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Posts Tagged ‘NBA’

It has been years since I’ve written a post but in my defense it’s been difficult with my work schedule as I work nights in the Casino & Hospitality industry.  When I’m not working, I’m spending my free time at the BMO Harris Bradley Center supporting my beloved Marquette Golden Eagles or going to watch former MU greats Dwyane Wade, Wesley Matthews, Jimmy Butler and Jae Crowder take on the Milwaukee Bucks.

(Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports)

(Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports)

On Saturday, March 7, 2015 I had the opportunity to see the Washington Wizards play the Bucks. Being from Arlington, VA you would think I’d jump at the chance to see my hometown play.  However, I opted to skip the game and sleep instead. That being said, I will never  pass-up seeing the Wiz Kids play ever again; thanks to NBA Champion, Paul Pierce and John Wall, the 2010 1st-overall NBA Draft Pick.

I was lucky enough to sit  at a bar in Milwaukee, WI when the “The Truth” came out. First, Paul Pierce, nicknamed “The Truth” by Shaq was sitting alone at the bar, smoking a cigar and drinking a ginger ale.  He was focused on reading the captions from the soundless special which FSN was airing about Kevin Garnett–Pierce’s former teammate and close friend.  KG recently returned to the Minnesota Timberwolves, the team that originally drafted him in 1995.  In 2007, KG was traded to the Boston Celtics, where he joined Pierce and the two went on to win the 2008 NBA Championship. Pierce started laughing out loud when FSN showed the same video that I posted on my facebook page, 4 days earlier.  I personally thought, it was so cool witnessing Pierce watch this clip.

Shortly after, two-time NBA All-Star, John Wall and Pierce’s current teammate walked up.  They started talking about their 91-85 loss they had suffered hours earlier.  Pierce was giving “JW” some constructive criticism by telling him to attack the paint. by saying “You sets too many ball screens, you’re the point-guard JW, you don’t set screens, you go around them.” Wall responded by saying “I got you but it doesn’t help when he (Gortat) is always standing at the elbow instead of under the basket.

(L-R) MU Players: Steve Novak, Jimmy Butler, Lazar Hayward, Wesley Matthews.

(L-R) MU Players: Steve Novak, Jimmy Butler, Lazar Hayward, Wesley Matthews.

Then walks-in another Wizard and former Bucks player, Drew Gooden along side a “jersey chaser.”  When Gooden walked-in he started talking to “P” so I started small talk with JW telling him that I was raised in the DC area in Arlington.  Pierce overheard me and joined the conversation saying he lives in McLean (the city next to Arlington). P asked what brought me out to Milwaukee? I replied by saying I went to school at Marquette which opened the door to a three hour conversation with these three players. I told them that I was huge fan of teams with former MU players like Wesley Matthews (Portland) and Jimmy Butler (Chicago).  At which point, Pierce said “It’s a shame to what happened to Wes,” who suffered a season ending injury (torn achilles), two days ago while playing for the Portland Trailblazers.  Then I mentioned that it sucks Jimmy Butler is also currently out with an elbow injury. Pierce jokingly replied “…and (Dwyane) Wade is always injured!”  I laughed, and stated that I have Wade’s college jersey signed and framed in my apartment.  I said I had all former MU players currently playing in the NBA jerseys signed, except for Jae Crowder.

I transitioned the conversation to March Madness and asked Wall if he thinks his Kentucky Wildcats were going to run the table and that sparked the debate of “The greatest player to play at Kentucky.” The debate was between Rajon (Rondo), Wall, and Anthony Davis.  Pierce teased and but I think he seriously meant it when he said Rondo. “Rondo has an NBA Championship and all you need is one of those under your belt and you’d be the best.”  Gooden said Wall has the potential to be the best especially because “you lead the league in minutes played.” However, Wall ended the debate by saying “AD brought a championship to UK and he has a Gold Medal from the Olympics.”

(L-R) Wall, Rondo, Davis.

(L-R) Wall, Rondo, Davis.

Pierce and Gooden both attended Kansas University and they joked saying its clear championships matter because when they enter the practice facility in Lawrence, the player with the biggest picture on the wall is Mario Chalmers.  Gooden laughed as he said he’s played in the Finals in high school, college and the NBA and lost all three times.

Then I looked at my phone and saw that Randall Cobb, WR for the Packers and agreed to re-sign with Green Bay! Wall asked if I was a Packers fan?  I said yea, even though I was raised in DC my Dad raised me as a die-hard Cheesehead.  He replied by saying Cobb, was his friend because they attended UK together.  I said that Cobb agreed to a 4-year-deal for $40 million, $17 million guaranteed.  I asked Wall who he supported, to my shock he said the “Cowboys.”  I told him not to ever mentioned that out loud in DC.  I inquired more to why he was a Dallas fan, since he’s from North Carolina.  He replied by saying “I’m a momma’s boy.” — I laughed.  I asked Pierce who he supported– Well “I’m from LA and since we don’t have a team, the Pat-riots” he replied.  Gooden chimed in saying “The Rams will be moving to LA soon.”

Again, I changed the conversation by asking Wall what city was their favorite to play on the road?  Wall responded by saying “That’s easy NYC or LA.”  I turned the question to Pierce (excluding NYC & LA) and he answered “Toronto. The people are friendly, the city is beautiful, the restaurants are delicious, and the city is diverse.”

Then Gooden randomly changed the subject back to the Wizards current state-of-play saying he wishes “Head Coach Wittman would take a page out of future Coach Pop (Gregg Popovich – Spurs) and quit running so many plays in practice.”  Wall and Pierce, both agreed saying that it’s exhausting as they play so many games and Pierce pointed out again that Wall leads the league in minutes played.  Not following the Wizards at all, I’d still agree with the players considering the players play so many games! They (the players) clearly know how to play but it has to get exhausting traveling and playing back-to-back nights.

The night concluded when I requested we change the TV Channel from FSN to ESPN to watch Sportscenter.  When the bartender changed the channel, a March Madness commercial was shown and there was John Wall in his Kentucky uniform hoisting up a three… The clip showed Wall releasing but not the finish, and I assumed the shot went in but Wall yells “BRICK!” indicating he hit the back of the rim and missed the shot.  Then he fast forwards to the end of the commercial, and say’s “watch me tackle my teammate at the end” and we all start laughing as he tackle his Wildcat teammate to the floor, at the end of the commercial.  When I think back about when Wall was in college, I picture his dance moves… which he brought to the NBA Rookie Photo Shoot:

Prior to departing with their driver, the three players thanked me and let me know that they enjoyed our conversation.  Needless to say, never it a million years did I think I would be able to have a conversation like this but hey it’s March so let the madness begin!!

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As a huge basketball fan of both the college and professional level, I’ve always wondered what the criteria that NBA scouts follow when selecting who to draft.  I was lucky enough to find the answer during the 2012 Big East Tournament in NYC when I found myself sitting in the same row as the current Miami Heat President and GM, Pat Riley. Yes, legendary Coach Riley was sitting next to me with his scout.

For confidentiality purposes, I will not disclose who was being scouted but I will tell you that Coach Riley and  his scout attended all the sessions of the games including the Marquette vs Louisville  and Notre Dame vs South Florida game.

Each college player that was being scouted had a paragraph which listed their personal and game statistics.  The form also indicated any personal  accomplishments, for example if the player was Player of the Year.

If the scout was pleased with what he  saw on the court he had a separate page dedicated to that specific player with a grading scale. Unfortunately, I could only see half of the categories but the five items I saw were:  Athleticism, Length, Shooting Range, Turnovers/Decisions, and On Ball Defense. The player is rated on a zero-to-five scale with five being “exceptional” and zero as “worrisome.”

Finally, after carefully dissecting and critiquing the player, the Scout predicts the potential success of a player by marking his “Draft Position” and “NBA Prediction.  The player that was being evaluated did not get excellent remarks.  The Scout for the Miami Heat would not draft this player but He would invite him to camp.  However, he believes that his skills would best be suited in “Eurominors,” which I’m guessing is Europe.

As you can see, it’s tough to make it to the NBA but if you’re a college player, especially with March Madness tipping off, you better bring your “A” game because you never know who’s in the stands watching!

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Who doesn’t like music…? Simple answer–No one! Music gives people a sense of therapy, a way to connect, but most importantly, it’s open to interpretation.  I tend to listen to every sort of genre, minus classical but if my classical radio station started playing cover songs by violinists’ Eric Stanley or Josh Vietti, I would definitely tune-in.  My favorite genre of music is Country music because I enjoy the story-lines in the lyrics.  I also like Hip-Hop because I believe rappers are the most creative and talented singers in the music industry.  The way a rapper matches their rhyming lyrics to a beat is just dirty!  However, this post is only going to depict music that is instrumental.

While exploring YouTube in search of great instrumental and cover bands I came across some fascinating, talented, and gifted individuals.  The first individual that I found was Eric Stanley, of Richmond VA, a violinist who turns pop songs into instant classics. According to his web site Eric would define his music “more as world music mixed into modern.”   

The next musician that I came across was David Sides “D-Sides” a talented pianist who lives in California.  D-Sides took the internet by storm with his piano cover of OneRepublic’s “Apologize.”  However my favorite cover he composed was “Buy U A Drank” originally by T-Pain & Yung Juc.  According to David’s web site, “His personal renditions of today’s popular songs are truly a work of art.”

The third musician I found was another violinist named Josh Vietti who started out as a street “Mall” performer in Santa Monica.  Josh made his national debut performing in the 2010 NBA-All-Star commercial.  Josh may be my favorite musician on YouTube.  According to Josh’s website, his music “is an urban blend of hip hop/jazz violin and will make you want to dance, bob your head and leave you wanting more!”

The next talented pianist that I found was Neal Kern who was covering “Shattered” by my favorite band OAR.  I was unable to find a web site for Neal Kern to provide additional information about his background.  But, I did find under his YouTube info, that he has a son who he loves dearly.  He has studied music earning his Masters in Jazz from North Texas.

The last musicians that I discovered were twins Janice and Sonia aka Jayesslee.  These two adorable sisters were raised in Australia by Korean parents.  According to their YouTube site, they “have always shared a passion for singing and now, they are set on pursuing music.”

Finally, I discovered this band two years ago and just wanted to add them to this post because I think they are super talented.  They are called Boyce Avenue “B-ave”.  They started off covering bands and became a YouTube sensation covering songs by Oasis, Boyz II Men, Journey, Chris Brown,  Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, and Michael Jackson.  B-ave has now come out with their own album that can be purchased on iTunes.  They are so successful that they are touring nationally.  In fact, they are coming to Washington DC and performing at the 9:30 Club on October 10, 2011.

Like I said in my into, music can be interpreted however the listener wants.  These musicians took the work from famous artists’ and turned them into their own works of art.  I hope you realize that it takes creativity, hard work and talent to compose music.  So please continue to show support for musicians across the world by purchasing legally and going to shows or in Josh’s circumstance, stopping at the mall and  just listening.

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I have decided to switch servers regarding my blog from blogger to WordPress.  To view my past entries over the past 3 years please visit: http://www.goldeneaglesfan.blogspot.com/

My Former Blog Titles & Links:

Athletes, Models, and Reporters (May 11, 2011)

Hey Vince, let’s get our trophy back (January 26, 2011

2011 Rose Bowl Video (January 10, 2011)

2011 Rose Bowl (January 9, 2011)

Cabo is Paradise (April 10, 2010)

World Cup Controversy (November 19, 2009)

Marquette GoldenEaglesFan see’s Wade in DC (November 5, 2009)

Grad searching employment (June 4, 2009)

Reflection on Twitter (April 1, 2oo9)

A Sad Day for Marquette Basketball (February 26, 2009)

Traveling to our Nations Capitol (February 18, 2009)

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