Tag Archives: Kyle Singler

Throwback Saturday Part I

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Even two years ago to the day, I was already jumping on the Harrison Barnes (pictured above) bandwagon.

By Josh Kramer

Many say, “You have to know the past to understand the present.”  Due to popular demand and in celebration of “TheSportsKraze” reaching over 800 posts, I am going to spend the next few Saturdays of each week looking back.  I will examine what I was discussing on the blog on this date one year ago, and two years ago.  Today happens to be that lucky day of that week.  Welcome to the first edition of “Throwback Saturday.”

Two years ago…

A Changing of the Guard

Here is a little snippet. 

In very peculiar fashion, both UNC and the Dukies took a loss in conference play on the same night.  Not to mention they both lost to unranked opponents!  Is there a changing of the guard occurring in the ACC?…

In my opinion, this is simply just a down year for both squads.  North Carolina has the top recruit in the country in Harrison Barnes coming next year and Duke has an outstanding recruiting class arriving as well.  Who are the coaches of these highly renowned programs?  Oh yeah, I forgot Coach K and Roy Williams.  Both have multiple National Titles and are not going anywhere anytime soon.

Duke still has a legitimate shot to do some damage this year though being led by Kyle Singler and Jon Scheyer (To finish reading the post, click this link). Continue reading

A rebirth of sorts

Photo courtesy of BleacherReport.com. Kyrie Irving (pictured above) has lived up to the hype thus far in Cleveland.

By Josh Kramer

6-26-2003.  7-8-2010.  6-23-2011.  Three days that will forever define the history of an NBA franchise.  So you are probably sitting there wondering why I would list out these three dates.  Well a renaissance of sorts is occurring in the often sports deprived city of Cleveland.  And these are the three key dates that tell the story. Continue reading

College Basketball Preview

Photo courtesy of koonskollegebball.wordpress.com. North Carolina is my pick to cut down the nets this year. In order to do that, expect Harrison Barnes (pictured above) to lead the way.

By Josh Kramer

The most recent edition of March Madness was one for the ages.  It was a tournament that kept fans on the edge of their seats from Day 1 all the way to the National Championship Game.  And as is typically the case regarding college hoops, the season has started without a bang.

How many of you are aware that real regular season college hoops has been played?  Unless your respective team has opened up the season, I am guessing that this is news to you.  Why does college basketball always start at such a weird time, amid such a lack of publicity?  Nobody knows, but things will heat up.  That is a promise.

With all of the insanity going on in sports at the moment, college hoops may be a good release.  Either way, as is always the case, come mid-January, college basketball will be at the center of the sporting stratosphere.

Here is my top five: Continue reading

“Food for Thought 3-8-11”

Could the days of Jim Tressel (pictured above) and the trusty sweater vest be over in Columbus? Don't count on it.

There is so much going on in sports right now.  NCAA Basketball madness all day.  MLB Spring Training.  NFL Labor Negotiations.  NBA Basketball.  And I could go on.  It is time to delve into some of the major headlines today.

Tressels Sweats it Out in the Sweater Vest Continue reading

“Weekly Nickel”

Duke star Nolan Smith (pictured above) will play a major part in the Duke/UNC matchup on Wednesday. Will he be the X-Factor?

Good Monday to you all.  Want to know one of the best things about sports especially in the United States?  They never stop.  We just celebrated the biggest sporting holiday of the year with an outstanding Super Bowl 45.  And guess what, we have another stellar jam-packed week ahead.

Lets jump right into it. Continue reading

“Food for Thought 12-21-2010”

UConn Head Basketball Coach Geno Auriemma (pictured above), looks to make history tonight with an 89th consecutive victory. Is he the greatest College Basketball Coach (Men's or Women's) of all time?

Today is another “Food for Thought” day.  There is just entirely too much going on in the sporting world to not at least touch on multiple items.  Being a sport’s fan at this time is good.

Lets take a look at some of the main storylines.

Bye Bye Brett

-Once again the media has been dominated by yet another storyline regarding the legendary #4.  I am not going to lie, I thought we would hear very little about Brett until the conclusion of the season when whispers of retirement came into the picture again.  Sadly, I was wrong.  Brett shocked America by suiting up and starting last evening’s Monday Night affair against the divisional rival and 1st place, Chicago Bears.  I will state, this was a mistake for Brett.  Not only did he hardly play, but he took another massive hit and suffered a concussion.  I know Brett’s legacy has been built on playing in big time Monday Night Games in the snow.  But the guy was not healthy, and had no business being on the field.  Will this be how Brett goes out?  He ended his career in Green Bay throwing an INT in the NFC Championship Game.  In addition, he ended on a sour note in New York (and still is dealing with the repercussions).  Now his Minnesota reign has appeared to end in a sad fashion.  The man just needs to retire already.  It is not worth permanent injuries.  He has nothing left to play for.

What is next for the TO Show?

-So Terrell Owens has suffered a major knee injury and appears to have played his last down in Cincinnati.  Does TO or Cincinnati really care?  Many thought TO was the final piece to the puzzle for the Who Deys.  Many thought that the Bengals were a Super Bowl contender.  Many were wrong.  I will state, Terrell has had his best year in some time.  He has quietly had a very strong year.  Until recently, he had even kept his mouth shut.  Amid all the losing, he finally opened up his mouth and his true colors showed.  Owens had 72 catches for 983 yards, and 9 TDs this season.  At 37, the guy can still play.  My question for you is who will pick him up?  His days in Cincy are without question over.  Who saw this Bengal’s team getting 7 or 8 games worse after the offseason they had?  Sadly, Cincinnati is very used to being disappointed by the Who Deys.  It is fact of life for the people who live in the 513.

Auriemma>Wooden?

-In less than an hour, Geno Auriemma leads his Lady Huskies into battle with a chance to rewrite history.  With a victory this evening, the Huskies will have one upped John Wooden and his legendary UCLA teams, with an 89th consecutive victory.  I do not care that this is women’s basketball.  89 wins in a row is an astounding feat.  Something that will probably never happen again.  Now my question for you.  Is Geno Auriemma in the class of the all time great coaches such as John Wooden, Coach K, Dean Smith, and Adolph Rupp?  Bobby Knight on ESPN coverage today stated that Auriemma should be the number 1 choice on any team’s list when looking for a new coach.  Is it that easy to go from coaching women to men?  I do not think so.  Sorry Bobby.  Geno is one of the best ever, but coaching women is far different from coaching men.

Coach K Satisfied?

-Coach K secured his 879th career victory last evening behind yet another stellar Kyle Singler performance.  The greatest Duke Coach of all time is now tied with UNC’s best, Dean Smith, for 2nd on the all time list.  Krzyzewski now sits just 23 wins behind the all time record, which is held by the legendary Bobby Knight.  The real question at this point is not if Coach K will catch Knight, but when, and by how much?  My money is on this year during another deep NCAA Tournament run. Is Coach K the greatest College Coach of all time if surpasses this milestone?  Is he even as good of a coach as Geno Auriemma?

Magic in Orlando

-So Orlando has been struggling.  They tried to change their luck by making the trade of the year thus far (LBJ’s decision was a free agency decision).  Following a trade that could really shake up the battle of the top of the East, the Magic ended up with Gilbert Arenas, Jason Richardson, and their former (now current) star, Hedo Turkoglu.  Now I realize the Magic lost again last evening to the Hawks.  But do not sleep on this team.  They are definitely a contender in the East and this trade will make them a better team in the long run.  Give them a couple of weeks to develop a chemistry.  The battle for supremacy in the Eastern Conference, much less the state of Florida will be exciting in the near future.  I still have the Magic going to the Conference Finals as I predicted in the preseason.

So there you have some of my insights on the major happenings going on in the sporting world on this particular day.  Obviously there are other things going on as well.  Feel free to ask about whatever is on your mind via commenting or emailing.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“College Basketball Preview”

Super frosh, Kyrie Irving (pictured above on the right) has a lot to live up to at Duke. Could he be the next Jay Williams (pictured above on the left) and lead this team back to the Final Four?

College Basketball is back and better than ever folks..or is it?

Many of you probably do not even realize that regular season games have already been played.  I am not sure what the deal is with the lack of publicity thus far, but you better believe that come mid January (when College Football is done), College Basketball will be the center of attention again.  For many, it will become the prime event within the next week in that their College Football team is down and out.

In my opinion, NCAA Basketball has the best and most exciting tournament of them all.  March Madness may be the most consistently well done event that we have in American sports today. It never dissapoints. And yes, I realize that they expanded the tournament field, but you better believe the excitement will still be there come mid March.  Now a few years down the road when they hit their eventual goal of 96 teams, some of the luster may be faded.  But at this point, it will still be a top notch thrilling event.

