Tag Archives: Texas

NBA draft 2011: 5 must-miss prospects and 5 possible steals

Photo courtesy of USAToday.com. Kenneth Faried (pictured above) led the country in rebounds this past season. Our very own Nick Craddock thinks that Faried can one of the major steals of this year's lackluster draft class.

By Nick Craddock

As you’ve probably heard, the 2011 NBA draft is shaping up to be one of the weakest in years.

Rumor has it that one of the possible taglines the NBA league office considered to promote the event was: NBA draft 2011…where underwhelming talent happens.

In fact, if we likened all the hopeful hoopers waiting to hear their name called at the Prudential Center in friendly Newark, N.J. — Madison Square Garden is unavailable to serve as the venue this year because of scheduled renovations — to popsicles, then all the NBA teams have a disappointing box full of grape-flavored popsicles to select from (maybe there’s an orange or raspberry hidden somewhere in the box).

Just as any sane person should consciously avoid grape popsicles (I don’t care how hot it gets, I won’t settle for grape), if I’m an NBA GM, I’m avoiding taking these prospects: Continue reading

“OSU/Wisconsin Preview”

It feels like OSU Senior David Lighty (pictured above) has been in Columbus for an eternity. Well he will partake in his last home game come Sunday. And you better believe he wants to go out with a victory.

Tonight we are in for a special treat.  We have yet another new writer out of Columbus. His name is Grant Freking and he is a certified “Sports Freak.”  Grant will serve as our Ohio State correspondent from here on out.

Grant Freking is a Lantern (OSU Newspaper) sports writer. Ology magazine managing editor. OSU football featured columnist for Bleacher Report. High school football reporter for Newark Advocate.  You can follow him on Twitter @GrantFreking.

To borrow a Godfather axiom, Ohio’s State game Sunday against Wisconsin is not just business, it’s personal. Continue reading

“Food for Thought 3-1-11”

Back on February 12th, Jacob Pullen (pictured above) and Kansas State appeared on their way to missing the big Dance in March. 5 games later they are back in the picture and are one of the hottest teams in America.

There is so much going on in the wide world of sports.  You got the NFL Combine, the NFL CBA soap opera, and MLB Spring Training.  It is March now though, and you all know what that means.  It is time for some Hoops Mayhem!

Here are some of the main thoughts that have been running through my head today.

When the East Returns to Prominence, so do the Chicago Bulls

-When was the last time the Eastern Conference was as good as or better than the Western Conference?  Lets go back to Michael Jordan era in Chicago.  It has been well over 10 years.  Hard to believe how fast time flies by.  Well the Eastern Conference has arrived, and appears ready to stay on top.  With the East back on a level playing field with the West, wouldn’t you know that the Windy City would have a great team for the first time since the Jordan days.  Chicago has had 2 winning seasons since Jordan helped the city rip out Utah’s heart for a 2nd consecutive year (1998).  The most wins they have had in a season is 49 back in the 06-07 campaign.  Want to know how many wins they have this year?   

Try 41 with 24 games remaining.  And this team only appears to be getting stronger as they get healthier.  Former Chicago Bull’s star Scottie Pippen has been blowing up the Twitter world with his tweets as of late.  The gist of Pippen’s message is that the Bulls are a contender and that they have the ability to bring back the title to Chicago.  Most of America thought Chicago lost big this off season in the epic “Free Agency Bonanza.”  In actuality, they won big with the pickups of Carlos Boozer and Kyle Korver.  Two pieces that may have completed the puzzle.

People do not realize that this Bull’s team has gone 18 games without their best big man, Carlos Boozer, and 30 games without Joakim Noah, one of the scrappiest players in the League.  Yet they are still 3rd overall in the East, and just one game behind a Miami team that they are 2 and 0 against.  I will admit that Boston is still my pick to represent the East in the NBA Finals.  But the Bulls were my sleeper pick for a reason.  They have something that none of the other Eastern Conference contenders have.  A point guard who can do it all.

Sure the Celtics have Rajon Rondo, who is an elite PG.  But Rondo simply cannot shoot from the perimeter.  Rose can do it all.  He can fly all over the court.  He has tremendous vision.  He can score at will both by driving and shooting the jump shot.  Plus he is a leader who has a knack for hitting the big shot.  A point guard who can penetrate and shoot like Rose is capable of is nearly unstoppable.

Chicago has the perfect formula for a championship contender.  They have one superstar in Derrick Rose.  An All Star caliber big in Carlos Boozer and a possible future All Star in Joakim Noah.  A sharpshooter in Kyle Korver.  And a great talent on both ends of the floor in Luol Deng.  Maybe we should ask King James what he thinks of Mr. Deng. Each player on this team seems to know their role. Lastly, their effort level is tremendous.  They are currently 2nd in the League in both overall defense and rebounding.  Who says that guys in the NBA do not try.  Well that does not seem to be a problem in the Windy City. They could be scary come April/May and dare I say June.

Greg Jennings Who?

I am sure many of you have seen the infamous Greg Jennings YouTube video where he puts the team on his back with a broken leg.  Well Jacob Pullen has been doing his best Greg Jennings impression as of late in the College Basketball arena.  He has literally put Kansas State on his back.  And now has them sitting pretty for a tournament bid.  A little over 2 weeks ago this was far from the story in Manhattan, Kansas.

Lets rewind back to February 12th.  On this date, Kansas State lost a heartbreaker to a mediocre Colorado team and sat at 16 and 9, with a conference record of 4 and 6.  They appeared on their way to arguably the most disappointing season of any College Basketball team in the country outside of Michigan State.  These guys were highly touted preseason (ranked #3).  They had made it all the way to the Elite 8 last year.  This was not supposed to be the case.  Then something happened.  Something magical. 

