Written by: Brad Sellers

Cavs Ready To Pick Up Where They Left Off

May 12, 2015

Tristan Thompson is a big part of this series. Also, I think Shawn Marion is going to step in and play a major part as well. People don’t remember that Shawn is a former All-Star in this league. They also don’t remember that you don’t have to win 20 games right now – you just have to find a way to win 4.

Each win you get in the playoffs is going to be different than the other. The pressure ratchets up after each game as well.

I’ve been on a team with the world’s greatest player. Right now, the greatest player in the game is in Cleveland. Sometimes you just have to strap onto their back and let them carry you to the top. At that point, the remaining guys have to fill in. I think the Cavs have some good fill-in guys, but since Kevin Love is gone, it looks like it will have to be lights-out from LeBron and Kyrie.

I think size always matters, especially with guys like Joakim and Gasol. Chicago has a formidable team.

But let me tell you how we see it here in Cleveland: we are going to pick this thing up from the 90s from where we left off. It’s a nice rivalry between Cleveland and Chicago.

Read Comments +

Written by: Bob Dandridge

Playoff Talk: Bucks & Wizards Predictions

April 27, 2015

I think Milwaukee is very capable of getting back into this series against Chicago. I expect them to win in Milwaukee. To me, their shooting and their shot selection – specifically, taking too many shots early in the possession – has hurt them.

But they’re playing solid defense, they’re hustling, and they’re not turning the ball over. Their youth is a disadvantage in the playoffs because of minimal experience. They’ve never been in this position.

How about those Wizards! They are built to be a playoff team, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they represented the Eastern Conference during the NBA Finals. Every champion has the luxury of having a big man that can play. Washington is loaded in their frontcourt with good, quality bigs. The experience of Paul Pierce and Drew Gooden, along with their great backcourt of John Wall an

Read Comments +

Written by: Jerrod Mustaf

A Fighting Chance

March 26, 2015

For 36 times this season, college teams have given the Kentucky Wildcats their best shot, and for 36 times each of their foes have come up empty. With a talent-laden roster that would make the Lakers drool, Kentucky is just four wins from being the standard for college basketball excellence. The general consensus is that the Wildcats best competition this season has been each other in practice and therefore the Vegas bookies have predicted double figure wins in all of their games.

With nine NBA prospects in the rotation, no other college team has the talent to match up with them. They have great guards but their real strength is the size and skill of their bigs.

West Virginia knows that they can’t match up man for man with Kentucky, so expect them to make the game ugly. Their head coach, Bob Huggins, has never been confused with a choir boy. He groomed former bruisers Danny Fortson and Kenyon Martin at Cincinnati where he created a culture of thuggery on and off the court.

In the Mountaineers Second Round game against Maryland last week, at least three of Huggin’s players could have been charged with assault. They physically pounded the Terp’s guards from the opening tip until finally Melo Trimble was tapped out by the medical staff after his tenth time hitting the floor. Even though Maryland fans understood they had no chance to win with Trimble on the bench, they were relieved he wouldn’t further risk his health with the West Virginia mugging taking place.

True to his character, Huggins will push the boundaries of physical play against Kentucky and deploy his henchmen in uniform to counter-punch the Wildcat’s skilled players. He knows his only chance to compete with them is to make the game a slug-fest.  But Kentucky’s players are too gifted and disciplined for that and will make West Virginia their 37th victim!

Read Comments +

Written by: Jerrod Mustaf

RestLess

March 26, 2015

For years there was a gentleman’s agreement in the NBA circles that the last week of the season for playoff-situated teams was reserved for either rest or player development. While this usually happens in April, right before the Playoffs, some teams have been employing this strategy since Thanksgiving!

Last season the Spurs, with a veteran roster, rotated the off games for the ancient Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobli, which resulted in them being beneficiaries of a well-oiled machine throughout the NBA Finals.

But to the chagrin of NBA fans in cities around the country, teams are following this trend of resting stars who the fans have paid handsomely to see play.

Golden State Warriors Coach Steve Kerr issued an apology to fans for his decision to rest his star players during the final quarter of the regular season.