A long while back, on July 13th to be exact, I gave my “Early Preseason Top 5.”  It read as follows:

1.  Duke

2.  Ohio State

3.  Michigan State

4.  Purdue

5. Butler

And my sleeper picks to make a run at the Final Four were UK, Syracuse, WVU, and Kansas State.

Not much has changed in my eyes from my super early preseason top 5.  There are a couple of minor changes though. 

Here is my real “Preseason Top Five.”

1.  Duke-The defending National Champs return the majority of last year’s squad.  Look for Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler to play at an All American level all year.  Expect the Plumlee brothers to emerge into a formidable post combo.  And do not forget about the arrival of super frosh point guard, Kyrie Irving.  This kid can flat out play with the top guards in the country already.  Plus a little Curry (Stephon Curry’s little brother) will be mixing in with the backcourt.  Coach K has much to like with this very deep and talented squad.

2.  Ohio State-I have said it numerous times, and I will say it again.  It is Final Four or bust this year for Ohio State.  With 4 returning starters, and arguably the best and most college ready Freshman Class in the country, this team will have the talent and the experience to ride all the way to the National Championship.  Thad Matta should be smiling all day and every day with this group.  The freshman class includes the likes of arguably the best big man in the entire country, Jared Sullinger,  a small forward in Deshaun Thomas that can get up and down the floor with the best in the country, a lock down defender in Aaron Craft, and the very smooth all around talent that is shooting guard Jordan Sibert.  Not to mention the Buckeyes feature a junior, that could take home Big Ten Player of the Year in William Buford, plus returning starters, Diebler, Lauderdale, and Lighty.  This team could definitely go the distance.

3.  Michigan State-Tom Izzo has been to 6 Final Fours in the last 12 years for a reason.  The only difference this year is Tom Izzo actually has a team with Final Four talent.  I can only imagine how good this team could be.  Kalin Lucas will be running the point and poised to show why he was Big Ten Player of the year 2 seasons ago.  Durrell Summers, Delvin Roe, Draymond Green, and Korie Lucious are full of experience and ability.  Plus Izzo brought in arguably the best Freshman Power Forward/Center in the country, in the very long and versatile Adreian Payne.  This team could be flat out scary.  I cannot wait to see them match up with Duke on December 1st and Ohio State on February 15th.

4.  Pittsburgh-This Pitt team appears to be the cream of the crop in the Big East.  Though they struggled against a tough Rhode Island team the other night, that is how Jamie Dixon likes it.  His Pitt squads over the years have typified the term, “Winning Ugly.”  This team brings back some very talented mainstays off of last year’s 25 win team such as Ashton Gibbs, Brad Wanamaker, and Gilbert Brown.  I will state that this team does not wow on paper as some of these other top teams I am discussing do.  But Pittsburgh always seems to find a way to win 25 plus games in the rugged Big East and I expect no different this year.  Look for Gibbs and Wanamaker to really lead this team to the top of the Big East.

5. Kansas State-Frank Martin’s Elite 8 team of a year ago looks poised to make another deep run this year.  And we all know if they don’t, they will have to deal with the wrath that is their Coach, Frank Martin.  This team is relatively young and will deeply miss guard Denis Clemente, but they will be led by two very talented seniors in Jacob Pullen and Curtis Kelly.  These two will provide one of the more formidable high low combos in the entire country.  Look for this team to be similar to Pittsburgh.  Very tough and hard working.  A team that beats you with defense and exceptional effort, especially on the boards.  Would you expect anything else from a Frank Martin coached team?

My sleepers to make a Final Four run are UK (depending on Kantor’s elgibility), North Carolina, Illinois, and Butler.

Key Items to Note

Number 1: Purdue will be Hummel-less this year.  Due to this fact, Purdue will no longer be a top 5 or even top 10 team.  They will be solid and make the tournament, but they are no longer a real “contender” in my eyes.  My condolences go out to Hummel, his family, and all of Boilermaker Nation.

Number 2: The Big Ten looks to be the cream of the crop without a doubt.  Basketball has been dominated by the Big East for the past 4 or 5 years, but the torch appears to have been passed to the old school Big Ten.  ESPN and many of the experts jumped the gun last year saying that the Big Ten was the elite conference.  Well now they are.  Ohio State, Michigan State, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Purdue all look to be sure fire tourney squads.  And without Hummel going down, I would have said that Ohio State, Michigan State, and Purdue were all National Championship contenders.  Also do not sleep on a very experienced Illinois team and a very solid Bo Ryan led Wisconsin Badger team.  All of these squads are dangerous.

