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Posts Tagged ‘NCAA’

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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Marquette joined the BIG EAST Conference in 2005, what was then, the premiere “Basketball Conference,”  with teams like Georgetown, Connecticut (UCONN), and Syracuse.  Among these power houses, teams such as Pittsburgh, Notre Dame (ND), West Virginia and Villanova also competed in this Conference.  Louisville, Cincinnati,  and Marquette departed Conference USA together knowing it would boost their Basketball programs, which it definitely has. However, within a blink of an eye, thanks to the “Football” schools, and a money driven society, the BIG EAST is in shambles.

In September 2011, SU and Pitt announced their plans to leave the BIG EAST for the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).   A month later, West Virginia announced they are switching to the BIG 12.  Then most recently, yesterday was a critical day for the BIG EAST, Notre Dame announced they are leaving for the ACC and UCONN’s legendary coach, Jim Calhoun announced his retirement.  What’s interesting is that the ACC accepted ND in all sports but Football.  This is a win/win for the Irish as their Football program gets to remain Independent and their Basketball program joins the Tobacco Road Country.  Listen to these Basketball teams in the the ACC: Duke, North Carolina, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, and Notre Dame.

The Big East will not be at the level where it was, losing the likes of Pittsburgh and Syracuse and losing the likes of certainly West Virginia and now you lose Notre Dame.  Can not be the same!” – Dick Vitale

If the ACC is now accepting schools without a football program, I think Marquette should attempt to transfer to the ACC.  But I have a hunch, that the ACC made an exception for the Irish because they are the most well-known, non-ivy-league school in the Country.  With that thought, I think Marquette should consider making a Non-Football School Conference or a Jesuit/Catholic School Conference.

My Conference Teams would be:

Marquette, Georgetown, Gonzaga, DePaul, Creighton, Villanova, Saint Joseph’s, Xavier, Saint Mary’s of California, and Seton Hall.

The counter argument is that the BIG EAST still can compete in Basketball with teams like: Georgetown, Louisville, Villanova, and Cincinnati.  If Marquette doesn’t leave, let’s hope none of these schools do either.

I think the Big East is still a good basketball conference. In basketball I think they have good quality teams. I don’t see the end of it unless there’s more and more expansion ahead of us, which could happen.  But for right now the Big East has good basketball schools. The Big East Basketball conference is still high high Conference.”

– Jim Boeheim, Syracuse Head Basketball Coach

What are your thoughts?

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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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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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