But what began as a strategy to prolong the careers of the aging trio in San Antonio has become the trend of NBA All-stars. Players feel privileged when they are given a night off. They equate earning a rest day to being a part of the NBA elite.

Playing in all 82 games was the goal and that iron man streak carried significant weight during negotiations. Now, we are lucky if the best teams play their stars together in 75 games. Not only should today’s NBA players rest less, but if I spend hundreds to take my boys to watch LeBron in a suit, I would be RestLess!

Read Comments +

Written by: Sam Perkins

Road to the Final Four

March 26, 2015

Some teams may be happy to be there, but if you want to win a championship you have to look at the Sweet Sixteen as just another round. When we were playing we wanted to go all the way, so we didn’t think about it as the Sweet Sixteen, we thought about it as a game against Alabama. That’s the mindset you have to have going in. I’m sure the coaches are all saying the same thing.

After that week in between rounds you don’t really feel rested, it’s more like restlessness. You’re playing almost every other day and then all of a sudden it stops for a week or so. But, you have to go out there and get ready as if you just played. You have to just pick up where you left off if you want to keep winning.

We played Alabama in the Sweet Sixteen in 1982 when we won the championship, and we never faced them before. I think they had more veteran players, but we had more dangerous players. We were the higher seed, but that goes out the window when the ball tosses up. You know you can get beat by anybody regardless of what ranking you are. In the beginning of the game, each team feels each other out, but then after a while you see where you can do some things and you figure out what you need to do to win. Teams adjust as they go along, but anyone can get hot and anyone can get cold. You just try to put your foot on their neck and wipe them out.

We didn’t do anything different out there. There might have been a play here and there that was a twist in our offense. Coach Smith was one of these coaches that adjusted well in the game. We worked with Worthy and Michael and the whole team and tried to sustain runs and then make a run of our own. If you’re up by 15, there’s so much time left and teams want to come back on you, but you have to settle in and take care of the ball.

This year North Carolina is playing Wisconsin, which like us in ’82, is a team that they haven’t seen much of before. For them to win they’ll have to play consistent basketball. They’ve been surviving in coming back on teams, but now it gets tougher with Wisconsin who is known to run their offense well through Frank Kaminsky, their big scorer, and capitalize on transitions. That’s one of the things that Wisconsin doesn’t allow other teams to do – get transition baskets.

Carolina is young and somewhat inexperienced, so in order for them to win they have to rebound the ball well, find a way to control the tempo and get as many easy baskets as possible. For Wisconsin to win, they just have to move the ball like they do, and rebound. Carolina is small and they give up rebounds. I love my Tarheels, but I think Wisconsin just might make it to the Final Four.

For the most part all of the teams that I expected to be there are there. One or two are gone. I don’t know what Tom Izzo does to get there but he always has his team in the middle of things. I think they lose to Oklahoma who also beats Louisville to get to the Final Four. I think Oklahoma might sneak in there. It doesn’t seem like Kentucky is going to lose. I can’t see Notre Dame beating them. Duke will make it.

Those are my picks – Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Duke – but anything can happen, especially if a team gets caught looking ahead. You’re always look ahead, but you can’t overlook your opponent now, otherwise you’re playing right into their hands.

Read Comments +

Written by: Jerrod Mustaf

Game Change

March 24, 2015

Over a billion made, not everybody getting paid.

March Madness, pure sadness.

How is the MEAC conference not a high major?

Oh, Duke took our savior.

HBCUs should always be in the fans favor, the “Marching 100” perform with flavor.

Lets be real, the best players are always Black kids

Recruitment-wise they put Black colleges on a blacklist.

They rather go to Kentucky or Duke, but the CIAA Legends weren’t a fluke.

But if you’re going one-and-done, why not go to FAMU, Howard, Hampton, or A&T?

And don’t say it’s for exposure cuz if you’re the best, you’ll be exposed, I guarantee.

But subconsciously I guess Willie Lynch is still alive

We are brainwashed as a people, didn’t change in 1865.

So, we’re stuck in this mindset, I guess its not time yet

One day we will realize that we had our minds wet.

