Thursday, April 30, 2015

2015 NFL Draft

[4/30/15]  Here it is live!  (Interesting that ESPN on my cable TV is lagging my iPad by about 1 minute and 5 seconds and my iPad is lagging on my computer by about 57 seconds)

1. Tampa Bay - Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State (local boy)
2. Tennessee - Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon (despite all the trade rumors, Marioto)
3. Jacksonville - Dante Fowler, Jr. DE, Florida (another local boy)
4. Oakland - Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
5. Washington - Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa
6. New York Jets - Leonard Williams, DE, USC (instead of Kevin White, too good to pass up)
7. Chicago - Kevin White, WR, West Virginia (to replace Brendon Marshall)
8. Atlanta - Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson (the people's choice)
9. New York Giants - Ereck Flowers, OL, Miami (who?)
10. St. Louis - Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia (Gurley is the man is the headline at
11. Minnesota - Trae Waynes, CB,
12. Cleveland - Danny Shelton, DT, Washington

Joey Iosefa picked in seventh round


[4/30/15] Curtis Murayama mock draft
1. Tampa Bay - Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
2. Tennessee - Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
3. Jacksonville - Leonard Williams, DL, USC
4. Oakland - Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
5. Washington - Dante Fowler, Jr., DE, Florida
6. New York Jets - Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
7. Chicago - Danny Shelton, NT, Washington
8. Atlanta - Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson
9. New York Giants - Brandon Scherff, G-T, Iowa
10. St. Louis - DaVante Parker, WR, Louisville

[4/26/15] comments from an NFL scout
MARIOTA: "To me he's the best player in the draft. I don't think there's anything he can't do

[4/23/15] Shaun King's mock draft 3.0
1. Tampa Bay - Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
2. Tennessee - Leonard Williams, DT, USC
3. Jacksonville - Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
4. Oakland - Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
5. Washington - Randy Gregory, OLB, Nebraska
6. New York Jets - Dante Fowler, Jr., DE, Florida
7. Chicago - Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
8. Atlanta - Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa
9. New York Giants - Landon Collins, S, Alabama
10. St. Louis - Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford

[2/25/15] Shaun King's mock draft
1. Tampa Bay - Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
2. Tennessee - Leonard Williams, DT, USC
3. Jacksonville - Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford
4. Oakland - Dante Fowler, Jr., DE, Florida
5. Washington - Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa
6. New York Jets - Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
7. Chicago - Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
8. Atlanta - Randy Gregory, OLB, Nebraska
9. New York Giants - Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
10. St. Louis - T.J. Cummings, OT, Clemson

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Jon Jones stripped of title

UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has been stripped of his title effective immediately and is suspended from the promotion indefinitely.

UFC president Dana White made the announcement via "FOX Sports Live" on Tuesday night.

Jones was arrested on Monday in Albuquerque on allegations of leaving the scene of an accident, which is a felony charge in New Mexico due to one of the drivers suffering a fractured wrist and arm. The injured driver, later identified as Vanessa Sonnenberg, was taken to the hospital because she is pregnant and felt like she might pass out at the scene.

Jones was sought as a "person of interest" in the hit-and-run accident, but the Albuquerque police eventually upgraded him to a suspect before issuing a warrant for his arrest on felony charges for leaving the scene of an accident. Jones eventually surrendered to police on Monday before being released on $2,500 bond.

Jones was set to face Anthony Johnson in the main event of UFC 187 before he was suspended. Now, Jones' hated rival Daniel Cormier will take his place in the May 23 fight as the new main event with the light heavyweight title on the line.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

positive Passas

Marcus Mariota has heard them. So have Darnell Arceneaux. Timmy Chang and Jason Gesser Every great local quarterback that Saint Louis offensive coordinator Vince Passas has ever tutored — Bobby George, John Hao, Jeremy Higgins, Joel Lane, Micah Mamiya, Jeremiah Masoli, Tua Tagovailoa and many others — has heard the same message. Every day.

“It’s the five things that will make you better,” Passas says.

“Our camp works to help you not only to become a better quarterback,” he says, “but also a better person.”

No. 1: Take care of your mom. “Give her a hug before you leave for the day and ask her how her day’s been when you get home,” Passas says. “Think of her as the head coach of your home. Get a calendar and mark down when Mother’s Day is, then mark the next day and the next. Every day should be Mother’s Day in your house.”

No. 2: Make at least two people smile every day. “The more people you make smile, the happier your life will be. Brighten up every room when you enter.”

No. 3: Perform at least one act of random kindness daily. “Don’t expect anything in return, and do it when no one is watching. The more people you help, the more you will be helped.”

No. 4: When you hear the ambulance, give the sign of the cross and give your blessings to someone who needs help. “Be grateful about what you have and care about others who are in need.”

No. 5: Be a team player at home. “Wash the dishes, take out the trash, clean your room, wash your parents’ car. Do it when nobody asks you. Being a great teammate on your team starts with doing it at home.”

Passas keeps the five points positive.

“There was a time when coaches motivated by yelling at you,” he says. “I believe in being positive. The kids are more receptive that way.”


Harry Greb, Sam Langford, Ezzard Charles, Joe Gans.  Better than Mayweather?

Mayweather recently made headlines when he told ESPN that he believes he's the greatest fighter ever. Mayweather bills himself as "TBE," which is an acronym for "The Best Ever."

He said he feels he's better than Sugar Ray Robinson, who is widely regarded as the best boxer ever, or Muhammad Ali, who as heavyweight champion in the 1960s dubbed himself, "The Greatest."

The panel was asked to vote for the 15 men they felt were the greatest of all-time, and there were no restrictions on whom the panel chose. That led to the first Yahoo Sports All-Time Top 25 list.

Robinson, not surprisingly, gained 10 of the 11 first-place votes cast and wound up atop the list. He earned 164 of 165 possible points.

Mayweather wound up 19th and Pacquiao tied for 22nd.  Surprised Pacquiao even made the list.

I'm surprised Duran was fifth, then again he was a killer as a lightweight.  Also surprised to see Rocky Marciano not on the list.  No Joe Frazier or Mike Tyson either.


Here's Bert Sugar's list.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Aaron Hernandez convicted

[6/27/13] One of the sadder and more surreal sagas in the recent history of the NFL took yet another big turn on Wednesday. Tight end Aaron Hernandez, once thought to be one of the rising young stars in the league, was led from his home in handcuffs. A few hours later, he was arraigned and charged with murder.

*** [4/15/15]

FALL RIVER, Mass. >> Former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison Wednesday in a deadly late-night shooting, sealing the downfall  of an athlete who once had a $40 million contract and a standout career ahead of him.

Spurs can finish 2, 3, 5, 6

One day left in the regular season and still much to decide.

Atlanta is the top seed, plays at Chicago
Cleveland is the second seed, plays Washington
Chicago can be the third or fourth seed, plays Atlanta
Toronto can be the fourth or third seed, play Charlotte
Washington is the fifth seed, plays at Cleveland
Milwaukee is the sixth seed, plays Boston
Boston is the seventh seed, plays at Milwaukee
Indiana can be the eighth seed or out of the playoffs, plays at Memphis
Brooklyn can be out of the playoffs or the eighth seed, plays Orlando
Miami has been eliminated, plays at Philadelphia

Golden State is the top seed, plays Denver
San Antonio can be the second, third, fifth, or sixth seed, plays at New Orleans
Clippers can be the third or second seed, not playing
Portland is the fourth seed, plays at Dallas
Houston can be the second, fifth, or sixth seed, plays Utah
Memphis can be the sixth or fifth seed, plays Indiana
Dallas is the seventh seed, plays Portland
New Orleans can be the eighth seed or out of the playoffs, plays San Antonio
Oklahoma City can be out of the playoffs or the eighth seed, plays at Minnesota

So these are essentially big playoff games: Indiana at Memphis, San Antonio at New Orleans.  The Indiana-Memphis game will be on ESPN, but not the San Antonio-New Orleans game.  They'll have the Charlotte-Toronto game because it starts at 7:00 PM EDT (1:00 PM HST).  The San Antonio-New Orleans game starts at 8:00 PM EDT (along with nine other NBA games starting at the same time, League Pass subscribers go nuts).  Indiana-Memphis at 9:30 PM EDT.  Sacramento at Lakers at 10:30 PM EDT.

...  Meanwhile, the Knicks are one game behind Minnesota in the battle for the worst record in the league.  Philadelphia is one game back of the Knicks.  And despite all their efforts, the Lakers will finish with only the fourth worst record.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Lauren Hill

Lauren Hill touched a nation with her desire to play for Mount St. Joseph's women's basketball team, even as she battled an inoperable brain tumor.

Her resolve, spirit and courage were celebrated Nov. 2 when she realized her dream at Xavier University's Cintas Center. Cheered on by a sold-out crowd of 10,250 and a television audience, Hill scored the first and last basket of the Mount's 66-55 victory over Hiram College.

She passed away Friday at the age of 19.

Mount St. Joseph's will hold a celebration and prayer service on its campus to honor her.

"We are forever grateful to have had Lauren grace our campus with her smile and determined spirit," said Mount St. Joe president Tony Aretz.

Hill death was acknowledged by several celebrities, including LeBron James, who wrote a series of tweets including this: "Until we officially meet again, take care and continue to be that LEADER we all love! #RIPLaurenHill"

The Indiana native said at the game her goal was is to find a cure for cancer. Hill was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma shortly after her 18th birthday. The rare form of brain cancer typically affects young children ages 4 to 9.

"When I was diagnosed I remember kind of feeling lonely because nobody understood. And now that more people know about this story and the awareness of DIPG. I'm so happy that people know about it now and that we can get some research going and hopefully find that home run cure for cancer," Lauren said.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Beeman is staying

University of Hawaii women's basketball fans can relax. Laura Beeman isn't going anywhere, at least for now.

Beeman, the Big West Coach of the Year who led the Wahine to the conference regular season championship this spring, called the University of Utah on Thursday and asked to be taken off the list of contenders for the Lady Utes head coach position.

"I'm staying," Beeman said Thursday morning. "I love Hawaii. This is where I want to be. … I like what (new athletic director) David Matlin is doing."

The web site reported on April 4 that Beeman was a finalist for the Utah job along with Fresno State head coach Jaime White and Pacific head coach Lynne Roberts.

She interviewed with Utah associate athletic director Nola Richardson while at the women's final four.
Matlin, who will take office as UH athletic director April 27, met recently with Beeman to "re-recruit" her.

"We just talked about what we value and goals and at the end of the day it's obvious we can't compete on the finances (with a Pac-12 school)," Matlin said. "She loves Hawaii. We talked about building something together. She's a valued member of our team. I think she loves her team too and she loves being here and puts a premium on that. I think we're all blessed and fortunate that she's part of our ‘ohana.

"Plus, I said, ‘Listen, you know, I don't know if I can handle another coach search right now," Matlin added, with a chuckle.

Anthony Levrets, who was fired by Utah after five seasons, had an annual salary of $313,183.  Beeman received a contract extension in December at UH that takes her through 2017 at roughly $160,000 a season.

The salary range for the UH women's basketball head coaching position is $118,488-$209,784. When asked if he discussed any future pay increase with Beeman, Matlin declined comment.

"I'm not a money-driven person," Beeman said. "I never have been. It's about relationships, it's about my team."

UH finished with a 23-9 overall record in 2015, including a 15-game winning streak.

The Wahine played in the WNIT all three of her UH seasons. Her overall record at UH is 57-37 in three seasons.

She was previously an assistant at USC and the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA. Beeman was also head coach for 15 seasons at Mt. San Antonio College.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Avery Johnson to become head coach at Alabama

Former NBA coach Avery Johnson has verbally agreed to become the head coach at Alabama, sources told ESPN on Sunday.

The 50-year-old Johnson, an ESPN analyst, is from New Orleans and played in the NBA. He coached the Dallas Mavericks from 2005 to 2008 and the Brooklyn Nets from 2010 to 2012.

Johnson, who played 16 years in the league and was a point guard on the 1999 champion San Antonio Spurs, achieved his greatest coaching success with the Mavericks. Dallas won 60 games twice, and Johnson was the NBA coach of the year in 2006 after guiding the Mavs to the NBA Finals, where they lost to the Miami Heat in six games.

His son, Avery Johnson Jr., also plays in the SEC as a freshman point guard at Texas A&M.

Alabama swung and missed on Wichita State's Gregg Marshall earlier in the week after offering him a deal worth $4 million per year. Marshall opted to stay with the Shockers on a seven-year deal worth $3 million annually, sources said.

The Crimson Tide fired Anthony Grant last month after six seasons in which he went 117-85.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Wisconsin ends Kentucky's perfect season

INDIANAPOLIS >> Nobody ever said they were perfect. Now, the Kentucky Wildcats aren't undefeated, either.

The hard-nosed Wisconsin Badgers did what nobody else could this season -- knocking off the Wildcats 71-64 on Saturday night behind 20 points and 11 rebounds from Frank Kaminsky and a clutch comeback down the stretch.

Now, instead of Kentucky going for history, it's Wisconsin heading to the final to play Duke, an 81-61 winner over Michigan State in the earlier -- and much less entertaining -- semifinal.

"It gives us another 40 minutes, I know that," said Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan, who leads the Badgers to their first final since 1941.

The Badgers, who lost 80-70 to Duke in December meeting in Madison, opened as one-point favorites over the Blue Devils.

Kentucky can watch it from the couch.

"I just feel like we wanted to win the national title, and we didn't do it, so the season was a waste," Wildcats freshman Tyler Ulis said.

Kentucky closes the season at 38-1 -- two wins short of becoming the first undefeated team in college basketball since the 1975-76 Indiana Hoosiers. Instead, these NBA-ready group of Wildcats join the star-studded 1991 UNLV team as the latest to take an undefeated record into the Final Four but lose in the semifinals.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Texas hires Shaka Smart

Texas has lured Shaka Smart away from Virginia Commonwealth to be its next men's basketball coach, a person with knowledge of the situation confirmed to USA TODAY Sports.

Smart led the Rams to a 163-56 record, and a surprising run to the Final Four in 2011, in six years in Richmond.

Since 2011, ​Smart, 37, had turned down multiple Power Five conference jobs in recent years to stay at VCU. This time, the Longhorns' offer was too much to pass up, and it had piqued Smart's interest for days before the deal was finalized. Texas athletic director Steve Patterson flew to Richmond on Thursday to seal the deal.

Smart replaces Rick Barnes, who was 402-180 at Texas. He took the Longhorns to the NCAA tournament in 16 of his 17 seasons, including a Final Four in 2003.


Virginia Commonwealth University offered men's basketball coach Shaka Smart a $1 million raise in order for him to stay, according to a USA Today report.

The offer would have constituted a 55% raise, and elevated Smart's annual salary to $2.8 million. Smart made $1.8 million during the 2013-14 season, according to ESPN.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

NBA player rankings

ESPN ranks the NBA's starting PGs.

At the top of the list are Chris Paul, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, John Wall.

I was surprised to see Mike Conley ranked fifth ahead of Lillard, Lowry, Tony Parker, Kyrie Irving, Jeff Teague, Derrick Rose.

At the bottom of the list, Marcus Smart, Elfrid Payton, Jeremy Lin, Isiah Canaan, Dante Exum.  Three rookies and a virtual rookie.  I would rank Payton higher.

Somehow Jose Calderon is ahead of MCW, Patrick Beverly, Reggie Jackson.

Deron Williams is just ahead of Calderon, which shows you how far he's fallen.

Well, I guess they're all pretty good just to be a starter in the NBA.

Chris Mullin returning to St. John's as head coach

Chris Mullin has been named the next head coach at St. John's, the school announced Tuesday.

Mullin, 51, is one of the greatest players in St. John's history, winning the Big East Player of the Year award three times in the 1980s. He was drafted seventh overall in the 1985 NBA draft by the Golden State Warriors, playing in five straight All-Star Games from 1989 to 1993. Mullin is also a two-time Olympic gold medalist and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

"Obviously, it's a surreal experience coming home and returning to St. John's University. This is a role I have been preparing for all of my life," Mullin said. "There are so many people who have had a great influence on me to reach this point, especially my parents, Coach [Lou] Carnesecca and my former teammates."
Since retiring, Mullin has spent time in the front offices of the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings.
Carnesecca, Mullin's former coach at St. John's, told's Ian O'Connor that he offered the new coach of the Red Storm some advice.

"We talked, and you have to understand this is a big thing for Chris, a major, major step," Carnesecca said. "He had a good thing going [in Sacramento], where he could come and go as he wants. Now it's a vocation. This is no longer a job, it's a vocation."

Carnesecca also believes Mullin has the makings of a good coach.

"People worry about the lack of experience, but Chris has been around so many great players and coaches," Carnesecca said. "I told him, 'If you ever stopped and wrote down everything you know about basketball, you would fill volumes.'"

Mullin replaces Steve Lavin, who parted ways with the Red Storm on Friday after five seasons. St. John's made two NCAA tournament appearances and two NIT appearances during Lavin's tenure.

The Red Storm were 21-12 this past season, getting knocked out in the round of 64 by San Diego State. St. John's loses four seniors, while Rysheed Jordan and Chris Obekpa are considering the NBA draft. Top-50 recruit Brandon Sampson also reopened his recruitment after Lavin and the program parted ways.
"I'm just delighted [by Mullin's hiring], and I think a lot of people feel the same way," Carnesecca said. "I think this is the most popular choice ever at St. John's."

Meanwhile, former Iowa State assistant Matt Abdelmassih is leaving for a similar position at St. John's.
Abdelmassih, the lone remaining member of coach Fred Hoiberg's original staff from 2010-11, was a student manager at St. John's from 2004 to 2007. He announced his departure from Iowa State on his Twitter account Tuesday, saying that St. John's holds a "special place" in his heart.

Abdelmassih was considered Hoiberg's top recruiter, helping sign Royce White, DeAndre Kane and current starter Jameel McKay. He says Iowa State will be a "ridiculously hard place to leave."