I’m sick of sitting here and complaining about how bad of a season it was in college hoops and how uninspiring this year’s tournament was. It’s time to call things out for what they are and make some changes that will improve the game for players, coaches, and fans.
First off, the college game is lacking stars and recognizable players. Most of the interesting players leave school after one year and very few stay longer. The two biggest stars in the sport this year were Jimmer Fredette and Kemba Walker, both of whom stayed at least three years (the Jimmer just finished his senior season and Kemba completed his junior year).
When March rolls around, do we prepare ourselves to see the familiar faces from a year ago? Or do we learn about every new player based on a crash course in the tournament? The game would be a lot more enjoyable if the fans were more familiar with the players around the country.
Secondly, building powerful teams and programs is much more difficult because coaches never know when a player will leave for the NBA. Should they recruit players they think are pretty good but will at least stay all four years, or should they go after the one-and-done hero who can help win a title now? If you go for the latter strategy, you’re forced to constantly reload and it creates a fluctuation in performance. Think about it: who was the last dynasty in college hoops? It was Florida, and only because their star players decided to return to school for another year. Before that, you’d probably have to go back 20 years to Duke.
The recruiting process and scholarship process will be much easier for coaches if they know how long they’ll have players rather than being forced to guess about who will stay and who will go. This is an issue of continuity, and college basketball is sorely lacking in that regard.
So what can we do about it?
- NBA College Rule
It’s getting hard to keep up with Aaron Rodgers and all the women to whom he’s been linked. There have been rumors of him hooking up with Erin Andrews, then we heard he was dating actress Jessica Szohr, and then he was hanging with Stacy Keibler and Mila Kunis at a party. Well it looks like we can add another girl to the list — Destiny Newton.
On Friday, TMZ ran a picture of Green Bay Packers Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers at beach in Hawaii with an unnamed blonde. Splash News Online added many more pictures and a video but they were unable to identify her. But on Tuesday, both Black Sports Online and Terez Owens said the girl in question is Destiny Newton, who we’ve come to find out is from Chico — Rodgers’ hometown in California.
As of last year, Newton was bartending in Pacific Beach in San Diego claiming she had moved there about three years earlier. In her interview with Pacific San Diego Magazine, she said she was going to school for communications in addition to bartending. Destiny also has a sister named Shawntel who competed on Season 15 of The Bachelor. So whatta you think?
Tampa Bay Rays new DH Manny Ramirez has been hearing it from fans after starting the season 1-for-16. The offseason acquisition was booed Tuesday during Tampa’s 5-3 loss to the Angels and didn’t help matters by striking out three times and leaving three men on. After the loss, manager Joe Maddon defended Manny saying it was “very unfair” of fans to boo him over his poor start, according to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times.
Topkin says Maddon wanted to make it clear that Ramirez works really hard and that it’s too early to get down on him. Outfielder B.J. Upton, who’s no stranger to slumps, said it was “unbelievable” that Ramirez was hearing it.
I completely understand why Maddon defended his player, and I agree it’s too early to get down on a proven slugger like Manny after just four games. But here’s where I’ll disagree.
If fans are booing Manny because they don’t like how he acts or the way he cheated the game, that’s completely within reason, and I might do the same. But if they’re booing because he’s not performing and they’ll start to cheer when he does, then I think it’s far too capricious on their behalf and will side with Joe and B.J. It all depends on the fan motivation for the boos.
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Suns point guard Steve Nash likes to dress casually and acts the same way on the court. He must have been wearing the wrong shorts to start the game between Phoenix and Chicago Tuesday evening because his teammates had to form a wall around him as he changed. A few seconds later, he was all set and he went out for 16 assists in a 97-94 loss. Seeing Nash strip down like that is no surprise — we know from his past actions he’ll do anything on the court shamelessly.
Thanks to J.E. Skeets for the video
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- Steve Nash
Northern Arizona coach Mike Adras was the only voter in the ESPN/USA Today poll not to vote tournament champion UConn the number one team in the final poll of the season. Instead, Adras voted Ohio State number one and Kansas second in his ballot, followed by UConn.
Explaining his decision, Adras said “I voted for who I thought was the best team in the country based on the entire body of work during the season. I believe it is Ohio State. I want to congratulate Connecticut for winning the NCAA tournament. They deserved it.”
The 30 other voters in the coaches’ poll put UConn first followed by Butler, and Kentucky. The other Final Four participant, VCU, ended up sixth in the final poll, with Ohio State and Kansas ahead of them.
Adras must be reading LBS because we wrote the exact same thing a week ago saying none of the Final Four teams deserved to be the national champion. Was UConn the best team in the country? I still say no. Was Butler the second best team? Far from it. And was Kentucky the third best? Were all these teams better than Ohio State or Kansas? Not in my eyes, and I’m glad at least one person was thinking outside the box and voted accordingly.
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- College Basketball
The former baseball player’s trial getting most of the media attention has been the Barry Bonds perjury case, but in San Diego, another former All-Star is involved with a lawsuit of his own. Brian Giles is in court to settle the suit his ex-girlfriend Cheri Olvera brought against him.
Olvera is suing Giles for breach of an oral and/or implied contract she says they had while they were together. She’s also seeking damages for alleged domestic violence that occurred during their relationship.