All it takes is one to change the future of college sports, I can see it all over ESPN and Coach Cal ’s all out of sorts,

“Five All-Americans Choose to Play at Howard, players are going to Black colleges and powerhouses are losing power".

Number one in college basketball for that one season, million dollar contracts offered and you know the reason.

Paying players to sign a letter of intent would become the rule, anything to keep them in the state school.

With players being compensated, we could see where our allegiance rest, and finally witness our schools as the Nation’s best!

Read Comments +

Written by: Jim McIlvaine

How Did I Pick 9 of the first 10 NCAA Games?

March 19, 2015
That's right, I picked UAB AND Georgia State

The great thing about announcing the methodology for picking your bracket, is that it erases all doubt as to whether or not you could've really predicted two upsets like UAB beating Iowa State and Georgia State beating Baylor, as I was able to do. The not-so-great thing about explaining my methodology, is that in spite of all my years of experience in playing basketball and working as a broadcast analyst, the most successful bracket I've ever chosen was based entirely on one factor that any schlub with no basketball knowledge could've used- mileage from campus.

I thought my lucky streak would end with a perfect bracket in the First Four, but it continued well into the first day of games, including two major upsets. It looks like Xavier will knock off Ole Miss, so my record will drop to nine of eleven, but that's still far better than I (or 98.2% of you) could've done otherwise. It won't continue. It can't, as I just can't imagine how West Virginia, if they were to get past Buffalo and a Valpo team that would have to upset Maryland, could possibly beat Kentucky. But that's ok. Even if my bracket gets wrecked, it won't be as wrecked as a lot of other folks.

However, it does drive home the point that people picking brackets should really have fun with them and not worry about team records, rankings, conference tournament performances or seedings. None of that really matters in this tournament.

Read Comments +

Written by: Jerrod Mustaf

Black Colleges See Red in March Madness

March 19, 2015


In 1988, I became the first and only McDonald’s All-American basketball player to ever include a historically Black college or university in his final two choices for college. Through much trepidation, I accepted a scholarship offer from the University of Maryland over the Mecca of Black Intellect; Howard University. To this date, no other Black All-American basketball recruit has even taken an official visit to an HBCU campus.

Tonight, basketball fans across the country will eat chicken wings and watch the heavily favored Kentucky Wildcats demolish the only HBCU invited to the dance of 68 NCAA teams; Hampton University.

Kentucky, the winning-est NCAA Division 1 basketball program in history, is also famous for the groundbreaking 1966 NCAA Championship game with Texas Western, that marked the first occurrence of an all-white starting five against an all-Black starting five. The game, which was won by Texas Western, began the gentrification of college basketball and has produced a permanent debilitating economic hierarchy in college athletics for Black schools. As major white institutions began to recruit from the inner cities, the Black athletes abandoned the very schools founded to educate and develop them, and signed up for the Blaxploitation from schools in the major conferences.

Nine Black high school All-Americans will platoon in the Wildcats rotation while Hampton University will field a team of six-teen Black student-athletes who will be starting their corporate internships by Monday morning.

Beginning today, over one billion dollars will be generated during this year’s March Madness by Black athletes. A mere pittance of that billion will circulate back to Black schools due to Hampton’s one-game participation as a sparring partner for the first half TKO coming from the undefeated Kentucky Wildcats.

The award-winning movie “Selma”, which highlights the signing of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, precipitated the integration of college athletics, but has covertly led to the demise of competitive Black collegiate sports. As elite Black athletes continue to eschew HBCU’s where their talent could propel their teams to NCAA moments like Butler and Davidson most recently, Black colleges will remain in the red during March Madness!

Read Comments +

Written by: Spencer Haywood

March Madness Has Arrived!

March 19, 2015

It’s March Madness time! Everybody is happy, everybody is finalizing their brackets! And I’m really pumped because there’s a possibility of a team going 40-0! That hasn’t happened since Indiana did it back in the day, back in 1976.

I’m thinking Kentucky is going to go 40-0. And who saved the day for them? The Harrison twins, who came back for another year of college ball.