The senior, Jacob Pullen, decided to put the team on his back.  First the Wildcats put a whooping on in state rival, and the number 1 team in the country at the time, Kansas.  Then the rest was history.  Kansas State has now won 5 straight games.  3 of those wins were against top 25 teams and last night’s victory over #8 ranked Texas on the road was the icing on the cake.  During this 5 game stretch, Jacob Pullen is averaging 27.2 PPG and shooting a remarkable 59% from the floor.  Want to know what is even more amazing?  He is 16 of 27 from 3 point range in this 5 game stretch.  This is also 59%.

Pullen has epitomized what a senior leader should be over these past two weeks.  I do not foresee Kansas State making a run to the Final Four this year.  But I do feel they are capable of going a few rounds deep, which is far better than not dancing at all.  Pullen has put Kansas State on his back.  The real question is how far can he lead them? I will tell you this much, I would not bet against Pullen at the end of a close game.

Just some “Food for Thought.”

Let me hear your thoughts though.  Please comment below with any questions or insights that you may have or shoot me an email at contact@thesportskraze.com.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“Weekly Nickel”

Come Wednesday, College Basketball fans are in for a treat as they get to watch Jim Boeheim (left) and Jim Calhoun (right) lead their squads into another epic Big East battle. It should be a great one.

It is another Monday, and you all know what that means.  Lets get the week started with a look at the top events coming up in the sporting world throughout the next 7 days. Continue reading

“Weekly Nickel”

The Under Armour Senior Bowl is set for Saturday. Derrick Locke (pictured above) is one of many players looking to wow the NFL scouts before the combine.

After the weekend “that was,” we are now heading full steam into another amazing week in the wide world of sports that “will be.”  Saturday was arguably the best day of College Basketball we have had since last March and Sunday was just an outstanding day of NFL Football.

So whats in store for this week?  Here is a closer look. Continue reading

“Weekly Nickel”

Come next Saturday, Dick Vitale (pictured above) will be screaming at the top of his lungs with a plethora of big time matchups to cover. It should be "Totally Awesome Baby, with a capital A!"

I know there has been a brief hiatus from the typical “Weekly Nickel.”  But now it is back, and better than ever.  What a week of sports that we just had, and what a week we have ahead.  Lets jump right into the list. Continue reading

“National Championship Game Preview”

This year's Heisman Trophy Winner, Cam Newton (pictured above) has had a monster season both on and off the field. Expect him to make a final statement in willing his team to a victory over Oregon tomorrow night.

Tomorrow is finally the night of the big game.  It has taken a full 4+ months to get to this point, but the time has come.  34 Bowl Games down (after tonight’s Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl), 1 monumental one to go.  It is the matchup that everyone has wanted since mid way through the season.  It is the matchup that not only the entire College Football Fan base has wanted for a while now, but it is exactly what the BCS wanted.  Two teams that were not ranked in the preseason AP top 10 go head to head (this has never happened in the BCS era).   The BCS dodged some major bullets this year with how things worked out. 

Auburn could have easily taken an L in the Iron Bowl this year, when Alabama had them on the ropes.  What if Michigan State did not blunder at Iowa this year, or Ohio State at Wisconsin?  What if Boise State’s Kyle Brotzman does not have the worst game of his life versus Nevada?  There are a lot of “what ifs,” but there are only two teams left standing.  The two very best in College Football.

Grab your popcorn, because there are about to be some fireworks.

Now I am not going to ram the stats down your throats.  You have been forced to listen to the minutia and buildup to this game for well over a month now.  The fact of the matter regarding this National Title Game is simple.  The teams pitted really like to light up the scoreboard.  They both rank in the top 4 in the land for points scored a game.  The Ducks have been held under 35 points once the entire season and Auburn has scored over 50 on 6 different occasions.

The intriguing thing for both of these squads is that neither is pass happy.  Though football at nearly all levels has become a pass first game, both of these squads accomplish most of their damage via their rushing attacks (they can throw the ball with authority too)  Granted they both have two very mobile quarterbacks that can make plays with both their arm and their feet. 

I do not see this game being as high scoring as all analysts are predicting.  Many are calling for this one to have more points than the legendary National Title Game of 2006, when Vince Young propelled Texas over USC 41 to 38.  Generally the first quarter of National Title games feature offensive blunders, while each team shakes off major nerves.  Now I do think each team will put up points, but I do not see both teams scoring 40 plus.

The X Factor in this game will be Cam Newton and Auburn’s overall team speed.  Now I realize that Oregon has some players that have what I like to call the “burners.”  But they have not faced a team with the speed that Auburn features across their entire roster.  Many have been saying that the fact Oregon has a stronger defensive unit will be the differentiating factor that gives the Ducks the advantage.  Lets be real though.  The PAC 10 is a very good conference.  But it is nowhere near the caliber of the SEC.  Auburn’s defense played phenomenal competition all year and still held its own enough to give their offense a chance to win every game.

Look for a Vince Young like performance out of Cam Newton.  Just hopefully he does not pan out like Young in the NFL.  I got Auburn winning a very exciting game 34 to 31. I will admit that I said in my College Football Preview that this would be the year the SEC’s reign of National Championships ended.  I had no idea that Auburn and Cam Newton would come along back in September. Cam Newton and the Tiger’s overall team speed will give the SEC its 5th straight National Championship. 

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze