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Chris Lofton’s Piss From Heaven

As I’m sure you have not seen because it was not placed prominently on a certain, popular sports website, but turns out Tennessee guard Chris Lofton is a cancer surviver. This is complete news to me and many other college basketball fans who have watched Lofton ball all season long. The news was pretty much kept quiet the past year and you couldn’t tell that Lofton was anything other than 100% healthy. So here’s the crazy part, want to know how it was found out Lofton had cancer? You’ll never guess:

He was diagnosed with cancer only a few days after Tennessee ended its 2006-07 season with a Sweet 16 loss to Ohio State in San Antonio. Miraculously, the cancer was discovered after Lofton was picked randomly following the first-round win over Long Beach State to submit to an NCAA-mandated drug test. The results turned up positive, and Tennessee officials weren’t notified until the day of the Ohio State game.

What nobody knew at the time, at least for certain, was that what actually showed up on that test was a tumor marker.

It’s a test that might have saved Lofton’s life.

It was indeed a cancerous tumor as they came to find out through further testing, and a few days after the season ended, Lofton had surgery to remove the tumor. There are several miraculous aspects to this story. First, it’s incredible that cancer was discovered through an NCAA drug test. Secondly, it’s impressive that in this day in age they were able to keep the news away from the media. And lastly, I’m quite impressed by Lofton that he kept this story private. He didn’t want any excuses for his play during the year and he probably didn’t want any questions about his health. My kind of guy. I don’t think he’ll make much in the pros, but that doesn’t matter — dude seems like a gamer to me and he’s healthy now.

Craig Ehlo: Cuban Will Pursue Bob Knight

So we’ve already established that the Mavericks fired coach Avery Johnson in the wake of their first round playoff exit. I always say you have to see what’s out there first before you move on, but perhaps this is best for both parties. Now the question for Dallas becomes who do they hire? There aren’t too many big names out there I can think of, and we all know my buddy LB already took a gig with Charlotte. So where does that leave Dallas? Craig Ehlo joined Arnie Spanier on Sporting News Radio Wednesday and offered this possibility:

I think Mark Cuban will actually go after Bobby Knight. You know he just lives in Lubbock, Texas only 375 miles west of there. Cuban is an Indiana grad and I wouldn’t put it past him to offer something to Bobby Knight if Bobby Knight would be willing.

Let’s see, Cuban could offer something, but I don’t see any chance that Bob Knight takes it. He’s already gone on a limb by taking a job with ESPN, is there really a chance he tries out the pro game? I don’t think Knight wants any part of the professional ballplayer. Bob Knight not being able to pick and choose who is on his team via recruiting? Not a good mix. Not going to happen, though the thought is awesome. And who knows, Cuban could try to make something happen here — he’s all about the splash, and hot damn, this would be a waterfall.

Your Chance to Golf with Bob Knight

So far I’ve had a few ideas of how LBS could scrape together some funds and put them to good use. At first it was to buy one of Michael Vick’s pitbulls and make it the official site mascot. Then it was to pool together some money to buy the naming rights to Candlestick Park. Now, I think we need to get together and send one of the readers off for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

As part of his yearly fundraiser for cancer research, Lakewood Ranch resident Dick Vitale is offering the opportunity for a round of golf with Bob Knight and John Havlicek on May 16 at the Lakewood Ranch Golf & Country Club.

Bids for two threesomes will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. Saturday for nine holes with each basketball legend.

Bids start at $10,000 and include 18 holes of golf in the morning, a pre-gala party and the third annual Dick Vitale Gala for Cancer Research that evening at the Ritz-Carlton in Sarasota.

In this case, Havlicek would be the name in the small print at the bottom of the marquee. He’s just like a side dish. Anyway, I don’t know about you guys, but I think 10 g’s is more than doable. And if we do come through on this, I want the real Bob Knight in the threesome. None of this Mr. TV Niceguy stuff. If we’re paying top dollar for Bob Knight, I want the whole f-bomb dropping, fellow-man berating, chair-throwing, sweater-wearing Knight. Anything less would be absolutely unacceptable.

Was Nice Knowing You, Love & Collison

The LA Times reports that both Kevin Love and Darren Collison plan to enter the NBA draft, an announcement I expect to come officially from Ben Howland sometime today. I can’t say I’m too surprised that Love is going. It was said that Love would have gone pro after high school if it weren’t for the rule change. There was that small chance he could have elected to return to school, but alas, greener pastures await. If I were him, I probably would be eager to go make that money as well, though another year in school probably couldn’t hurt his game.