The defense team from James D. Scott’s law office is arguing, amongst other things, that Olvera targets wealthy professional athletes for relationships, as evidenced by her current engagement to Chuck Knoblauch. They also have proof that Olvera was verbally abusive towards Giles. Just listen to this voicemail Olvera left for Giles after she found out he stopped paying her cell phone service. Keep in mind Giles stopped paying AFTER Olvera sued him for over $10 million.
Beware, almost every other word is an F-bomb making this audio 100% NSFW:[audio:http://larrybrownsports.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/brian-giles-voicemail.mp3|titles=brian giles voicemail]
Alright, that b**** is certifiably crazy. It was probably a bad idea to tell Giles to save the voice message for anyone to hear it, because it was used in court on Monday. I know it’s not really my place, but let me just say beware Chuck, beware.
Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Ricky Romero is a former first-round pick out of Cal State Fullerton in 2005, and after several years in the minors he finally was brought up to pitch with the big club in 2009. He had a breakout season last year going 14-9 with a 3.73 ERA and was rewarded with a 5-year $30 million contract extension. With big money comes more exposure, and Romero is taking advantage of his celebrity status.
We got word from Jimmy Traina on Hot Clicks Monday that Romero and Miss USA 2010 Rima Fakih are dating. The Blue Jays announcers apparently passed on the news on Opening Day after Fakih was in attendance to watch Ricky pitch. A friend did confirm to LBS that the two are dating after spending time with them in Toronto recently. The news makes them a welcome addition to the always popular athlete-celebrity couple category here at LBS.
Fakih is a contestant on the WWE show Tough Enough while the East LA native continues to pitch for the Blue Jays. Congrats to Ricky on the pull, and let’s celebrate with some pictures.
A bullpen catcher told Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter David O’Brien he believes baseballs are juiced this year to help create excitement and aid attendance. The comment came in this exact tweet:
Attendance seems to be strong to start the year, but it generally is the first week of the season because fans are amped up about Opening Day. As for the claim that balls are being juiced, there have been 119 home runs hit in 52 games, yielding an average of 2.29 homers per game. If you compare it to this chart, that is a higher average than we’ve since 2000, but not by a large margin.
Most teams have only played three or four games thus far, so the sample size is too small to make any sweeping conclusions. I won’t discount what the catcher has said, especially considering he’s not the only one to make such a claim recently, but it’s too early to say if the data supports his feelings.
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- juiced ball
Marcos Maidana and Erik Morales are set to meet on Saturday at the MGM in Las Vegas for the WBA light welterweight title. Maidana is 27 years old, 29-2, and coming off a loss to Amir Khan in December. Before the loss, he had recorded impressive wins over Victor Cayo and Victor Ortiz. Now he’s set to face Erik Morales who’s 34 years old, 51-6, and whose partial claim to fame is going 1-2 in legendary trilogies against Marco Antonio Barrera and Manny Pacquiao. After losing four straight fights from ’05-’07 (including two to Pacquiao), Morales decided to hang up the gloves and he retired for just over two years.
Morales returned to the ring a year ago, has won three fights since, and is now fighting an up-and-comer. During a recent press conference to promote the fight, Maidana was asked for his thoughts on how Morales looked in his three comeback fights. Maidana was not kind, saying “he looked like a fighter that was retired for two years, but that doesn’t take away anything. I’m prepared for the best possible Morales for this fight. I think that he’s going to come.”
Maidana is preparing for the old Morales, but his words point to an issue for Erik — he has a long way to go to get back to his old form. Now if you thought the critical talk was all going one direction, you were wrong.
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March Madness has ended, the 9th place team from the Big East is your national champion, and I’d like a refund back for that horrible movie last night. Anyway, it’s time to follow up on the LBS March Madness Bracket Contest.
All congratulations go to Ben Smith who picked his alma mater to win it all (something LBS writer Del should have done). Smith ran away with the pool posting 99 points.
We asked Ben what he thought about winning and what made him choose UConn. Smith, who attended UConn and roomed with LBS’ own Steve DelVecchio, says “It feels good to win, and it feels better that UConn won it for me. I chose UConn because I recently graduated there. I honestly stopped following all the pools I was in when I had two teams in my elite eight still alive; it was one of those years with my picks. Luckily in the end, my team pulled through for me.” Congrats to Ben on the victory, come forward and accept thy prize, noble man (a copy of MLB2K11).
Second place goes to LBS’ leading lady Sakeena, who scored 71 points and road the Butler Bulldogs all the way to the Final Four. She also nailing four of the Elite Eight teams, correctly picking Kansas, North Carolina, UConn, and of course, Butler. She gets a prize pack from Axe that includes new Axe shower gels, a shower tool, and some JBL iPod dock speakers.
Jaclyn Frishman withstood the disappointment of having two Final Four teams knocked out in the second round of the tournament by having a nearly perfect West Region, helping her finish third. She got all but two games correctly in the West and had half the Elite Eight teams picked. She’ll receiver her choice of Top Spin 4 the video game, or an LBS shirt.
Jason Hoffman locked up fourth place by picking UConn to reach the Final Four, edging out 5th place finisher Sean Zech by a point.
Congrats to all the pool winners and thank you to everyone who participated! As for the winners, please contact me via email to receive your prize.