Terrapin Captain A Dukie?

This is crazy. Almost all college students root for their own school in every sport. In a few cases, you find a kid who sticks to their childhood team despite going to a different school. But an athlete rooting against his own school (not in his sport)? That’s unheard of (by me)! To make this even more unlikely, we’re talking about a Maryland athlete rooting for Duke. In basketball! It’s hard to think of too many more vitriolic rivalries right now than Maryland-Duke, with the bulk of the hatred coming from College Park.
So how does this guy do it? I mean, he’s even a captain of the lacrosse team! I think you can find the answer in his size – the dude’s 6-4, 240. Who’s going to say anything?
Hat tip to the DBR for finding this one.

Nash Vs. Starbury

The guys (guy?) over at the Georgia Tech Sports Blog have an interesting post about the joy of watching Steve Nash play and remembering when he faced off against Stephon Marbury in college. The comments on that game 12 years ago are great. Tech fans were just trying to figure out how good their new phenom was going to be and then he gets outplayed by some scrawny, no-name white kid who plays for Santa Clara. Of course, their fears were unfounded as Marbury ended up as one of the greatest one-year ACC players ever and of course, that scrawny white kid turned out to be pretty good too.

BTW, click on the link just to see Nash sporting a Hurley cut!

If I Go There Will Be Trouble

Yesterday I wrote about the NBA draft decisions of Brandan Wright, Sean Singletary and Thaddeus Young. Well, I guess I should have waited a day because as I was typing that up, Javaris Crittenton and James Mays were announcing that they too wanted in on the party.
Like Young and Singletary, Mays and Crittenton say they aren’t hiring agents and may yet come back. I hope so. While NBA scouts are certainly interested in young Crittenton, legit 6’5″ point guards aren’t too common even in the League, he could use a bit more seasoning. No position takes longer to learn than point guard and Crittenton isn’t ready yet. He could be special, and Georgia Tech has quite a history of special point guards, so I’d hate to see him rush things.
Mays’ decision is even more suspect. While he’s a talented player who I could see in the NBA, I don’t think too many scouts are paying him any attention. Big, athletic guys like Mays are tempting, but not when they score under 13 points per game. I think Mays would have a slim chance of even being drafted. That kind of gamble just doesn’t seem worth it to me.
With all of these underclassmen declaring, or at least testing the waters, it might be useful to look at some projections of where they might go. Now, keep in mind that the guys who do these sites really have little to no inside information. They are guessing like the rest of us, just with a bit more diligence. That said, if you look at them in total, you get a pool of likely draftees that’s about 90-95% accurate. Looking at nbadraft.net, Draft Express and Inside Hoops, you can get an idea of how the ACC guys are generally viewed. Brandan Wright is a unanimous top-four selection. Thad Young is in the high teens, Javaris Crittenton is in the late first round and neither Sean Singletary nor James Mays are even projected as draftees. Going by that, I’d say that everyone but Wright should be thinking about what classes they want to take next fall.

Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

‘Tis the season. The season when young basketball stars get to decide if they want to go for the gold or stay for a shot at the golden ring. Truthfully, I think most probably aren’t really thinking about the ring. If they stay, the college life and a possible good team probably are factors, but not as much as the idea that they can improve their draft position for the next year. It’s all about getting drafted as high as possible.
So far this week we’ve had Brandan Wright, Thaddeus Young and Sean Singletary all announce that they’ll be putting their names in the draft. What’s interesting is that you have three ACC underclassmen apparently doing the same thing, but they are all three in very different situations. Wright is a sure-thing top-five pick. Coming out is pretty much a no-brainer for him. Yes, he’s the rare case where he could actually be that highly regarded and still improve his position for next year, but why take that chance? The difference in money isn’t worth the risk of injury or failed expectations. While Wright says he isn’t going to hire an agent (or at least hasn’t yet), he’s not coming back. Nice knowing you. Wish we could have watched you develop.
Young is an interesting case. Like Wright, he would have been a top 5-10 pick last year, but unlike Wright, played his way out of that position this season. Make no mistake, Young is a very promising player with loads of potential, but he didn’t dominate like everyone expected him too. So he makes for an intriguing draft decision. Do you just look at the good things he did and can do or do you focus on the fact that he didn’t live up to the hype? My guess is that if he stays in, he’ll be picked in the middle to lower-half of the draft. Is that good enough to stay in? I say no. He could be a top-five guy and his game could use a little seasoning. It’s not hard to see a first-team All-American when you look at Young’s future.
Sean Singletary is yet a third case. As a shortish, scoring point guard, he’s going to have a hard time impressing NBA scouts. While he’s a wonderful college player – certainly better than either Young or Wright at this point – players like Singletary are a dime a dozen in the NBA. He certainly can play at that level, but he’s not going to be drafted until at best the late first round. So why announce? Simple. You are allowed to do that and go through all of the pre-draft workouts and evaluations one time in your career. It would be stupid not to take advantage of the opportunity to have disinterested third parties evaluate and critique your game after they watch you play against other NBA hopefuls. I’m sure he’ll hear that he needs to improve his outside jumper and his game-management skills. Unfortunately for Singletary, he’s probably not going to have the teammates to help him too much in that latter point next year (Virginia’s going to need his points), but he can improve his shot before the 2008 draft.

