs number 1 ranked teams in school history, was able to pull off the monumental upset.  Downey scored 30 points and could not be stopped down the stretch.  Maybe John Wall is not the fastest player in the country?  I kept hearing how Downey is just good at changing speeds and that is why he continually blew by the super frosh.  Whatever it was, Wall at 6 4 had a half-foot on Downey and still got smoked consistently throughout the entire game.  John Wall may be the main candidate for National Player of the Year, but do we have another candidate for SEC Player of the Year?  Lets not forget that Downey dropped 36 against Florida in a 2 point loss to the Gators a few days ago.

Downey is a journeyman.  He originally began his career as a UC  Bearcat and transferred after the departure of interim head coach Andy Kennedy.  Downey has been a part of college basketball for 5 years and has a lot of game experience.  UC is kicking themselves over letting this guy get away and UK is wishing that Downey would have stayed a Bearcat. Even at just 5 9, he was able to score at will on one of the biggest and longest teams in the country.  Kind of scary.

Now last night does not make me think much less of UK.  But it does unveil that invincibility cloak that they had sported for the duration of the season.  This team has consistently grinded out close games against lesser opponents all season and was unable to get the job done down the stretch against a very mediocre South Carolina team last night.  Analysts all year have pointed at the Wildcats youth as the only factor that could hold them back from a National Championship with 3 freshman starters.

When the team started out 19 and 0 I thought nothing of these predictions.  Last night made me think a little bit different.  The team moves to number 1, and loses to a very undersized and undermanned South Carolina team one day after becoming number 1?  Can this team handle the pressure of being the hunted?  Should be very interesting to see how the Wildcats come out against Vanderbilt on Saturday.

Last night was a great showcase for the little big fellow who is still making a case for the NBA even at just 5 foot 9. 

Stay tuned for the next edition of Sportskraze.

-Kraze

“Down Goes Roddick”

Andy Roddick was defeated in the Australian Open quarterfinals earlier today by up and coming Marin Cilic in a great 5 setter.  Andy fought all the way back after dropping the first two sets, but unfortunately did not have enough left in the tank to gut this one out and earn a birth in the semifinals.  The common tennis fan will say there goes Roddick choking again.  Many believe that Andy does not work hard and is just a talented pretty boy who gets by on his natural talent and looks. This is the not case my friends.

Roddick’s game has progressively improved over the past five years.  He has developed more of a mental game, not to mention a consistent backhand.  He even has improved dramatically in his ability to conduct court at the net.  When Roddick became the world’s number 1 during a hot streak in the summer of 2003, Roddick was a player with a big forehand, and an even bigger serve.  He just hit the crap out of the ball basically.  Due to his rise to number 1 seven years ago, many set the bar way to high for the guy and had impossible expectations. Not only has Roddick raised his game from a mental standpoint, but also he has even improved his physical conditioning and quickness over the years.  The man has really worked at it.   Andy has added little elements to his game and become a better all around player year by year.

It just happens that the level of the competition on the tour has progressively improved as he has raised the level of his game.  Not to mention that there have been two guys that are the best players of our generation in Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer that have been a mainstay in the draws.

So give A-Rod some love.  I felt bad for the guy as he lost for a third time in a Wimbledon final to arguably the greatest player of all time in Roger Federer last summer.  Andy lost the match 16-14 in the 5th set.  He left everything on the court in that match and was still beaten.   This was probably his best shot at capturing another Grand Slam title before his career comes to a conclusion. 

If Andy would have worked harder when he first hit the tour in 2000, maybe he could have nabbed another Grand Slam or two before the arrival of Roger Federer as the player he is now.  It takes players time to realize their potential in this funny game.  Federer did not become Federer until after a few years of tough luck on the tour.

But please do not say that Roddick choked again.  The man has worked his butt off and developed over the years.  He is continuing to progress and may never win another Grand Slam title due to the amazing competition on tour these days.  But the man is not choking.  He is just getting beat.

Stay tuned for the next edition of Sportskraze.

-Kraze

“Dual of Superstars”

Were you a witness to the dual of superstars last evening in Miami?

Last evening Lebron James got the better of fellow stud Dwayne Wade.  Lebron’s Cavs escaped by the slimmest of margins 92 to 91 and continue to play great basketball.  It was a very entertaining game that once again proved the importance of free throws.

Wade missed two crucial free throws with a little over 40 seconds left in the game.  Lebron hit two big time free throws with 4 seconds left in the game.  Game over Cavs win.  Well not exactly.  Following Lebron’s free throws, Wade still had a chance to give his team the victory in a one on one iso situation with the King.  The King told Coach Brown that he did not want to double on Wade and that he would check the guy himself. 

Wade got a decent look, but it is never easy to hit a shot with the King staring you down and in your face.  The shot bricked off the iron and the Cavs left Miami as victors.  Now without question people think a guy like Lebron is head and shoulders better than D Wade.  In my opinion, that is not the case.  Dwayne Wade is a phenomenal player who just happens to have played for a team with a weak supporting cast since he captured the title with Shaq Diesel years ago.  Not to mention he has dealt with many injuries due to his very up tempo and intense style of play.

I mean look at the stat line last evening.  Dwayne Wade had 32 points, 10 rebounds,  5 assists, 3 steals, and a block.  The King had 32 points, 9 assists, 4 assists, and a steal.  That is pretty darn close.

If Wade would have hit his free throws last evening, his team probably would have won the game and he would have won the dual with the King.  Unfortunately for him, both free throws went in and out, and his team lost by one.  It is never easy to beat the King.

Stay tuned for the next edition of Sportskraze.

-Kraze