Now there are teams that could upset them. The first one I’m thinking about is Wisconsin. And guess what?! There are mostly upperclassmen on that team. You got Frank Kaminsky, who really popped onto the scene after deciding to stay in college. Before he was a mid-level Draft pick, and now he’s the College Player of the Year.

The next team that could upset Kentucky is Duke. Duke has a good core of strong players, and they could take it all too. They’ve got Okafor (not Emeka, the other kid!), and he’s a really good player. I’m big on Duke because I have watched Coach K train many NBA players on the U.S. Men’s National Basketball Team, and he got them up to snuff when they were going haywire, when we couldn’t even get a medal.

I respect that kind of coaching and that kind of teaching. Not that the other coaches are not teaching, but Coach K has really done such an incredible job. And you’ll notice that even after NBA guys play for him on the National Team, they rise to the top. For example, James Harden is balling this year! Steph Curry is at the top of is game. Klay Thompson, too. They all played for him last summer.

So who are my early favorites for the Final Four? I’m picking Kentucky, Duke, Wisconsin and Villanova. You heard it here first! Oh, and by the way, I stole that Villanova pick from President Obama’s bracket!

I’m planning on tuning into ALL of these games! Oh yes, I am watching every one of them. It’s the NCAA Tourney! I’m a fan of this game, and I’ll be sitting on my couch yelling and screaming at the TV. I am truly a fan!

Read Comments +

Written by: Dale Ellis

Rocky Top Reflections

March 19, 2015

College is the best time of your life. When I was at Tennessee we won every single year I was there. We were in the tournament every singe year. A couple of years we were facing Virginia and Ralph Sampson, who was tough to get past, but we had opportunities to go and do something special. We established a winning tradition at the University of Tennessee.

I was very fortunate to have a coach like Don DeVoe. He prepared me every single day for the next level. His attitude was that it didn’t matter how you practiced yesterday, what are you going to give me in practice today? It didn’t matter to him if you scored 30 points last Friday, what are you going to do in this game? As far as academics, he had the same attitude. You’re passing your classes, but what do you have for this next test? He prepared you for being a professional.

When you get to the next level, you have to be a professional. You have to come with it every single day. I was fortunate to play on a professional level for 17 years. My first coach was Dick Motta in Dallas, and Dick sat me down one time and told me about how it is to be a professional. The great ones out of 82 games might have 2 games that they can’t get up for, because it’s a long season. College and the NBA are two different games. When you get to the pro level, you’re playing nine months out of the year, so how can you get up for all those games? He would tell me that you have to find ways to get excited about what you’re doing and you have to come with it every single game. It doesn’t matter what you did yesterday. What do you have for me today?

College prepares you for that. I had an opportunity to come out of college early and I didn’t do it. I looked at my teammates and thought these were my guys, I’m going to stay the four years. When you’re in college you learn teamwork. It’s not about individual play. When you watch a lot of NBA ball right now you see a lot of individual basketball. I just happened to be fortunate to play in an era when the game was simple. Fundamentals were sound and guys played together. It was about the team achievement. I think today they miss out on that aspect by not finishing the four years of college basketball.

Plus, like I said, it’s the best four years of your life. When you come out of college and you go into a professional field, whatever it is, if it’s sports or the law or medicine or whatever you are trying to be in life, it’s a rude awakening. College should prepare you for that next level, but in the meantime don’t get stressed out. Enjoy every single minute. I was an average student. I did just enough to get by and I regret that to this day, but I was the first in my family to receive a college degree. Receiving that degree told me that I could accomplish anything I want to accomplish in life. I wanted to play basketball. Once you get there it’s a job and you have to come with it every single day, in whatever field you choose. You have to come with it because there’s always someone out there trying to knock you off the totem pole.

Whatever field that you’re looking at, try to be the best at that field and if you fall short of that goal, you’re going to find something beautiful in between. You’ve got guys like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird to mention a few, whose goal was to be the best whoever played the game. Once you decide what you want to do, it will reveal itself what you have to do to get where you want to be. Then you have to make that commitment. You might have to give up a few things to get where you want to be, whether it’s friends or family or whatever. But when you are in college don’t give up anything. Take care of the academic part of it and enjoy every single minute. 

Read Comments +
» Older Posts