The ACC And The Draft

David Glenn has a blog entry up today talking a bit about the ACC and the NFL Draft (What, you thought this post was going to be about Brandan Wright?). It’s a pretty vanilla entry by Glenn’s lofty standards, but there’s one very interesting part. He talks a bit about the programs that have had the most players drafted. You probably aren’t surprised to hear that Miami has the most and Florida State is #2. What shocked me though, was when he ran down the rest of the league. Can you guess which ACC program has had the fewest players drafted (all time, not just as a league member)?

Take a look. Bet you got it wrong.

Reggie Bush Would Have Gone Faster

Wanna know how a #1 NFL draft pick (deserved or not) rolls? In a burnt orange Lamborghini at about 130 mph on I-40 here in Raleigh, that’s how. Evidently Super Mario doesn’t follow the news much and hasn’t heard about Kellen Winslow, Ben Roethlisberger or Bobby Hurley.
Oh, you might want to put the headphones on for this one.
BTW, burnt orange? Is he pretending to be a Texas alumnus now that he’s in Houston? Don’t they make those things in red anymore?

Rabbit, Run

Have you ever wondered why Florida, south Florida in particular, churns out so many fantastic, blazingly fast football players? ESPN the Magazine thinks they know why.
Now, I don’t normally seek out ESPN Mag articles, because they tend to be the sports equivalent of People magazine or maybe USA Today, but this one was pretty damn interesting and well written. Yeah, it’s quite a stretch to give all the credit to chasing bunnies in fields, but this could certainly be a factor for some kids.
Update: I forgot to mention that I found this link via the Swamp over at the Sports Frog. Poster wlu_lax6 is always digging up cool links over there.

We Are Virginia Tech

There has been a lot of discussion over the past few days about Virginia Tech’s response in the early hours of Tuesday’s tragedy. Did they take the matter seriously enough? Did they respond quickly and effectively enough? Did they really have the best interest of their students, faculty and staff in mind?
Those issues can and will be debated for some time. They should be. What can NOT be debated though is just how impressive the Hokie nation has turned out to be. Almost immediately after the disaster, the community rallied around itself and started addressing their own problems. If there’s anything that can be learned about Virginia Tech from all of this is that the school, the administration, the students and the alumni have built an incredibly supportive and united community. How could anyone watch the way they’ve responded and still think that the university doesn’t care about its own students and employees? You can’t watch the obvious love that those people have for their school and not be incredibly impressed.
I mentioned in my previous post that incidents like this always make sports seem so inconsequential. Well, maybe I need to reconsider. Virginia Polytechnic University is NOT just a football team, but it’s clear that the football team, along with all the other athletic teams, IS a huge part of the school. A huge part of the culture. A hugely positive part of the culture, experience and pride of being a Hokie. Students, alumni and fans everywhere – including the Washington Nationals – have been wearing the maroon and orange all week. They repeatedly refer to themselves as Hokies. That unity and common identity comes directly from the athletic teams.
Sports do matter.
Finally, to wrap up the two points I’m making, you need to watch this video from yesterday’s convocation in Cassell Coliseum. An English professor gives an incredibly stirring speech that clearly inspired everyone in the crowd. Watch the whole thing and see what spontaneously erupts near the end. I promise you, you’ll get a bit choked up. And you’ll see why sports can be so important.
We all are Virginia Tech.

Video Of The Day

Sports still seem incredibly unimportant today, but this video is still worth posting. Normally, there’s absolutely no good reason to watch a regular season MLB game, but this isn’t normal. I don’t think. A fan tries and fails to catch a foul ball, while simultaneously spilling his and his buddy’s beer all over the place. Then, just after he fumbles it, a flying pizza slice nails him on the shoulder. He’s named the Red Sox Fan Of The Game just as he launches into an angry, profanity-laden tirade against the pizza chucker.
It’s pretty damn funny.
The whole story.

Tragedy In Blacksburg

I’m sure you’ve seen the story by now. A gunman went crazy at Virginia Tech today and killed over 30 people, including himself. It’s just mind boggling. It’s hard to understand how one person could do so much damage.
From what I’ve read, he went first to a dorm, looking for his girlfriend. When he couldn’t find her, he shot her roommate and maybe the RA. At least one person was killed in the dorm. He got away from there and as police were investigating, he showed up in another building. The rumor is that he was still looking for his girlfriend, this time in a classroom. In that room, and maybe in several, he started shooting and that’s where he killed most of his victims.
My thoughts are with those in Blacksburg and the families of all of those affected. We make fun around here sometimes, but it’s just that – fun. My family lived in Blacksburg when I was born and later in Radford, where the shooter was evidently from. No place deserves this sort of tragedy, but sometimes it feels even more real when you have a tie, no matter how tenuous.