Third: Can Coach K bring home his 5th National Title?   You better believe that he can.  But will he?  There is a lot of basketball to be played, but on paper, Duke is definitely the team to beat.  Keep an eye on Super Frosh, Kyrie Irving.  He will provide fireworks for the Cameron Crazies.

Fourth: Can Brad Stevens lead Butler to another magical tournament run? The talent is there once again.  Shelvin Mack, Ronald Nored, and Matt Howard all return from last year’s National Runner Up.  Will the run continue?  Will Stevens stay through his entire 12 year contract?  We will find out soon.

So there you have it.  It is the Big Ten’s year to shine.  What a season we have in store.  The unpredictably of March Madness is always one of the most fascinating things that happens in sports.

In the words of Dickie V, “Its totally awesome baby!”

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“Class of 2007 Hitting Stride”

Pictured above (from left to right), Derrick Rose, OJ Mayo, and Eric Gordon. These three phenoms from the high school class of 2007 are all emerging now as NBA Superstars.

Eric Gordon put on a show for Team USA yesterday, as the Americans finished off pool play at the FIBA World Championships with an undefeated 5 and 0 record.  Gordon was extremely efficient, going 7 of 10 from the floor with 21 points.  Many people are clamoring for the kid to get a starting spot.  “Air Gordon,” as many from the Indiana area like to call him, is one of many rapidly developing stars from the mythical 2007 High School Basketball Class.  The legend of this class is continuing to mount by the day.

People remember how quickly this group took over the College game (they still are running the College game as I will talk about later).  Now this group is finally starting to make some real noise in the professional game.  And want to know the scariest part?  These kids, on a traditional path, would be entering their senior year of college now.  Could John Calipari and the young blood Kentucky Wildcats have handled that?  Could the College Game have handled these phenomenal talents hanging around for the old and traditional, 4 year college experience?

Now take a moment to think about who was in this class.  Here is a rundown from the Rivals 2007 rankings:

Michael Beasley, Eric Gordon, Derrick Rose, OJ Mayo, Kyle Singler, Kevin Love, Bill Walker, JJ Hickson, James Harden, Anthony Randolph, Jerryd Bayless, Austin Freeman, Patrick Patterson, Jonny Flynn, Blake Griffin, C0rey Fisher, Cole Aldrich, E’Twaun Moore, Kalin Lucas, Nolan Smith, Andrew Ogilvy, JaJuan Johnson, LaceDarius Dunn, Evan Turner, Jeff Teague

This is 25 names from that year’s Rivals top 50.  Right away you should recognize every one of those names.  First of all it goes without saying that the guys that are now currently in the League did big things at the College level.  Michael Beasley, during his freshman campaign, was the real National Player of the Year in my eyes, regardless if they gave it to Tyler Hansborough.  Derrick Rose took his team to the National Championship game.  OJ Mayo put on quite the show in Southern California. Blake Griffin took home a National Player of the Year Award his sophomore year.  Evan Turner was the National Player of the Year last season.  Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler led Duke to a National Championship last season.  And I could go on and on. 

Current NCAA Scene:

Though there are only a few guys from this list (above) that have not gone to the League yet, the remaining are the guys that will run the College game this upcoming season.  Singler and Nolan Smith lead a team that many expect to repeat as National Champions in Duke.  Corey Fisher is the best returning player in the Big East and is expected to lead Villanova deep into March.  E’Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson have returned for their senior years to lead Purdue to a Final Four.  Kalin Lucas will be back to lead the Spartans back to yet another Final Four.  LaceDarius Dunn is the best player in the Big 12 and ready to get Baylor over the hump.  And I could go on.

Current NBA Scene:

Eric Gordon dropped 17 points a game last year for the Clippers and is wowing people at the FIBA World Basketball Championships.  He will finally get to form the dynamic duo with Blake Griffin that Clipper’s nation has been waiting for.  Griffin is  healthy and expected by many to bring home the NBA’s Rookie of the Year Award.  OJ Mayo has dropped an average of 18 points a game over his first two seasons and is occasionally mentioned in the same breath as the League’s Elite (Kobe, Melo, Wade).  The kid continues to improve and along with Rudy Gay, provides the Grizzlies with some bright prospects for the future.  Then of course there is All Star point guard, Derrick Rose.  Rose is quickly developing into the best point guard in the NBA and is globally renowned for his amazing speed and tenacity.  People refer to him as “The Human Fast Break.”  The guy saves his best performances for the playoffs and will be the leader of a very formidable Bull’s team this upcoming season.

