By Josh Kramer
How many times this weekend did you hear the following lines? “That’s a reach.” “The sky is the limit for this guy.” I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am all NFL Drafted out. It is a great event. But on to the next one. What a great time in sports right now. Major League Baseball is just getting going. The NBA and NHL playoffs are in full swing. Here are the events to keep an eye on this week.
5. Have you had enough of the NFL Draft yet? Well guess what, the coverage is not over. Despite the insane amount of attention that the NFL’s marquee off-season event received, there is still plenty more to come as the experts try to tell you how good or bad your team did in the war room. Here are a few interesting statistics in regards to the 2012 NFL Draft.
-55% of the drafted players (142 of 253) came out of the SEC, ACC, Big Ten, and Pac-12.
-Alabama has turned into the new NFL U (8 players selected). Plus, the Crimson Tide became only the second school ever to have multiple underclassmen selected in the first round of the draft in three consecutive years (Miami is the other).
-Times are changing. The Sunshine State was not smiling on Thursday night. No players from Miami, Florida, or Florida State were selected in the first round for the first time since 1980.
-A new record of 19 early entrants were selected in round one (the previous record was 17 in 2010).
-Boise State had six players drafted this year. Only Alabama, Oklahoma, and Georgia had more taken. I am sure people will blame this on the “easy” schedule though.
4. Welcome to clay-court season. This is a time in tennis where you can pencil Rafael Nadal into the finals of each and every big tournament without even thinking twice. As usual, Rafa had fun in Barcelona, taking home a seventh straight title at the event. In doing so, Nadal became the first player in the Open era to win two tourneys seven times (Monte Carlo and Barcelona). Now the tour splits off into three parts. This week, there are tournaments in Munich, Estoril, and Belgrade. Take your pick on which one will be more fun.
3. Matt Kemp has become Mr. April. It was an unforgettable month for the Dodgers mega-star. Not many people have the ability to overshadow the debut of a future superstar like Bryce Harper. Matt Kemp does. Who foresaw the Red Sox, Angels, and Marlins occupying the cellar in their respective division at the end of April? The season is still young, but this is a major surprise. My matchup of the week is going down in our nation’s capital.
Philadelphia Phillies at Washington Nationals: One of these teams is currently occupying the fourth spot in the NL East while the other sits atop the division. Let me give you a hint. It is not what you expect. Washington is rapidly becoming one of the best stories in baseball, while the Phillies have been slow coming out of the gates. Though the Nationals have not exactly been tearing the cover off the ball, their pitching has been lights out. Many expected the Phillies to have the best pitching staff in the National League this year. That is not the case so far with Washington’s young aces stealing the show. Also, the Nationals have been pretty much unbeatable at Nationals Park, while Philadelphia has not exactly been stellar outside the friendly confines of Citizens Bank Park. I never thought I would say this during 2012. But I like the Nationals to take two of three from Philadelphia as they continue to show the National League why they will be in the mix come October.
2. I think Saturday April 28, 2012 will forever be known as “ACL Saturday.” Or it will be known as the day that the heart of Chicago was ripped out. Either way, the NBA playoffs began with a bang this weekend. There was some good, and of course some bad. Nobody wanted to see Derrick Rose go down. After a very injury plagued season, people wanted to see an Eastern Conference Finals rematch with Chicago at full strength. Well you can’t always get what you want, and now it isn’t going to happen. In addition, the Knicks should have petitioned the League to let their playoff opener be on Sunday. Carmelo loves to turn Sundays into “Melo Time.” Saturday was downright ugly for the Knicks.
1. Just in the opening round, we had the pleasure of watching both of last year’s Stanley Cup participants bite the dust. We saw three game seven winner-take-all showdowns. And guess what? Things are only going to get better as we creep closer to the finals. Enjoy the conference semifinals this week, they are sure to provide some fireworks.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.