Now if Darren Collison really is planning to declare for the draft, I can’t say I agree with the decision. True, Collison is still a talented point guard with deathly quickness, but he got abused in two of the last three UCLA games by opposing guards. I just think it’s poor timing on his part. Now if Russell Westbrook were to declare, I would understand that; he’s fast, athletic, and well-suited for the NBA game. I could see him succeeding as early as next season in The Association. It’s possible that Collison won’t hire an agent and that he returns to school next season. I hope so. Either way, I don’t think I’m speaking out of turn when I say the Pac-10 already looks wide open for the taking. Then again, Stanford is losing the Lopez’s, Arizona is losing Bayless and Budinger, and USC will lose Mayo. Maybe there’s still room for the Bruins at the top.

Brandon Rush Leaving on a High Note

There’s no better time to leave college for the pros than after you’ve won the National Championship game. That is, unless you’re the Florida Gators and you can all return and win back-to-back titles (but cost yourself a few slots if you’re Joakim Noah). Well now that his team has peaked by winning the title, Brandon Rush will leave for the NBA draft according to Yahoo! Sports’ Jason King. This isn’t much of a surprise considering the fact that it’s the third time he’s declared for the draft. The first time Rush declared for the draft was in high school, but he decided against it once he realized he wouldn’t be a high pick. He then declared last year but tore his ACL and had to return to school. Worked out well in the end.

With Rush already reportedly leaving — no surprise — hearing Rose and CDR’s response to the question about going pro cracked me up. Everybody and their mother (mine included) knows that Rose is going to the NBA where he’ll no doubt be a top three pick, if not the first overall selection. And though it was a completely inappropriate question because his team had just lost the title game, he was asked about his future plans. Rose mumbled something about talking to his family and making a decision in the future. CDR gave the old “yeah, whatever he said” response. That pretty much says to me that they’re both gone.

And while we’re on the subject, I really appreciate John Calipari’s candor in regards to this issue. He has said and continues to say that he wants the best for his players; if they’re going to be first-round picks, he feels they have to pursue the opportunity. And honestly, if I were those guys, I’d be gone as well. That’s where Bob Knight’s thoughtst on the subject comes in, and he’s completely right. The one-and-done rule is eliminating the integrity in collegiate athletics and making a mockery of the concept of student athletes.

Alamo Dome Seats Ripped Fans Off

I remember looking at the photos online when I was getting prepared to purchase my Final Four tickets for the trip I wound up not taking. I automatically ruled out certain sections based on the charts I saw. Now I know why. We have visual photo evidence from Sports by Brooks depicting how horrible some of the seats were:

When players are beginning to resemble a farm of fire ants more than the physically imposing specimen they really are, you know things are bad. Typically I say you have to be there when your team wins a championship. In this case, watching on 15″ kitchen TV would be an unequivocal improvement. I’d like to see some of the representatives from the Alamo Dome actually take a hike to section 330 and truly tell me tickets should be sold for that section. Now you know why the attendance was over 43,000. What a disgusting ripoff.

Free Throws Finally Burn Memphis

Amongst other issues. That was quite the final eight minutes (including the OT). First off, much props are inline for Jason, the co-founder of the excellent sports/fan networking site Ballhype, who easily won the LBS March Madness Pool by being the only person to correctly predict the participants of the Championship Game. Quite impressive, Jason. Jason had Memphis winning so he probably was counting his money with about 130 seconds to go and the Tigers up by nine. There were several factors that contributed to the Kansas comeback, and I’m delighted to elaborate.

Joey Dorsey fouled out, leaving the middle open for Darrell Arthur. Mario Chalmers made his free throws, not to mention a small, tiny little three-pointer. They also made a great steal on an inbounds pass under the basket and Sherron Collins cashed it in with a three-pointer. But just when people thought Memphis had turned the corner when it came to free-throw shooting, they tanked. CDR and Dozier made two apiece to help build the nine-point lead. But then things came crashing down. CDR missed the front-end of a one-and-one, and followed that up by missing two more free throws in the double bonus with his team only up one. He makes one or two and his team is safe and sound. Instead, he bricked them both, leaving the pressure on Derrick Rose. Rose then hit one of two, keeping it at a one possession game.

The last 10 seconds of the game are then a mystery — from the Memphis side. Give Clark Kellogg credit for saying it — why didn’t the Tigers foul with five or six seconds left in order to eliminate the chance of a game-tying three-pointer? They foul, it goes to the line, and then Memphis gets the ball back and wins. It’s the exact same strategy Bruce Pearl used to beat Memphis in their only prior defeat. Calipari says they were trying to foul, but I didn’t see it. Maybe he thought so, but maybe his players were on a different wavelength. Anyway, much like I said in my reflections on the UCLA loss, free throws would eventually come back to burn Memphis. And congrats to Jason for winning the pool.