So there you have it.  The Class of 2007, has not only taken over the College Game, they are starting to emerge with the NBA’s elite as well.  Most of these kids are at the ripe age of 21 years old.  Can you think of a better age to have fun and take over the game?

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“My Early College Basketball Top 5”

Kyrie Irving gives Coach K a preview of his amazing pentrating ability while starring for Team USA. This kid will be a diaper dandy according to Dickie V.

With all the commotion today regarding the new 68 team format, I started thinking about who will be the team’s playing in Houston come next April.  Now I will admit that at this point, I am not gung-ho about the 68 team format, but it is better than what could have been (96).  Though I do think we will hit 96 teams within the next 5 years.  This was a ploy by the NCAA to ween people onto the idea of more teams into the tourney.  But that is a story for another day.

So my early top 5:

1.  Duke:

This was a no brainer pretty much.  The Dukies are the defending National Champions.  They have arguably the best coach in the country.  Not to mention they are the only 4 year program left in America.  With stars Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith returning, and the addition of super point guard Kyrie Irving (you will hear more about this kid in the very near future), this team will once again boast the toughest trio in the country.  Duke looks to be a definite team that will be playing at Reliant Stadium come next April.

2.  Ohio State

Now many of you are sitting there like, this team just lost their superstar Evan Turner.  How are they even being considered a top 10 team?  I will tell you why, All Ohio Red.  This is the top AAU team in the country and Ohio State has 3 blue chip recruits coming from this team, plus a couple of other studs.  Jared Sullinger will be an instant impact player and I fully expect him to be in the running for Big Ten player of the year.  I have talked about this in past blogs.  This team has a great chemistry with their incoming recruits.  The kids have played together for years and won together.  Not to mention Ohio State has 3 returning senior starters, plus an emerging star in William Buford (who will be junior).  This team is forreal.  And they have that rare mix of great experience, and phenomenal talent.  Thad Matta should have a lot of fun with this squad.  In today’s college game, it is very rare to have a great mix of talented seniors and freshman.

3.  Michigan State

You better believe that this team is hungry and excited to have their fearless leader, Tom Izzo back.  Izzo always seems to find a way to take his team deep into March whether he has the talent or not.  This year though, he has the talent.  With Kalin Lucas (hopefully healthy), Durrell Summers, Draymond Green, and the extremely talented Delvin Roe, this team has a fantastic core.  Plus the addition of super center, Adreian Payne, from that amazing All Ohio Red team. These guys will beat you up inside.  This is a typical Tom Izzo team, but with more talent than he has had the past few years.  These guys are very dangerous and hungry to return back to the Final Four for a 3rd consecutive year.

4.  Purdue

The Boilermakers are the real deal.  And not the real deal like Gene Keady’s hair.  This team will miss their rock Chris Kramer, but their talent and experience should make up for the loss of Kramer’s intensity level.  Kramer was the only senior on the squad who saw significant time.  They return a team that spent most of the year ranked in the top 5.  A team that everyone thought had a legitimate chance to be playing in Indy before Robby Hummel went down.  If Hummel comes back at full strength, I feel like the three-headed monster of Hummel, Moore, and Johnson will be near unstoppable.  These three seniors are hungry to finally live up to the billing.  And this should be the year.

5.  Butler

This team was no Cinderella last year regardless if that is how America labeled them.  They were top 10 in the preseason for a reason and I am giving them the love again this year.  Though the loss of Gordon Hayward will hurt, they return Shelvin Mack, Matt Howard, and Ronald Nored.  Not to mention they have a very intriguing prospect coming by the name of Khyle Marshall.  Marshall is not extremely highly touted, but has a similar style to a Gordon Hayward.  Lastly, Brad Stevens is a fantastic coach.  This man, though he had a talented team, outcoached coaching legends like Jim Boeheim and Tom Izzo.  So do not be surprised if this team goes deep into the tournament again.

Sleepers:  Kentucky, Syracuse, West Virginia, and Kansas State (all teams that I could see sneaking into the Final Four)

So there you have my top 5.  One thing of note.  The Big Ten will be the top conference this year.  I know many ESPN guys said that they would be the top conference last year.  I feel like they jumped the gun and were a year early.  They had a lot of solid teams last year, but this year, they have great teams at the top, and some depth.  With the loss of only one player (Evan Turner), these teams will be deep, talented, and experienced.

In the words of Dickie V, “It’s totally awesome baby with a capital A!”

You got to love College Basketball.

Stay tuned for the next edition of Sportskraze.

-Kraze